Elder Beebe: If it is not asking too much, please give your views on Hebrews 6:4-6, and oblige yours truly,
I. D. Irwin. Tecumseh, Neb.
July 26, 1867.
Reply: - We have on several occasions published our views elaborately on the text proposed, namely: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Those Hebrew, or Jewish disciples had been brought up under the ceremonial law, the priesthood of which allowed, and required for every new offence, that the offender should lay a new foundation for repentance and reinstatement in the congregation of Israel. For which cause their priests had to officiate continually at the altar; for being ceremonially purged from their defilement only served until they again became defiled. These disciples had shown a strong disposition to adhere to those abrogated rites, supposing that as it had been under the law, so it continued to be under the gospel, that new sacrifices must be made to lay a new foundation for repentance for every new transgression; not comprehending that Christ, our High Priest, has “by one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified.” That this offering of himself, being once made could never be made again, without again crucifying the Son of God and putting him to an open shame. Hence, “It is impossible.” What is impossible? It is impossible for the children of God, who by virtue of the one offering of the Son of God, have been once purged from their sins, and brought into the enjoyment of all the marks and evidences of their acceptance with God, by the strongest and most unequivocal, and unmistakable evidences that the children of God ever had, or ever can have while in the flesh, it is impossible for them to fall away from this foundation and be renewed again.
The glory of our High Priest shone in refulgent splendor. When being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him. (See Hebrews 5:9.) And in comparing and contrasting the two priesthoods, the apostle says, after speaking of the inefficiency of the offerings and service of the Levitical priesthood, “But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:11-14)?” It is therefore impossible that any who are redeemed to God by the one offering of Christ, if this should fail them, if they shall fall away from this foundation, to renew, or replace them, or again redeem them, as it would require that Christ should again be crucified, and all the glory and triumph of the offering which he has once made would be lost, and he put to open shame. For if those once purged and redeemed by him could ever require to be redeemed again, it would sink his glory down at least to a level with that of the Levitical priesthood.
September 15, 1867.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 66 – 67