Question: I have struggled with the “once saved, always saved” question for many years, and I am curious about your take on it.
If it’s true “you either have it or you don’t” then what happened to King Saul? He was a righteous king chosen by God, but refused to obey God wholeheartedly. Even worse, he failed to humble himself when the prophet Samuel came to confront him. He was tormented and turned over to evil… What about Anaianas and Sapphira? They were IN the body of Christ, lied to the Holy Spirit, and instantly destroyed…. and many, many more such examples of those like Esau who sought God for repentance and never found it.
We really need to see the reality of what it takes to be saved….whole heartedly walking with God. I believe we can be VERY secure if we have this kind of relationship and ENDURE to the end. But if we don’t, I see it clear in the word that we certainly CAN fall away, as it warns in Hebrews 6…”
Answer: For questions about eternal security, it is very important to distinguish between “falling out of fellowship” and “falling out of the family of God.”
King Saul, Lot, Ananias and Sapphira, and many others (including Moses who did not get into the Promised Land, and David who committed adultery and murder) fell out of fellowship with the Lord – but they did not lose their salvation. See 1 Samuel 28:19 in reference to King Saul. The text seems to indicate that Saul would be with Samuel, not just in death, but where Samuel was – and we know that Samuel was not in hell!
The case of Esau is different. Esau never became a believer. Hebrews 12:16 describes him as “godless.” Esau never repented of his sin. Hebrews 12:17 makes it clear that he showed great regret when he lost out on the material blessings of the birthright, but he never turned to God in repentance.
By using Hebrews 6 as a proof text, the blogger must actually conclude that “once lost, always lost” because Hebrews 6:4 says that it is “impossible” to be brought back! The truth is that Hebrews 6 is describing persons who come close to salvation at some point, but never actually believe, and then turn away. A hardening process sets in whereby the heart becomes so calloused that true repentance becomes more and more “impossible”!