Can You Lose Your Salvation? ~ blog
I realize that so many of you read my emails or listen to the podcasts and you need daily encouragement. Dealing with this issue of can one lose their salvation is not helping you emotionally or encouraging you in the day to day battle. However, I want to deal with this passage in Hebrews 6 since a bad interpretation can be very harmful to you and your recovery.
On the other hand, knowing that your salvation is a gift from God and that He chose you, adopted you, redeemed you, sealed you with the Spirit, and will not allow anything to separate you from His love should be very comforting. Believing His words that He will never leave us or forsake us is a powerful truth. Not to give us an excuse to sin since the final stage of our salvation will be us going to heaven anyway. So, let’s continue …
One of the most difficult passages to explain the idea of someone who has truly been born again losing their salvation is Hebrews 6. It seems so clear, but it is not saying what many believe it to be saying;
“For 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, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
The first question should be; “Who these words are addressing?” The writer tells us this in Hebrews 5:12-14. There were people who should have been progressing in their faith and teaching others. However, instead, they were not growing, learning, and teaching others. They wanted to remain babies nursing on milk instead of growing up and eating steak.
And the warning to them is not that they will lose their salvation but that in the end, when the things their lives have produced will be tested by fire, all those works will be destroyed because instead their actions bringing glory to God they have produced only thorns and thistles which will have NO eternal value at all. They are living for themselves and not for the Lord.
It seems clear to me that the people described above are certainly believers particularly because they have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit. Some want to say that they were not true believers, but these are the same people being addressed in chapter 5. However, they are immature babies in the faith and living for themselves instead of doing the works that God has for them and growing in their faith.
The passage becomes clearer when we examine the illustration the writer uses at the end of the paragraph. It reads;
“For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”
These immature believers are the ground. Ground that is to be used to produce vegetation, so the farmer has prepared it and tilled it and awaiting a crop. There is an expectation of good produce that will have value to the farmer. Instead, after being tilled and watered the only things it produces are worthless weeds. The ground has been worthless and is close to being cursed. Note it does not say the land is cursed but it is close to being cursed. Plus, it ends up being burned.
No please … what is it that is going to be burned? You cannot burn dirt. You burn the thorns and thistles because these are not valuable fruit, but they are worthless weeds.
Now is there another passage that might give light to this one? Yes, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15;
“Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver,]precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
God has saved us by grace through faith and we are not saved by our works. However, He has saved us so that we can do the works He has for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). The time we spend and how we spend it after receiving Christ should be us doing what He has for us to do. And when we do that, we produce fruit and we build on the foundation that is Christ with gold, silver, and precious stones.
However, if we choose to not grow into maturity, learning the things of the Lord and teaching them to others we are basically living for ourselves and all our selfish accomplishments will be tested with fire and destroyed.
One might think… well, I will get the best of both worlds. I will build my portfolio and enjoy the luxuries of this life and get heaven as well. However, pause for a moment and ask yourself if your becoming addicted to sexual sin and the destruction it brings into your life and family is really experiencing the best of this world? I think not. We have become slaves to sin and suffer the consequences of sin which is always destructive and enter heaven empty-handed or we can be earning for ourselves eternal rewards.
It is not one’s salvation that immature believers are in danger of losing, but their eternal rewards.
Now, what about where it says; “…then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance…” What he is telling his readers is that the time they have wasted by remaining infants and not growing into maturity cannot be started over. You cannot go back and start all over again. What they have done with the time they have had cannot be relived. You cannot start your Christian life over again because time has passed, and you cannot start over again.
So, live today for the Lord and begin to bear fruit.