Question: In Hebrews 6 it says, “if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance....” Doesn’t the word “again” mean that they had already fallen away and repented at least once? Yet I’ve heard you say that this passage is one of the strongest for not falling away! Can you explain?
Answer: The phrase, “to renew them again unto repentance,” does not mean that they have fallen away and are being renewed again. The “again” refers to being saved after having fallen away. That this could not happen even once, however, let alone multiple times, is clear from the phrase, “...impossible for those who were once enlightened...if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance...” (4-6).
The author doesn’t say “when they shall fall away,” but “if.” Why would it be impossible to get saved again if salvation could be lost? Two reasons are given: 1) “they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”; and 2) “put him to an open shame.”
In other words, if the crucifixion of Jesus 1,900 years ago was not enough to keep one saved, and if salvation could be lost, then Christ would have to be crucified again for one to be saved again. Furthermore, if Christ purchased salvation at a price we could never pay, then gave it to us to keep, He would be held up to “open shame” for such folly, which would be like giving a fortune to a two-year-old for him to keep.
This section about “falling away” is proved to be hypothetical—something that could never happen. Look at the way it ends: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak” (v. 9). In other words, falling away does not accompany salvation.