You cannot go anywhere these days without running into a warning label. From “caution, coffee is hot” to “no smoking” while fueling your vehicle we are surrounded by them. So much so that they often become ignored because of over-saturation. But even though these labels are common sense and we often tend to mock them and those who abuse them, they are there for our benefit. And when we ignore them, we do so at our own peril.
The Bible is also full of warning labels. So much so that we often gloss right over them and completely miss the message they convey. But we often don’t take seriously these labels either, despite the fact that the consequences are much more perilous.
One such warning label is found in Hebrews 6:1-8. This passage has received numerous commentaries and each one seems to approach the subject from their own theological position on salvation. I think we need to proceed with caution when doing so because the danger of falling into a state perceptional bias or reading into the text what we want to see is very real. So, I think the best option we have to read it and allow scripture to comment on itself.
Hebrews 6:1-8 - 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit. 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
This passage is coming on the heals of the writer of Hebrews (we’ll just refer to him as the author) telling the recipients at the end of chapter 5 that they should be growing to a point of being teachers, and not just dwelling on the basic principles of their salvation but moving on to the deeper things of what it is to be a Christ follower. He equates this to eating meat vs drinking milk. This then leads into chapter 6 where the author continues the thought in verse 1-2.
1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.