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"Things That Follow Salvation" (6: 7-9).
pp. 170 - 172
The character of the falling away of Heb. 6: 4-6 may be understood by a
consideration of the illustration which immediately follows in verses 7 and 8. The figure
is that of a field. The Greek word translated "earth", ge, stands for "land, as distinct from
water; or earth as distinct from heaven; or region or territory, used of one special land or
country, as distinct from other countries, in which peoples dwell, each on its own soil"
(The Companion Bible, Appendix 129/4).
"For land which hath drunk in the rain which often comes upon it, and which bringeth
forth vegetation useful to those for whom also it is cultivated, receives blessing from
God; but that yielding thorns and thistles is disapproved and near to a curse; the end of
which is for burning" (Heb. 6: 7, 8).
Two words are of special importance as indicating the line of teaching that we are to
observe here, the word "disapproved", which in the A.V. is rendered "rejected", and the
word "near" or "nigh" unto cursing. Adokimos = "disapproved" is best understood by
observing the context of the word in I Cor. 9: 27. The scene is the Corinthian
"Know ye not that they which run in a race course run all, but one receives the prize?
So run that ye may obtain. But every one that striveth in the games, in all things useth
self-control; they indeed then that a corruptible crown they may receive; but we an
incorruptible. I therefore so run, as not uncertainly. I am boxing, as not beating air, but I
am beating my body under, and leading it captive, lest by any means having proclaimed
the contest to others, I myself become disapproved" (I Cor. 9: 24-27).
The verses that follow, viz., I Cor. 10:, are very strongly reminiscent of Heb. 3: & 4:
The argument hinges upon the "all" and the "many". All may have passed out from
Egypt as the redeemed of the Lord, but all did not enter the promised land. We now see
that the whole of Heb. 6: is dealing with the question of "going on unto perfection", or
of being disqualified or disapproved in the race. The entry into the land of promise is
placed in the same place as the crown at the end of the race. The showers of God's love
and grace had fallen for many years upon Israel, but comparatively few brought forth
We must observe that it does not say that the alternatives are blessing or cursing, but
blessing or disapproval, which places such nigh unto a curse. Take for example the two
servants of Matt. 24: 44-51. The one is rewarded by being made ruler over all his
Lord's goods, the other servant is cut asunder, and finds his position with the hypocrites,
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The same fate awaits the unprofitable
servant of Matt. 25: who hid his talent in the earth. Both suffer loss and are certainly
perilously "near unto a curse". In neither case is salvation in view, but service. "The end
of which is for burning." When a field produces thorns and thistles "the end" is burning.
The field itself is not destroyed, but that which it has produced. This is quite in harmony
with I Cor. 3: The foundation remains unchanged whether the building be destroyed by
fire or whether it stands the test:--