6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
to renew them again
The readers of Hebrews could not be renewed once they chose to operate on Levitical sacrifices when the final sacrifice of Christ had occurred. The only way for them to truly repent was to do so based on the work of Christ.
It is impossible to renew something that is already new. People who reject the exclusivity of Christ cannot be restored to a relationship with Him until they deal with their intractable error. They will remain in the state of stubbornness without coming to grips with how Christ deals with their sin.
The central argument is that it is impossible to operate in the New Testament economy as long as the Old Testament economy is dragged into the picture. This rebellious idea unravels the fundamental idea of the finality of the cross.
“To renew them again” does not mean to become a Christian again. The idea is that if they were in a state of reversionism to Judaistic sacrifices, they could not be restored to fellowship in Christ.
The word “repentance” means to change the mind. These Jewish believers needed to change their mind about their reversion to Judaistic means of spirituality. The old sacrifices could not deal with their sins. As long as they were in this state of mind it would be impossible to bring them to repentance. If they could not repent, then they could not grow to maturity. It is difficult to mature with a hard heart. This hardness makes it impossible to repent. All spiritual momentum is lost in this case. All of this has nothing to do with losing one’s salvation.
The “repentance” here refers to belligerent believers. Thus, the point is that, if these Christians remained in the implacable immaturity, they would be stuck in retrogression with difficulty in returning to spiritual renewal.
The issue in this phrase is not renewal again to salvation but to “repentance” about something in the Christian life. The readers were to move out of their reversion or retrogression in their lives as believers. The issue in this chapter has to do with believers who should advance to “better things” and “things that accompany salvation” (He 6:9–10). “Repentance” here is the right to return to the place of God’s blessing in one’s life (note the illustration in Hebrews 6:7–8).
All of this is like what happened to the Israelites when they refused to take God at His Word. He would not allow them to enter the Promised Land. As long as their hearts were hardened, they could not enter into God’s blessings even as believers.
It is possible to fail doctrinally as believers and yet remain Christian.
There is nothing in this passage about a person losing salvation. There is no reason to grant that eternal life is a question in this text. The issue in Hebrews is that Christians are encouraged to “hold fast” what they possess as believers (He 3:6, 12–15; 6:11–12; 10:23–25). The question is not loss of eternal salvation but of reward and personal discipline.
There is a need to persist in our faith and not fall away (He 3:6, 14; 10:23–25, 35–39). We need to maintain the confidence we had when we became believers. Doctrinal failure is possible for genuine believers.
The teaching of Hebrews 6 can be summarized by Hebrews 10:26 where one cannot go back to the concept of the preliminary view of salvation in the Old Testament. They need to “endure” or stick with true doctrine (He 6:12; 10:36).