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Tuesday
Mar182014

Theological Term of the Week 

warning passages (of Hebrews)
Five passages interspersed throughout the New Testament book of Hebrews exhorting professing believers to remain faithful by warning of the consequences of apostacy.1

  • From scripture, one of the warning passages:

    For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8 ESV)

    We must remember that the passages are warnings and admonitions. They say nothing about whether believers will actually fall away. They are not declarations but warnings. The common response is that the warnings are beside the point if believers can’t fall away. What a silly waste of time! But that objection fails if the warnings are a means by which God keeps his elect. I would argue that the warning passages are always effective in the lives of the elect, i.e., those who are truly saved always heed the warnings, and it is precisely by heeding the warnings that they are preserved until the end.

Learn more:

  1. ESV Study Bible: A list of the warning passages of Hebrews
  2. Collin HansenWarning Passages Ahead (an interview with Peter O’Brien)
  3. Lee Gattiss: The Function of the Warning Passages
  4. Stanley D. Toussaint: The Eschatology of the Warning Passages in the Book of Hebrews (pdf)
  5. James White: The Warning Passages in Hebrews (video)

Related terms:

Filed under Salvation

1Some count only four.

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Reader Comments (2)

Our pastor says that these warnings are also evidences of God's grace to us - he is gracious to give is warnings to prevent us from falling.

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Yes, absolutely! I guess we should be thankful for the warning passages of Hebrews. :)

March 21, 2014 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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