Hebrews 6:4-6 - Can we lose our Salvation?

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
Hebrew 6:4-6

That passage sends shivers down my spine every time I read it. Does it mean what it sounds like? Can a good Christian sin and in so doing forfeit their salvation? Could the verse be talking about repeated sins like addictions or swearing where people do them over and over again and repeatedly damage their spiritual lives?

From what I've read, that's not supposed to be what it means, if so, are there any other verses that support a less literal meaning of the passage above, verses that affirm that God's mercy is limitless?

In short, the question is, is there anything that we can do on Earth that will stuff us up so bad that repentance is impossible even if we want it? To me that sounds like what the verse is suggeting but I don't think that's consistent with the rest of the Bible...

I'm interested to hear what people think about this...

God bless you all

Pray 4 me ;D


  •     +++


      I have read that this was written for the Jews at a time of persecution. After they have received Jesus as God, they were on a dilema to return back to their former ways being afraid of the Jews who were after Christians.
      Your Q of God's endless mercy is my Q too. God is Love and He is also Just. Even if He is Love He won't just make u go on in sin. But I don't think there is a sin that would be bigger than God's mercy considering that u have at least a slight fear of God. 
      Only the devil has no repentance as far as I know. He is not willing to say sorry out of his pride.
      The mystery of repentance is not like the mystery of baptism who be performed only once for a reason that we humans likely to fall many times. But every time to have to determine not to fall with the same sin at least with the same degree.
      But u better ask a lot of church fathers for this Q.
    Still looking forward to hearing from others soon.
    May God be with us all with His holiest mother, holy angels, saints. Amen!!!

  • [quote author=epchois_nai_nan link=topic=7302.msg96799#msg96799 date=1225961146]
    In short, the question is, is there anything that we can do on Earth that will stuff us up so bad that repentance is impossible even if we want it?

    No sin is unforgivable, but the Blood of Christ wipes away all of our sins. Your question however is asking if there are sins that "stuff us up so bad that repentance is impossible if we want it." No sin we commit is unforgivable (granted we repent), but some sins can alter us in such a way that we are no longer able to resist them. I'll give you an example. Supposing a kid heard about masturbation, and becomes curious about what it is, or what it feels like. That kid may then proceed to commit the sin, simply out of curiosity. The kid is sickened that he has done the sin, and promises himself that he will never do such a thing again. However, he enjoyed doing the sin, with its excitement and pleasure, and therefore commits the sin again. He repeats what he says again, and promises that he will never masturbate again. However, he is again enticed to commiting the sin, and falls again. This is the third time, and he again promises never to do it again, but by this point, the resolve has gone out of his promise, and he no longer sincerely wishes to stop commiting the sin - the sin has addicted him. Sin is like a drug - all it does is cause us harm, and we know this, yet we still sin, knowing that he are damning ourselves. This spirit of perversity, in which he cannot stop commiting the sin, is the greatest danger. Although it is perfectly possible to repent, we are no longer able due to our addiction. And thus the sin has "stuffed us up so bad" we can no longer repent. God is willing and waiting to forgive us, with his arms open, but we no longer want to. If we take the image of a white robe, every time we commit a sin, a black speck stains it. If it is the first speck, we are very worried and sorrowful and immediatley go to wash our robe in Christs Blood (through repentance). If however we leave it, and we sin again, staining it again and again and again, there are so many black specks it no longer matters, we have become accustomed to it.

    Therefore, the importance of early repentance is emphasised and truly important. We need to stop sinning before it corrupts our very nature, and change us so that we no longer want repentance.

    pray for me

  •           +++

    Dear friends,

    God is Love and Merciful...

                        Lamentations 3 (King James Version)

    22It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

    but we have also this much strong responsibility to flee from sin for the Love of God...

                      Matthew 18 (King James Version)

    8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

    9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

      May God be with us always with His holiest mother, holy angels, saints. Amen!!!




  • Hey josephgabriel,

    But are you saying that addictive sins is a unwinnable situation? I've heard repeatedly that repentance is more a gift from God than a conscious, willing leaving behind of the sin because most of the time, we are too weak to leave a sin behind. I think that in the analogy you gave, if the kid really wanted to be free of the sin, then God would help Him. He woud have to ask God to make him 'want to want' to repent. Does that make sense?

    So what I'm trying to get to is, are you saying that addictive sins create a situation which is impossible to reconcile or is there still a way out, painful though it may be?

    If the former is the case, that then means that there are situations where salvation is impossible, which seems to go against the rest of Jesus' message.

    "He who comes to me I will by no means cast out"

    Pray for me
  • Wow, what a great question!
    I have thought about this a lot (many years) and discussed it now with other Christians in order to write to you something about it.

    I think that this passage is talking about those who are sure of the truth of Jesus' death and glorious resurrection and who know that they can avoid doing wrong by asking God for help, but who really don't care and who just live for themselves anyway, repeatedly and deliberately sinning in all sorts of ways, even though they KNOW that Jesus has paid the ultimate price for our sin. So it is NOT about pagans, atheists, hindus etc who have a different belief about God. All these people can be saved by turning to God through Jesus.

    Hebrews 10: 26 says: If we deliberately keep on sinning AFTER we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.
    We are warned not to be so hard and uncaring:
    3:15 Do not harden your hearts.

    So it is NOT about those who sin then feel terrible and repent and then sin again because they are weak.
    Because; 4:15; our high priest sympathizes with our weakness
    and wants to help us:
    8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.

    I think the book of Hebrews is saying that Jesus did not suffer in order for some people to try to cheat by actually believing the message of the good news and then living as if it totally did not matter, by talking badly against the Spirit of God and about his church and indulging in every sin possible and STILL somehow think after all that that they will escape eternal judgement.

    So you see it is not about the broken lives you and I and our friends lead who have good days and bad days, doubts and triumphs, sins and repentance and whose lives sometimes glorify God and sometimes shame His message.

    6:18-20 'we may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and SECURE. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.'

    So, my friends, be encouraged by the great mercy and grace God as shown us, and let us respond as in Hebrews 10: 24-25;
    'let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another'.

    And please pray for me too.
  • Dear epchois_nai_nan,

    Of course it is possible to repent! The way out of the sin, granted, is painful and difficult (like fighting any addiction), but IS achieveable with God's mercy. Therefore we can confidently say that salvation is always possible through Christ.

    Dear mabsoota,

    Stunning post, I couldn't agree more.

    pray for me

  • An excellent question! The Orthodox Study Bible (page 1659, 6:4-9 commentary) says this:

    "This refers to those have apostatized, that is, those who, after being baptized, have rejected Christ and His saving power. Historically, these verses have been used extensively in discussions of repentance. For example, Tertullian, the Montanists and other ancient schismatics used these verses to argue there is no repentance form apostasy. The Church holds that those who apostasize may repent and be brought back ito the Church after a period of repentance(see Canons Vlll,X and XlV of lst Nicea, Canon ll of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and the Canons of the Council of Ancyra-314AD). Nevertheless, such "second conversions" are difficult and rare- thus this sober warning."

      Hope it helps ;D.     
  • what about the verse that Jesus said If you blasphemy against the Holy Spirit there is no forgiveness
  • In addition to Hebrew 6:4-6 the following verses reinforce about the danger of losing once salivation:
    • “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. Matthew 5:13
    • Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 1Thessalonians 5:19

    Even St. Paul was concerned about losing his salivation, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1corinthians 9:27

    Our church fathers taught us that there is a possibility to regain one’s salivation. St. Peter the Seal of Martyr, wrote 14 canons for accepting repentant apostates, respected by the Church both in the East and West. During St. Peters time many were martyred giving the good confession. However, some denied their faith due to the persecution and repented later on. It is concerning these that St. Peter wrote his cannons as to how to accept the repentant. If one cannot regain his salivation, wouldn’t the apostates been simply banished?
    In the Council of Nicaea, it was decided that there should not be re-baptism for heretics after their repentance; but those who were baptized by heretics should be re-baptized. Again this shows that those who deny the Orthodox faith can be accepted upon denouncing their heresy.

    This doesn’t mean we should go ahead and lose our salivation. There is no guaranty that we can regain our salivation there is only a possibility. There is only a slim possibility that we will repent. It is not that God would not accept us if we repent but the chance that we will repent is slim.

    This parable shows how hard it is for one who fall into denying his faith to regain his faith” 
    “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45

    Our salivation is our permit to the kingdom of Heaven. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure…” Matthew 13:44. Let us hold on our salivation as the true treasure it is, let us hold on to it and even guard it with our life.

    Correct me if I have miswritten
    In Christ

  • [quote author=The Worst Sinner link=topic=7302.msg100734#msg100734 date=1236203971]
    what about the verse that Jesus said If you blasphemy against the Holy Spirit there is no forgiveness

    The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is rejecting Gods grace. If we rejects God’s mercy and grace God will not force us to accept it. Therefore, rejecting God’s forgiveness is an unforgivable sin. This was the main sin of Judas Iscariot; after he betrayed Jesus he went and hanged himself instead of asking for forgiveness. By doing so he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. He rejected God’s grace.   

    Hope it helped   :)
    In Christ
  • This same topic had also been discussed before and you may find it benefical.

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