December 14 I Friday
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.” —Hebrews 6:4-6
At first glance, the opening verse seems to suggest that if a Christian falls away from God, it is impossible to repent again and come back into relationship with Him. This is understandably unsettling, but we must remember that this verse is part of a larger discussion on spiritual maturity. Rather than talking about falling away from faith, the author of Hebrews urges his readers to go on to spiritual maturity, because if they do not, it is impossible for them to go back to the way they were before.
The foundation of our new life with Christ begins with repentance. Once this foundation has been laid, we cannot go back to our pre-repentant days because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). When we repent, we receive the Holy Spirit, and it is then impossible for us to become unsaved. Though some believers resist living in a spirit of humble repentance before God each day, no believer can
un-convert themselves. With the receiving of the Holy Spirit, we become locked into Jesus Christ and cannot go back to life before our new birth in Him.
To illustrate, we are all born physically into this world on a certain date. No one can say when the going gets tough, “My life is such a mess! I’m just going to start it all over.” This is impossible, and the same is true of our spiritual birth. We can only be born again into spiritual life once, and once this has happened, we cannot go back to the foundation that has already been laid.
We can, however, refuse to move on to maturity in Christ. The author of Hebrews writes of these Christians, “To their loss they are crucifying the son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace” (Hebrews 6:6). It is their loss because they are not experiencing the Christian life the way it was meant to be lived: in obedience and dependence on Christ. Instead, their lives have effectively become an insult to the Gospel because instead of glorifying Christ, they are showing themselves to be no different than an unbeliever.
We must go on to maturity because we cannot go back to life before Christ. Once a Christian, we remain a Christian, but the kind of Christian we become will be conveyed in the depth of our relationship with Christ. Choose to resist Him and we are still saved, but we estrange ourselves from God relationally. Choose to abide in Christ, however, and His life will flow out into our homes, our workplaces, our communities and our relationships.
Prayer: Gracious God, how relieving it is that once I have believed in You, I am sealed by Your Spirit. Help me to live in a spirit of repentance each day. Thank You, God.