Q: #153. Does (Heb 6:4-6) mean you can lose your salvation?
A: I believe that if you look at (Heb 6:9), you will see that the author of Hebrews points out that his readers are believers (“better things of YOU, and things that ACCOMPANY SALVATION), and that he was speaking of unbelievers in verses 4-6.
In addition, if someone holds the position that “falling away” (verse 6) means that a believer can lose their salvation, then it must also be conceded that it is “impossible” to be “renewed again unto repentance” (or get salvation back again), because you can’t crucify Jesus “all over again.” However, few who believe salvation can be lost believe it is gone FOREVER once lost. Instead, it is generally stated by those who believe salvation can be lost that you can get it back again when you repent of the sin or sins that caused you to lose it in the first place. Where does the Bible show people going in and out of salvation like this?
So, who is the “enlightened” sinner that has “tasted the heavenly gift and the Word of God,” and “been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit?”
First, I believe it is important to understand that the Bible tells us that God desires for ALL men to be saved (1 Tim 2:3-4)(2 Pet 3:9)(Ezek 18:23)(Mt 18:14), and that no man can be saved unless first drawn by the Father (Jn 6:44). The Father “draws” all men by the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin (Jn 16:8).
However, a person CAN be drawn by the Holy Spirit (“a partaker of the Holy Spirit”), and believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6) through hearing the Word (“tasting” the Word of God), but not be saved. Some of these people may even have prayed to receive Christ, but it is a “said faith,” or a temporary profession of faith, but not true SAVING faith.
Jesus gives us an example of this kind of “temporary faith” in the “Parable of the Sower” (Mt 13:3-8,18-23)(Lk 8:4-8,11-15). He says in (Mt 13:20-21)(NASB) “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; (21) yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he FALLS AWAY.”
We have a number of examples of this in the Bible:
Judas was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He walked with Jesus, heard His teachings, knew the truth, and even saw His miracles, yet he betrayed Jesus. He was never truly saved, but instead condemned (Jn 6:70)(Jn 17:12).
Simon heard the truth about Jesus and believed it. He was even baptized, but he was not saved (Acts 8:13,18-24).
Many DISCIPLES turned away from Jesus after He told them what was required to follow Him (Jn 6:66).
John describes these people by saying in (1 Jn 2:19) “They went out from us; but they were not of us; for if they had been of us; they no doubt would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest (it might be known) that they were not all of us.”
Peter also speaks of them in (2 Pet 2:20-22) saying, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again: and, The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
In fact, the Bible says this “falling away” will increase in the end times (1 Tim 4:1-2)(2 Tim 4:3-4).
Those who have this “temporary faith” are “enlightened sinners.” They have “tasted the heavenly gift and the Word of God,” but they have not actually SWALLOWED it. For example, when Jesus was on the cross, “they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink” (Mt 27:34)(NASB). The same can occur with unbelievers. They can “taste” Jesus, but not actually “eat His body or drink His blood,” which all believers must do (Jn 6:53-58). This is exactly what is occurring in (Heb 6:4-6). These are unbelievers who have “tasted” salvation, but they never actually surrendered their lives to Jesus, and become “sealed” with the Holy Spirit which is the GUARANTEE of salvation (Eph 1:13-14)(Eph 4:30).
Finally, let me address those who are tormented because they believe they were saved and lost their salvation, and now cannot get it back again based on these verses. I believe that when the author says in (Heb 6:6) that Christ cannot be “crucified afresh” (or nailed to the cross twice), he is not saying that a saved person can lose salvation, and not get it back again. What he is saying is that the only way one who has “tasted” Jesus and then “fallen away” can be saved is to come back to the starting place (“renewed again”) of salvation, and TRULY surrender to Christ.