I’ve been reading The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace online, and based on what the bible says and your interpretation of what the Hebrews passages say about a christian losing their salvation, I am pretty sure I fit into that category. I was raised in the church of Christ, baptized at eleven years of age (I am 53 now) but never grew or matured as a Christian. I have tried a few times but always end up giving in to temptation. In all these years I’ve committed many sins. I guess this would constitute rebelling against God.
I never stopped believing in God. At times I would feel extremely guilty, then other times I wouldn’t feel guilty. I’ve had a lot of depression over the guilt and longed to be able to be forgiven but deep inside I knew I couldn’t be forgiven because I sinned willingly and I knew the truth.
Now that I’ve read the book, I’m even more convinced that I cannot regain my salvation. Should I just assume I’m lost since a Christian who has lost their salvation cannot regain it?
A reader in Nashville.
No. No! And I’m very sorry that you’ve gotten that impression from my book.
Let me explain. You are surely thinking of my explanation of this passage —
(Heb 6:4-6) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Now, my interpretation is pretty radical, because I think it means exactly what it says (which is how I get labeled at a “liberal” 😉 ). Therefore, if you fall away, it is indeed impossible to be brought back to repentance. That’s what it says, so it must be true.
But there’s an important conclusion we need to draw: if you repent, it wasn’t impossible to repent. As I wrote,
After all, if the Christian ultimately does repent, it must not have been impossible to repent. And if it was not impossible for the Christian to repent, he could not have fallen away.
(p. 72). In other words, the point is that grace is far, far broader that we are often willing to accept. Remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Father was extremely patient with the younger son, and even though the younger son was quite the sinner, he did repent and he was forgiven.
Therefore, the question for you is not whether you can be saved, but whether you will repent. If you repent, God will be there for you. Don’t give up on God. He hasn’t given up on you.
Now, there’s another critically important lesson here. You see, the reason that some get so far from God that they can’t repent is not that God won’t take them back. He’ll always take us back. The problem is that the further we get from God, the harder it is for us to turn back. Our hearts grow hard. Our conscience becomes seared. God’s Spirit wrestles and strives with us, but he’ll eventually be quenched, never to return.
Therefore, it’s urgent that we repent quickly. Relying on God’s grace to continue in sin is far more dangerous than we often imagine, because coming back is much harder than we often imagine.
Dear sister, do not for a moment think that God won’t take you back. He’s standing on the road waiting. Go back home to God.
In practical terms, you need to find a good church home that will encourage and support you as you struggle against temptation. And you need to find an accountability group of 2 or 3 other women you can meet with at least weekly, so they can hold you to account and support you as God works in you to turn your life around.
I’m sure the readers can suggest several congregations in Nashville that would love to help you and that could help you find the support you need to resist temptation and grow in Jesus.