Warning Against Falling Away
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 5:11-14, Hebrews 6:1-12, Philippians 3:12-16, 1 Peter 2:1-3
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 5:11-14, Hebrews 6:1-12, Philippians 3:12-16, 1 Peter 2:1-3
I feel like I’m a great gal. I go to church (but only when all five of my kids aren’t sick). I read my Bible (unless I am very tired or very busy or extremely lazy). I pray (especially when I have lost my glasses). And I write about Scripture (because it’s my dream job and people pay me to do it).
Okay, so I’m a great gal with some mixed motives. But here’s the trouble: It’s actually pretty possible to look like a believer, enjoy the fellowship of believers, and even do a lot of the right things externally, but still not touch the heart of the matter. It’s possible to do all of these things without maturing in the faith and truly knowing God.
All of these good works may make me think I’m a great gal. They can certainly look like the fruit of the gospel at work in my life. But Scripture tells us our works are dead when we depend on them for our salvation (Romans 3:27–4:5). The author of Hebrews is warning us to stop focusing on such “elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1).
No matter how many orphanages you visit in Haiti, you cannot save yourself. No matter how many women you rescue out of slavery, you cannot rescue yourself. Christ alone saves us. His desire is that we grow in maturity by the Holy Spirit, working out our faith to full assurance, which is only found in Christ (v.11).
If we are keeping lists of our own merits, even if just in our heads and hearts, it is a real danger. We cannot work our way to righteousness. But the temptation to rely on our own merits is powerful. The Church is warned about this in no uncertain terms. If we seek after good works more than we desire Christ, we are in grave danger. Beware, lest we fall away and come short of salvation! Only Christ is sufficient to save.
Yet “God is not unjust; he will not forget [our] work and the love [we] demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them” (v.10). When we look to Christ for our salvation, our humble doings flow from gratitude to the One who saves us. We love others because we imitate the One who is love (1 John 4:8). We serve because He is the servant of all. Our good works don’t earn our salvation; they are the result of our salvation, fruit born of the Holy Spirit at work in us (Galatians 5:22–23).
Let us look beyond the work of our own hands and instead place our hope in Christ’s finished work on the cross. May we hear His call to daily repentance and obedience. And may our works flow out of total thankfulness to God, our Creator and Redeemer.
Rebecca Faires loves the gospel story and needs it every morning when she wakes up to her five little people. Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in German from Hillsdale College, and most recently worked as the managing editor and writer at She Reads Truth. She now works from her log cabin in the hills of Tennessee, writing and illustrating books with her favorite mountain man. There she enjoys porch-sitting as it rains, reading the Oxford English Dictionary, and getting in way over her head. She is expecting her sixth baby and her first book in February of 2019.