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. 7 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. 8 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
A discussion on covenant faithfulness must include Hebrews 6. The inclusion of this passage might seem a stretch to many at first principally because the author seems to confess this discussion does not “belong to salvation” (Heb 6:9). However, given the author’s warnings to remain and abide in Christ (Heb 6:12), it is fair to reason that salvation in this context (and throughout Hebrews) is focused on an eschatological salvation. The author is aware that eternal salvation is not determined by obedience. But the reflection of covenantal faithfulness is prime for a warning. Without more being said, it is worth looking at the contents of this passage under the belief that it refers to covenant membership.
The first rather strong word used by the author is “enlightened” (G5461) which is used later by the author of Hebrews (Heb 10:32) to affirm those who might fear the judgment of God (Heb 10:29-32). Tasting the “heavenly gift” is certainly the Lord’s Supper but it rings of not merely bread and wine. There is a spiritual element to this. It is a holy element that is confirmed in the sharing of the Holy Spirit (like Ephesians 1:3). This word translated “shared” (G3353) is more helpfully translated in the KJV to be “partakers,” which is a reoccurring image for the author of Hebrews (Heb 3:1, 3:14; 12:8).
These individuals have also “tasted” the great pleasure of the word of God. This harkens back to the word of God in the parable of the soil. This brings to mind Christ saying “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). The cleanness of the Holy Spirit, the consumption of God’s word, and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper all point to covenant life in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13). Even the concluding warning reminds us of the parable of the soil, abiding in Christ the vine, and the vine imagery of Paul.