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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Thursday, February 05, 2009
Double Crucifixion. Part XV - What Did We Learn About The List?
If you haven't done so already, you may want to read the posts which preceded this one (for some context):
     I, II,III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and XIV.

What we have done so far is examine a list of descriptions for an hypothetical person, as found in Hebrews 6:4-5. The person described there is one who has:
  • once been enlightened
  • tasted of the heavenly gift
  • been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit,
  • tasted the good word of God and tasted the powers of the age to come.
We reason that there are only three states this list can be describing:
  1. "Wheat" (genuine believers)
  2. "Tares" (counterfeit/false believers)
  3. Both "Tares and Wheat"
Let's be careful here also, we are only trying to decide what this text "can" mean, and not necessarily what it "must" or "does" mean. That is, we are trying to address the question of scope honestly, given only this list (so far).

From our previous posts, I think it is clear that the author of Hebrews does not mean to describe a rank unbeliever here, and for that reason I haven't included the idea in our enumerated list above.

The problem for us is that the author is describing someone who is either directly, or indirectly taking part in the Christian experience - someone who is taking part in "church" - that is, someone who is congregating with believers.

Now, it should be obvious even from my choice of categories, that not everyone in every congregation is a wheat - there are tares amongst the wheat, and that being the case, I think we cannot say that these descriptions --must-- apply to a believer, and only a believer, because it can be adequately proven that false converts can be enlightened, take part in communion, receive the benefits of fellowship, and God's spirit, etc. etc. without ever having been genuinely saved themselves.

Which is to say that while this list suggests that one is a partaker of spiritual activity, it does not necessarily demand that this same activity is a function of one's own salvation.

On the other hand - we mustn't let the weight of whatever theology we already hold to press us to be hasty in drawing some conclusion at this junction either.

If we already believe that a person can lose their salvation, we are going to read this list assuming it is describing a believer who "falls away", and conclude that this list supports that notion.

Likewise, if we believe that genuine saints will always persevere because no one, including themselves, can take them from God's hand - then we might also seize this list and declare that it "must" be a tare because only a tare can "fall away."

Both paths are a little premature at this juncture. Let us instead simply say that given only this list, we reason that the author is describing a person who has partaken of the Christian experience, either as a genuine, or as a false convert. Whatever opinions we hold that would sway us one way or the other, notwithstanding - at this point we are only going to say that it -can- go either way.

The remainder of the passage, and further verses later on in the same context and chapter, decides (for me) which way my understanding should go, but we won't begin to talk about that until the next post in the series.


posted by Daniel @ 8:59 AM  
  • At 10:26 AM, February 06, 2009, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    Another alternative:

    The hypothetical person is not the object of the discussion, instead it is as it has been, the perfected work of Christ.

    The writer is describing the impossibility of the situation, namely that this condition could never exist.

    The only possibility that such a condition could exist is if all that the author is saying about the uniqueness of the Son, the uniqueness of his sacrifice -it's sufficiency and perfection- were not true. As the writer goes on to say, and here is the key, other things pertain to salvation.

    If it is possible that repentance through Christ's blood could fail, then it is impossible that repentance could have ever been truly granted by it and so it is also impossible that repentance through it might be restored.

    This is the same reference in Chapter Ten. The blood of Christ is no common thing that is should fail to achieve the sanctification that it was intended to, once for all needing not to be repeated, which is why the condemnation is so strongly stated as being the ultimate blasphemy of trodding the blood underfoot. It is not the blood of goats or bulls, but the unique blood of the only begotten Son of God, the heavenly gift which puts into effect the promise of the age to come. The writer is contrasting the work of faith that is described as that which persists to the attaining of the promise with those who in truth do not know the taste nor the enlightenment that is afforded to the children of Abraham.

  • At 10:35 AM, February 06, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Now don't go jumpin' ahead! ;)

    There were fourteen posts that preceded this one... We will get to what this can/should/must mean shortly. ;)

  • At 10:43 AM, February 06, 2009, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    I dint mean to, honest...

    I rayd some dem previous ones. Actually, I've have been following this, mostly...

    Now I feel really bad :(

  • At 11:55 AM, February 06, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Cheer up!

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