Hebrews: Sowing Seeds

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away . . .” (Hebrews 6: 4-6a).

This is one of the hardest passages I’ve ever studied. Once saved, always saved? Or can a person lose their salvation? The word terminologies we looked at in our last devotional could support either perspective. But I will defer my answer to the original author of the entire Bible.

Jesus told a parable of a man sowing seeds, some of which fell on hard ground, “and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, sprang up but “withered because they had no moisture.” Still more seed fell in the thorny grass, and the thorns “choked the plants.” Finally, some of the seed fell on good soil and produced a bountiful crop.  The Lord explained that the seed is the gospel that is sown in men’s hearts. The seeds on the path “are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved.” The seed sown among the rocky ground are “the ones who receive the word with Joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away.” The seed that falls among the thorns are those who hear “but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.” The seed that falls in the good soil are “those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”  (Luke 8:1-15)

Laying this parable beside the Hebrews passage (let Scripture interpret Scripture) we understand that the one who falls away never took root and grew to maturity. They are the rocky hearts in which the gospel doesn’t take a firm hold. And they are the hearts that are distracted by “life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.” Which soil did Jesus call good? The one that “by persevering produce a crop.” And perseverance isn’t gritting your teeth and hanging on for dear life. It is trusting in the promises and the Promise Keeper. Perseverance isn’t something you do to keep your salvation. It is the evidence of your salvation. Simply put, if you are not saved, you will not persevere.

Can you lose your salvation? You cannot lose what you never had.  But be assured, if you are in Jesus’ hands you will not fall away. “The one who calls you is faithful and He will [keep your whole spirit, soul, and body blameless]” (1 Thess. 5:24, 23).

5 thoughts on “Hebrews: Sowing Seeds

  1. Yes, this is such a hard passage for me as well. Our family just became members of a WELS synod Lutheran church. We came from a non denominational/Baptist background. From my understanding, I always took this as what you have said, “you can’t lose what you never had”. I think from the outside someone can appear to be a believer but only God knows the heart of the person and who He has ultimately chosen as His children. From the WELS Lutheran church, my take away was that they see Scripture as teaching that one can fall away from the faith after hearing the Word, but I guess that doesn’t necessarily mean someone is saved just because they’ve heard the Word or started off on good ground. Lots to take in here and study. Thanks for your post.

    • Amber, thank you for reading and commenting. This passage has been debated for a very long time – probably started while the ink was still wet on the papyrus. I contend that the one whom Jesus holds in His hand is eternally secure by His power and grace. But as He said, Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will. enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21).
      May you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

  2. Praying for God to send His Spirit to overwhelm my husband. He puts on a good front in public and is actually the lay leader in our church, but his heart is hard and rocky and he is so worried and anxious a loving God has been totally crowded out of his heart and mind.

    • Jeanne, I’m sorry for your situation – you’re not the only one in that boat. I know so many who are also. Praying for a softening of his heart and surrender to God’s sweet grace.

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