“Losing Salvation” in Hebrews

The warnings passages in Hebrews present difficulties for interpretation and theological integration. 

David DeSilva notes that when reading these texts, interpreters need to do so from within the same theological framework as the author.

The debate often hinges, however, on the attempt to determine whether or not this group of people has experienced “salvation.”  Are they “saved” individuals who then “lose” their salvation, or are they merely semiconverts who fall away, so that the doctrine of “eternal security” is not impugned by this passage?  This debate demonstrates the ways in which the ideology of interpreters may override the ideology of the author of the text, constructing a foreign framework that inevitably distorts the author’s meaning.  The author of Hebrews does not operate with the theology of Ephesians, where “being saved” is spoken of as a past fact, much less with a complex theology of the stages of salvation constructed from a harmonization of Romans and John (p. 220, emphasis mine).

DeSilva notes that “salvation” remains an eschatological reality for the author of Hebrews.  He’s thinking far more from the “not yet” of salvation, and not much at all from its character as “already.”

Are the people described in 6:4-5 “saved” individuals in the estimation of the author of Hebrews?  They cannot be, since “salvation” is, for this author, the deliverance and reward that awaits the faithful at the return of Christ.  Those who have trusted God’s promise and Jesus’ mediation are “those who are about to inherit salvation,” a deliverance (“salvation”) that comes at Christ’s second coming (9:28), a deliverance (“salvation”) thus comparable to that enjoyed by Noah (11:7).  Noah was not saved when he began to build the ark; he was saved when he finished, stocked, and boarded the ark (and, even more especially, when he found himself still alive after the flood).  The deliverance offered by the Son is indeed “eternal” (5:9), but this “eternal salvation” is what the obedient believers look forward to inheriting and enjoying, specifically on the day when the Son comes to judge the world and reward his junior sisters and brothers who have maintained their trust in and loyalty toward him in a hostile world.  “Eternal salvation” only becomes the “eternal security” of those who have been saved after one has decided that the formulations of Ephesians are more important to one’s ideology than Hebrews” (p. 221, emphasis mine).

Not that they’re “unsaved,” but for DeSilva, the recipients of this letter are all in the group “not yet saved.”  They have received gospel promises and have, to this point, held fast to them, walking in persevering obedience.  They must continue in faithfulness to the end to become those who are fully and finally saved.

Does DeSilva effectively take the pressure off of having to answer the question about the status (“saved” or “unsaved”) of this letter’s recipients?  Or, has he simply moved the goalposts?

43 thoughts on ““Losing Salvation” in Hebrews

  1. Daniel

    The Exodus-Promise Land motif in chapter 3 fits well with this eschatological tension. Christians have experienced the Exodus (the initial blessings of covenant), but they are still waiting for the Promise Land (the consummation of covenant promises).

  2. Jason

    This has been a tough issue for me in my Christian life and I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I tend to agree with deSilva’s remarks and I’ve come to the point where I try to see salvation as an incomplete process. Yes, in one sense I am “saved,” but the work of redemption is not complete. It’s the only way I can resolve the sometimes unbearable tension that scripture is notorious for presenting. For me (these days), to speak of “losing salvation” is not the best way to describe it. I would speak of not being faithful to the end. If someone asks me if they can lose their salvation, I would respond by saying “Are you being faithful?” It’s the best I can do at this point!

    1. timgombis

      I think that’s the right perspective, in many ways. We aren’t there yet, even though we can say with confidence that God has claimed us in Christ and is indeed carrying us to the day of Christ.

  3. fallan

    you cannot lose your salvation it was guaranteed by our Lord.”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
    -John 3:36…notice HAS not will have
    Salvation secured by this promise .. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.John:10-28-29..When Paul talks about those who endure to the end will be saved is often used by those who believe that you can only get salvation after youve endured to the end but for me this is the exact opposite of that belief..Their endurance is proof of their salvation the moment they accepted Jesus as their Saviour.Like a race salvation was given at the starting blocks and the crown of righteousness which we will all receive will be given at the end of that race.Its true that after accepting Jesus as our Saviour we must put on the new man and put off the old and we should grow in our faith.If our salvation depended on what we do and what we say then its no more dependent on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.Now if we see those who said they accepted Jesus as their Saviour and was continually living a sinful life without any feeling of guilt then yes we have to doubt if that persons conversion was real and was just a tare growing on the wheat but even then because of the prodigal son account by Jesus God is the final judge of that person.So for me salvation is a rock solid promise given by Jesus on the day we accept Him as our Saviour.

    1. timgombis

      The tough part is that while the promises of Jesus must be taken seriously, so must also the warnings about not failing to persevere. Missing the tension to one side or the other results in one or another possible error–false assurance or unending anxiety.

      1. fallan

        so then Tim it appears that salvation is conditional on your perseverance its no longer a gift.Let me ask you when the prodigal son was eating the husks of pigs was he still his fathers son where is backsliding in all of this.Just say Ive given my heart to Jesus today and for a few years have persevered but then a big problem comes into my life and I fall back into sin.If at that moment Christ returns will I be taken along with those who havent backslidden to be with Him? I say definitely YES.If my acceptance of Jesus was a true conversion(and only God knows the truth of this) then His promise in John 3:36 is assured.Again what perseverance did the thief on the cross have yet from the moment he accepted Jesus he was saved.You have to be very careful putting conditions on salvation because then in someway we as sinners have some input in it which we dont.

      2. timgombis

        There are various statements made in Scripture from several perspectives. From God’s perspective, when he secures a person and regenerates them, he will never let them go. He will keep them to the end and bring their salvation to completion.

        From our perspective, when a person commits to following Jesus, they need to persevere to the end in order to be finally saved.

        In the NT, when the context demands pastoral confrontation, NT writers typically stress the need to persevere in faith to the end. When the context demands pastoral comfort and encouragement, NT writers will typically stress God’s work to bring their salvation to completion.

        We run into trouble when we make one set of passages rule over all of them. There’s a biblical tension and we need to recognize it and understand why it’s there.

  4. jonathan mcgill

    It seems to me that he only moved the goal-posts for those who are doing a synthesis of Paul and Hebrews, not for someone attempting to re-articulate the thrust of Hebrews on its own. When the soteriology of Hebrews meets the (supposed) soteriology of Paul, then we need to start talking about the present status of Hebrews’ audience.

    However, I find the eschatologically oriented soteriology of Hebrews more in sync with the Gospels. Not only that, but I find Hebrews and the Gospels a bit more clear on the issue than I find Paul (that is, if I’m reading the Gospels and Hebrews without someone’s Paul in my ear), which leads me to ask: shouldn’t I try reading Paul from the vantage point of Hebrews and the Gospels rather than the other way around? Maybe try to see how Paul’s arguments fit in with Hebrews rather than how Hebrews fits with Paul? What do you think?

    1. timgombis

      I’m totally with you, Jon. It’s a helpful exercise–especially for those of us brought up on someone else’s Paul, as you put it–to read Paul through Acts, then through the Gospels, then through Jude, etc. Eventually, the NT-era Paul comes through and we begin reading him for what he’s actually saying. And his theology ends up being a whole lot like Mark’s and Hebrews and James’ and Jude’s, and very much less like the one we were raised with!

      But, again, the point is reading Hebrews within the author’s framework. When we get to Paul, the work is harder because we have so much baggage and eye-gook to clear away.

    2. fallan

      Jonathan Im afraid all to often we look to deeply into things when there is a simple answer salvation is just one of them its not complicated at all. Jesus died for us if “in our hearts” we accept this and ask Him to be our Saviour then we are saved not maybe or sometime in the future but from the moment we call on Him.Then of course there is the conversion of the Phillipian Jailor in Acts 10:v 25-34.

      1. timgombis

        There are indeed some complexities when it comes to salvation. If we simplify things in the wrong direction, we end up muffling a number of passages that are meant to keep us on track when various problems and challenges arise.

  5. Daniel

    “it appears that salvation is conditional on your perseverance its no longer a gift”

    Sometimes in the NT, salvation is pictured as a free gift. However, the NT also pictures salvation as a reward for perseverance. (James 1:12 is one example).

    The key is not to preference one metaphor for salvation over another. Don’t resolve the tension. Appreciate it.

    1. fallan

      the only reward Ive seen in the NT is the crown of righteousness that we will receive on that day.The more Im reading the posts here the more I realize that for some of you Christ sacrifice on the cross for our salvation only bears fruit when we have proved ourselves in our perseverance.For me and probably millions like me this is undermining Gods Word.. because the day or night we accept Christ as our Saviour our salvation is secure nothing Ive read on here has shown that promise isnt true when we first give our heart to Jesus.i dont believe there is anything more to say on this subject.

      1. Daniel

        “The crown of righteousness” (2 Tim 4:8) refers to our future justification. Compare Galatians 5:5, ” For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.”

        In the NT, justification is also an already, but not yet event. The initial verdict (present justification) is given to those who trust in Jesus. The final verdict (future justification) will take into account the evidence for someone’s faith.

        In 2 Timothy 4, Paul is confident that he did run the race well. He persevered in his faith. So, he looks forward to a righteous verdict when Christ judges the world.

      2. fallan

        as Ive stated I wont respond anymore on this because what Im getting from the posters on here is Jesus sacrifice on the cross for our sins is dependent on our perseverance.In other words you can only be truly saved by living the life not the moment you ask Him to be our Saviour. This is utterly wrong and diminishes what God has done for us.You have it back to front.The perseverence of a Christian which includes peaks and troughs(hope Im not in a trough when Jesus comes back) shows that their conversion was real which could have been decades ago or even months.You and others here say you must show perseverence and THEN you are saved NO..NEVER

      3. timgombis

        No, this isn’t the case. You’re misunderstanding things.

        Christian discipleship does indeed involve ups and downs (an understatement), but just to say that any initial commitment is a commitment to follow Jesus. If one departs later, deciding to no longer be a follower, that’s quite a different scenario than the ‘normal’ peaks and troughs.

      4. timgombis

        There are instances in the NT of people making a start in discipleship to Jesus and then departing. The NT writers think through this phenomenon theologically, indicating that it is necessary for those who begin in the faith to persevere in faith to the end. It isn’t enough just to make an initial commitment. However, it is the case that God will not let go of any whom he has genuinely regenerated. But there are present and future aspects to salvation in the NT.

      5. fallan

        You are wrong.They might have started as you say in discipleship and then departed but I would then have to question their conversion…

        Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt 7:15-23) ….seems like these people were persevering but the Lord said He never knew them.If Jesus had any relationship with them this statement by Jesus would not be true and we know Jesus cannot lie.It seems your looking for a partial salvation and I cannot accept this.If our salvation depends on living a good Christian life then we are lost.Of course those who in their hearts asked Jesus to be their Saviour should walk the Christian path but they will fall down many many times after all we are human and is the reason why Jesus had to die in our place there was no other way to redeem mankind because of Adams sin.Dont forget we will also be judged for how we walked the Christian life Romans 14:10-12…http://www.gotquestions.org/judgment-seat-Christ.html

      6. timgombis

        That’s an important angle, and several biblical writers address things from that perspective–that those who depart never truly were born again. But there is another set of texts that indicate that those who make a start must persevere (and they do so only by God’s grace and empowerment)–Col. 1:22-23 is just one example.

  6. Jerry

    A cursory reading of 1John (go ahead — it’ll take less than 10 minutes) adds quite a lot of credence to DeSilva’s points above. John states that he writes these things to believers that we “might know” that we have eternal life. But what things does he write to believers? Couched within a letter of great comfort and assurance we find these stiff admonitions: ‘If you say you know God but do not love your brother, you are a liar. ‘ ‘If you do not keep his commandments (specifically, believing the testimony concerning His Son and loving your brother) you are a liar’. ‘If you can close your heart to your brother’s need, how can God’s love abide in you?’ He writes these things because he wants us to know we have eternal life. Isn’t that exactly what the author of Hebrews is doing with his ‘warnings’

    ‘Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.’ Heb 3:12-14

    I believe that I am ‘saved’ and will sing of my Redeemer.

    I am convinced that God is at work in my life, and that He is actively ‘saving’ me (from myself, from my sins, conforming me to image of His Son). I also believe that it is not just ‘my’ ‘salvation’ I am concerned with, but that God is redeeming His own and that I am a part of that company of the redeemed. There is a communal/corporate aspect to this ‘perseverance that we cannot neglect (as in the Heb 3 passage above).

    I long for THAT DAY when my Redeemer will gloriously appear and He will save His own, finally and forever.

    The ‘walk an aisle; pray this prayer; once saved always saved’ model does not do justice to the glorious work of God in the redeeming of His own people.

    Aren’t ‘saved’ and ‘unsaved’ our constructs? It seems the NT writers are more concerned with ‘of God’ and ‘in Christ’. Everyone who perseveres will be saved (on that day) and everyone who is saved (on that day) will have persevered. Do we really have to worry about that? In the mean time, sin is deceitful, so take care brothers.

  7. Daniel

    “Jesus sacrifice on the cross for our sins is dependent on our perseverance.”

    It’s actually the other way around. Jesus gives us the strength to persevere. He equips us with the spiritual tools and resources to make it across the finish-line. All of these resources belong to us because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 1 Cor. 1:8 says, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If anyone perseveres, it is due to God’s grace.

    Here’s the Calvinist-Arminian question comes in. Both sides agree that Scripture teaches that endurance is not optional. The question is, what about the drop-outs? I think that the NT presents these individuals in a variety of different ways. 1 John 2:19 calls the drop-outs “frauds.” They were never truly “with us.” Paul and the author of Hebrews compare the drop-outs to the wilderness generation. That is, they experienced the Exodus, but missed out on the Promise Land. Calvinists tend to focus on the passages like 1 John 2:19. Arminians highlight the other texts.

    1. fallan

      But I agree it is Gods grace that we can persevere but our salvation is NOT dependant on this we crossed the salvation finishing line when we accepted Jesus as our Saviour.The finishing line you are alluding to is when we die or when Christ returns to take us home with Him.That is the time when we are changed from mortal into immortal and when our bodies will be likened unto His glorious body that is the completion first started when we first gave ourselves to Christ.Ive known a few who have “dropped out” and a few who have backslidden.God knew their hearts and He is the righteous judge in this not us.

      1. timgombis

        I’m not making any judgments on anyone’s salvation, but only saying that to “accept Christ” is not at all the finish line. In the NT, that is the start of a life of discipleship, which is empowered by God’s Spirit. That life-pursuit must be completed to the end, the race must be finished, or else one has no assurance of full and final salvation.

        In an effort to pacify shaky consciences, this clear NT teaching has often been marginalized or overshadowed by a “once-saved, always-saved” mentality that is utterly unbiblical and has done immense damage to the church.

      2. fallan

        Ok Tim this is definitely my last response on this now that I know your belief that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross isnt enough for our salvation but is linked to how we have endured.Ive given links to you showing that this isnt something quirky by me and this is the final link and its basically the debate we are having.Thanks anyway for the debate even though we disagree on this our Love for the Lord is what binds Christians together Cheers Frank…..http://carm.org/can-you-lose-your-salvation

      3. fallan

        Tim it would have been nice if you would have agreed with my last line on the post I sent you instead of “You have most definitely missed my point.”

      4. timgombis

        I’m very willing to disagree and to do so charitably, and I mean no offense at all–seriously!

        But to say “now that I know your belief that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross isnt enough for our salvation” is to tragically misunderstand what I’m saying about how the NT represents the human appropriation of what God has done on our behalf.

      5. Ryan

        “we crossed the salvation finish line when we accepted Jesus as our Saviour”

        If this statement were true, than the NT authors wouldn’t put such an emphasis on overcoming. Overcoming the world, the flesh, our sin. This idea is repeated 7 times in the first two chapters of Revelation. Also, Tim and Daniel have already pointed out the many scriptures about running the race and perservering until the end, although this one has not been mentioned (unless I missed it) “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Phil. 2:12. I believe this is why “many are called, but few are chosen” Matt. 22:14

  8. Daniel


    I have a question going back to your original post. How do you think the discipline of biblical theology should answer the question of assurance/perseverance? Most evangelicals assume a basic unity to the theology of the NT, but do you think that we should maybe allow some “wiggle” room for diversity within the canon on this subject?

    So, we have texts which highlight the “already” aspect of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; John 5:24), but we also have texts which highlight the “not yet” (Heb 6; Matthew 5-7). Is possible that the NT authors understood salvation in different ways?

    1. timgombis

      Great question, Daniel.

      No, I don’t necessarily think so. It just seems that since these documents are situational, authors emphasize this or that aspect of things depending on the needs of the moment. Because Hebrews is written to a community that is considering departing in some way from the path of obedience (apostasy), the writer emphasizes the “not yet” dimensions. Same for Paul in 1 Cor.

      But in other places (John, Ephesians) where writers are bringing assurance and comfort and encouragement to believers, the “already” aspect of salvation is highlighted.

      So, the picture is complex and the gospel can speak to every situation according to what is needed. There are actually some “already” moments in Hebrews, but they’re fewer and farther between because of the situation.

  9. Jaime Hancock

    I think it is interesting that you quote the Matthew 7 passage, because look at what Jesus says regarding salvation in that passage: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in heaven.” So even Jesus says that those who are faithful (in their deeds) will be saved.
    When we try to oversimplify an issue that the Bible has left complex, we are in danger of missing some very important truths that God wanted to communicate to his church. I agree with those who say that we must leave the tension in the texts, and in our lives. The tension will sometimes be the very thing that motivates or provokes us to “make our election sure”.

    Grace and Peace,

    1. fallan

      but you miss what Jesus said further I NEVER knew you.of course there are people who say they are Christians but were never truly converted and hadnt accepted Jesus in their heart.Like the tares on the wheat.They may have done all these things but God knowing their hearts knew it was false.He could not have said I never knew you if there was a time in their lives that they had a relationship with Him.Doing the will of the Father is PROOF that they were truly converted. Click on these links: http://www.gotquestions.org/Hebrews-6.html http://carm.org/can-you-lose-your-salvation as far as Im concerned this answers all the points whether you can lose your salvation

  10. Jaime

    Thank you for the links. I did look at them, but I didn’t have to read them very far. You see, I used to teach these exact same ideas myself. But ever since I started reading Jewish literature from the time of Jesus (both before and after Him) I started to realize that our Protestant ideas of salvation are not quite the same as the 1st century Jewish ideas of salvation. I’ll give you an example. We usually ask the question “Are you saved?” Or, “When did you get saved?” Those are foreign questions to the 1st Century Jewish mind. One of the reasons is that they did not focus on individual salvation. They focused on a community of faith reaching salvation together in the last days. (Which is exactly the message of Hebrews). What I think that you don’t realize is that Tim and many of the others are talking about a different conception of salvation. You have been conditioned to think of only two views of salvation (by works, or by grace – in a post-Luther understanding of those words). Because of that conditioning you are not hearing what they are saying, you are hearing what you think they are saying. I don’t say this to put you down, or insult you. Until I started to read Jewish writers who wrote at the same time as Paul and used some of the same terms as Paul, I believed that Luther’s understanding of salvation by grace and not by works was correct. But then I started to realize, that what 1st century Jews meant by Grace and by works is not what Protestants mean when we use either of those terms. Suddenly I started to realize that Paul could very easily say that we are saved by grace through faith, while not at all contradicting the meaning of “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. I could understand that Paul would be in total agreement that faith without works is dead, and will get you as far as a dead horse. There is a beautiful truth that you do get to participate in your salvation, even though you could never achieve it yourself. It is a free gift that you could never earn that requires lots of work, which God in His Grace and Kindness even works out through you. But, the entire Bible, Old and New Covenants are filled with warnings from GOD, not men, that if God’s people are not faithful to the end, they will not be saved. Why would God warn His people about a danger that is not real, and could never be a danger to them. You see, the “once saved always saved” theology has produced a complacent church, that believes that they are saved because they said a prayer that is not in the Bible, and even though they have never consistently demonstrated the very works that Jesus himself said are the works of a true disciple. But even now, you probably think I’m advocating salvation by works, BUT I’M NOT. I’m advocating Covenant Faithfulness, which is the message God called his people to with his own voice and through the voices of all the prophets, from Genesis to Revelation.
    Do you know that they Bible never once says that we will be judged based on what we have believed? But both Old and New Covenants are in agreement that we will all (disciples and non-disciples) be judged based on our works/deeds. God says it in the Torah, the Prophets repeat it. Jesus repeats it. Paul repeats and calls it his “gospel”. In fact, almost every one of the NT authors mentions the fact that we will be judged based on our works/deeds.
    If you compare the Greek version of the Old Testament (LXX or Septuagint) and the new Testament writers you will see that every time the NT writers talk about us being judged by our works, they quote the exact same words from the Greek translation of the Old Testament about all people being judged by works. In other words, the NT writers agree that we will be judged by our works. If that is the case, and we are all in this together as the People of God, then we had better be “provoking one another to Love and good works”. (Hebrews 10:24)
    Again, I’m not trying to insult you, but I think that you have not yet realized that there are other concepts about what the word salvation means. They are not new concepts. They are as old as the scriptures themselves. In fact, it is the Protestant concept of personal, individual salvation that is the newer idea. I only say this because, you might want to try to understand what someone else is saying before you decide to cut off communication.
    And I did not ignore what Jesus said about “I never knew you.” But if I read that story in context then Jesus is saying those who DO the will of His Father, He knows. Those who DO NOT DO the will of His Father, He doesn’t know. That is exactly a First Century Jewish understanding of God knowing his people. In fact, the concept of God knowing his people very intimately is a very rich area of discussion in both First Century and later Jewish writings.
    I don’t want anyone to think they can earn their way into heaven, the Kingdom, the Resurrection, etc. Because no one can. But no one will reach any of those (Heaven, Resurrection, Kingdom – not that they equivalent terms) without being Faithful to the Covenant, even if the only chance to be faithful you have left is to say, “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” That dying thief did not have a Protestant conception of the Crucifixion as substitutionary atonement. He had never heard that salvation is by grace and not by works, he never even prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer”. In fact, he NEVER EVEN ASKED TO BE SAVED! He simply had enough Faith to believe the ridiculous idea that the man being crucified next to him as a common criminal was the rightful claimant to King of the World. And he expressed the First Century Jewish belief that the Messiah would bring the Kingdom into full-filment at the Resurrection with all the people of God.
    That is what the writer of Hebrews is trying to impress upon his audience. We are right now in between Egypt and receiving all the promises of the Covenant. But if we are not faithful to this Covenant, which is greater than that Covenant, then we are just as much in danger of not reaching the Promise as that first generation was. So let us be faithful, because “it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
    Grace and Peace,

    1. fallan

      Jamie Im afraid this is what over studying can do when the simple truth is that Jesus died for our sins and if we as sinners accept Him as our Saviour who died in our place our salvation is secure.You say you looked briefly at the links but I notice you didnt answer them but delved into what the early 1st century Jewish mind was like.Would this be the same mind that Paul had to contend with when they tried to make the gentile Christians take on some of the Jewish laws and Paul had to rebuke them even Peter.You say that those who dont do the will of the Father he doesnt know exactly but if they werent truly saved then they wouldnt be doing the Fathers will.In fact there were those who said they WERE but just like the wheat growing side by side and couldnt tell them apart until that is tares appeared and showing that the wheat with the tares wasnt real wheat FROM THE ROOT.I feel sad for you and others like you who feel Christs sacrifice on the cross is only truly completed when we endure to the end in other words we have an input in the atonement and that somehow Gods willingness to allow Jesus to be the sacrifice wasnt enough to save us..INCREDIBLE! You quote Paul and faith without works is dead I agree with him BUT those who are TRULY saved will grow in their faith though there will be peaks and troughs and will be proof that their conversion was a true conversion. But if for some reason there is no growth or works then I would doubt that person was truly converted but as Ive stated only God knows the truth of this. your explanation of the thief is poor.Its his recognition that Jesus was was a KIng and is the reason why he asked Him to remember him when He came into His kingdom.Jesus answer was a GUARANTEE that he would be there with Him.This wasnt the Jesus coming in triumphant procession into Jerusalem nor the Jesus that raised Lazarus from the dead.This Jesus whom the thief asked to remember him had been tortured and was now nailed to a cross and he probably heard Him crying out in agony some King dont you think but THIS IS TRUE CONVERSION.Jesus lived 2000 years ago and today when we accept Him as our Saviour we do this even though we have never seen Him in the flesh. Yet we accept this promise from someone who died a terrible death and believe He rose from the dead ITS THE SAME RECOGNITION THAT THE THIEF HAD..Jesus is our King and he was the thiefs King.Peace and grace to you also Frank


      this is totally what I believe and to be honest with you Im steadfast in this and so it appears are you so I think Ive said enough on this subkect

      1. Jaime

        As I said before, you are not hearing what we are saying, you are hearing what you think we are saying. When did I ever say that Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough?
        I didn’t. You assumed that if I don’t agree with your understanding of certain words, then the only thing I could mean was that. I tried to be honest, and be gentle in helping you see what I have come to understand. Believe me, I do not for one moment think that I will stand on even an atom’s worth of my own merit on the day of Judgment. But I will have have done all the good works that are attributed to me on that Day. (Just not alone.) 🙂 That is wonderful news. Because that will mean that the Day of Judgment will prove that God has indeed Redeemed and Restored me.
        If you don’t understand what I’m saying, I would encourage you to read the Bible without trying to fit it into a set of Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology always has to gloss over, or ignore some problem passages. But for those who are willing to accept that an infinite God could never express himself in our languages without some tension in meanings, then the Scriptures are full of Life, intense beauty and the very Word of God.
        I am concerned that you are repeatedly accusing some of us of making statements that we did not make. This appears to me to be due to feeling threatened or challenged. I can tell you, that none of us intend to threaten you, or lead you away from the Truth. (Truth is a person, by the way, not a system of doctrines.) But all of us have found our Faith deepened by trusting not in our doctrinal systems, but being stretched beyond those systems until we are only left with trust in God. (Which is through Jesus, and possible only by the redeeming, renewing work of the Spirit.)
        If you have a problem with something that I have said, and can demonstrate where the exact words I have said are in contradiction to the Scripture, please let me know. I never want to speak in opposition to the Scriptures. (I don’t have a problem disagreeing with views about the Scriptures, though.) I would also not want to offend a brother or sister in Messiah, so I ask that you not take this as an attack. It seems to me that you genuinely don’t understand what some of us have been trying to say. I am not trying to attack, only to help you understand that the this passage has been made to be ammunition in a post-Protestant Reformation debate that has almost nothing to do with its original intention. But if you keep understanding the passage only in terms of that debate, you will miss that meaning. And if you accuse those who say that it has a different meaning of being on the “other side” of the debate, then you will also miss what they are trying to say.
        I would like to be able to have a genuine conversation about this passage, but I won’t be pulled into a debate that I find to be anachronistic.

        Grace and Peace,

      2. fallan

        Jamie methinks you think to highly of yourself I dont feel threatened by you why should I Im sure my salvation was secured the day I gave my heart to Jesus you on the other hand are not so sure otherwise why do you say that unless you persevere you could lose that salvation TRUE OR NOT Jamie….Let me ask you again when you accepted Jesus into your life as your Saviour were you saved then or not?Im afraid its you who dont understand the most wonderful thing God has done for us.Allowing Jesus to die in our place so we can be redeemed not sometime in the future but right then when we accept His sacrifice….” When did I ever say that Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough?” ok answer me this did his death on the cross take me from death to life when I gave my heart to Him..If you say yes then we are in agreement but if you say no and that something else must take place then you are saying His sacrifice wasnt enough. If Im in the sea drowning and I shout for help and is then thrown a lifeline I grab it and am hauled into the boat.Because Ive been rescued I would want to thank the Captain in anyway I can even if that meant doing work on the boat but not because if I didnt I’d be cast back into the sea I’d still be rescued but wouldnt be as grateful as I should be.There are many who are floundering in that sea who dont want to be rescued and refuse to take hold of the lifeline God can do no more can He? By the way did you read the link I sent you? for me it cant be faulted but because you are adamant that we can lose our salvation then there’s nothing more I can do for you.In Christ Frank

  11. Mike Colucci

    Part of the difficulty here may be that we assume the writer of Hebrews is speaking of those who are in fact elect. Isn’t he rather speaking to the church as a whole? That’s quite different. In any church, there are those who have received the sacraments and attend faithfully, but the church cannot know what only God knows: the identity of the elect. So it makes sense to preach encouragement as well as warning. If someone is regenerate, they will persevere under the ministry of the church. If they are not, they will either be brought to repentance and faith in the future, or they may fall away. I think that resolves the tension in large part.

    Without thinking about it, we probably tend to equate church membership with the certainty of election. Paul and the writer of Hebrews did not look at it this way.

    It does us no good to wonder whether we, or anyone else, are truly saved. If there is any doubt, the answer is always the same: we have to throw ourselves at the mercy of Christ. Our assurance of salvation is found there, and our good works begin there.

    1. fallan

      Can a saved person ever be lost?

      “For a believer to lose his salvation would demand a reversal and an undoing of all the preceding works of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The key issue in the discussion of the believer’s security concerns the issue of who does the saving. If man is responsible for securing his salvation, then he can be lost; if God secures the person’s salvation, then the person is forever secure.” [4]
      -Paul Enns

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