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 and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. 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, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 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.
Dear God, this is an interesting passage when you consider the arguments of “once saved always saved” vs. “maintaining your salvation through works.” Of course, I’m not going to get into that here today because I have no idea what, exactly, it takes for any given human to get into heaven, and it feels like it would be arrogant of me to think I know that answer. However, I would like to dive a little into this idea that “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, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance.” That seems like a very short-sighted argument. Frankly, I would love to be able to unpack the author’s thoughts here a little more with him. Maybe I’ll get to do that one day.
I guess my thought has been that it is easier to reach someone who has already experienced the joy of letting go and surrendering to you, even if they’ve backslidden and taken their lives back from you, than it is to convince someone to submit to you and repent who has never done it before. Everyone has to have a breaking point before they decide to come to you. For some of us, that point is pretty easy to reach. They know the joy in humility, repentance, forgiveness, grace, etc. They know what it’s like, if only for a moment, to touch the Holy Spirit and begin to experience the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self control. It’s the person who doesn’t trust it and has never allowed themselves to let go of their own rights and agendas who will have to come to a breaking point at some level.
Father, there are people in my life who are currently worshipping you. There are people who used to worship you and have now walked away. And there are some who have never worshipped you and never plan to. First, help me to be someone who worships you. Help me to repent when necessary, extend mercy when necessary, and worship always. And then show me what you would have me do and who you would have me be for those who are walking their paths. Show me how to encourage the worshipper, kindle the embers of the one who walked away, and be part of your invitation to the one who doesn’t know you. Use me as you will. Let y our kingdom come and your will be done on earth through me.
In Jesus’s name I pray,