Reformed theologian John Piper has said that despite what might seem like suggestions otherwise in the Bible, genuine believers in Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation, even if they continue sinning.
Piper delved into the complex question on his desiringGod.org podcast Monday, when a listener, identified only as Josh, said he was confused by Hebrews 10:26–29.
“The writer seems to be speaking about the ability to lose salvation by engaging in ‘willful sin,’ as it has been called. My question: What is the opposite of a ‘willful sin?’ Is it an accidental sin? Or something else? It seems to me that, due to the presence of the Holy Spirit’s conviction, all sin done by the believer is done willfully. Is there something I am not seeing within these verses?” the question states.
Piper admits that Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 6 “often give people the impression that a person possesses the fullness of salvation and then loses it,” but adds that a deeper analysis shows that this isn’t what the writer wanted to communicate.
The theologian says that the phrase “go on sinning deliberately” is very important.
“First, the word deliberately translates the Greek ἑκουσίως. This word is used in 1 Peter 5:2 like this: ‘Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly [ἑκουσίως].’ Willingly — here is the same word that we translate as deliberately in Hebrews 10:26,” he wrote.
“Now, what this usage shows (and the reason I cite it) is that there are two different kinds of willing, aren’t there? One is eager and wholehearted, and the other is under compulsion,” he continued.
“In both cases, one could argue that the elders are in fact exercising their will to shepherd the flock of God. In the one case, it’s glad. It’s an act that engages the whole will. It’s happy and energized. In the other case, it’s begrudging — an act that evidently goes against significant parts of the will because we would rather be doing something else. They don’t really want to shepherd the flock of God, but for money, or for fame, or to avoid guilty feelings, they gut it out and shepherd the flock of God.”
SOURCE: The Christian Post