“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” - Hebrews 6:4-6 (KJV)
These verses are often used as a text to prove that a Christian can lose his eternal life. When you read the English it seems as though it is a possibility. However, when you examine the Greek text from which these words come, the possibility of losing one’s eternal life is nonexistent.
In Verse 4 “Once enlightened” in the Greek is “regenerated” and also used in the following passage: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;” - Hebrews 10:32 (KJV)
These people are “born again”!
In Verse 5 “and have tasted of the heavenly gift” The word “tasted” is the same as the word used in the following passage: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” - Hebrews 2:9 (KJV)
These people have experienced the Holy Spirit at work in their lives!
The word “partakers” referring to the “Holy Ghost” is the same word used in the following passages:
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” - Hebrews 2:14 (KJV)
As these have been “partakers of flesh and blood” they have also been “partakers of the Holy Ghost”
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”; - Hebrews 3:1 (KJV)
In this verse, “partakers” refers to “the heavenly calling” i.e. believing in Christ and receiving eternal life.
“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end”; - Hebrews 3:14 (KJV)
This last verse indicates a progressive action is needed to “partake” in the coming millennial reign with Christ.
It is important to note that in each instance referred to here, i.e. “those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” as well as “have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come”. Except for the words “world to come” which indicates the future, the other words in the Greek are in the Aorist tense which means that the action is COMPLETED and cannot be changed, i.e. they are “enlightened, have tasted, been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God. They are “born again”!
It is “impossible” if these “shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
This verse is not speaking of “repentance” to eternal life, which is something they have and cannot be changed according to the grammar of the Greek. The proof of this is found in the words “crucify” and “open shame”. These words are written in the present tense in the Greek which indicates that once these activities stop or become past tense, the people can be restored to fellowship again.
The beauty of this is that if the writer of Hebrews wanted to declare clearly that these people were eternally lost, he would have written these words in the Aorist tense like the others. In that case anyone who momentarily fell into sin would forfeit their eternal life.
Practically, in my opinion this means that these people have the Holy Spirit and they are resisting and quenching him when they willfully sin. We have all seen people like this, they know they are going against God’s will and they will not let you convince them to turn around. We ourselves have done the same thing from time to time. If they are consciously resisting The Holy Spirit, what makes you think that they will listen to you? Therefore, “it is impossible” for you, a human to restore them when they will not even let God, or do you think you are greater than The Holy Spirit? It is important to realize that the “repentance” spoken of is not to “eternal life” but to fellowship and “the work that God prepared beforehand that they should walk in.” This will bring a reward and a position in the Millennial reign with Christ.
Instead of judging those in this state as lost, let us pray that The Holy Spirit give them no rest until they humble themselves and once again “walk in the light as He is in the light”.
God Bless, Orval