1 “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good 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 again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and produces vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”
Leaving the elementary teaching: The author sees the Gospel as elementary in the sense that it is foundational. And yet, the readers did not understand the New Covenant. They had some enlightenment about the Gospel, but they had not believed it.
Dead works…faith: The only sin that is talked about in Hebrews is unbelief. The Jewish problem and the primary concern in Hebrews is that they will have a small taste of Jesus and then return to the Old Covenant law. Therefore Hebrews urges people to cross the bridge from the dead works of the Old Covenant into the faith of the New Covenant.
Washings…hands…resurrection…eternal judgment: This is referencing the practices of the temple. Specifically, cleansing through washing with water and placing hands on the scapegoat is in focus. The author wanted them to move on from these practices and other elementary teachings such as the resurrection from the dead and the concept of eternal judgment. In the opinion of the author, the audience ought to have understood these basic aspects of Christianity by now.
For it is impossible…fallen away: Hebrews is describing a group who had been enlightened by the Gospel and tasted it. They were aware of the Gospel message but had not believed it fully. This group had also shared in the presence of the Holy Spirit because they lived in Jerusalem and witnessed the miracles of the apostles. So, they have tasted the Gospel, but not consumed or swallowed it. Instead, they fell away through unbelief and succumbed to Jewish peer pressure to return to the Old Covenant temple. If people reject Jesus, there is no pathway to repentance because Jesus is the only path to salvation.
Ground that drinks the rain: The author is now describing what happens when people believe the Gospel and not merely hear it. These people are like ground that drinks rain and produces vegetation. The author wants people to not be on the fence about Jesus. He wants them to fall fully into God’s grace.