If We Shrink Back

Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Since, through Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, we now have confidence to enter into God’s holy presence by his grace, through God-given faith in him, we should draw near to God with a true heart. And, a true heart is an honest heart which does not give lip service only to God. It does not fake dedication to the Lord. It doesn’t say to God, “I love you,” and then willfully live in open rebellion against God by holding on to one’s sinful lifestyles.

We should draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with clean hearts, and with pure consciences, which have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. This means that, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

And, we are to hold fast to the confession of our faith without wavering. This means we don’t vacillate back and forth between sin and godliness; between wickedness and righteousness; between spiritual adultery and faithfulness. It doesn’t mean we will never sin against God. It does mean that our lifestyles are ones which are given over to following our Lord in obedience. We are on a steady course. We are not living on a spiritual see-saw.

And, since we still live in this world, and in flesh bodies, and we are still tempted to sin against God, and we go through difficulties in this life which challenge our faith, we need to be encouraging one another in the faith to walk righteously before God and to not give the devil a foothold in our lives. For the days are evil, and we have an enemy who like a roaring lion is roaming around seeking whom he may devour. So, we need to remain in fellowship with other believers in Jesus, and not give that up.

Hebrews 10:26-31 ESV

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

This is so critical that we get this, for our lives and our future hope depend upon it. So many people today within the gatherings of the church have bought into a lie, a false hope of salvation from sin. They have believed a false gospel, based on cheap grace, which tells the “believer” that he can continue on his sinful course and still have the hope of heaven when he dies.

They reduce faith in Jesus Christ to a mere outward confession of faith or to some words repeated after someone else which guarantees them heaven as their eternal destiny, but which says nothing of true repentance or of walks of obedience and surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ. They make it into this one-time thing that you do that promises you heaven when you die, but requires nothing of you at all in the way of holiness or faithfulness to God.

But, the scriptures teach differently. They teach that “in Christ” means we have died with Christ to sin and we are living to God and to his righteousness. They teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle), not according to our flesh, but according to the Spirit of God. For, they say, if we walk according to our flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).

Hebrews 10:32-39 ESV

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

True faith in Jesus Christ is continuous ongoing faith. Belief is present tense, not just past tense. For, we were saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns. We don’t pray some prayer, it is a done deal, and then we live however we want, and one day we die and we go to heaven. But, so many people believe that.

Our faith has to endure. Our faith in Jesus Christ, which is proved genuine by our actions of obedience to our Lord, must continue to the end if we want to have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when we die. It is what the scriptures teach (Jn. 8:31-32; Rom. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I Jn. 2:24-25).

If, after having made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, we shrink back, and we go back to living in sin and open rebellion against God, without conscience, and we do what we did before we believed in Jesus, then scripture teaches that we will be destroyed, not saved.

For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).

These are not my words! What I am sharing with you is what scripture teaches all throughout the New Testament, over and over again. True faith in Jesus Christ does not continue on a sinful course living to please the flesh. True faith in Jesus Christ also endures to the end. It remains faithful. It is not perfect, or we are not perfect, but lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued willful sinful practices against God.

Some people teach that this passage of scripture teaches that we can lose our salvation. Others teach that if we are genuinely saved from our sins, that we can’t lose our salvation, so if someone shrinks back, then he wasn’t really saved to begin with. Either way, scripture still says that if we walk according to the Spirit of God, that we have eternal life with God, but if we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. So, know the truth, believe the truth, and obey the truth.

Courageous!

An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

9 thoughts on “If We Shrink Back

  1. I recently read this and i believe it goes right along with what you said about those who believed, but turn away:

    “Hebrews 6:4-8 ESV

    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, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 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. 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. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

    I thought that someone who turned away was a prodigal bc they were “with the Fatherc and then they turned away, but this verse contradicts that. I guess prodigals are the lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krystal, there are two thoughts on this subject. One is that the person never truly knew the Lord, but they only gave lip service to him, for their profession of faith was shallow, and thus it was not genuine faith, for it never really took root.

      Another thought on this is that this is talking about someone who genuinely believed in Jesus Christ. They tasted the heavenly gift of God’s grace and they shared in the Holy Spirit, and then they fell away never to return to the Lord again.

      Personally, I believe that we should not focus on whether or not this person was genuinely saved or not, but that we should look into the scriptures which teach what it means to be genuinely saved. And, that is what the Lord led me to do here.

      For, if we truly understand salvation from sin the way the scriptures teach it, we have to understand that our salvation, although it has a definite beginning, it is continuous, it is ongoing, and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns.

      Thus, scripture teaches that belief in Jesus is present tense, not past tense, and that we must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit if we want to have eternal life with God. And, this really is the bottom line. If the lifestyle we live gives glory to the flesh, and that is what we go after, then we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God. But, if our lifestyle we live gives glory to God, and Jesus is who we go after, and we follow him in obedience, then we do have the promise of eternal life with God.

      Yet, scripture does indicate that people can wander from their pure devotion to Christ, for a time, and then return. And, this would be the prodigal. He was a blood son of the father, but he strayed from that, for a time, but he came back. And, we have examples of this possibility in Revelation 2-3, with the letters to the 7 churches, 5 of which had wandered off, and so God was calling them to repentance, and if they returned, then he promised them his blessings. But, if they did not repent, then they would face judgment.

      Like

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