I left the Lord, but now that I returned, will God accept me?




I was baptized as a teen. I really didn't change the way I acted or lived (drinking, partying, etc.). I went to college and lived a very immoral life (drinking, fornication, etc.). In my mid 20's I realized that I was wrong (pierced to the heart), and repented and changed my life. Because I was not sure of my salvation, as my baptism did not change my behavior or attitude, I was baptized again. My question is this: are my sins forgiven because I turned around and am living a life of repentance now? I have read some verses lately that talk about knowing the oracles of God and leaving and not being able to be restored -- I think it is in Hebrews. Also the passage that talks about crucifying Christ again. That scared me. I know God can forgive me for sin, but will He forgive me for turning away for a time? I have read the verses about restoring a brother and covering a multitude of sins. How do these verses work together? I also know that Zacchaeus, when converted, went to make good on all the people he defrauded. I influenced numerous people with my sin. How can I make good with them? I don't even know where they are and even who they are.

I am so glad that you have returned to the Lord. The passage you are referring to is Hebrews 6:4-6, "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." It is a bit subtle, but what you missed is that this passage is talking to faithful Christians trying to deal with people who acted as you once acted. When a person knows the truth and then purposely chooses to leave, there is nothing left for a faithful Christian to offer to persuade that person to return to the Lord since they turned their back on the one thing that can lead them out of sin -- the word of God (Romans 1:16). However, read the passage carefully and you will see that it doesn't say that such a person, on their own, cannot return.

In a sense, this passage is the flip side of John 10:28, "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." No one can make you lose your salvation, but the passage doesn't rule out that you may chose to leave your salvation behind.

Both passages are acknowledgments of individual free-will. People will encourage you, Satan will tempt you, but in the end whether you are faithful or not is your individual choice. No one can make you go to heaven or hell. You chose your destiny by whether you obey God or not. If you are obedient to God, then you need to trust the faithfulness of God. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:8). Unlike man, God always keeps His word.

To strengthen your faith in God, let me ask you to study the following lessons:
God Cannot Lie
God's Promises are Sure

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Forgiveness
Questions and Answers regarding Salvation