“Can I Lose My Salvation?” by Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

“Can I lose My Salvation?”

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

Scripture Readings: Hebrews 6: 1-20

Key Verses: Hebrews 6:1-3

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentence from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we shall do, if God permits.”

When I was a teenager, I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. I had been attending a nondenominational Christian fellowship for teenagers, had attended different churches, and joined in some youth events and youth groups in my area, seeking Christ, but I also wondered if I could “fall away” and if I did, would I have to keep renewing my faith. I was used to the idea of confessing my sins, but when I was moved by a service, did I need to keep answering the altar call? How could I be sure of my salvation? I feel sure I am not the only one who has questioned this.

I have had times when I was angry with God, in spite of my prayers and my dedication to going to church, and after both of my parents died and I was still in my twenties, single, and feeling “orphaned,” I was angry, upset, didn’t understand how God allowed that. And I stopped going to church. I still believed in God, but I was angry, hurt, didn’t understand. My faith faltered. I prayed at times, I pleaded with God, I asked questions, I read my Bible—sometimes. I didn’t stop believing, but I questioned a lot. I questioned my faith. For a time, I “fell away.”

Later, when I wanted to go back to church, when I sought more spiritual nourishment and when I had reconciled my differences with God, realizing that all are perishable, that although God had allowed death and natural consequences to occur, He had never abandoned me, had been there to see me through the pain I suffered. Ever since my return to church and to actively living my faith, I have felt a loss—a loss of the time I “fell away” from actively being in relationship with Jesus.

I am not a Bible scholar but I ask God to help me understand the scriptures for myself. And sometimes I rely on commentary. I am using the KEY WORD BIBLE (NASB) Red Letter Edition for my study and as I write this blog. There may be some controversy over what the context and meaning of these scriptures are, but I trust this commentary and believe what the commentary says about this.

Per the commentary of the KEY WORD BIBLE, salvation has three parts: 1-God pursues us, convicts us, helps us understand our need for salvation; 2-we accept his invitation, believing that Jesus died on the cross for atonement of our sins and that He offers eternal life if we believe in faith and follow him; 3-God allows and accepts our repentence, knowing that our hearts are sincere. So, Salvation is initiated by God and is a gift of God which we must receive, but we only actually receive the gift if we are sincere in our asking the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

If I understand what I have read and the accompanying commentary, my Bible indicates that Jesus offered his sacrifice once and for all. We do not have to keep answering the altar call and laying a foundation, but should develop our faith to maturity. To keep answering the altar call as if “it didn’t take,” as if God wasn’t faithful and we couldn’t trust that we were saved, the commentary says that Christ would have to be crucified each time to atone for our sins. He cannot come back and die again. He died once, making the ultimate sacrifice, washing away our sins in the eyes of God.  And as he died only once, he also is faithful to accept our sincere repentance and pure-hearted confession and acceptance of Him and his gift of grace—ONCE! Once was enough—he doesn’t take it back, it is final.

God offers the gift of salvation and if he accepts that your heart is sincere, your salvation is complete—it happens once and then it is as verse 7 says that it is like ground that is watered and containing vegetation. God provides the water or spiritual nourishment for growth; the ground that is properly tilled will bring forth good, viable plants and the ground that is watered but not tilled properly will yield weeds with thorns and thistles. So, I believe this means that salvation is secure but if we do not mature in faith and “fall away,” we may not receive all of the blessings of what comes with salvation, we may not “inherit the promises” cited in verse 12.

So, I can rest assured of my salvation as long as I was sincere when I accepted it, even if I later “fall away.” But if I develop my faith, hopefully, I will not “fall away” again. I want to receive all the blessings of his love. Jesus said that he came not to judge but so that we might live our lives more abundantly—I want that, don’t you?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you that I can rest assured of your love and that my salvation is secure. Help me to develop my faith so that I may never again “fall away.”

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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