Losing Jesus: Can We Get Him back?
One of the many hats that I wear as a missionary is “resource writer.” I have found that in Peru there are some good discipleship resources and there are some extremely poor resources. So, from the beginning, God has burdened my heart to write discipleship materials. This material tackles a wide variety of topics, written in a context that is culturally understandable to the Peruvians around me. Recently, one of the things that I tackled is salvation and whether or not it can be lost once it is gained.
By walking through this topic, I think that our end result should be, at worst, to lovingly “agree to disagree” because this is not a close-handed issue like the Trinity. This is one of those “open-to-debate” subjects.
To begin with, it is important that we look at the hot-topic verses for this subject. There are many, but I want to focus on Hebrews 6:4-6, because it seems to be “the ONE” in all of my research. Unfortunately, when people debate and argue about salvation it seems like the verse generally focused on is Hebrews 6:4-6; all of the surrounding verses are left out. So, I always suggest to people to look at the surrounding verses, Hebrews 6:1-9, to get the full context.
“6 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. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.” -ESV
As you can see, verses one through three talk about the biblical foundations of sin, repentance, works, faith, Hebrew tradition (or baptism), ministering to people, resurrection, judgement, et cetera. Then, verses four through six obviously lead many people to varying conclusions. Can we lose salvation? Do we have it forever? Literally, one word can change the entire meaning of the verses. Verses seven through eight give a short little metaphor between man as land, and the fruits it produces. (I would suggest reading Matthew 13:3-23 or Luke 8:1-11 with this for a deeper understanding). Having read the links you can begin to draw further varying conclusions. However, I think verse Hebrews 6:9, nips the whole argument in the bud.
Paul (or whoever actually wrote Hebrews) seems to lovingly admonish the believers to not worry whether or not someone can lose their salvation, but rather to be worried about people getting to know The Savior; meaning, “things that belong to salvation.” He encourages them to work on that, not to forget it, not to get frustrated, not to get lazy, just keep on focusing on people getting to know Jesus.
Sometimes we become so focused on these arguments that our division becomes a poor reflection of our salvation. We seemingly forget all about “things that belong to salvation.” In these verses we are encouraged to perform works in love, as a reflection of the Grace and Hope that we have received in Jesus Christ. Like the Hebrews, we are to imitate those that have faith in Christ, and are seeking His blessings with patience. Then for our own personal doubt, we will be assured that we are bearing fruit, and we are truly rested in His Hope.
It is true, some people are going to church for the hype because they want to see a spectacle. Maybe some people are being forced to go or maybe they are physically interested in a fellow pew-sharer. Still, others perhaps are going because they are in love with Jesus, and they do not know how to show it. Some will stay and some will fall away. The Bible is clear. Only God knows the salvation of each one of us.
What I am asking you to do is to look at the “things that belong to salvation” in your life:
1.) Look at how you define salvation. You need to ask yourself what requirements you have when determining salvation. Do you believe a person must confess their sins first, then accept Jesus. Do you believe a person must say a specific prayer with certain words in order to be saved or show fruits right after saying the prayer of salvation. Do you believe that a person must be baptized first in order to receive salvation? Do you believe that all a person has to do is confess that Jesus is who He says He is? What do you believe?
2.) How do you define Grace. Is it something you can earn? Is it a gift? Is it something you can buy at a discounted price? Is it something that you have to work for to keep on receiving? What does Grace look like in your life?
3.) Look at how you came to know Jesus Christ, (a.k.a. personal testimony). How did you receive salvation? Think about what you said that day. Think about the process. How do you know you were saved? Reflect on who you were, and the spark that made you who you are today.
When you begin to think and biblically meditate on “things that belong to salvation” suddenly arguments like these lose their importance. It becomes all about loving God, loving our neighbors and fulfilling the Great Commission. Then for all those doubters and judgers, they will see fruits, and the argument goes further and further away.
Holy High Five.
(P.S. If it just kills you to know my opinion, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to share it with you.)
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