Summary: The verb ‘fall away,’ or ‘apostatize,’ indicates a deliberate withdrawal from the faith once professed. Let’s take a look at this serious issue and what we can do to prevent it.
CAN I LOSE MY SALVATION?
INTRODUCTION: The Greek word for "apostasy" means a falling away, a withdrawal. The word is used twice in the New Testament, and it means the abandonment of the faith. The verb ‘fall away,’ or ‘apostatize,’ indicates a deliberate withdrawal from the faith once professed. Let’s take a look at this serious issue and what we can do to prevent it.
1) WARNINGS AGAINST FALLING AWAY.
· The danger of laziness. Heb. 5:11-14. We must move on from infancy toward maturity. If we are lazy or complacent we will not grow. If we’re not growing, we will be in danger of being led astray from what we did have to the point of not wanting it anymore. We as infants will be enticed by the old nature to the point of giving up on the new nature. When that happens, we will shut our hearts out to God’s voice. If our condition stays this way, we will fall away from the faith, thus losing our salvation. Vs. 11- “Slow to learn”. The Hebrews weren’t slow to learn because they were incapable, but because they were complacent. Because he said in verse 12 that by this time they ought to have been teachers. By this time they should’ve been able to eat meat, instead of still being stuck on milk. Perhaps they didn’t choose to study and meditate on God’s word from the beginning so they could grow to be able to move beyond the elementary teachings onto the deeper truths of scripture. Solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. As a lazy Christian, I haven’t put myself in training mode. In that way, if I am unable to distinguish good from evil I’ll be swept away by what appears to be good but is evil, leading me to fall away.
· The danger of a hard heart. 6:4-6:6. Vs. 4: ‘it is impossible’. When I think of the word impossible, I think of phrases like, not an option, isn’t going to happen, don’t bother trying, unattainable. But, oddly enough, there have been a number of opinions presented as to what the author means here. Some believe that impossible means really hard. It is really hard for those who fall away to come back to repentance. Or perhaps what is being said here is that it is impossible for men but not for God. However, this does not fit well with how impossible is used by our author. In verse 18 it says that it is impossible for God to lie. Does this mean it’s not impossible for God to lie, just really difficult? Heb 12:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Does that mean it’s just really hard to please God without faith? Impossible does not mean really hard. Another argument is that they were never Christians to begin with. If they were never a Christian then what are they falling away from? Why even bother saying this at all? Some feel that this is a hypothetical warning. If it were possible for Christians to fall away (which it is not) then we should be careful. What is the purpose of a hypothetical warning? What is the purpose of warning if it is something that could not actually happen? Why bother? Impossible is a finite word, an absolute word. It is a strong word. But it’s not so much that I can’t be brought back to repentance as much as I won’t be brought back. By the time I reach this stage of drifting away, I will be at the point of no return. I will have disconnected myself so completely that I will not hear God’s voice of warning. I will have shut myself off from the things of the Spirit and once again embrace fully the things of the world. Apostasy is possible. It is possible to get so far from God that you will never come back to Him. Now this is not talking about just sinning. This is not a demand that we must never fall short or never make mistakes. Our author here is not referring to our struggles with sin. He is not saying that if you have a hard time and sin that you are in danger of losing your salvation. Falling down is not the same as falling away. We may stumble and fall down through sin, but we can get back up if we’re willing to turn back to God and repent. Prov. 24:16 says, “…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” Hebrews 6 is not a charge to make yourself so good that you save yourself. It is a warning against turning your back on God all together. The danger that we face is not that God stops loving us or that God stops trying to save us. The impossibility is not with God; it’s with man. When we turn completely from Him we will never want to come back to the faith. The danger of apostasy is when we intentionally and deliberately shipwreck our faith. It’s when we divorce ourselves from God by completely departing from Him. It’s not God saying he’s had enough of us; it’s us saying we’ve had enough of him. This is what happens when we fall away.