Repent from Dead Works
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” – Hebrews 6:1
Let’s go on unto perfection? Sounds like Jesus saying that we need to be perfect just as our Father in Heaven is perfect. That’s a mouthful.
And what is this “foundation from dead works, and of faith toward God”?
I think most people understand the last half of that phrase, but what are dead works? Paul never used this phrase in any of his letters. And that is another clue that this book was not written by Paul.
In order to know what dead works IS, we must first know what “dead works” is NOT. And that – is obedience to the Torah. Because to call someone to repent of obedience to God is the absolute opposite of the message of scripture. It goes against the theme of the Bible.
So what is “dead works”?
Galatians 5:-19-21 gives us a list of “works” of the flesh. This list remains open for additions as Paul added “and the like” i.e. anything like this.
So then, dead works, simply stated are acts of sin.
And this definition fits the theme of the rest of scripture.
The author of Hebrews goes on regarding the “foundation”:
“Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” – Hebrews 6:2-3
But then… something very shocking is stated.
Point of No Return
“4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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.” – Hebrews 6:4-6
Does it really mean that? If you fall away from the Lord after having experienced Him, it is IMPOSSIBLE to come back!
But that can’t mean what it says, can it? Backsliders are doomed forever?
Walking with the Lord is like going over a large mountain. You fight to get to the peak. And it is a struggle. You can fall back. But when you reach the peak and continue to descend down the other side, there’s no falling back.
There is such a thing as the point of no return with the Lord. Once you get born again, you cannot go back, and then get born-again again. This is because those who are born again have died.
Being born again is in fact a resurrection. And there is no true resurrection without a death. You must first die before you can be resurrected.
In other words, once you have died to worldly living, how can you live in it again?