(Article for publication week of 1-9- AD 2014)
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:39). Our text tells us something of what saving faith is, and of what it is not.
The first thing I will have you to notice in our text is that there is no salvation apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the only channel that God has provided to bring salvation to us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our text plainly says that, and it is the truth of the whole Bible. Our Lord has promised in Mark 16:16, he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved", and then He solemnly warned, "he that believeth not shall be damned." He who refuses to believe in Christ for his whole and sole righteousness must be damned by God forever.
Secondly, our text solemnly warns us that all who profess to have believed, or who think they have believed, are not necessarily saved. True salvation is not "believing" at some time in your life, and then going on and living as you please, but saving faith is persevering, that is the sinner saved by grace keeps on believing. Saving faith is not "going forward" , or "walking the aisle", or "raising your hand", or "repeating a prayer." Multitudes have done these things and perhaps more, and remain unsaved. For example, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of people who have "gone forward" in Billy Graham Crusades cannot be found in anybody's church a month later. And we personally know many who made professions of faith at one time, who no longer walk with the Lord. My personal experience is that most churches have multitudes on their church rolls whom they claim as members, but they seldom if ever attend Divine Service. Many are living in open and unrepentant sin, and there are many that no one even knows where they are. Such are not saved; they have as our text says, drawn "back unto perdition."
The scriptures give us notable examples of such temporary believers. In the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15) our Lord illustrated temporary believers by the "rocky ground hearers." They believed for awhile, but in time of temptation, fell away. We have known multitudes like this in our sixty years of living. They walked the aisle, made a profession of faith, got baptised, joined the church, but they did not last. They have gone back to the world. The advocates of the "carnal Christian" heresy say such are still saved, they are just 'backslidden", but the scriptures will not support such. Pelagians say such lost their salvation, but the truth is they never were saved. Dear reader, if you are truly saved, you can never again be unsaved, but the question for you and me is, "are we really saved?" Now you let that sink in.
Those who are truly saved do not just believe at some time in their life, but they keep on believing. Those who are genuinely saved will persevere in their faith. They keep looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of their faith, They keep coming to Christ. They continue to trust in Him Alone for their whole and sole righteousness. Dear reader I ask you, "are you now believing in Christ?"