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Loose Salvation?

• Shawna Boren

What does it mean to be saved? Can you ever lose your salvation?  These are two of the questions Shawna tackles in this week’s Loose Ends sermon.

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So many of us have experiences, maybe when we were children, where salvation was taught to us as a, “get out of hell pass”.  Some view salvation as a one-time decision we make and then it has no long term bearing on our lives or the way we live.

Shawna shares that this was her experience, but as she grew in her faith she began to view salvation as a covenantal relationship between us and God.

The passages we look at in today’s sermon are two of many passages that seem to communicate that our salvation is at stake or that God desires to take away our salvation if we make a mistake.  The problem is, we’re all human and deeply flawed. We’re going to make mistakes and we need to have an understanding of salvation that makes space for this. So when we do sin we run straight to God with it and not away from Him.  If we’re not careful we can read these passages with a picture of God ready to take away his love or salvation. But is this the picture of God we see in Jesus?  No, and Shawna reminds us to be aware of our picture of God as we’re processing these loose ends.

If we read our loose ends with a stingy and exacting picture of God we are prone to fear God and live in fear as believers.  The life of a believer becomes one marked by anxiety, not the freedom that Christ has come to give us.  Today’s sermon helps us reframe the way we read these passages in light of the goodness of God, and the reality of our free will.

First, Shawna gives an important description of salvation to help us understand what is going on in these passages.  Salvation is an ongoing, life-giving, covenantal relationship with God. One where God commits to us and we commit to God. This relationship is full of grace and love, desire and hope.

We looked at passages that support this picture of salvation:

1 Peter 1: 3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

 

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

John 10:27-30
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

God never leaves and always wants the best for us, we however can choose to reject God and this is what our loose ends describe. So, Shawna give us some context to the passages in Hebrews and what they see to be warning the church of the potential for falling away.

The Hebrew church was a community of believers who were under great persecution. Many people believed what Jesus did on the cross was shameful and disgraceful and so Jesus-followers were subjected to public ridicule, loss of land, and even life.  Under such persecution, there were some who were willfully leaving their faith because life was too hard. Paul, reminds them that in doing so, they are rejecting Jesus and the love she showed on the cross. He also reminds them that they have seen the truth and experienced the Holy Spirit so they are making a willful chose to leave.

Our loose ends describe what is looks like when someone chooses to fall away — not God’s heart or desire to reject someone if they sin. Quite the contrary, God is the one who never leaves or changes.  Some may look at the passage and believe God does not want them to come or that it’s impossible to come back, but that’s only if we view salvation as a thing we can loose in an instant.

The passage in Hebrews warn us about ongoing deliberate breech of the covenant of love we have with God. Just as our salvation is on ongoing, life-giving relationships with God, so can our hearts be hardened by on ongoing, deliberate actions to reject God.

When this happens, then we are held accountable and subjected to the effects of our sin. The loss of salvation is not God’s doing, but ours. The judgement described in the passages are what happens when God withdraws from us because we’ve told him time and time again with our actions that we do not want that covenantal love relationship with him.

Shawna ends the sermon asking us if we fall in one of the two camps: believing we cannot return to God because of sin, or afraid that we can lose our sin.  She invites us to take heart and not lose hope, God desires for us to choose him and we can do so right now and continue in that life-giving, saving relationship with him.

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Topics: Salvation

Sermon Series: Loose Ends


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Focus Scripture:

  • Hebrews 6:4-6

    "For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame."

  • Hebrews 10: 26-31

    "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said,
    “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.”
    He also said,
    “The Lord will judge his own people.”

    It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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9 thoughts on “Loose Salvation?

    kevin says: Thursday August 23, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for trying to explain away those hard passages; being the short bus brain that i am, they still remain muddled.

    Reply
    Mike says: Sunday August 26, 2018 at 12:07 am

    God’s judgment is His withdrawal. I hear that a lot at Woodland Hills, but never see it in Scripture.

    Reply
    Mike says: Sunday August 26, 2018 at 12:27 am

    I thought she was going to tell us how secure we are in His love, but then she told us that it’s actually up to US to remain secure in His love. Yikes! Anything left up to US isn’t all that secure, methinks. Besides, as believers, NOTHING separates us from his love…….not even our falling away.
    Hebrews 6 doesn’t say anything about losing your salvation because you have fallen away. It just talks about becoming unrepentant for the rest of your life.
    Hebrews 10 isn’t talking about believers. It’s talking about those who have heard the truth, and rejected it.

    Reply
      Tracy says: Friday August 31, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      I would agree Mike. If the Holy spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance…. that means to lose our salvation we ourselves must throw the Holy spirit out of ourselves somehow, and the fact we are a new creation upon salvation, must mean somehow we can become part of the old creation again. it’s not up to us. It’s up to God’s faithfulness. And He is faithful. Thankfully. We cannot undo what God has done. Our behaviour sometimes does not reflect our identity. But if our identity is in Christ, we are secure.

      Reply
      Penny says: Monday September 10, 2018 at 1:39 am

      Thanks Mike! I never believed in the “revolving door” theology of salvation. I thought once a son/daughter always a son/daughter. If this salvation depends on me, then I’ve lost it many times over. Ive ran and gave up many times from trying to live the godly lifestyle… so if you can lose it and never come to your senses and return, then what is the prodigal son parable all about? And why does the Bible say “his gifts and calling are without repentance.”? Didn’t like this sermon. Seems more confusing than clear. Sorry.

      Reply
    Theresa says: Thursday September 13, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I always believed in once saved always saved. I can say I was not surrendered (all of me) for years (decades). There was certainly a resistance in me to not surrender all. My thoughts were ‘ I cant do that…where would that bring me? I dont wa nt to be some religious nut’. I wanted just enough in belief to justify in me that “yes..I am a Christian” but I lived in my way to the point that I truely never understood freedom. It was legalistic in ways of trying harder on my own. A yo-yo affect that lead me in circles. God comes to us in ways that will irk us. I knew deep down I was not free….I questioned “what does that even mean?”..because I never felt free. It took going down many wrong roads of myself (sin) with no satisfaction that brought me to the end of myself. I surrendered all and it was the start of discovering freedom in Him that i never knew. One thing I do know is that He never gave up on me as I look back. He knew my heart was still seeking Him even though he allowed me to go down those roads that had me looking away from Him. He knew I would not be satisfied. He knew the thoughts i had that i knew it was wrong but did it anyway. Words like * Trust and obey* would convict and have me resisting at the same time. He is so very patient. He knew what I didnt….that I needed Him to see my true self (and false self). I believe I was saved all those prior years because He knew my heart was not rejecting Him but rather blinded to true freedom in Him. It could have happened way sooner had I not resisted because I can see the many times He was drawing me in my past circumstances but He was so patient with me. He wasnt waiting for me to be more spiritually mature and then say ” ok…now you are saved”. I believed I was saved at the time but He was working with a stubborn human heart (arent we all?) and He understood my heart. Sure, we can go off and sin willingly but i believe when He is able to get us to the point of surrendering all, He gives us the freedom that we need deep within that it leads to a *want* and strength that is in union with Him. I believe its all about the Lord leading us to surrender in which He knows the heart will want to resist but will always be drawing in the hearts of those who do not reject. There is a difference between rejecting and resisting.

    Reply

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