By Chris Amulo
If you have been around the Navigators for a few days, sooner or later you will hear about assurances. The Navigators are big on assurance. We teach it and we study it with everyone we come along in our discipling process. As we lead people in these studies we cover topics like:
1. Assurance of Salvation
2. Assurance of Victory over Sin
3. Assurance of Forgiveness
4. Assurance of God’s Help
5. Assurance of the Holy Spirit’s Presence
Of the above ‘assurances’, as we call them, none has been as controversial as the first one. We get asked questions like: ‘So do you mean to say once saved always saved? What if I sin and get hit by a vehicle and I die before I have confessed my sin, will I still go to heaven’? Can I live any way I want and still be saved?
Then we have passages such as Hebrews 6:4-12 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
How do you explain such passages? If the person who is saved cannot lose their salvation, then what does this passage mean? This was the focus of our time when, as staff and key labourers in the students ministry, we met at Ukweli Pastoral Centre in Kisumu County. Nick Wanyoike took us through the book of Hebrews with a specific emphasis on Hebrews 6:4-12. During that time Nick helped us to answer these questions:
1. What is the danger here? What is the warning about?
2. What brings this danger? What must we do or not do to avoid it?
3. If this danger befalls a person, were they really born again?
4. How should we who are born again respond to it?
Nick helped us to see that the danger of apostasy is real and should not be taken lightly. That it is possible for someone to say that they are ‘born again’ when the fruit of their life is not in accordance with the word of God. That when we come to Christ, He expects us to walk in obedience and produce fruit.
Chris Amulo serves as the National Students’ Ministry Director at the Navigators with his wife Ann.