The real context Actually we often ask the wrong questions when treating these passages in Hebrews. The context is the deliverance of God's Hebrew people as a group detailed in Number 12 - 14, not individual personal salvation. This situation historically is referred to many times in Hebrews 3 and following. The issue was the rebellion of the whole group in Numbers having had all the benefits Paul mentions in Heb. 6: 4, 5 - and when they tried to undo their rebellion, it was impossible (Num14:44ff) for them. Paul used this paradigm case to try and persuade the Hebrew Christians as a group in his day not to return to the sacrificial system (as Dr. Cairns rightly observes). These warnings are corporate warnings for a 'church' which can apostatise - it is not treating individual salvation. Individuals (like Joshua and Caleb) for whom Christ died and who rest on Him alone for salvation will never be lost, even though their churches might apostatise - but different Scriptures address that issue of personal salvation.