4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
A couple verses come to mind in reading this passage:
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6:51
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:1-3
In my study of Calvinism, I’ve been battling a lot with the notion of “free will”. It is a concept that Calvinists say we don’t really have but most other people think we do. This in no means is an attempt to debunk or argue against Calvinist theory as I am still learning the ins and outs of it myself, but this is one of those passages that makes me think that free will exists. Certainly, God gives us the capacity to believe in Him, but once we have had a taste, we have the option to go back for more or leave it behind.
The conjunction of the Matthew passage and this one in Hebrews intrigues me. I’ve always heard about the one in Matthew (a verse, by the way, which is a largely debated topic) and I think this excerpt from Hebrews 6 clears it up for us. It gives us a little more perspective on what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Let us keep in mind that just before this, the author was discussing maturing in faith. I believe that as the author continues talking about this, he is making note of the danger of not maturing; that by not solidifying and growing in our faith, we have the danger of going the other direction (which there is no recovery from).
The two passages from John I added because of the implication of what we read in Hebrews 6:5, about tasting the good word of God. Jesus is highlighted as The Word and later Jesus Himself tells his followers that they must consume His very being and in this, they will enjoy the life for which God has designed them. Yet what is it about this statement that discusses not being able to recover from such a sin? Maybe it is this subject of the denial of the Holy Spirit that has given us an entire culture that talks about accepting Christ; we have taken the notion that we can either accept or reject Him. If we can reject Him, then that clearly means we can also accept Him, does it not?
This topic is discussing those whose eyes have been opened to the majesty of God yet they continue to refuse entering a relationship with Him. I don’t believe that the consequence here is a damning thing; as if because they rejected Him they simply will be refused entry. Rather, I think it is a matter of the heart. The author is telling us that one who turns away from God’s glory like this simply will never return because they have hardened their hearts to God and will never choose to return. A commentary I read used the comparison of some folks in the bible: Judas, Pharaoh, and Cain. Even Satan himself falls into this category. They had been in the presence of God and experienced His wonders and glory yet they still chose to do their own thing for worldly gain (in one form or another) and therefore never returned to God. It’s the most potent form of pride that keeps us from living in the Kingdom of God.
Now, in Mark 3, we see it worded a bit differently, “but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” Would God really dare to withhold His forgiveness from us and does this mean that we then have control over our own eternal fate? If we recall the beginning of Hebrews 6, we discussed the foundational principle of repentance. Our problem is that if we enter this area of denial of the Holy Spirit, then we will develop an unrepentant heart. This is why it isn’t forgiven because if we do this, we will not repent of it.
If we don’t mature in our faith and solidify our knowledge of God, we are in danger of falling into this. It is why the apostles throughout the scriptures implore their audiences to stand firm in the faith because once you get to this point, there is no going back. It is why the scriptures implore us to live a life of repentance and acknowledgement of our need of God in our lives. This is some tough stuff for us to accept because we have formed a different image of Christ than who He really is. We’ve created a fairy godmother Jesus who bakes cookies and sings lullabies instead of recognizing Him as an absolute God.
How does today’s passage rock your theology?