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Christians: Once Saved Always Saved? I Say Not So!

Posted by Job on July 16, 2007

They say that if you can lose your salvation then Jesus Christ died in vain. God forbid that Christ’s death would be in vain. However, it is my contention that while you cannot lose your salvation, you can throw it away. Otherwise, why would the terms “heretic”, “backslider”, and “apostate” exist? Those do not apply to unbelievers, including pretend Christians that were never truly saved, but instead to those that have abandoned the faith. For scriptural evidence of this, first reference the warnings of Jesus Christ to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Second, consider Paul’s warnings in Galatians for the church not to be deceived by false doctrines that cause them to deny that they were saved by faith. Third, and most explicitly, consider I Corinthians 5:1 – 5, where Paul speaks of one that they delivered unto Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his soul would be spared on the day of judgment, meaning that his life would be prematurely ended before he became reprobate due to his sin. “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Speaking of reprobation, consider the popularity of the prosperity/Word of Faith doctrines that are drawing so many Christians from other denominations and movements with their promises and claims of mighty miracles and works. While a lot of that is Christians leaving dead and liberal Christianity seeking some sort of fundamentalism, those that are merely seeking things for themselves or who with their fascination with the minors give up the majors should heed what 1 Timothy 6:1-10 says of those who preach that godliness is gain (meaning that the gospel can be used to gain wealth, or that wealth is a sign of one’s righteousness and standing with God): they will be delivered unto reprobation. One can presume that the Christian who follows the reprobate preacher will find himself also reprobate in short order. Further, consider what Revelation 22:19 says about false prophets and preachers that deny the Truth of the Word of God: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” That false preachers and those who follow them are delivered unto such a state by God to me indicates that they were not in that state initially, but were allowed to become so because of their blaspheming against the true gospel and deceiving people with false doctrines.

Christians must endure and overcome to receive their reward. Matthew 10:22 – “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” It is a consistent theme in scripture that the Kingdom of Heaven is for those believers that overcome and endure to the end. That instruction is given to all seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Consider the stark contrast of the Smyrna church of which Jesus Christ stated no fault and the Laodicean church of which He stated no good. Now I can see where one might try to claim that the Laodiceans were not really saved and the overcoming and enduring to the end is in reference to getting actually saved, but how can that possibly be directed towards the Smyrna church? Yet Jesus Christ had to tell the Smyrna church to be faithful unto death to get their crown of life (Revelation 2:10). The most explicit example: Revelation 2:26, the words of Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior Himself: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.

So, fellow believer, it is my contention that the concept that one can fall from the grace of God is given explicitly and implicitly throughout scripture. I would propose that King Saul was the first example of one who rejected the grace of God with his own persistent disobedience with Demas who forsook Paul (2 Timothy 4:10) perhaps being the last (it also appears that Hymenaeus and Alexander were delivered unto Satan (1 Timothy 1:20) by Paul to prevent them from going as far as Demas did).

Perhaps my main reason for believing that one can renounce the gift of salvation with persistent sin: my conviction that God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). And what does Romans 6 mean after all? I know that it contains these passages: Romans 6:1-2aWhat shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” and Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I know that there are many verses in Romans 6 that says that the person that continues in sin was never saved to begin with. Fine, but what of 1 John 1:8-10? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” I say to the Christian that 1 John 1:8-10 should give you reassurance, but Romans 6:23 should keep you vigilant. In other words, the perfect balance to be found in God’s Word.

Now I realize that: “Once saved always saved” is classic Protestant doctrine, so I welcome all comments from those with opposing viewpoints. I particularly wish to hear alternate interpretations of the “deliver one unto Satan” references. Another thing: please thoughtfully consider this section on apostasy from Biblegateway: http://www.biblegateway.com/topical/topical_resource.php?source=1&tid=337.

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29 Responses to “Christians: Once Saved Always Saved? I Say Not So!”

  1. Marcus said

    Is there one person who write all these blogs, are is it many. Anyway, I know you heard this before (thank God), but those people where never really saved in the first place. Point Blank. There is really no sophisticated reasoning needed.

  2. Marcus: I am not asking for sophisticated reasoning, I am asking for scripture. See, Revelation 2 and 3 was to the churches, not the unsaved. So was Matthew 10:22 and the other scriptures that I gave. But in particular consider Paul’s statements “delivering one unto Satan.” Why do that if they are unsaved and hence Satan’s already? I require scripture to demonstrate that these verses apply to unsaved people. Or that Saul, whom God Himself put on the throne and served God in a mighty manner for many years, was rotten to the core from the beginning. Sola scriptura, brother in Christ, it is all about the sola scriptura!

  3. Laz said

    heal,
    what do you make of John 10:26-28? I offered this text up in a ‘debate’ and one gentleman discounted anything from the Gospel of John because it was, according to him, written by a Johannine community with an agenda to deify Jesus.

    Another gentleman had a more reasonable counter to this text in John, what do you make of it?

  4. Laz: John 10:26-28? “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” to me means that you cannot lose your salvation but you can throw it away. Thus, no need to fear Satan (or any of his demonic or human agents) regarding your salvation because none of them can cause your apostasy. You alone can do that. And to buttress that, I give you James 1:13-15 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” And consider the context: the intended audience of the epistle. It was not sinners or unbelievers; the epistle was written to the church. (As a matter of fact, the entire Bible is written to the church … God did not cast pearls before swine, an unbeliever with a Bible is like those who heard Christ speak in parables and think that He was a fraud or a madman.) So, I believe that James 1:13-15 is aimed at the believer who deceives himself concerning how to handle temptation, to keep such a person from creating excuses to succumb to it and continue in sin by claiming that “God is doing this to me, so I am not accountable.” But yes, John 10:26-28 is an excellent example of why I might well be very wrong!

  5. Laz said

    I see what you’re saying but can’t “any man” refer to oneself? We are all men after all no?

    Here’s the response I was given by the brother I referenced above (this would be the one with the more ‘reasonable counter’), I would like to get your take on what he said,

    Laz,

    I just want to point out very quickly that in the passage you referenced, the present active indicative reigns supreme. In other words, the majority of the major verbs in this context are present actions. For example:

    ου πιστευετε (’do not believe’) vs. 25
    εγω ποιω (’I do’ in reference to the works that Jesus does) vs. 25
    μαρτυρει (’bear witness’) vs. 25
    ου πιστευετε (’do not believe’) vs. 26
    ουκ εστε (’you are not’) vs. 26
    ακουουσιν (’hear’) vs. 27
    γινωσκω (’I know’) vs. 27
    ακολουθουσιν (’they follow’) vs. 27
    καγω διδωμι (’and I give’) vs. 28

    Notice that those who do not presently believe in the works that Jesus does (presently) are said to not be part of the flock. Those who are part of the flock are those who are described as presently hearing and following — those are the individuals whom Jesus presently knows and gives eternal life to. The point being that a present faith in the requisite for salvation.

    In regard to no one being able to snatch/pluck (αρπαζειν) any of these believers from the Father’s hand — this makes no mention of the believer willingly abandoning their faith and forsaking God. The verb αρπαζειν means to seize or carry off by force — it doesn’t speak to the individuals willful and deliberate act of apostasy.

    While I’m with you on the Trinity I can’t co-sign on once saved always saved.

  6. Laz said

    Btw, I didn’t mean to imply that the first gentleman I mentioned was a brother, he is not for he denies the Trinity, my bad.

  7. marge said

    First time at your site..reading “once saved…” I won’t dispute or question your belief about this, but one thing jumped out at me in your text that I’d ask you to clarify. You say: (quote)

    “…consider I Corinthians 5:1 – 5, where Paul speaks of one that they delivered unto Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his soul would be spared on the day of judgment, meaning that his life would be prematurely ended before he became reprobate due to his sin….” My question is, please explain how you arrive at the “meaning”….that this text about the soul being spared @ judgment, means life ending “before he became reprobate?” Where does that text tie in verses about being reprobate? Do you maybe not understand what “reprobate” means? That verse says that the soul may be SPARED in the DAY OF JUDGMENT….it doesn’t say before I become reprobate (which could be at any time..not day of judgment) Do you see what my question is? Please clarify your statement there…how you interpret that to mean end of a life before one becomes reprobate, and how that ties in with losing salvation. Turning one over to satan…was for destruction of the FLESH (not the spirit) and that could mean any number of things happening in the flesh. Thank you!

  8. marge said

    ps..one more question. No one can pluck them out of God’s hand..why do you think we have more “ability” than angels or even the enemy, to “throw ourselves out of God’s Hand?” Nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus…not principalities or powers, angels, life, death, no other creature, nothing..no one…not even “self” ! I’ve seen people, including me, stray from the Lord…and He lovingly restores. Although you suffer consequences. He sees the beginning and the end…If you were ever His, He is Faithful over you..scripture doesn’t teach that He decides to “disown” you at some point. THere’s much misunderstanding about losing “rewards” vs salvation, and “license to sin”, etc. If you understood the character of God, through relationship with Him, you’d see how salvation is HIS doing and His faithfulness and love, and in so seeing, it creates in you a humble yieldedness, & if we sin, we have a mediator..He forgives and cleanses. Not gives up on us. Realizing that in its truth, doesn’t cause a “license to sin” attitude, but a humble reverence and love toward God, where you will not wilfully continue to sin..hence, if you are saved by Him, you are saved by Him. Don’t give ourselves too much credit here!

  9. marge said

    as far as names being blotted out of book of life…study more…there is more than one book…when we are born (in flesh) we are all in a book of life…when we are “born again” we are in Lamb’s Book of Life…at judgment, if name is not found in Lamb’s book of Life..it is then blotted out (death-eternal) from the book of life. Sort of like you copy & paste on a computer. When saved, copy name from book of life; paste into Lamb’s Book..at judgment, if not found in Lamb’s Book, “delete” from the book of life. Not trying to over-simplify…just making it relative to today. Don’t confuse the books! THere are other books too! Thanx my brother…you’re coming from a genuine heart, I see that. Keep praying, studying the Word and yielding to the Holy Spirit…the Author! 🙂

  10. Laz: I am sorry, but far be it from me to say anything good about the arguments of an anti – Trinitarian. Stopped clocks being right twice a day notwithstanding, I would gladly become a 5 point Calvinist before I did such a thing as siding with a heretic over a brother! (Which was probably your intent from the beginning.)

    Marge: Well, the people who take the strongest stands against sin are the fundamentalists who believe in “once saved always saved”, so mine was not an invective against the “license to sin” nonsense that I see the anti – Trinitarian heretics often spouting about. I have heard some good ministries speak of the different books of life in the past, most recently the excellent Messianic Jewish ministry of Gary Hedric (www.cjf.org/) thank you for reminding me! But curious: what do YOU believe that “deliver one unto Satan” mean? Because this is what I was saying. I suppose the novel “The Oath” by Frank Peretti best illustrates it. If you are a Christian and you sin, so long as you feel a guilty conscience and ultimately repent, then you will not be reprobate. However, if you continually sin and refuse to stop sinning, pretty soon the grieved vexed Holy Spirit will cease to remind you concerning your sin, and you will start denying that your behavior is sin at all. Now while you could THEORETICALLY still repent and be forgiven at that point, without the Holy Spirit revealing to you that you should repent and driving you to do so, it is not going to happen. So in the first reference to deliver one unto Satan, this is what I believe was going on: a Christian was engaging in the common practice of the time and living in an incestuous relationship with his mother. He had been made aware that it was sinful, but refused to stop for whatever reason. Yet he was acknowledging what he was doing was wrong. By delivering him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh to the salvation of his soul, Paul was interceding for the brother before he reached the point that living in sin was not sin at all, before the Holy Spirit ceased dealing with him. And that particularly is the problem with these false Christian doctrines: Christians get convinced that their falsehoods are legitimate and refuse to let them alone no matter what you show them in the Bible. How you interpret the scripture? You might have a better handle on it than I do. But to me that is a rather fascinating scripture in the Bible, and I cannot recall hearing anyone preach on it.

  11. Laz said

    The long quote came from an actual brother. The guy who denied the Trinity was the gentleman the following statement,

    I offered this text up in a ‘debate’ and one gentleman discounted anything from the Gospel of John because it was, according to him, written by a Johannine community with an agenda to deify Jesus.

    they are 2 different folk, sorry for the mix up Heal…

  12. Steven said

    HTL: I agree that a person, who having become a Christian, can at some point lose the salvation which was freely given to them and not just to them but to as many as the Lord our God shall call. There are an abundant amount of scriptures that illustrate our Christian life while in this world is a race to be finished. Not one against each other but one against Satan. (You could almost use Aesop’s fable of the Tortise and the Hare, although it could be debated which of the two we would be…probably the Hare, since he SHOULD have won.)

    Simularly, I believe that the scriptures teach that there exists absolutely not good reason why an individual who is a Christian, should not enter into the joys of His Lord on the Last day. There also exist many scriptures that warn us to not become the person who does not enter into the joys of His Lord.

    2Peter 1:5-11, shares with us qualities which we are to add to our faith. Peter assures us that if we have these things, we shall never stumble and that we will be given entrance in the Kingdom (I think in this context, Heaven). However, if we do not have them, we are among those who have forgotten our sins were forgiven and we are blind/short sighted.

    In Heb 4, we are warned not to be like Isreal who did not enter into the rest because of unbelief, Paul, a couple times, implies that he needs to live right so that he will not be excluded. I think Demas in I Timothy is a clear example of someone who loved the world more.

    However, even in the parables, Jesus teaches that we can fall away. The parable of the sower shows THREE soils that recieved the Seed, only one did not. Yet of those three, only ONE brought forth fruit. All recieved the Word of God, all beleived but not all stayed faithful. Their light had gone out like the 5 foolish virgins, foolish because they KNEW the Lord would be coming but were not prepared.

    If it were not possible to fall away and to leave, there would be no need to encourage each other, there would be no need for the warnings to not fall away, and really no reason to live righteously if we did not want to. However, as you mentioned in Rom. 6. The Grace of God is not to be proven more gracious by our wontonly sinning. We are servants to the one we obey, wheather sin that leads to death, or obedience which leads to righteousness.

    Agape,
    Steven

  13. Steven said

    You also asked about the meaning of ‘delivering one unto Satan’. Someone else about John 10:26f.

    My thought on I cor 5, was that the individual who was living with his fathers wife (I think this would likely be a step mother or second wife to the father. If it WAS his mother…ewwwwwwwww! But either way it was an action that even the Gentiles would not accept.) That this individual was not understanding what it mean to live in such as way so that men would glorify God. Neither did the congregation, since they were to busy being tolerant.

    Paul is not suggesting that they deliver him to Satan in a physical sense so that he might die physically in order to avoid some permanent eternal damnation. This individual was already at that point and was not walking in the light (I john). The church had to get rid of him, excommunicate or withdraw from him and let him run with his passions under his master Satan. Perhaps, by disassociating themselves from him, he might be made to realize the error of his ways and repent. Those that live right before God had to make it clear that he was not right before God.

    Some (many?) beleive that in 2 Cor 2, that Paul is refereing to this individual who has not repented and wants to be accepted into the community of the Saints again. Paul tells them to accept him because otherwise he be made too sorrowful and Satan will win.

    As for John 10, I agree that there is nothing that can force us out of the hands or arms of Jesus. However, I think we can all understand your point about the difference between ‘being forced to leave’ and ‘being enticed to leave’. Once saved…you should never return because really when you think about it, why did you obey in the first place? Because you KNEW you were a sinner, you were pricked in your heart and you believed that Jesus could save you. The world has nothing to offer. Keep in mind we cannot be friends with God AND the world.

    while it is true that we cannot be seperated from God’s love, it was God’s love that sent his Son to die for the whole world. If it were ONLY God’s love that were enough to save us then we would all be saved every man, woman and child through time. But God’s justice and righteousness requires blood pay for sins, so Jesus died for all, so that all can be saved. But if He removed Isreal to bring in the Gentiles, don’t think that he won’t remove us, if we fall into the same trap that they did.

    Agape,
    Steven

  14. Steven said

    “Some (many?) beleive that in 2 Cor 2, that Paul is refereing to this individual who has not repented and wants to be accepted into the community of the Saints again. Paul tells them to accept him because otherwise he be made too sorrowful and Satan will win.”

    should read “the individual who has NOW repented”…sorry about that

  15. Marge said

    Health..& Steve…I will get back to you with the Word. But, just for now…just for thought & prayer, consider “He who has begun a good work in you WILL COMPLETE IT…” This comes to mind when you’re talking about ‘winning the race’…it is Christ that has begun this work in us, and He is faithful. Also, we have been SEALED with the Holy Spirit against that day (up to the completion of that day–the Lord’s coming). Also, many confuse salvation with ‘rewards’….for yes, we shall give account for “the deeds done in our body..”the Word says (not the judgment that unsaved go thru) and our WORKS will be judged, the “wood hay & stubble burned…but WE shall be saved.” I’ll pull the verses for you on those and there are more. I personally take the position that GOD is Faithful over us. THose who left the disciples, the Word says, “THey went out from us, because they were not (truly) OF us…” And when the Lord saves us, we are NEW CREATIONS. Entirely a new being. But let me cut it here until I can respond better. This is just off the top of my head. I was about to say though, that personally, I believe the Lord is faithful over us…however, He is sovereign. I believe there are some things that we will not fully understand this side of Heaven, and we definitely cannot box God in and say what He will or will not do, except for those things that are in the Word, such as God cannot lie, etc. But HE alone is sovereign..I believe it’s a “healthy” reverence to submit to His sovereignty and not be presumptuous. We are to walk circumspectly, and walk out the salvation that He has already given to those who have received it. His work on the cross, is ALL SUFFICIENT…we cannot add to it. What we do is receive it by faith, then live by His Spirit. Sorry to take up so much space. I’ll get back to you. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to share in this forum.

  16. Marge said

    ps..about “Israel”…if you read all of Romans eleven, “Has God cast away His people? God forbid…God has not cast away His people (vs 1,2) but read all of 11th chapter. It’s excellent. It also says that “blindness has happened in part to Israel until the fulness of the Gentils be come in (vs. 25)…”For GOd has concluded them all in unbelief (Jews & Gentiles) that He might have mercy upon all…”(vs 32) Romans is also very good about the “flesh & Spirit”. But when the time comes, the Lord will again restore Israel (as many as will receive Him). So He has not cast away or cut off His people. It’s not only God’s Love that is eternal, His Blood is the all-sufficient payment for the penalty of sin…that His justice requires, and He will have mercy on all who RECEIVE Him..and that we can only do when the Holy Spirit first draws us and opens our eyes & ears & hearts. To those, Jesus’ payment is all sufficient. Yes,available to the whole world, but it’s only “payment” when received.

  17. Steven: Thanks! Although how does that result in the destruction of the flesh?

  18. marge said

    Hi Health…it’s only my opinion…destruction of the flesh could mean any number of things…maybe an illness or loss..maybe emotional .i truly don’t know. I do know however, that when you’re a Christian — and I say this from personal experience..if you are “out of fellowship with God” or doing something wilfully or at least knowingly sinful, you are probably among the MOST miserable person on earth! You cannot sin as a Christian, and be comfortable with it. So, I don’t know what ‘destruction’ of flesh could be; and wouldn’t want to find out. Peace! 🙂

  19. marge said

    oops! Sorry Health…I just noticed that your question wasn’t directed to me…it was to Steven. So sorry!

  20. Steven said

    Hi Marge:

    In one sense it may not matter which of side of the issue is right. If the ‘you can fall away’ crowd is right then only those who live faithfully will be in Heaven. If the ‘you can’t fall away’ crowd is right, those that don’t live faithfully won’t be in Heaven because they never WERE saved. Either way only the believers will be there. However, I think it is important to look at the scriptures and “study to show ourselves approved” and to “rightly divide the word of truth.”

    On either side you will find the scriptures, those that promise the believers will overcome and those that warn the believers not to fall away. The issue is how to reconcile it. If you believe that we have been allowed to make the choice ourselves (free will) then it is easier to reconcile the two sets of scriptures. (If you do not believe we have that choice, then I am not sure it matters.) Without reconciliation of the two sets of scriptures, you wind up with a misunderstanding and poor teaching on both sides.

    One group might tend towards the idea that it doesn’t matter what we do because we are safe in our salvation. Perhaps you or I would not do that but I am thinking of someone that slips off the radar or maybe the child of a parent who in their love for the child fails to discipline (as in exhort and encourage them to stop living in sin) because “They gave themselves to God at 8 years old and God will save them.” The other group tends toward the idea that if we don’t do everything GOOD enough and don’t ask God to forgive every single solitaire sin that we are going to be condemned and so we will live in fear of condemnation.

    Both are incorrect I think, yet both have an element of truth. The reconciliation of these two views gives us the idea that we choose to follow God but realizes that we don’t make the rules on what following entails. It is like joining a race. You join of your own free will but if you want to continue to be qualified for that race you have to follow the rules. You can’t say “I joined, they accepted me and now I can do what I want.” At the same time, they can’t just kick you off if you ARE following the rules. If you run by the rules of the marathon and win, they cannot disqualify you.

    In this analogy, we run the race and that means staying on course and on the track. We do not run off the track into the world and cut across the middle of the stadium or up into the stands, etc. As I write this, it occurred to me that Jesus’ words about the straight and narrow path could fit here too. Runners today have lanes and they just can’t cross into another’s lane. However, as we are running the race, we might stumble (e.g. stumble in a sin) and we can get back up (or be helped back up) and continue the race. If we walk in the light as He is in the light….His blood cleanses us. That is, as long as we continue to actually be fighting the good fight and not just living by our own desires, loving and living in the world, Jesus intercedes for us. If we stop running or go off course and continue off course (running out of the stadium perhaps) the race will not be finished…but we choose to do so.

    There is absolutely no reason to fear that anyone will come in and push us out of the stadium. There is absolutely nothing to force us to stop running. There is nothing that can come along and blow us off course. God even says that there is no temptation that more than we can bear (I cor 10:13). So is there any reason that you can think of why we should not go to Heaven we who believe in God and His Son? Neither can I. Yet, there are those who will stop running, those who love the world more than God, and those who will give into the temptations and continue to live in the sin. They stumble and fall and finally say ‘too much, I quit’; that person made a choice to enter…and now makes a choice to exit. They believed and accepted the word but finally decided the price was too great. Alexander and Demas come to mind. Some believe Simon the sorcerer didn’t actually repent.

    I do not fear falling away because I know that only through the blood of Jesus can I be saved and will be. The blood covers me and if I walk in the light, the blood continues to cleanse me. I think we all know if we are walking in the light or not. We also know if we are sinning or not. Not a vague ‘yeah, I sin’ but a specific, “I am doing something wrong all the time” like living with my girlfriend….or my father’s wife. Sure we need to repent of the once in awhile sins also but really those do not define us…but it is the ‘in your face’ I am going to do this type sins that are the ones which will get us in trouble because THOSE define us as lovers of the world more than God.

    Of course that is one of the reasons why we are to assemble…so that we are part of a community that knows us, cares about us, exhorts us and gets back on course when we are failing; Gal 6:1 and I Cor 5:1 ff and of course Heb 10:24. If there were no need to worry about losing what we choose, then all of the exhortations, indeed the numerous rebukes that Paul gave the Galatians and Corinthians and the Hebrew writer gave to the Hebrews would not be necessary and in fact, redundant.

    I hope that helps some but if not, just say so.

    Steven

  21. Steven said

    HTL:

    How does the delivering of one to Satan result in the destruction of the Flesh? As I mentioned, I don’t think that it is a physical delivery to Satan. That is, God isn’t thinking that we need to save this soul so we should send him to Satan who will kill him and if he dies soon enough, then he won’t have crossed the line where his soul also dies. At least that is how it seemed that you were suggesting it and yes, it is quite paraphrased so I hope I am not doing an injustice to your thoughts.

    I think it is more along the line of the prodigal son and even the nation of Israel. Letting the rebellious go off into their rebellion will indeed lead to a destruction of the flesh. It isn’t the diseases and such per se, though I suppose that might have a part of it, it is the realization that something is missing and that they need it, the knowledge that this life is finite and ‘under the sun’ of no value. The prodigal son spent his inheritance in riotous living and in the end ‘woke up’ so to speak (the text says ‘came to himself’ or ‘to his senses’) and realized what he was missing, repented and came back.

    The brother in Corinth needed to do the same thing. If the church there had continued to coddle him, he would have believed that he was ok with God. Worse yet, others would have begun to think that as well. Even worse yet, the Gentiles who didn’t even stoop to such a level would not have been willing to hear the Gospel and be saved attributing our God to be worse in debauchery than even their own.

    Once delivered to follow the path he choose, I think that the destruction of the flesh may refer to fulfilling those desires to such a level that one finally realizes the futility of it and chooses to repent. It might not happen but the withdrawal of association and the rebuke of the Christians w/ whom he wanted to associate can have a strong affect if there is a strong community. In weak communities, it has little effect.

    How does it appear to you?

  22. Bryan said

    Good discussion…
    I was raised on the OSAS doctrine, but it has some serious logical, as well as scriptural flaws.
    “The fatal flaw of OSAS reasoning is that it deftly merges the ‘works’ of the Old Covenant Law (‘by which no man shall be justified’) along with the ‘works’ of obedience to God’s Word which are inextricably bound to both the Old and the New Covenants (‘faith without works is dead’). The obedience ‘baby’, then, is ceremoniously tossed out along with the rest of the ‘works’ bathwater!”
    From my page “Once Saved, Always Saved? Sign Me Up!” (www.webspawner.com/users/eternalosas/index.html)
    God bless,
    Bryan

  23. Bryan: Impossible. Consider the prophecies of the new covenant according to Ezekiel: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19 That specifically says that GOD will do it, not us. I repeat, it did not say that God would HELP us do it, the verse said that GOD WOULD DO IT. How will God do it? Ezekiel 36:26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” See, the doctrines that reject the perseverance of the saints are actually the ones that do that which you are speaking of, because they preach a “works plus faith” or “faith plus works” justification. Either way, man gets some of the credit and glory. Perseverance of the saints acknowledges the total depravity of man, and realizes that for that reason, God must get ALL the glory, with all three persons of the Trinity involved in saving you and keeping you saved. Man is too evil, too wicked, too sinful to save himself or to keep himself saved. All we can do is trust God to do it for us by His Power and by His Grace. That is what Israel spent all of that time proving. Evidence: consider the song of the vineyard in Isaiah 5: “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.” Now despite God personally creating, setting aside, and protecting that nation, they still turned against Him! And then we have Adam. Adam was not even born in sin into a sinful world ruled by Satan, and he lived in paradise, walking with God with all of his needs and desires met. And look at him! If man is so depraved as to do like Adam and the nation of Israel, what makes you think that you have the power to retain your salvation? Do you honestly think that you can retain your salvation because you WANT TO? Well answer me this then … who in their right mind WANTS to go to the lake of fire? I know that I have made a very hard and fast 180 degree turn, but now that I have recognized the truth: the nature of man is so utterly wicked that unless God Himself reaches down with His Hand to save and keep us, we are all doomed to an eternal flame, which is no less than what we deserve.

  24. Steven said

    HTL:
    You are correct about doing a hard 180 on this viewpoint. This is turning out to be a good discussion.

    If man is so depraved that he can do no good, then how could a person even believe? If a person cannot beleive on his own, and it is ALL, EXCLUSIVELY God’s work, then how can God want all men to be saved and yet not save all men?

    This is more than just a question in logic, it is a quesion of activity. When Peter preached the Gospel (it is God’s will that through the preaching that men will be saved) and was asked ‘men and brethren, what shall we do?”, his response was not “Nothing, God has done it all”. When the Jailor in Acts 16, asked ‘what shall I do to be saved?’, PAul did not say ‘there is nothing you can do’.

    Time and again as we read Acts, the Gospel is preached and those that ‘recieved the word’ are added to the number. Many times I have heard people say that we have no part in our salvation, that only God does, and yet the Scriptures teach us that we are to believe. In some cases, they say we need to repent, in others confession is called for, in some baptism, in others faithful living. These are all actions.

    Warnings go forth to not fall away, not have a heart of unbelief, not grieve the Holy Spirit, not to live in immorality (and these passages are directed at Christians) and these warnings are to make sure we maintain a relationship with God. Why warn us not to go back into the world, if we cannot do it?

    Some say that if we do anything toward our salvation that we get the glory or at least some of it. I don’t know where that idea comes from. As a sinner, without Christ, what could action could I **DO** in order to stand before God and be justified? Not a single thing! In fact, my condemnation would be very just.

    However, Christ paid the price for all men (Romans 5) so why are not all men going to Heaven? Because not all men beleive…oh wait…there is an action there. I have to beleive! Beleive what? Believe in Christ! Believe in the promises! Believe the Gospel message. Any other actions? I beleive so but…(and this is a BIG HUGE BUT!!), not one of those actions in and of themselves will allow me to Glory before God or claim to be so good that He has to save me. When all is said and done, we can only say that we are unprofitable servants we have done what was our duty. When all is said and done, we can only be justified by His sacrifice.

    If you throw a drowning man a life bouy, who gets the glory? the drowning man who grabs it or the you who threw it out to him? I would argue you do.

    If God provides a path out of the kingdom of darkness and we follow it, who gets the glory? God who provided the path, or we who follow the path? I would argue God does. What glory is there in following it? And if there is any glory in following it, how does that take away from God’s glory? It does not!

    We are saved by God’s grace (which we did not earn) through our faith (trusting obedience) in His promises (which we do not deserve) but without our faith (w/o which it is impossible to please God) how will we be saved? Seriously!

    If you tell me that w/o faith we can be saved, then everyone will be because Christ died for all men…..if you tell me that I have to have faith to be saved then I must ask, (in fact, only a fool would not ask,) if that is the ONLY action I must take and if so, why? or if not why not? If one action is required (beleiving), why not more? and if even one action is required by man to be saved, then we cannot conclude that “we do nothing” and therefore at least must open the door to the possiblity that we can undo what we do and thereby lose, or turn our backs on God after tasting the promises and blessing of Him.

    There is a lot here. Whew! But like Bryan said, Good discusion.

  25. Bryan said

    However good their intentions might be, people who teach others that “signing up” to run the race is the same thing as “finishing” the race and collecting their prize are doing a great disservice to believers and nonbelievers alike. That’s like a group of track athletes showing up at a track meet and demanding their prizes at the registration desk.
    I think the problem arises when the salvation experience is perceived as a one-time “magic bullet” instead of the beginning of the overcoming process it is in reality.
    When James wrote that a man is justified by works (obedience) and not by faith only, I think he was trying to dispel this ancient myth still persisting today that there is salvation apart from obedience, a doctrine which ultimately denies the very possibility of spiritual miscarriage, better known as apostasy. Paul also tried to clarifiy that there is more to faith than just “believing” when he said that “the demons also believe, and tremble.”
    FAITH = BELIEVING + ACTION (as in the case of Abraham).
    This is one of the better discussions on this topic I have come across.
    Bryan

  26. Melissa said

    This is a good discussion. Check out the other thread that was the later posting, too!

  27. Steven said

    Colossians 2: 6-23 is a very good passage to review in relationship to this topic. In it, you will see that Paul is addressing Christians and I think that by the statements made, it must be concluded that he is addressing (as some like to use the term) “TRULY saved” individuals.

    Paul tells them to lead a life that is worthy of the way that they were taught Christ, that they have been firmly rooted and are currently being built up in Him. He warns them not to let anyone take them captive in regards to other philosophies which are of men and not Christ, because in Christ we have been made complete, that the body of the flesh was removed from us, that we have been buried and raised up with him through our baptism and faith by the power of the resurrection. Paul tells them that they were dead but now we are alive and we owe it to the work that Christ did on the cross.

    He is clearly addressing Christians. Then in verse 18 he says “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”

    Pay close attention to that idea of defraud. Here is a warning not to let it happen and the means by which it will happen is by some philosophical person who does not hold fast to the head. “Defraud” is a very good word for fooling someone into giving up something that has value for something that has no value. Paul’s warning to not let someone continue to defraud indicates that some were being defrauded or could be.

    I would think that if a Christian is defrauded of his prize that he has given up his prize for something of no value. If he can’t give it up, then this warning is a non-sequtir. Only if the person could be defrauded does Paul have to warn him. If this is a person who was not TRULY a Christian then he can’t be defrauded in the first place because he didn’t have the prize to begin with, so that wouldn’t make sense either.

    God is truly able to save us because we cannot save ourselves. Yet, his providing for us salvation does not mean that he will not require something of us and I think the scriptures do show that He does. In this passage, we are required to have continued allegiance to Christ because HE is the fullness of the church and the means of our salvation.

    In continued study of His word,

    Steven

  28. Bryan said

    Good comments, Steven.

    Healtheland, thank you for this excellent forum!

    There is one more thing I would like to share with regard to “works” as they pertain to salvation.

    The Greek word ergon in the New Testament refers to just about any knd of human “activity” or “works”, including:

    1) Physical Labor
    2) Doing Good Deeds
    3) Keeping the Letter of the Old Testament Law
    4) Acting Upon Faith by Obedience to God

    #1, #2 and #3 have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – I repeat, ABSOLUTE NOTHING – to do with receiving or maintaining our salvation!! However, please take the time to read what James has to say about #4 !! (James Chapter 2)

    This is what I mean about throwing out the “baby” with the rest of the “works” bathwater.

    However, as Steven points out in his post, we can never achieve “perfect” obedience in this life; this is really a matter of the HEART! However, my sinful flesh – even while kicking and screaming – must inevitably face the reality of its own death and be “crucified with Christ.” Again, this is a lifelong PROCESS and is by far the hardest part of a walk with God.

    There are many people who have prayed a “sinner’s prayer”, but who are running here and there in their own understanding and doing their own thing. But in reality, God has never been able to place His “yoke” on them!

    At the heart of this whole salvation issue is the matter of giving up CONTROL. In words that a child can understand, “Jesus, YOU be the boss!”

    The main thing to remember is that God is LOVE, and He is not about to let anyone who comes to him with a sincere and honest heart fall through the cracks!!

    Bryan

  29. Berean said

    Do you people read/study/speak Hebrew? Greek?

    I ask because WOW, what bible scholars you are. You people have knowledge (not complete, I might add) of God but act like you don’t know him. Salvation is the most important. if Jesus is Lord and master of your life then you will read/study/speak what the Word of God says, not man.

    what Church or Preacher hurt you people? Forgive!

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