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Hebrews 6

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 then have fallen away—to be restored to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame.

1 Corinthians 5

3 Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.b And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church. I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns.

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    This appears to be a theological question, and you're going to get into all sorts of debates that the salvation was never truly lost or regained, etc. I don't see how to resolve these types of ambiguities from scripture alone, given that men of good faith have searched the scriptures and come down on both sides of this issue.
    – Robert
    Aug 21 at 22:06
  • Please choose just one passage to focus on here - presenting two passages makes this a systematic theology question which is off-topic.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 22 at 14:23
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Hebrews 6 deals with a matter of doctrine. This is when someone denies the gospel, intellectually. They reject the truth in favour of another ideology.

There can be no recovery from such a state. It is a matter of the mind. It is what is believed. They have denied the faith.


1 Corinthians 5 was a matter of conduct. The man did something wicked. But later events (see 2 Corinthians) proved that the man had realised his error, recovered from it, repented of his deed, cleared himself of it and was recieved back in love by the assembly.

So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. [2 Corinthians 2:7 KJV]

These two places do not establish anything about 'losing salvation' and 'getting it back'. They deal with two very different situations.

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  • Is correct doctrine a work we do in order to be saved. Must our doctrine be perfect in order to be saved?
    – Dottard
    Aug 21 at 21:55
  • @Dottard That they all might be damned who believed not the truth 2 Thess 2:12. they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thess 2:10.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 21 at 21:58
  • @ Thess 2:10 discusses receiving the LOVE of the truth. So who understands the truth well enough?
    – Dottard
    Aug 21 at 22:01
  • @Dottard when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: John 16:13 KJV
    – Nigel J
    Aug 21 at 22:18
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    @Dottard The problem with believing error is not so much that one has not understood the truth, but that one has refused the truth in order to believe the falsehood. It is the rejection of truth that will cost one salvation, which includes not having learned the truth that was available (rejected opportunity). The Bible teaches that God winks at our ignorance. But God does not wink at our deliberate rejection of truth.
    – Polyhat
    Aug 22 at 14:24
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Some ‘key’ parts to the statement in Hebrews. Let’s looks at these. First, ….“then have fallen away”. The question to ask is fallen away from what?

The first word of the first verse in Hebrews chapter 6 is ‘therefore’. So we need to find out why that’s there for. Chapter 5 is part of Paul’s (?) outline explaining the way the Mosaic covenant dealt with ‘sin, and then the difference the cross made to this.

Now, once they understood this, (were ‘enlightened’), that is, that through the cross that ‘sin’ had been dealt with *once and for all’, (Romans 6:10). But then if you go back to seeking forgiveness for your ‘sin’ via the blood of animals, you are cancelling out, ignoring what you’ve learnt about what Jesus accomplished. It’s like the cross didn’t happen. And if you ‘act’ as if the cross didn’t make a difference, then it’s impossible - “to be restored to repentance”, and if you try, it’s as if “they themselves are crucifying” Jesus again and again, in fact, each time they seek repentance.

The point is that this is not talking about salvation, it’s talking about repentance. As to what part ‘repentance’ plays In salvation is another question, but nevertheless this passage is talking about the how of repentance from sin.

The second passage you quoted (1 Corinthians 5) clearly shows that salvation is not lost via ‘sin’. That man ‘sinned’. All ‘sin’ is in the flesh. He (at that stage) refused to repent, but was ‘covered’ or ‘protected’ by Grace, under the covering of the church. So Paul exercised his authority (because the ‘church leaders’ didn’t) and removed that ‘protection’. Exposing the man’s ‘sin’ to judgement. In the intent that this would lead to repentance. (Which it did, in Paul’s follow up letter he thanked the church for restoring the man back into fellowship.)

But the ‘key’ here is … “*he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns.”. That is, despite his ‘sin’ he was saved, but nevertheless his ‘public sin’ needed to both be seen to be disciplined, and that doing so would be of benefit to the man himself.

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Let's see the context in Hebrews 6:

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.

This was a warning only. It pointed to a hypothetical situation.

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.

This is the only place where the word salvation or saved is being used in Hebrews 6.

What's the point of the earlier starkly negative warning?

To encourage the believers to keep on doing good:

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. 11We 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.

On the other hand, the situation in 1 Corinthians was actual and not hypothetical at all.

1 Corinthians 5:

5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns.

Paul didn't exactly say that this man had lost his salvation. He could be compared to the prodigal son.

Is it possible for someone to have lost salvation and then get it back?

It is important to note that the two situations are completely different. One was hypothetical; the other was actual. Neither passages could resolve this question on losing salvation because they do not particularly address it.

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