Passage interpretation: Hebrew 6:6-10


#1

Hebrew 6:6

[4] For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, [5] Have moreover tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

[6] And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery. [7] For the earth that drinketh in the rain which cometh often upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is tilled, receiveth blessing from God. [8] But that which bringeth forth thorns and briers, is reprobate, and very near unto a curse, whose end is to be burnt. [9] But, my dearly beloved, we trust better things of you, and nearer to salvation; though we speak thus. [10] For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shewn in his name, you who have ministered, and do minister to the saints

Does the catholic church teaches that second lapse are unforgivable? What if someone after falling to mortal sin, repent & go to confession and be in a state of grace for 8 years, then he had second relapse to the same mortal sin he has repented, is it unforgivable based on this passage?


#2

Hello Therese 14.

I found the passage at the USCCB site: Hebrews 6:6 “and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves* and holding him up to contempt.” which for me is a little easier to read and comprehend. usccb.org/bible/hebrews/6 Okie dokie then. Taken in context along with the preceeding verses, it is very clear that St. Paul is talking about those who have fallen away. In our day this is the same. They get called “re-verts” when they return to the fold, to the Church and her Sacraments. It happens all the time. I’m a convert, so I have a slightly different spiritual path but the same destination. I do know that historically there was a rift among early believers regarding those who had officially committed Apostasy and offered incense to the Pagan gods to keep from being martyred and those who were undergoing persecution for the Lord’s sake. Originally those who had done so, offered incense, weren’t allowed back to the Eucharistic table at all and it took a long time for this to change. It is a fascinating study of the early Church and the disciplines surrounding the Sacrament of Confession and what it took to be re-admitted to Communion. It isn’t the same today as it was then. Persons had to prove they were worthy to others before they were trusted once again simply because there very lives, those of the faithful little flock, depended on silence and secrecy among believers.

But back to the text. I need to say, I’m no expert on anything at all and certainly my thoughts about what it means are only my thoughts and do not represent the Church in any official capacity and shouldn’t be taken as such. So now then, to me it states clearly that the sins associated with turning away from the faith, for whatever reasons, are mortal, grave and this is what is meant when St. Paul states they, those sinners, are “re-crucifying” Jesus. The price of one mortal sin is the Blood of the Lamb. It is a death in the soul and requires a Death to atone for it, the Death of God upon the Cross. It is that serious a sin. Those who deviate from the Truth to chase after their own ideas of faith and what it means commit mortal sin against faith and need to be both rid of their errors and confessed of those errors in a sincere manner or they are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord and if they receive Communion in that state, they are as is stated “re-crucifying” the Lord all over again. That means, it is a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist when one has fallen from the Truth of our Holy and Catholic Faith. It is a mortal sin that must be confessed.

Glenda


#3

Hello Therese 14.

I forgot to answer your question about the “lapse.” Those in the passage you cite are sinners against faith for they have fallen away from their “illumination” (the text you prefer). The whole three verses are important for demonstrating how St. Paul feels about them and the TIME factor which I think your question is concerned with, specifically “8 years,” being your concern. If once in eight years you experience a doubt about faith you’re way good and haven’t committed an unforgiveable sin. If you harbored a doubt about faith that concerns something that MUST be believed for 8 years, then you need serious help regarding your experience.

The pervious two verses explain what St Paul is talking about:
4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit 5 and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt."

St. Paul is saying that those who are in a fallen state regarding the faith cannot be brought back by talking to them. To me this means they are responsible for the interior change that must be made, their own repentance. To us today this is called reversion. But until they experience it, we can do nothing for them accept tell them what the Truth actually is and what happens after that is all between them and God. That is kinda what the whole shebang is about here at CAF - offering the Truth for those interested. St. Paul isn’t calling their sin an unforgivable sin as in NEVER, but he is telling us, or at least me anyway, what I kinda know anyway - that no matter what I do or say to another, their dis-belief after rejecting Christ is between them and God and the only way they can be reconciled to God and His Church is as I said above, to leave error behind and make a good Confession.

Now, your specific time frame. I don’t think you have to worry. Sins against faith take time to happen and aren’t just a one time thing. What do I mean? Well, you goof by saying just once that maybe Mary had other children, you have a doubt because of talking with someone about this or because some Protestant literature falls into your hands and your read it, you seriously consider agreeing with them. All of this transpires over a few minutes time. It is a doubt. You quickly get over it in a few minutes as you realize how silly it is to think that. No sin, not to worry. But if you gave into the doubt and seriously thought maybe what those Protestants say is true and agree with them, then you’ve goofed seriously and this happens over time. In the following weeks your thoughts shift into a state that is different than before and you don’t even notice, but you suddenly are “open minded” to other inventions of faith and various teachings suddenly seem “brighter” to you. Things that didn’t b make sense to you that you were told not to believe seem full of wisdom and obviously correct. You suddenly feel “smarter.” Hmmmm…what is going on? Time has passed. Probably more than one Sunday has gone by and you still go to Church and behave as if nothing has changed and go up for Communion. No problem. No lightening strikes or earthquakes swallowing you whole, and mom is still smiling at you in the pew when you return as if she cannot tell you no longer believe something important. Oh dear. Usually more time goes by and things take their course. The sinner sickens from receiving Communion unworthily and their life takes unexpected and unforeseen turns. More time goes by. If left in that state, there is nothing that can be done by anyone outside the sinner’s own heart, and that is what St. Paul means. It is between God and the sinner. ** If **they get lucky, they realize where they went wrong and this is a movement of the Holy Spirit because only He knows what is in the sinners heart unless the person has gone vocal about his or her errors, as happens here at CAF a lot. Then the remedy can be applied. But only then. If you ask me, most don’t make it back.

Please forgive me for taking so much time with this. I’ve said way too much. I hope it helps.

Glenda


#4

Thank you Glenda for the in depth explanation. You say the remedy is sacrament of confession. But why does St. Paul says it is impossible to bring them to repentance? It gives an impression that it is irremediable. What about God’s infinite mercy, love, and forgiveness?


#5

4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit 5 and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt."


#6

This passage is talking about falling away through willfull sin. A pre meditated planned sin. And it also is limited to a person who has been fully enlightened with the whole truth. Someone who has shared in the powers of the age to come. In your case you do not qualify for this unless you have spent time walking in the full power of the Holy Spirit casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead and cleansing lepers. For example! Doing what Jesus actually told us to do instead of what we are doing in today’s world.

I have begun laying hands on the sick and seeing them healed by the Holy Spirit yet even now I don’t qualify for this yet. I will soon though hopefully as I am seeking to become a real deciple of Jesus more and more. I am aware that I am not walking in full enlightenment yet. Having said that the closer you get to God your want to’s change. Things that might have tempted me before don’t even get a second look. I do know a really good and comprehensive teaching video about this passage if you are interested I can post a link.

JD


#7

And yes it is correct. No forgiveness for someone who does that. Jesus has been removed from them. Or rather they remove themselves from him.


#8

Yes, I am interested. Please post a link about the video.

I’m glad it isn’t it talking about second lapse to mortal sin after sacrament of confession and in a state of grace for years


#9

Fear not my friend. I will post the vid tomorrow. Going to bed now.


#10

Hello Therese14.

It is impossible for you and me because they, those St. Paul is speaking of, have to turn to God themselves. I cannot change anyone’s heart. No one can except that person. If we could change another human being to our liking or for any other reason, free will would no longer be operating. Every one has free will. God respects that. Only by turning to God can the person in question change. They have to desire to change. That is why it is impossible to save them. Like I said, it is between them and God and only He can save them. Do not doubt St. Paul’s words.

God’s mercy has to be asked for and the person who has turned away from Him feels no need to ask. That is part of the sickness of sin. They aren’t even aware that they are sickened by their sins. Others can see it, but they themselves usually remain blind to it, or being made aware of it don’t care. God’s love is as unchanging as God, but those who turn from Him loose it. It is still there for them stored up in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Font of all Mercies, but if they never draw the waters of the Font of Mercy, they will never know Him in Heaven. He will not give it to the soul who doesn’t ask. Salvation isn’t automatic. It doesn’t come with your belly button. You need to ask for it. And work at it.

Glenda


#11

First off, no. The Church does not believe that any sin is unforgivable. The only sin that can’t be forgiven is the one you don’t repent of.

Now, how does that square with Hebrews 6 here? In order to understand this, we have to understand the context it was written in. That means in particular understanding what situation the sacred author was dealing with, as well as what his original audience was. Only then can we get at what he is trying to say.

So what is the letter to the Hebrews all about? Well, the title pretty much tells us. It’s being addressed to Hebrews! Specifically Christian converts from Judaism who were being tempted to abandon Christ and go back to the temple sacrifices of the Old covenant. That’s why the entire letter is spent comparing Jesus to the various Old Covenant signs; Moses, the temple, the high priesthood, Melchizadeck, the sacrifices etc…and showing how He actually fulfills and surpasses all these things, “which were mere shadows of the good things to come.” (Heb 10:1) These sacrifices have no power to save us.

We also have to read every passage of scripture in context of the entire bible. If Hebrews was actually saying that it’s impossible for God to forgive the sin of apostasy, that contradicts other passages of Scripture, like the prodigal son story. The prodigal son is about as clear an allegory of someone falling away from the faith as it gets, yet Jesus explicitly says his sin is forgiven.

In light of all that then, what Hebrews is actually claiming is that it’s impossible to be restored to repentance and a relationship with God after rejecting the New Covenant* and going back to the Old Covenant*. Because the Old Covenant practices were mere shadows, their fulfillment was in Christ. By returning to the temple sacrifices, they were in essence rejecting Jesus’ work on the cross, which is what saves us and restores us to a right relation with God. That’s why it says they are making Jesus into a mockery. They didn’t believe His sacrifice was enough to atone for their sins, you also had to sacrifice goats and bulls. That’s the problem. If someone trusts in those sacrifices and not Christ’s, then it is indeed impossible to be restored to repentance, because those things of themselves have no power to save us, only Christ can.

So that’s what it is saying. Not that it’s absolutely impossible for someone to be forgiven if they do indeed repent and turn back to Jesus, because that wouldn’t fit with the rest of the message of the New Testament, especially the Gospel.

Does that help a little?


#12

Hi therese14, this passage is not directed towards those of us who struggle with sinful acts (whether they be venial or mortal). It is directed towards those who embrace Christianity and then turn their back on it and embrace some sort of paganism or atheism (denying Christ). Please never listen or pay attention to that deceptive voice that tells you that you can never turn to Jesus and repent of anything you’ve done because it’s too wicked. He will always welcome you home.

One sign that you can count on is this: If you are sorry and long to return to the Church or have a desire to be close to Jesus, this is a sure sign that it is possible to return to the state of grace. Why do I say this? Because the impulse to turn to God or the Church is actually not from you, it is stirred within you from the hand of God Himself. He is calling you home. He will never do this to a person unless reconciliation is possible. All that’s required is for you to respond to His call, repent and have a sincere desire to do better.

On a personal note, to assure anyone reading this who HAS turned from the faith and is wondering if it’s possible to return (in light of this biblical passage), I will share with you a bit about my history. I was baptised Catholic as a child but my family wasn’t practising and really it was just through school where I learned much about it. In my 20s I turned to the Church in a big way but then dwindled/faded away within 10 years or so (think of the parable of worldly cares/thorns choking out the faith). I still had some faith, just not really educated or firmly grounded and wasn’t practising at all. Then about 12 years after that, Jesus bent down, called my name and brought me back to life. I don’t know how this happened or why, but God really is generous and merciful to us.

So the bottom line is: if you have stirrings within you to repent and you are unsure about how possible a return to Christ is, let me assure you…it’s always possible. Right till the very end, so please do not let yourself be deceived. Be confident and trust in our God for He is truly merciful.

I too have questioned how my situation can be possible (considering my re-convert, lapse, then re-convert again). I think the difference is that my faith up till now how been with my mind/intellect and maybe some sentimentality. This time, it’s different. It’s full on personal, where I actually BELIEVE that God loves me and that He is real and active in my life. There’s an element to this that has been missing my whole life. I tell you this to assure you again, if you dropped away from the faith but desire to return, it’s definitely God calling you and you should not fear.


#13

And yes it is correct. No forgiveness for someone who does that. Jesus has been removed from them. Or rather they remove themselves from him.

Well, that’s heresy. No big surprise from a person who believes they are personally healing others by their touch. We are a big, big Church, and within you find all kinds of crazy.


#14

That’s not heresy that’s the word of God. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. This and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit are the 2 instances of un forgive able sin. You are blind in your ignorance. And you don’t know the scriptures so thanks for judging me.

You and I are called to be Deciples of Jesus. Healings are only a part of that.

Respectfully

JD


#15

You should check your facts before you preach. This is not true.


#16

Therese be assured what you have done is part of being human. You are fine. It’s not talking about apostasy it’s only referring to someone who has been as I described above “enlightened” which means the “whole” truth has been revealed to them. Most Christians don’t fit this category these days.

JD

I will send that link via pm due to the religious spirits controlling these people.


#17

I will send that link via pm due to the religious spirits controlling these people.

Heh, ‘everyone but me is under the control of the devil’, said the crazy person.


#18

Why does seeing miracles make me crazy?

Jesus said those signs will follow the one who believes in me. Mk 16:16


#19

I think it might be the other way around. My facts are straight from the Catechism:

1864 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

I’m not sure where you think I went wrong. This is exactly what I said. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven if we turn to God in repentance.


#20

Then you should concentrate on the Bible and not the catechism. Jesus him self was very clear when he said blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

It doesn’t get any clearer.

You are talking about other sins that can be forgiven. If someone refuses to confess and accept the forgiveness provided by Jesus then of course they won’t be forgiven. You took that and decided the church claims every sin can be forgiven. On your limited knowledge I can see how you come to that conclusion but the church accepts the whole bible not just one bit at a time. Ask an apologist and they will tell you.

check it out.


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