Sin Willfully – Lose Your Salvation Part I
The last two weeks I have posted on the topic of eternal security for my friend Zerich. Continuing on the same topic I am going to quote from “Eternal Security Proved!” by Phillip M. Evans. This post is the first half of Mr. Evans’ chapter titled “Sin Willfully – Lose Your Salvation” and deals with a passage from Hebrews 10 which is often used to “prove” that we can lose our salvation. For anyone who is interested in understanding if they are eternally secure this quote should be of great interest.
Now, here is Mr. Evans:
Hebrews 10:26-31 is often cited by those who insist that a child of God can lose their eternal salvation. Many Christians have been troubled with the thought that some particular willful sin has made the sacrifice of Christ of none effect for them. As a young Christian, I felt the same fear myself and wondered if all I had to look forward to was “fiery indignation”, which I thought was a reference to hell.
First of all, virtually all sin is committed willfully. Even those times when we’ve felt like we’ve slipped and sinned were the result of willfully being outside of fellowship with Christ. In other words, accidents just don’t happen, they have a cause. Being out of fellowship with our Heavenly Father means that we are outside the sphere of His Holy power we need to resist sin.
Think about it – if a willful sin, or even a sinful lifestyle means that Christ’s sacrifice was made of none effect causing a person to lose their eternal salvation, then no one would have any hope of getting saved again, for Christ will not make another sacrifice for sins. There is only one sacrifice that was given once for all. In other words, once without ever repeating. If Hebrews 10:26-31 teaches that you could lose your eternal salvation, then it also teaches that you cannot get it back again.
However, loss of eternal salvation is not at all in view here. The New International Version renders part of verse 26 as “If we deliberately keep on sinning”. This rendering overdoes the present tense aspect of the verb “sin”. It seems to imply a Christian who is committing some habitual sin or continuing various types of sin. Verse 25 gives us insight as to what is in mind by the writer of Hebrews. Some of the Christians from the tribes of Israel had succumbed to reversionism by going back to the temple sacrifices. They had therefore stopped assembling and identifying with their Christian brethren in the church. Verse 29 is proof of this, for they were counting the blood of Christ unholy and placing under their feet the Son of God by participating in the temple sacrifices as if they were superior to Christ’s sacrifice.
Hebrews 6 is a warning against this same reversionism. You see, the entire letter to the Hebrews exalts Christ as being superior to the old covenant. The blood of bulls and goats was only a temporary covering for sin, and could never take away sin. The old covenant was therefore only the shadow, but Christ is the reality. By going back into reversionism, the saints that were falling away from the faith were in essence saying that they had another sacrifice for sins they were looking to the future for. In other words, the reality that the temple sacrifices were only the mere shadow of.
But no such future sacrifice exists, as verse 26 states, “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”. Some erroneously understand this verse to mean that if one does not sin willfully, that there still remains a sacrifice for sins. In other words, that Christ’s sacrifice still remains in effect for you as long as you don’t keep willfully sinning. This error is based on the assumption that the “if” clause in verse 26 is reversible. Not all “if” clauses are reversible. For example, if I state: “If Abraham is the father of a great nation, then he is a righteous man.” This does not mean that if Abraham is not the father of a great nation that he is not a righteous man, for Abraham was a righteous man before he became the father of Israel.
You see, whether or not we sin willfully, there is no future sacrifice to look forward to for our sins. Christ’s sacrifice cannot be looked forward to, for it has already taken place. The writer of Hebrews was warning that to go back into reversionism did not put one in the position of looking forward to the appearing of a true sacrifice, for Christ’s sacrifice has already occurred, but it would put one in the company of God’s enemies that would face fiery indignation. At the time Hebrews was written, obviously the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem were still ongoing, otherwise why the warning about not going back to them? As Hebrews 8:13 says in the KJV, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
The old sacrificial system was decaying and ready to vanish away, but the temple sacrifices had not yet ceased. Therefore, Hebrews had to have been written before 70 AD, before the Romans under General Titus destroyed the temple and slaughtered thousands of Jews. God’s fiery judgment was about to come on Israel, for as a nation they had rejected and crucified their Messiah. For the saints to revert back to the old covenant sacrifices would mean that they would place themselves literally in the company of God’s enemies who were about to be destroyed. They would face the same destruction that would be revealed in 70 AD.
Eternal Security Proved!
by Phillip M. Evans
[To be continued…]