A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry from Hebrews 3 in which I claimed that the writer held the possibility that salvation could be rejected after being accepted. I said some things in that entry that one visitor took issue with, and we had a lengthy discussion among the comments. Neither convinced the other, but it was interesting to me because his support he used was unexpected. You can read the entry and the comments on that entry, “Falling Away“
One of the things I said there is that I don’t really fit into either camp on the discussion of apostasy (the technical term for “falling away”). And that may sound weird, but the common term is “loose salvation”, and I very strongly disagree with the term “loose” used with this topic. I loose my keys, my phone, my wallet, and so on. I don’t “loose” my salvation. The problem of apostasy Scripture speaks of is not that simple.
One of the several issues I rarely hear those in the camp of “transitory salvation” is that there is only one chance at it. I said in my entries on Hebrews that the writer seems to support both sides of the issue of salvation loss. Here’s one of the reasons I say that:
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.Hebrews 6:4-6 NASB (emphasis mine)
What this clearly says is that, if someone has a relationship with their Savior, and then rejects it (looses it), there’s no coming back. “It is impossible to renew them again to repentance”. Repentance, the change of mind, heart, and then behavior, which indicates a state of being in relationship with our Savior, is impossible if we “repent” from it back to where we were before.
Said another way, people say (not me, but others) that repentance is a 180-degree turn away from what we were, how we thought, and how we lived, and toward our Savior, His ways, and His thoughts. If so, then the loss of salvation represents a “repentance” away from our Savior, a 180-degree turn away from His ways and His thoughts, and toward what we were, how we thought, and how we lived. And once that “second repentance” happens, there’s no hope of coming back again to our Savior.
Did anyone experience a “chill” reading that? I felt one writing it. It’s frightening, and it’s supposed to be. Salvation, our relationship with our Savior is serious. And it’s so serious, it isn’t something that can be left on the subway by accident. It’s not something buried under your jacket around the house. You can’t leave it in the last place you remember having it. You can’t loose it. It’s life and death, not a ticket to heaven!
It’s like being married, being in the military, or being employed by large company: you don’t forget those things, you consciously choose to break with those things. And for that there are, or can be, serious consequences. “Saved” means you are a disciple of Jesus, and that is an expensive commitment to make. It’s not something you take lightly, nor do you live it out lightly.
In fact, one of the claims of those in the eternal security camp is that anyone who “falls away” was never actually saved in the first place. That, while wrong and missing the point, is closer to the truth than the other side. The danger of that position is that it holds the hope of being saved eventually. Sorry, there’s no pass to get around this inspired claim of the writer of Hebrews. Our Savior, the Spirit of Jesus, inspired this passage to deliver a message to us: DON’T GIVE UP! It comes with the associated warning that, if we do, we’ve made an eternal choice from which it is impossible to come back.
But there’s no reason to fear. The point isn’t to be afraid that you might “fall away” by accident or unknowingly. The point is that we don’t out and out reject the “Way” of Jesus for another path. If you question your commitment, you are probably good to go. You show interest in your relationship with Jesus. You may not be a great disciple, but you’re in the fray. And being in the fray means there’s hope you will be an even more faithful servant of Jesus.
See, it’s not the husbands who wonder if they’re good husbands that are the “looser husbands”. It’s not the wives who wonder if they’re good wives that the “worst wives”. It’s the spouse who doesn’t care about the other, the ones who think only of themselves, what they want, their desires and their feelings. When there’s no regard for the other spouse, then the marriage is basically a paper certificate filed in some county records holding area. But when there is some regard, some thought for the other, spouse, then there’s hope. They may not be a great spouse, but there’s hope for improvement.
In the same way, if there is some regard for our Savior, even misguided, there’s hope. There are exceptions, such deep deceptions that the regard isn’t for anything even close to Jesus, but in general, those are rare. I’m not a perfect disciple of Jesus. Sometimes, I’m not even a good disciple, and at other times, I’m a down right bad disciple. But I have regard for my Savior, I seek to please Him, I’m concerned about how I treat Him, and it wounds my heart to be that bad disciple, and even missing the mark of “good disciple”. I want to be a great disciple. But one thing I don’t fear is forgetting where I put my faith.
Where is your faith, your hope in eternity? If you have never had hope, then I recommend Jesus. If your faith is in Jesus already, live it out, follow His pattern of living. If it used to be Jesus, but you’ve woken up and realized it’s been years since you were living as a disciple, is this a wake up call? See, if you’re looking at Him again, I believe it’s possible you didn’t actually “reject” Him, or it’s possible you never really had faith in the Savior revealed through Scripture (see how close I am to the “eternal security camp”?).
In any case, where are you now, and what will you choose today? I’m choosing to be a disciple, and I am going to work on being a great one, even though the prospect terrifies me. I may only end up being a good one. Okay, as long as I’m a disciple, I can’t let go of that.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation