There is no question about it, this Sunday's sermon topic from Hebrews 6 is one of the most difficult and weighty that I have had to deal with in my young pastoral career. I have spent countless hours studying this passage and researching the issues surrounding the security of the believer. I have read several books on the subject, listened to several messages by other respected preachers, discussed it with the elders as well as with other friends and mentors and I still feel a bit intimidated (if I'm being honest) at tackling such a subject.
In my study, I have reviewed at least 16 basic (yes, I said 16 and I said basic) ways of interpreting this text. There are two views that are the most common: 1) is the Armenian view that says a once saved person can fall away; hence losing their salvation and be subject to eternal damnation; and 2) the Calvinist view that says you cannot lose your salvation and people who fall away must have not been saved in the first place.
I believe that both of these systems of thinking find themselves in a head on collision at Hebrews 6 and I'm not sure I have found a survivor yet at the scene of the accident. I think both systems of thinking are problematic to what the writer of Hebrews is actually trying convey.
Here's what I think everyone (including me) can agree on: 1) this passage contains a strong warning to maintain an ACTIVE faith in Jesus Christ, 2) God desires that we have an abundant life full of joy and fruitfulness, and 3) we can be sure of our salvation and our relationship with the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So here's my plan for Sunday: I want to be the best teacher I can and offer an explanation of what the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey and then I want to be the best pastor I can by giving us an exhortation and a challenge.