2 Chronicles 29:1-11 (NASB)
Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east.
5 Then he said to them, “Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place. 6 For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have [a]turned their backs. 7 They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore the wrath of the Lord was against Judah and Jerusalem, and He has made them an object of terror, of horror, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. 9 For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.”
As I read this story, I am reminded of all the seasons in my life where left my bible closed, stopped making time to pray, and went about my days with no guidance from the Lord – we all have the same human nature as the Israelites did, but I’m so thankful that the Lord has been merciful to me – every time I’ve turned my back on Him, He’s always drawn me back.
It seems that the prior generations of Hezekiah didn’t accept this mercy, they made the conscious choice to continue to reject the Lord, even after He extended mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace – they still said no. Verses 6-7 of chapter 10 make it painfully clear that that generation of Israelites not only did evil before the Lord, they turned their backs from His presence, and walked away for good. So what’s the result? What happens when we decide to not only sin against the Lord, but permanently walk away from His presence and reject His offerings of mercy? Verses 8-9 give a fairly graphic picture of what will happen – wrath, terror, hissing, captivity, and death. These were the same Israelites that God had hand-picked to be His holy people.
Deuteronomy 6 tells us that our God is a jealous God, and if you turn to other gods, the Lord will “wipe you off the face of the earth.” In the New Testament, we see many passages which talk about what will happen to the people of God if they reject the Lord. Romans 11 talks about gentiles being grafted into the family of God, then verse 22 specifically states that if they do not continue in the kindness of God, they will be “cut off”. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul starts the chapter by telling the Corinthians to stand on and “hold fast” the gospel message, if not they will have “believed in vain”. Colossians 1:21-23 states that we have been reconciled to God, provided we continue in the faith and don’t shift from the hope of the Gospel. 1 Timothy 1 talks about two men in particular who were “shipwrecked” in their faith and who were “handed over to Satan”. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul sais that anyone who doesn’t provide for their family, has “disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. 2 Timothy 2:12 sais very plainly, “…If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us…”. Hebrews 6:4-6 presents one of harshest words to those who might reject the Lord, telling us that it is “…impossible to restore again to repentance…”, those who were once enlightened and filled with the Holy Spirit, and later committed “apostasy”. Most books of the new testament in fact, teach about what will happen if we reject the Lord (Matthew 6, 10, 12, 13, 18, 24, 25, Mark 4, 9, 11, 13, Luke 8, 12, John 6, 12, 15, 17, Acts 20, Galatians 1, 4, 5, 6, Ephesians 5, Philippians 2, 3, Titus 3, Hebrews 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, James 1, 2, 4, 5, 1 Peter 1, 3, 5, 2 Peter 1, 2, 3, 1-3 John, Jude, Revelation 2, 3, 16, 21, and 22) – http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/lose.html
So what does this all mean for the New Testament believer in light of 2 Chronicles 29:7? If we accept the saving message of the gospel, then sin, do we lose our salvation? It’s not that simple. In John 10:28, we are told that we are given eternal life, and no one can take this from us. In Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that by grace, we are saved though faith – it’s a gift from our great Father in Heaven. Romans 10:9 tells us that if we confess Jesus as Lord, and believe God rose Him from the dead – we will be saved (a promise).
My opinion? I think we can never lose our salvation, but if we continually turn our backs on God, continually reject his grace, continue in a life of sin, and eventually deny the Holy Spirit – we will be damned to Hell. I know that isn’t logical, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be, I think God wants us to pursue his heart above all else, every moment of every day. I think we should leave the “assurance of our salvation” up to the Holy Spirit, speaking to each one of us personally.
From the example of 2 Chronicles 29:7, we can see that even after the people of God committed the ultimate sin of perpetual disobedience, leading the complete rejection of God’s presence and love, there still remained a hope for redemption. Hezekiah’s desire was to return once again to the Lord, and to remove God’s burning anger from His people. God’s people once again consecrated themselves before Him, and God once again forgave their sins and renewed His covenant promises with them. This beautiful picture teaches that even if you have completely turned your back on God, there remains a hope for redemption, right now, as you read this, turn your heart back to God – consecrate your life and cry out to your God to re-establish himself as Lord of your life, He will hear your cries and He will flood your life with grace and love.