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Can a Christian fall away?

Question
DX writes - To me, the verses at Hebrews 6:4-6 are saying that, if I fall away from Jesus, I will never be able to return again.

In other words, I can lose my salvation. This worries me a lot. Is it true?
   

Biblebell's Reply
The verses referred to in our visitor's question are quoted alongside.

In those verses, the Key Words that describe a person who can permanently fall away are...

  • once enlightened
  • tasted
  • partakers

Keeping those Key Words in mind, ask yourself the following FIVE questions...

 

It is impossible for those who were...

  • once enlightened
  • have tasted the heavenly gift
  • have become partakers of the Holy Spirit
  • have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come

...if they fall away to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Heb 6.4-6

John 3.3 states that, to be saved, a person must be "born again."

  • Question #1 Do the Key Words of Heb 6.4-6 prove that the person who falls away ever actually was BORN AGAIN?
 

Key Words -- once enlightened | tasted | partakers

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3.3

John 3.16 states that, to obtain everlasting life, a person must believe in Jesus, the Son of God.

  • Question #2 Do the Key Words of Heb 6.4-6 prove that the person who falls away ever actually BELIEVED in Jesus?
 

Key Words -- once enlightened | tasted | partakers

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3.16

Acts 3.19 states that, to have your sins blotted out and thereby be saved, you must repent and be converted.

  • Question #3 Do the Key Words of Heb 6.4-6 prove that the person who falls away ever actually REPENTED of his or her sins?
  • Question #4 Do the Key Words of Heb 6.4-6 prove that the person who falls away was ever actually CONVERTED?
 

Key Words -- once enlightened | tasted | partakers

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord Acts 3.19

Romans 8.9 states that, if a person belongs to Jesus, and thus is truly saved, then the Spirit of God will dwell within that person.

  • Question #5 Do the Key Words of Heb 6.4-6 prove that the person who falls away was ever actually INDWELLED by God's Spirit?
 

Key Words -- once enlightened | tasted | partakers

You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Rom 8.9

Stony places
In Matthew 13.20, Jesus taught us that there are people who hear God's word. They are thereby
enlightened.

  • They receive God's word with joy, and thereby taste and partake of the heavenly things.
  • Having no root -- no faith in Jesus -- they endure only for a while.
  • Then they fall away, never having been saved in the first place.
  [Jesus said...] He who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has NO ROOT in himself, but endures only for a while. Mt 13.20-21a

Are you a THEM or an US?

  • First John 2.19 compares true believers -- us -- with those who merely profess belief -- they.
  • For clarity, we have used red for true believers, and yellow for those who merely profess to believe.
  • First John 2.19 makes it clear that THEY who permanently depart the faith were never one of US, God's own born-again children.
  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 1 John 2.19

THOSE who fall away

  • Hebrews 6.4-6 speaks of people who *fall away*.
  • People who fall away are referred to as those and they and them.
  • Ergo, these verses are not speaking of YOU who are saved, but of THEM who merely profess to be saved.
  It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they *FALL AWAY*, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Heb 6.4-6

YOU who are saved

  • Hebrews 6.9-10 speaks of people who possess things that *accompany salvation* -- that is, people who are saved.
  • People who are saved are referred to as you and your.
  • Ergo, these verses are not speaking of THEM who fall away, but of YOU who truly are saved.
  But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that *ACCOMPANY SALVATION*, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Heb 6.9-10

They and Them

  • A person is enlightened when he hears the Gospel.
  • A person tastes heaven when he is among praying Christians.
  • A person partakes of the Spirit when he is among God's children as they rejoice in Jesus and praise His name.
  • But mere enlightenment and tasting and partaking won't get that person saved, for the same reasons that watching airplanes fly away won't get him home for Christmas, and standing in a garage won't turn him into an automobile.
  ...they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 1 John 2.19b

[
Jesus said...] Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6.53

[
Jesus said...] Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again!" John 3.7

You and Us
A believer may backslide for a time, but he or she will never fall away permanently...

  • Why not? Because You who are saved are KEPT saved by the power of God.
  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has begotten us again... who are *kept by the power of God* through faith for salvation 1 Pet 1.3b & 1.5a
  • In passages such as Hebrews 6.4-6 and Philippians 2.12b, God does indeed warn You to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phil 2.12b-13
  • Such warnings are one method by which God assures your perseverance, even as He Himself works in You to will and do for His good pleasure.
  • And WHAT, you ask, is God's good pleasure?
  • Read God's loving answer to your question in John 6.39 alongside. Halleluyah!
  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phil 2.12b-13

[
Jesus said...] This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. John 6.39

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