In Hebrews 6, the letter’s writers show a deep concern for the recipients. Let’s start reading at verse 9b:
We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
I can see myself having this conversation with several persons who I want to encourage and inspire to continue in their faith and in their growth. The idea expressed is one that we all try to live…keep on! We keep on in faith so that we will make certain that for which we hope. It is also a safe guard because the text says that when we keep on then we don’t become “dull and indifferent.” Instead of being like that we “follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises.” Ok, this sounds like what I want to be, and how I want to inspire others…but Hebrews also provides the negative side of this…the dull and indifferent side. Let’s read in Hebrews 6:4
4 For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.
Wait…impossible! I thought nothing was impossible for God? Imagine if you would for a moment that by chance there is someone who has been enlightened, who has experienced the good things of heaven, who has shared in the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and who has even tasted the goodness of God…that person should be growing and loving and hoping and GOING!
But then we get the kick to the stomach… “who then turns away from God.” So, despite all those things listed above, this person chooses to turn away! And then the Hebrew writer repeats it, “It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance…” How can this be, are we just to despair and morn our loss?
The Hebrew letter gives us an example, let’s read from chapter 6:7
7 When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8 But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
When that which comes from heaven is “soaked up” then it produces good crops, and when the things from heaven are not soaked up, then the crops don’t grow and all that is left is thorns and thistles…and so the farmer condemns and burns the field. OUCH!
Now, it is important to be reminded what the basis of this conversation is, which is the opening verses of Hebrews 6:
1 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds[a] and placing our faith in God.
So, this is more a call to grow in maturity and less a guide on how to respond to those who turn away from God. However, there are two very clear lessons to be learned. First, we all want to be gardens that produce something good for our farmer God. To do that we need to soak in the gifts of heaven and grow into something God can USE! Second, there are those who grow in a different way in that they grow dull and indifferent and become USELESS to the farmer because their gardens are simply full of thorns and thistles. Thus, given the same opportunities to experience, taste, and grow…they reject God.
This text is clearly urging us to not grow dull and indifferent, but to grow mature and wise. No one wants to plant a useless garden…including God.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.