The gospel message of salvation is a beautiful message indeed! It’s a story of redemption so unlikely, so magnificent that the world’s greatest philosophers and writers would never be able to dream of it. Our Creator, our perfect, righteous, and all-powerful God gave up his own Son to die on the cross of Calvary for all of mankind (John 3:16). All we need to do is believe and live in obedience to that great and precious gift of grace and we’re saved! We get to spend the rest of eternity in close fellowship with God, worshipping and glorifying him with the believers from all of time.
That’s all there is to it right? Make a one time statement of confession that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9), genuinely repent of the sin that separates us from him (Acts 3:19), and honor him through obedience in baptism for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). And what about the believer who dishonors God with continued disobedience? What about the one whose faith is in word only and is not evidenced by action or deed (James 3:14, 17)? Will they be eternally lost?
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
When we have learned of God’s goodness, when we have shared in the gift of the Spirit, when we have knowingly accepted God as the giver of all blessings and then turn our backs on him, we cannot be restored to repentance. A heart that grieves over sin, one that is broken over their poor choices and maintains a measure of penitence, that is a heart that will be received by God. We can see that in the parable of the prodigal son when the wayward was restored to honor when he offered a surrendered heart (Luke 15:11-32). The dead can be made alive. The lost can be found, but only with a heart that repents.
Our God is light. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). In order to have our sins continually cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we must walk in a worthily manner. If we leave the light, then we must be willing to return. Failure to do so would result in making God out to be a liar and we can expect no redemption to follow (1 John 1:10). “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
I don’t know about you, but the thought of my continued sin keeping me from God is a very sobering thought. It should be for all of us. Once saved, always saved? The Bible clearly teaches otherwise and it would be wise to heed its warning. God has been completely straightforward. He desires believers who will give him their all, not just people who think they are owed their salvation. There’s no doubt that it’s a free gift, one given graciously because he loves us. But part of our acceptance of that gift is that we show him honor and gratitude. Have you honored him for that wonderful plan of salvation? Have you given him your whole life?