Hebrews 10:38-39

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.- Hebrews 10:38- 39

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

Does anyone else struggle with this? I worry that I’m “drawing back unto perdition”. God help us to persevere!


Hebrews 10, concerns people who are committing a specific sin.

Hebrews 10 concerns a specific sin these people described here are committing . . . . deliberately . . . . . AND continuing to commit that sin deliberately.

They are obstinate in this sin (they don’t repent–ever). They choose by their own volition to reject God’s grace and KEEP rejecting God’s grace.

It is not talking about people who commit this sin, then DO repent.

What specific sin is the author of Hebrews talking about?

Apostatizing–rejecting the Mass. Not “meeting together as is the habit of some” for the Eucharistic assembly. See here for more details.

The same type of situation is seen with Hebrews 6:4-6.

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament (p. 423) says:

6:6 commit apostasy: The Greek verb means “to fall away” in the sense of failing to make good on a commitment. . . .

In other words, they fall away and keep falling away. They persist in this falling away (failing to make good on a commitment). They commit apostasy and remain in that sin (they freely choose to be obstinate in their serious sin).

That’s who these verses are talking about (obstinate sinners who are in apostasy).

They reject grace (including the grace of repentance) in this life and thus “already judge(s) oneself”.

CCC 679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. The Father has given “all judgment to the Son”.587 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.588 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.589

Footnote 589 here in the CCC cites among other things, Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-31. Bold CCC mine.

This doesn’t mean the people referred to here in Hebrews chapters 6 and 10, don’t have the gifts and graces of a repentance offered to them (remember even repentance is a gift and grace from God–see 2nd Timothy 2:25-26).

It also doesn’t mean that EVERYBODY who commits apostasy remains unrepentant.

These verses are just talking about the ones who DO (remain unrepentant).

These verses concern they who commit apostasy and choose to reject the grace of repentance, and choose to continue to reject it of their own free will.

The continuing action in the Greek is apparently lost in the translation. I bolded and underlined the phrases for you and added parenthesis below that show this is not only a sin, but a persistence in this sin.

HEBREWS 6:4-6 4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit (and keep committing) apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.

HEBREWS 10:24-27, 29b, 38-39 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we sin deliberately (and keep persisting in this sin deliberately) after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. . . . the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? . . . 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

So as Hebrews 10:23a says: " Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering".

God bless.


Heb. 10:38 - 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,

The way it was explained to me was that, by and large, Christianity is about believing in Jesus Christ. Being a disciple of Jesus, however, is quite different. To believe only is like saying it is my opinion that Jesus is true. Beliefs/opinions can change on a dime; belief is not Knowing. 1 Cor. 12:3 - “…no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

If I want to be a disciple, I can’t stop with belief. When one comes to the undeniable Experience of the Holy Spirit, one cannot then ‘unKnow’, regardless of what life experience is encountered. And then we would also have the “Fixed Point” that Blaise Pascal speaks of that is necessary to judge our continuing course.

1 John 2:19 - They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Someone may call themselves a saint and profess the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but John is saying, to me, that anyone who ‘leaves the fold’ and goes out and commits grave sin wasn’t a true member of the ‘gathering of saints’ to begin with - that God caused their Faithlessness to be revealed - for their own good as well as the good of others.

Most likely the priests who fell into grave sin didn’t Know the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit to begin with; therefore Repentance to Redemption would still be available.

In AA, there is a practice by the older and often wiser to tell a “youngin’ in sobriety”, who is too self-assured too quickly for their own good, to take a service position. There’s is nothing like a pedestal to reveal feet of clay. Once humbled, amazing spiritual growth can take place. I’ve not only witnessed it in others, but in myself.

“A tree that grows too fast for its roots…first storm and up it comes.” :o I’ve found ‘trudging’ to be the right speed, still today. I’ve come to prefer falling off short horses to the tall ones. :slight_smile:

This may also be viewed in the context of Peter’s writing in his second letter:

2 Peter 2:20-22
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
20 For if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the former.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them.
22 For, that of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit: and, The sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

See that also explained here



THanks so much Cathoholic, Jeanne1184, po18guy, and JohnR77!

Just another verse to think about: Flannery O’Connor’s favorite verse:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. - Matthew 11:12

I got to wondering after collecting the couple of things below why in the world this would be anyone’s ‘favorite verse’. Looked her up and I’ve never read anything by her but hope to soon - she sounds delightfully ‘twisty’. :wink:

Thanks for the hunt. :slight_smile: - I never would have gotten this meaning from the standard Bible verse which is written in a way that wouldn’t have raised flags for me.

Interlinear Bible

Matt. 11:12 - From yet the days of John the Baptist until at present, the Kingdom of the Heavens is being violently forced, and violent ones are snatching her.

Luke 16:16 – The law and the prophets until John, from then the Kingdom of the God is being brought the well-message (Gospel) and every(one) into her is violently forcing.

The Companion Bible AV of 1611

"Only here and Luke 16:16… Supposed to be only passive (as rendered here), but this agrees neither with the facts nor with the context.

Deissmann (Bib. Stud., p. 258) tells of the discovery of an inscription of Xanthus the Lycian, found near Sunium (E. Attica), containing the regulations as to approaching the healing divinity of the sanctuary of Men Tyrannos: “If any one forces himself in, his offering was not acceptable.” Those who fulfilled the conditions had the founder’s good wishes. This last clause is conclusive and agrees with Luke 16:16.

the violent=forceful ones. Gr.biastes. take it by force=lay hold of it."

John 10:1 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Gill’s Exposition of Isaiah 26:2


Hi Jeanne, Glad you got something out of it. I read things superficially sometimes, so I didn’t catch the meaning of this verse initially either. The kingdom suffereth violence, or “comes with force,” onto the souls of men, often attended with demonstrations of the Spirit and power. You would think that the violent refers to bad people, or persecutions, but instead seems to possibly mean the people of God need to love Jesus to the point of violence. Also that Gentiles and harlots, under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, for their lost and undone state, commonly seen as “intruders” to the kingdom, enter into the kingdom.

I would link this to Hebrews 10:4 - In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. This recalls St. Francis throwing himself into thorn bushes when faced with sexual temptation.

I have enjoyed everything that I have read by Flannery O’Connor, and truly hope you have a chance to read one of her stories sometime.

Thanks again and I appreciate your thoughts!

I don’t know what kind of ‘force’ anti-Christ/dark side folks use to obtain access the the Power of the Holy Spirit, but perhaps the accounts of people ‘seeing God’s realm’’ while on LSD or peyote is an example of those who try to reach heaven by means other the The Way of being humbled by the Holy Spirit and entering through the Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ.

Reminds me of the lyrics to Steppenwolf’s ‘Snowblind Friend’:

“He said he wanted Heaven but prayin’ was too slow
So he bought a one way ticket on an airline made of snow.”

I’m really interested in where you found the verse: “Hebrews 10:4 - In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”

The Interlinear, KJV and 1950 Catholic Bibles have: Heb. 10:4 - For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of he-goats should take away sins."

A vastly different rendering, I would say. The physical harming of oneself - punishing oneself - pays homage to a god of misery, blood and destruction - not Jesus Christ. Jesus delivers us from the wages of sin and insane thinking. I don’t know at what point in St. Francis’ life he was torturing himself in thorn bushes, but when one has the All-Powerful Holy Spirit of God, there is no need to resort to such measures. Maybe he just hadn’t yet applied the Holy Spirit remedy to that particular problem. To be sure, healing is a process…I spent a lifetime collecting/practicing wrong thinking.

I was Delivered from the obsession of alcohol - I didn’t pick up a hammer and start beating myself in the head with it every time I craved a drink in early recovery. I was taught how to see the spiritual causes/underlying emotions of the cravings which, when seen Rightly, caused the cravings to resolve. Other addictions work the same way.

As for the harlots and other lost of the world, Heaven needn’t guard against us - I knew I was undeserving. I just didn’t know what to do about it. The brat in my head told me I’d exceeded the limits of God’s Mercy. Turns out there are no limits. :yup:

“Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.” C.S. Lewis

Found the verse in Hebrews 12:4, so no problem. Except I still don’t see it advocating masochism as it would go against Jesus’ Message.

Pulpit Commentary

“Verse 4. - Ye have net yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Here (as in 1 Corinthians 9:26) there is a transition of thought from a race to a combat. Your trials have not yet reached the point of dying in the good fight of faith, as has been the case with some of your brethren before you, who have followed their Leader to the end (cf. Hebrews 13:7).”

But whether one finds death through the spiritual bankrupcy of others, or finds it in natural death…the point, to me, is that one stays on the Right Path to the end.

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