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Let Us Go On

By Arlen L. Chitwood


Chapter Four


Leaving the Principles


Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,


of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.


And this we will do, if God permit (Hebrews 6:1-3).


Hebrews chapter six continues the thought from chapter five having to do with Christians who had become lazy and careless in their spiritual lives, their spiritual growth (v. 11).  They had been saved for a sufficient length of time that they should have been at a mature enough stage in their spiritual growth to be able to teach others.  But such was not the case at all.  Instead, they were still immature babes in Christ who needed to be taught themselves (v. 12).


Actually, according to the text, they had gone backwards in their spiritual growth.  They, at one time, had been taught the elementary truths of the Word.  But, because of the lazy and careless manner in which they had been conducting their spiritual lives, they had “come to need milk and not solid food [KJV: strong meat]”; they were back at that point where they needed someone to again teach themthe first principles of the oracles of God.”


            (Note that proper spiritual living and growth is inseparably connected with and dependent on one thing:  a proper diet of spiritual food that comes from one source alone — from the Word.


            The reason for this is seen in the very nature of the Word.  The Word is inseparably identified with both the Father and His Son — “the Word was God,” “the Word became flesh” [John 1:1, 2, 14].  The Word became flesh in the person of God’s Son, who was/is God manifested in the flesh.


            Accordingly, anything connected with h h true spirituality [spiritual living, growth] cannot exist apart from the Word, for, existing apart from the Word would be synonymous with existing apart from the Father and His Son [along with the Holy Spirit].


            Thus, it is either the Word or nothing.  No middle ground exists.)


The writer of Hebrews wanted to discuss things pertaining to the Melchizedek priesthood with those to whom he was writing, but dealing with them on this basis was completely out of the question.  Things surrounding the Melchizedek priesthood had to do with the “solid food [strong meat]” of the Word, which could be understood only by those who were “of full age [i.e., by mature Christians who had left the milk and had grown to adulthood in spiritual matters through a progressive intake, digestion, and assimilation of solid spiritual food.


These Christians still on milk, as every Christian who partakes only of milk,” were “unskillful in the Word of righteousness.”  Their spiritual perception of matters was of such an immature nature — i.e., their spiritual senses were so insufficiently developed — that distinguishing between that which was correct and that which was incorrect in spiritual matters could only have presented a real problem for them (cf. vv. 13, 14).


One must know and understand the Word of God, else a normal Christian life — one based on that which is taught in the Word — can never follow.  Thus, Hebrews chapter six begins with an exhortation to those in chapter five.  They were exhorted to leave the elementary teachings of the Word and begin building upon the foundation, with a view to spiritual maturity (vv. 1, 2).


Within the overall scope of that which is revealed in Hebrews chapters five through seven, the first two verses in chapter six form a connective.  These two verses, within the complete text, might be thought of as being similar to a conjunction in a sentence, for they connect that which has preceded with that which is about to follow.


Then, following the exhortation to go on to maturity, there is the statement,


            And this we will do [we will go on unto maturity] if God permits [if God permits us to go on to maturity]. (v. 3)


The heart of the third of the five major warnings in Hebrews appears next (vv. 4-6).

Then the writer uses an illustration pertaining to the warning, drawn from nature (vv. 7, 8).


Next he deals with the “hope” that Christians possess and the “salvation” set before Christians, associated with this hope (vv. 9-19; cf. Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; 1 Peter 3:15).

Then he moves full-circle back to the subject of Melchizedek, which had been introduced at the beginning of this section in chapter five (6:20-7:1ff).


The Foundation and Beyond


Hebrews 6:1, 2 enumerates six different realms pertaining to a panorama of biblical doctrine.  And the things listed in these two verses must be understood contextually.  The context has to do with Christian maturity, for a revealed purpose; and that’s exactly where one is led when moving through the six different enumerated areas of biblical doctrine that are set forth in these opening two verses of the sixth chapter.


The six realms listed are introduced by the words,


            Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection [maturity]. (v. 1a)


The “principles” are the “first principles” from verse twelve of the preceding chapter.  These principles have to do with milk rather than solid food, and they are connected with the six enumerated areas of doctrine that immediately follow.


However, the six enumerated areas are not, themselves, part of the foundation.  Rather, it is elementary teachings connected with these six areas of doctrine that have to do with the foundation.  And, going beyond that, teachings connected with these same six areas can move far beyond foundational teachings.  Such teachings can and do — they must, of necessity — move into the realm of the “solid food” referred to in the previous chapter.


There is both the letter and the spirit of the matter, and this would apply to all six of the areas of doctrine listed in Hebrews 6:1, 2 The letter is one thing, but moving out into the spirit, — moving beyond the letter into the spirit in biblical teaching — is something entirely different (ref. Chapter 3 of this book [cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6-18]).  And this is exactly what those in Hebrews 5:11-14 were exhorted to do in Hebrews 6:1, 2.


They were exhorted to leave the foundational teachings (teachings that would begin with the letter) and build upon the foundation (which would, of necessity, have to pertain to things beyond the letter, i.e., to the spirit).  And, whether letter or spirit, the various teachings would still be drawn from the six enumerated areas of biblical doctrine.


These six enumerated areas logically fall into three categories, with an interrelated set in each category.  The Spirit of God has listed them after the fashion in which they appear, in a specific order, for evident, particular reasons; and they should be studied with this overall thought in view, which fits the contextual subject matter perfectly.


Viewing the six areas of biblical doctrine after this fashion, there would be,


1)      “repentance from dead works,” coupled with “faith toward God” (v. 1b).

2)      “doctrine of baptisms,” coupled with a “laying on of hands” (v. 2a).

3)      “resurrection of the dead,” coupled with “eternal judgment” (v. 2b).


And, as will be demonstrated, moving progressively and orderly through the various biblical doctrines in view — seeing and understanding the letter and then the spirit of the matter — will result in a progressive orderly growth toward maturity.


1)      The beginning point concerns repentance and faith.

2)      The middle point has to do with cleansing and identification.

3)      The terminal point centers on teachings concerning the end or goal of that which has preceded.


And within these three categories one will find a complete panorama of biblical truth, beginning with the milk of the Word and terminating with the solid food/strong meat of the Word.


1)  Repentance, Faith


The first thing listed is “repentance from dead works”; but this cannot be separated from the second thing listed, which is “faith toward God.”  The term “dead works” would pertain to the works of a believer performed apart from faith.  Works, in order to be viewed as other than “dead works,” must emanate out of faith (James 2:14ff).


There must first be “faith toward God”; only then can works pleasing and acceptable to God follow, for, without faith,it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).


There can be no acceptable works on the part of an unbeliever, for he cannot exercise “faith toward God” (he must first believe on the Son; only then will he find himself in a position to exercise faith toward the Father).


The believer, on the other hand, is in a position to exercise “faith toward God,” though he may or may not do so.


Should he do so, he can perform works acceptable and pleasing to God in his life (for faith will exist, from which such works can emanate); but should he not do so, he can no more perform works of this nature than the unbeliever can (for faith will not exist; and, resultantly, there can only be “dead works”).


The unbeliever remains “dead in trespasses and sins,” while the believer has “passed from death to life” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1).  Consequently, the believer, unlike the unbeliever, is in a position to perform acceptable works emanating out of faith (faithfulness).  But, as previously stated, he may or may not perform works of this nature, for he may or may not exercise “faith toward God.”


The term “repentance” has to do with a change of mind.  Essentially, looking at the matter from the other end, the Christian, bringing forth “dead works,” is to change his mind relative to “faith toward God.”  His unfaithfulness has resulted in the “dead works”; and he is to change his mind about the matter and exercise “faith,” with a view to other than “dead works” following.


How does a person exercise “faith toward God”?


According to Romans 10:17,


            . . . faith comes by [out of] hearing, and hearing by [through] the Word of   God.”


The words “faith” and “believe” are the same in the Greek text.  The former is a noun and the latter a verb.  They both mean the same thing.  That’s why “believe” (the verb) can be used in John 3:16 (a participle, formed from the verb, in the Greek text) and “faith” (the noun) can be used in Ephesians 2:8, referring to the same thing.


“Faith” is simply believing God, which will result in the person governing his life and actions accordingly.


For the unsaved, it is simply placing one’s trust, reliance in God’s Son.  He is the Savior, He has paid the price that God required, and a person places their trust in Him for salvation.  It’s that simple.


Then once the person has been saved, once he has passed “from death to life,” he is to exercise “faith toward God.”  And a person does that simply through putting his trust, reliance in that which God has to say in His Word.


Thus, it is easy to understand why the unsaved cannot exercise “faith toward God,” for, not having “passed from death to life,” they have no spiritual capacity for such understanding.  They do not have a saved human spirit into which the Word of God can be received; nor do they possess the indwelling Holy Spirit to take this Word and lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13).  They, within the scope of their ability to comprehend and understand the Word of God, can only look upon that which God has to say as “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 2:14).


James 2:14-26 is a central section on “faith and works” in Scripture.  And, within this section, the subject of works emanating out of faithfulness has to do with the saving of the soul (cf. James 1:21; 2:14).  The saving of the soul, in turn, has to do, not with “milk,” but with “solid food [strong meat].”  It has to do with the things surrounding the antitype of Melchizedek from Genesis 14:18, 19, dealt with in Hebrews chapters five through seven.


            (For more information on James 2:14-26, refer to the author’s book, Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 5)


Thus, in this respect, “repentance from dead works” and “faith toward God,” the first of the three categories listed in Hebrews 6:1, 2, carries one through the entirety of the Christian experience — from immaturity to maturity.  “Repentance” and “faith” are fundamental and primary.  And viewing these together is, so to speak, where one must begin.  Consequently, the two are listed first among the three categories.


But a Christian in the race of the faith is not to remain on the starting blocks (Hebrews 12:1, 2; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8).  He, rather, is to move forward in the race, always progressing steadily toward the goal.  And though “repentance” and “faith” are fundamental and primary, they are associated just as much with the end as they are with the beginning.


Thus, insofar as a person going on to maturity is concerned, “repentance” and “faith” have just as much to do with the solid food/strong meat of the Word as they do with the milk of the Word.  It is, as in the words of Romans 1:17,


            . . . from faith to faith [from the beginning to the end — it is all of “faith”]: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (cf. Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 10:36-39;     11:1ff).


2)  Baptisms, Laying on of Hands


The word “baptisms” is, in the Greek text as in the English text, plural in its usage in Hebrews 6:2; and teachings surrounding that which is in view relative to baptisms, along with teachings surrounding that which is in view relative to the laying on of hands, is taken from teachings surrounding God’s dealings with the Israelites in the Old Testament Scriptures.


The word “baptism,” transliterated from the Greek word, baptizo, simply means to dip or to immerse.  And translating the word as “washing” (with the thought of dipping or immersing [in water] in mind [ref. NASB]) would perhaps best convey, to the English reader, that which the writer of Hebrews had in mind.


And to understand what is meant by “washings” in Hebrews 6:2, one must refer back to the rituals performed within the ranks of the Levitical priests who carried on a ministry at the tabernacle on behalf of the people of Israel.  The priests underwent a complete washing, bathing of their bodies, upon their entrance into the priesthood.  This was something that occurred once, never to be repeated.  However, as they subsequently ministered on behalf of the people, there were continual, repeated washings of parts of their bodies — their hands and feet, which repeatedly became soiled in the course of their ministry.


These washings occurred at the laver in the courtyard, which lay between the brazen altar and the Holy Place (Exodus 29:4; 30:18-21; 40:12-15, 30-32).


The typology in view, from this Old Testament account, is where Christ drew His teachings surrounding complete and partial washings when He washed the disciples’ feet in John 13:2-20.  Christ, relative to that which He was doing, used two different words for “wash” when dealing with Peter — louo and nipto.


He used louo relative to washing “the complete body” and nipto relative to washing “a part of the body.”  And, insofar as Peter and the other disciples were concerned, the former had already been performed (never to be repeated), but the latter needed to be performed repeatedly.  And the One doing the cleansing would, of necessity, have to provide this service on a continuous basis.


That is, the disciples had been washed completely once (illustrated by Christ’s use of louo).  They had been saved, justified.  But, following this complete washing, because of their coming in contact with the defilement of the world in which they lived, there was a need for subsequent partial washings (illustrated by Christ’s use of nipto).


The need for partial washings would parallel the defilement experienced by contact with the world.  The disciples were in continuous contact with a world which lay “under the sway of the wicked one” [lit., ‘in the wicked one’ (in Satan, the incumbent ruler)]” (1 John 5:19).  And, because of their contact with the world after this fashion, there would be no possible way that they could keep from becoming defiled at numerous, various times (1 John 1:8-10).  Consequently, there would be a need for cleansing from such contact on a continuous basis.


Christians are New Testament priests, who have been washed completely once — at the time of justification.  But, because of continuous contact with the surrounding world, defilement can and does occur.  And when such defilement occurs, the defiled person is to avail himself of provided cleansing, a partial washing.


This is what the opening part of the book of 1 John is about (1:3-2:2).  Christ, throughout the present dispensation, continuously occupies the office of High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of Christians (2:1, 2).


And, with Christ’s high priestly ministry in view, a present cleansing is provided for those who have, in the past, been cleansed (in the antitype of activity surrounding the brazen altar); and this present cleansing is seen in the antitype of subsequent activity occurring at the brazen laver; or, as previously shown, both past and present cleansings for Christians are seen in an initial complete washing of the body and subsequent washings of the hands and feet of the Levitical priests.


Note the preceding as it is presented in I John:


            If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness [if we say that we have fellowship with Him but have failed to avail ourselves of cleansing   through the use of the water in the laver in the courtyard, leaving us in the darkness outside the Holy Place (with its light and bread — the “candlestick” and “shewbread”)], we lie, and do not practice the truth. (1:6)




            . . . if we walk in the light, as He is in the light [if we avail ourselves of cleansing through the use of the water in the laver, allowing admittance to the Holy Place, with its light and bread], we have fellowship with one another . . . . (1:7a)


The preceding is viewing the matter more from the framework of the type.  Now, note the move from type to antitype.


The latter part of verse seven goes on to state,


            . . . and the blood of Jesus Christ His [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin.


Cleansing provided at the laver forms the type, and cleansing provided by “the blood of Jesus Christ,” which is on the mercy seat of the heavenly tabernacle, forms the antitype.  Our cleansing today thus comes, not through the water in the laver in the courtyard, but through the blood of God’s Son that is on the mercy seat.  One must see and understand the antitype in the light of the type to see and understand the complete picture.


            (For a more detailed exposition of complete and subsequent partial washings as set forth in John 13:2-20, in the light of Old Testament typology, see Chapter 8 in the author’s book, From Egypt to Canaan.)


Doctrine surrounding the “laying on of hands,” in connection with doctrine surrounding “baptisms [‘washings’],” is an area of biblical study that also has its basis in Old Testament typology.  And, as in “the doctrine of baptisms,” this is where one must go to understand that which is referred to by the “laying on of hands” in Hebrews 6:2.


“Hands” are used in a figurative manner numerous places throughout Scripture.  And they are used in these numerous places various ways to represent action on both God’s part and man’s part (cf. Genesis 16:12; Numbers 11:23; 1 Samuel 26:18; Ecclesiastes  2:24).


They, for example, are used as symbols of “power,” or “strength” (cf. Exodus 15:6; Psalm 17:7; 110:1).  They are used to demonstrate “pure” or “unjust” actions (cf. Psalm 90:17; Isaiah 1:15).  Or, washing the hands, as Pilate did when he was about to deliver Jesus over to the cry of the Jewish religious leaders to be crucified, could, as he sought to do, symbolize an outward show of “innocence” (Matthew 27:24; cf. Deuteronomy 21:6, 7; Psalm 26:6).


The “laying on of hands” then would represent a type action that carries a particular meaning.  And the meaning is given, in so many words, in the account of that which the Lord instructed Aaron to do with one of two goats on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:5ff).


Aaron was to take a bullock and two goats.  The bullock and one goat (determined by lot) were to be killed, and the blood of these two animals was then to be used “to make an atonement in the holy place” “for himself, and for his household [the priests (v. 33)], and for all the congregation of Israel” (vv. 14-19).


After Aaron had finished with his work of sprinkling blood before and upon the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle, he was then to take the live goat and perform a climactic act.  He was to lay both hands upon the head of the goat and confess all the “iniquities” and “transgressions” of the children of Israel.  And by this act, the Israelites’ “iniquities” and “transgressions,” which had just been atoned for, were placed “upon the head of the goat.”  The goat was then to be taken into “the wilderness” and released, never to return back into the camp of Israel (vv. 20-22).


By Aaron laying his hands on the head of the live goat, there was both an identification and a separation.  By transferring the sins of the people to the goat, an identification was established.  The goat became identified with these sins rather than the people; and this established a separation, which would be even further shown through the goat being taken to an uninhabited part of the land and released.


This thought of identification and separation can be clearly seen in the action of the Apostles after they had chosen certain men to attend to a particular ministry in the early Church (Acts 6:1-6).  They chose seven men who were “full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”  These men appeared before the Apostles, the Apostles prayed, and they then “laid hands” on the men (vv. 5, 6).


There was an identification of the Apostles with these men who had been separated, set apart from the remainder of the Church for a particular task.  And this was shown through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands.


Thus, viewing “baptisms” (lit., “washings”) and the “laying on of hands” together, there is the thought of cleansing, identification, and separation; and these go together like a hand in a glove.


Christians constitute a people who have been separated from the world for a particular purpose (1 Peter 2:9-11).  They, forming the “body,” are inseparably identified with their Lord, who is the “Head” of the body (Ephesians 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18).  They, positionally, are part of an entirely new creation, the one new manin Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:17).  And, occupying this position and understanding not only the reason why they have been saved but understanding that which lies out ahead as well, Christians are to keep themselves clean through repeated “washings” at the laver.


            (The section leading into [8:1-10:22] the fourth of the five major warnings in Hebrews [10:23-39] concerns itself more specifically with this overall matter.


            Because of Christ’s high priestly ministry [which He performs on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat of the heavenly tabernacle], present cleansing is available for a separated, set apart people who are inseparably identified with their Lord.)


3)  Resurrection, Eternal Judgment


The third of the triad of teachings dealt with in Hebrews 6:1, 2 can, as the other two parts, pertain to both “milk” and “sold food” (“strong meat”) within the scope of that which is in view.  There are elementary teachings when one comes to the overall subject of resurrection and subsequent judgment, but there are also teachings that go far beyond the elementary.


Concerning resurrection, there is simply the teaching that the dead will, in the future, be raised.  Then within this teaching one will find the more specific biblical teaching that all the dead will not be raised at the same time.  Every man will be raised “in his own order [‘company’].”


Christ was raised as “the first fruits those who have fallen asleep,” anticipating the resurrection of all others, both the saved and the unsaved.  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).  The two uses of “all” in the verse are all-inclusive.  All who die “in Adam” (which includes all humanity) will be made alive “in Christ.”


That is, every man who dies (whether saved or unsaved) will one day be raised on the basis of the fact Christ was raised.  But, every man will be raised “in his own order [‘company’].”


The Church forms one company, the Tribulation saints another, and the Old Testament saints another.  And at the conclusion of the Messianic Era there will be yet another company of individuals raised from the dead — the unsaved dead of all the ages (1 Corinthians 15:22-24; cf. Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 24:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).


Then there is the biblical teaching that judgment always follows resurrection.  There is first death, with announced subsequent judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  This is the biblical order, but this order doesn’t stand alone.  Scripture elsewhere presents the dead being judged only following resurrection (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 1:10-18 [cf. 4:1ff]; 20:4).


Every man will not only be resurrectedin his own order [‘company’]” but he will also be judged, following resurrection, “in his own order [‘company’].”  Particular future judgments will occur only following particular companies of individuals being raised from the dead.


The Church will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, preceding the Tribulation (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11; cf. Revelation 1:10-20); Israel (along with Old Testament saints preceding Abraham) and the martyred Tribulation saints will be judged following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation (Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Ezekiel 20:33-38; Revelation 20:4-6); and the unsaved dead of all the ages will be judged at the end of the 1,000-year Messianic Era, which follows the Tribulation (Revelation 20:11-15).


The basics of the preceding though would really have to do more with milk than meat within the framework of biblical doctrine.  This is merely the outline of the matter, apart from specifics.  But a person must understand the outline before he can begin to properly understand specifics within the outline.


That which is in view concerning the “resurrection of the dead” and “eternal judgment” in Hebrews 6:2, contextually, must pertain to Christians, not other companies of individuals — either saved or unsaved.  The whole panorama of doctrine thus far in the opening verses of the sixth chapter has had to do with Christians alone, and the summation of the matter can be no different.


The words “eternal judgment” in this passage though would really convey an incorrect thought relative to a future judgment of Christians, for Christians have already been judged insofar as eternal verities are concerned (cf. John 3:18); and the only type of judgment awaiting them has to do with “an age” — the Messianic Era (decisions and determinations emanating from the things revealed at the judgment seat of Christ will have to do with the Messianic Era alone, not with the eternal ages).


The seemingly textual problem though is easily resolved by understanding that the Greek word translated eternal in this passage (aionios) can be understood as either “age-lasting” or “eternal,” depending on the context.  And the context here demands the former, not the latter.


            (Refer to Chapter 2 of this book, for a discussion of how aionios is used in the Greek New Testament.)


But what is there beyond simple, factual teachings surrounding the future resurrection and judgment of Christians that could be categorized as “solid food” rather than “milk”?  The answer is evident.  Beyond the simple facts there are teachings surrounding an out-resurrection, and the out-resurrection is inseparably connected with the issues of the judgment seat.  The out-resurrection actually results from the purpose and outcome of this judgment.


The “out-resurrection” and that to which it pertains can be found in Philippines 3:11 (the word “resurrection” in this verse is a translation of the Greek word, exanastasis, which should literally be translated “out-resurrection”).  And the context (vv. 10, 12-14) has to do with present Christian activity in view of future decisions and determinations emanating from the things revealed at the judgment seat.


            (The Greek word anastasis, translated “resurrection” [e.g., Philippines 3:10], is a compound word meaning “to stand up.”  Ana means “up,” and stasis means “to stand.”  Anastasis appears in Philippines 3:11 with the Greek preposition “ek,” meaning “out of  [i.e., ‘from within’],” prefixed to the word [becoming “ex” when prefixed to words beginning with a vowel, as in this case].  Thus, ex-ana-stasis means “to stand up out of.”


            This “standing up out of” — the “out-resurrection” of Philippines 3:11 — simply refers to a further separation that will occur at the judgment seat.  The resurrection [anastasis] of Christians will separate all Christians from all non-Christians [Jew or Gentile]; and the subsequent out-resurrection [exanastasis] will separate one group of  Christians [the faithful] from the remaining Christians [the unfaithful].)


At the judgment seat of Christ there will be a “standing up” of certain Christians “out of” the remaining Christians, based on decisions and determinations rendered by the righteous Judge.  And standing separate from the others within this select group in that day will be a privilege accorded those previously found to have exercised faithfulness in their assigned household responsibilities during the time of their Lord’s absence.


It is in this realm where one finds the meat and strong meat pertaining to resurrection and judgment awaiting Christians;  and it is also in this realm where one finds the end or goal of all that which is referred to through the triad of doctrinal teaching delineated in Hebrews 6:1, 2.


And This Will We Do If . . . .


Hebrews 6:3 introduces the heart of the third of the five major warnings in Hebrews (6:4-6).  Verses one and two form the connection for that which preceded with that which follows.  Then verse three provides an additional connecting thought, which carries one directly into the heart of the warning itself.


Essentially, the verse states that we will follow the writer’s exhortation to go on to maturity if God permits us to go on.  This, of course, leaves one with the thought that God may not permit some Christians to go on into the deep things in His Word.

And that is exactly the case, with the warning itself answering the question, “Why?”


For it is impossible . . .” (v. 4).