JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…crucifying again to their own hurt the Son of God and putting him to open shame.”
July 26, 2011, 1:48 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

This section of chapter 6 (verses 4-8) is perhaps one of the most questionable sections of the New Testament and lends itself to many doctrinal debates, some to the point of division within the body of Christ. After hearing Christ in me, I still think that what I write here is just skimming the surface. I will be looking at these verses as brothers and sisters who started living in an organic way by the life of Christ. In looking at these verses the thought that comes to mind is that as believers began to live a shared life, focused solely on hearing and following Christ together, on loving relationships, and the flesh revealed for what it is in the process, instead of putting off the flesh and putting on Christ together in love some felt it to be too difficult and fell back to their old way of the safe legalism and institutionalism of Judaism.

Some would say that those who do fall away is interpreted as someone who apostasies, denying Christ, as a result they lose their salvation, doomed to destruction in eternal hell fire. At least this is what is said by some denominations. This statement has many assumptions, perhaps making what are metaphorical statements as literal statements, and not looking at the reality of what is being said in context. I do not plan to go in that direction, because I don’t think that the passage meant to. The author says: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

Some brothers and sisters that the author has been speaking about have been drifting, forgetting their foundation of Christ and not living by His life. The Greek word for “fall away” means “to fall in one’s way” and is only used here in the New Testament. Some have been falling back to their old way of Judaism, which is of the flesh. We to, if we do not go on to live by Christ organically, will fall back to our old way of living, go back to living in the institutionalism and legalism of religion. Given the description of our foundation in Christ the author’s desire is that they be carried on by Christ to completion, to stay in The Way of Christ. This process is living a shared life in Christ with one another. In verses 4 and 5 we see an interaction between the body and the Spirit of Christ: “once being enlightened” is to “see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” as Paul told the church in Corinth. These brothers and sisters were given spiritual sight of Christ’s life within them. “Tasting of the heavenly gift” seems to indicate that the brothers and sisters had tasted, had had some experience of seeing Christ, “the heavenly gift” in them and among them. This gift of grace was given to them by faith in Christ Jesus. “Becoming sharers of the Holy Spirit” means to share in and partake of the Holy Spirit, as the author previously mentioned in the first verses of chapter 3: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, sharers of a heavenly calling, consider fully the apostle and high priest of our confession – Jesus.” “Tasting the good word (rhema) of God” is to taste, to briefly experience the utterance of God within the body, rhema meaning “that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing.” (1) “And powerful deeds of a coming age” seems to indicate tasting or seeing wonderful things occur within the body of Christ, things only of the Spirit. The Greek construction seems to connect the tasting of the rhema of God with the powerful deeds of a coming age. As Paul told the church in Ephesus: the rhema of God, is the sword of the Spirit. Christ Himself when He speaks in our hearts will show Himself as living and active, judging our thoughts and the intentions of our heart in and through the body. It is perhaps this that truly determines whether we go on in Christ. Will we be adjustable to what the Spirit of Christ says to our hearts as we relate to one another? Will we hear Him and believe what He says? If so then we will put off the flesh and put on Christ, we will love one another, we will express His life more and more. Or will we fall back to the safe legalism and institutionalism that does not allow Christ to speak to our hearts and go backward instead of forwards in our spiritual life with one another in Him?

The issue with the author is that to fall back to the flesh, legalism and institutionalism, does not make sense. In truth to do so tells others that what Christ did on the cross was not sufficient. It is to deceive oneself, it is to be deceived by the “craftinesses of the devil.” Christ was crucified once and what He did on that cross He did only once. As a believer, to live by the flesh is to make Christ, who is our life, a servant to our flesh. To repent and believe the message of the good news of Christ, according to God, was a one time occurrence. If you are in Christ, Christ is your life, and that is all that God sees from His perspective, in fact He sees us in heaven with His Son! In God’s mind it is impossible to see our life in any other way. If the Lord only sees us in Christ then it is impossible for Him to not see you in Christ and therefore impossible to renew you again to repentance. For us who have tasted living by the life of Christ in an organic way, have we not seen our flesh come back again from the dead as we participated with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Sure we have. Every time this occurs we must see that this flesh is dead and to live by the life of Christ. This is putting off the flesh and putting on Christ. It is a process as we mutually participate together in our open gatherings sharing Christ freely with one another. Every time the flesh appears is God’s way of showing what a dead thing it is and how important it is for it to be put off. When the flesh appears in the body it shows we are still children, we must continue to go on to maturity, to express the fullness of Christ by putting Him on. If we do not then we demonstrate that we have not so learned Christ, we have forgotten our foundation, we have not recognized what He did on the cross for us, and we crucify Him again, making Him a servant to sin, putting Him to open shame, to our own hurt. May it never be so! If we live by the life of Christ in a shared life, if we go on together and become adjustable to our Lord, just like land that produces fruit, we will bear fruit, food, “a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives a blessing of God,” the blessing of the fruit of the life of Christ, the fruit of love. But if we do not put off the flesh, we decide to live safely in our flesh, the old way of religion, instead of relying on Christ in the midst of conflict; we will not see the fruit of His life. It will be to our own hurt, bringing more of the flesh back from the dead, full of thorns and thistles, useless for the building up of the body.

May we live by the life of Christ, experience the Christ who indwells us together, and keep Christ Jesus our Lord, our foundation, as our focus, putting off the flesh and putting on Christ. It’s a process brothers and sisters; we are called to help each other in and through the process by the life of Christ. We must be adjustable to the Christ in one another in love. As we live by Christ we will be in the midst of conflict to the very end and as a result we are called to “diligence to the very end.” As Paul encouraged the ekklesia in Corinth: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

(1) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 224.


6 Comments so far
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WORD.. BROTHER.. WORD.. The Spirit speaks.. Very well written with the clarity of the body in mind to hear. Love you brother.

Comment by doctorj56

thanks brother doctorJ, appreciate the encouragement! 🙂

Comment by John Wilson

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

What is Unseen is the eternal Reality in Christ. May we comprehend that we are no longer of the flesh for the flesh was done away with in Christ upon the cross. I liken the lack of realizing of who we are in Christ to amnesia. We have no definition, no understanding of the Reality of us in Christ. Before creation, we were in Christ.The thought of Father is complete, thorough, and done in the conception of His thought through and in Christ. When will we be no longer seeing with the eyes of the flesh, but through the eyes of Spirit? The eyes of Love can only be utilized with the Heart of Love. There is no division there, no flesh verses Spirit. The flesh is dead. In Christ all things have their past, present and future. To know who we are in Christ, we must know Christ! That is accomplished, fulfilled, and purposed in the unity of Love; the unity of the divine one another which we are part. As the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, so we are in Christ. This is already so,even before creation, why do we not comprehend the our unity of our Christ and Father that includes us in the Fullness of both? Amnesia is blinding.

Comment by Kat Huff

thanks Kat, so true, love your heart!

Comment by John Wilson

Great Stuff John. We love because He first Loved us.

Comment by Jason Dalnoki

Thanks Jason, oh, how He loves us! amen!

Comment by John Wilson

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