How should we understand the warnings against apostasy in Hebrews?

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The warnings against apostasy in Hebrews are stark, and they're quite scary for us to read. Let me remind you of what it says here at the beginning of chapter six verse four: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance." We read those words and quite understandably we quake, we're fearful, because we don't want to fall away and we worry, is there a possibility that we might? And the first thing to say is that I think we're right to hear those warnings. The writer has written them because he is deeply anxious that those who have tasted some of the goodness of God might fall away, and the pressures upon those Hebrew Christians was intense, and some of them did fall away. But at the same time, the warnings are given because the writer believes that if you truly appreciated all that Christ has done for you in these last days, you will endure to the end. And he's given you all the sustenance, both in terms of the Holy Spirit to help and also this cloud of faithful witnesses of those who have endured to the end who help motivate us and keep us going.

Answer by Rev. Dr. Simon Vibert

Rev. Dr. Simon Vibert is Senior Pastor of Christ Church Virginia Water, England, and the former Vice Principal and Director of the School of Preaching at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.