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How Secure is Your Salvation?
(Part 7)

Many people run aground upon the scary words from Hebrews 6:6, "have fallen away," assuming they refer to them because of the many failures dotting their daily lives. Well-meaning teachers and theologians have intoned that the danger of falling so far away from God that you can’t be found—even by Him—is directly linked to poor performance.

Right? Or, wrong?

This entire passage from Hebrews 6:4-6 is discussing spiritual growth and maturity, not salvation, and must be interpreted within the broader context ranging from Hebrews 5:11-6:20. To do anything less is poor scholarship and irresponsible handling of God’s Word.

While repentance, faith, instruction, judgment, etc. are noteworthy and valid for discussion and analysis by Believers, these are the elementary things of the Word according to the inspired author of the letter. While these important matters are the milk of the Word, the message of God’s grace and righteousness is the solid food of the Word.

It is tempting to spend a great deal of time discussing the elementary aspects of the Word because it feels as though we are clarifying and embellishing our walk with Christ when we do so. In addition, I think we linger over discussions on these subjects because they can be somewhat sensational, e.g. judgment, and they can lend themselves to pride on the part of those who expound upon these elementary things. However, once the dust settles, we have nothing more than a belly full of milk.

We must move on from the elementary things once they are cared for and understood sufficiently. We must move to the solid food which is constituted in knowing God and understanding His heart. It is my opinion that grace is the revelation of God’s heart. It is for this reason that grace is referred to as the solid food. Eat the solid food and you will know God and understand Him.

Given this background, the troublesome aspects of 6:4-6 is not that people lose their salvation. This is not possible. When the passage mentions falling from grace, it is meaning a decision has been made to turn from that high place and return to a lower place.

What’s troubling is that Believers can insist upon dealing only with the elementary aspects of the Word and the faith. Those who do are akin to a person trying to mature to adulthood by drinking only milk. They have the option of knowing God and fellowshipping with Him in the profound depth of Father only to opt for trying to find answers to questions about Him that make them feel sated. They are satisfied with trivia about God while the opportunity for relationship with God goes wanting.

As if this is not bad enough, there are those folks who come face to face with the grandeur of God’s grace, taste it, glimpse what is in store for them by trusting Him in this life, and then return to a life based upon their own perspective and effort. Those who make this fateful decision most certainly turn from grace and attempt to find meaning in the elementary aspects of the faith via legalistic effort on their own part. Those who make this decision are extremely difficult—if not impossible—to pull back to a life based upon the perspective of grace. They are hardened in that they have experienced grace and decided they would rather have something less.

The sad part for folks who opt for living on milk instead of the glorious pursuit of God’s heart of grace and dependence upon the Spirit, is that they will someday witness their efforts and the fruit of their lives reduced to ashes because a return to the elementary aspects of the faith is always linked to fleshly effort and personal preference. In fact, this will be a harrowing experience because these folks will have so missed the heart of God that they will mistake the thorns and thistles of their own best effort as being indicative of their true relationship to God. As the thorns and thistles of their life are burned up as works of the flesh they will smell of smoke, so to speak, as all but their dependence on God for salvation is reduced to ashes.

Even sadder is this: Many of our well meaning churches teach and train people that the life of the Spirit is wrapped up in understanding more and more about repentance, the end times, hell, etc. when in reality these are the elementary things of the Word and akin to trying to grow strong on a milk-only diet. What we must do in the church is lay a foundation of spirituality and then guide people to build their spiritual lives upon the solid food of the Scriptures: grace.

By understanding the heart of God’s grace, people know God. By knowing God their lives are altered profoundly and their soul is anchored in His heart (6:19). By assisting Believers to understand their true identity in Christ they gain perspective as to the possibility of relationship to their Heavenly Father which inspires them to exhibit His life more effectively and consistently.

For example, people who attempt to understand more and more about repentance fail to grasp that they are forgiven. People who fail to understand that they are forgiven fail to understand the magnitude of Christ’s accomplishment at Calvary. People who fail to understand this, fail to appreciate who He is and who He has made them to be. People who fail to understand this, fail to grasp that Christ’s work at Calvary was finished there and behave instead in ways that in essence ask Christ to try again instead of rushing headlong into His waiting heart as the new creations they truly are in Him. People who fail to understand their true identity in Christ continually attempt to create acceptability for themselves with God and fail to grasp that they are accepted. Those who do not realize they are accepted behave insecurely and attempt to define themselves by what they do rather than by who they are in Christ. People who fail to understand this are highly prone to live according to the flesh and the law instead of the Spirit and grace.

As Hebrews says so poignantly, they have fallen from grace after having tasted it and have opted instead for the milk of the Word.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.