Impossible those who fallen away, to return


#1

hello all this scripture is of great concern to me at the moment, i have been to the sacrament of reconciliation but this scripture seems to say that those who have fallen away cannot return , how is this so? can someone with catholic knowledge let me know

Hebrews 6:4-8: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case — the things that have to do with salvation."
Hebrews 10:26-29: “For we, sinning wilfully after receiving the full knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery zeal about to consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think those deserve to be punished who have trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has considered as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who have insulted the Spirit of grace?”


#2

Hi pwlj,

At the very least this passage says that apostates are in grave danger of damnation. On the other hand we have many passages of scripture to the effect that God never gives up on anyone.

So we have to conclude that the impossibility referred to is a new evangelization of apostates while they are still crucifying Christ. The whole passage seems to be saying that the evangelizers wish to spend time bringing faithful Christians to a new spiritual level rather than trying to bring back apostates.

What do you think?

Verbum


#3

It is speaking of those who have fallen so far that they have permanently refused Grace. (Matthew 12:31-32). They are SO hardened that they just will not respond. If you feel the call to repentence you are not at that point my friend. “No one can come to Me unless the Father him.” Even then, an act of God may shake ip their lives and soften their hearts. It was the general concensus of those who turned Jesus over to the romans that Jesus performed His miracles by the power of Satan. A sin that Jesus tells us shows such harness of heart. But in Acts we read that “Even some of the priests were being obedient to the faith.” It would be impossible for them on their own…but NOTHING Is impossible to God.


#4

thank you guys, both appreciated… it is good to know god forgives


#5

He does and it is good! Go in peace! :)


#6

Yes, you can come home.

catholicscomehome.org/not-attending-mass/

Peace,
Ed


#7

The letter to the Hebrews explains that those who have full knowledge of the truth, have participated in the life-giving sacraments, and then willingly and knowingly reject the Christian faith, cannot be renewed to repentance. The reason for this impossibility lies not in God, since these apostates have already received the means of grace, but in the apostates themselves. As Pope Benedict XVI explained, “God loves everyone, because everyone is his creature. But some persons have closed their hearts; there is no door by which his love can enter. They think that they do not need God, nor do they want him.”


#8

The Douay-Rheims Bible has in 6:4 “renewed to penance” from the Vulgate “renovari ad pœnitentiam” whereby the Haydock Commentary considers that reconciliation by Baptism is meant here as a person can receive the Sacrament of Baptism only once.

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 S. Denis de cælesti Hierar. c. iv. S. Greg. Naz. &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.

God wills the Salvation of even the worst sinner: “I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.” (cf. Eze. 33:11) In the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena, God reproves that the despair of Judas was more displeasing to Him than his treachery as it depreciated His mercy. According to the Council of Trent (Session 14, Chapter 3, Canon 1) the Sacrament of Penance was instituted by Christ for the reconciliation of the faithful with God “as often as they fall into sin after Baptism” wherefore its power should never be underestimated.


#9

Here’s what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say in his commentary on Hebrew 6

Hence, it should be noted that a certain Novatian, who was a priest of the church in Rome, made this the occasion of his error. For he declared that no one could rise to penance after baptism. But this opinion is false, as Athanasius says in a letter to Serapion, because Paul himself received the incestuous Corinthians, as shown in 2 Cor (chap. 2); and likewise in Gal (4:19), because he says: ‘My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you.’ Therefore, it must be understood, as Augustine says, that he does not say that it is impossible to repent, but that it is impossible to be renewed again, that is, baptized: ‘By the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Spirit’ (Tit 3:5). For a man could never repent in such a way that he could be baptized again. The Apostle says this because according to the Law, the Jews were baptized frequently, as is shown in Mark (chap. 7). Consequently, it was in order to remove that error that the Apostle says this.

Then when he says, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account, he gives the reason why baptism cannot be repeated, namely because baptism is a configuration to Christ’s death, as is clear from Romans (6:13); ‘all we who are baptized in Christ, are baptized in his death.’ But this death is not repeated, because ‘Christ rising again from the dead, dies now no more’ (Rom. 6:9). Therefore, those who are repeatedly baptized crucify Christ again.


#10

Interesting point. When I was a fundamental Baptist, we accused Catholics of crucifying Christ again in the Mass. I guess we were the ones doing that, by re-baptizing converted Catholics.


#11

Yes, as a former Southern Baptist I saw many people get baptized more than once. As a matter of fact, when someone joins a Southern Baptist congregation they were required to get baptized in that church to be a member of that local congregation, even if they were baptized before in some other Baptist church. I was a member of a local church of God denomination that baptized people who had been baptized before. I saw one guy who was getting baptized again, stood up in front of the congregation in the water and told everyone how he felt the need to get baptized again, while everybody was like “ahhh, how sweet”. When I became a Christian and went to get Baptized at the Southern Baptist church, they required my wife to get re-baptized in order to join the local congregation with me. I am so glad I am no longer affiliated with Protestantism!


#12

We had a similar situation, except we did recognize the baptism of another Baptist church, as long as the baptism followed a profession of faith + repentance (which somehow wasn’t a “work”).

When you rely on a profession of faith in Christ for your salvation, it puts you on very shaky ground. Who could honestly say that their repentance was genuine when the decision was made years ago? Especially in light of the verse in the OP? So when someone fell away, they would often assume they had never really repented, and therefore never really been saved. so they’d have to walk the alter again, repent again and be baptized again.

We actually had a guy in our church who was weeks away from going to the mission field – had his passport and tickets, family all ready to relocate out of country, and then he decided he wasn’t really saved because he had a bad temper. He had to be re-baptized and treated as a new convert, so his ordination was invalidated and he stayed home. Shortly after that he left the church to move back to his hometown. In my experience, “once saved always saved” meant constant angst over whether you had truly repented and believed, especially for those who really wanted to please God.


#13

Wow! I went through different periods of dilemmas when I was a non-Catholic Christian. One was being newly converted and believing but knowing very little other than being told that I made the right steps to be saved. Then I started reading the Bible and learning about what it said, and studied with commentaries. Then I developed my theology based upon what commentators like J. Vernon McGee, Warren Weirsbe, etc. Then I started teaching and preaching. Then I started asking very hard questions about the Bible itself because I noticed interpretations were a dime a dozen and there were thousands of denominations using the same Bible. My ministry fell apart and I began a journey of searching for truth wherever it led me. Then I found the Catholic Church. Ever since then I have not struggled with doubts about the foundation of my faith because everything is laid out written in stone, and has been for 2000 years! No longer do I struggle with whose opinion or interpretation sounds right!


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.