It’s impossible to bring back to repentance those who have once been enlightened – that is, people who have experienced the gifts of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, those who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come – and then turned away. Yes, it’s impossible for us to bring them back to repentance because they’re crucifying the Son of God once again, and holding him up to shame.
When the earth drinks up the falling rain and produces a good crop for the farmer, it has the blessing of God. But if the field only bears thorns and thistles, it’s completely useless. The farmer is likely to abandon that field and burn it.
Dear friends, even though we have to mention such matters, we’re sure of better things in your case – things that lead to salvation. God isn’t unjust. He won’t forget your hard work and all the love you’ve shown by caring for his people – and this is something you continue to do. What we’d like is for you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for will actually happen. Don’t be slack in your efforts, but follow the example of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
When God gave a promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater to swear by, he swore by himself, saying: “I will certainly bless you and grant you many descendants.” Then, after waiting for it patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
When people take an oath, they swear by someone greater than themselves. Then the oath confirms what they’ve said and ends any argument. Now, because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose clear to the heirs of what he’d promised, he also confirmed it by an oath, and he did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which he can’t lie -his promise and the oath – we who have fled to God for refuge can have complete confidence as we hold on to the hope that’s set before us.
We have this hope is an anchor of the soul, safe and secure. Indeed, it even goes behind the curtain of that inner sanctuary where our forerunner, Jesus, has gone on our behalf. That’s where he serves for ever as our high priest in the order of Melchizedek.