Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that we can lose your salvation?

I do not believe that Hebrews 6:4-6 teaches that we can lose our salvation. In my opinion, this deals with the Hebrews who were claiming to be Christians and did not know how to integrate Old Testament Biblical revelation with the New Testament teachings. They rejected the fullness of Jesus’ work and so cannot be renewed to repentance. Heb. 6:4-6 does not say anyone ‘loses their salvation.’ Furthermore, this pericope (a section of scripture) does not say that those individuals being addressed were actually Christians. Let me explain.

First of all, we know that the book of Hebrews was addressed to those who have adopted the Christian faith but were Jews. Consider the opening verse.

Hebrews 1:1, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways.”

Second, the Jews were accustomed to believing that the keeping of the Law was a necessary element of pleasing God and, hopefully, achieving salvation. They had a rich heritage from God, including the oracles (Rom. 3:1-2; Heb. 5:12), the prophets: Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., and the scriptures.  But, they needed a better understanding of how it all works together as it relates to the fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus.

When we look at this section of Scripture, we notice several things.

Hebrews 6:4–6, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”


The text deals with those who have been enlightened. The Greek word is φωτίζω phōtízō. It occurs 12 times in the New Testament (Luke 11:36; John 1:9; 1 Cor. 4:5; Eph. 1:18; 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 6:4; 10:32; Rev. 18:1; 21:23; 22:5). Nowhere in Scripture does the word mean that a person is saved. Instead, it is used in the context of bringing something to light, exposing something, clarifying something, etc..

Tasted of the heavenly gift

What does it mean to “taste the heavenly gift”? Does it mean a person is saved? If so, how is that validated from Scripture? Without clarification, we can’t assert that this is referencing someone who is truly born again. Think about it. We could say that Judas tasted the heavenly gift of Christ’s works and teachings. But he was never saved (John 6:64, 70).

John 6:64, But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him… 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

Made partakers of the Holy Spirit

To be made partakers of the Holy Spirit can be understood in different ways. Some might say it means a person is born again. If that is the case, how do we know for sure? just saying that’s what it means doesn’t make it so. Furthermore, could it mean that to be made a partaker of the Holy Spirit means to experience his work in the church, through Christ and other believers, or even in the conviction of sin? The issue here is that the phrase is not clear. Therefore, we cannot assert that it must mean one particular thing, namely, that it speaks of believers.

Tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come

What does it mean to taste the word of God? Does it mean to accept something fully or to be exposed to it? To taste something doesn’t necessarily mean you are consuming it. Likewise, what does it mean to taste the powers of the age to come? The phrase is difficult to interpret, so we can’t say exactly what it means – so we should not assert that it must mean salvation. Nevertheless, the word for ‘tasted’ is γεύω geúō, and it occurs 15 times in the New Testament. It refers to tasting death (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27; John 8:52; Heb. 2:9; 6:4), tasting something to drink (Matt. 27:34; John 2:9), tasting food (Luke 14:24), eating (Acts 10:10; 20:11; 23:14), generic tasting (Col. 2:21), tasting the good word of God (Heb. 6:5), and tasting the kindness of God. (1 Pet. 2:3).

We could say that Judas, who betrayed Christ, tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. But he was never saved (John 6:64, 70). So, we can’t assert that this phrase necessarily means a person is saved.

Have fallen away

Some people interpret the phrase ‘ have fallen away’ to mean that a person has lost his salvation. But this is not necessarily the case. It could be possible for the Hebrews to come to a knowledge of Christ, never having received Christ as Savior, and then reject Christ. They have fallen away from the truth. But it does not necessitate that they were saved in the first place.

Impossible to renew them again to repentance

A lot of people who use Hebrews 6:4-6 fail to consider this part of the pericope. If it means that it was a true, born-again Christian who lost his salvation, then they must be consistent and say that such a person could never again be renewed to repentance. In other words, if such a person was actually saved and lost his salvation, then according to this section of Scripture, he could never repent and become saved again. Do the proponents of conditional salvation affirm that once a person loses his salvation that he can never get it back again? Or do they teach that once a person repents, he can get it back again? They need to be consistent.


In my opinion, Hebrew. 6:4-6 is not about Christians losing their salvation. It is about the Hebrews who were publically identifying as Christian or were seriously considering what Christianity had to offer and then rejected it. It was they who had been enlightened regarding the issues of who Christ is, tasted the heavenly gift of the provision of God in the Messiah, made partakers of the Holy Spirit by witnessing the movement of the Spirit among people, tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come by experiencing the miraculous work of the apostles, maybe even of Christ himself, and then fell away from the truth. These are the ones who can never come to repentance because they have rejected the provision of God’s work in Christ. There’s nothing left for them. So, they have no repentance.

The post Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that we can lose your salvation? appeared first on Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.






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