The warning of Hebrews 6:4–6 is very similar to the warning found in Hebrews 10:26–29. Paul explains that the rejection of Jesus’ sacrifice will leave the readers without any means for the forgiveness of sin because there is no other means for that forgiveness besides Jesus (Heb. 10:1–14).
The author does not say that there is no atonement for any sin committed after receiving the knowledge of truth. God has appointed Jesus as our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Through Him we have forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9). The sin for which there is no sacrifice or atonement is described as trampling underfoot the Son of God, profaning the blood of the Covenant, and outraging the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:29). Let’s review the meaning of these expressions.
The expression “trampled the Son of God underfoot” (Heb. 10:29, NKJV) describes the rejection of Jesus’ rule. The title “Son of God” reminds the audience that God has installed Jesus at His right hand and promised Him to make His enemies a “footstool” for His feet (Heb. 1:13; see also 1:5–12, 14, ESV). The trampling of Jesus underfoot implies that the apostate has treated Jesus as an enemy. In the context of the argument of the epistle (Heb. 1:13), it could be implied that, as far as the life of the apostate is concerned, Jesus has been taken off the throne (which is occupied now by the apostate himself) and set as the footstool instead. This is what Lucifer wanted to do in heaven (Isa. 14:12–14) and what the “lawless one” would attempt to do in the future (2 Thess. 2:3, 4, NRSV).
The expression “has profaned the blood of the covenant” (ESV) refers to the rejection of Jesus’ sacrifice (Heb. 9:15–22). It implies that the blood of Jesus is devoid of cleansing power.
The expression “insulted the Spirit of grace” is very powerful. The Greek term enybrisas (“insult, outrage”) involves the manifestation of hubris, which refers to “insolence” or “arrogance.” This term stands in stark contrast to the description of the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of grace.” It implies that the apostate has responded to God’s offer of grace with an insult. The apostate is in an untenable position. He rejects Jesus, His sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit.
After the strong and sincere warning of Hebrews 6:4–8, Paul expresses confidence that the readers have neither fallen away from the Son, nor will they in the future. He believes that his audience will receive the warning and produce the appropriate fruits. They are like the “earth,” which is cultivated by God and produces the fruits He expects. These people will receive the blessing from God (Heb. 6:7), which is “salvation” (Heb. 6:9).
In Hebrews 6:10, believers show their love toward God’s “name,” that is, toward God Himself, by their service to the saints. These were not isolated actions in the past, but sustained actions that have extended into the present. Exceptional acts do not reveal the true character of a person. The weightiest evidence of love toward God is not “religious” acts per se, but acts of love toward fellow human beings, especially those who are disadvantaged (Matt. 10:42; 25:31–46). Thus, Paul exhorts believers not to “forget” to do good (Heb. 13:2, 16).
Hebrews 6:12 warns against their becoming “dull” (NLT) or “sluggish” (NKJV), which characterizes those who fail to mature and who are in danger of falling away (Heb. 5:11; 6:12). Hope is not kept alive by intellectual exercises of faith, but by faith expressed in acts of love (Rom. 13:8–10).
Paul wants the readers to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12). He has already presented the wilderness generation as a negative example of those who, through lack of faith and perseverance, failed to inherit what was promised. He then presents Abraham (Heb. 6:13–15) as an example of one who through “faith and patience” inherited the promises. The list of positive exemplars is lengthened with the people of faith in Hebrews 11, and it climaxes with Jesus in Hebrews 12 as the greatest example of faith and patience (Heb. 12:1–4). In Revelation 14:12, faith, patience, and commandment-keeping are characteristics of the saints in the last days.