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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

What About Hebrews 6?

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Hebrews 6 is one of the most difficult passages of Scripture to understand, mainly because we don’t know who wrote the book or the circumstances surrounding its writing. If we knew, for instance, that the author was writing to people who had fallen in among the Judaizers like those in Galatia, he would be making an argument against salvation by the law. For someone to turn again to the law would be to reject everything he had received under the Gospel. The grace he had received in the Spirit would have no meaning. And not only that, once he returned to the law, there would be no redemption left for him; what the Cross could not do for him, the law certainly could not do. This may be what the writer meant by saying such a person would crucify again for himself the Son of God and put Him to open shame. By turning to the law, he would make a sham of the Cross, and no redemption would be available under a works Gospel.

 

This is a possible interpretation of the text. However, the writer also could be referring to apostates, to those who were members of the visible church but fell away from the faith and, thus, proved they never were part of the true church, as 1 John 2:19 says. If this is the right interpretation, we need to deal with the language of verses 4 and 5 in connection with an unbeliever. Let’s see if this can be done.

 

First, the text describes these apostates as those who have understood the Gospel and believed it to be true, which is possible for an unbeliever. Second, they have tasted the heavenly gift. This could mean partaking of the Lord’s Supper, something else an unbeliever can do. Third, they have become partakers of the Holy Spirit. This could mean they have some experience with the gifts of the Spirit, which can occur in unbelievers, or they were simply part of the Christian community living in the Spirit’s presence. Fourth, they have witnessed the signs and wonders that accompanied the Gospel, another action that is possible for unbelievers. Last, it says that they could not be renewed to repentance, implying that they once had repented. We know from the case of Esau that a person can have false repentance. If Hebrews 6 is talking about an apostate, then he will become so hardened in his sin that he has no hope of salvation—a sober reminder to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith.

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In Hebrews 6, we start with verses 1-3, which speak of introducing the principles of perfection, or completeness in our salvation, not how to leave our sinful ways and get saved, as the author already explained this in Hebrews. Verses 4-6 are often taken out of context to mean that if one fall away, he is doomed and cannot return unto the fold. Two things: Read the verses before and after these two to get the context and the other is to remember the parable of the prodigal son who not only fell away from his father, but came home and was gladly received by him. In order to believe in free will, one has to believe one can lose his salvation as well as choose it in the first place, but this whole doctrine is not taught in the Bible. God does all the choosing and causing of us to repent and He preserves us to persevere to the end. In verses 4-6, Jesus’ death on the cross is all that is needed to save all, and it is impossible that any other thing or work or repeat of His work on the cross will do any better. It is finished on the cross once and for all. God has given the very best there is to save man from sin and death, and this work was completed on the cross; it is impossible to go any further. In verses 7-8, the earth brings forth those of the blessing from God and those of the curses, which are saved or burned up, respectively. In verses 9-12, God speaks of the works we are to do and the perseverance to the end.

 

In any case, it does not mean we can lose our salvation or this belief would be in contradiction with John 6:37-40 KJV.

 

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Actually it is pretty widely accepted that Luke wrote Hebrews but regardless, Heb 6:4-6 is clear;

  • 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,
  • 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age
  • 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Enlightened is far more than salvation and communion is not a heavenly gift, it is an earthly institution. Also only saved people can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as in Acts 2:4

 

Unsaved people cannot taste of the goodness of God or the powers of the coming age.

 

Falling away is simply apostasy which the Bible does teach happens and will happen big time in the final time. 2 Thess 2:3. Apostasy is NOT losing salvation, it is walking away from it, which is why the end of v6 says what it says.

 

It is NOT hard to understand unless you are trying to make it fit your RT doctrine, which is then eisegesis and NOT sound hermeneutics.

Edited by Stan

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Actually it is pretty widely accepted that Luke wrote Hebrews

 

I've never heard that.

 

The two main candidates I've heard of, apart from Paul, are Apollos and Barnabus.

 

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In the last line of the OP, sounds like Arminian doctrine, that a person hardens himself to the point of no return. Either he is chosen of God or he is not. Hebrews 6 is referring to the seed cast in the stony places with no chance to grow, or that is cast amidst the thistles where the doctrines of the world chokes the truth out of that man. In either case, he does not persevere to the end, which must be done to be saved. Those are the seed planted in the good ground and bear good fruit. It is God who causes us to persevere to the end, not man causing himself, for that would be impossible. God casts the seed, not man.

 

Hebrews 6 deals with those who were never chosen, but are shown to be false believers who eventually fall away, never able to really have become believers in the first place. People who believe in being able to lose their salvation use these verses wrong, and if they were all correct in their interpretation, had better be perfect always. In which case, what did Jesus die for? He died for all our sins, and won't cast us out for any reason, but only for believers, not fake believers as is discussed in Hebrews 6.

 

Too much garbage doctrine clouded the true meaning of those verses and that is why they seem confusing. Just remember Scripture does not contradict itself. Other Scripture such as those in John 6, et al, teach the opposite of the false teachers of what Hebrews 6 teaches. Apostates were never true believers, so let's get that straight. Otherwise, we think in terms of not only false free will but that we can lose our salvation, so these people never had it to lose; it was just a temporary appearance. This explains a lot of why there is such a large turnover in church attendance. Phonies come in to worship a bit, then leave. They partook of the good things of God and left, just as Hebrews 6 defines, and they were never true believes. See what I mean about how Arminian doctrine is insidious, like an octopus with tentacles everywhere? Man does not do the work of getting saved, God does it all and the glory is all His.

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On 4/10/2015 at 5:58 AM, Stratcat said:

Hebrews 6 deals with those who were never chosen, but are shown to be false believers who eventually fall away, never able to really have become believers in the first place.

 

 I think they were saved, but never lost their salvation.

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On ‎4‎/‎9‎/‎2015 at 11:25 AM, William said:

a sober reminder to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith.

This is the manner in which I receive Hebrews 6, ye the entire book. It is definitely to each individual to examine himself yes brother, I agree. Otherwise it means nothing.

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Staff
1 hour ago, Watcher said:

This is the manner in which I receive Hebrews 6, ye the entire book. It is definitely to each individual to examine himself yes brother, I agree. Otherwise it means nothing.

Welcome Watcher!

 

Yes, and definitely not a theme limited to Hebrews only but a reoccurring one 1 Corinthians 11:31.

 

The other day I sort of had a personal musing. We've always heard parents criticized for spoiling children and giving them everything they want. Unfortunately, as some parents come to terms in later years this often has the adverse affect on a child. Children brought up in such way generally do not demonstrate stewardship and if what is given is ruined they just ask for it again. In some ways I gleaned from Hebrews 6 this apparent issue and I even considered NT Covenant children which are brought up in the faith then later depart. Really no different than OT Israel where children received the mark, sign, and seal of the OT Covenant but later departed the faith (not all Israel is Israel). Our entire salvation is received by grace at no cost to us. Though this does not mean that there was no great cost for the sacrifice given us. Often it is said that freedom comes with great responsibility. If only we raise up our own children as God His, having said that, Jesus' sacrifice that freed us from the bondage of sin has cost God dearly. We ought as you suggest examine and discern our lives in whether we are living more worthily of the great gift which we received. Examination and self-discernment should be an occasional occurrence in our lives. It is even said to be done before Communion in the company and fellowship of saints before we partake of the elements.

 

God bless,

William

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Posted (edited)

'Wherefore, beloved,

.. seeing that ye look for such things,

.... be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace,

...... without spot, and blameless. 
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;

.. even as our beloved brother Paul also

.... to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 
...... As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things;

........ in which are some things hard to be understood,

.......... which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,

............ as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 
Ye therefore, beloved,

.. seeing ye know these things before,

.... beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked,

...... fall from your own stedfastness. 
But grow in grace,

.. and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

.... To Him be glory both now and for ever.

Amen.'

( 2 Peter 3:14-18)  

 

Hello there,

 

I have been taught that the epistle to the Hebrews was written by the Apostle Paul. It should be read and believed, not wrestled with, remembereing to what company it was written, and at what time.  The danger was that these believers, who were wavering, would fall back into Judaism.  

 

In Christ Jesus

Chris

Edited by C.Jord

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About a million years ago this note was written in Mom's Bible

 Tit 1:14  Not giving heed to Jewish Penticostal fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 

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      in Apologetics and Theology

    • All of the Old Covenant commands are obsolete (Hebrews 8:13)

      The only commands from the Old Covenant that are binding on the Christian are those that have been repeated in the New Covenant.     Hebrews 8:13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. (NASB)   The Greek word for "obsolete" is palaioō.   1. BDAG (3rd Edition): treat the first covenant as obsolete Hb 8:13a (palaioō, page 751). 2. J. P. Louw and Eugene Nida: to cause to become old and obsolete, and hence no longer valid -'to make old, to make out of date.' 'by speaking of a new covenant, he has made the first one out of date' He 8.13 (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, 67:103, palaioō, page 643). 3. NIDNTT: Heb. 8:13 takes up the promise of the new covenant of Jer. 31:31-35: "In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete [pepalaōiken]. And what is becoming obsolete [palaioumenon] and growing old [gēraskon] is ready to vanish away." This is entirely God's work. Seeing that God in Christ makes a new covenant, the old covenant of the law has become obsolete. In Christ the first can be regarded only as old and fulfilled (2 Cor. 3:14) (2:716, Old/One, H. Haarbeck).  

      in Apologetics and Theology

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