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Tuesday, March 15, 2011 | Comments (193)

Is Eternal Life Always Eternal?

I remember exactly where I was when I discovered some Christians believe eternal life may not always be eternal. The moment is still etched in my memory.

Shortly after I was saved, a friend invited me to a midweek Bible study at a local church. During the course of our study, one fellow asked, “How can someone know if he has lost his salvation?” As discussion ensued, it became clear he was talking about himself. This poor man thought he was in danger of losing his salvation.

That was the first time in my Christian life I had personally encountered someone who was sincerely afraid of losing his salvation. And even as a young believer, I believed once you were saved, that was it—your hope of eternal life is secure and certain. I mean, it is eternal life, isn’t it?

Over the years I’ve been repeatedly confronted with the sad fact that the biblical teaching of an eternally secure salvation is not a common doctrine. In fact, many groups claiming to be Christian have codified in their doctrinal statements the fear of losing your salvation. Roman Catholicism, Wesleyan Methodists, Free Will Baptists, Church of Christ, and many Pentecostal denominations are just a few of those that teach a Christian can lose his salvation.

A more formal name for the belief that a Christian can lose his salvation is conditional security. That may sound academic and austere, but it reveals the fundamental issues at stake. The doctrine of conditional security teaches that as a Christian, your salvation is secure, but only if you are consistently obedient to Jesus Christ.

Think about that for a moment. If your hope of eternal life is tied to the consistency of your earthly obedience, what hope is that? When you compare your obedience to the divine standard, when you compare yourself with the holiness of God, how do you measure up? A thousand lifetimes wouldn’t enable me to perfect holiness before an absolutely holy God; a thousand lifetimes would only reveal how utterly corrupt I truly am.

There’s no hope in the doctrine of conditional security. None at all. In fact, ever since that first encounter with someone who believed he could lose his salvation, I’ve met a number of people with the same fear. They constantly fret over the possibility they’ve unwittingly forfeited their salvation, having committed a sin so bad that God has disowned them.

So, is that possible? Can a true Christian really forfeit his salvation? Is that what the Bible teaches? On the other hand, if you think a Christian can’t lose his salvation, does that mean he can sin and not worry at all about what God thinks?

I’ll have more to say in answer to those questions in upcoming articles, but for now, consider just a couple of doctrinal ramifications. First of all, if you are a true Christian, and you can lose the salvation God gave you, then what does that say about the saving work of Christ? If you can lose your salvation, then Christ’s “saving work” didn’t really save you at all; it may have made you savable in some sense, but it didn’t actually save you.

Let’s trace that out a bit further. If the death of Jesus Christ only made you savable, and didn’t secure your salvation completely, then that means it’s up to you to save yourself. Denominations that teach conditional security are actually consistent on this point. Many of them teach that your salvation depends on your first believing, and then continuing in your faith, cooperating with God to perform good works.

That means if you fail to perform in that little partnership, you put your soul in eternal peril. According to their teaching, God has done His part, making you savable, and you need to uphold your end of the bargain to seal the deal. If you don’t maintain good works, if you fail to avoid disobedience, don’t blame God; blame yourself.

What a tremendous and tragic burden! Having been justified and set free by faith, are you now held bondage to maintain your salvation by works? That’s just another form of works righteousness, which the Bible categorically condemns (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 3:27; 4:4-5).

Beyond the impossible burden of maintaining personal salvation, the doctrine of conditional security also strikes a blow against the power of God. To say you can lose your salvation—which the Bible says God accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ—is to make God into an impotent deity with no actual power to save anyone. The full exercise of His divine power is at the mercy of a weak, finite, and sinful creature who may or may not cooperate with Him.

So, can we believe God or not? When John 3:16 says God loved the world and gave His Son to provide eternal life for all who believe, can we take Him at His word?

Yes, absolutely. John 3:16 stands, immoveable and unshaken. But to say you can lose the salvation He grants is to say you can nullify God’s promise by your faults, sins, and spiritual missteps. In effect, you’ve subverted the promise and power of God.

Rest assured—none of us can truly subvert the will, power, and promise of God. The Bible presents eternal life with God as the consummation of all the doctrines of salvation. The whole point of God decreeing His plan of salvation, electing a people to be called by His name, sending His Son to redeem those people, and then sending forth His Holy Spirit to empower them to live righteously—His overarching purpose in all of that—is to bring those people into eternal life. God will accomplish what He set out to do.

Now, that’s just an introduction to what we’ll cover in this short series, and I can’t possibly say all that could be said. But let me state this as strongly and as clearly as I can:

Not only do I believe the doctrine of conditional security is false, I would even dare to say it is blasphemous. The idea that you could lose the salvation God gave you slanders God and runs contrary to a number of the Bible’s core doctrines.

As my mind goes back to that first encounter with the guy who feared he was losing his salvation, I wish I could have told him all that—unpacking the greatness of the gospel, elaborating on the power and wisdom of God’s plan of salvation. The Bible could’ve equipped him and assured him in the gospel of an eternal life that truly is eternal and secure.

That’s what I intend to do with this series, so stick around!

Fred Butler
Volunteer Ministries Coordinator


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#1  Posted by Tom Sousley  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 6:11 AM

You may want to be careful with the word blasphemous. I know what the argument is from the eternal security side on this passage, but in my opinion it doesn't hold water. If Hebrews 10:19-31 is read and evaluated we find the one that continues to sin and trample the son of God under foot(v29), and now awaits judgment and a raging fire(v27), has been sanctified in times past(v29). I believe God is True to His promise and we are secure as long as we don't choose to walk away from Him. He never has took a persons free will away. Thanks for listening.TOM

#2  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 6:23 AM

Wow Fred, what a topic. This is maybe the most important question of all - Am I saved or did I spend a lifetime decieving myself?

I was just reading John 8:43-47, where Jesus speeks to the Jewish leaders. They have spent their whole life believing they fulfilled the demands. But they decieved themselfes. God alone did it all - And gives it as a gift.

Anyone who tryes to earn it, will lose it.

#3  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 6:35 AM

Tom,

I certainly do mean to say "blasphemous." The reason is that conditional security denigrates God character, essentially calling Him a liar by denying His promise to give eternal life. This false doctrine also assumes man maintains a willful autonomy that is clearly not taught in Scripture.

I don't plan on dealing at length with the problem passages raised against eternal security like Hebrews 6 and 10. Certainly I expect they will be discussed in the comments, but I only plan one post providing an outline and overview on how we should think through those problem passages.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to read John Owens treatment on the passage you raise in Hebrews. He actually has some excellent insights to how we need to understand it.

#4  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 8:23 AM

Thanks for this important teaching. When I first became a Christian, a pastor told me that I could lose my salvation. For the first few years of my salvation, I lived in fear of this happening. But God, in His grace, led me to greater understanding through the reading of His Word, and through the teaching of a different pastor who faithfully teachers the Word of God. I can still recall the great joy and thanksgiving I felt when God led me to the understanding that He is able to keep me from stumbling and will present me blameless before the presence of His glory (Jude 24). Praise God that He has given us an “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5). I agree with you, that to question our eternal security is to question God’s character as He promises us this security. Thank you. Keep proclaiming His Word.

#5  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 8:50 AM

This should be an interesting series, Fred.

I attended a Charismatic Presbyterian Church that did not believe in eternal security when I first became a Christian. The loss of ones salvation never made any sense to me because it seemed to impugn the character of God. Although I don't consider myself a Calvinist in the "five pointer" sense, I do agree that eternal security (or the preservation of the saints) is a very important doctrine.

#6  Posted by Marco Viera  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 10:53 AM

As with all things that are "controversial" in GOD's Word, we need Balance and Proper Perspective. Salvation is Eternal, there is no doubt about that. BUT, if I were to go back to everything I used to do because well, "i'm saved right?", then I would be in disobediance and would not have salvation. Of course if I was TRULY UNDER SALVATION, I would Repent and Turn away from those sins and back to GOD because GOD will preserve me even when I don't deserve it.. However, If I made a conscious decision that since I'm saved I can continue sinning, continue in the drunkeness and adultery of the old life and I died in the midst of those sins, then I would have abandoned Eternal Salvation and therefore being dead in sin and disobedience without repentance I would be in eternal torment. Actually 1 John really gets on this topic, especially 1 John 3, addressing those who sin as being "of the devil".. That is the dangers of not having proper balance and perspective. a lot of people think repeating a prayer and going to church means you're 'saved', but they have not shown any fruit or growth of salvation. If they are too comfortable there, they will perish for a lack of knowledge. but on the flip side, we can't scare people into thinking they can lose their salvation if they're not 'perfect'; we would all be lost and hopeless.

Jesus warns that HE comes as a theif in the night. We never know when He'll come so we must Always Be Prepared. We can't continue sinning and just choose to repent when we know it's time to die. Of Course if we did, GOD's Mercy would allow us to repent even on our death-bed; but what if death strikes as suddenly as Christ has told us and we don't get that last moment to reconcile?

Jesus says "Only Those Who DO THE WILL of HIS FATHER" will enter into heaven.

And you have to consider how much we are warned about wolves and those who would depart from the faith.

So, YES Salvation Is Eternal... BUT, we can walk away from salvation. 1 John 2:19 says that those who were with us and walked away were never a part of us to begin with.

There's no reason to "fear losing salvation", just live for GOD and what do you have to fear? We are not perfect, we will fall. We all have sin, and anyone who says they have not does not have the truth in them (1 John 1:8-10). None of us does Everything GOD tells us. We might say something we shouldn't, or not say something we should. We might not pray for someone GOD wants us to pray for. BUT, GOD's mercy knows our inability to be perfect in the flesh.

as far as Hebrews 10, in verse 26 you see that they never received Christ to begin with. They have continued to reject HIM. So I would say they were never under GOD's Salvation to begin with.

#7  Posted by Adrian Valdivia  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 11:06 AM

An intriguing example: when two people get married, they are deeply in love and form a legal and verbal covenant. I would say both parties are secure in their marriage. Yet over time, what if their "marriage" dies-----let's say one party doesn't want to be married anymore. Not only does the one party express a desire to leave the relationship, but acts as if they are not married (this, of course, is not hypothetical----we can see this every day in our world).

In this case, the party who wants the marriage has security in the concept of marriage, just not their personal marriage. A divorce will probably be necessary, severing the covenant. The covenant was "forever", but because one party didn't want to do "forever", the concept is "forever", but can be destroyed in practice.

You shouldn't have to feel that you're working to stay married. The agreement (and the love in your heart) tell you you're married. I would say that in this example, that there is security in the covenant, yet it becomes conditional if one or both parties want out.

It seems to me that God demonstrates this in the scripture when He chooses the Israelites as His people for an everlasting covenant, yet divorces the nation because of their idolatry and unbelief. The covenant was everlasting, yet was altered because of Israel's unbelief.

So, while I believe I have eternal security (this is God's covenant to those who enter it), I also believe I could "want out" of this, and

God would grant this. I'm not totally dogmatic on this, but I'm pretty persuaded in this. And while it appears to be a contradiction (eternal but conditional?????), in God's perspective, it is a profound truth ("become poor to be rich"; "die to live"; "lose your life to gain it", etc.)

Abiding or resting is not a work. It is loving your Savior from the heart, and showing that by loving His holiness and His ways---and hating the things He hates.

#8  Posted by Brian Jonson  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 11:11 AM

Fred:

I am very glad you're tackling this topic! I agree with your view on this.

One thing I request: Please address the fact that many early church fathers "seemed" not to support this doctrine. A review of very early writings seem to indicate this doctrine wasn't universally accepted. I would love for you to share why you think this was.

Thank you!

#9  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 11:40 AM

Adrian@#7

The one factor missing from your marriage illustration is that one of the parties in salvation is eternal God who never changes. He remains faithful while his people may not at times. I would also consider Jeremiah's prophecy of the New Covenant in 32:31-40. God is rather explicit that he has not abandoned or divorced Israel, but will restore them by means of this NC that went into effect with the work of Christ.

Brian@#8, I can take a look at the early church fathers and maybe comment in the comments. It's not my expertise, and I recognize that a few of them believed odd things. If you have any specific examples pass along the citations and references.

#10  Posted by Greg Begemann  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 11:46 AM

Great Truth Fred! It all boils down to complete trust. Eve's choice to directly disobey spawned out of her first choice, not trust God completely. She chose instead to believe a lie shrouded in human logic. The serpent sounded reasonable. To this day, people have the same problem. We say we trust God, but for most it's only to a point. Faith in God stops where faith in ourself begins. We are comfortable with trusting God as long as we can reason it out and have some control of the situation. In other words, if we can wrap our arms around it we're ok with it. Problem is, that's not complete faith in God and is certainly not saving faith! Saving faith lies beyond the scope of human logic and control. That means we must completely let go of our own self fulfilling notions of merit or maintenance and completely trust Christ and the finished work of the cross confessing HIM as Lord, not us! Most people are not comfortable with that. It doesn't sound reasonable. How could, and why would God love us that much? No, we want to earn it -- that sounds more logical. Plus we can control it and we get the credit for it. It caters to our pride and it makes us feel good about ourselves. That's why it's popular. Even the church taps into this today. Many churches gauge success by typical services geared toward uplifting the spirits of everyone there. If emotions run high it's been a great service. If a lost person walks out of a church service feeling good about themselves, there's a problem!

#11  Posted by Brian Jonson  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 12:22 PM

Fred:

This is a bit lengthy, but here is one example from Irenaeus:

"And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God. He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. Now, good things are eternal and without end with God, and therefore the loss of these is also eternal and never-ending. It is in this matter just as occurs in the case of a flood of light: those who have blinded themselves, or have been blinded by others, are for ever deprived of the enjoyment of light. It is not, [however], that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of blindness, but it is that the blindness itself has brought calamity upon them: and therefore the Lord declared, “He that believeth in Me is not condemned,” that is, is not separated from God, for he is united to God through faith. On the other hand, He says, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God;” that is, he separated himself from God of his own accord. “For this is the condemnation, that light is come into this world, and men have loved darkness rather than light. For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that he has wrought them in God.”" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXVII, 2)

"Some people act as though God were under an obligation to bestow even on the unworthy His intended gift. They turn His liberality into slavery.... For do not many afterwards fall out of grace? Is not this gift taken away from many?" (Tertullian, On Repentance, chap. 6.)

If you have access to David Bercot's "Encyclopedia of Early Christian Beliefs", you'll find many more quotes, arranged by subject, that seem to show a lack of support for eternal security.

These men weren't inspired and I am comfortable accepting that the Bible teaches our salvation is eternal, but I have wondered why the early church writings seem not to support it. I would love your thoughts! My hunch is that works were emphasized much more due to the persecution of the time. Thank you!

#12  Posted by Melanie Chirokas  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 12:26 PM

Hi Mary K. - You're e-mail said exactly what I was thinking. It was the most wonderful truth in the world when I learned - quite by chance because it was the first time I had ever heard Mr. MacArthur on the radio and I was late for work - that our salvation is forever. That made ALL the difference in the world and like you, I recall the joy in learing that. I had just gotten saved about 2 weeks prior to hearing Mr. MacArthur and the church I grew up in did not teach us this. Thank you for your comment.

#13  Posted by Stephen Zumbo  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 12:31 PM

Up until the age of 20, I was raised Catholic, and feared I would not go to heaven. Receiving Christ through the witness of college friends, I rejoiced in the promise of Scripture like Romans 8:1: "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus." I have been greatly blessed by John MacArthur's verse by verse teaching, along with my own reading, prayer and study. However, because of besetting sin (lust), and John's preaching about being certain one is in the faith, at times I fear, not that I can lose my salvation, but that I never was saved. I don't want to doubt God, but I know I should not repeatedly ask for salvation. I also know I shouldn't presume on salvation and keep sinning, but when I do sin, asking for forgiveness seems hopeless, because I've said I'm sorry, asked, etc. countless times before, only to fail again.

#14  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 12:34 PM

#1 Very good point Tom

But if we look at Judas, there were no indication at all, that he was a fake. It came as a chock to everyone.

(his sin was hidden in his heart, but reveiled to us in Scripture)

But every Christian sins and falls short of the demands, what exactly separates a true saved from a false?

Doesn't God repeatably tell us that He looks to the heart? Therefore everyone must examine himself.

You can't cheat God, only yourself.

#15  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 1:47 PM

I was speaking with a pastor at my church who during a Bible study in Romans said that he believes there will be homosexuals in Heaven. I believe he meant that there will be Christians who live a homosexual lifestyle in Heaven. The person in this lifestyle may have said they accept Jesus, they may also have said they repent of their sin, (only God knows how authentic) but they will not give up the homosexual life. (Do they believe it is not sin??) I go to Gods word on this. Leviticus 18:22 is very clear, then I go to the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (yes I know it includes many other types of sinners). If we receive the Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25) does the sinner not get rid of these behaviors. (I know the temptation may come up but remember it is blatantly saying I am going to continue living the homosexual lifestyle and will receive salvation). This person believes they have received salvation, do they lose it?

#17  Posted by Landon Webb  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 2:26 PM

To Tom Sousley-Good point, that passage leads to a lot of confusion on the issue of eternal security. But if that passage says one can lose his salvation by not continuing in obedience, how do you deal with John 2:23-24 where it says, "many (had faith) in His name but He did not (have faith) in them?" Like was stated above by Rudi, I think it points to the fact that God sees the heart for its truthfulness or falsehood; man can often be deceived by others and worst of all himself. Blessings.

#18  Posted by Aidan Clevinger  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 2:59 PM

Everyone,

I admit that this issue has puzzled me for some time. Might I offer an opinion?

It seems to me that Calvinism has an excellent foundation in the Scriptures, on MOST issues. It correctly teaches divine sovereignty, sovereign grace, the omnipotence of God, etc. But I've noticed that Calvinism has to deny or subvert the meanings of many Biblical texts in order to make itself "work". For example, take John 3:16. The passage clearly says that Christ died for the entire world. But Calvinism must try to twist that, because Calvinism (following after the doctrine of double predestination) teaches that Christ only died for a select few. The doctrine of eternal security does the same. Christ explicitly says that men can and do fall away from the faith, (Matthew 13, the parable of the sower). Likewise, Peter says the same (2 Peter 2:20-22). And also the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 6:1-6).

But Arminianism runs into the same problem. Arminianism must say that Christ's death only made sinners SAVABLE, and that they must themselves choose it. This runs contrary to the teaching of Scripture, which says men are dead in their sins and are incapable and unwilling to have faith in Jesus Christ.

But there is a third way: the Lutheran doctrine. The Lutherans believe both in universal grace and in salvation by grace alone. We do not believe in free will; if a sinner is justified, it is because the Holy Spirit gave him faith. But neither do we believe in limited atonement; Christ, by His death, actually reconciled all sinners back to God. Furthermore, though faith is by grace alone, a person can certainly fall away from grace by turning his back on God. And yet, by the same token, God Himself will never abandon His elect.

Calvinism and Arminianism are rooted in the attempted to answer the question: "Why are some men saved and others aren't?" This question (what the theologians call the crux theologorum, the cross of the theologians) is unanswerable in the present life. For just as surely as Christ died for all men, we can also say that men do not come to Him of their own wills, and we can also say that salvation is certainly able to be lost.

Sorry for the length. Just as a wrap-up, I include a link to an excellent analysis of the three different views on salvation. The blog also provides a good summary of the three systems; Calvinism and Arminianism are logically consistent, but biblically inaccurate; Lutheranism is logically inconsistent, but biblically accurate.

http://threehierarchies.blogspot.com/2005/08/lutheranism-between-calvinism-and.html

I hope that this post will help people to sort out what the Scriptures say about our relationship to God, and as always I am open to discussion, especially about the practical value of these doctrines.

Love in Christ,

Aidan

#19  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 3:04 PM

I know God is there to pick me back up. Like a baby learning to walk

and keeps trying everytime he or she falls.

Live everyday with Jesus at your side. Sleeping, awaking, eating, working, daily chores and etc.

Most of all, is to glorify Jesus and honor him. Walk with Christ in

every trials, and joys of life. Best thing is know Jesus as Savior

and Lord. Confess Jesus as Son of God and knowing who is Jesus and why is a sure thing not to worry

about losing one's salvation. Thanks, Fred.

#20  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 6:12 PM

Attn: Tom, Marco & Brian

Quote: "I know what the argument is from the eternal security side "

Tom you have been taught that Hebrews 10 & Hebrews 6 is speaking of believers; however a careful study of the text reveals otherwise. In fact if Hebrews 6 is speaking of a "believer", then you have created a foreign doctrine of "Once Lost Always Lost" because it states in verse 6 it is "IMPOSSIBLE to renew them again to repentance"; so if it is "impossible", then that one, whom many assume is speaking of believers, is now lost forever. Thus we would have a foreign doctrine introduced I call "Once Lost Always Lost".

Marco 1 John 2:19 is the Apostle telling us that the "professing" Christian is a phony, which is why they walked away, he is speaking of apostates, fakes or non-believers (take your pick), just as Hebrews 6 & 10 do as well.

Likewise; if you look at the text in Hebrews 10 and look at the key word "for" in verse 26, this is a transition word; meaning we are changing the context just as when you see the word "therefore" we look backward because the "therefore" is reaching backward to provide the context of what was previously stated. In a similar manner the "for" in verse 26 is where Paul switches gears and begins speaking of the "professing" Christian, which is no Christian at all.

But as Fred pointed out; it would take a lot more exegesis to bring the entire point into it's fullest revelation. However if you have any doubt about the TOTAL sovereignty of God in salvation, then read Ezekiel 36:22-38 and you will see that it is all of God and for His namesake despite the sinner.

If you want to exchange the ECF's quotes I can show that Irenaeus, Augustine, Tertullian and others fully believed in the "Assurance of Salvation". Anyone can take a non-inspired quote as well as inspired quote and make them fit any agenda; which is why most "professing" Christians are doomed according to the Lord. see Matthew 7:13-14 and then read onto Matthew 7:21-23.

Fred is correct; we do not have an "weak" God because as the Apostle Paul put it in no uncertain terms: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 1:6

1 John 2 was written for what reason? What does the Apostle whom the Lord loved say? These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. -- 1 John 2:13 1 John gives us the tests to see if we are indeed truly saved or not.

#21  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 6:20 PM

I am shocked with how many people want to debate this topic with me. I am one of the few people I know personally who belives in the eternal security of the believer and I am excited about these blogs.

The bible is clear that we are saved without a doubt and that nothing can result in the loss of our slavation. I think that 1 John 2:19 sums up the people who "choose" to leave the faith, that they never had salvation it to begin with. I also know some people who believe that the fact we are secure in our salvation gives people the right to do whatever they want because thier already forgiven which is also a false belief and not biblical. That is typical do whatever you want free grace theology. I am the only Calvinist that I am aware of in the church that I currently attend and it seems to me that it is a doctrinal issue with most people. The majority of people I know who believe that you can lose your security don't believe in the total depravity of man or the biblical view of election and predestination. I have reached a point to where I will no longer debate it with the people in my church. For the most part we are talking about the same people anyway, condintional security advocates believe that people who chose to leave the faith results in the loss of their salvation and I believe that the biblical veiw of the ones who depart from the faith is that they never had it to begin with because they would have never left. Instead of us debating about it I have taken the stance in our church that we need to be begging those people to be reconciled with God like the bible states we should be doing. It does sadden me that people believe it is a biblical teaching when it is not, and their entirley convicted its biblical and there does not seem to be anything anyone will say to change there mind. I will be forwarding the link to this blog to a few of my friends with the hopes they get involved here. The whole idea that we can lose our salvation or choose to loose it or walk away is unbibilical and usurps the sovereignty in salvation. I look forward to the upcoming posts on this topic

#22  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 7:04 PM

#21, I meant to put that it usurps the sovereighty of God in salvation...

#23  Posted by Adrian Valdivia  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 8:19 PM

Indeed, this is a challenging subject. Most in the world would easily call us Christians fools because the bible seems so contradictory. Yet I believe that the bible is not contradictory, just deep and profound----and on many points, understood only as the Lord reveals His truth to us. Whatever the points of debate here, one thing we call agree on-----we need Him to reveal to us the things that are His.

It is quite easy to find verses that without a doubt teach eternal security. And I have become convinced of the teaching because I cannot deny it from the pages of scripture. Yet, the scripture also teaches a sort of being delivered by our faith in Him. But because it's our faith does not mean it's a work. The scripture is clear on this. I believe the scripture teaches a "work of faith", but that doesn't make it contradictory (see 1 th 1:3,11). Colossians speaks of Paul laboring to enter into His working power (1:29).

What if you stop laboring? What if you can't endure to the end? What if Christ taught that, "He that overcometh I will not blot out of the book of life?" Doesn't it imply that if one does not overcomes, that person risks being blotted out of something he was already blotted in?

There is much more, but those are my thoughts at the moment.

#24  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 8:27 PM

Adrian asks,

What if Christ taught that, "He that overcometh I will not blot out of the book of life?" Doesn't it imply that if one does not overcomes, that person risks being blotted out of something he was already blotted in?

I may comment on this passage in a forthcoming post, but if you want to see how I have addressed what the Bible means about "blotting out of the book of life," you can see a blog article I wrote on it here:

What does it mean to be blotted out of the book of life

#25  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Tuesday, March 15, 2011at 10:29 PM

“Not only do I believe the doctrine of conditional security is false, I would even dare to say it is blasphemous. The idea that you could lose the salvation God gave you slanders God and runs contrary to a number of the Bible’s core doctrines.” -Fred Butler

The root of this blasphemy is the failure of the unregenerate “professors” in our midst to understand what regeneration actually is. Those who despise such teaching are busy laboring at a work of their own doing and in the end will be brought to see that “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). There are no doubt some, perhaps many, who are truly regenerate but have never fully understood what has taken place within them, nor have they seen for themselves from the scriptures, or have been shown by faithful witnesses from the scriptures that every aspect of salvation, though it involves us, is actually, from beginning to completion, the work of The Sovereign Lord. In the end it will be revealed that even that which “involved us” was actually “grace” at work within us.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). Notice all of the “I will” declarations. Notice the “cause you” and “you will be careful to observe”. We find the “cause you” and “you will be careful to observe” fleshed out in the exhortation to “work out your salvation”, how? “with fear and trembling”, why? “because it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12b, 13).

Again, “…I will put My Law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). There are a lot of “I will” and even a “they shall” in that glorious promise. Lest the reader think that this promise is only for Israel notice how it is quoted to the Church in Hebrews 8:10.

If your salvation is of your own doing, you are storing up more of God’s wrath for yourself. However, if it is Christ who has begun a good work within you, you can be assured that He, whose name is Faithful and True, will also complete that good work within you to the praise and glory of His grace. If it is Christ who has begun that good work within you, fear not little flock, His name is also “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6). –His Unworthy Slave

#26  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 5:03 AM

#13 Stephen

Maybe I’m reading you wrong, but it seems to me, that you are struggling with lust, and that makes you doubt your salvation, and perhaps with good reason, as long as you are in that condition.

I have been there, in that struggle in my youth, and it is a battle you will lose.

The problem is not the temptations, but the way you think. And that’s the whole key. You see – you must die.

(And this is not for Stephen only, but for all of us)

You must begin all over from scratch, and stand right there at the foot of the cross, and take a good look at Jesus hanging there. The price was not 19.95, but the highest price ever.

The lesson Job learned was that God is the only one in focus and not himself and his problems and questions and circumstances. Just one sin allowed, and just a little distrust in God and the whole universe falls apart, and with that all in it – and you.

So you see - that only when all your life is centered toward loving and obeying God, your life is in perfect harmony, because then you not only benefits from the blessings and promises of God, but your fleshly desires will vanish away, because your love for God will increase daily and you will say with Paul: I count all other thing as trash.

Only he, who has been at rock bottom in total despair without love and without hope, knows what I am talking about. With God we have all, and rests from his own works.

#27  Posted by Vic Vivio  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 6:00 AM

Fred - I can't wait to read more... Over the past couple of years my faith has been taken very low, and to read your message above, I am encouraged by God's great work of salvation through his Son.

Thanks for sharing! Vic

#28  Posted by Marco Viera  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 6:17 AM

Mark, That was actually the point I was trying to make, but I added that: making people comfortable in sin is not True Salvation. 1 John deals with this topic thoroughly. All the answers are in GOD's Word.

If we walk in darkness we are not with Christ. If we say we do not sin we are liars. If we confess our sin we are forgiven and cleansed. 1 John 1:6-10

Those who don't keep GOD's commandmants are liars and Truth (Christ) is not in them. Those who keep HIS word have GOD. 1 John 2:4-5

Those that Abideth (continue to abide) in Christ do not continue to sin. He that committeth (-eth: continues to commit) sin is of the devil. 1 John 3:6-9

A lot of people Think they have salvation when they really don't. That is the issue, it's not whether or not Salvation is Eternal; it's whether or not you have True Salvation. Some deceive themselves (1 John 1:8-10). Some are deceived by others, "Let no man deceive you, those who Do Righteousness are righteous.. (but those that continue in sin are of the devil)" (1 John 3:7-8)

Truly being in GOD's salvation, you wouldn't continue in sin. BUT there are people who believe they are saved, that are really not under GOD's Eternal Salvation. Jesus says IF you hold to HIS teachings you are HIS disciple, that means IF YOU DON'T... you're not HIS disciple.

That is why we have to teach with balance. You can't tell people "once saved always saved", because someone is going to think they're ok when they're not. People today think (and most of us were guilty of this) you just repeat a prayer, say you believe in Jesus, and you're ready for eternity... that IS NOT What Jesus Says.

True Salvation is eternal... BUT, If I just come to Christ and "say a prayer", even if I go to church Every Week... If I have not transformed by the renewing of my mind, If I have not forsaken sin, If I have not repented, If I am not a new creation, If I still do everything I do and just say a prayer and think I'm good without turning away from my sins... Then I never knew True Salvation.

Balance And Perspective... Yes, TRUE Salvation is Eternal.. But making people comfortable in sin is damning.

Ask yourself, have you turned from sin? Does it grieve your heart when you sin? Do you admit sin and seek GOD for help and correction? We will always make mistakes, but to continue in sin means we have never known salvation to begin with.

Philipians 3:12-16 We have not and cannot attain perfection, but we keep moving towards it. passing those things which have been corrected and moving forward to what is ahead..

#29  Posted by Tom Sousley  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 6:32 AM

Well, this was fun. When I made may original post my point was that, right or wrong, they're are passages that lead people both directions in their thinking. I believe you can walk away from your salvation. Never said if you sin you lose it. I don't know who lead more souls to the Lord, John Calvin or John Wesley but to call either one a blasphemer or say they called God a liar would be a little scarey. I believe God used both of them in miraculous ways.

I personally took offense because I know I would never consider calling God a liar. Just saying be careful that's all. That's what I say when I get my toes stepped on. Good opinion piece, I've enjoyed.

#30  Posted by Luis Aponte  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 7:36 AM

Hello! I have a friend that says that Jesus death for our sins was not enough, that's why we can lose our salvation. And I'm like what!? He's saying that the master's death was not good enough to save us. We can see clearly that the people that say and believe these things are not carefully studying God's Word.

#31  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 8:05 AM

So Luis #30,

How does your friend understand Hebrews 7:25? Christ is said in that passage to have the ability to save to the uttermost. What does that mean if is death for our sins was not enough?

#32  Posted by Joshua Berdiel  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 8:36 AM

Scott post # 15. The points you brought up are things that really need to be thought about. I am not sure what your pastor intent was, but homosexuality is, how you pointed out in the verses u you mentioned, i.e Galatians and Leviticus, a lifestyle that is proof they have not repented, regardless of what the person says. The Bible makes that point clear in Romans 1. I don't know how someone could interpet that chapter and come to the conclusion that said lifestyle is in any way a Christian one. I am not saying that one who every did such an act can't be saved, but what I am saying is if one is doing such acts it is proof in ones life that Christ is not in them and have never actually have made Jesus ones true Lord. A Christian's life is selfless and doing said act, that is both purely for the flesh and against what God's orginal design for man and woman, isn't. 1 John and James both talk about that a faith in Christ results in works that will mirror Galatians 5:22-26.

Aidan post # 18. John 3:16 is a verse that many say is a proof of the falsehood of Calvinism, but if one studies the Bible as a whole, it is actually a proof text for Calvinism. I believe it was in one of A.W. Pink's writings when he made reference to this point. If one does a study of the word "world" by checking everytime the word is used in the Bible and see the context of it, to many peoples surprise, the word "world" doesn't always mean the entire world. In context it could have as many as 8 different meanings ranging from only unbelievers, Revelation 12:9, to actually the entire world, i.e Titus 1:2. Also if one holds the view that world always means world then the Bible contradicts itself, John 17:9, and we would all agree that can't happen. With looking at John 3:16 with that knowledge, one may have a different view of it. Also the blessing for that verse, is it for the world or for the one who believes? It is for the believer and we know by the authority of the Bible that the Father must draw one to the Son for that person to be able to believe, John 6:44. By knowing these truths this verse is inline with Calvinsim.

The overall theme of the post of eternal security is a debate that can be answered with a question, how sovereign is God? If He is completely sovereign, which that is what the Bible says, then we as Christian should trust the numerous promises that God will continue the work he started in us. The "doctrine" that one can lose one's salvation is explained by Jesus in Mark 4, the Parable of the Sower. This teaching makes it clear that there is a false conversion experience that when persecution or the cares of the world, i.e. stony ground and cast among thorns, will prove the "decision" that such a person makes being a false one without repentance. If one doesn't understand this truth, then the rest of what Jesus says will make no sense Mark 4:13. We are called to test our faith to see if we are saved, 2 Corinthians 13:5.

#33  Posted by Jesse Gaytan  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 8:42 AM

To Whom it may concern,

I am not a biblical scholar or a seminary-trained person, but I am blessed to have received at the inception of my new life in Christ Jesus the truth of the “Gospel of Christ”, of which there is only one. That truth being that it was God who saved me and not me who saved me. This is at the root of this misunderstanding of the biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. God caused me to be “born again” (which He predetermined from the foundation of the world) from which faith appeared, from which I believed!

And, though for the first ten years of my sanctification I heard from the pulpit that I came to Christ and was saved because I made a decision to receive His free gift which caused me to be born again from which my faith came, something just didn’t settle in my soul, mind and stomach.

Holy scripture is replete with the truth that we (everyone born of the flesh) are born “Children of wrath”, that we are all born “DOA” (Dead On Arrival) to the things of God incapable of producing anything but more sin in our lives. It is very simple, how can anyone who is “Dead in trespasses and sin” choose to receive the gift of Christ’s finished work on the cross, if they are “DEAD”! A dead person cannot cause himself to be born again.

No, we must be born again first, which is a complete and total work of God (we have nothing to do with it we are dead)! Then faith and a new nature flows into our previously dead condition. We still must believe for God does not believe in Himself for us. However, we are assured (those who have been born again by God) that we will come to believe and trust in the finished work of Christ because the faith that God gives us is a faith that will persevere to the end. It is not our own faith it is a foreign faith, it is Christ's faith

John 6:37 & 44

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Some will say, "Well what are we robots?", God wants those who love Him because they want to love Him not because they are programmed to love. I have also heard the insane comment, "God is a gentleman who will never trump the will of man"!

We are not robots, but are given a new nature! We love Him because He has given us a new birth where we want to love Him! And finally, if God is God then God is sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then He is not God! Be thankful that He does trump our free will.

The reason why we who truly believe can be assured that we shall persevere to the end is because the faith we have is not of our own, it is the gift of God, not of works.

But, still though we persevere, we still sin often and fall away, but never completely and never finally!

All praises to Him who paid the price!

#34  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 8:54 AM

WOW! Wish I could read it all but can't due to a weird site issue. Seems to me that we confuse losing salvation with those that did not authentically receive the Holy Spirit and or God's free gift of salvation as they led others to believe they did. They are bogus Christians. I've met some really snobby "Christians" that look down their nose at unbelievers, never showing grace to anyone, real perfectionists, difficult people that are condemning to unbelievers if they don't accept their personal presentation of evangelizing. Some of these folks know scripture well and yet I can't help but wonder if they are truly "in" or "out". Sound familiar? You just can't lose something you never really had! They don't see themselves as hypocrites. Why? Well, just like many unbelievers, without the Holy Spirit, your blind....as a bat!

#35  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 9:26 AM

Forgive me, 'what's weird about this site issue'? I am confused.

Right we can't give salvation to others like it's free. I agree but it's the cost. Like we must lose our old self to put on the new creature that God intends for us. We have choice to acknowledge Jesus as Savior or not. By the way, Eternal life is eternal, live with

Lord Jesus forever or live without him forever.

Is judging christians right? No, we must pray. It's a better way.

God knows the hearts of us, He is the Judge. God bless.

Jesus loves you.

#36  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 9:44 AM

#32. Joshua, I have not had a chance to clarify the statement with the pastor yet but by his meaning I was led to believe that people who are gay will be in Heaven. I have to disagree with him, and this is why it is so important for pastors to be preaching the truth of Gods word. Which leads into responding to #34 Rebecca. I have heard the statistic that 80% of Americans claim they are Christians. Like Rebecca said, how many authentically have accepted Christ and received the Holy Spirit. Those who are the elect, God's chosen are secure in their salvation. There are some who I fear believe they are saved yet never truly were. Matthew 7:22-23

#37  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 10:10 AM

#35, Dan: I have a neurological condition that makes reading a real challenge. It is a bit like trying to read through a strobe light. Now you see it, now you don't. So a lot of reading can be a bit overwhelming for me which is hard because, otherwise, I LOVE to read! I call it weird because many have never heard of it and it's not something that glasses can remedy. I used to hate it but I am now trying to see it... pardon the pun....see it as a gift...a weird gift but non the less, a gift. Sorry for the confusion.

#38  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 10:19 AM

Agree, And alot people think that we all humans are children of God

but in reality, it's not. Jesus is right when he said those whom do

the Father's will are God's children. Thanks, Scott.

#39  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 10:39 AM

#37

I understand what you meant now. Thanks. God bless. It helps me

to ask.

#40  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 10:45 AM

#35, Dan, by the way. I wasn't judging others salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ warned His followers, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves"

(Matt. 7:15).

To notice, to be aware is not judging. And consider this: We cannot rebuke a sister or brother(Ecclesiastes 7:5)if we are not aware of their sin. So to not judge does not in my opinion mean to put our head in the sand or turn a deaf ear. We have to be alert. If certain "Christians" give the appearance of not being authentic to you and me, what impression might they be giving to the rest of the world? Even among fellow Christians we must exercise caution. "But examine everything carefully;hold fast to that which is good"

1Thessalonians 5:21

So we judge the sin, not the sinner, right? We judge the conduct not the one with poor conduct. But we judge.

#41  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 11:36 AM

John MacArthur sums it up with a Spurgeon quote and concludes with him:

What's the point of it if there's no guarantee? But there is.

#42  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:05 PM

wow. never thought of wesley as a blasphemer.

fred, a few genuine questions: response #2 if it is so clearly taught in scripture, why then this discussion? is it because there are those who are still working through this issue who the Spirit of God has not enlightened yet? should they fear working through the issue, for after all if they find themselves having a different opinion of what the scriptures are teaching, they will then be called "blasphemers" by yourself?

sobering thought. the accusation against Christ was that He was a blasphemer.

#43  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:26 PM

Chuck #42

I very well mean blasphemous. Primarily because conditional security slanders the character of God and calls His promise to complete eternal life a lie.

Along with denying eternal security, Wesley taught a number of other errors, including sinless perfectionism that was forcibly advocated by the men who followed him and led to the rise of Pentecostalism and the various Pentecostal related splinter groups. All of them seeking to be even more "holy" that the main group they separated from.

My goal here is to firmly establish the assurance of our eternal salvation and help those who may have been led astray into the error of conditional security. I personally do not see this debate centered around a matter of differing opinion, as if we are disagreeing to whether the Crucifixion took place on a Friday or a Thursday.

What we believe about eternal security has a major impact on such things as what we think about God's character, how we present the Gospel, how we work out our sanctification, and how we exhort our fellow believers in the Lord. So I think blasphemous is an appropriate term.

#44  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:33 PM

#42

Not just to defend Fred, but the whole topic builds on carefully studying the scriptures. John MacArthur teaches the conclusions that came from such study. As allways - If you do not agree, then let's take it to the test. I don't care to be a called a literalist or fundamentalist or any other thing. The one and only truth in all matters is my desires.

#45  Posted by Landon Vinson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:34 PM

Fred,

Are you telling me if I accept Christ as my savior, then no matter what I do I am eternally saved?

#46  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:48 PM

Landon asks,

Are you telling me if I accept Christ as my savior, then no matter what I do I am eternally saved?

Nope, that is not what I am saying at all. As I will explain a little bit in the next post on this subject, God changes your heart so that you no longer love sin but love Christ. You have a heart to please God and the ability to overcome sin in your life.

#47  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 1:54 PM

fred,

ok. your point is quite clear. what of the other questions. why is the discussion necessary if it is so clear? lack of the Spirit of God? disobedience to the scriptures? are your saying it is NOT possible to honestly arrive at a different conclusion without blaspheming?

#48  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 2:04 PM

#44

what test?

#49  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 2:16 PM

What you said is fine. In Psalms says It's good to keep silent for times are evil. I use discerning but often falls to judging if I got tired of evil and bad things, then I was not patience or lacking God's guidance.

Oh, you brought up a good thing. Before I use right judgement

to others, I must look to see if I have any sins to repent

and as well forgive others, so after I do so, I would use the

judgement the right way by God's authority.

Sorry if I confuse you.

#50  Posted by Lamont Stephens  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 2:39 PM

I appreciate the comments. Please read the following without scripture/denominational prejudices. The Word is consistent from Gen-Rev. on this subject.

(All Reference from KJV or NKJV)

The issue is not whether enough God is able to keep us eternal secure, because the scripture states this. We cannot neglect other clear scriptures such as (Ex 32:33, Deut 9:14) where God tells them that he would blot their name out of His Book (Referring to Lamb's Book of Life). In Rev 3:5 he says he would not blot out their names in this particular case. Heb 6:4-8 is often misinterpreted. Verse 6 says you cannont renew them again to repentance since they crucify the Son of God afresh or to open shame. In other words, while they are willfully living a life of intentional sin/disobedience, they cannot be renewed again to repentance in that state.(Verse 7-8)The writer in Hebrews continues this thought by giving an analogy by contrasting those who receive and put into use recieve blessing from God and those who bear thorns/briers (living in persistent known sin) is rejected and near to being cursed whose end is to be burned. There is an ultimate end to those who continue to live (works) in a way that demonstrate that their faith is no longer trusting/relying on Jesus Christ as Lord/Saviour their ultimate end. This is also referred to the Doctrine of Eternal Judgement (Heb.6:2) and also that Jesus Himself taught in various parables/teachings. Ezek. 3:18-20 also speaks to this same point. The prophet understood that if a righteous man (believer) turned from his righteousness,utlimately dying in his sin, his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered (note:not referring to rewards). Understand brethern, God wouldn't speak of blotting out names out of the Lamb's Book of Life, if there were no possibility of that taking place. He is not a God that would lie. God always keeps his promise, but do we keep our end of the deal?

God Bless You!

Lamont

#51  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 3:53 PM

Chuck,

I'm a little surprised by your question about why discuss this if it's so clear. For many of us here, there are a lot of really clear teaching in Scripture, but we write/discuss them because they aren't clear for others who 1) haven't read Scripture enough, 2) haven't studied it very much, or 3) are being misled by false teachers.

#52  Posted by Greg Begemann  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 4:13 PM

For those who believe you can lose your salvation by committing some sin (which would include the sin of unbelief and rejection by "leaving the faith") remember that all of your sins were future when Christ completed the work of the cross over 2000 years ago. If Christ paid for your sins did He pay for all of them, or not? Was there some sin of yours God forgot to punish Christ for - or didn't know about at the time? Did God only charge His Son with some of your sins? 90% maybe? One further sin would render useless any punishment for prior ones! A criminal who pays for a crime doesn't get credit for time served if he gets out and commits another crime! He pays again! The Bible states that Christ died once for all. He will never do it again He completed the work. Is God Omniscient? Would'nt He have known about all of your sin? Would He leave His work undone? Would Holy God exhausted His horrific wrath and punishment on His Son for only part of your sins? To partially pay is to default. Payment in full is the only payment that completely satisfies a debt. Why would God knowingly do that? Unthinkable! When God saves a person, transforming them into a new spiritual creation ("old things being passed away and all things becoming new" according to Scripture); by adoption (not foster) brings that person into the family of God; credits that person with the righteousness of Christ; grants full forgivesness; gives them eternal life "sealing" the adoption with the "Holy Spirit of promise" as Scripture says; what could possibly undo that? What could owerpower the Power of God? Who could usurp His authority? Is God Omnipotent? Then what court could reverse His decision to save someone? What sin is their that Christ was not powerful enough to pay for on the cross? Would Almighty God compromise His Omnipotence by creating a situation that makes Him dependent on sinful man maintaining sinlessness for any period of time? Impossible!

#54  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 5:34 PM

1 John 3:6-10 states that we cannot go on commiting sin because God's seed abides in us. We are no longer compatible with sin. As Christians we are incapable of living in unbroken, unrepentant patterns of sin because the Holy Spirit births in us the desire to move away from sin. That includes the gross sin of unbelief and rejection of Christ. We can, and do sin but a Christian will always come to a state of repentence. Like every one else has stated who advocates the eternal security of believers we are new creations with a new nature.

If God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent etc, and all who are the elect have their names written in the Lambs book of Life (which I believe is different then the book of the living that was mentioned above) before the foundation of the world does it make sense that at some point God, who knows everything, would at some point in eternity erase their name? I would think the name would have never been there to begin with because God would have known who would "choose" to leave the faith. Why even write their names in the book at all?

1 peter 1:3-9 is a beautiful section of scripture, praising God for our new life, our guaranteed preservation as believers to our future glory, and the outcome of our faith being the salvation of our souls is the completion of God's saving work in us.

#55  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 6:02 PM

I want to share an experience that happened about a month or so ago and all within an hour. Two men, one a Pastor and as he put it "walking with the Lord for over 50 years" and another man whom I "had" a great deal of respect for and knew well and believed him to be a true Christian and he uses the same ending argument "I've been walking with the Lord for over 40 years" I still believe he is, but that will be for God's determination. Anyway, they both have an "Arminian bent" on salvation; meaning they believe there is something inherently good in man that a person can choose to believe before God moves. I shockingly came to find out they both believe one can loose their salvation because I reasoned that if you can choose, then you can, by default, choose to walk away as well and they agreed. So I go straight to Romans 3 and ask the simple question how many would seek after God if left to themselves? They both used the argument that this was carnal and not spiritual. Now how to you reason with that, when the first three chapters or more is about the depravity of man? Then off to Ephesians 2 and talk about nature of man, and the OT in sin did my mother conceive me etc. So then I go to God choosing Abraham, Issac and Jacob, then I go to the golden chain of Romans 8:28-30, then to the New Birth in Ezekiel 36 and the Psalms "Salvation belongs to the LORD" et al.

I reasoned from the Scriptures and at the end; bot of them told me I was wrong, they have been walking with the Lord much longer than I and that I was "going to hell because I have another gospel". I was startled by having two elderly "Christians??" within 1 hour both have no logical argument from Scripture except John 3:16 and then telling me I'm headed for hell. I asked why did God love them? Because "I choose to believe because God looked down the corridor of time and knew I would choose Him"; so the real issue became clear which was the meaning of "foreknew", which I used more reasoning using Scripture where Jesus states "depart from me I never knew you"; does that mean Jesus doesn't recognize whom He created?

Anyway, I never questioned their salvation, but rather figured we have a disagreement on the meaning of foreknew/foreknowledge, but they both saw it quite differently & actually condemned me. Luckily for me with their unbiblical theology I can believe again and regain my salvation??? It was shocking and a wake-up call for me because I had no idea that such people existed.

Fred; one thing about the explanation on the book of life, it can be pointed out that the text says "I will not blot out" & the antithesis is not always true. The overcomers (AKA:Christians) are the ones who persevere and Romans 15:4-5 tells us who grants perseverance. We persevere because God is working in and through us. So Christ is making it known that those who are the overcomers are His & He would never blot out; in fact it would be impossible for God to blot out that which He predestined.

#56  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 6:13 PM

#1 If you are a child of God; try walking away or running away. Jonah tried and God had something to say about it. I would like to know if the Holy Spirit dwells in you, which means He is actually taken up residence; exactly how does one remove Him from a biblical perspective? What example do we have in Scripture where a person was saved, then lost, then saved, then lost? No matter which direction you walk; He remains in there doesn't He?

If one can turn their back from the knowledge of the truth and God doesn't chasten that person, then be scared. I refer anyone who believes such a thing to read Hebrews 12:4-17.

I'll bet there is not one person here, who is a true Christian, that has not been chastened by God; I know I have more than I care to admit. Much easier to obey my Father, than to have Him discipline me..amen. I couldn't turn my back on god even if I wanted to; i just can't.

#57  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 9:02 PM

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and perfecter (finisher) of our faith. Philippians 1:6 tells us that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion. How can we doubt this or suggest it is not true? Ephesians 1:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit has sealed us and is a guarantee of our inheritance to come. Our salvation is the work of the Lord, from beginning to end. To claim that we must keep our salvation is to assert that a work on our part is required. This is opposed to what scripture teaches. 1 Peter 1:4 tells us that our salvation is kept in heaven for us. We are saved by grace (from start to finish), not by our own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a work God accomplishes in us. God says He will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 48:11). To suggest we must keep our salvation is denying what God has said and would steal God's glory.

#58  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Wednesday, March 16, 2011at 9:05 PM

“The reason why we who truly believe can be assured that we shall persevere to the end is because the faith we have is not of our own, it is the gift of God, not of works.” Jesse #33

Jesse, I don’t know if you intended it or not, but your comment about persevering to the end brings to mind a very important point about any discussion about the eternal security of a believer. The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints by virtue of its very name deals with a nonnegotiable aspect of any truly Biblical discussion on “eternal security of a believer.

“Any doctrine of eternal security that leaves out perseverance distorts the doctrine of salvation itself. Heaven without holiness ignores the whole purpose for which God chose and redeemed His people:

God elected us for this very purpose. "He chose us in him [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" (Eph. 1:4). We were predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ in all His spotless purity (Rom. 8:29). This divine choice makes it certain that we shall be like Him when He appears (I John 3:2). From this fact, John deduces that everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as Christ is pure (I John 3:3). His use of the word "everyone" makes it quite certain that those who do not purify themselves will not see Christ, nor be like Him. By their lack of holiness they prove that they were not so predestinated. The apostle thus deals a crushing blow to Antinomianism.

God's own holiness thus requires perseverance. "God's grace insures our persevering` but this does not make it any less our persevering." Believers cannot acquire "the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" unless they "press on toward the goal" (Phil 3:14). But as they "work out [their] salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12), they find that "it is God who is at work in [them], both to will and work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).” –John MacArthur quoted from TMS Journal Spring 1993 -His Unworthy Slave

#59  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 3:37 AM

#48 Chuck

The test of scripture.

All scripture is Gods Words. That's our starting point. To be a Christian is to conform to the lordship of Christ. He is the ultimate authority. That sounds like a totalitarian regime, but God is true and only true and perfect love.

The only way to know God is by His Words, and you have only found the right interpretation, when it is consistent as a whole.

#60  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:00 AM

#51 gabriel,

i'll come clean. i am firmly in the grace camp. i was however... at a loss for words and still am over the accusation of blasphemy.

as for the "clear" comment i made, it would seem that the only need to write on the subject is because the matter is not universally held. thus the post and the contradiction. it is not clear and some do hold to different view.

now you claim the reason for this lack of clear thought on the other side is for cause of lack of scripture reading or lack of study or false teaching (brainwashing - my term not yours). fred has gone so far as to claim those who believe you can "fall from grace", once again my term, as "blasphemers".

well, that's quite a place to be isn't it. a lazy brainwashed

blasphemer.

for example a wesley, who's hymns i dare say you have sung from time to time. maybe none of john's but most certainly charles. "hark the herald angels sing" ring a bell.

does it trouble you to sing the song written by a "lazy brainwashed blasphemer"?

hearts and minds can be changed by the careful loving exposition of the scripture. mine was. no need for the blaspheme blast if the desire is win a brother. win an argument... that's a different animal.

#61  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:09 AM

#59 rudi

thank you for your explanation. agree with all you wrote except the totalitarian regime part. love the fact He has all authority. He will only lead to where His love has prepared.

#62  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:42 AM

I am loss for words. Hymns are blasphemers? What you mean?

Hymns are mostly from Psalms. Some are from parts of the bible. Charles was a godly man and devoted to God.

No such thing to win a argument. God tells us to walk away from

arguments as well say something to stop it. Does it help?

#63  Posted by Brian Jonson  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:44 AM

Blasphemy is an impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.

It is less severe than heresy, which is proclaiming anti-biblical, unorthodox doctrines.

I think Fred's use of blasphemy is appropriate in this context. He did not say the Wesley's were not believers. He did not call anyone who disagrees with this doctrine a heretic.

If you believe God's gift of salvation, which is provided as part of His electing action toward those for whom Christ died, can be refused, negated or lost, then I believe that is an irreverent and impious position toward God. In other words, it is blasphemous.

#64  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:54 AM

Chuck writes,

i was however... at a loss for words and still am over the accusation of blasphemy.

I am glad you have been provoked a bit with the use of that word. That is what I intended. I want to shock people's sensibilities. Not for the sake of being provocative, but to stir our thinking with how conditional security has a significant impact upon our theology. Particularly what God has so clearly told us in Scripture concerning salvation.

Chuck, let me cite exactly what I stated:

Not only do I believe the doctrine of conditional security is false, I would even dare to say it is blasphemous. The idea that you could lose the salvation God gave you slanders God and runs contrary to a number of the Bible’s core doctrines.

Notice that I am not accusing anyone personally of being a blasphemer. I am specifically dealing with a false doctrine as it is understood among denominational camps that would believe a person can lose his salvation.

Blasphemy is slander or contempt against a divinity. In this case, God; who in my opinion is the only God there is to whom we can slander or show contempt. I believe the doctrine of conditional security shows contempt against God and slanders His character. Did He promise eternal life or not? If that promise can be undone, this "ability" has serious ramifications as to our understanding of God's character. He has either lied to us outright, misled us in some fashion, or is not telling us the truth entirely. And that's just for starters. It also is saying Jesus could not accomplish what He set out to do: secure the salvation of sinners. These are serious theological problems introduced by conditional security, and I believe such false doctrine can be called blasphemous.

#65  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 7:20 AM

In response to the arguments against Mr. Butlers charge of blaspemy against Wesley and any traditional arguments in defense of Wesley's false gospel I would suggest reading "Refuting Arminian Arguments" by John Pederson.

I can't find an address on the doc but if you Google "refuting arminian arguments john pederson" it should be the first hit.

You'll have to download the doc in pdf form but it is well worth the effort.

#66  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 7:31 AM

question and i am being sincere. you began this line so don't be surprised that i proceed logically down it.

Ephesians 1: 13–14 "...when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession..."

perhaps the most powerful text to me in the understanding of my standing with God. i am in Christ and it is His problem to solve, not mine. lol.

Matthew 12:32 "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

reading these two verses. would you say then, that a view of one being able to depart "the seal" is a "blaspheme" or slander of the work of the Spirit?

#67  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 9:20 AM

Lot of blogs read some not others.......but let me dive right in here. Salvation is CONDITIONAL!! Absolutely .....to say otherwise is ludicrous. That is so plain from the consistent teaching of Scripture.....how can it be missed? What is the condition? Anybody......

#68  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 9:52 AM

#66 Then Judas is saved, right? No. These verses must be seen in a context. Else the interpretation is inconsistent, right?

#69  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 11:10 AM

#68 rudi,

sorry i don't follow? you missed the intent of my question or i so poorly communicated the point of my question. i'm more confident in the latter. my intent of the question is this. does holding to a belief in conditional security equate to slandering the work of the Spirit of God?

#67 steve,

so, when i believed in Christ was i sealed by the Spirit of God? as the apostle paul speaks of in Ephesians 1:11-14.

#70  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 12:30 PM

A couple of thoughts, as they relate to the original text that gives me a great deal of difficulty accepting the Conditional Security approach.

First off, as I read Ephesians 5:26 and read about how "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word," in the Greek, "sanctify" and "cleanse" are given in the present tense, which literally indicates that Christ continues to wash and sanctify His Bride that He has ALREADY GIVEN HIMSELF FOR (past tense). If the conditional security proponents are correct, that must mean the He starts & stops, starts & stops, starts & stops with the cleansing & sanctifying of His people. I'd like to think what the saying is it is more an on-going process throughout the lives of Saints as He works on them, they are cleansed more & more. It is present tense and it continues. To man, it gives the outward appearance of sin. To God, He is continuing to work on that Saint in accordance to Hebrews 12:4.

Secondly, as I read Hebrews 10:26, something key speaks to me about the Greek Word "willfully" as well as the context in which "sin" is used. It APPEARS (and any Greek junkies out there can correct me) that the adverb for "willfully" denotes not only a present tense of sinning, but also a PAST condition of "having willfully" sinned. Therefore, if anyone has "willfully" sinned, what good is the rest of the passage as a warning? It's done. You're done. No more Grace, right?

Also, what "sin" is the writer referencing. Lust? Pride? Slander? Hatred in the heart? It seems to me that this characterization of "sin" in this context parallels the sin in Matthew 12:31 which does not denote a particular one-time act, but rather a settled state of unbelief in rejecting the witenss of the Holy Spirit as to the Person, and Works, and Deity of Christ (unrepentently, I might add). That would fit more in the context of what the statement is saying, rather than if you "sin willfully" or "have sinned willfully" your Day of Grace has come & gone. If that were the case, then follow-up the rest of verse, "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,..."

So if the Conditional Security advocates want to use this to state that this is speaking of Believers losing their salvation, then every last one of them has to state that if they have ever sinned "willfully" at any point since the New Birth experience, they too, are lost and forever doomed.

The fallacy in this thinking is that 100% of people that has been born-again has sinned "willfully" at some point in His or Her walk with God, thereby rendering everyone damned according to this Theological Doctrine. It would almost render 1 John 1:8-9 completely useless, for what is the point of confessing your sin to God if any single, willful act of disobedience disqualifies you from Salvation?

#71  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 12:32 PM

#65 Greg

Thanks for the link, I'll dive right into it.

#72  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 12:56 PM

This is not a trick question......EVERYBODY should get this........ What is the condition necessary for salvation??????

#73  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:15 PM

#69 Chuck

Actually all sin is rebellion against the Holy God. And all who speaks against what God clearly says is a blasphemer, right?

We see Paul rebuke Peter to his face, and I'm sure that you as well as I have been rebuked more than once, right?

Was I a blasphemer? Yes, at that time the rebukes was just.

#74  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:16 PM

#72

I could recommend "The Gospel According To Jesus"

#75  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:25 PM

#70 Attn: Steve Hals

See post#20 - I addressed Hebrews 10 and you must be attentive to transition words like "for" or "therefore" when reading the Scriptures. They almost always, if not always, denote a change and/or transition.

Part of the problem is the lack of reading of Scripture systematically and routinely, but another issue is if one reads in this fashion and still is unable to understand what god meant by what He said, then one must consider if they are saved or not because a natural man cannot understand the word of God or the things of God; it is impossible. No I am not referring to you specifically; anyone in general.

I suggest this whole concept of elections falls/blends into the doctrine & understanding of God's character and/or attribute of Love and Justice.

Please go to this link and really listen and take notes and use your Bible to john's message titled "The Love of God, Part 5" (Code 90-81) . This is a 6 part series, which i highly recommend all 6 parts, but part 5 really answers and addresses these issues in this thread and on Steve Hal's post#70.

Here is the link:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-81_The-Love-of-God-Part-5?q=the+love+of+God.+part+5

God bless each of us and may we focus today on "forgiveness"; for we are most godly/"Christ-like" in character when we are forgiving; after all if God gave everyone what they deserved, then who among men would be in heaven? Praise the Lord for forgiveness.

#76  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:30 PM

#72 Steve

If you're going to go the route of "Salvation is conditional on faith in Jesus Christ," then you're going to get 100% agreement from everyone on this board. That is not the issue at hand.

The issue at hand is:

1) Is once someone saved, does God keep them saved, or

2) Does someone who was once saved ever lose that salvation due to their own sin and/or free will?

I adhere to (1) because it is Scriptural.

#77  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:39 PM

#72 Steve

You must be desperate, sick at heart of your sinfull condition, begging God for mercy because the demands is impossible and too high for you, and you have hit the bottom.

Will God hear that cry? YES, if your repentance is genuine.

Then believe in the redeeming works of Jesus.

That's the gospel in a nutshell.

But does it end there?

Oh no. Now the loving relationship begins, and goes on forever.

#78  Posted by Landon Vinson  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 1:59 PM

Tell me what is the harm in believeing condition salvation? If it is a sin to believe that way, then according to eternal salvation beliefs I am already forgiven for that. True? Seems to me if conditional salvation believers are wrong, whats the downfall. And if eternal salvation believers are wrong there is a huge downfall.

#79  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 2:01 PM

Fred and RE: # 58 Greg,

Thank you for the depth of your comments and replies. This is a great topic and great discussion. It’s made me think deeper and helped in answering key questions. As an architect I love biblical examples of building and foundations. As we build these new discussions (houses) it’s always good to poke around in the ground and confirm the foundation we’re building on and that we tie into it correctly. If it’s not there what’s the point in continuing to build. And to further my silly analogy, how foolish would it be to pick up that house and try to bear it on a foundation that wasn’t designed for it. Tear it down and start over. This leads to my question. How important are these doctrines mentioned in above posts, election and eternal security, in the church? I’ve discussed them both in my church and while many accept eternal security they reject sovereign election as it relates to predestination and foreknowledge. Namely Ephesians 1: 3-14 and Romans 8, 9 and 10 and others. When is it ok to agree to disagree?

#80  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 2:13 PM

And also, I have a question to anyone who subscribes to Conditional Security in order to keep Salvation: How MUCH sin does one have to commit to forfeit their Salvation? Is it one sin? ten sins? up to seventy-time-seven sins plus one? At what point does God say "You've gone too far" and there is no longer a hope for Salvation?

Wouldn't that mean God is saying SOME sin is Ok after Salvation, just "not too much sin?" That SOME people's sin is tolerable as long as "overall, they're obedient & confessing" while others may have judgment resting upon them for failure to confess any particular sin? Aren't even thoughts sin according to the Beatitudes, so therefore, if in your prayers & confession before the Father, you fail to mention a thought, THAT could be held against you?

This seems to lead to a legalistic bookkeeping practice that even the most prudent & Pharisaical Christians of our day would have a hard time keeping track of. "Did I repent of EVERYTHING or only SOME things?" Can one be truly certain that if they died & faced the Bema Judgment seat, that they have repented of EVERY SIN ever committed?

Believing this also leads to a form of Pride in that some Christians believe THEY are walking obediently and THEY are confessing and THEY have made restitution through confession for each & every transgression they have, while others have not. Quoting certain Scriptures without the proper perspective & context can be lethal. Remember, it was satan who quoted Psalm 91 in tempting the Lord. It was the Pharisees who quoted Moses in attempting to stone the woman caught in adultery. We need to be very careful in how we handle the Scriptures and how we teach others about them.

John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." Therefore, you ARE either one, or the other. If you've BEEN BORN of the Spirit, you ARE Spirit. If you have not, you are flesh. You don't sit & bounce back & forth between two natures in reality, even if you do in activity. THAT is not Scriptural. Sin can influence Believers, as Paul told his believers "IF we walk according to the flesh . . . ." in Romans 8, stating it is possible to walk according to that nature even though it is not our nature. He also states to "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . " If sin was not possible, your mind would automatically be renewed so you did not sin. Hebrews 12 says to "lay aside every weight & the sin which so easily ensares us." That is NOT talking to unbelievers, but Believers, teaching them to put off the old man and walk in the new man. Those that do will incur God's wrath & punishment, mainly due to breaking fellowship with God. But you are NOT lost again due to sinning. God WILL deal with His Children when they sin (Heb 12:4).

#81  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 2:26 PM

@ Steven #70 In regards to Heb 10:26 I believe that yes this is talking about someone that experienced God, was saved, had knowledge of the truth, the Holy Spirit enlightened them and they chose to keep on sinning. A settled rebellion towards God not a slip into sin. Later in the passage it further defines the person as one who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? They were sanctified!! But in fine Esau fashion they despised their birthrite and became an enemy of God. They loved the world, James 4:4, and became an enemy of God. They did not stand as Moses did for he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Heb 11:26. Peter talks about these same people and says "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. " Peter says that "they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. "

In verse 15 he says "They have left the straight way".......you cant leave something youre not on. It doesnt say they were born totally depraved unable to seek God helpless, no it says they were on the straight way and left it!! Romans 1 puts it this way they knew God and they neither glorified him as God or gave thanks to him and their thinking became futile. They knew God!! Dont confuse God's ability to keep us who believe with the clear teaching of Scripture that one can walk away from God!! Those are two very separate very distinct things. God will not lose one of us John 6......but we can walk away from Him. I dont recommend it.....I want to be a witness to the Excellencies of Christ!

#82  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 2:28 PM

@ Chuck #69 Absolutely yes!!

#83  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 2:55 PM

Brian #8, 11, I am not quite halfway through Steven Lawson’s new book “Pillars of Grace”. I am but a novice in reading/understanding the writings of the early church fathers and I trust that Fred can and will do a far better job than I in addressing your questions. In case he is occupied with other issues I will do my best in answering your questions from what I have read/understand thus far.

Steven Lawson points out that “The seed of sovereign grace was planted by the Church Fathers, though without systematic development…not until medieval Scholasticism would systematic theology as we know it originate”(p.21). Having said that, I find it quite fascinating that Calvin stated “Augustine [354-430] is so completely of our persuasion that if I should have to make written profession, it would be quite enough to present a composition made up entirely of excerpts from his writings” (quoted on page 216). Lawson dates the Scholastics as 1000-1350.

The Apostolic Fathers’ focus was on the declaration of the gospel and though they affirmed the doctrines of the Apostles, their writings did not focus on explaining those doctrines. Steven Lawson notes that they used “sovereignty-laden terms” (see p.23).

The Apologist Fathers’ focus was on defending the faith against sophisticated philosophical attacks. “Because Gnostic sects promoted moral laxity, the Apologist Fathers were reluctant to stress divine sovereignty for fear of endorsing any indulgence in sin” (p.24). As I read of the lives of so many of the Church Fathers it seems quite clear that much of their time was spent in fiercely battling against heresies that were working their way into the Church.

Brian, I think that you will find that Steven Lawson’s “Pillars of Grace” contain many more quotes, arranged not only by subject and but also arranged by subject within the context of the lives of each of the “Pillars” we call Church Fathers that do in fact demonstrate much support for the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. –His Unworthy Slave

#84  Posted by Matthew Bigelow  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 3:15 PM

Slaves. That is what we are. A slave has no will outside of the one who owns him. As wretched, wicked, sinful creatures who are enemies of God, we are slaves to unrighteousness and to the prince of the world, Satan. Slaves, I don't think I can emphasize that word enough (read MacArthur's book Slaves). How we stop being slaves to sin and unrighteousness? It is not by our own will, but by the will of the One who redeemed us out of it. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Here is an interesting point made by Paul in Romans. We, if we are indeed in Christ, are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to God. We are not simply servants serving the Master's will and still having our own. This is not the picture that the Scripture presents. We are slaves, completely subject to the Master's will without any will of our own. We did not chose to be redeemed out of bondage to sin and unrighteousness, we were bought against our will (since we really didn't even have one to begin with). We were transfered out of bondage into bondage. Granted this bondage in Christ is infinitely better than the bondage we were under in the first place, but it is still bondage.

Do a bible word study on Lord and Master, you will find that Christ is not just kurios, but despotos as well. He has complete control over our will, he will not allow us to leave His hands even if we desire to.

Once you are saved, you ARE glorified (Rom. 8:28-30). It's a done deal, you can't go back! Now, the question is, if you trample underfoot the Grace with which you were saved, can you really say that you were saved at all? I think the Bible is clear on that: "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they are not of us." (1 Jn. 2:19)

You will know a Christian by their fruits: a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, and a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. If one starts to act like a bad tree, bearing bad fruit, then he was a bad tree. Perhaps you may say that I'm taking that farther than Christ was meaning, but I think not. Either we are good trees, or we are bad trees. In the end, everyone will know by our fruits.

#85  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 3:17 PM

The subject is more complicated when we read about "tares among the wheat", who is not separated until harvest time. But were they true believers? Were these salvation promises for them also?

What if you asked the same question to the same person at different times in his life? As Abraham, Moses or Judas?

And also the terrible words: "Lord, Lord, did we not ...."

And "I know my sheep and call them by name, and they come...."

Many is called, but few is selected?

All this is studied by gifted theologians and scholars, and they present their conclusions.

But even a little child can love Jesus. Isn't it amazing?

#86  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 4:15 PM

“This is not a trick question......EVERYBODY should get this........ What is the condition necessary for salvation??????” -Steve #72,

Steve, I personally doubt if most “christians” get it. Few, I believe, have ever experienced it and perhaps even fewer have understood biblically what has really happened to those who actually have experienced it.

The condition necessary for salvation is the new birth. Jesus spoke about the necessity of it. Peter demonstrated that it is the preaching of the living and abiding word of God which he describes as incorruptible seed which was sown in the lives of those who experience it. Jeremiah referred to it as the new covenant. He declared that God was the one who would accomplish it. He went on to describe its characteristics. Ezekiel declared the same thing and described even more of its characteristics (see post #25).

This whole issue would be much easier to understand and discuss if we used the more biblically accurate term “perseverance of the saints”. I took a chance of perhaps getting ahead of Fred by posting a portion of an absolutely outstanding work of John MacArthur that was published in The Masters Seminary Journal -Spring 1993 (see post #58). Because it is such a critical aspect of this discussion I was unwilling to risk taking the chance that it might be overlooked. Fred, please forgive me if I jumped ahead of you. –His Unworthy Slave

#87  Posted by Agape Jackson  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 4:19 PM

My personal experience is this: GOD came to me and asked me to take HIM as Savior and Lord - to surrender all of me to HIM. I was terrified of what that meant, not of HIM but of what it would mean to me if I said yes -surrendering all! However, HE would not relent and I could not say no because I knew HE was not of this world and knew me completely and if I said no, HE would depart! Then where would I be! So I said yes and HE came in and took residence with me - we abide together and HE will never leave or forsake me. I may stomp off, drift away, have a sit in and pout...etc. but HE is going nowhere and when I surrender all, again (etc.) we are back together in fellowship.

#88  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:27 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#89  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 6:52 PM

# 69 - Chuck.

I believe you didn't understand what Rudi was trying to say. You must see those verses in context.

But... my answer to your question "does holding to a belief in conditional security equate to slandering the work of the Spirit of God?" is yes (you see, all the points made in various comments about slandering God, the Holy Spirit is God, so the answer is yes), but it's not the unforgivable sin that the passage teaches. The unforgivable sin, if you read it in context, is attributing the works of Christ (by works I mean all the miracles) to satan. They concluded He was working through the power of satan, so how can they be saved by believing in satan? ;) hope you get the logic of it.

E.

#90  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 7:12 PM

#18 - Aidan.

I was hoping someone would catch on your comment, this:

"But Calvinism must try to twist that, because Calvinism (following after the doctrine of double predestination) teaches that Christ only died for a select few."

Reformed theology (or, as you called, Calvinism) does not teach double predestination, although a LOT of people mistakenly think it does.

I love this essay by RC Sproul:

http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html

And here's another good article:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/BRG-90-20_Election-and-Predestination-The-Sovereignty-of-God-in-Salvation

On another note, of course Christ only died for "a few" (but we don't know how many "a few" means). The Bible teaches that. =)

E.

#91  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 7:40 PM

The new birth. How many times the bible teaches us that the new birth happens in one's life? Only one, I don't see where the Lord said "you need to be born again in order to be saved, but when you sin and you loose your salvation you need to be born again, and again, and again..." Ridiculous!

The regenerated heart. How can a truly regenerated heart, a heart made of flesh, made to love God, to love His Word, to awe at His wonderful works, His mercy, His grace, His Holiness (capital H, so important it is!), how can this heart "choose" to reject and walk away? It cannot. God is Himself the sustainer, He will loose none, all that He has choosen WILL come to Him. A regenerated heart cannot become unregenerated.

Douglas Grogg, I thank you very much for all your posts.

If anyone is interested, here's a link to the journal Douglas mentioned, if the first link doesn't work, try the second one.

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj4a.pdf

http://www.tms.edu/JournalIssue.aspx?year=1993

#92  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 7:59 PM

Slandering is a form of rejecting God. It's a unforgiving sin.

I agree.

What is a condition salvation? Is it a world's term like shelter life?

I notice some hold a lie even as one is a believer. They would

tell children about Easter bunny and hold on to truth of Christ's

death and rose from the dead. They say it's harmless and the kids

just little. They told me that I am to serious. Huh.

Hope I am not off the point but just know we can't hold a sin and

have a relationship with Christ. Just a thought.

#93  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Thursday, March 17, 2011at 8:18 PM

#89 e

would agree with your understanding of the passage in question. my queries have been to see how deep the pool is. accusations of blaspheme are troubling to me. not for the sake that i believe none of us are capable of such or have not in fact blasphemed at one time or another.

but blaspheme seems to be a very specific sin however that scripture does not speak of lightly. yes i know no sin is light, i get it. paul handed 2 over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme 1 tim 1:20. James mentions those who blaspheme Christ, James 2:7. i could give several other refernces but look for yourself. read revelation 16.

these seem to be acts of speaking intentional slander against God and bring the harshest of Holy rebuke. these slanders seem not be a passive speaking incorrectly concerning the perserverance of the saints or stating a reasoned belief based on an honest search of the scriptures. even if it is a belief that i believe to be incorrect.

i do not believe that those of my brothers and sisters who hold to conditional security are in any way blapheming God. thier understanding of the scripture is as they say it is. no blaspheme, no slander.

do i agree with their conclusion? no but it certainly falls well short of blaspheme. in my opinion. in my opinion. in my opinion. and yes i know my opinion is worth nothing only scripture matters. got it. figured i'd add that to save some the effort of reminding me that my opinion is of no consequence.

#94  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 1:16 AM

I once came across an atheist website, and me eye caught an absurd accusation of God about some verses in Deuteronomy about rape.

I couldn't figure it out, and sent my questions to Answers In Genesis, and got a wonderful reply back, with a really profound insight in Old Testament law.

This dear brother got it right. The Old Testament law was not just a matter of literally reading and picking verses out that fits your purposes when judging, but more a preparation of the heart to think Gods thoughts so you could do His will when judging.

We see it as example when Jesus deals with the "eye for an eye" complex. “You have heard, but I say to you.”

The same must be true about salvation security. Yes there is guarantee, but only for those it concerns, those in context elsewhere in Scripture, else our interpretation is inconsistent.

#95  Posted by steve stricker  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 3:59 AM

@Douglas......Thanks for responding.....I thought I'd be flooded w reponses but I guess not! Actually the answer I was looking for was FAITH ( which is obviously related to the new birth). Our salvation is conditional on our faith. From beginning to end the Bible declares that to be rightly related to God you must believe Him, you must trust Him. Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall needed to trust God to be rightly related to Him and on March 18th 2011 you need to believe God to be rightly related to Him. That is not blasphemy but simple Bible truth.

The Bible puts it many different ways, we are to come to Him John 6:35, to to believe in the one he has sent v 29, to eat His flesh v 51,53, to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us 1 John 3:23, we are to receive Him John 1:12, He calls us to walk in the light 1 John 1:7. In Proverbs 3:5 we are asked to trust in the LORD with all your heart, in Colossians 1:21-23 Paul says we've been reconciled IF we CONTINUE in our faith and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

Romans 4:6 says " ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." By faith Moses, ........ chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Heb 11:24-26. We are to seek Him with all our heart Jeremiah 29:13. We are to take His yoke and learn from Him then we will find rest for our souls (salvation) Matt 11:29.

Eternal life is conditional........absolutely. It is not blasphemous to think so it is right to think so for the Bible tells us so!

#96  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 5:58 AM

It came to my mind from once I was translating one of John MacArthurs sermons to Danish.

From this sermon:

Jude 3 is a crucial passage on the completeness of our Bibles. This statement, penned by Jude before the NT was complete, nevertheless looked forward to the completion of the entire canon: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that we should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [literally, ‘once for all’] delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). In the Greek text the definite article preceding “faith” points to the one and only faith. There is no other. Such passages as Gal 1:23 (“He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith”) and 1 Tim 4:1 (“In latter times some will fall away from the faith”) indicate this objective use of the expression “the faith” was common in apostolic times.

Greek scholar Henry Alford wrote that the faith is “objective here: the sum of that which Christians believe.”

Note also the crucial phrase “once for all” in Jude 3 (KJV). The Greek word here is hapax, which refers to something done for all time, with lasting results, never needing repetition. Nothing needs to be added to the faith that has been delivered “once for all.”

George Lawlor, who has written an excellent work on Jude, made the following comment:

The Christian faith is unchangeable, which is not to say that men and women of every generation do not need to find it, experience it, and live it; but it does mean that every new doctrine that arises, even though its legitimacy may be plausibly asserted, is a false doctrine. All claims to convey some additional revelation to that which has been given by God in this body of truth are false claims and must be rejected.

Also important in Jude 3 is the word “delivered.” In the Greek it is an aorist passive participle, which in this context indicates an act completed in the past with no continuing element. In this instance the passive voice means the faith was not discovered by men, but given to men by God.

And so through the Scriptures God has given us a body of teaching that is final and complete. Our Christian faith rests on historical, objective revelation. That rules out all prophecies, seers, and other forms of new revelation until God speaks again at the return of Christ (cf. Acts 2:16–21; Rev 11:1–13).

So you see - we are dealing with a body of truth.

#97  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 6:16 AM

"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you," (Phil. 3:15.) Does he not sufficiently intimate that a difference of opinion as to these matters which are not absolutely necessary, ought not to be a ground of dissension among Christians?"

john calvin in calvin's institutes book 4 chapter 1 section 12

what glorious morning. a cup of hot coffee and calvin's institutes.

#98  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 6:43 AM

# 78 - Landon.

It's not a simple matter of sin [believing in conditional salvation]. Ask the Apostle Paul. =)

If you believe that salvation is conditional and that condition rests on man's free will (to choose Christ or not, to walk away or come back whevener one feels like it), you are adding to the true Gospel. And no one can be saved by another gospel.

It's interesting to me how a lot of Christians try to make Jesus the common denominator, the one point where all professing Christians can be united in. "We all love Jesus" they say. Right. Just which Jesus they are talking about? We are united by TRUTH, not by human sentiments for Jesus.

The Judaizers didn't deny the Gospel, they didn't deny Jesus, but that wasn't enough for them, there had to be works added to the salvation equation. (Acts 15:1,5) And just what Paul had to say about them? "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;" (Philippians 3:2 - and much more in Galatians)

When you believe in conditional salvation, you deny the true Gospel, you deny the work of Christ on the cross. You might as well admit you deny the bible, for it teaches salvation by grace ALONE. All that, then, begs the question: is a person truly saved when they believe in a gospel of works?

Furthermore, conditional salvation moves us away from the knowledge of God. It's a man-centered salvation, and it puts us, not God, in the throne (as we become, ultimately, the ones with the power of hell or heaven).

Can you grasp all the implications of that? Start with Romans 9:15: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." Or who do you give glory to for your salvation?

Your next statement: "If it is a sin to believe that way, then according to eternal salvation beliefs I am already forgiven for that.", it's actually scary. You're saying sinning does not matter for we have already been forgiven. Paul had much to say about that (Romans 6) "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?". Furthermore, Christians hate their sin, and if anyone has a light view on sin or think it to be something trivial, they better start questioning if they are even saved to begin with (refer to the previous series on killing sin).

Yes, it is true, eternal salvation means that you cannot loose your salvation, and seeing that we will still sin (1 John 1:8), all these sins (future sins) have already been forgiven along with past and present sins. But! We grieve over our sins! How can we not? Remember, "against You, You only, I have sinned" (Psalm 51).

Your last two sentences indicate that you're trying to cover all the basis in regards to salvation (you might as well worship false gods, because who knows eh?). That implies unbelief and lack of trust in God and in His unchanging and eternal Word.

#99  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 8:19 AM

When “professing” Christians say that to believe in eternal security you are promulgating a license to sin, I really have to wonder if they so grieve over their sin and find it to be highly repugnant to God alone? Anyone who is truly born again so grieves over his or her own sin that we run from it and into the arms of our advocate, Jesus Christ. We are “careful” not to grieve the Holy Spirit, we are not always perfect in our attempts, but if we are born again there is a true desire to obey the Lord, it is the direction of our lives that is important.

To NOT believe that God is able to keep those, which He Himself has chosen from the foundations of the world, is tantamount to calling God a liar. It does impugn/denigrate His character, as Fred pointed out. Jude 1:24-25, 2 Tim 1:12-13, Rom 8:38-39.

Is it any wonder that God says, ”My sheep hear my voice..(John 10:27)?”

Great post, Elaine.

#100  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 8:26 AM

Brian, all the way back up in #8 writes,

One thing I request: Please address the fact that many early church fathers "seemed" not to support this doctrine. A review of very early writings seem to indicate this doctrine wasn't universally accepted. I would love for you to share why you think this was.

When I asked for an example, under #11 you cited for me Irenaeus and then you wrote,

These men weren't inspired and I am comfortable accepting that the Bible teaches our salvation is eternal, but I have wondered why the early church writings seem not to support it. I would love your thoughts! My hunch is that works were emphasized much more due to the persecution of the time.

I believe there is some truth to what you say here. The men we call "Fathers" were like all men, uninspired and prone to blind spots. It was a different time they lived in and they focused upon unique challenges to the body of Christ that we really don't relate to well in our day and age. Obviously, we can learn from these men, but we appeal to the careful study of God's Word as our final authority.

The writings of the church fathers are bit outside my area of expertise. I would direct you to John Gill's work on the doctrines of grace, available on line in full here: Gill's Archive

Though I would offer a word of caution to exercise discernment when reading through his material because of his hyper-Calvinistic tendencies, he does have an large section of citations from church fathers on the subject of salvation. Read his introductory remarks, and then his compilation of quotes. They may provide some good material for you to read over.

#101  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 8:53 AM

Steve #79 writes,

How important are these doctrines mentioned in above posts, election and eternal security, in the church? I’ve discussed them both in my church and while many accept eternal security they reject sovereign election as it relates to predestination and foreknowledge.

I believe all those doctrines are important because they are essential to our overall understanding of God, His grace, man's condition as sinners, and Christ's death for sin.

There are many practical areas where our understanding of God's sovereignty in salvation plays an important role.

I'll mention one: how we understand those doctrines will shape how we do evangelism. If you are confident that God has His elect and He will certainly call them to Himself through your preaching of the gospel, you understand that your success at soul winning is not dependent upon your personal technique or abilities. You further understand that when no one appears to be responding to the gospel, it's not because you failed as an evangelist, it is as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:8: God's Spirit is like the wind, blowing were it wishes. Sometimes men respond, sometimes they don't. Your duty is to preach to all men and trust God for the results.

#102  Posted by Matthew Bigelow  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 9:16 AM

Re: #92 Posted by Dan Wilson:

"Slandering is a form of rejecting God. It's a unforgiving sin."

Not exactly. People reject God everyday, indeed, every believer has rejected God at some point in their life. Paul tells us that while we were dead in our sins and enemies to God, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6-10), so rejecting God cannot be an unforgivable sin.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, however, is an unforgivable sin. It's the only sin that the Scriptures identify as such. We find Jesus telling the Pharisees, and those around, "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Mt. 12:31-32) What was this blasphemy that Jesus speaks of, the casting out of demons (and the Pharisees probably included all His works) by the power of Beelzebub (or beelzebul). To call the working of the Holy Spirit an act of demons was blasphemy, and would not be forgiven, ever. We cannot do this today, Jesus is not working here in our midst, it was unique to them that saw his miracles and called it the work of demons.

God saves those who reject Him all the time. It's our nature to reject him, we're depraved (Rom. 1:28), darkness loving (Jn. 3:19), wretched creatures who suppress the truth in all unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). If rejection of God was an unforgivable sin, then none of us could be save. No, rather He saves us in spite of our enmity toward Him, kicking and screaming He brings us into His loving arms and saves us, places us in the hands of His Son who will in no wise lose any that the Father has given Him, but raise it up on the last day.

Blessings.

#103  Posted by Gregory Cleland  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 9:55 AM

Romans 6:17-18, "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness (NASB)."

1 John 2:1, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (NASB)."

Hebrews 10:26 states, "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth... (NASB)"

Our eternal security does not lie in our knowledge of the truth, rather it rests in our belief of the truth. 1 John 4:16 states,

"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us...(NASB"

I don't think Hebrews 10:19-31 applies to the believer because the emphasis is on having knowledge of the truth. We have both the knowledge and we believe. We can't believe unless we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:27 states,

"As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (NASB)."

I contend that Hebrews 10:19-31 describes individuals who have knowledge of the truth but probably didn't believe it in the first place. I believe once saved always saved.

#107  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 11:16 AM

Fred #101 writes: “how we understand those doctrines will shape how we do evangelism” how we do evangelism… I’m not implying anything here but, is that all we are to be concerned with. Does an inaccurate understanding of those doctrines call into question a person’s salvation? I see your logical conclusion of if we have a weak view of those doctrines and/or scripture then we will present the message of the gospel in a week way. Or a better phrase, not the true gospel. My question is not in our understanding and subsequent delivery. I accept that I’m simply a sower commanded to sow everywhere, God prepares the soil and produces the good fruit while I’m asleep. Human techniques or gimmicks have no effect on the soil. For clarity, if you would, let me draw a line. I believe in sovereign election and eternal security, others do not. Others that call themselves Christians. Am I going too far in asking the question “are we accurately defining who is a true Christian?” Your comment of blasphemy is indeed a strong statement, but accurate. To question God’s word and deny His sovereignty by limiting His power based on how it affects me or my limited ability to understand is certainly a place I’m not willing to go. What about in a church body? When as a body, there is a common believe in many essential doctrines (i.e. Christ birth, His death and resurrection, and atonement for sin), but a rejection of other doctrines like predestination, election and eternal security; how do we deal with that within the body of a church?
#108  Posted by Jeremy Sanchez  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 11:39 AM

In response to # 7

I just think we have to be careful when using marriage as an illustration for salvation.

1.) We are not totally & completely faithful the way God is. He is able to keep his covenant Whereas we fall horribly short.

2.) If marriage is going to be used then marriage as it was intended from the beginning should be considered. Divorce was only allowed by Moses because of the hardness of our hearts. If anything, marriage as intended (never to be torn apart) makes a better case for eternal security rather than conditional security. It shows how incredibly gracious our Lord Jesus Christ is to put up w/ the church in all our sin & failures. Never leaving or forsaking us but always working in us to present us to Himself w/o spot or blemish.

Adoption is a great and biblical way to illustrate salvation. It's a more permanent bond between two people. To all who received Him he gave the right to become children of God. A parent cannot be separated from their children; Whether biological or adopted. Now there may be some legal ramifications I'm not aware of but surely it isn't honored in the kingdom of God. A child, if in fact they are legitimate, cannot be separated from the parent. To live a life of always trying to win the parents approval or living in fear of losing their love is a far cry from what scripture lays out for us in terms of our relationship to a loving, slow to anger, perfect father who disciplines us in such a way that we will receive the ultimate benefit.

All in all this is a great article & I thank God for the perfect love that casts out all fear!

#109  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 12:31 PM

Steve #107 writes,

I’m not implying anything here but, is that all we are to be concerned with. Does an inaccurate understanding of those doctrines call into question a person’s salvation?

and

What about in a church body? When as a body, there is a common believe in many essential doctrines (i.e. Christ birth, His death and resurrection, and atonement for sin), but a rejection of other doctrines like predestination, election and eternal security; how do we deal with that within the body of a church?

Keep in mind that I noted evangelism as one example among many others I could site. A big area where our understanding of God's sovereignty in salvation are important is the Christian's overall psychology. By that I mean how Christians respond to personal trials, respond to faith stretching events in their lives, minister to others struggling with trials. That fellow I mention at the start of the story being a prime example. I have met many individuals who see their salvation as something the have to maintain or they risk losing it and as a result, their lives are miserable as they attempt to live legalistic lives.

As for the others in the church who may oppose these doctrines, just keep directing them to the text of scripture. As I always say to people who don't like Calvinism, what does predestination mean to you if John Calvin had never existed?

#110  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 2:13 PM

#102

Wow, yea it's a evil age. Thanks for the info. God bless.

#111  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 2:34 PM

“Eternal life is conditional........absolutely. It is not blasphemous to think so it is right to think so for the Bible tells us so!” –Steve #95

Steve, I thought you were going to say “believe” is the condition necessary for salvation. Many point to Acts 16:31 as a formula for salvation but they overlook the context of the Apostle’s statement namely: The jailer who was about to take his own life (fearing what he was about to suffer from his superior officers more than fearing death and whatever judgment that came with it) had experienced a change from within (after hearing Paul’s cry that the prisoners were all there) that caused him to tremble with fear and fall down before Paul and Silas. In such a context it was appropriate

Your statement “Eternal life is conditional” is absolutely true. I intentionally used the term “new birth” because it presupposes repentance, faith, the pursuit of holiness and the subject at hand “the perseverance of the saints’, all of which are essential characteristics of eternal life. However, the doctrine of “conditional security” is in fact blasphemy on several fronts. It either outright denies the necessity of the new birth or it trivializes the new birth by redefining it. It either outright denies that we were born with a “nature” that qualified us as a “child of wrath” (see Ephesians 2:1-3) or it trivializes the degree of depravity of that nature. It is Semi-Pelagianism which essentially teaches that man is not dead but is sick and needs some help.

Conditional security advocates may or may not acknowledge that God must make us alive but they insist that we are able to do the rest. Christ taught otherwise. “Apart from me you can do some things”. Not so (see John 15:5)!

Conditional security advocates may or may not acknowledge that God must make us alive but they insist that it is we who must do the rest. They deny that it is God and ultimately only God that causes us to do the rest. They preach a different Jesus. They preach a deficient Jesus.

Jesus ever lives to make intercession for His own. Jesus keeps His own. Jesus loses none of His own. Jesus has glorified those who are His own, and they, and only they, will one Day experience that glorification in its fullest. They will one day say with a loud voice “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain…forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12, 13). The living hope of this glorious truth is but one of the many means whereby Jesus causes His own to “persevere until the end”.-His Unworthy Slave

#112  Posted by Dennis Park  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 8:00 PM

I wholeheartedly concur with Fred, Tom. What is 'blasphemous' is blasphemous. What other words can we use? In fact, I say that conditional security and the likes are not only blasphemous, but it is heretic. After all, so many people have false conviction of salvation because they are responsible for maintaining their salvation. That is denying the Lord and any teaching that denies the Lord and what He has done for our salvation is heresy. We should be careful that we do not mislead anyone.

#113  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, March 18, 2011at 8:55 PM

Agape, in #87.

When you say God came to you, you are speaking metaphorically, right?

#114  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 1:50 AM

I could kind of sense some worrying about this topic. Where does this lead? Someone even asked the question - will this lead to distinguishing who is a Christian?

Another question is - does it matter? Is there a battle building up here? Or is this just a fight for a molehill?

I look at it this way: Who am I to decide what is important or not. (The lesson Job learned)

As a Christian, loving and beloved by God I have only one goal - To Glorify God. If this doctrine is true, If this doctrine is the words of my Father in heaven, I'm in my battlegear like thunder, and everyone opposing that word is gonna see the edge of my sword, right?

So let's see what more Fred have to say.

#115  Posted by Jerry Slade  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 7:38 AM

Hi Tom:

I believe you have nailed the argument from the other side in which I was steeped by my upbringing with which I still have trouble. Your counter arguments to Fred have no scale with which to measure the depth of our sins when we are truly believers. I know that I am a believer but I still sin, sometimes intentionally. Does that mean I have walked away from my eternal reward? If so, how do I measure when I have? I would have to have a list of sins that I committed, with a checklist as to how many times I could do that sin before I lose my salvation. Thank God, He has forgiven me every time, including the times I have come crawling back to Him for repentance and forgiveness, sometimes wondering if He would. Praise God that He does and that I don't have to figure out how to get saved again from the penalty of my sin and sins, when scripture is replete with the assurance that Christ went through the veil, via the cross, one time, to make a sacrifice of His life for my sins and yours.

I would also like to caution readers and proponents of "eternal security," which I do believe in as wee, to be understanding of those, like me, whose minds were seared with a belief that one could lose one's salvation. Almost every day I ask God to "hang onto me and don't let me go." He does and doesn't seem to say "not until you believe 100% in eternal security."

#116  Posted by Joseph Secory  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 8:51 AM

I guess my question is somewhat elementary in it's content, but what if we lived your lives with the focus of making our calling and election sure, rather than questioning the calling and election at all? This debate has separated churches for hundreds of years and continues on today. Yet what if we lived our lives as slaves to Christ and lived in a loving relationship with him in which we knew of our security on the basis of that relationship, and the revealing to that security by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It seems to me that there are many who look to eternal security to see what they can get away with and make heaven. Also there are many who comdemn others with conditional security in order to fill churches and alters. Yet my question remains what if our security was a matter of grace through, all out faith, in Christ, accompanied with good works which sprang forth from a deep sense of love for one's master and savior who saves sinful man from the fires of hell. This devotion is what drove the saints of old, who never looked at what they could get away with to make heaven, or condemn people unworthy of condemning, they simply lived their lives as slave to Jesus Christ, who freed them from the slavery of sin. Are we stewards of our salvation?

#118  Posted by steve stricker  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 2:01 PM

@ Steven #76.......you said.........

"If you're going to go the route of "Salvation is conditional on faith in Jesus Christ," then you're going to get 100% agreement from everyone on this board. That is not the issue at hand.

The issue at hand is:

1) Is once someone saved, does God keep them saved, or

2) Does someone who was once saved ever lose that salvation due to their own sin and/or free will?

I adhere to (1) because it is Scriptural."

I say:

Well I disagree, I dont think it is Scriptural, I think Scripture teaches otherwise and Calvinistic theology distorts the Word of God at many points. That is one of them. I made a big deal about our salvation being conditional because Calvinsm says our salvation is UNCONDITIONAL . Wow really??? That's not what my Bible says. That is a distortion of the Word of God. That is dangerous. Very.

Let's take the "L". Limited Atonement. Are you serious? You want to talk about blasphemy? Let's talk about this. Ok I'm going to ask for volunteers who wants to walk up to Christ and look Him in the eye and say "Jesus it's too bad your death did not provide for my neighbors salvation. He went to his grave denying you ....ahhh but I guess what else could he do he obviously wasnt one of the "chosen". You didnt die for him Jesus. It's too bad for him..........but Im in and thats great for me!! Thanks alot Jesus." I dont recommend that and I would never say that ...... well except for the "Thanks alot Jesus" part but Calvinists should feel comfortable saying that since that is what they believe. I would refer them to 1 John 2:2 and 2 Cor 5:19 and some heavy thinking.

Well thats a start.........there's more. Blessings!!

#119  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 2:33 PM

Steven,

The doctrines of Grace are a bit outside our discussion here, but I will say are related. I will say that what you present here is an extremely distorted understanding of Calvinism, so much so that I wonder what you have read on the subject to come to such a conclusion.

My question would be, have you listened to John's teaching on the subject? If you search "Doctrines of Grace" on our resource page, you will be directed to a lengthy study on the subject that would certainly be worth your time hearing. Not to compel you, but at least inform you as to what Calvinism teaches so as not to make so many misinformed comments.

#120  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 2:47 PM

#118 steve stricker

We have a website here in Denmark full of arguments like that. And do you know what? It is an declared atheistisk site. Evil to the core.

I hope you had some surprising plan doing that?

#121  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 4:16 PM

@ Steve Stricker Why are you attaching me to Calvinism? I believe the Bible, and never have nor may I ever read a book authored by John Calvin. So all your quote-unquotes are you talking, not me. I want to know, HOW is "Christ in me, the hope of Glory" really a hope if tomorrow He may not be in you due to falling short? WHY would Christ tell His disciples to pray "Forgive us our debts (plural) as we forgive our debtors (plural)" as part of normal prayer if compiling too many debts cancelled your relationship to the Father? Just some thoughts .....
#122  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 4:54 PM

When the robbers was hanging next to Jesus. Both mocked Jesus. One repented and the other still mocked him. The robber who had his heart

changed and rebuke the other robber. Then he ask Jesus to remember him. Yea, Jesus forgave him and told him he would be in pardise. Is

that awesome moment, why for that robber confessed, and Jesus did'nt

have to scold him or anyrhing. He forgave. Why, cause the robber said

Jesus did'nt to anything wrong and the robber knew that Jesus was Lord.

#123  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 5:04 PM

# 118 = Steve. The never ending "whole world" argument. Let's be more specific. How do you come to the conclusion that the expression really mean everyone? I am not really interested in your opinion, back up your argument with solid bible exegesis, please?

# 119 - Fred, I was going to suggest the same thing, people really need to understand what they are talking about when it comes to "Calvinism" (I personally do not like calling the Doctrines of Grace that, but I guess it makes easier).

Reformed theology makes sense. I came out of Arminianism/Charismatic/prosperity system. It's chaos. Now my head and what I believe is in order. It's like puzzle pieces that could never come together and all of sudden, under the light of Truth, they do.

# 116 - Joseph. If we should live our lives without ever questioning our calling and salvation, I guess we could skip 1 John, no?

Towards the end of his letter, John says: "These things [what things?] I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13) - comment in brackets is mine.

I guess the Holy Spirit thought assurance was important.

E.

#124  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 7:19 PM

Hey Fred...you seem to be handling this subject in fine order. I would like to comment on this question you posed (just to give a possible answer):

"I will say that what you present here is an extremely distorted understanding of Calvinism, so much so that I wonder what you have read on the subject to come to such a conclusion."

There is a book, apparently widely read, that renders such an understanding of Calvinism as exhibited in post #118. The book is Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler. The counter to that book is The Potter's Freedom by James White. James does a masterful job at describing and defending all of the doctrines of Grace from a proper exegetical position...he also points out the horrible mishandling of many texts presented in CBF.

I urge anyone interested in this debate to get a copy of The Potter's Freedom and see first hand just how such mishandling can produce comments such as those seen even in this blog series. Also, James White has a fair amount of information regarding both books on his web site.

#125  Posted by Susan Pucci  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 7:42 PM

I have been reading your discussion here and would like to add something. The Bible teaches that we are predestined as believers. God doesn't look at our lives in a space time continuum. He saw from the beginning what our eternal destiny would be. He knew if we would be "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction". If you believe a person can lose their salvation you have to believe that God looked upon these "vessels of wrath" as His children and bestowed on them all the blessings given to a child of his, while knowing their fate. Doesn't this fact cause you to question your assertions?

Also, you or I may look upon someone as be saved one minute and lost the next but certainly God looks on them only as being saved from damnation and His child, or lost and going to hell.

#126  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 8:06 PM

Not only do I believe the doctrine of conditional security is false, I would even dare to say it is blasphemous. The idea that you could lose the salvation God gave you slanders God and runs contrary to a number of the Bible’s core doctrines.


Amen.

#127  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Saturday, March 19, 2011at 9:01 PM

Aidan #18- Everything Fred Butler wrote here is both right and precisely right. Well did he boil all down to pithy aphorisms, such as:

Think about that for a moment. If your hope of eternal life is tied to the consistency of your earthly obedience, what hope is that? When you compare your obedience to the divine standard, when you compare yourself with the holiness of God, how do you measure up? A thousand lifetimes wouldn’t enable me to perfect holiness before an absolutely holy God; a thousand lifetimes would only reveal how utterly corrupt I truly am.


The simple truth brings pastoral fire, giving me faith to trust God to feed me this week and find work to pay for seminary. The gift of eternal life truly has such almighty power in it.



If the Lord gave me eternal life, then it is eternal. If someone says he gave me eternal life but takes it away before infinity, then he lied; he did not give eternal life.

If one cannot believe in truly eternal life, then one lacks faith that can save.

If not all men be saved, then not all are atoned. Therefore, atonement is limited; not everyone is atoned.

But if atonement were unlimited, then all men would be right before God, all men would be saved. There would be no reason to evangelize. And when a Buddhist worships a demon, he is as atoned as the apostle Paul. So if everyone is already atoned, there is no need to accept Christ; everyone is already atoned before God.

The problem is Jn 3:16, which tells us God gave his only-begotten for the whole. world, but this word do the Arminians and Pelagians change for "each individual" of the world and from that change deduce that everyone is atoned.

And just as they change world to "every individual," they change eternal life to "revocable" life and God foreordained the elect is changed to "God foresaw the elect."

The pattern is this:

God, the eternal, all-loving, almighty God that freely gives eternal life to them who truly believe in him as he ordained before the foundation of the world, is demoted to be a new spirit that promises the gift of eternity to every individual, but gives it only to a few. And that gift may not be eternal after all, but only for brief, since the new spirit is short to anger and disinherits his sons and sends them to hell them whenever they displease them. In other words, the new spirit lies and is out for your blood, but his Son's blood.

The end to Arminianisn/Pelagianism is the limited promise of temporary life lent on condition that the client always does all he is told. But no one can, and none are atoned by Christ's death, thus none is saved.

#128  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 3:47 AM

#122 Bravo Dan, you found it! Pure grace. That's all.

#129  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 6:40 AM

#118

Theologians and scholars and all of us knows of course, that when you read a verse in the Bible, then it is very rare that this single verse tells the whole story. You must therefore search the Scriptures diligently to see what other verses have to say on the same subject, and link the pieces together to get the full picture. (Find the treasure)

This involves a lot of disciplines and skills, and therefore it is not for everyone to become a Bibleteacher. Of cource you can ask questions to test the interpretation, but when you then see the Truth, and know the Truth, then submit to it and defend it.

#130  Posted by Curt Smith  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 7:22 AM

A deep theological discussion is always good, and it's needed within chrisendom because we have core beliefs that are hills to die on, such as "The Permenance of Regeneration". I just find it odd, and many times the norm that when you find a blog topic such as the recent series on sin, you find very little discussion. But, when we have a topic like "Eternal Security" people by the boat load just can't hold back! It's easier to hide within theological walls, than look in the mirror. Could you imagine the Glory God would get if some of you put the effort of your theological debates into fighting sin in yur life (ME INCLUDED). Looking at the response in this forum verses the Sin Series, it just boggles my mind at times how much time is wasted on blog debates, when the very heart of Christian living is ignored. It's sad that some (I use to be one) can sit infront of a computer and debate all day long, trying to show off their knowledge and wit, but have no prayer life, no passion for Holiness, no passion for the lost, aren't Shepherding their wives or kids, aren't lovingly sacrificing thier own time to server others, but by golly they always got the time to be in the thick of a hot debate. Now, again don't misunderstand me, we need dialog on key crucial issues, TRUTH IS EVERYTHING, but it all means nothing if your life dont match up! if yur kids are disrespectful and yur house is out of order and yur debating on the computer, repent. If your not serving your wife sacrificially, laying down yur own agenda and comfort for her, but got time to debate, repent. If you don't have a church home where your submitted and serving regularly, and sit at home behind a computer for hours aimlessly debating REPENT!
#131  Posted by Brad Rogers  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 9:39 AM

A few years ago I had met a woman thru the church who wanted help writing a book about major bible concepts by subject. She was raised in a Baptist home she said by people absolutely immovable on the stand of once saved, always saved. Somehow later in life she had become immovable on the stand they were wrong. Hours at a time in person or on the phone I tried to explain what ONLY the bible says about salvation in Christ.

Some passages hint about maybe losing salvation if you translate them a certain way. But, why would Scripture hint about direction on something so central to the church? Where salvation by grace is clearly spelled out repeatedly and in the most direct way, a person has to ignore all of that and say maybe something around a corner you cannot see could say you can lose salvation.

But the argument got to Hebrews 6:4 and 10:29 and stayed there. In order to mistranslate this concept, a person has to cover up to whom the text was originally addressed to, and then make sure that only the english bibles are referenced and not the original writings.

If one looks at the setting and the recent events and the REASON for what Hebrews 10:29 says? It becomes clear that these were Jews who were intellectually convinced of Christs salvation, and were being taunted by Orthodox Jews for heresy saying you better come back to the faith you know or you will perish for sure. These Jewish followers had seen and experienced what salvation brings, but they had not given their lives to Christ yet. The text says those who have tasted and experienced salvation and know what salvation is and who Christ is, yet turn away and refuse? Well thats a bad thing.

What some want to do is put the english text first and say it was written to anyone who picks up a bible. With the words in english it gives more leverage to the (false) claim that it means someone who was saved who then turns away. It never says that, and Scripture never endorses that belief.

Its a very important section on salvation, so anyone interested should carefully look at what it really says.

#132  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 11:30 AM

#125 Susan

Well Susan, here is the dividing line i think:

1) He saw from the beginning what our eternal destiny would be, as you say.

or

2) He planned all from even before the creation.

I'm in for number 2, simply because that is what He tells us plainly.

God alone period.

But sure there are a lot of things to study further. God is both extremely complex and can keep theologians busy, and also very simple, like the verses Dan writes about in #122, or the prostitute washing the feets of Jesus with her tears. Vivid pictures that say it all.

#133  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 1:31 PM

#131- Brad, could it mean that some who professes...not confesses but professes to be "saved" but due to no real commitment and due to not truly being converted and so swayed by the Orthodox Jews lost only what they professed to have? They were so close and yet so far away? Just a thought. They had front row seats. They were intrigued. They were entertained but never had their hearts transformed? Hate to keep using analogies but it was at their fingertips. They could tell the story and even look the part but still walk away at the first sign of pressure?

#134  Posted by steve stricker  |  Sunday, March 20, 2011at 2:50 PM

Hmm..... ok that's how its going to be..........Im trying to bring some light in here to challenge people to think and I get called an atheist, and evil, told to read some 50 page tome, chastened for quoting the Bible (#123), told Im mishandling the Word of God (#124). Look it is quite possible I am mishandling the Word of God, that I've made some error in understanding or thinking, all I'm asking you guys to do is show it to me. I will change my position STAT. I want to be a free agent for the truth. The Bible says "Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding" Prov 23:23. But if I'm right, then you guys are the ones who need turn around and go another way. (Repent)

I love what Martin Luther said when asked to recant of his teachings and literally his life hung in the balance, he said 'Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or evident reason I cannot recant, my conscience is held captive by the Word of God here I stand I can do no other'.........you know the rest. That is it! Sacred Scripture or evident reason!!! Show me where I'm not thinking rightly and take into consideration the whole counsel of God. Righty interpret every passage in light of the whole and correct my thinking if indeed it needs correcting.

It's not helpful to roll your eyes and say 'Oh THAT argument again, that 'whole world' thing again,.....ummm yeah, thats what the Bible says. I guess it's a bummer when the Bible gets in the way of your theology. As usual the Bible loses. That hasnt changed any. I mean those are some serious changes .....from conditional salvation to unconditional. From unlimited atonement to limited atonement. Etc etc etc. Those are just some of the concerns I brought so far. So I believe that if I'm wrong someone, some Calvinist should be able to refute my arguments succinctly, cogently, by sacred Scripture and evident reason. I dont think that is too much to ask.

For by (God's) grace you have been saved through (your) faith; and that not of yourselves, it (salvation) is the gift of God;

not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8,9

Yours in Truth, S

#136  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:58 AM

Steve, #134

I don't want you to get the impression you're being pig piled. I responded to your initial comment blasting Calvinism by saying you haven't read on the subject because what you wrote so clearly shows you have a woeful misunderstanding of what Calvinism teaches,

You wrote under #118

Let's take the "L". Limited Atonement. Are you serious? You want to talk about blasphemy? Let's talk about this. Ok I'm going to ask for volunteers who wants to walk up to Christ and look Him in the eye and say "Jesus it's too bad your death did not provide for my neighbors salvation. He went to his grave denying you ....ahhh but I guess what else could he do he obviously wasnt one of the "chosen". You didnt die for him Jesus. It's too bad for him..........but Im in and thats great for me!! Thanks alot Jesus." I dont recommend that and I would never say that ...... well except for the "Thanks alot Jesus" part but Calvinists should feel comfortable saying that since that is what they believe. I would refer them to 1 John 2:2 and 2 Cor 5:19 and some heavy thinking.

This is nothing but mocking. What you represent as the Calvinist saying to Jesus, I as a Calvinist would never say, nor are there other Calvinists among us who would say such a thing. It totally misrepresents what the doctrine of limited or definite atonement teaches within the theology, and you throw out a couple of references to 1 Jn. 2:2 and 2 Cor. 5:19 as if no Calvinist has even studied those passages. Our pastor has preached and taught extensively from both passages and even has two commentaries on those books, and he's a Calvinist. Did he do some "heavy" thinking when he published those commentaries in your mind?

I believe what people are reacting to is the flippancy of your comments, because it demonstrates a person who doesn't respect those with whom he disagrees, nor is he a person who has thoughtfully considered what they actually believe.

Please stick around, because we will be moving along into other areas of this discussion this week.

#137  Posted by Susan Pucci  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 5:05 AM

"I just find it odd, and many times the norm that when you find a blog topic such as the recent series on sin, you find very little discussion. But, when we have a topic like "Eternal Security" people by the boat load just can't hold back! It's easier to hide within theological walls, than look in the mirror"

Curt, the Sin Series was the second time I read any of these blogs. The reason I read it was because as a Christian I'm always looking for helpful information about ways to deal with sin. Have you considered the fact that the reason there were less comments on that piece is simply because most everyone reading the Sin Series agreed with it.

A lack of comments doesn't have anything to do with the interest in a subject. In this case it only speaks to the amount of dissagreement there is concerning it.

#138  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 5:52 AM

Titus 2:14 would be a tremendous help to those who struggle with the issue of eternal security. The text says: "who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

There are some weighty doctrines taught in this short text:

First, Christ actually redeems...He does not just provide a potential redemption.

Second, Christ redeems us, His people, from all lawlessness.

Third, Christ is active in purifying for Himself a people...a family.

Fourth, Christ owns us...we are His own possession.

Fifth, Christ gives His people, through the redemptive and purifying work He alone accomplished at Calvary a zealousness for good works.

Backing up to verse 12 we see also that the Grace that actually saved us, an effectual Grace and not a potential Grace, is also actively involved in teaching us "that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;"

We can rest assured in a Grace that is effective and presently active in our lives!

#139  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 8:15 AM

Fred, For the record many Calvinists I love; Calvinism I dont like, I think it distorts the Word of God. I think it's "another gospel", Gal 1:6-9. And Fred you have to admit that IF and I say IF I'm right it is something to get a little excited about. The Bible teaches that Christ died for the sin of the world........Calvinism teaches Christ died for the elect. That's a big difference. Tell me how you came to that conclusion why did you reject the clear implication of 1 John 2:2 et al and embrace Limited Atonement? And I dont think it's disrespectful to show the implication of your theology.....Jesus taught w stories all the time. I think it is a very powerful tool. I'm a free agent for truth..........show me where I'm wrong. So far weve been on rabbit trails,; Ive asked direct questions and gotten no answers only derision, smoke and mirrors. If I havent thoughtfully considered what Ive said you should be able to easily refute my arguments succinctly and cogently with sacred Scripture and evident reason. That's all Im asking for..........not much.

Yours for truth, S John 3:16-21

#140  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 8:34 AM

Steve, do you know what Calvinism teaches about 1 John 2:2 and why? Do you understand the exegesis of why they draw the conclusions about that verse that they do? Read John's sermon on 1 John 2:2 and then return and explain to me why he is mistaken in his understanding of that passage.

#141  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 8:51 AM

#139 steve

Fred pointed you to the lecture that answers most and perhaps all of your questions in detail. Also those deep troublesome verses are dealt with. It is worth taking the time to read it. You can also search in the Resources for answers.

#144  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 10:10 AM

Jumping in late into the discussion... but perhaps it would be helpful to leave behind the term "Calvinism" and stick to the specific related issues.

Steve (#134), you quoted Eph 2:8-9 inserting your comments to make it clear how you interpret the passage. But your insertions read into the text what isn't there.

Yes the grace is obviously from God as the context makes quite clear, but to say the faith is "yours" exclusively would be to ignore the context. You seem to ignore the "and that not of yourselves." The demonstrative pronoun ("that") is neuter in the Greek meaning it is referring to both the grace and the faith. That's an exegetically driven conclusion, not an interpretation. "Grace" and "faith" are both feminine nouns, so Paul could have used a feminine demonstrative pronoun ("that") to refer to one or the other, but he used the neuter to refer to the entire phrase.

In other words, God not only gave you grace, but your faith as well. Your faith is not your own, you were bought with a price. Jesus came to not lose any of those whom the Father gave Him (John 6:38-39). If the Father gave you to Christ, you cannot be lost. The context of John 6 makes it abundantly clear Jesus is talking about believers, not just the 11 disciples.

Steve, consider the implications of saying the doctrines of grace are another gospel (#139). That means those of us who hold to it are bound for hell. Is that what you're intending to say?

As far as refuting your arguments succinctly and cogently, surely you understand blog comments cannot address all the nuances of a theological issue. That's why you've been pointed to other resources on this website for your consideration. If you really are open to learn, you can read or listen to those sermons (you could even just skip to the relevant sections within the sermon). But it would be poor stewardship for us to go find it ourselves and copy/paste what you can easily find by searching this website.

#145  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 11:54 AM

Gabriel you missed my point. I am NOT saying the "that" is talking about grace or faith but that it is referencing our salvation, that is provided by Christ and not ourselves, not of works..........no boasting.

You said......" Your faith is not your own, you were bought with a price. " You do realize that you added to Scripture there .....dont you? The Bible says not to do that. Im sure you know 1 Cor 6:19 is talking about our bodies NOT our faith! I think it's clear from Scripture that God REQUIRES faith from us......He does not GIVE it to us.

Youre right Im NOT implying people who hold to Calvinism are hell bound, no, no, no, like I said I love Calvinists, my favorite Bible teachers are Calvinists (hey we're on his website!!). It's just I'm not convinced that Calvinism is an accurate way to view the Gospel. And might I add NO ONE has answered question one of Limited Atonement or Unconditional Election that Ive asked. Hmmmmm......... Question ......do you think Jesus came back in 70 AD in the form of the Roman Army?

Yours for Truth, S

#147  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 1:09 PM

@ Rudi # 141.....Where is it???????????????? I found this ........September 19, 2004 | Code: 90-273

Is this it?

Really Gabriel that cutting and pasting wasnt THAT hard....I dont thinks it's poor stewardship at all!!! Rather easy in fact.

I need to know where to go to find out why it is prudent to ignore what seems the plain teaching of Scripture that Christ died for the sin of the world.....which is found in many places and adopt the foreign idea found no where in Scripture that I can find or that anyone else will share w me that Christ died for the elect!!! Crazy if you ask me.

Heard both Dr. John MacArthur and RC Sproul talk about the perspicuity of Scripture ......I think that is a great way to approach the Bible and that's what I intend on doing.

Do you know what Jesus said? He said this in Matt 9:22 AND in Mark 5:34 AND in Mark 10:52 AND in Luke 8:48 AND in Luke 17:19 AND in Luke 18:42.....(think it might be important??? ).....He said 'YOUR faith has made you well'........NOT 'the faith the Father gave you made you well' or 'the faith I impart unto thee made you well' or 'the Holy Spirit will come and guide you into all faith'. See that? YOUR faith. Hebrews 11:6 says there is no pleasing God without faith.

Blessings, S

#148  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 2:22 PM

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Prov 27:17

#149  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 3:10 PM

Steve,

I'll bite. Let me ask you this: If Jesus died for the sins of everyone as you say is so evidently clear, then how is God just in punishing sinners since Jesus has already paid their penalty?

The issue isn't whether 1 John 2:2 is in the Bible. The issue is what does it mean?.

#150  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 3:37 PM

Easy.........they havent appropiated the means of salvation by faith. Someone could give you a gift but if you dont receive it you dont have it and its benefits. Christ died for the sin of the world but salvation is conditional on faith.. What you believe about Jesus determines your eternal destiny and becomes the most important thing about you.

#153  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:07 PM

Question ......do you think Jesus came back in 70 AD in the form of the Roman Army?

Not sure what this question has to do with the preservation of the saints…but I’ll answer it just the same.

Did Jesus come in the form of a Roman Army and Destroy Jerusalem in AD 70…

The obvious answer to this flippant question is no.

Was God behind the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70…the Biblical answer is yes.

Isaiah 45:5-7 5 "I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?

According to the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24

Matthew 24:2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."

Matthew 24:34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

#154  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:08 PM

Steve, unfortunately the "gift" metaphor doesn't work. It's not a biblical metaphor. The overwhelming metaphor in Scripture is that of a complete financial transaction (see Col. 2:13-14). If someone paid your mortgage, it doesn't matter whether you accept it. The bank won't except your payment because it's already paid.

God is perfectly just. He can't accept two payments just because you didn't like the first one.

#155  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:10 PM

I should clarify that the "gift" metaphor is used in Scripture but only in the context of removing works from salvation. Salvation is a gift only in the sense that you didn't earn it, not in the sense that it's up to you whether to accept it.

#156  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:19 PM

The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be—and often is—rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call, the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Jn 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

#157  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:30 PM

Steve,

#145: I think it's clear from Scripture that God REQUIRES faith from us......He does not GIVE it to us.

Did you read my explanation of Eph 2:8? It says exactly what you reject in plain language. It is both required of us and given to us.

While I understand 1 Cor 6:19 is referring to our bodies, I used the metaphor because I think it is quite biblical that any and every spiritually good work (including faith) we express is given to us by God. No one can boast of their salvation or sanctification. We are wholly dependent on God's grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

#158  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:34 PM

Gabriel,

To be honest, I have never thought through before the concept of limited atonement. I have appreciated reading some of the doctrines of grace sermons on the GTY website this week and once again want to express my gratefulness to GTY for making all of John MacArthur’s teaching available. I have a question about your comment #154. I have always assumed that while the sacrifice has been made already, my debt is not marked paid until the moment of rebirth. But are you saying my debt is marked paid even before the rebirth, even though technically I am still dead in my sins? Or is it like put in an account to be drawn on in the moment of rebirth?

Thanks.

#159  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 4:43 PM

Mary,

That's an interesting question--one which I'm not sure Scripture makes clear.

For one thing I'm not inclined to think God has a physical ledger with which He keeps track of who is paid for or not. We do know He has the Book of Life, and there is no indication there is a column for "paid" and "not yet paid".

Because these doctrines deal with issues God has settled in eternity past but works out in time and space, I think we need to remember Deuteronomy 29:29 with regard to how it all falls together in the mind of God.

#161  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 5:29 PM

John Owen dealt at length with the Atonement, the Elect, the Chosen, "Us", etc. His works have the reputation of being irrefutable. Like the work of James White in The Potter's Freedom, which I see was totally ignored, Owen sets forth concrete evidence for a Limited Atonement from scripture and from cogent argumentation.

Here is a brief excerpt from one of Owen's writings. I have linked to the article for the full reading should one wish to do so...I highly recommend it:

http://www.the-highway.com/atonement_Owen.html

“But Jesus Christ and his apostles have, in plain terms, affirmed that ‘Christ came to save sinners,’ I Tim. 1 15; the ‘world,’ John 3:17; that he died for the ‘unjust,’ I Peter 3:18; the ‘ungodly,’ Rom. 5:6; for ‘every man,’ Heb. 2:9; ‘gave himself a ransom for all men,’ I Tim 2:6; and is the ‘propitiation for the sins of the whole world,’ I John 2:2; and every one of these affirmations without any exception or restraint, all being unjust, ungodly, sinners, and men, and of the world, Rom. 3:10, 19, 20, 23; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3; John 3:4, 6: “Therefore, Jesus Christ came to save, died, and gave himself a ransom for all men, and is the propitiation for their sins, John 1:29.”

"To the proposition of this argument I desire only to observe, that we do not affirm that the Scripture doth, in any place, lay an exception or restraint upon those persons for whom Christ is said to die, as though in one place it should be affirmed he died for all men, and in another some exception against it, as though some of those all men were excluded,—which were to feign a repugnancy and contradiction in the word of God; only, we say, one place of Scripture interprets another, and declares that sense which before in one place was ambiguous and doubtful. For instance: when the Scripture showeth that Christ died or gave himself a ransom for all, we believe it; and when, in another place, he declares that all to be his church, his elect, his sheep, all believers,—some of all sorts, out of all kindreds, and nations, and tongues, under heaven; this is not to lay an exception or restraint upon what was said of all before, but only to declare that the all for which he gave himself a ransom were all his church, all his elect, all his sheep, some of all sorts: and so we believe that he died for all.

#162  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 5:36 PM

"Question ......do you think Jesus came back in 70 AD in the form of the Roman Army?"

I suppose you are referring to Preterism or Amillenialism?

At any rate, JM has covered that issue very well in this sermon (part 6 of a series...got to love JM's thorough exegesis!):

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Videos/V8290-339

#163  Posted by Greg White  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 6:06 PM

I watched a series from Mark Keiler a number of months ago. I think it was called "Word Pictures". He went into detail on explaining this exact question with wonderfull detail in the "You Must be Born Again" series. Stunningly accurate from a reformed viewpoint. Completly turned me around as a Christian.

#165  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, March 21, 2011at 7:54 PM

@ Keith #161..........thank you for putting something out there at least trying to tackle Limited Atonement. Having said that I have some serious issues with this .......well first of all I dont think John Owen is "irrefutable"......at all. Holy Spirit =Irrefutable ........everything else is to be examined carefully and I'll hold fast what is good, 1 Thess 5:21.

John Owen makes a very good case for exactly what I'm talking about unlimited atonement .............then at the last second he throws it out the window.......do you see it? He blows it in the very last sentence he says......." and when, in another place, he declares that all to be his church, his elect, his sheep, all believers,—some of all sorts, out of all kindreds, and nations, and tongues, under heaven; this is not to lay an exception or restraint upon what was said of all before, but only to declare that the all for which he gave himself a ransom were all his church, all his elect, all his she