For many years I was of the firm conviction that, “ whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” Romans 10:13. I thought of it, in my youth, almost like “magic” words that, once said, determined your eternal destiny…no matter what. But through the years, as I have grown in the knowledge of both the Lord and His word, I have realized there is more involved.
The first thing is repentance. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Unless we recognize our hopeless state, and our desperate need for a savior, I am hard pressed to imagine how one could appreciate the saving Blood of Jesus, and allow Him to change their life.
Once repentance and salvation is accomplished, the question then has been argued for 2000 years whether a person can lose their salvation. I was of the school that would have vehemently declared, “No!”. But even though the answer will not be found on this page, I think it is wise to consider the matter.
In Romans 11:22, Paul said, “Behold the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you will be cut off.” Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
On the other hand, John 10:29 says, “My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand.” (It doesn’t, however, say they can’t walk away.) Hebrews 3:6-8 says, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-whose house we are if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Therefore as the Holy Spirit says,’Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.’”
So you see, it can be argued from both sides. And there are many other verses that address this issue. It is true that if you are born of God, that should be hard to lose. But then the parable of the sower and the seeds is there, begging the question, “When do you know the seed has germinated, and you are born of God? When is it beyond being trampled by the cares of this life?” Only Father holds the answer, but there is some wisdom to be gained considering this whole concept. Since we live in a day when some are declaring, “Grace, Grace,” and “It doesn’t matter what I do, since God will forgive me.”
Yes, we have a forgiving God, and repentance that is sincere is effective; but when a person continues in sin, without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, something is amiss. When the conviction comes, and it does, it is our responsibility to repent and pray for His help. If we continue to sin, ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit, His warnings will become less noticeable to us. That is the process of hardening your heart. If you allow this to happen, eventually sin won’t bother you. But at this point, I have to question whether or not we have crossed into the “terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which shall not be quenched.” I am not saying it is so, but it is a dangerous thing to harden you heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit. For sure, sin has consequences.
It is best to keep short accounts with God. When our hearts convict us of sin, we should quickly repent, and ask God for help in that area.When we take the first step in faith to resist sin, God is with us all the way. But we do have to take the first step. Each step after that gets just a little easier. Life is a learning process, a race so to speak, and the race can’t be run without many mistakes and much forgiveness. The important matter is to run the race, with a heart to win, not hoping to slide in on extreme grace.