In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A., After a person truly puts his trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, and I believe at that point he becomes eternally secure, what becomes of his will? The ‘if’ verses seem to indicate that his will is still active, yet they are the most troubling because they seem to indicate that a believer is not secure in Christ. Can you help me understand this better?”
Dave: Well, what “if” verses does he have in mind, Tom? Do you have some of them there?
Tom: Yeah, I do.
Dave: “If we continue in the faith…? If we hold fast?”
Tom: “If we continue…,” Colossians:1:23; 1 Thessalonians: “For we now live if ye stand fast in the faith.” We have, I mean, there are tough verses—Hebrews:10:26: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”; Hebrews:10:38: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
Dave: Well, Tom, these are challenging verses I would think for a Calvinist, who says that Christ only died for the elect. For example, you have in Hebrews, “He has trodden underfoot the blood of the Son of God wherewith he was sanctified, counted an unholy thing.” Or in 2 Peter, chapter 2, these false prophets and yet the blood of Christ purchased them.
Now how are we going to explain this? Well, I think we can say that these people were not saved, and then we would have to acknowledge that this is not Christ dying only for those who believe in Him but He dies for everyone.
On the other hand, these are tough verses, and they are warnings. Paul says, “Examine yourselves whether you are really in the faith.” He doesn’t say, “Examine yourselves whether you have fallen away,” but “examine yourselves whether you really are believers.” And you have Hebrews, chapter 6, that very clearly says that if you could fall away, you can’t get saved again.
Tom: Let me read that one. Hebrews:6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Dave: So, Tom, that very clearly tells us if you could lose your salvation—after getting saved, you lose it—you can’t get saved again. So you are in a worse shape after you got saved than you were before you got saved, and the best thing to do would be to wait until you’re just about to die and then get saved, so you would be sure not to lose your salvation before you die.
In fact, it says why you couldn’t get saved again. It gives you two reasons: “They hold the Son of God—they crucify to themselves afresh the Son of God.” In other words, if the crucifixion of Christ was not sufficient to keep you saved, and you lose your salvation, He has to get crucified again for you to be able to get saved again! And then it says you “hold him up to an open shame.” Well, because He has purchased your salvation at a price you could never pay, but then He’s turned it over to you to keep it. He’s done something very foolish—He’s given the security into the hands of a person who couldn’t save Himself to begin with.
But then, Tom, so you have two arguments why you can’t fall away. But then it goes on—I don’t remember what verse it is, but it says, “But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” So this is obviously hypothetical, and what it is saying is, “You can’t fall away.” So then we have to…
Tom: Dave, what about the will? That’s how this question began. So once I am saved, is my will taken away? Can I…because that’s what a lot of people say. “Hey, well suppose you just don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore? You’re willing to leave.”
Dave: Well, even a stronger argument than that, I guess, Tom, would be—and they often raise it—what about when you are in heaven? Well, can you decide sometime down the line you just don’t want to be a Christian anymore, you don’t want to be in heaven? Tom, I think the Bible tells us that…it gets back to what we were talking about. Look, if you know the truth, you can’t be swayed. You want me to…
Tom: Opt for a lie?
Dave: Yeah, you want me to commit suicide? You want me to become insane?
Tom: Be attracted to something that is just bogus and you know it’s bogus?
Dave: Absolutely. Now, it’s possible that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life—that can deceive a person momentarily, and, therefore, Christians can fall into sin; they can go astray. But if they really know the Lord, they are not going to deliberately turn their back on Him and trample underfoot the Son of God, “the blood of the covenant wherewith they are sanctified.” And that’s why in Hebrews it says, “If we sin willfully.” It’s not a matter of, “Oh, I was overcome with temptation, I couldn’t resist it,” but “I knew what I was doing, and I deliberately trashed Jesus Christ and God, trampled on them and on Christ’s blood.” I don’t believe that person was ever saved.
The Bible promises us….Jesus said, “I give my sheep eternal life; they will never perish.” He keeps us, He changes us. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, but not I, but Christ is living in me.” Tom, there is such a transformation of those who are truly saved that I don’t see how they could turn back on the Lord and decide that they don’t want to be saved anymore.