Question: Bob, I just read your response to the question about Hebrews 10:26. I had just been asking my half-asleep friend about the section in Hebrews 6 that had been scaring me every night for the last week, but just then I was reading tonight's chapter, chapter 10, and nearly cried in fear. I was sure it was saying that I had blown it and could longer 'be saved". Your response was the only one with background and convincing logic rather than the feel-good answers many other had given. However, Bob, I'm still a little scared, and will probably still have a hard time going to sleep tonight. This is too big of an issue to just say 'I think" that answers it, or "I hope" that answers it. Can I be totally sure that I am not going to hell? I know that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, he died to pay the penalty for sins, and that He rose again conquering death. The scary part comes in when I think about election and the fact that not everyone is saved, and God hardens some people's hearts, and that I keep sinning. I have struggled with ____________ for quite a while and have confessed more times that it seems like even a merciful God would no longer hear it. I still feel guilty- but it does subside easier- and it's gone from a strong guilt to more of a fear. There have been times of 'success' and winning, but it often seems that eventually I'm going to lose again... and so far I always have. Does God allow for this in His salvation? I'm scared and desperate. Thank you for any insight and hope - anything.
Response: I'm happy to hear that you have gotten some encouragement out of the Hebrews 10:26 response. And I want to encourage you more regarding your salvation, for there is good news on this point, that is for sure.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is in the state of being born [again] from God. And everyone who loves the One who gave him birth also loves the one born [again] from Him (i.e., his brother in Christ). By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commands. For this is love for God, [namely] that we observe His commands - and His commands are not burdensome. For everything that has been born from God is overcoming the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith [in Christ]! For who is it that is overcoming the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1st John 5:1-5
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved."
For God loved the world so much, that he gave His only beloved Son, in order that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal life.
Therefore, if you are a believer in
Jesus Christ, then you are saved, and if you are saved, you are going to
spend eternity with our Lord. All of your sins have been forgiven -
indeed, Jesus has already been judged for them all. All you need do is
continue to rely upon Him for your salvation as a true believer in Him.
Now it is true that "a believer" is not merely someone who has a mental recognition of the facts, but someone who has committed themselves to faithfully following Jesus. The problem with sin is not that God is incapable of forgiving sin or certain sins or any such nonsense. Jesus died for all sin (Heb.2:9; cf. 1Tim.2:5-6; 1Jn.2:2; and also Matt.20:28; Jn.1:29; 12:47; 3:16-17; 2Cor.5:19; 1Tim.4:10; 1Jn.3:5), therefore all sin has already been cleansed as an issue for salvation for all those who choose to stand before God on the basis of what Jesus did rather on the basis of what they are doing.
No, the problem with sin is that sin is disobedience to God rather than following God. And the problem with disobedience is that if one is dedicated to disobedience rather than to God, not only do problems arise, but the process of the hardening of the heart will eventually begin and, carried to its extreme, will bring the person to the place where the plant of faith dies off so that he/she ceases to be a believer (see the link: "The Parable of the Sower").
I have written much about this negative and dangerous process and will be happy to provide you with more links, but the thing I wish to impress upon you is that you if you are genuinely concerned about the status of your relationship with Jesus, then that is an indication that you are truly a child of God. In my view, it is usually only believers who get worried about whether or not they are still saved - unbelievers simply don't care.
We all slip up and are occasionally tripped up. As Solomon remarked, "there is not a man who does not sin" (2Chron.6:36; cf., Eccl.7:20; Rom.3:23; Rom.3:9). We know that as Christians we have forgiveness for the sins we repent and confess through the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ (1Jn.1:5-9; see the link: Confession of Sin [BB 3B]). But that is not a "license to sin". When we sin, we are disciplined for it by the Lord (Heb.12:1-29), and believe me when I say from both experience and observation that we would do well to avoid all such confrontations with our Lord. God works with us, in spite of all our weaknesses and failures. Problems begin when we stop responding to Him. When we stop "resisting to the point of blood", when we give up and give in to sin entirely, when we allow our consciences to deteriorate to the point of no longer caring whether or not we are living a life of sin, and whether or not what we are doing is well-pleasing to the Lord, this is when the heart begins to harden and we begin to run the risk of our faith expiring.
So my advice to you is not to worry about things which are well within your control. So much of life that we foolish mortals believe to be under our control really lies entirely in the lap of God. But the one thing over which He has given us control is our own free will. If we use that free will to commit ourselves to Jesus Christ and to follow through on that commitment throughout our lives, not only do we have nothing to worry about in fact (eternally or temporally), but we also have only the most wonderful rewards to anticipate when we finally see our Master face-to-face on that day of days. And no one should underestimate those glories to come, for they put the best of this temporary material world to shame (see the link: Rewards).
The Christian life is like a long march up hill. If we are not moving forward, making progress, we are wasting our time at best, and at worst we run the risk of sliding backwards. Keep moving forward. Hanging in the middle between the two is not only uncomfortable and spiritually dangerous - it is a complete waste of the opportunities God has given you. Pursue sanctification and put away everything that wars against your spiritual life (1Cor.6:18; 1Pet.2:11; 1Jn.2:1). Make Jesus and learning and living the Word of God so as to better serve His Church your number one priority, and by so taking the offensive in your spiritual life, you will never ever have to be at all concerned that you will somehow be defeated. For the Lord is able to make you stand, and so He will, if only you stay determined to stand for Him. It is this faith and faithfulness that has already overcome all that is the world.
I hope this is helpful too you - please do not hesitate to write back for clarification on any point. And please see also . . .
Faith -- What is it?
Free-will Faith in the Plan of God
Fighting the Good Fight of Faith
What does it mean to "overcome" by faith?
Have I Lost my Salvation? (part II)
Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?
In Him in whom we have won the victory of faith, our Lord and Savior