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Man's eternal security has been, and will continue to be a controversial subject. There are opinions, then there are Biblical facts.
Question; If a person once professing faith in Jesus Christ, then willfully rejects that which he had once professed (if this is possible) can they ever be restored to the faith? A favored verse used as proof is,
Heb.6:4-5-6, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Following are the Greek words (highlighted above) that should shed light on the subject. If Heb.6, is correctly understood, it will clear up any mis-givings on the subject of, "Once saved always saved."
The verses to be discussed are found in, Heb.6:4-6. I have enlarged the words under discussion.
Heb.6:4-6, "For it is impossible for those who were ONCE ENLIGHTENED, and have TASTED of the heavenly gifts, and were made PARTAKERS of the Holy Ghost, and have TASTED the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, IF they shall fall away, to RENEW them again unto repentance.
1. The Greek word, "Once:" Greek is, hapax. Its a adverb of time, once, as a Metaphor, meaning once for all, already, formerly,
2. "Enlightened" Synonyms and similarities are, Light, Lighten: Lightened: Lighteth: Greek is photizo. To light, to lighten. When a person is said to be, "Once enlightened?" That person is said to be thoroughly instructed in the nature and design of the Gospel of Christ. That person having received the knowledge of the truth. Compare the following verses.
As a metaphors, common form. Of persons, to light, to enlighten, to impart moral and spiritual light to any one, to enlighten the mind of mental eyes of any one. See how the word is used in other passages of Scripture. To enlighten is from the "light," as seen below.
John 1:9, "That the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Passive expressing action, or the effect of an action of some agent. Eph.1:18, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
To have, "Tasted of the heavenly gift." The Greek word, "Tasted," is used as a metaphor, to experience, to prove, to partake of what?
Heb.6:5, "The good word of God." To taste is used also in,
Matt.16:28, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death." To taste of death, as in to die,
Heb.2:9, "That He (Jesus) by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
John 8:52, "If a man keep my sayings, he shall never taste of death."
So Heb.6:4, "Having tasted of the heavenly gifts." Seq. or present participle of sequel, to follow, "That," 1 Pet.2:3, "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Sept. for Heb. Ps.34:8, "O taste and see that the LORD is good."
To be made, "Partakers of the Holy Ghost" The Greek word, "partakers,"
"Partakers." Greek is, metochos. Adj. partaking, substantive, meaning a part of speech which expresses something that exists. A partaker,
Heb.3:1, "Partakers of the heavenly calling," with ver.14, "For we are made partakers of Christ."
Heb.6:4, 12:8, "If ye be without chastisement, where of all are partakers."
Partakers the sense of partner, companion, fellow,
Luke 5:7, "They beckoned unto their partners."
Heb.1:9, "God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows," quoted from Ps.45:8, where Sept. for Heb. "fellows" (companions.)"
It is impossible to, "To renew them again" Greek for renew is, anakainizo. Future, "Doubtless," To renew to restore to its former state, trans. pp. Sept. "Renewest," Ps. 104:30. In N.T. metaph. to renew, spoken of those who have fallen from the true faith, to bring back to repentance and their former faith, Heb. 6:6. Sept. Metaphor for, "Renewed," Ps.103:5.
5. "If they shall fall away."
The Greek word for "If," is, "ean." Conjunct. (for Greek, "ei," meaning, if perhaps, forasmuch, that, and Greek "an," meaning, what where whence. It differs from "ei," int that "ei," expresses a condition which is merely hypothetical, as a subjective possibility; while "ean," implies a condition which experiences must determine, as an objective possibility, and refers therefore always to something future. Compare, "ei," with, "ean," in, 1 Cor.7:36, "But if (ei,) any man think." Rev.2:5. "Eav," "Except thou repent," is usually construed with the Subjective, meaning these internal states or thought or feelings. So, Subjective truths or reality is that which is verified by consciousness.
Heb.10:32, "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated (enlightened,) ye endured a great fight of afflictions."
The words illuminated, and enlightened, are the same Greek word.= (phitizo) The idea of being enlightened infers, to enlighten, to impart moral and spiritual light to any one, to enlighten the mind, or mental eyes of any one. That is, to have been thoroughly instructed, and to understand the knowledge of the word of truth.
Heb.10:26, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"
This would have to be a deliberate denial of the Gospel message after having understanding its message, and having a conviction for the truth. For this person, there remains no more sacrifice for sin. Heb.10:26, answers to both, Heb.6:4, and,
Heb.10:32, "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions."
What is meant when it is said that a person has, "Tasted of the heavenly gift?" Or has tasted for themselves, God's gifts. We saw that the word, "Enlightened" refers to enlightening of the mind and mental eye. This held true especially for those Jew's, and Gentiles, who were actual witnesses of the works of Christ, and the apostiles. So the idea of a person who having tasted of the heavenly gifts follows. It gives the idea of experiencing, proving, and partaking, of the finished work of Christ.
To be, "Made partakers of the Holy Spirit?" This implying that the Holy Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit, that we are God's children, and not the servants of others. This assuring us of God's mercy and of His power to produce effects by the atonement through which we have received blessings.
Being, "Made partakers of the Holy Ghost," is distinct from, though inseparably connected with, "To be Enlightened," and with those who have, "Tasted of the heavenly gifts." That gift being Jesus Christ. So the Holy Spirit witnesses with a man's spirit, assuring us of Illumination, and of the partaking of the God's gifts.
To have, "Tasted the good word of God?" We have proof of the merits of the promises of God, in the sending of the Gospel message. The Gospel itself being the Good-Word, of a Good God. Do you find the reading and preaching of the Gospel sweet in your mouth, music to your ears, and saving to your soul? Do you have an appetite and thirst for the word of God.
Heb.6:6, the verse starts with, "If they shall fall away," This is an extreme falling away. A full and willful apostasy is meant. We are warned that such a falling would be the final result of retrogression, = (going back to our worldly ways.)
Heb.6:1, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God."
"To renew them again?" means to make another confession of faith, or to again repent of sin, these being the first steps needed in our Christian walk. If a person is not truly repentant, being sorry is useless in itself. Why? Any person who has rejected in part, or its whole, the works of Jesus Christ, has rejected the only Sacrifice that can save them from eternal damnation. Without true faith, their repentance would be useless, and their salvation impossible. For this reason, the apostle added, "Again," as in, To renew them again."
"Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God?" The Jewish authority, with the blessing of the Jewish people rejected Jesus on the grounds that He was an imposter, agreeing that He was justly put to death. Therefore it is said, "To crucify him to themselves."
Paul wrote in Gal.6:14, "God forbid that I = (Paul) should glory, save = (except) in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me." Paul is saying, because the Jews and Gentiles despise me, for that which I believe and trust, I Paul, despise them for what they believe and trust in.
Heb.10:29, "Of how much sorer = (worse) punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden = (trampled) under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, = (common) and hath done despite = (insult) unto the Spirit of grace?"
The phrase, "The Son of God" marks Jesus dignity. To trample, to insult, or make the crucifixion seem trivial, is to reveal the whole of a person's contempt and blasphemous remarks, after having once received the truth.
What does it mean when its states, "Put Him = (Jesus) to an open shame?" Its to mock, or make a public example of Jesus. What the Jews did outwardly at Jesus crucifixion, are what blasphemers do inwardly, virtually crucifying the Son of God over, and over again. This verse seems to imply that a person may appear to be renewed, but in their heart, they are not, and will eventually fall again into a sinful life.
The truth of one's salvation lies in their hearts. Only God can know the depth of a man's love. Those who are not of Christ, are cast off as a dead branch; but those who live in Him become free from the grip of sin.