Hebrews 6:6
If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) If they shall fall away.—Rather, and (then) fell away. There is no doubt that the ordinary translation is altogether incorrect, the Greek admitting of one rendering only. At the same time, the suspicion sometimes expressed that this is one of the (very few) instances in which our translators have been misled by dogmatic bias seems altogether unfounded. On tracing back the translation we find it due, not to the Genevan versions, in which the influence of Calvin and Beza is predominant, but to Erasmus, Luther, and Tyndale. The contrast with the preceding description is presented in the fewest possible words. The successive clauses have shown that all the marks of the divine working in and with His word (Hebrews 2:4) have been found in these men, who, notwithstanding, “fell away.”

To renew them again.—A second time to make “the old” into a “new man.” In this place “renew” is distinctly used in reference to the action of man. Similarly, by the side of 1Peter 1:3, “God . . . who hath begotten us,” we may set St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you;” so also St. Paul can say, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit;” and St. James can speak of a man’s saving a soul from death. In these and the many other examples of a similar kind there is no thought of human power acting by itself, but of the human appropriation of divine power, in accordance with the laws of the kingdom of God. The verse before us is often read as an assertion that men who have thus fallen cannot be renewed; and therefore it is the more necessary to lay stress on the simple meaning of the words, as relating neither to the absolute power of God, nor to the efforts of the Christian teacher in unassisted human strength, but to the economy of God’s spiritual kingdom, in which Christ’s servants achieve every great result by claiming and obtaining the “fellow-working” of their Lord.

Seeing they crucify.—The apostasy was indicated by a single word; these added clauses describe the depth of the fall, whilst they explain the futility of all effort towards recovering the fallen. Both the writer and his readers knew well what was involved in “falling away” in such a case as this. To go back to Judaism implied an acceptance of all that Jews had said and done against the Son of God, a return to the bitter hate cherished by the falling nation against the Crucified, a repetition in spirit of all that Pharisees had done, and without the palliation of ignorance; for the highest evidence for Christianity—that of true and deep Christian experience—had been given to them. Again, the words used clearly describe a continuing state. Not the punishment for a past act, but the hopelessness of an existing state, is brought before us here. It is therefore of those who, with a distinct conviction of the divine mission of Jesus, have deliberately joined His foes, unite in denouncing Him as a “deceiver” (Matthew 27:63), rejoice in His shame, and thus “for themselves crucify a second time the Son of God,” that the writer says, “It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance.”

That this impossibility relates to the action of man is shown very clearly by the writer’s words in Hebrews 6:3, “This will we do if God permit; . . . . for it is impossible.” He is ready to lead his readers on with him—unless, indeed, he is addressing any whom no man can thus lead. In that case the means which God has appointed have no application; such wilful and persistent hardening of heart must be left with Him.

The perplexity and trouble of mind to which these verses have given rise will furnish an apology for the length of these remarks. It is a true Christian instinct that has protested against the misuse of this passage by men who have doubted whether those who, after receiving the knowledge of the truth, fall under temptation, can again receive forgiveness; but the difficulty has been met by hazardous expedients. Some have denied that Hebrews 6:4-5 necessarily describe real Christian experience. By others it has been held that “impossible” was not intended to express more than the great difficulty of the attempt; others, again, have believed that in Hebrews 6:6 the writer brings before us a supposed case only, one that cannot really occur. The passage, together with Hebrews 10:26-29, Matthew 12:32, 1John 5:16 (see the Notes), occupied an important place in early controversies, as those of the Montanists and Novatians, who refused absolution to those who, after baptism—or, in the language of the early Church, after “illumination” (Hebrews 6:4)—fell into heinous sin.

Hebrews 6:6. If they fall away — Literally, and have fallen away. The preceding participles, φωτισθεντας, γευσαμενους, and γενηθεντας, being aorists, says Macknight, “are rightly rendered by our translators in the past time; who were enlightened, have tasted, were made partakers; wherefore παραπεσοντας, being also an aorist, ought to have been translated in the past time, have fallen away. Nevertheless our translators, (following Beza, who, without any authority from ancient MSS., has inserted in his version the word si, if,) have rendered this clause, if they fall away; that this text might not appear to contradict the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. But as no translator should take upon him to add to, or alter the Scriptures, for the sake of any favourite doctrine, I have translated the word in the past time, have fallen away, according to its true import, as standing in connection with the other aorists in the preceding verses.” “Two things,” says Pierce, “are here to be observed: 1st, That he speaks of such only as fell away from the very profession of Christianity. This appears from what he presently adds, to set forth the aggravations of their guilt, that they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame” — That is, show themselves to be of the same mind with those that did crucify him, and would do it again were it in their power; and do all they can to make him contemptible and despised. “It is therefore very unreasonable for persons to give way to despair themselves, or to drive others to it, by applying to other sins this text, which only relates to total apostacy. 2d, As the same thing is spoken of again, Hebrews 10:26, &c., it cannot be improper to compare the two places together, in order to our fully understanding his design. And therefore, from the other place, I would explain this, If they shall, εκουσιως, wilfully, fall away. But it may be inquired why our author speaks so severely of the condition of such apostates. Now the reason of this may be taken partly from the nature of the evidence which they rejected. The fullest and clearest evidence which God ever designed to give of the truth of Christianity, was these miraculous operations of the Spirit; and when men were not only eye-witnesses of these miracles, but were likewise themselves (probably) empowered by the Spirit to work them, and yet after all rejected this evidence, they could have no further or higher evidence whereby they should be convinced; so that their case must, in that respect, appear desperate. This may be partly owing to their putting themselves out of the way of conviction. If they could not see enough to settle them in the Christian religion, while they made a profession of it, much less were they like to meet with any thing new to convince and reclaim them, when they had taken up an opposite profession, and joined themselves with the inveterate enemies of Christianity. And finally, this may be resolved into the righteous judgment of God against such men for the heinous and aggravated wickedness of which they are guilty.”6:1-8 Every part of the truth and will of God should be set before all who profess the gospel, and be urged on their hearts and consciences. We should not be always speaking about outward things; these have their places and use, but often take up too much attention and time, which might be better employed. The humbled sinner who pleads guilty, and cries for mercy, can have no ground from this passage to be discouraged, whatever his conscience may accuse him of. Nor does it prove that any one who is made a new creature in Christ, ever becomes a final apostate from him. The apostle is not speaking of the falling away of mere professors, never convinced or influenced by the gospel. Such have nothing to fall away from, but an empty name, or hypocritical profession. Neither is he speaking of partial declinings or backslidings. Nor are such sins meant, as Christians fall into through the strength of temptations, or the power of some worldly or fleshly lust. But the falling away here mentioned, is an open and avowed renouncing of Christ, from enmity of heart against him, his cause, and people, by men approving in their minds the deeds of his murderers, and all this after they have received the knowledge of the truth, and tasted some of its comforts. Of these it is said, that it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. Not because the blood of Christ is not sufficient to obtain pardon for this sin; but this sin, in its very nature, is opposite to repentance and every thing that leads to it. If those who through mistaken views of this passage, as well as of their own case, fear that there is no mercy for them, would attend to the account given of the nature of this sin, that it is a total and a willing renouncing of Christ, and his cause, and joining with his enemies, it would relieve them from wrong fears. We should ourselves beware, and caution others, of every approach near to a gulf so awful as apostacy; yet in doing this we should keep close to the word of God, and be careful not to wound and terrify the weak, or discourage the fallen and penitent. Believers not only taste of the word of God, but they drink it in. And this fruitful field or garden receives the blessing. But the merely nominal Christian, continuing unfruitful under the means of grace, or producing nothing but deceit and selfishness, was near the awful state above described; and everlasting misery was the end reserved for him. Let us watch with humble caution and prayer as to ourselves.If they shall fall away - literally, "and having fallen away." "There is no if in the Greek in this place - "having fallen away." Dr. John P. Wilson. It is not an affirmation that any had actually fallen away, or that in fact they would do it; but the statement is, that "on the supposition that they had fallen away," it would be impossible to renew them again. It is the same as supposing a case which in fact might never occur: as if we should say, "had a man fallen down a precipice it would be impossible to save him," or "had the child fallen into the stream he would certainly have been drowned." But though this literally means, "having fallen away," yet the sense in the connection in which it stands is not improperly expressed by our common translation. The Syriac has given a version which is remarkable, not as a correct translation, but as showing what was the prevailing belief in the time in which it was made, (probably the first or second century), in regard to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. "For it is impossible that they who have been baptized, and who have tasted the gift which is from heaven, and have received the spirit of holiness, and have tasted the good word of God, and the power of the coming age, should again sin, so that they should be renewed again to repentance, and again crucify the Son of God and put him to ignominy."

The word rendered "fall away" means properly "to fall near by anyone;" "to fall in with or meet;" and thus to fall aside from, to swerve or deviate from; and here means undoubtedly to "apostatize from," and implies an entire renunciation of Christianity, or a going back to a state of Judaism, paganism, or sin. The Greek word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is material to remark here that the apostle does not say that any true Christian ever had fallen away. He makes a statement of what would occur on the supposition that such a thing should happen - but a statement may be made of what would occur on the supposition that a certain thing should take place, and yet it be morally certain that the event never would happen. It would be easy to suppose what would happen if the ocean should overflow a continent, or if the sun should cease to rise, and still there be entire certainty that such an event never would occur.

To renew them again - Implying that they had been before renewed, or had been true Christians. The word "again" - πάλιν palin - supposes this; and this passage, therefore, confirms the considerations suggested above, showing that they were true Christians who were referred to. They had once repented, but it would be impossible to bring them to this state "again." This declaration of course is to be read in connection with the first clause of Hebrews 6:4, "It is impossible to renew again to repentance those who once were true Christians should they fall away." I know of no declaration more unambiguous than this. It is a positive declaration. It is not that it would be very difficult to do it; or that it would be impossible for man to do it, though it might be done by God; it is an unequivocal and absolute declaration that it would be utterly impracticable that it should be done by anyone, or by any means; and this, I have no doubt, is the meaning of the apostle. Should a Christian fall from grace, he "must perish." he never could be saved. The reason of this the apostle immediately adds.

Seeing - This word is not in the Greek, though the sense is expressed. The Greek literally is, "having again crucified to themselves the Son of God." The "reason" here given is, that the crime would be so great, and they would so effectually exclude themselves from the only plan of salvation, that they could not be saved. There is but one way of salvation. Having tried that, and then renounced it, how could they then be saved? The case is like that of a drowning man. If there was but one plank by which he could be saved, and he should get on that and then push it away and plunge into the deep, he must die. Or if there was but one rope by which the shore could be reached from a wreck, and he should cut that and cast it off, he must die. Or if a man were sick, and there was but one kind of medicine that could possibly restore him, and he should deliberately dash that away, he must die. So in religion. There is "but one" way of salvation. If a man deliberately rejects that, he must perish.

They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh - Our translators have rendered this as if the Greek were - ἀνασταυροῦντας πάλιν anastaurountas palin - "crucify again," and so it is rendered by Chrysostom, by Tyndale, Coverdale, Beza, Luther, and others. But this is not properly the meaning of the Greek. The word ἀνασταυρόω anastauroō - is an "intensive" word, and is employed instead of the usual word "to crucify" only to denote "emphasis." It means that such an act of apostasy would be equivalent to crucifying him in an aggravated manner. Of course this is to be taken "figuratively." It could not be literally true that they would thus crucify the Redeemer. The meaning is, that their conduct would be "as if" they had crucified him; it would bear a strong resemblance to the act by which the Lord Jesus was publicly rejected and condemned to die. The act of crucifying the Son of God was the great crime which outpeers any other deed of human guilt. Yet the apostle says that should they who had been true Christians fall away and reject him, they would be guilty of a similar crime. It would be a public and solemn act of rejecting him. It would show that if they had been there they would have joined in the cry "crucify him, crucify him." The "intensity and aggravation" of such a crime perhaps the apostle meant to indicate by the intensive or emphatic ἀνὰ ana in the word ἀνασταυροῦντας anastaurountas. Such an act would render their salvation impossible, because:

(1) the crime would be aggravated beyond that of those who rejected him and put him to death - for they knew not what they did; and,

(2) because it would be a rejection of the only possible plan of salvation after they had had experience of its power and known its efficacy.

The phrase "to themselves," Tyndale readers, "as concerning themselves." Others, "as far as in them lies," or as far as they have ability to do. Others, "to their own heart." Probably Grotius has suggested the true sense. "They do it for themselves. They make the act their own. It is as if they did it themselves; and they are to he regarded as having done the deed." So we make the act of another our own when we authorize it beforehand, or approve of it after it is done.

And put him to an open shame - Make him a public example; or hold him up as worthy of death on the cross; see the same word explained in the notes on Matthew 1:19, in the phrase "make her a public example." The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Their apostasy and rejection of the Saviour would be like holding him up publicly as deserving the infamy and ignominy of the cross. A great part of the crime attending the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, consisted in exhibiting him to the passing multitude as deserving the death of a malefactor. Of that sin they would partake who should reject him, for they would thus show that they regarded his religion as an imposture, and would in a public manner hold him up as worthy only of rejection and contempt. Such, it seems to me, is the fair meaning of this much-disputed passage - a passage which would never have given so much perplexity if it had not been supposed that the obvious interpretation would interfere with some prevalent articles of theology. The passage "proves" that if true Christians should apostatize, it would be impossible to renew and save them. If then it should be asked whether I believe that any true Christian ever did, or ever will fall from grace, and wholly lose his religion, I would answer unhesitatingly, no! (compare the John 10:27-28 notes; Romans 8:38-39 notes; Galatians 6:4 note.) If then it be asked what was the use of a warning like this, I:answer:

(1) it would show the great sin of apostasy from God if it were to occur. It is proper to state the greatness of an act of sin, though it might never occur, in order to show how it would be regarded by God.

(2) such a statement might be one of the most effectual means of preserving from apostasy. To state that a fall from a precipice would cause certain death, would be one of the most certain means of preserving one from falling; to affirm that arsenic would be certainly fatal, is one of the most effectual means of preventing its being taken; to know that fire certainly destroys, is one of the most sure checks from the danger. Thousands have been preserved from going over the Falls of Niagara by knowing that there would be no possibility of escape; and so effectual has been this knowledge that it has preserved all from such a catastrophe, except the very few who have gone over by accident. So in religion. The knowledge that apostasy would be fatal, and there could be no hope of being of the danger than all the other means that could be used. If a man believed that it would be an easy matter to be restored again should he apostatize, he would feel little solicitude in regard to it; and it has occurred in fact, that they who suppose that this may occur, have manifested little of the care to walk in the paths of strict religion, which should have been evinced.

(3) it may be added, that the means used by God to preserve his people from apostasy, have been entirely effectual. There is no evidence that one has ever fallen away who was a true Christian, (compare John 10:27-28, and 1 John 2:19); and to the end of the world it will be true that the means which he uses to keep his people from apostasy will not in a single instance fail.

(This view seems not opposed to the doctrine of the saint's perseverance. It professes indeed, to meet the objection usually raised from the passage, if not in a new mode, yet in a mode different from that commonly adopted by orthodox expositors. Admitting that true Christians are intended, it is asserted only, that if they should fall, their recovery would be impossible, It is not said that they ever have fallen or will fall. "The apostle in thus giving judgment on the case, if it should happen, does not declare that it actually does." And as to the use of supposing a case which never can occur, it is argued that means are constantly used to bring about what the decree or determination of God had before rendered certain. These exhortations are the means by which perseverance is secured.

Yet it may be doubted, whether there be anything in the passage to convince us, that the apostle has introduced an "impossible" case. He seems rather to speak of what "might" happen, of which there was "danger." If the reader incline to this view, he will apply the description to professors, and learn from it how far these may go, and yet fall short of the mark. But how would this suit the apostle's design? Well. If "professors" may go "so far," how much is this fact suited to arouse all to vigilance and inquiry. We, notwithstanding our gifts and "apparent" graces, may not be "true" Christians, may, therefore, not be "secure," may fall away and sink, under the doom of him whom it is impossible to renew. And he must be a very exalted Christian indeed, who does not occasionally find need of inquiry, and examination of evidences. Certainly, the whole passage may be explained in perfect consistency with this application of it.

continued...

6. If—Greek, "And (yet) have fallen away"; compare a less extreme falling or declension, Ga 5:4, "Ye are fallen from grace." Here an entire and wilful apostasy is meant; the Hebrews had not yet so fallen away; but he warns them that such would be the final result of retrogression, if, instead of "going on to perfection," they should need to learn again the first principles of Christianity (Heb 6:1).

to renew them again—They have been "once" (Heb 6:4) already renewed, or made anew, and now they need to be "renewed" over "again."

crucify to themselves the Son of God—"are crucifiying to themselves" Christ, instead of, like Paul, crucifying the world unto them by the cross of Christ (Ga 6:14). So in Heb 10:29, "trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith … sanctified, an unholy thing." "The Son of God," marking His dignity, shows the greatness of their offense.

put him to an open shame—literally, "make a public example of" Him, as if He were a malefactor suspended on a tree. What the carnal Israel did outwardly, those who fall away from light do inwardly, they virtually crucify again the Son of God; "they tear him out of the recesses of their hearts where He had fixed His abode and exhibit Him to the open scoffs of the world as something powerless and common" [Bleek in Alford]. The Montanists and Novatians used this passage to justify the lasting exclusion from the Church of those who had once lapsed. The Catholic Church always opposed this view, and readmitted the lapsed on their repentance, but did not rebaptize them. This passage implies that persons may be in some sense "renewed," and yet fall away finally; for the words, "renew again," imply that they have been, in some sense, not the full sense, ONCE RENEWED by the Holy Ghost; but certainly not that they are "the elect," for these can never fall away, being chosen unto everlasting life (Joh 10:28). The elect abide in Christ, hear and continuously obey His voice, and do not fall away. He who abides not in Christ, is cast forth as a withered branch; but he who abides in Him becomes more and more free from sin; the wicked one cannot touch him; and he by faith overcomes the world. A temporary faith is possible, without one thereby being constituted one of the elect (Mr 4:16, 17). At the same time it does not limit God's grace, as if it were "impossible" for God to reclaim even such a hardened rebel so as yet to look on Him whom he has pierced. The impossibility rests in their having known in themselves once the power of Christ's sacrifice, and yet now rejecting it; there cannot possibly be any new means devised for their renewal afresh, and the means provided by God's love they now, after experience of them, deliberately and continuously reject; their conscience being served, and they "twice dead" (Jude 12), are now past hope, except by a miracle of God's grace. "It is the curse of evil eternally to propagate evil" [Tholuck]. "He who is led into the whole (?) compass of Christian experiences, may yet cease to abide in them; he who abides not in them, was, at the very time when he had those objective experiences, not subjectively true to them; otherwise there would have been fulfilled in him, "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance" (Mt 13:12), so that he would have abided in them and not have fallen away" [Tholuck]. Such a one was never truly a Spirit-led disciple of Christ (Ro 8:14-17). The sin against the Holy Ghost, though somewhat similar, is not identical with this sin; for that sin may be committed by those outside the Church (as in Mt 12:24, 31, 32); this, only by those inside.

If they shall fall away; a falling away, or apostatizing, in proportion like Adam, such a paraptwma as his was, Romans 5:15-17, whereby they are totally unchristianed, as he was turned into a sinner; perfidiously revolting from all those supernatural workings of the Holy Ghost, whereby their natural spirit was elevated, but not changed, unto their old swinish and canine temper of spirit and course of life that they led before they professed themselves Christians, as 2 Peter 2:18-22. They freely forsake their professed Christian state, and make shipwreck of all; Judges 1:4,10,16,18,19. Whether palin, again, ought to be referred to falling away, so as to denominate the apostate no Christian, as he was at first, before his profession, or to renewing following, it makes no difficulty, for it is a real truth in both parts; only interpreters generally refer it to the latter, as do ours, and so we shall consider it.

To renew them again unto repentance; they cannot renew and bring themselves to the same state they enjoyed, and from which they fell; nor can the Christian ministry do it by their exhortations or counsels, thunders or comforts; the offended, wronged Spirit withdraws, and will not assist or elevate theirs to act above nature again, Genesis 6:3 Isaiah 63:10; but leaves them justly to themselves, so as he will neither by himself, nor by others, suffer it to be done having limited his power by his will in it. They shall neither have a new principle infused into them, nor their minds or hearts changed by him to repentance, because they have undervalued his lower operations and motions on their souls, revealing Christ to them through the gospel, and have by their sinful negligence not improved them to seek from him the better and higher ones which he mentions, Hebrews 6:9,10, and were to be effected by the exceeding greatness of his power.

Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh: that which renders this renovation of them impossible, is their ill treatment, by their apostacy, of their Redeemer, who was to bring them as children to glory, which they by the gospel knew, and by profession owned him ascended and sat down on the right hand of God, and who had, by the operation of his Spirit, elevated their natural principles so to discern him, and to confess him: by this their apostacy they look on him as an impostor and deceiver, as 2 Peter 2:1 Judges 1:4, and deny him to be a Saviour to them, rejecting his sacrifice, and would, as much as in them lieth, dethrone him, and, if he were within their reach, would crucify him again, and tread him under their feet, as Hebrews 10:29, and actually do it to him in his members; as the apostate Julian did in former ages, and the papists do at this day.

And put him to an open shame; paradeigmatizontav, making him a public shameful example, as the Jews did by the most cruel and ignominious death, with all their reproachful carriages to him then, which he despised, Hebrews 12:2, and in which his are to imitate him, Hebrews 13:13: so do these apostates verbally and practically blaspheme and disgrace him; in their esteem vilifying him, and by their apostacy put him to an open and public ignominy, and make him a spectacle of the vilest reproach, as if they could find no good in him, and therefore renounced him; and this to the condemning and destroying of themselves, since they cannot repent, Christ having not purchased it for, nor God promised it to, any such: so as by the law of his kingdom their sin is irremissible, the blood of Christ, that could only remove it, being profaned and trampled on by it, and so their final destruction unavoidable. If they shall fall away,.... This is not supposed of true believers, as appears from Hebrews 6:9 nor is it to be supposed of them that they may fall totally and finally; they may indeed fall, not only into afflictions and temptations, but into sin; and from a lively and comfortable exercise of grace, and from a degree of steadfastness in the Gospel; but not irrecoverably: for they are held and secured by a threefold cord, which can never be broken; by God the Father, who has loved them with an everlasting love, has chosen them in Christ, secured them in the covenant of grace, keeps them by his power, has given them grace, and will give them glory; and by the Son, who has undertook for them, redeemed and purchased them, prays and makes preparations in heaven for them, they are built on him, united to him, and are his jewels, whom he will preserve; and by the Holy Ghost, whose grace is incorruptible, whose personal indwelling is for ever, who himself is the earnest and seal of the heavenly inheritance, and who having begun, will finish the good work of grace: but falling away, so as to perish, may be supposed, and is true of many professors of religion; who may fall from the profession of the Gospel they have made, and from the truth of it, and into an open denial of it; yea, into an hatred and persecution of what they once received the external knowledge of; and so shall fall short of heaven, and into condemnation: for,

to renew them again unto repentance, is a thing impossible: by "repentance" is meant, not baptism of repentance; nor admission to a solemn form of public repentance in the church; nor a legal repentance, but an evangelical one: and so to be "renewed" unto it is not to be baptized again, or to be restored anew to the church by repentance, and absolution; but must be understood either of renovation of the soul, in order to repentance; or of the reforming of the outward conversation, as an evidence of it; or of a renewing of the exercise of the grace of repentance and to be renewed "again" to repentance does not suppose that persons may have true repentance and lose it; for though truly penitent persons may lose the exercise of this grace for a time, yet the grace itself can never be lost: moreover, these apostates before described had only a show of repentance, a counterfeit one; such as Cain, Pharaoh, and Judas had; and consequently, the renewing of them again to repentance, is to that which they only seemed to have, and to make pretensions unto; now to renew them to a true repentance, which they once made a profession of, the apostle says is a thing "impossible": the meaning of which is not only that it is difficult; or that it is rare and unusual; or that it is unsuitable and improper; but it is absolutely impossible: it is impossible to these men to renew themselves to repentance; renovation is the work of the Holy Ghost, and not of man; and repentance is God's gift, and not in man's power; and it is impossible for ministers to renew them, to restore and bring them back, by true repentance; yea, it is impossible to God himself, not through any impotence in him, but from the nature of the sin these men are guilty of; for by the high, though outward attainments they arrive unto, according to the description of them, their sin is the sin against the Holy Ghost, for which no sacrifice can be offered up, and of which there is no remission, and so no repentance; for these two go together, and for which prayer is not to be made; see Matthew 12:32 and chiefly because to renew such persons to repentance, is repugnant to the determined will of God, who cannot go against his own purposes and resolutions; and so the Jews (l) speak of repentance being withheld by God from Pharaoh, and, from the people of Israel; of which they understand Exodus 9:16 and say, that when the holy blessed God withholds repentance from a sinner, , "he cannot repent"; but must die in his wickedness which he first committed of his own will; and they further observe (m), that he that profanes the name of God has it not in his power to depend on repentance, nor can his iniquity be expiated on the day of atonement, or be removed by chastisement:

seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh; who is truly and properly God, begotten of the Father, and of the same nature with him, in whom he greatly delights; this is Christ's highest name and title; and it was for asserting himself to be the Son of God that he was crucified; and his being so puts an infinite virtue in his sufferings and death; and it heightens the sin of the Jews, and of these apostates, in crucifying him. He was once crucified, and it is both impossible and unnecessary that he should be, properly speaking, "crucified afresh", or "again"; it is impossible, because he is risen from the dead, and will never die more; it is unnecessary, because he has finished and completed what he suffered the death of the cross for; but men may be said to crucify him again, when, by denying him to be the Son of God, they justify the crucifixion of him on that account; and when they lessen and vilify the virtue of his blood and sacrifice; and when both by errors and immoralities they cause him to be blasphemed, and evil spoken of; and when they persecute him in his members: and this may be said to be done "to themselves afresh"; not that Christ was crucified for them before, but that they now crucify him again, as much as in them lies; or "with themselves", in their own breasts and minds, and to their own destruction. Now this being the case, it makes their renewal to repentance impossible; because, as before observed, the sin they commit is unpardonable; it is a denial of Christ, who gives repentance; and such who sin it must arrive to such hardness of heart as to admit of no repentance; and it is just with God to give up such to a final impenitence, as those, who knowingly and out of malice and envy crucified Christ, had neither pardon nor repentance; and besides, this sin of denying Christ to be the Son of God, and Saviour of men, after so much light and knowledge, precludes the way of salvation, unless Christ was to be crucified again, which is impossible; for so the Syriac version connects this clause with the word "impossible", as well as a foregoing one, rendering it, "it is impossible to crucify the Son of God again, and to put him to shame"; and so the Arabic version. Christ was put to open shame at the time of his apprehension, prosecution, and crucifixion; and so he is by such apostates, who, was he on earth, would treat him in the same manner the Jews did; and who do traduce him as an impostor and a deceiver, and give the lie to his doctrines, and expose him by their lives, and persecute him in his saints.

(l) Maimon. Hilchot. Teshuba, c. 6. sect. 3.((m) Vid. R. David Kimchi in Isaiah 22.14.

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they {d} crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

(d) As men that hate Christ, and as though they crucified him again, making a mockery of him to all the world, to their own destruction, as Julian the Apostate or backslider did.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 6:6. Καὶ παραπεσόντας] and (in spite of this) have fallen, i.e. have fallen away again from Christianity.

πάλιν] belongs to ἀνακαινίζειν. The taking of the same with παραπεσόντας (Heinsius, Alting, Peirce, and others) has the position of the word against it. A pleonasm, however (Grotius), is not produced by πάλιν along with the ἀνα in ἀνακαινίζειν. For ἀνα marks out the becoming new as a change ensuing, in opposition to the preceding state of the old man; whereas πάλιν has reference to the fact that the class of men described have already experienced that change, namely, at their first conversion.

ἀνακαινίζειν] to renew, to fashion inwardly new. To supplement an ἑαυτούς to the verb (Erasmus, Vatablus, al.), according to which the preceding accusatives of the object would be changed into accusatives of the subject, is arbitrary.

εἰς μετάνοιαν] not equivalent to διὰ μετανοίας (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Zeger, Corn, a Lapide), but under the form of conception of the result: in such wise that change of mind or repentance should arise therefrom.

ἀνασταυροῦντας κ.τ.λ.] since they, etc. Note of cause to ἀδύνατον ἀνακαινίζειν. The impossibility of the renewal is explained by the magnitude of the culpability. By their action such men bear witness that the Son of God is in their estimation a transgressor and deceiver who has been justly crucified.

The compound form ἀνασταυροῦν occurs with classic writers only in the sense of “nailing up to the cross.” Comp. L. Bos, Exercitatt., and Wetstein ad loc. In itself, however, the explanation is equally admissible: “crucify afresh.” Thus it is accordingly taken without questioning by the Greek interpreters, and probably was so meant by the author.

ἑαυτοῖς] Dativus incommodi: to their own judgment. Vatablus: in suam ipsorum perniciem. Too weak, Bleek,—to whom Delitzsch, Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 769), and Alford give in their adhesion,—“they crucify Him to themselves, in so far as, by that crucifying again, they rob Him of themselves, who were in His possession.” False is the interpretation of Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Jac. Cappellus, Limborch, Böhme, Bisping: as much as in them lies, ὅσον τὸ ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῖς; Heinrichs: each one for himself; Schulz: by themselves [by their own act]; Grotius, Abresch, Tholuck, explaining by the supposition of the so-called Dativus localis: in themselves; Hofmann: as regards their own persons; Klee: to their contentment; Stengel: to the joy and pleasure of their obdurate heart; Kurtz: to the gratification of their hatred or their enmity against Him. Over refinedly Bengel and Delitzsch: sibi, as an opposition to παραδειγματίζοντας, ostentantes, sc. aliis.

τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ] A more palpable manifestation of the enormity of the crime than would have been the case had he written τὸν Χριστόν or Ἰησοῦν. Comp. Hebrews 10:29.

παραδειγματίζειν] to expose to scorn and insult; here, inasmuch as the death of the cross was a shameful one. παραδειγματίζειν stronger than the simple δειγματίζειν, Matthew 1:19.

Concluding remarks on Hebrews 6:4-6.

The declaration of Hebrews 6:4-6 has been of importance for the controversy of the early church, as to the question whether those who relapsed from the gospel renounced for ever the hope of salvation, or whether by means of sincere repentance they might once more attain to a state of salvation. The rigoristic view was especially maintained by the Montanists and Novatianists; and already Tertullian, de Pudicitia, c. 20, appeals to our passage in favour thereof. In opposition to this view, another sense was universally put upon the passage in the orthodox church from the time of the fourth century. The words were interpreted of an impossibility of imparting a second time the baptism once administered, and the consequent condemnable character of such an act, in that according to a later usus loguendi (first met with in Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 62, 65) they took φωτίζειν to be a designation of baptism, referred ἀνακαινίζειν εἰς μετάνοιαν to the repetition of baptism, and in ἀνασταυροῦντας κ.τ.λ. found the indication of that which such repetition would produce or involve. (Comp. e.g. Theodoret: Τῶν ἄγαν ἀδυνάτων, φησίν, τοὺς τῷ παναγίῳ προσεληλυθότας βαπτίσματι καὶ τῆς τοῦ θείου πνεύματος χάριτος μετειληφότας καὶ τῶν αἰωνίων ἀγαθῶν-g0- δεξαμένους-g0- τὸν-g0- τύπον-g0- αὖθις-g0- προσελθεῖν-g0- καὶ-g0- τυχεῖν-g0- ἑτέρου-g0- βαπτίσματος-g0-. Τοῦτο-g0- γὰρ-g0- οὐδέν-g0- ἐστιν-g0- ἕτερον-g0-, ἤ-g0- πάλιν-g0- τὸν-g0- υἱὸν-g0- τοῦ-g0- θεοῦ-g0- τῷ-g0- σταυρῷ-g0- προσηλῶσαι-g0- καὶ-g0- τὴν-g0- γεγενημένην-g0- ἀτιμίαν-g0- πάλιν-g0- αὐτῷ-g0- προσάψαι-g0-. Ὥσπερ-g0- γὰρ-g0- ἅπαξ-g0- τὸ-g0- πάθος-g0- αὐτὸς-g0- ὑπέμεινεν-g0-, οὕτω-g0- καὶ-g0- ἡμᾶς-g0- ἅπαξ-g0- αὐτῷ-g0- προσήκει-g0- κοινωνῆσαι-g0- τοῦ-g0- πάθους-g0-. Συνθαπτόμεθα-g0- δὲ-g0- αὐτῷ-g0- διὰ-g0- τοῦ-g0- βαπτίσματος-g0- καὶ-g0- συνανιστάμεθα-g0-. Οὐχ-g0- οἷόν-g0- τε-g0- οὖν-g0- ἡμᾶς-g0- πάλιν-g0- ἀπολαῦσαι-g0- τῆς-g0- τοῦ-g0- βαπτίσματος-g0- δωρεᾶς-g0-. Χριστὸς-g0- γὰρ-g0- ἀναστὰς-g0- ἐκ-g0- νεκρῶν-g0- οὐκ-g0- ἔτι-g0- ἀποθνήσκει-g0-, θάνατος-g0- αὐτοῦ-g0- οὐκ-g0- ἔτι-g0- κυριεύει-g0-. Ὃ-g0- γὰρ-g0- ἀπέθανε-g0-, τῇ-g0- ἁμαρτίᾳ-g0- ἀπέθανεν-g0- ἐφάπαξ-g0-, ὃ-g0- δὲ-g0- ζῇ-g0-, ζῇ-g0- τῷ-g0- θεῷ-g0-. Καὶ-g0- ἡμῶν-g0- δὲ-g0- ὁ-g0- παλαιὸς-g0- ἄνθρωπος-g0- συνεσταυρώθη-g0- ἐν-g0- τῷ-g0- βαπτίσματι-g0-, τοῦ-g0- θανάτου-g0- τὸν-g0- τύπον-g0- δεξάμενος.) That this interpretation, which is still followed among later expositors by Faber Stapulensis, Clarius, and Calmet, is a wrong one, is now generally admitted. The justification, however, of this passage, which furnished to Luther a determining reason for denying to the epistle canonicity in the narrower sense (see the Introduction, p. 18), is afforded by the fact that—as is also pointed out, Hebrews 10:26-31—the author is speaking not of a falling away in general, but of a clearly defined falling away, i.e., as is rightly urged by Calvin, Beza, Jac. Cappellus, Estius, Seb. Schmidt, Peirce, Carpzov, Tholuck, Ebrard, Bisping, Delitzsch, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 341 f. 2 Aufl.), Maier, and others, those Christians are described who commit the sin against the Holy. Ghost (Matthew 12:31 f.; Mark 3:28 f.; Luke 12:10), or the ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον (1 John 5:16). For Christians are described who fall away, not, e.g., from mere weakness, from a mere wavering of conviction, but in spite of a better knowledge, and in spite of having experienced the treasures of grace in Christianity; Christians who, according to the parallel passage, Hebrews 10:26 ff., against their better consciousness and conscience, tread under foot the Son of God as though He were a deceiver, brand His blood shed for redemption as the blood of a transgressor, and scoff at the Spirit of grace as a spirit of falsehood. In regard to men of this kind, the ἀδύνατον πάλιν ἀνακαινίζειν εἰς μετάνοιαν is employed in its full right, since with them there must be inwardly wanting every kind of receptiveness or receptibility for the μετάνοια. The reference of the declaration to the sin against the Holy Ghost is, moreover, so much the more unquestionable, inasmuch as the author by no means says that the readers have already committed it, but, on the contrary, only sets at once before their eyes as a terrible warning the extreme length to which their conduct may lead them.Hebrews 6:6. καὶ παραπεσόντας, “and fell away,” i.e., from the condition depicted by the preceding participles; “grave verbum subito occurrens” (Bengel). The word in classical Greek has the meaning “fall in with” or “fall upon”; in Polybius, “to fall away from,” “to err,” followed by τ. ὁδοῦ, τ. ἀληθείας, τ. καθήκοντος; also absolutely “to err”. In the Greek fathers the lapsed are called οἱ παραπεπτωκότες or οἱ παραπεσόντες. The full meaning of the word is given in ὑποστολῆς εἰς ἀπώλειαν of Hebrews 10:39. The translation of the A.V. and early English versions “if they shall fall away,” although accused of dogmatic bias, is justifiable. It is a hypothesis that is here introduced. Thus far the writer has accumulated expressions which present the picture of persons who have not merely professed the Christian faith but have enjoyed rich experience of its peculiar and characteristic influence, but now a word is introduced which completely alters the picture. They have enjoyed all these things, but the last thing to be said of them is that they have “fallen from” their former state. The writer describes a condition which he considers possible. And of persons realising this possibility he says ἀδύνατονπάλιν ἀνακαινίζειν εἰς μετάνοιαν, “it is impossible to renew [them] again to repentance,” “impossible,” not “difficult” [as in the Graeco-Latin Codex Claromontanus, “difficile”]; impossible not only to a teacher, but to God, for in every case of renewal it is God who is the Agent. [Bengel says “hominibus est impossibile, non Deo,” and that therefore the ministers of God must leave such persons to Him and wait for what God may accomplish “per singulares afflictiones et operationes”. But cf. Hebrews 10:26-31.] πάλιν ἀνακαινίζειν, πάλιν is not pleonastic, but denotes that those who have once experienced ἀνακαινισμός cannot again have a like experience. It suggests that the word ἀνακαιν. involves, or naturally leads on to, all that is expressed in the participles under ἅπαξ from φωτισθέντας to αἰῶνος of Hebrews 6:5. A renewed person is one who is enlightened, tastes the heavenly gift, and so on. But as the first stone in the foundation was μετάνοια (Hebrews 6:1), so here the first manifestation of renewal is in μετάνοια. The persons described cannot again be brought to a life-changing repentance—a statement which opens one of the most important psychological problems. The reason this writer assigns for the impossibility is given in the words ἀνασταυροῦνταςπαραδειγματίζοντας, “crucifying [or “seeing that they crucify”] to themselves the Son of God, and putting Him to open shame”. Edwards understands these participles as putting a hypothetical case, and renders “they cannot be renewed after falling away if they persist in crucifying, etc.”. This, however, reduces the statement to a vapid truism, and, although grammatically admissible, does not agree with the οὐκέτι of the parallel passage in Hebrews 10:26. The mitigation of the severity of the statement is rather to be sought in the enormity and therefore rarity of the sin described, which is equivalent to the deliberate and insolent rejection of Christ alluded to in Hebrews 10:26; Hebrews 10:29, and the suicidal blasphemy alluded to in Mark 3:29. On the doctrine of the passage, see Harless, Ethics, c. 29. In classical and later Greek the word for “crucify” is not σταυρόω (of which Stephanus cites only one example, and that from Polybius), but ἀνασταυροῦν, so that the ἀνα does not mean “again” or “afresh,” but refers to the lifting up on the cross, as in ἀναρτάω or ἀνασκολοπίζω. In the N.T. no doubt σταυρόω is uniformly used, but never in this Epistle; and it was inevitable that a Hellenist would understand ἀνασταυρ. in its ordinary meaning. There is no ground therefore for the translation of the Vulg. “rursum crucifigentes,” although it is so commonly followed. Besides, any crucifixion by the Hebrews [ἑαυτοῖς] must have been a fresh crucifixion, and needs no express indication of that feature of it. The significance of ἑαυτοῖς seems to be “so far as they are concerned,” not “to their own judgment” or “to their own destruction”. The apostate crucifies Christ on his own account by virtually confirming the judgment of the actual crucifiers, declaring that he too has made trial of Jesus and found Him no true Messiah but a deceiver, and therefore worthy of death. The greatness of the guilt in so doing is aggravated by the fact that apostates thus treat τὸν υἱὸν τ. Θεοῦ, cf. Hebrews 10:29. καὶ παραδειγματίζοντας, the verb is found in Numbers 25:4, where it implies exposing to ignominy or infamy, such as was effected in barbarous times by exposing the quarters of the executed criminal, or leaving him hanging in chains. Archilochus, says Plutarch (Moral., 520), rendered himself infamous, ἑαυτὸν παρεδειγ., by writing obscene verses. The verb is therefore a strong expression; “put Him to open shame” excellently renders it. “This was the crime the Hebrew Christians were tempted to commit. A fatal step it must be when taken; for men who left the Christian Church and went back to the synagogue became companions of persons who thought they did God service in cursing the name of Jesus” (Bruce).6. if they shall fall away] This is one of the most erroneous translations in the A.V. The words can only mean “and have fallen away” (comp. Hebrews 2:1, Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 10:26; Hebrews 10:29), and the position of the participle gives it tremendous force. It was once thought that our translators had here been influenced by theological bias to give such a rendering as should least conflict with their Calvinistic belief in the “indefectibility of grace” or in “Final Perseverance”—i.e. that no converted person, no one who has ever become regenerate, and belonged to the number of “the elect”—can ever fall away. It was thought that, for this reason, they had put this clause in the form of a mere hypothesis. It is now known however that the mistake of our translators was derived from older sources (e.g. Tyndale and the Genevan) and was not due to bias. Calvin was himself far too good a scholar to defend this view of the clause. He attempted to get rid of it by denying that the strong expressions in Hebrews 6:4-5 describe the regenerate. He applies them to false converts or half converts who become reprobate—a view which, as we have seen, is not tenable. The falling away means apostasy, the complete and wilful renunciation of Christianity. Thus it is used by the LXX. to represent the Hebrew mâal which in 2 Chronicles 29:19 they render by “apostasy

to renew them again unto repentance] The verb here used (anakainizein) came to mean “to rebaptise.” If the earlier clauses seemed to clash with the Calvinistic dogma of the “indefectibility of grace,” this expression seemed too severe for the milder theology of the Arminians. Holding—and rightly—that Scripture never closes the door of forgiveness to any repentant sinner, they argued, wrongly, that the “impossible” of Hebrews 6:4 could only mean “very difficult,” a translation which is actually given to the word in some Latin Versions. The solution of the difficulty is not to be arrived at by tampering with plain words. What the author says is that “when those who have tasted the heavenly gift … have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them to repentance.” He does not say that the Hebrews have so fallen away; nor does he directly assert that any true convert can thus fall away; but he does say that when such apostasy occurs and—a point of extreme importance which is constantly overlooked—so long as it lasts (see the next clause) a vital renewal is impossible. There can, he implies, be no second “Second Birth.” The sternness of the passage is in exact accordance with Hebrews 10:26-29 (comp. 1 Peter 2:20-21); but “the impossibility lies merely within the limits of the hypothesis itself.” See our Article xvi.

seeing they crucify] Rather, “while crucifying,” “crucifying as they are doing.” Thus the words imply not only an absolute, but a continuous apostasy, for the participle is changed from the past into the present tense. While men continue in wilful and willing sin they preclude all possibility of the action of grace. So long as they cling deliberately to their sins, they shut against themselves the open door of grace. A drop of water will, as the Rabbis said, suffice to purify a man who has accidentally touched a creeping thing, but an ocean will not suffice for his cleansing so long as he purposely keeps it held in his hand. There is such a thing as “doing despite unto the spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29).

to themselves] This is what is called “the dative of disadvantage”—“to their own destruction.”

We see then that this passage has been perverted in a multitude of ways from its plain meaning, which is, that so long as wilful apostasy continues there is no visible hope for it. On the other hand the passage does not lend itself to the violent oppositions of old controversies. In the recognition that, to our human point of view, there does appear to be such a thing as Divine dereliction this passage and Hebrews 10:26-29, Hebrews 12:15-17 must be compared with the passages which touch on the unpardonable sin, and the sin against the Holy Ghost (1 John 5:16; Matthew 12:31-32; comp. Isaiah 8:21). On the other hand it is as little meant to be “a rock of despair” as “a pillow of security.” He is pointing out to Hebrew Christians with awful faithfulness the fatal end of deliberate and insolent apostasy. But we have no right to suppose that he has anything in view beyond the horizon of revealed possibilities. He is thinking of the teaching and ministry of the Church, not of the Omnipotence of God. With men it is impossible that a camel should go through the eye of a needle, but “with God all things are possible,” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:20-27; Luke 18:27). In the face of sin—above all of deliberate wretchlessness—we must remember that “God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7), and that our human remedies are then exhausted. On the other hand to close the gate of repentance against any contrite sinner is to contradict all the Gospels and all the Epistles alike, as well as the Law and the Prophets.

and put him to an open shame] Expose Him to scorn (comp. Matthew 1:19 where the simple verb is used).Hebrews 6:6. Καὶ παραπεσόντας, and who have fallen away) A word of weighty import, suddenly occurring, strikes us with just terror. It is thus the LXX. translate the Hebrew מעל. He does not merely speak of those relapsing into their former condition, but of those falling away (præterlapsos, lapsing aside) from that entire state of highest glory, and at the same time from faith, hope, and love, into a new species of ruin, Hebrews 6:10, etc.; and that, too, of their own accord; ch. Hebrews 10:26. A fall such as this may be separated from the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, but yet the bitter state of their soul is nearly the same; comp. ch. Hebrews 10:29, note. The apostle does not say, that they to whom he is writing are such as these, but he hints that they may become so. The egg which held and lost the stamina of the chicken is not even fit to be eaten: the man who has lost his faith is in a more deplorable condition than he who never believed.—πάλιν ἀνακαινίζειν, to form anew [renew] again) A renewal (a forming anew) had been already made; therefore πάλιν, again, is added, and it corresponds to the ἅπαξ, once, Hebrews 6:4. But we must particularly observe, that ἀνακαινίζειν, to make anew or renew, is used in the active voice; it is impossible for men, not for GOD. Therefore the apostle undertook the doing of this which he is doing, on this very condition, if GOD permit; Hebrews 6:3, note; Matthew 19:26. [There is a similar admonition, Hebrews 10:26.—V. g.] Men, ministers, have already done for such persons what they could; Titus 3:11. Ministers have a certain measure, and those obstinate persons have gone beyond it in their opposition: it remains for ministers to leave them to GOD, and (whether they in the meantime admonish them more or less, and entertain hopes concerning them) to wait what GOD will give, 2 Timothy 2:25, by means of special afflictions and operations. The Græco-Latin copy, Claromontanus, has in this place ἀδύνατον, ‘difficile.’[40]—ΕἸς ΜΕΤΑΝΟΊΑΝ, unto repentance) He appropriately mentions that, which is first in the foundation, Hebrews 6:1. But the other things are left to be supplied, considered either by themselves or in their effect.—ἀνασταυροῦντας, since they crucify afresh) He has described the subject by former participles: he now subjoins the reason (Ætiology, Append.) of that impossibility. The preposition in ἀνασταυροῦντας signifies upwards in Herodian, but in this passage again, for it is the echo of ἀνὰ in ἈΝΑΚΑΙΝΊΖΕΙΝ. ἙΑΥΤΟῖς, to themselves, which is added, makes an antithesis to παραδειγματίζοντας, making an open showing, viz. to others: see σταυρόω with the same case, Galatians 6:14. From which it is manifest, that he is speaking of those who scoff at Christ from hatred and bitterness of spirit, for the sake of indulging their humour (deliberately and intentionally): truly, if these men had it in their power, they would do to Christ what the Jews did under Pontius Pilate. Those who deny the efficacy of the cross of Christ, which has been already endured, or think that He was justly crucified by the Jews, do the same as if they were to say, that He must still be crucified; Romans 10:6-7.

[40] Vulg. has “impossible.”—ED.If they shall fall away (καὶ πααπεσόντας)

Lit. and having fallen away. Comp. πὲσῃ fall, Hebrews 4:11. Παραπίπτειν, N.T.o. It means to deviate, turn aside. Comp. lxx, Ezekiel 14:13; Ezekiel 15:8.

To renew them again (πὰλιν ἀνακαινίζειν)

The verb N.T.o. Ανακαινοῦν to renew, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10.

Seeing they crucify to themselves - afresh (ἀνασταυροῦντας ἑαυτοῖς)

In the Roman classical use of the word, ἀνά has only the meaning up: to nail up on the cross. Here in the sense of anew, an idea for which classical writers had no occasion in connection with crucifying. Εαυτοῖς for themselves. So that Christ is no more available for them. They declare that Christ's crucifixion has not the meaning or the virtue which they formerly attached to it.

The Son of God

Marking the enormity of the offense.

Put him to an open shame (παραδειγματίζοντας)

N.T.o. Rarely in lxx. Comp. Numbers 25:4, hang them up. From παρὰ beside, δεικνύναι to show or point out. To put something alongside of a thing by way of commending it to imitation or avoidance. To make an example of; thence to expose to public disgrace. Δεῖγμα example, only Jde 1:7. Δειγματίζειν to make a public show or example, Matthew 1:19; Colossians 2:15. See additional note at the end of this chapter.

Additional Note on Hebrews 6:4-6.

The passage has created much discussion and much distress, as appearing to teach the impossibility of restoration after a moral and spiritual lapse. It is to be observed:

(1) That the case stated is that of persons who once knew, loved, and believed Christian truth, and who experienced the saving, animating, and enlightening energy of the Holy Spirit, and who lapsed into indifference and unbelief.

(2) The questions whether it is possible for those who have once experienced the power of the gospel to fall away and be lost, and whether, supposing a lapse possible, those who fall away can ever be restored by repentance - do not belong here. The possibility of a fall is clearly assumed.

continued...

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