For once people have been enlightened–when they’ve tasted the heavenly gift and have had a share in the holy spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the coming age–it’s impossible to restore them again to repentance if they fall away, since they are crucifying God’s son all over again, on their own account, and holding him up to contempt.
These are some of the most disputed and controversial verses in the entire NT. Many devoted and learned scholars differ widely on the interpretation of this text.
Working from the known to the unknown, we can at least say that the author is offering a stern warning in this passage from falling away from faith in Jesus Christ.
You see, when rain falls frequently on the earth, and the land drinks it up and produces a crop useful to the people for whom its being cultivated, it shares in God’s blessing. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it’s useless, and not far off from being cursed. What happens in the end is that it will be burned up.
It’s good to examine ourselves and test ourselves to see if we are a benefit to the world or a hindrance as far as the things of God. The NT is clear that we are created for God and for good works (fruit). Good works are an outward sign of an inward reality. They can look an infinite number of ways, I’m sure. Some help a hundred million people learn how to read, and some mother children lovingly for God. But you might take note, and warning, if you are “thorns and thistles.” I’ve known so-called Christians who were always complaining, tearing people down, hateful even. Is this sharing God’s blessing?
The author ends this section with encouragement in perseverance. That seems to be the exhortation and point here.
I want to encourage each and very one of you to show the same energetic enthusiasm for the task of bringing your hope to its full, assured goal. You mustn’t become lazy. There are people who are inheriting the promises through faith and patience, and you should copy them!