People walk away from God, and the Bible says if you reject such a great salvation, there is no longer any hope of salvation for you.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6 (NKJV)
But I know that God allows us to come back if we walk away like the Prodigal Son. He will accept us. So, the visual picture I get of this walking away is: if you turn your back on the cross, there is nothing in front of you that can save you. The only way to be saved is to turn back to the cross.
There is great debate over the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” I admit this is all I had ever heard until I began to attend my current Assembly of God church. One of the first things I remember our pastor saying is that you can lose your salvation. I went home disturbed, but I kept going back. The Holy Spirit that I asked God for was there, and I was not leaving. Over time, Pastor presented his reasons based on Scripture, and I changed my viewpoint. Perhaps “losing” your salvation is not the right terminology. It is better stated, I think, as walking away from or rejecting your salvation.
My point here is not to debate the issue yet again, but to say that, along with my belief that you can walk away from your salvation, I believe you can return to God and take it back up. Perhaps it is not a new salvation, but yours to begin with, so perhaps it is not “lost,” just left behind and returned to us when we return to God’s arms. It matters not. God allows us to change our minds.
How many times will He allow this? Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seven times seventy times” (Matthew 18:21-22). We are made in the image of Almighty God, to be like Him–forgiving. If I walk away, will He allow a return? He will. God despaired of dealing with the Israelites and their constant falling away as He rescued them time after time. He often threatened that His patience would run out, and we know it will, but He’s waited an awfully long time.
One of my favorite Scriptures is 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
He’s holding out His hand to you every day. If you have walked away, will you come back? He’s waiting for you.