Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God…4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened…6 and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt.
It’s hard not to read this passage as bad news, especially v. 6 which says those who have “fallen away” cannot be restored to “repentance”. I looked up the Greek word translated as “falling away”. It’s most often used to describe one who is literally falling down, as in falling to the ground to worship, to pray, to beg, or in fear. Here it means something different. It’s more like someone who falls away from the faith completely.
I’m not sure how someone does this, but it must be pretty drastic because Jesus himself tells the story of the prodigal son – a young man who rejects his father and leaves home to live a life of debauchery. Yet eventually he comes to his senses and returns home – expecting to be rejected by his father. But that’s not what happens. His father receives him with open arms.
So the writer of Hebrews paints one story of the nature of God and Jesus paints another. I think I’m going with Jesus on this one.
Heavenly Father give us grace to never fall away from you. But if we do, let your grace and mercy overcome our sin and brokenness. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.