During a recent Bible reading in Hebrews 12, a young believer inquired if verses 14 & 15 indicate a believer could lose salvation upon sinning. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” and “lest any man fail of the grace of God,” do not mean a saved person can lose salvation. The context teaches that believers will know chastisement for sin so that they may be partakers of God’s holiness. God remains our Father and we are to follow after the holiness that we have in Christ. Sin as an act is unholy, but the believer thereby is not an unholy person. Unconverted Esau is the example to “fail of the grace of God.”
Another scripture that disturbs some is John 15:6. The Lord teaches that a life union produces fruitfulness, maintained by abiding in Him. Some branches bear fruit and are pruned to increase fruitfulness. Others are non-fruit bearing and are cut off. The picture is of our present fruitfulness, not our union in Christ that can never be severed. To abide in Him, fruit is the proof. Teaching which necessitates behavior to maintain union with Christ is a religion of works and casts doubt upon the all-sufficient work of our great Redeemer. We are as secure as the hand and shoulders of the living Christ can make us. He is our “Forerunner” in the presence of God in heaven (John 10:28-29, Luke 15:5, Heb 6:20).
Doubting one’s salvation arises by evaluating one’s experience, depth of sorrow or strength of faith at the time of profession. This character of doubts is self-occupation and produces increased efforts at self-amelioration or the despair of trying to analyze the endless reasoning of an unconvertible “flesh.” The central issue is: has Christ satisfied God on my behalf? God’s word alone gives this assurance. To turn away from self to His word takes one back to conversion’s day and assurance and joy are restored.
Another character of doubts comes from the Holy Spirit. If one realizes conviction of sin and the danger of eternal punishment, it is the voice of God in His faithful love to disturb a false peace. Face these facts in honesty before Him. Do not mollify them by evaluating your life’s standards or expressions of sorrow for sin. God loves you and does not want you to rest upon anything short of Christ the Savior of sinners.
Let us sing heartily:
“How firm a foundation,
Ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
In His excellent word.”
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).