Is falling away from the faith a danger for Christians? Throughout this letter we are warned to be careful, that falling away is a dangerous possibility (see, for example, Heb 10:26–27,36). The words fall away suggest a runner dropping out of a race, veering off the track and giving up. The Hebrews would have understood this as a picture of abandoning their faith.
Can people “drop out” to the point where there is no longer any hope for their salvation? Some think so and point out that only God knows when a person’s persistent disobedience will bring such judgment. This book’s primary example—the Israelites in the desert—shows that judgment came only after God had tolerated many rebellions. The writer’s concern for his readers suggests that they were dangerously close to crossing the line where it would be impossible to start over.
Others read these warnings differently, though. They insist that Christians are eternally secure and cannot fall from grace, so these words are intended for those who have merely tasted God’s grace but have not truly believed.
However it’s interpreted, those who fall away are not those who merely stumble in the race. Christians may have moments of weakness or temporary lapses in their faith; they may stumble and then, by God’s grace, return again to the Lord. But those who fall away are those who remain unrepentant and persist in their rebellion against God— like those who crucified Jesus.