Conditional Security – [Introduction to Hebrews]

No discussion about eternal security is complete without a close look at the many warning passages in the book of Hebrews. These warnings are to Christians, and in these warnings we are encouraged to remain faithful to Christ, for our faithfulness to Christ gives evidence of a true faith in Christ. These many warning passages clearly indicate that a true Christian can abandon their faith and return to the world to live a life of self-will and sin. That a Christian can turn away from their faith in Christ (apostasy), Hebrews very plainly reveals.Those who insist that Hebrews does not teach the possibility of the abandonment of faith (and thus forfeiting salvation), must avoid the plain and clear language of the writer. In order to properly understand this book, we must allow the author to mean what he’s actually saying.

It’s when we approach this book with a biased position regarding eternal security, that we get into trouble. If we view the warning passages in this book through that type of filter, we will miss the obvious meaning, and end up explaining away these passages in order to fit them into our particular doctrinal position.

False doctrine occurs for many reasons, and one of those reasons is having a position already in place, and then making the assumption that the text under discussion must mean something else other than what the plain statements are saying.

Interpretations based on assumptions because of a dearly held position, will indeed lead to incorrect interpretations. As Christians, are we not to seek the truth of what God’s Word teaches? What sense then does it make if we approach God’s Word with the mindset of trying to fit everything we read into an established, closely held theology? But I sincerely believe that is what actually happens among many. Are we not at that point simply trying to protect our theology, rather than seeking the truth? But that’s what happens when we don’t give the clear and plain statements of God’s Word its due recognition.

Personal Testimony
I used to be one of those I just described. For most of my Christian life I believed in Unconditional Eternal Security. I did not believe that a true Christian could drift away from their faith in Christ and be eternally lost. All those years I viewed the warning passages of Hebrews, and all the other warning passages in God’s Word, through the lens of unconditional security. Whenever I got to the warning passages, I simply assumed they meant something other than what they were clearly saying, since I already “knew” that the Bible taught that a true Christian could never end up going into eternity without Christ.

However, it was always a little uncomfortable having to explain away so many scriptures to get them to fit into my unconditional security mold. I was always having to conclude: “This is referring to the unsaved in their midst” or “they were never saved to begin with” or “this is not referring to salvation, but to a loss of rewards.” Or whatever.

I was so firm in my position that I didn’t even want to hear the other side of the argument. And I didn’t for most of my Christian life. That was serious pride on my part. I paid no attention to the very arguments that I now make myself on this website. It wasn’t until I finally humbled myself and decided to give the other side a fair hearing, that I began to see the truth of the matter. For the first time in my life I decided to allow the Bible to mean what it was actually saying about apostasy. I set aside my biased position and took an honest look at what these passages in Hebrews (and many other places in Scripture) were actually saying.

I didn’t make the turn right away. I had so many questions at first. But as I continued to study, all my questions were gradually answered. I can tell you from personal experience, having been one of the strongest supporters of Unconditional Eternal Security, so much in the Bible makes so much more sense to me now than it did before. So many things have fallen into place biblically since I’ve come to understand eternal security to be conditional.

The Lord extended grace by removing the blinders from my eyes (caused by my pride), and now it’s like the floodgates of understanding has been opened up to me, and I’m understanding God’s Word in a way that I never did before. As I already indicated, so much of the Bible seems to be tied into one’s understanding of and acceptance of the doctrine of Conditional Eternal Security. My understanding of salvation, election, God’s grace, faith, and the Kingdom of Christ have been greatly enlarged.

The importance of the book of Hebrews in regard to eternal security cannot be overstated. It holds an important key to the proper understanding of our security in Christ. Make no mistake, we have wonderful security in Christ, but we must understand the nature of true saving faith, and what it is that keeps us in Christ. Hebrews helps answers those questions.

Outline of Approaches
Dr. Brian Abasciano, co-founder of The Society of Evangelical Arminians (SEA), has written a very helpful outline of the various approaches people have to the warning passages of Hebrews. I encourage you to consider carefully each approach before we begin our study. Below is the link:

Outline of Approaches to the Warning Passages in Hebrews