No chapter in the Bible has disturbed people more than chapter 6. It is unfortunate that even sincere believers have "fallen out" over the doctrine of "falling away." There are several interpretations of this passage: (1) That it describes an awful sin of apostasy, which means a Christian can lose his salvation. (2) That it deals with people who were "almost saved" (see Scofield notes). (3) That this was a sin possible only to Jews living while the Temple still remained. (4) That it presents a "hypothetical case" or illustration that could not really happen. While we respect the views of others, we must reject those just listed. We feel that chapter 6, like the rest of the book, was written to believers, but it does not deal with sin that results in a believer losing his salvation. If we keep in mind the total concept of this book and pay close attention to the words used, we will discover that the main lesson of the chapter is repentance and assurance.
Note, that from the beginning, the issue is repentance, not salvation, "For it is impossible to renew them unto repentance" (chapter 6:4,6). If this is speaking of salvation, then it is teaching that a believer, if he "loses his salvation," cannot regain it! Yet the churches that teach "losing salvation" are always inviting backsliders to come back to the Lord! No, the issue here is repentance--the believer's attitude toward the Word of God. Verses 4 and 5 describe real Christians and verse 9 indicates that the writer believed they were truly saved. We do not have "almost" saved people here, but real believers.
The two key words are "fall away" and "crucify" in verse 6. "Fall away" is not the Greek word "apostasia," from which we get apostasy; it is "parapipto," which means "to fall beside, to turn aside, to wander." It is similar to the word "trespass," as in Galatians 6:1, "...if a man be overtaken in a fault (trespass)." The preposition "if" would not have to be used if this were speaking to the lost because "all have sinned," and no "if" is involved. So, verse 6 describes a believer who has experienced the spiritual blessings of God, but has fallen by the side or trespassed. Now, having done this, he is in danger of divine chastening (see Hebrews 12:5-13) and becoming a spiritual castaway (I Corinthians 9:24-27). This means loss of reward and divine disapproval, but not loss of salvation. The phrase "seeing they crucify" should be translated "while they are crucifying." In other words, Hebrews 6:46 does not teach that a sinning saint cannot be brought to repentance at all, but that he cannot be brought to repentance while he is continuing to sin and putting Christ to shame! The believer who continues in sin proves that he has not repented! Samson and Saul are good examples of this. I sincerely believe that, rather than frighten a saint into thinking he is lost, this wonderful chapter warns against an unrepentant heart and assures us that we are anchored for eternity.
Chapter 7 introduces us to what is commonly called the second section of this book. The author's purpose is to prove to his readers that the priesthood of Christ is better than that of Aaron. The key figure in this chapter is Melchizedek.
Paul presents three arguments to prove the superiority of Melchizedek over Aaron. He first identifies Melchizedek as a type of Christ (verses 3 and 15). He was a king-priest and so is Jesus. Furthermore, Melchizedek was king of Salem, which means "peace," and Jesus is our King of Peace, or Prince of Peace. The name "Melchizedek" means "King of Righteousness" which certainly applies to Christ. So, in his name and his offices, Melchizedek is a beautiful picture of Christ.
Having proven that Christ's heavenly priesthood is of a better order, the writer now shows that it is ministered through a better covenant. All that the Levitical priests did was according to the Old Covenant that God had made with the nation at Sinai. The very fact that God calls it an "Old Covenant" by introducing a "New Covenant" proves the old Levitical priesthood was done away with in the cross. Chapter 8 shows us that the New Covenant is ministered by a better priest (verse 1); it is ministered from a better place (verses 2-5); it is established upon better promises (verses 6-13).
The promise of grace is given in verses 6-9. The Old Covenant was a yoke of bondage, but the New Covenant emphasizes what God will do for His people, not what they must do for Him. Note that God does not find fault with the Old Covenant, but with the people themselves. The Law is spiritual, but men are carnal, "sold under sin" (Romans 7:14), and Romans 8:3 makes it very clear that the Law was "weak through the flesh." In other words, the failure of Israel was not because of any weakness in the Old Covenant, but because of the weakness of human nature. It is here, then, that grace steps in, for what the Law could not do because of man's weakness, God did through the cross.
It is through the grace of God that men are saved today (Ephesians 2:8,9). No man is able to keep the entire Law. With the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross He established a New Covenant, and He is today the Mediator of the New Covenant for all who come to Him in faith believing.
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