Hebrews 6:4-8 The Recital Of The Plaintiff’s Benevolent Acts And Indictment.
This is the third part to the structure of the covenant lawsuit, contained in the third section of the covenant renewal pattern-Stipulations. Of particular note is the transition from the use of an expression like “let us,” to now see the author speaking in the third person. The primary structure of this letter is in its being a document of new covenant renewal, and he holds out hope for his audience that they are numbered among those who are recipients of the gospel of grace. In the first verse after this section, which brings us back to the renewal, our author states the following-“beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you.” However, in this lawsuit section he speaks of ‘those’. The ‘those’ are those who have heard the message that the Messiah has come, and that the Spirit has been given, and that there is forgiveness in Him alone, but they have rejected this message.
These were “enlightened” in the sense that they heard the apostolic witness very clearly, some having heard the Lord Himself. The Lord may be that “heavenly gift” of which he also wrote (Cf. Jn. 4:10). Not only this, but they had become partakers of the holy Spirit, and the powers of the age to come, all of these very likely referring back to the first part of this lawsuit as found in 2:1-4-A Call To Witnesses To Hear And Testify. In fact, if one reads these five sections of the lawsuit in order, it helps to not only see the flow of the structure here employed, but it places each of these sections in the more specific context of the lawsuit itself. It was in part, this action by the present writer, which helped illuminate him to this structure, in light of the Old Testament materials on the subject. With each new section of the lawsuit there is a clear bringing forward of that which precedes. These are the witnesses he called upon.
Furthermore what he will go on to say about them, alludes also to his Introductory Statement Of The Case at 3:7-11. This lawsuit is the last, because as he writes, “it is impossible for those,” of which he speaks, to have any hope, because they are rejecting the final answer to the sinful condition of God’s people. Christ died once for all and cannot die again. Therefore any talk of repentance after this is worthless if one does not look to Him for salvation (v. 6). Incidentally, when the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is crucified afresh with every celebration of the mass, they are teaching a doctrine that is guilty of this very thing. It is the Statement of this case of covenant lawsuit which also makes sense of what follows. Our author uses the example of the earth drinking in rain, and there is a blessing with those who bring forth good fruit (Ps. 65:10).
However, there is a cursing with those who bear nothing but thorns and briers, saying “it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (v. 8). This is what awaited the apostate Jews and Gentile converts with them, who refused to accept the Son as the promised Anointed One, and His sacrifice alone as necessary for salvation. This hearkens back to warnings and judgments which the LORD declared to the rebellious vine of His covenanted people, through the prophet Isaiah (5:4-6). They had rejected the rain of the word which had fallen on them with the intent of there being good fruit (55:10-11). It is this very end to which this lawsuit is leading. Here our author simply states the case the Lord has against those who have rejected His Son. In fact, it is the Curses And Blessings, which come in the next section at 10:28-31. After that, all that will remain, is a recognition of the judgment, found at 12:25-29.