Hebrews: Once Saved, Always Saved (?)

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If it seems like we’ve been in Elementary school for the past month, it’s because we have. We’ve been looking at the topics that the writer of Hebrews termed “elementary teachings about Christ” from Hebrews 6:1-2. They were basic, foundational truths like repentance, faith, baptism, the resurrection and, eternal judgment. Things that aren’t well understood in the 21st-century church. As we prepare to “graduate” to middle school, I have to warn you that this jump will feel like you’re being launched over the Snake River Canyon in a rocket. But we can’t skip hard passages. The whole counsel of God’s Word is life and light to us.

Buckle up. Here we go. “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, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace” (Hebrews 6:4-6). Wow! Did you feel those G-forces?

I am of the Baptist tradition and we are staunch believers in “once saved, always saved.” And I will not argue against that theology, but we need to lay it against all of Scripture and see what God says. This is generally taught that saved people cannot lose their salvation, but those people who “fall away” were not saved to begin with. I think that’s basically correct. But I want you to understand why – and be warned, we’re going to take our time with this passage.

Here’s the assurance you and I need: Jesus promised that no one can snatch His sheep from His hand (John 10:28).  The hands of Christ are eternally secure. The word “snatch“ implies being caught unaware. It means that someone has stealthily come up and taken something away without the owner’s knowledge.  That will never happen. No one sneaks up on Jesus. No one catches Him off guard. He also said that “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. I shall lose none of all that He has given me” (6:37,39).  That means, if you are in Christ, He will never turn from you, He will never abandon you, and He will never drop you. Those who belong to Christ are His forever.

That’s enough for today. We’ll dig into this text more next time. There’s a lot to consider here and it’s time to grow up and start learning.