Heb. 6:4-6

This is a re-boot of an eight year old thread, updated for new posters.

“…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.”(KJV)
I often hear this verse used against those (like myself) who have crossed the Tiber and returned to the Church. What is interesting is that it directly goes against thier doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’.

What do you believe this is saying? I’ve always struggled with this passage.

From the Haydock commentary:

Ver. 4. &c. For it is impossible,[1] &c. This is an obscure place, differently expounded, which shows how rash it is for the ignorant to pretend to understand the holy Scriptures. Many understand these words, it is impossible, &c. of the sacrament of penance, or of returning to God by a profitable repentance, especially after such heinous sins as an apostacy from the true faith. But then we must take the word impossible, to imply no more than a thing that is very hard to be done, or that seldom happens, as when it is said, (Matthew xix. 26.) that it is impossible for rich men to be saved: and (Luke xvii. 1.) it is impossible that scandals should not come. For it is certain that it is never impossible for the greatest sinners to repent by the assistance which God offers them, who has also left the power to his ministers to forgive in his name the greatest sins. But others (whose interpretation seems preferable) expound this of baptism, which can only be given once. The words here in the text very much favour this exposition, when it is said, who were once enlightened. For baptism in the first ages was called the sacrament of illumination. See St. Denis de cælesti Hierar. chap. iv.; St. Gregory of Nazianzus; &c. The following words also agree with baptism, when they are said to have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost; to have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; all which signify the interior graces, the miraculous gifts, and power of working miracles, which they who were baptized frequently received in those days. — They cannot be renewed again unto penance. That is, they cannot be renewed again by baptism, which is also called a renovation. (Titus iii. 5.) Their sins may indeed be forgiven them in the sacrament of penance, but this is not a renovation like that in baptism, in which both the guilt, and all pain due to past sins, is remitted; whereas in the sacrament of penance, though the guilt, and the eternal punishments due to sins be remitted, yet many times, temporal punishments, to be undergone either in this world or the next, still remain due to such as have been great sinners, to them who by relapsing into the same sins, have crucified again to themselves the Son of God, making a mockery of him; i.e. who, insensible of the favours received, have ungratefully renewed sin; to take away which Christ suffered, was mocked, crucified, &c. (Witham) — Macknight observes that Beza, without any authority from ancient manuscripts hath inserted in his version Si, If they shall fall away, that this text might not appear to contradict the Calvinistic doctrine of the assurance of salvation. The English translators have followed Beza. The biblical student will be glad to find Dr. Wells, in his elegant edition of the New Testament, frequently restoring and preferring those readings which agree with the Latin Vulgate. The same just tribute is paid to the Vulgate by Walton, Mills, Gerard, Griesbach, Harwood, and others. Indeed the Vulgate has been declared authentic in a general council, and probably expresses more of the true reading of the original or autograph, than any Greek edition that is now to be found, and certainly much more than modern versions, which are stained more or less by the preconceived sentiments of the translators. — For the earth that drinketh in the rain, &c. He bringeth this comparison, to give them a horror of abusing God’s graces and favours, and of making themselves guilty of hell fire. (Witham)

They would say “If you were truly saved you wouldn’t have crossed the Tiber”

Well, could it not be used by Catholics against those who have converted to other churches? Any church could use this Scripture to condemn anyone who left their church. Though I think trying to threaten people with “you better not leave us because there will be no second chances” is taking this passage out of its context within the rest of God’s word, which is all about second chances.

Yes, it is a powerful rebuttal of the once saved always saved paradigm. But, of course, the OSAS people will always re-interpret this to mean something other than what it clearly says.

We have to read the Bible with a balanced frame of mind. There are 2 divine truths contained in Holy Scripture related to this subject. The first is that it is not God’s will that any of His children should be lost and that He is able to keep us from falling. The second truth is that He does not save people against their will neither will He keep them against their will.

Assurance of salvation is for those who continually believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not confined to an initial act but a continuous and progressive attitude of faith and repentance.

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