The Warning Passages of Hebrews

The book of Hebrews features four difficult sections we call ‘warning passages.’ They are Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:12, 10:19-39 and 12:14-29.  Some believe these passages teach that a born-again Christian may relinquish his salvation. They may call this ‘losing’ your salvation. Others prefer to call it ‘walking away from God’, or something similar.

Do these passages teach this? John 10:27-29, Romans 8:28-39, 2 Timothy 1:8-12 and 1 Peter 1:3-5 (to name a few among many others) indicate that the salvation of Christ, received by faith, is a permanent condition. (For a podcast on this encouraging truth, click here.)

Does the Bible contradict itself on this gospel issue? It does not.

If you have wrestled with these ‘warning passages’ before, or have recently discovered them, I strongly recommend a couple of very helpful, thorough resources for you to read:

  1. Here is a thorough article examining Hebrews 6:4-8 specifically. I know Bro. Hudson as a friend and mentor and recommend his work.
  2. Then here is a very valuable PDF document, only 10 pages, that focuses on Heb. 2:1-3, 3:12-14, 4:1-2 and 10:26-31 (verses central to this discussion). I highly recommend the work that Bro. Decker provides. Here are some excerpts from his conclusion:

These warnings are addressed to genuine believers who are not threatened with loss of salvation. Yet they are genuine warnings. Just because we are saved by grace does not mean that we can live as we please. God has established standards of holy living. To deny Christ is a serious matter.

The writer of Hebrews is addressing that exact situation. His argument is simple. Trust God; go forward in your Christian maturity; don’t deny Christ, because to do so will result in God’s chastening. If we put our Savior to shame in the public forum, we can anticipate only judgment. In the words of Paul, if we deny him, he will also deny us. Those words, from 2 Timothy 2:12, were written during Paul’s last imprisonment just before he was beheaded by Nero, and that at almost the same time as these warnings were written to a group of Jewish Christians in Rome.

None of these passages threaten Christians with the loss of salvation, but they do exhort and warn us of the seriousness of what we profess—and of the consequences of not obeying him.

2 replies
  1. Tyler Robbins
    Tyler Robbins says:

    Excellent resources for the warning passages in Hebrews. I, too, have found Bro. Hudson’s article extremely helpful. I’m preaching through Hebrews right now, and am about to hit the warning passage in Heb 10 next week. When I tackled Heb 6:4-6, I spent two days translating and studying that passage and emailing Bro. Hudson observation after observation before I even read his article. It was very funny to realize that, independent of him, I came to the same conclusions – these are warnings of divine disciplines for believers.

  2. TOvermiller
    TOvermiller says:

    Fascinating. Thanks for sharing! I’ll pray right now for God’s blessing on your Heb. 10 sermon. I podcasted on Heb. 10:23-25 here and posted about it here. May God bless your ministry there in Divernon.

    By the way, have you ever heard Bro. Hudson’s interpretation of what it means that Paul was “preaching the kingdom of God” in Acts 28:31? That is also helpful, but on a different note.

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