The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 43 of 159
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We must distinguish between the fact that many, if not all, saints after conversion
lapse into sin of one sort or another, and the falling away intended here. It is the teaching
of the Scriptures that if a man be overtaken in a fault, the spiritual ones of the church
must restore him in a spirit of meekness, considering themselves lest they also should be
tempted (Gal. 6: 1). The exhortations to the seven churches of Rev. 2:, 3: are further
illustrations of the same truth. It is evident that here in the epistle to the Hebrews
something more serious is involved.
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy spirit, and have tasted the good word
of God, and the powers of the coming age, 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" (Heb. 6: 4-6).
We must first of all seek to understand the nature of these blessings so that we may the
better understand the nature of the falling away from them.
1. They were once enlightened (photizo).--In chapter 10: this word occurs again, and
the context is so helpful that we must draw attention to it. To save space we will not
quote fully:--
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . . . . for if we sin willfully after
receiving the full knowledge of the truth . . . . . no more sacrifice . . . . . fearful
expectation of judgment . . . . . consume the adversaries . . . . . trampled on the Son of
God . . . . . but remember the former days in which having been enlightened ye endured a
great contest of sufferings . . . . . cast not away your confidence, which has great
recompense of reward . . . . . if any man draw back . . . . . we are not of them who
draw back unto perdition; but of them who believe unto the acquiring of the soul"
(Heb. 5: 26-29).
This is a valuable commentary, setting Heb. 6: in its true light and preventing us
from making erroneous applications of its solemn teaching. Some who do not realize the
setting of Heb. 6: have sought to minimize the force of the word "enlighten", so that it
only means an external, but not a real and inward illumination. If this be proved, then of
course we are dealing merely with professors and the problem is ended. But Heb. 10: 32,
wherein is the only other occurrence of the word photizo in Hebrews, does not allow of
such an interpretation. These enlightened ones were believers, not empty professors.
2. They had tasted of the heavenly gift: They were made partakers of the holy
spirit.--These two statements explain one another. They moreover look back to the
laying on of hands which usually was instrumental in the bestowal of this gift. It will be
remembered that when "Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostle's hands the
holy spirit was given, he offered them money", and that Peter said, "Thy money perish
with thee, because thou hast thought that THE GIFT OF GOD may be purchased with
3. They had tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the coming age.--The
promise of restoration from Babylon is thus called in Jer. 29: 10:--