The sin of unbelief
For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, who tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age. Hebrews 6:4-5 CSB
As we have previously established in our study of John, it is not possible to lose one’s salvation and has been clearly promised by Jesus in John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.” In light of this, the author of Hebrews has gone in depth to clarify on how Christ is the foundation of salvation as opposed to their belief in Jewish rituals and leaders such as Moses and Aaron. From the text, the author is warning his readers of the dangers of professing to be a true believer, but is actually not a follower of Christ and is just “going through the motions.” In chapters 3 and 4, the author discussed the sin of unbelief and used the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the Promise Land to which majority had perished because of their unbelief. The author is telling his readers to evaluate themselves that even though they experienced certain aspects of faith, if they did not truly submit their lives to Christ, they may trick themselves into thinking they were of Christ. First experience is being “enlightened,” meaning that they were exposed to the revelation of who Christ was. This is similar to Paul’s audience in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Second experience is that they “tasted the heavenly gift,” meaning that they claimed to have experienced a relationship with Christ and were attempting to demonstrate it through their actions. Third experience is that they “shared in the Holy Spirit,” meaning that they claimed to have experienced some gifts from the Holy Spirit. Finally, they “tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age.” Jesus addressed these individuals in Matthew 7:22 and 23, “‘On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’” The Israelites who had crossed the Red Sea, experienced the goodness and presence of God while they were in the desert, heard the voice of God when they received the Ten Commandments, yet, the same Israelites created for themselves idol to worship. Because of their disobedience and unbelief, their hearts were hardened and unable to repent and trust God. “Encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception” (Hebrews 3:13). “For we also have received the good news just as they did. But the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith” (Hebrews 4:2). There is a danger to claiming to be a follower of Christ but never actually repenting and accepting Christ as the Savior of your life. One can look and act like a Christian, but if you never make that decision to have a relationship with Christ and walk with Him, eternity is at stake. “For we who have believed enter the rest” (Hebrews 4:3).
Isaac De Guzman