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. – Heb. 6:4-6 NIV
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The Jewish Christians were under immense pressure by their compatriots who were still in the Jewish traditional mode of worship to dump the Christian mode of worship for the Jewish mode of worship and the writer of the book of Hebrews had gone all the way to make them see the great advantage that the Christian mode of worship had over the Jewish traditional mode of worship. Although he was not condemning the Jewish traditional mode of worship, he wanted them to see that the Christian mode of worship was God’s improvement plan on how he was going to reconcile man to himself in worship.
In the course of this argument, he digressed slightly to let the Jewish Christians do a proper re-think about any plan to switch back to the Jewish traditional mode of worship as future attempt to return to the Christian mode of worship may be possible physically but impossible spiritually as full forgiveness may not be achieved. He listed those who needed to prevent such acts that could be regretted in future as:
1. Those who have once been enlightened. To be enlightened means they have been exposed to the truth of the Word. They can no longer claim to be ignorant of God’s salvation plan for man.
2. Those who have tasted the heavenly gift. The heavenly gift in this instance refers to the many advantages that the association with the name of Jesus Christ has brought into their life. The many positive doors that opened, merely due to been associated with him in worship.
3. Those who have shared in the Holy Spirit. To share in the Holy Spirit is to have enjoyed the many advantages that direction by the Holy Spirit has brought into such lives. The knowledge advantage that the Holy Spirit conferred through its various gifts on such people – 1Cor. 12:1-11.
4. Those who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God. The Word of God is indeed lamp and several have used it as a source of light that saved them from falling into the several pits of darkness around them. Several have deployed the power of the Word in several ways to their advantage just as it has been used to uplift their lives in some way or the other.
5. Those who have experienced the powers of the coming age. This is the age when God’s kingdom will be with man. That is what those who are genuinely born again begin to enjoy immediately they accept the Christian faith as they are able to enjoy peace of the Lord and divine success that is only associated with the life after this life.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews advises any one who has enjoyed any of this to think twice before deciding to leave the faith. This is because
1. Such people will be crucifying the Son of God again and subjecting him to public disgrace – Heb. 6:6a.
2. Such people would have received the Grace of God in vain – Heb. 6:6b.
He argued that even the ground that received rain is expected to yield crops that will be useful for those for whom it is farmed and not thorns and thistles that are worthless. He is convinced that such land is in the danger of being cursed, which is the way he sees anyone who back slides. Such in his view is only exposing him/her self to the danger of being cursed for being unproductive after receiving all the advantages earlier listed and may be more. – Heb. 6:7-8; Mk. 11:12-25. He thus encouraged them to remain steadfast in their faith and good works as the Almighty God is not unjust and He will compensate them accordingly in due time – Heb. 6:9-12.
For the Christian today, a choice is to be made between the potential curse of God as a reward for back-sliding and the blessing of God for remaining in the faith. Most people think that they will only have back-slidden when they stop attending that Church or switch denomination completely but that is just the terminal stage and physical manifestation of the back-sliding process which had actually started long before then. The decision to stop being involved in that activity that you are known for, without divinely acceptable reason, was actually the beginning of the back-sliding act. That you are still within the group, but have become less active or completely inactive does not mean that you have not back-slidden. In this state, you are even more potentially dangerous to the group as you become the devil’s workshop due to idleness. Continue to be diligent in your Christian life so that through your Faith and Patience, you can inherit the promise for all those who persevere till the end. May god grant you the ability to worship Him till the end of your life in Jesus name. Amen.