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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 005: Is it possible for someone to have a relationship with God, fall away, and then come back to him?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  All right here we are, Jared and Mike Pearl. Jared's working the equipment, and Mike Pearl is sitting right here in this seat, behind the fuzzy face. I'm here to answer your Bible questions, Jared's got some things you've written in and asked, and I've not seen them yet. So Jared's going to read the question and I'm going to try and come up with the answer. What have you got, Jared?

Jared:  Hebrew 6:4‑6 seems to imply that it's impossible for someone to have a relationship with God, fall away, and then come back to him, because in doing so they put God to shame. Your take on these verses would be appreciated.

Michael:  If I took the passage, Hebrew 6:4‑6, just took it out of its context, then it would be a scary passage, you'd have to be what they call an Armenian: believe in the losing of your salvation, but if you take it in its context, it makes a whole lot of sense. The context actually starts in Chapter 5. He says, "But strong meat belongeth unto them that are full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, because strong meat belongeth to those that are of age, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of resurrection, of baptism, and the laying on of hands, and eternal judgment." So he said that we need to go on from being a believer ‑‑ we need to go onto perfection, and not lay again, any ‑‑ of that long list there of one, two ‑‑ not lay again the foundations of the Christian faith. That is, not getting saved a second time. "For it's impossible..." Notice the word "for". "For" relates back to what he just said one, two, and three. Go on unto perfection, "for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the Holy Ghost..." Look up the word "tasted", the Greek word there behind that, and you find that Christ tasted death for every man. You find the word “taste” is a full, complete taste. It's not something light and delicate. So, "tasted the heavenly gift" is to consume it. And we're made "partakers" ‑ look up the word "partakers", the Greek word behind it, and you'll find it is a full partaking ‑ "partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come." Now, that's clearly a description of a saved man. I say that, because many people try to interpret that as not being a saved man: someone almost got saved. So clearly he said, if you're saved, if you've had this experience and you're saved, don't relay the foundation of salvation. Why? Because "it's impossible for those who are saved..." ‑ rest of verse four and five and verse six ‑ "...if they shall fall away to renew them again unto repentance, seeing as they crucify themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame."

So what he said here is I'm writing this to you, who are full age, who are fully grown up as Christians, not to you baby Christians, he said, because if you're really saved, don't relay your foundation, go on and be perfect. Because if, hypothetically, if you fell away, it would be impossible to renew you again in repentance.

Basically what he said is, don't get saved again, go on and get perfect before God, because if you think you've lost it, you can't get saved again anyway. Salvation is a one‑shot deal, you can only get saved once; you can't get saved twice. If you got saved and lost it, it couldn't be renewed.

Why? If you did get saved, truly saved, you're on your way to Heaven, you're forgiven, on what basis would you be saved? You'd be saved on the basis of the fact that Jesus Christ died for you, bore your sins, and paid the full price. Now if you were saved, and you lost it, on what basis would you lose it? You'd lose it on the basis that you'd out‑sinned that gift of atonement that Christ provided. So, you were saved for two years, in this hypothetical theoretical, you were saved for a period two years, based on the blood of Christ, then you lost it because the blood of Christ no longer covers you anymore.

So you go for one year not being saved, or three months or two days without being saved, and you say, OK, I'm going to get saved again. You go back and try to repent again. He said it can't happen, because you would crucify yourself the Son of God afresh, and put him in open shame. Christ would have to die a second time, to provide a second atonement, because you out‑sinned the first atonement. You spent the capital on the first atonement. You used it up. He paid for all your sins and you out‑sinned all your sins. And so, your first salvation began, and two years later it terminated and it's no longer any good. So you are now unsaved and cannot get saved again.

This is a very good passage. I've used this many times. I've been on the street witnessing to people, and I tell somebody, "Are you saved?" "Well, I used to be but I lost it." I say, "That's too bad. I'm sorry I wasted your time." Turn around to walk off. They say, "Well, wait a minute, why are you walking off?" I say, "Well, it's too late for you." "What do you mean, it's too late for me? I've been thinking about getting right and repenting." "Well, it's too late for you. Says right here, "and I show them, "it's impossible for those who once were enlightened and tasted the gift and so forth, if they shall fall away, to renew them to repentance.

So it's impossible for you, you can't get saved again." "Oh, well, maybe I didn't get saved, or maybe I'm still saved, and I just need to get right with God." Well, it's one of those two: either you never got saved or you are saved, and need to repent and go on to perfection, but in no case, in the world, has anyone ever gotten saved twice, much less three times, or four times, or five times. Because Christ would have to die three or four or five times. You say, then why did he put the passage in here? Going back on the context, Chapter 5, following through, reading it, getting six, reading the rest of the context, he's using it the same way I used it on the street. He's raising the issue, if you think you're getting saved a second time, let me tell you something, if you lost it, you couldn't get saved, therefore, quit thinking you lost it, and go on and be perfect. It's a great passage.

Announcer: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

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3 comments on “Is it possible for someone to have a relationship with God, fall away, and then come back to him?”

  1. This explanation helped me very much. Thank you for clearing it up. I was brought up hearing "Once saved, always saved", but then those very same people were living in continual sin.

    From the terrible witnesses around me, I grew to think, that because I "went forward and asked Jesus into my heart" when I was 6 years old, that I was going to heaven no matter what I did!

    So, I led an immoral life in my late teens/early 20s. At the end of the day, I would feel guilty, pray, ask the Lord to forgive me of my sins. Then wake up and start all over again, with the thought in the back of my mind "Well, at least I'm going to heaven when I die." I used it as a false insurance.

    Praise God, I realized at 26 that I had never given myself to Christ at all! I repented, and committed myself to Him, and have lived in a relationship with Jesus for 20 years now.

    Had I continued to lean on the "Once saved, always saved" phrase, I would have died and gone to hell. Because I wasn't even really a Christian - until I was 26.

    So blessed to know Him,
    Lisa in Texas 🙂

    P.S. it was my husband's example to commit his life to Christ that caused me to do the same - on the same exact day. (one month before our first child was born).
    Our God is so amazing!

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