Hebrews Chapter Six gives a rare glimpse into the maturing process and key elements of our faith. Beginning with a listing of elementary principles, it continues with obscure references that require revelation knowledge to understand.
Hebrews 6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
who have once been enlightened
Enlightenment is not a one-time event. Revelation knowledge comes every day and something that you thought you understood yesterday can be understood in a new light today. That is because God meets us where we are. If we are not ready to receive, we will not understand.
who have tasted the heavenly gift
The dividing line between before faith in Jesus Christ and after is like turning on a bright light in a dark cave. The heavenly gift is very personal and cannot be described. Some Christian mystics like Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Ávila give a tiny glimpse.
who have shared in the Holy Spirit
After you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you begin to mature much faster and with greater ability to withstand the ravages of the evil one. Seek this gift and you will find mystical experiences everywhere.
who have tasted the goodness of the word of God
Thirty-five plus years after my conversion, I still find wondrous things in the Word of God. Without daily feeding, I feel I am starving. It helps me feel closer to Jesus and it also makes me more aware of distinctions between good and evil.
the powers of the coming age
For some time I have been envious of Father Abraham because he seemed to live a blessed life and had faith beyond my understanding. But recently I have felt sorry for him because he did not experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit and witness the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven. We who are living in this post Pentecost age are far more able to recognize and understand the powers of the coming age.
anchor for the soul
God’s promises have been secured with two unchangeable things. God swore by himself to guarantee his promises. This Chapter Six of Hebrews was meant for Christians who were experiencing persecution for their faith. When we are troubled by evil in the world, we can cling to these promises and rest in steadfast hope.
This is our anchor.