The Hebrew writer continues in this chapter after his rebuke to the recipients of the letter in chapter 5, stating that it is time to move from “the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity….” This does not mean that the first principles of Christianity to which he refers are unimportant, or that they should be forgotten. Rather, it is time for them to grow into maturity spiritually; and they will do that (as will we) by diligently studying the Scriptures and “by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” as stated in 5:14.
Verses 4-8 do not refer to sin that is unforgivable by God. As 1 John 1:7 says “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” But the text does make it plain that those who have been saved can fall away from the Lord, and we must be careful. When he says that it is impossible to bring such a person who once “shared in the Holy Spirit” back to repentance, he means it is impossible for his fellow Christians to bring that person to repentance if his heart has been hardened. Nothing is impossible for God, however, and He has and does bring some who have fallen into apostasy back. But living a life of sin once one has known the truth can result in a condition of heart and spirit from which there is no return.
Verses 13-20 remind us of the promise God made to Abraham and his heirs – that He made it with an oath, and it is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:1-2), promising the faithful heirs eternal life. And as Christians, baptized into Christ, we are those heirs (Galatians 3:27-29). As verses 19-20 conclude, we have that hope as a steadfast anchor through Jesus “having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
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