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Does Hebrews 6 Disprove Calvinism? “it is impossible to restore them to repentance”

Does Hebrews 6 Disprove Calvinism? “it is impossible to restore them to repentance”


Understanding Hebrews 6 in Context

Hebrews 6:4-6 is often cited in debates about the perseverance of the saints, a key component of Calvinist doctrine. The passage speaks of those who have been enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift but then fall away. The crucial question is whether this passage refers to true believers losing their salvation or something else.

Calvinists argue that these verses describe individuals who have been exposed to the truths of the gospel and have experienced its benefits superficially, but have not been inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit. This interpretation is supported by the broader context of Hebrews, which emphasizes the superiority of Christ and the new covenant, and encourages perseverance in faith.

Scriptural cross-references, such as 1 John 2:19, which states, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us,” support the Calvinist view that those who truly belong to Christ will persevere in faith.


The Warning Against Apostasy

Hebrews 6:4-6 serves as a stern warning against apostasy, highlighting the seriousness of falling away after having received the knowledge of the truth. Calvinism does not dismiss the reality of apostasy but interprets it in light of the doctrine of perseverance. According to this view, the warning is a means God uses to keep His elect in the faith.

This interpretation aligns with other scriptural warnings, such as in Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus speaks of those who outwardly appeared to be believers but were never truly known by Him. These warnings serve to stir true believers to self-examination and perseverance, reminding them of the gravity of turning away from the living God.

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation

Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God in salvation, teaching that those whom God has elected and regenerated will certainly persevere to the end. Hebrews 6, when interpreted through this lens, reinforces the idea that salvation is ultimately the work of God, not dependent on human effort or will.

The latter part of Hebrews 6, particularly verses 17-20, speaks of God’s unchangeable purpose and the hope we have as an anchor for the soul. This is consistent with the Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which rests on the unchangeability of God’s purpose and promise.

A Call to Enduring Faith

Finally, Hebrews 6 can be seen as a call to enduring faith. Rather than suggesting that true believers can lose their salvation, it can be understood as an exhortation to continue in the faith, trusting in the steadfastness of God’s promise.

This perspective is undergirded by other parts of Scripture, such as Philippians 1:6, which states, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Calvinism sees this as a confirmation that those whom God has truly regenerated will persevere in faith, not because of their own strength, but because of God’s sustaining grace.


Hebrews 6 does not disprove Calvinism; rather, it can be harmonized with Calvinist doctrines when properly understood. The passage serves as a sobering warning against apostasy while affirming the security of those truly in Christ, underlining the significance of God’s sovereignty in salvation and the necessity of enduring faith.

Read More

  1. “The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance” by Thomas R. Schreiner and Ardel B. Caneday
  2. “Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace” by Heath Lambert

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