In Hebrews 6, the author of Hebrews recounts God swearing an oath to confirm his promises to Abraham.
Now when people swear, they do so by appealing to some sort of authority higher than themselves in order to validate their promise. But what happens when God swears to confirm his promise?
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself (Heb 6:13).
When God swears, he swears by his own authority, because there is no possible higher authority. There is no authority higher or equal to God himself to which he can appeal. He is the highest.
And so, by extension, God’s Word is the highest authority. No authority can possibly usurp it. The scriptures stand alone as our supreme authority.
Collin Hansen interviewed New Testament scholar and author of an excellent commentary on Hebrews, Peter O’Brien, on the warning passages in Hebrews–you know, those passages that warn about apostasy and that those who commit it are not able to be restored to repentance.
O’Brien provides some excellent explanation in this piece. I recommend it.
See the blog post here.
John Calvin provides some helpful comments on passages like Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26, and 12:7.
These passages in Hebrews say,
4 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, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 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. – Heb 6:4-6
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. – Heb 10:26
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. – Heb 12:17
Calvin, is this saying that God will refuse forgiveness to someone who repents?