Think On This
Falling Away Falling Away Falling Away Falling Away
Hebrews 6

Key verse: 6

THESIS: The ultimate denial of Christ is to consider Him, having heard, and then deny Him. That is, to do as the Jew: to crucify Him to yourself, to render Him and His work none effective and His blood nothing more than common, thus putting Him to open shame (Hebrews 10:29).

DEFINED: Falling away, in this context, is to consider His sacrificial act for remission of sin, consider His blood common (non-atoning), and return to the temple's Levitical animal blood sacrifice for their annual remission of sins.

I.   SCRIPTURE BACKGROUND (Read in order the following passages.)

Text of study.

ACTS 3:12-26
Peter's sermon to Israel.

HEBREWS 8:1-12
HEBREWS 9:2-28
(key vs.9-14)
Their choice is to either accept the new testament (covenant) sealed in Christ's blood or return to the old covenant sealed in the blood of animals. (Exodus 24:7-8)

A warning not to let slip away things heard.

A warning against hardening ones heart.

A warning against departing away through unbelief from a hardened heart.

A warning against falling away (returning to old covenant practices, crucifying to themselves Christ afresh--in their hearts) as their predecessors did in the flesh.

A warning against receiving the word not mixed with faith. This is the key verse.

HEBREWS 10:8-9
"Word of faith" = to confess with the mouth Lord Jesus and believe in the heart God raised Him from the dead--FAITH from the heart not belief from the head.

A warning not to fall away (return to the old way failing to enter into the new as their forefathers did in the wilderness) because of unbelief. "Labor to keep from falling."

JOHN 6:26-37
Jesus clearly defines that WORK or LABOR. (key v.29)

MATTHEW 11:25-30
key vs.28,29
"labor & yoke" - Christ is here speaking of the freedom that comes from truth (from Him: "ye shall know the truth...and the truth shall set you free.") and the bondage that results from the law.

Be careful not to return to the old system as some wanted to return to Egypt from the Exodus. Follow the example of the roll call of ones who mixed the WORD OF FAITH from Moses and desired to go on. It takes faith to go forward from that which is familiar!

key vs.38,39
Two groups of hearers: (1) those who turn back (fall away) through unbelief, after having received the word; (2) those who continue on having received the word and believed unto faith. He now says to them: "WE" (v.39), thus clearly distinguishing them from those who did turn back in the wilderness through unbelief.

A final encouragement not to fall (return) from grace to the old law. Notice: If one "falls from grace" to what does he fall? Back to the law! One is either under grace or the law. He cannot be outside both since both have now been given following Adam's fall and Moses receiving it (the law) and Christ dying and giving it (grace). He cannot fall to nothing! One is either living and thus condemned under the old law, or free and living under the grace offered by Christ. To know the law is to be bound. To know Christ is to be free!


(One must keep in mind the parable of the different classes of hearers put forth by Christ Himself. Mat.13:18-23; Mk.4:14-20; Lk.8:9-15. Compare with Heb.6:7-8.)

These Hebrew christians fall into this category as do all hearers of His word. In this instance, the writer is addressing two groups of hearers: (1) those who hear and mix the word with faith unto salvation, and (2) those who hear and do not. These Hebrew christians were only at their beginning point of salvation (5:12; 6:1), being made "partakers" of a heavenly calling (hearing the word). They were entering into the work of the Holy Spirit for repentance unto salvation. They were denouncing animal (blood) sacrifice for their remission of sin for the blood sacrifice of Jesus unto salvation.

Because of persecution and pressure to denounce Christ and this new emerging sect of Judaism being established apart from the law of the temple worship and to return to the accepted Levitical animal sacrifice for the remission of sin, they were in danger of trodding under foot the work of the blood of Christ for their atonement. They were close to being in danger of not mixing or having faith in what they had heard in the gospel. Thus, some, possibly, had not proceeded through and beyond the point of repentance, on into the deeper things of faith. Therefore, it is not enough to hear but one must also believe and obey. Faith is the opposite of unbelief and is the substance, the glue if you will, which draws us into and seals us in Christ. Any thing that is not of faith is sin. It is not the works of the Levitical acts of animal sacrifice, but the work of God—FAITH—that makes atonement for sin! (Jn.6:29; Heb.9:13-14)

These Jews were in danger of turning away from the atoning blood work of Christ to return to the old law of animal blood work for their atonement. The temple in Jerusalem and its practices were not yet interrupted (10:11) However, with the temple's destruction in 70 AD, this practice ceased, making it impossible for the Jew to return to the animal sacrifice for blood atonement. Christ knew and forewarned of this event (Mt.24:1-2). It would then be impossible, having turned away at this time, to be renewed unto repentance when the old way would soon pass away entirely!

So, faith in Christ is essential for salvation. The old way was soon going to pass. Faith, then, must come with hearing the word for one to be secure in Him (Rom.10:8-10). Once in Him, then there is no falling away. For He will keep that which we have committed to Him unto that day (day of salvation - II Tim.1:12). Therefore, there is no shame in Christ and no danger of slipping. Shame in His work is only found in the unbeliever and it is a stumbling block to the Jew.

Hebrews is written to move the professing Jew from the law and old covenant to a believing Jew in grace and faith in the new (ch.11). The writer clearly states that he doesn't believe these new professing Jews are those who will turn back, but, in fact, are now new (babes)—believing Christians (10:39). Therefore, they should move on from those fundamental doctrines pertaining to their salvation into the deeper things of maturing sanctifying faith (6:1).

We know then that Christ's blood sacrifice was and still is essential for the remission of sin because God abolished the Levitical animal sacrifice and priestly order and duties with the destruction of His earthly temple in 70 AD, thus authenticating the atoning work of His Son (10:1-12; 9:22-28). His alone has been the only blood sacrifice acceptable to our God for the remission of our sins in these past 2000 years! There has been no levitical blood offered yearly for 2 millennia. (The blood of bulls could only purge the flesh. It took Christ's blood to purge the conscience—to give access to the holy of holies for annual remission.) Therefore, there either has been no remission and we are yet in our sins, or, God's word is true! Christ's work is complete and legitimate once and for all, for everyone, unto the end of the ages (Eph.2:8-9). The veil has been rent, not to be replaced or repaired, for all to look within and enter. It is finished. We have now only one High Priest who has entered the heavenly holies and sat down at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us. It is by His grace and not levitical work (animal sacrifice and annual earthly priestly functions of atoning) that we are saved from our sin. It is a gift from God, leaving no possibility from human boasting. Amen!

(Heb.6:1) Therefore, let us press on from these essential, fundamental elements of our salvation (Christ's doctrine) and run the race with patience, looking unto Jesus author and finisher of our salvation (Heb.12:1). We have a great host of witnesses already gone before us testifying to these truths. As with His first covenant with early man, and all succeeding, He will remember this one as faithfully! It is not based upon our work nor requires our remembering, though we should. We neither earned it nor are we capable of keeping it. He will remember when He sees the Blood. As the thief hang dying on the cross, the first to enter, remember his words as he looked upon the Blood: Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Lu 23:42)

The choice, then, is everyman's. Either the law (works) and blood of bulls (which was only given as a precursor of the authentic to come) or grace and faith in Christ. So, it is either works or grace. And God says it is grace (Rom.4:16). Therefore, there is no salvation outside of Christ and His atoning work (Acts 4:12).

Falling away today? To what stands may one fall? There is no other blood, period, that is presently being offered for any's remission of sin. It cannot be bought. There is no object of required value nor deed for excuse or mitigation. One is either in Him who purchased it for us or separated eternally from Him. The great stumblingblock to man's wisdom and obstacle to his entering. Forgiveness is always possible to the one who repents (turns from his old way—or returns to God) and trusts in Christ and His atoning work of the cross (II Peter 3:9).

So, when you hear men say there are other ways, ask yourself: at what cost? At whose hand? To what degree? And how must I live? Just remember, none have paid so great a price nor require so little in return—but to believe. Each has a soul that is worth saving and is not hindered by price for its purchase. Only believe!

Author: Ken Livingston
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