Can a “Christian” be unsaved?

Posted: November 27, 2014 in Ma-Papel (Paperworks), Theology

To whom is Hebrews 6:4-6 particularly the phrase “once enlightened” directed?

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Is this text telling us that we can lose our standing as a truly saved person and be lost? Or is this text teaching us that we can have experiences (read verse 4 & 5 again) and never have been saved? Here are my thoughts on this passage.

First, a true Christian will persevere. Hebrews 3:14 state that “we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” Notice the word “IF”. Simply put it, we will encounter hardship in our walk with God but the evidence that we are indeed Christians is that we will persevere to the end.

Second, the sacrifice of Christ is enough and can’t be undone. Hebrews 10:14 state that “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Jesus Christ has already given the assurance to us that by dying on the cross, we are made perfect forever (or simply put it, we have the assurance of a life beyond this earth) those who are being made holy (even if we still have imperfections and are marred with sin). The sacrifice of Christ is enough for us to be saved and it can’t be undone or unsave us.

Third, it is possible to be in church yet not to be saved. Hebrews 6:7-8 talks about two kinds of fields, a land that drinks from the rain and a land that produces thorns and thistles. The writer of Hebrews is saying, there are two kinds of people who receive the grace of God, the believers (land that drinks from the rain) and the unbelievers (land that produces thorns and thistles). It is possible to be receiving the same blessings but respond differently. It is possible to grow up in church, to have tasted what God has done but remain unchanged.

Fourth, a true believer produces perseverance and fruitfulness. Hebrews 6:9 says that “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.” The writer is convinced that believers are doing “better things that has to do with salvation”. It is not barreness and falling away, it is persevering and being fruitfulness. The result of grace in our lives produces fruits.

The “once enlightened” could probably meant that a person who has tasted the blessings, the benefits of a Christian life yet chooses to go to the world meant he isn’t really a believer in the first place. This is a warning to us, who are in church. We may be pretending to be Christians, and we may feel we are Christians because of the experiences we have, but true believers would know it within themselves if indeed they are Christians. We can’t fake fruitfulness. We can’t pretend to persevere.

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