We describe membership at Unison as “pursuing Christ together.” One of my favorite parts about pursuing Christ together is seeking God in Scripture as a family. One of the most important qualities of Christian community is the ability to process Scripture together and allow it to inform and direct our thinking and shape our lives. That is why we have the sermon time every Sunday.
From time to time, after the initial sermon on Sunday subsequent conversations add substance to the message that simply must be shared with the whole congregation. After this past Sunday’s sermon, that happened again. A Unisonian brought to light a portion of Scripture that adds depth to our conversation regarding whether or not a Christian can “lose” salvation.
The portion of Scripture, Hebrews 6:4-6 is an important element to add into this conversation. It reads,
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
Simply put, an individual who has accepted the gift of salvation by faith in Christ, has embraced the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and then make a conscious decision to denounce Christ’s Lordship and break fellowship with the Holy Spirit commits an act of betrayal that is not possible to bounce back from. I am using some light words here but what we see in Scripture is that it is impossible for this person to be renewed again to repentance. This type of betrayal is not the same as a “born again” believer lying on their taxes or even murdering someone. While these are sins, they are not at all equivalent to denouncing faith in Christ. Again acceptance of God’s gift of salvation is through faith in Christ. If one no longer has faith in Christ, then they in essence have abandoned the gift.
This is not in contradiction to the conversation, while there is certainly tension, this addition adds further depth and validity to the conversation. Faith is a powerful thing. It is the means by which we accept the gift and live in fellowship with God. If faith in Christ is, at any point, not a part of the equation, then we are not walking in relationship with God the Father. By definition a lack of faith means that one is not a Christian... hence the term "Believer."
So, in light of this addition to the conversation, the best way to answer the big question is...
No, a Christian can not lose salvation. However God has given us freedom to believe and receive the gift and also gives us grace to dis-believe and abandon the gift just as freely.
A personal reflection: it is a sad day when someone who has fully trusted the Lord, and then decides they no longer want it.
Feel free to comment and ask questions or add to the conversation. This is how we seek God together, family!
Love you and thanks for being and staying engaged, Chase