4 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, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 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. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
There is a way to get ripped off and distracted during your Bible Study and prayer time. Sometimes, when you come across a scripture like this, it’s easy to drift into the controversy. Oh boy, this verse. This is all about the question of whether or not you can lose your salvation. It might even bring someone to mind that was a rock-solid Christian at some point in your life but is now fallen far, far away.
It is totally reasonable to have controversy and to weigh different sides and interpretations of a passage. That’s even good because in reading and studying the history of an interpretation, you make it your own. (Questions about this question of losing your salvation have been going on since this was written down, so if you’re waiting for me to pick a side here, keep reading.)
The bummer is, this wasn’t first written to create a controversy. It was written to clarify and encourage. It was written to teach and warn the readers. So when you get to a Bible verse that is weighted in modern days with controversy, make sure you don’t miss the original point.
If it is impossible to share in the Holy Spirit and the goodness of the word of God, fall away, and then come back, there are 2 simple steps here that motivate me.
1. Share in the Holy Spirit and the goodness of the word of God.
What does that mean and how do I do it? If I made that my quest to discover, I wouldn’t care about the doctrine of eternal security, would I? Sure, it might be easier to form an opinion from historical theologians on eternal security, but sharing in the Holy Spirit and the goodness of the word of God sounds a lot more fruitful.
2. Falling away.
This might sound stupid, but how about not falling away to test this whole thing? Like jumping on a frozen lake “to see if it would break.” Are you prepared in case it does break? How about throwing a rock on it instead of jumping? This is an encouragement to us to not test God by deliberately falling away. Take action, daily, with some friends, to grow in your faith and mature in you Christian life. That has a better payoff than understanding all of the ins and outs of eternal security.
So if you see a controversy, don’t avoid it, but don’t let it be the pea under the mattress either. There is a lot to offer in every bit of scripture, and God wants to lead us in understanding most of it.
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