Etikettarkiv | fall away

The seed on stony ground which produces LIFE – Mark 4:16

True believers can believe for a while and fall away  

”Fall away” is a translation from the Greek word ”skandalizo”. 

Mark 4:16-17 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who,  when they hear the word, immediately RECEIVE it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so ENDURE only FOR A TIME. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they STUMBLE (skandalizontai).

The Greek word translated as ”receive” is the same Greek word below, also translated as ”receive”.

John 1:12 But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right to become ”children of God… 

John 13:20 Most certainly I tell you, he who receives whomever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me.” 

Rom 5:11 Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 

1 Cor 2:12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.

The stony ground hearers were children of God as they endured for a time. The Greek word translated as ”stumble” could also be translated as ”fall away”. How can the stony ground hearers fall away from something they were never in? We see that these people heard the word, received the word and endured for a time, so these were genuine converts who stumbled due to persecution. Also below verses talk about a ”falling away” based on ”skandalizo”. 

 Matthew 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Matt. 5:29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matt 26: 31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

1 Cor. 8:11And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

We can get confirmation from yet other verses that there will indeed be people who will end up in apostasy (apostasia) in the end of times:

2 Thess. 2:3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

1 Tim. 4:1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

The same parable is very similar in Luke and Matthew:

Luke 8:6And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

Luke 8:13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while BELIEVE, and in time of temptation fall away.

Matt. 13: 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Since the seed sprung up it shows it produced a plant (life) and we can read that the hearer believed for a while. Something can’t ”wither” unless it had life to start with. The word for BELIEVE is pisteuó and is also used in many other verses, such as these:

John 3:18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:36: One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 5:24 Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, ”I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 7:38 He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, ”I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.”

John 12: 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness.

John 14:12 Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father.

If they shall fall away, to renew them again is impossible Hebr. 6:6

[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 (Hebr. 6:6)

The people spoken of are christians. They:

  • have once been enlightened
  • have tasted of the heavenly gift
  • have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit
  • have tasted the good word of God
  • tasted the powers of the age to come

The whole context is:

Hebr. 6:4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If 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. 

The word IF is not in the Greek in verse 6!:

(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” 

Consider what Adam Clarke wrote about this and the aorist tense:

”And having fallen away” I can express my own mind on this translation nearly in the words of Dr. Macknight: ‘The participles who were enlightened, have tasted, and were made partakers, being aorists, are properly rendered by our translators in the past time; wherefore parapesontas, being an aorist, ought likewise to have been translated in the past time, ”HAVE fallen away”. Never­theless, our translators, following Beza*, who with­out any authority from ancient MSS. has inserted in his version the word ”if” have rendered this clause, IF they fall away, that this text might not appear to contradict the doctrine of the perse­verance of the saints. But as no translator should take upon him to add to or alter the Scriptures, for the sake of any favourite doctrine, I have trans­lated parapesontas in the past time, ”have fallen away” according to the true import of the word, as standing in connection with the other aorists in the preceding verses.

*) Theodore Beza was John Calvin’s successor 

Young’s literal translation reads: ”And having fallen away, again to renew them to reformation, having crucified gain to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame” (v. 6).

(I can add that the word IF is not present in the common Swedish Bibles so I didn’t have to write all this stuff  about the added word IF when I wrote the equivalent post in Swedish.)

There are a couple of suggestions why the christians in Hebr. 6:6 could not be restored to salvation even though the rest of the Bible provides examples of people who have repented and were brought back to life (for example when Peter sinned by denying Jesus).

1) They might have ended up with a reprobate mind, as in Romans 1 

Rom. 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.—24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:—26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:—28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, GOD GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, to do those things which are not convenient

The above concerns people who have no excuse for rejecting God since he has clearly been seen and understood by them through his creation. Because they refused to glorify God and instead pursued sin, God gave them over to a reprobate mind and then they were totally absorbed in their vain life styles and were totally lost. People can harden their hearts to the extent that there is no return.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

If God no longer calls/draws people through the Holy Spirit, and no longer grants people repentance, then people will be for ever separated from God.

2) It could be the unpardonable sin that is spoken about

Those addressed were Hebrew Christians, who were tempted to return to Juda­ism.

Hebr. 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?—28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

Before being received again into the synagogue they would have to announce publicly that Jesus was not the Son of God; that His blood would not be able to save anyone; and that His miracles were done by the power of the devil. Before their con­version they had belonged to the nation which had crucified Christ; to return to the synagogue would be to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame; it would be the awful sin of apostasy.

If one accepts this interpretation then he can better understand why those in Heb. 6:4-6 who fell away (parapesontas) could not be renewed by repentance unto salvation as they were enemies of God (10:29), but others, like Peter, who didn’t sin to that degree, could be renewed. The word in this verse translated fall away (parapesontas) is found only once in the NT and that is here!

Moreover, Peter and the other apostles fell away (skandalizo) (Mt. 26:31,33) and perhaps multitudes like them throughout the centuries, but it is not the same Greek wordJesus taught that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is directly related to saying that the Lord had an evil spirit by which he was driving out demons. Hence, a link seems to exist between eternal sin and openly insulting the Spirit of grace (Hebr. 10:29). This could possibly explain why the ones referred to in 6:6 could not be renewed unto salvation.

We already know from numerous examples in the Bible that a sinner CAN be renewed and cleansed from his sins, if he confesses his sins and repents, but no one can be forgiven for the unpardonable sin.