Looking at the whole passage, it appears that the apostle Paul wishes to push believers on to GROWTH AND MATURITY. There is a tendency in the flesh to stand and rest and to say, "I am saved; I have passed from death to life. Jesus Christ is my refuge; here I may find contentment and rest." But Paul urges us to progress in the truth of God--to grow to maturity, to grow up from a state of childhood to the fulness of maturity in Christ.
(Vs. 1-3) In order to grow, the believer must leave the elementary teachings and doctrines of Christ. We must not lose them; we must not deny them nor forget them, but lay them in our hearts as the foundation of all that we profess and expect. We don't want to rest here, for there must be a building erected on this foundation. The apostle then mentions six foundation principles which must be well laid at first and then built upon.
1. REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS. We are convinced of sin, of sins, and even of the evil of our religious and moral works. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done (Titus 3:5).
2. FAITH TOWARD GOD. We have a firm belief in the nature, existence, and attributes of God, in the mind and purpose of God revealed in His Word, and especially in the record which He has given concerning redemption in Christ. Repentance toward God and faith in Christ are inseparable.
3. THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM. We are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). We are baptized in water as identification with Christ in His death and as a confession of our faith. Then there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
4. LAYING ON OF HANDS. This was a special power conferred on apostles to give the Holy Spirit and gifts (Acts 8:17; I Tim. 4:14). It was practiced by the church to ordain deacons and missionaries (Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3). We are warned to exercise care in this regard (I Tim. 5:22).
5. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. This is the reunion of the soul and body that shall come to pass when Christ comes (I Thess. 4:13).
6. ETERNAL JUDGMENT. God shall judge all men in that day--the wicked by their works which shall be found wanting and the believer in the Person and work of Christ which shall result in eternal life.
A. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE SPOKEN OF? If you read John Gill, John Owen, and most Calvinistic writers, they al1 say that these people are professors of Christianity but not true believers. Spurgeon said their interpretation of this passage is influenced by the doctrine they are seeking to prove, not by what it actually says; for even a child reading these verses WOULD DECLARE THESE PEOPLE SAVED.
1. WHO WERE ONCE ENLIGHTENED. The first work of the Holy Spirit is to enlighten the soul. We were in darkness, but the Holy Spirit has given us the light of revelation. We know who we are, Who Christ is, and why He came. I do not consider any man enlightened who is not saved.
2. HAVE TASTED THE HEAVENLY GIFT. What is the heavenly gift? It is Christ (Who is the unspeakable gift) or eternal life (which is the gift of God). If I have tasted of the heavenly gift, then it is mine. This is the same word used in I Peter 2:3 and means to experience or to eat.
3. MADE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLY GHOST. Only a believer is a partaker of the Holy Ghost. He either dwells in a man or He doesn't. Where the Holy Ghost dwells, there is life. "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." But if a man is a partaker of the Holy Ghost, he is an object of grace.
4. HAVE TASTED THE GOOD WORD OF GOD. These people have experienced the quickening power of the Word and the sanctifying influence of the Word. They have eaten the Word and found it to be good! Is the good Word of God Christ or the written Word or BOTH? How can they be separated?
5. HAVE TASTED THE POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME. They have experienced and received the power of faith, the power of hope, and the power of love--for "now abideth THESE THREE." These are the powers of the world to come. So I say, whatever the meaning of this text, if these people are not children of God, who is?
1. To fall into sin is not to fall away (Prov. 24:16). We have countless examples of this in David, Abraham, Lot, etc.
2. To deny Christ is not to fall away. Peter denied Him but came back.
Then what is falling away to the place of impossible recovery? Well, there never has been a case of it yet, so I can't describe it to you; but I will tell you what I suppose it is. It would be for the Holy Spirit to depart from a believer; for the work of God's grace to cease; for the blood of Christ to lose its efficacy; for God, Who has begun a work, to leave off finishing it and to say, "Sinner, I half-saved you, now I damn you." This is what falling away is. A man cannot fall away from a position he has never occupied.
C. IF HE COULD FALL AWAY, it would be impossible to ever renew him. How else can they be saved? Is there a healing stream better than the foundation of blood? Is there a better righteousness than Christ's? NO! If they could fall away AS SOME TEACH, it would require a second incarnation, a second Calvary, a second putting Him to shame, a second regeneration! He died for those who crucified Him once. Shall I crucify Him again? (John 10:27-29.)