Once Saved – Always Saved? What does this debate mean for you?

If you consider yourself to be a Christian, then you may have asked yourself the question of whether you can lose your salvation. In fact, this question is among the most debated ones in Christianity. Can a born-again believer lose his salvation?

The objective of this letter is not to share my view on the question. Rather, the objective is to show you how serious this matter truly is, regardless of the conviction you may hold about what the right answer might be. Consider one of the chief passages from the scriptures behind this controversy.

Hebrews 6:1-6 [ESV]Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, 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, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the 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 are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

IF you believe that a born-again believer cannot lose his salvation, then there is only one conclusion regarding this passage: It cannot be speaking about those who are born-again. It is speaking about those who are not born-again. And conversely, if you believe this passage is speaking about born-again believers, then there is only one conclusion: a born-again believer can indeed lose his salvation.

What is interesting is that depending on the position you are holding on this matter, this passage sends two different, but equally serious warnings to you.

This is the message to you, Christian, whoever you are, if indeed the people in Hebrews 6:1-6 are born-again:

“YOU-CAN-FALL. Do not rest on your laurels, but stand and watch, honor Jesus your King here on earth, or you will be in danger of spending eternity in hell.”

This is the message to you, Christian, whoever you are, if indeed the people in Hebrews 6:1-6 are NOT born-again:

“You, self-professed Christian, DO-NOT-BE-DECEIVED. Do not believe that you are born-again even though 1) you have once been enlightened, AND 2) you have tasted the heavenly gift, AND 3) you have shared in the Holy Spirit, AND 5) you have tasted the goodness of the word of God AND even 6) you have tasted the powers of the age to come.”

My friend, are you grasping the gravity of this passage? Many self-professed Christians have relied on the fact that they once prayed the sinner’s prayer, or onto the fact that they were baptized at their church, or on whatever other experiences they have had or beliefs they hold, to convince themselves that they are born again. Many self-professed Christians have yet to experience just ONE – let alone ALL 6! – evidence(s) listed in Hebrews 6:4-6, and YET they believe to be born again, while this passage confirms that they are not, if indeed once you are saved, you are always saved.

And on the other hand, if indeed one can lose his salvation, then this passage is saying, “How can you, you a born-again, how can you, having experienced ALL THESE THINGS, this manifold grace of God, how in the world can you fall back again into living in the flesh…this is nothing but pure folly and madness, for you are crucifying Jesus, the Son of God AGAIN. It is over for you, you cannot be brought back to repentance, you are doomed and will spend eternity in hell.”

My friends, it is not the intention of this letter to trivialize the ongoing debate on the subject, for the truth of the scriptures, and the truth of the scriptures alone is what we should search for diligently, what we should hold onto dearly, and what we should preach fervently.

Nevertheless, I would like to caution that, as we debate and ponder on this question, we do not lose sight of the more important, and ultimately only truly relevant question that this debate and Hebrews 6 really raise:

AM I BORN AGAIN, AND AM I WALKING? 

This question, is a matter of Life and Death. Oh my people, awake from your sleep! AWAKE! The day is far spent. Do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Do you know if you will be granted another day among the living? So what don’t you rise from your spiritual sleep and walk in a manner worthy of the One you call Lord? Stand up and watch, examine yourself whether you are in the faith, and may the Lord Himself reveal in you that which is lacking, for it is better to enter His Kingdom missing one hand, than for your whole being to be cast away from the presence of God. 

May His grace be upon you. Thanks be to God, the Father, and to Jesus the King of all kings.

Amen.

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