In my inbox the other day was an email from a woman who shared a very emotional story regarding her very difficult past and her current struggles regarding her fears and worries about her salvation. I won't go into any of the details that she shared. I'll only say that in general she has dealt with a lot of hurt and pain that she's received from others, as well as a deep sense of guilt and shame due to her own failures and sins. She also shared with me that she'd recently heard some teachings on "falling away," and it's led to much more fear.
I responded to her, and I'd like to share my response here in the hopes that it will be of comfort and encouragement to others as well.
I do want to share the good news with you in regards to
your standing with God. As you probably know, the word "gospel"
means "good news," and that's what God has declared to mankind
through Jesus Christ. When Jesus was born, the angels were
declaring "good tidings of great joy" and saying "Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14).
The "goodwill toward men" is from God to humans. It's God's
goodwill towards people. That's why Jesus came.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting
their sins against them." 2 Cor 5:19
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17
So, no matter what you've ever done, no matter what you've ever been
through, no matter what sins you've ever committed, no matter how
big or bad your failures have been, Christ has not come to condemn
you or to put you to shame, but He has come to save you. God has
not come into your life to point out your sins, but to show you how
He has saved you from your sins. He's come into your life to give
you LIFE - and not to put guilt, shame or condemnation upon you.
Christ's sacrifice has delivered you from guilt, shame and
The great Enemy likes to skew God's good news message, by portraying
God and Christ as being angry and vengeful with us for our sins.
But that's not what happened in Christ. It's actually exactly the
God has shown great love and kindness towards us. He has offered
all of His goodwill to us freely, without cost to us. Our good
works cannot earn it, and our bad works cannot take it away. We
receive all of it, not through our efforts but by God's grace,
through faith. We simply believe Him, and trust Him in what He has
done on our behalf.
There is a mention in Hebrews 6 of those who "fall away." It's a
hypothetical situation, but the main point about it that I'd like to
make is, what is it that they would "fall away" from and what is it
that they would fall away to? Many in the church would teach you
that to "fall away" is to fall away from God by sinning, or by
living in constant sin. But that's not what the passage in Hebrews
6 is talking about - at all. This epistle to the Hebrews was
written to people who had been under the law all their lives. (It
was written to Jews - Hebrews - who had been under the law). After
having been under the law for so long, in which they would sacrifice
bulls, goats and other animals for their sins, day after day and
year after year, they found out that Christ's ONE sacrifice actually
took away all sin, once and for all! The blood of bulls and goats
could never take away sin, but Christ's sacrifice did! So through
faith, that's what they had originally turned TO. They had turned
away from their own efforts and sacrifices, and they had turned TO
trusting in Christ's sacrifice. However... many of them were
questioning if Christ's sacrifice was really enough, and they were
turning back to sacrificing animals. They had turned FROM faith in
Christ, back TO trusting in the sacrifices of animals. This is the
"falling away" in Hebrews 6.
Falling away from God isn't about sinning. It's about turning away
from Christ's sacrifice, and turning back to animal sacrifices (or
keeping God's law in general). Salvation is found only in ONE name,
Jesus Christ, and it can't be found in any other name or in any
So that's the good news! You are saved, sanctified, justified and
made righteous all through the ONE sacrifice of Jesus. It's through
nothing you've ever done, and it's not taken away through anything
you've ever done. God simply asks us to trust what He has done over
what we have done.
I hope this helps you to understand and realize that your salvation
isn't dependent upon YOU. :) It's solely dependent upon HIM... and
He has not fallen short in any way in saving you or keeping you
saved. :) It's all by His grace, and we can't add to or take away
from what He's done.
Our relationships with other people are different, of course.
There's nobody who has ever loved like God loves or who has given us
mercy and grace like God has given us. And we've not done the same
for others, either. We all still fall very short in our actions
towards each other, and towards God. And because of that, we will
indeed have varying degrees of strife and situations that we will
have to deal with in life. That's just the reality. But with GOD,
we never, ever, ever have to deal with Him being contentious towards
us. He will never condemn us or make us feel guilty. When we are
in Christ, by grace through faith, feelings of guilt and
condemnation do not come from God!
I wish you all of God's grace and peace. May you truly know and
experience the love, mercy, grace and peace of God.