4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4–6, NKJV)
Verse 6 gives the reason for the impossibility of renewal to repentance if Christians fall away. When fallen Christians continue to practice their sins, they forfeit the power to renew their faith. It is impossible to be renewed spiritually while continuing to sin. They are crucifying the Son of God by their willful transgressions, openly shaming Him by their return to and continuance in sin (Heb. 10:26-31). Indulging in sin instead of resisting it hardens hearts that were once enlightened, enlivened, and edified by God’s word and its promised hope. Therefore, we are warned not to let sin have a place in our hearts and lives (Heb. 3:12-13). Yes, Christians can fall away and be lost (2 Pet. 2:20-22; Gal. 5:4). And yes, fallen saints can be restored to Christ, but only by strictly putting away the sins that have prevented their repentant return to the Lord. Willful sin must cease for divine mercy to take its place (Lk. 15:17-24).
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5, NKJV)
Looking back on our lives is a good thing when it moves us to improve ourselves. God’s blessing of memory helps us recall and reform and be better than we were before. To be more cautious and careful, kinder, and more compassionate, more concerned for the things of God and the things of others (Eph. 5:15; Col. 3:12-15; Matt. 22:37-39; 1 Cor. 13:1-7). As you look back over your life in 2020, where was your spiritual life a year ago, and where are you now? Are you farther from or closer to the Lord? If you have fallen, repent and do the first works. Looking back can be harmful if we do so longing for the sinful deeds of the past. Jesus said to “remember Lot’s wife.” Instead of escaping for her life from God’s impending judgment against Sodom, she looked back in disobedience and became a pillar of salt (Lk. 17:32; Gen. 19:17, 26). Each of us has spent enough time in the past in the sinful ways of the world (1 Pet. 4:3). Now we must live for the will of God (1 Pet. 4:2). As you look back at 2020, are you yearning for the things you used to do before you were a Christian? If so, repent of such thinking and “cease from sin” (1 Pet. 4:1).
15 The joy of our heart has ceased; Our dance has turned into mourning. 16 The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!… 21 Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old, 22 unless You have utterly rejected us, and are very angry with us! (Lamentations 5:15-16, 21-22, NKJV)
The Lamentations is a woeful, sorrowful book; the funeral dirge of Jerusalem, afflicted by the Lord “because of the multitude of her transgressions” (Lam. 1:5). No longer did she take joy in her sinful excesses. Now, all that remained was the painful sorrow and shame of sin. Yet, the Lord would turn their tragedy into triumph. He had not utterly rejected them in His anger. His mercy would reclaim a remnant and return them from Babylonian exile. He had even greater plans than that, for out of the remnant He would bring the “Root of Jesse” (Christ Jesus) and raise Him up as an banner for all to rally around for redemption (Isa. 11:10). Is there sin in your life? If so, acknowledge your sin with a repentant heart, repudiate it and turn back to the Lord. He will redeem your soul and refresh you with the joy of salvation (Acts 3:19).