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. For the Earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8)
The Point Of No Return
It is difficult to imagine the possibility of the impossibility of salvation. There is rooted in the creation of man a need for self-preservation. The instinct of survival is foremost in the spirit of every person. Doing harm to self is against the norm of who and what a man must be. This is recognized in the physical world as those in life-threatening situations make herculean efforts to fight for survival. Great stories of personal triumph are told when against all odds, a man survives a catastrophic event from a natural disaster, accident, or facing certain death. Courage marks the course for those who defy death. Sadly, that is not found in the spiritual world where sin is the doom of man.
The tragedy of the book of Hebrews is found in the stories of those who had enjoyed the blessings of God’s grace, mercy, and love and had turned their back on the Divine gift of salvation over time. Many saints were challenged in their faith and remained resilient to the cause of Christ. These bold warriors of Christ refused to draw back to perdition, believing to the saving of their souls. But some had turned so completely away from God, there was no hope. This was not a casual departure from truth. There were men and women who had been enlightened with the gospel of Christ through the preaching of the word. They had tasted the heavenly gift of divine grace and imbibed deeply in its mercy. When they obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ in baptism, they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, becoming a partaker of the Holy Spirit. The word of God had filled their hearts with the manna from above. Leaving unchecked the power of sin, these same men and women succumbed to the temptations of Satan and turned their back on God, rejected Jesus Christ, and denied the Holy Spirit.
There can come a time in the life of a child of God they so totally rebel against God that nothing can be done to renew them to grace. It is impossible to renew them again to repentance. Their hearts are hardened as deeply as the heart of Pharoah, who defied Moses and the wrath of God. The Old Testament is filled with stories of God’s people, the promised nation of righteousness, who turned their backs entirely on God. Ahab was one of the most wicked kings of Israel and he was a Jew, a child of Abraham. Nothing could redeem him. In the body of Christ, Satan fills the hearts of the unsuspecting and through deceit and lies, corrupts the heart to the point of no return. It is impossible to renew them again.
The reality of total apostasy is a difficult concept to accept but it is real. It must have been difficult for the Hebrew author to pen those words with the probable knowledge of whom he spoke. The early Christians suffered greatly and while many remained loyal to the cause of Christ, many turned their backs and walked with Jesus no more. All the pleas and warnings of others could not and would not bring them back. The reality of total apostasy is alarming. This knowledge should arm the souls of the courageous to fight more valiantly for the cause of Christ, seeking the assurance of divine blessing to remain faithful and true. There must be diligent efforts to seek out those who are going the path of no return. All energy must be given before that place in the road is reached where there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin and it is impossible to renew them again. More importantly, I must guard against the wiles of the devil who would desire me to give up my hope and deny my faith. God give me courage.