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Can A True Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

1. Classic Arminianism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

“The believer who loses his faith is damned.”


 

2. Antinomianism

  One need not persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those who lose their faith are saved, since they once believed.

“The believer who loses his faith is saved.”

 

3. Classic Calvinism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers cannot lose their faith, since it’s God’s gift.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

  Those who “lose” their faith never had it to begin with.

  God will preserve true believers and they will be saved.


“The ‘believer’ who loses his faith never really had it—or at least it wasn’t in Jesus.”

 

 

 

                Proponents of the first two approaches quote biblical references, but each must strain to explain away the other group’s biblical data.  How can an Arminian read Romans 8, then tell true believers that they may screw up and go to hell???  Then again, how can Charles Stanley read Hebrews 6 and 10 and tell unbelievers who once professed faith not to worry, that they will be saved???  Any true biblical teaching must “fit” with ALL the biblical data, without pitting one text against another and without having to explain away a single “jot or tittle” of God’s inerrant Word.  I believe that only the classical Calvinist model takes into account all of the biblical data.

                Arminians are right when they say the Bible teaches that only those who persevere will be saved, and they’re right in accusing Antinomians of easy-believism and cheap grace.  Antinomians (they wouldn’t use the term) are right in telling committed believers that they are secure in Christ and “once saved, always saved.”  But both of these views are wrong is assuming that a true believer can lose his faith and fall away from Christ.  Faith is “a gift of God—not by works, lest any man boast.”  Paul was confident that, since Christ had begun a good work in believers, He would continue that work until completion (Phil. 1).  John said that those who fell away were never really true Christians, since true believers don’t leave the faith (1 John 2:19).

 

                Scripture teaches that believers must persevere until the end, but also that believers will persevere until the end by God’s grace.  As the Westminster Assembly concluded, Christians might temporarily yield to Satan’s temptations, even to excess, but like Peter when he denied Christ three times, God will still restore and preserve the faith of the Christian, a faith which God gave in the first place!  Peter went on to be chief among the apostles!  Two biblical principles must be held side-by-side:

 

 

 

1.  You Must Persevere until the End:  God’s Requirement of His People

God does not merely command us to begin to believe for a time, and then fall away.  He requires us to continue to believe until the end, living lives of repentance and covenant faithfulness.  Granted, He does not ask for a perfect faith, but He does ask for a real faith, one that produces real, lasting change.

  Colossians 1:21-23

  1 John 1:5-10; 3:3-6

  Hebrews 10:26-31

  Hebrews 12:1

 

2.  You Will Persevere Until the End:  God’s Preservation of His People

We will persevere because God preserves us.  God will keep us from falling—not one will be lost of all those who belong to the Son.  True believers are not able to leave Christ, for Christ is at work within them.


  John 6:38-40

  John 10:28-29

  Romans 8:28-39

  Philippians 1:4-6

  Philippians 2:12-13

  1 John 2:19


 

 

 

                This first set of texts cannot be used to refute the second (Arminianism); nor can the second set of texts be used to refute the first (cheap grace).  The point that makes the two compatible is the biblical teaching that faith (while commanded of everyone) is a gift from God to His elect.  If faith is simply a human action of a free will, then it can be lost.  But if saving faith is God’s gift, then it cannot be lost.  Can professing Christians fall away?  Yes, and they will perish.  Can true Christians fall away?  No, for they are kept by the invincible power of God in Christ. The Bible teaches us that professing Christians who leave the faith were never truly believers (1 John 2:19; and notice the qualification even in Hebrews 10:39).

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15 Responses to “Can A True Christian Lose Their Salvation?”

  1. diane said

    i like your post, even true Christians can lose their salvation. Not all who believe in God receives salvation

    • Scott said

      I think you misunderstood the post. The Classic Calvinist view is the one that is Scriptural. True Christians cannot lose their salvation….salvation is a gift from God and the salvation that God gives as gift He will not let anyone get away….He will see His people to the end. Someone who does not believe in God or Jesus Christ will not be saved…they will not receive salvation. Only true Believers will receive salvation in the end.

      Wanted to make that clear.

      • Aaron C said

        Do some people skip over passages in the bible that warns us about losing salvation? Let’s just look at is in a simple everyday way right now. You’re drowning and somebody rescues you. You jump back in the pool and you get back into the same situation. Are you still saved? No…you lost your salvation. You don’t think that can happen in your everyday life? The only part of T.U.L.I.P. I accept is “P” if it’s looked at in the way I think it should be. Some say it basically is saying “once saved, always saved” but if you have to persevere… then that can’t be true.

        God Bless!!!

        -Aaron

      • Scott said

        Thanks for commenting. This is a subject tossed around generation after generation isnt it? Are we saved or are we kind of saved? I do not believe in the “once saved always saved” theory that has been taught since Finneyism was established in the late 1800’s based on saying a little prayer, mouthing a few words, or decisional salvation, however, I do believe that a person that is truly authenically saved by the grace of God Himself through the faith that God Himself gives us will not be lost. God’s elect or sheep or chosen ones or church or Believers will not be lost…in the end those who have persevered will be proven to have been saved. John 10:28 Jesus says beautifully “I give them (sheep or elect/Believers) eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” He goes on in verse 29-30 to reaffirm this again “My Father, who has given them (sheep or elect/Believers) to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” That is pretty conclusive to me. A Father that gives a gift and takes it away is no father, but God is the perfect Father and what He gies to His Son will not be taken away or lost. Your analogy of drowning and then getting saved and jumping back in to drown again sounds good in man’s logic, but does not wash here…we cannot take man’s logic and try to force it into God’s theology. God and man do not necessarily think the same you know. Our ways are not His ways nor our thoughts His thoughts. I have studied this sunject you speak of here at great length and went back and forth on this very subject looking at both sides, but in the end we either believe in a huge God that is sovereign and He keeps those saved as He determined from before time began or we dont. I believe that whomever God saves He keeps. I am interested in the Scriptures you say we dont read that means a person can lose their salvation. You stated people skip over passages in the Bible, but never gave any passages we might have missed. I can tell you I personally dont skip over anything, but deal with it straight on…I study it in the greek (NT) or hebrew (OT), observe it in its complete context, go to the references from OT & NT…try my best to line it all up with its original intent to see that it flows from Gen to Rev, not by what someone else has said first or inject my own thoughts on it at first…then I go to the commentaries and old theologians on the subject to see if I line up with their thoughts on any given subject. So, I would be interested in those passages, kept in their proper context, that would support in truth that a Christian can lose their Christianity over and over again.
        By the word “persevere” this does not mean we can lose our salvation…it is referring to the fact that a true authentic Believer will persevere to the end. This does not mean we are perfect and sinless, but our heart, which God changed, desires Him and wants to be pleasing to Him or obedient to Him. Ezek 36:26-27 is powerful on this subject of the heart ” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” The entire chapter is amazing, but just the fact that it is God moving us along not man. It is God that changes man’s heart not our decision…a dead person cannot revive themselves. So, when God brings about the salvation He has chosen someone to receive, that person nor any person will change that. Romans 9:15-16 tells us that salvation does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy. He told Moses this very same thing in Exodus 33:19. In Romans 8:29 it speaks of being predestined and I know this is a sticky point for many, but it shouldnt be. Predestined or predetermined is a great thing…left up to man to decide we would all perish, but God in His grace predestined before time those He would choose. So, salvation was predetermined and something predetermined by God is an unchangeable purpose…if it is unchangeable then we cannot lose what was changed or our salvation. Once we are saved we are controlled then by the Holy Spirit…before we were Born Again or regenerated we were controlled by the sinfulness of our hardened evil hearts and satan, but a regenerated heart and ultimate salvation changes all that. I reference Romans 8:5-11. In verse 1 “those” is referring to Believers, so that is who is being addressed there. So, our desires change as God changes out heart of stone to one of flesh so that we can now obey His commands. I cannot believe that my God is so small that He could lose me…my God is far bigger than that, He will not lose that which He seeks after and saves…when He saves you it is done, finished. In the end, if we want to follow your drowning analogy in light of the truth of Scripture…if I were drowning and God came to save me, then He would guard the banks to make sure I dont jump back in and start drowning again…I would not be permitted to jump back in to the deep of the lake nor would I desire to go back and start drowning again…if I did, that would mean God did not save me in the first place thus I will not persevere to the end because it is not in me to persevere, but if God saves me, I WILL persevere to the end. Dont think for a moment though that I have always held this belief…it has been a long process getting to this point, but it is settled within me in peace and I have seen no Scripture in its right context to which will change that. I dont worry about my salvation anymore…I just desire to be obedient to Christ in all things and live a life that is worthy of Him. I fail beyond comparison at times, but my hearts desire is to glorify my heavenly Father and further His kingdom. I have to deny myself daily and take up the cross and follow after Him…in this way I will persevere and this is the Christian life.

        Blessings to you in Christ.

        Scott

    • Matthew7vrs7 said

      If you are truly saved – which only a Christian can be – you can never lose your salvation.
      Jesus Himself says if you are saved, you will remain that way.

      • Scott said

        Thanks for the comment. I believe that is exactly what the post is saying. The authentically saved person will endure to the end…you cannot lose what God gives you from His Sovereign grace.

  2. gmcastil said

    I would argue that the grace position isn’t being fairly or accurately described by the term ‘antinomian’. At the heart of the issue between the Arminian and Lordship views lies a failure to appreciate authorial intent or the context of the passages at hand. In your explanation, you’ve appealed to the analogy of faith, which I would agree with. However, my experience, particularly with those holding to the Lordship / Reformed position, has been that many misunderstand and warp this idea. It’s true that Scripture is self-consistent, but it’s not true that one can use passage B to interpret passage A, when the reader wouldn’t have been able to do that. An obvious example of this would be Jesus’ interview with Nicodemus, where He says ‘for God so loved the world’. Many of the Calvinist persuasion interpret ‘the world’ as ‘the elect’. But based upon what textual evidence? Of course, there’s none in that passage, which is why other passages are typically introduced in order to teach the doctrine of limited atonement.

    It’s also notable that many tend to characterize the Grace position using perjorative terms like ‘antinomianism’, implying that those holding this position are arguing that believers should live a life of sin because our eternal position is secure and that our commitment to following Christ isn’t how we gain eternal life. I don’t know of anyone that teaches the idea that believers won’t be held accountable by the Lord for how we live. But, those holding the grace view are typically brushed aside without much comment, being stigmatized as preaching ‘easy believism’ or ‘cheap’ grace.

    It’s interesting that you raise this point – I’m starting an ongoing discussion thread on this issue at my blog, if you’re interested in participating or following it.

    • Scott said

      I am not sure of all that you have said here, but towards the end concerning Believers being held accountable…sure they will. You totally misunderstood this posting. The God that has saved me, will direct me in such a way that in the end I will be saved. He will not let me wonder away from Him as a shepherd of His flock…He will make sure I stay with Him…now does that mean I cannot get out of line somewhat, sure I will, I am still in sinful skin. This message never indicates that Believers can live a life of sin…true authentic Believers will not live a life of sin (a habitual life of sin to the end)…that is the message…screw we will do, and grace is there to cover us in that, but to go from a drunkard, living with protestutes, saying a little prayer and claiming we are now saved and then continuing in that life style without one change….come on, that is not salvation. Most likely a person in this situation was dooped into believing in the cheap grace or easy believism. When God really saves a person, you will not stay the same…God removes the blinders from our eyes so we can see Him and takes the chains off our hearts so we can experience Him. This is the entire message of Classic Calvinism…much of what you are speaking of is hyper-calvinism which I don’t agree with. I understand you plight here and had to deal wtih the same things, but once I really could see and understand what the Scriptures are saying I have never experienced the freedom and joy of my salvation more. I am to evangelize, but the results are not up to me. Believers are called to present the gospel and leave the results of the hearts and minds that hear the Word of God up to the Holy Spirit…that is His job.

      Finally, you mentioned John 3:16. If you will go to the Strongs Concordance on John 3:16 you will see that it has a specific note at the bottom that “world” here mean “Believers”. Now, I am not totally convinced by that one thing. My understanding truthfully and what has been explained to me in that text is that Christ did die for all to have the opportunity to accept Him…justice has been delivered, but only His elect will accept what was done on the cross. God has a general love for all His creation as He created all things and people….yet He has that special love in His heart for His children that only a Father could have…this is for His elect. I mean we could debate on and on and on and on and really in the end be right where we started. I appreciate your comments. I will not be joining your other discussion as I have been through hundreds of discussions before and have moved on. None changed my belief. As a former Arminian, I do not desire to go back to that belief ever again. :o)

      Blessings to you and yours.

      Pressing on in Christ,
      Scott

  3. gmcastil said

    Strong’s refers to several places where the word translated as ‘world’ is supposed to be understood to refer to the ‘elect’. But, there’s no textual reason to believe that – it’s an interpretation. Nor is there a textual reason to think that Nicodemus in 3:16 or the John the Baptist’s listeners in 1:29 would have understood this idea of the elect.

    The problem that I have with the Calvinist view is that a person can never know for sure they have eternal life. Statements like:

    “He does not ask for a perfect faith, but He does ask for a real faith”

    imply that there’s some special ‘flavor’ of faith that I need to have and I can’t know if I have it until I’ve persevered until the end. That’s dead wrong – people can have certainty that they have eternal life that can never be lost.

    Permit another quote:

    “Saying a little prayer and claiming we are now saved and then continuing in that life style without one change…that’s not salvation”

    This is the kind of false characterization of the Grace position that I’m talking about. I never said anything about ‘saying a little prayer’ in order to have eternal life. Quite the opposite, in fact. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see anyone ‘praying’ in order to have salvation. What we DO see are people believing that Jesus is who He claims to be and can deliver what He claims to be able to deliver.

    Why is this so hard for people to accept? Two reasons. First, it puts us all on an equal playing field – we don’t like the fact that people can have eternal life but then not ‘live as good as we do’. I noticed that sentiment expressed in your post. “It’s not fair that ‘bad person’ has eternal life! They haven’t changed! They don’t deserve it!” The second reason we instinctively reject the grace position is that it forces us to abandon man-made religion, like Calvinism. Sure, there are a lot of Godly and popular people that have held to this view, but that doesn’t make it true.

    “I do not desire to go back to that belief ever again.”

    Understandably so. Doing that would indicate that you were never really saved to begin with, wouldn’t it.

    • Scott said

      I will allow your comments, but they are nothing new or founded on Scripture. Your view is man-made…true Calvinism is purely based on Scripture…if you read the true Calvinism or Reformed Theology and not hyper-calvinism from the Scriptures you cannot deny it. These popular theologians that believed this view is a great lesson for us all…it is worth everyone to listen.

  4. gmcastil said

    Everyone argues that their view is based upon Scripture. I’m not saying that Calvinism doesn’t use Scripture to back up it’s points nor that Calvinists are wrong across the board. The issue at hand is essentially one of hermeneutics – both the Arminian and Calvinist are trying to be faithful to Scripture. Calvinists do this by arguing that a true believer will produce the necessary fruit while Arminians argue that believer can lose eternal life. Arminians are correct when they recognize the impossibility of seeing professing believers in all the places that Calvinists insist upon. Calvinists are also correct when they show that the Arminian approach has some major theological problems (eg, a regenerate man would have to become unregenerate and so forth). Both views are ignoring the obvious possibility of another explanation, the grace view, which interprets problem passages (like Heb. 10, Jam. 2, etc.) consistently and without abandoning basic hermeneutical principles (like authorial intent).

    “but they are nothing new or founded on Scripture”

    In what way? Let me ask you this, what single passage in Scripture gives people enough information to know how to have eternal life?

  5. gmcastil said

    Are we saved or are we kind of saved? I do not believe in the “once saved always saved” theory that has been taught since Finneyism was established in the late 1800’s based on saying a little prayer, mouthing a few words, or decisional salvation

    The Grace position, which you’ve stigmatized as “antinomianism” is consistently, and I think unfairly, characterized as being decisionism. Nowhere in my comments have I ever argued that people who have signed a card or prayed a prayer have eternal life. Walking an aisle, speaking words, etc. don’t save a person. Nor does faith.

    Our ways are not His ways nor our thoughts His thoughts. I have studied this sunject you speak of here at great length and went back and forth on this very subject looking at both sides

    I’m not sure that you understand what I’m saying. You seem to think that the only two viable positions are Arminian and Reformed.

    So, I would be interested in those passages, kept in their proper context, that would support in truth that a Christian can lose their Christianity over and over again.

    I’m not sure I understand what “lose their Christianity” refers to. I’ll assume for the sake of argument that you’re asking for Biblical examples of those that were saved but failed to persevere in good works and died in that state (the so-called carnal Christian). While most Calvinists would be unwilling to accept such a thing as a possibility, Scripture seems to indicate otherwise. Indeed, much of the New Testament is given as a warning and exhortation to avoid doing just that. Consider the following:

    1) 1 Cor. 5:1-5 describes an extreme case of carnality within the church at Corinth. Paul states that he has handed him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, yet Paul indicates in v.5 that he will still be saved in the day of the Lord.

    2) Galatians describes Christians that have lost their joy (4:5), count apostles as their enemies (4:16), placed themselves under law (4:21), used their freedom in Christ to indulge the sinful nature (5:13), and destroyed other Christians by biting and devouring them (5:15). This seems to be an apt description of the dead faith that James describes in Jas. 2:14-26.

    3) According to John’s gospel, anyone that “believes on His name” (1:14) has eternal life – consistently throughout his text, John uses this phrase as a technical term for saving faith. Yet in 2:23 we see that Jesus did not entrust Himself to many of those who had episteusan eis to onoma autou, because He knew all men. Many of the Pharisees had “believed on Him”, episteusan eis auto, but refused to confess Him for fear that they might be put out of the synagogue (12:42). Nicodemus would be the obvious example hear.

    4) 1 Cor. 11:29-32 describes another situation among the church at Corinth where believers were coming to the Lord’s table drunk. Because of this, some were ill and others had fallen asleep. As I’m sure you’re aware, “sleep” was a common term for death amongst believers. God’s discipline of His flagrantly sinning children was sickness and physical death.

    5) Saul (1 Sam 10-22) was a regenerate man that lapsed into carnality and died in that state.

    6) Lot was a righteous man (2 Pet 2:7-9) yet his life was characterized by sin. The last record we have of him is in Gen. 19 where we see him drunk and committing incest with each of his daughters. If Peter hadn’t told us that he was righteous, most would conclude that he wasn’t.

    7) Ananias and Saphira openly lied to Peter and the Holy Spirit – God killed them for it, but there’s no reason to conclude that they were not believers.

    If perseverance in faith and good works were a necessary result of salvation, none of these people could have been justified. There is an obvious contradiction here and only an appeal to a theological system can allow one to bypass it. For emphasis, I’ll repeat what I alluded to earlier. If a doctrine, even one as crucial to the system as perseverance, is to truly be based upon Scripture, then it must pass the test of falsifiability. If one example can be found which contradicts the notion of perseverance, then the doctrine must be abandoned. If it isn’t, then there’s more going on here than exegesis.

    Thanks for the response.

    ~ George

    • Scott said

      :o) All I can say is “What”?

      • Scott said

        I will deal with each of your responses one by one…looks like my gentle answers have touched a nerve here, so let’s look at it closer as I have time to respond…thanks for the reply. I can tell you that nothing I read in your answers changes my position as I have been through each of those answers before, but I must commend your efforts. Have a wonderful week.

  6. Scott said

    Let’s look at each of George’s points which are compelling:

    A definition of Persevere is as follows: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement. (The underlying understanding here is that we will ultimately desire the things of God, wanting to obey God always…it does not indicate perfection by any means though, but to persist in this state of righteousness to the end, we still are holding on to our faith even though at time we do what we did not want to do). Paul talks about this very thing in Scripture that he knows what he should do yet he ends up doing the exact thing he knows he should not do but does it anyway…we all struggle with this, but as Paul did , we as true believers will Persevere to the end…God will make sure of it.

    1) “1 Cor. 5:1-5 describes an extreme case of carnality within the church at Corinth. Paul states that he has handed him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, yet Paul indicates in v.5 that he will still be saved in the day of the Lord.”

    REPLY: I stated in my latest comments that our perseverence is not a perfect one…we will sin, we are not sinless and I have not said that…as a saved person we will always be convicted of our sinfulness though, if we have gone down a road to even greater sin severe punishment may be the key to getting us back on track. In 1 Cor 5:1-5 a man was found in great sin. To deliver this man over to satan for destruction was not to completely annilate the man, but punish him severely for what he had done while a member of the church…very seriously taken back then…too bad churches do not take sin seriously today. Anyway, this deliverence is also an indication of simply putting the guy out of the church in satan’s realm, the world. In the finality of this particular situation the man was not being punished just so he could be punished but so that either he could be restored to the saving faith he has within him already or would eventually be saved as the punishment might be used to draw him to God…draw meaning to violently drag him. In this case he will persevere in the end. Perseverence does not mean we would not get side tracked. You have read me completely wrong to think that we will live an awesomely stricted life without sin from time of salvation to the end…I have not said that. Perseverence is that even through our lowest points, the ultimate end is our salvation for those saved by grace through faith…we do not ever lose that salvation. This man either was not saved at this moment, but will be saved or he was saved, but had a moment of insanity (to me it is insanity to do what he did), but the punishment of being banished from the church will be enough to dring him to salvation. That is what I read and see right off the top here. Nothing to indicate he was saved and lost his salvation that I can tell.

    2) Galatians describes Christians that have lost their joy (4:5), count apostles as their enemies (4:16), placed themselves under law (4:21), used their freedom in Christ to indulge the sinful nature (5:13), and destroyed other Christians by biting and devouring them (5:15). This seems to be an apt description of the dead faith that James describes in Jas. 2:14-26.

    REPLY: It is 4:15 by the way. Looking at several translations it is joy or blessing. I am not exactly sure of your point here in light of the conversation, but let’s see what this says. It does not indicate, again, anyone having salvation and losing it. We all are joyous and zealous at some point of our salvation, then as time goes by and we are drawn into ungodly areas because of a weakness and not staying in the Word we start moving down the wrong path, however, God will do something in our life to bring us back. Again, we are persevering still…God makes sure we persevere…has nothing to do with the loss of salvation. Many have taken their freedom in Christ to an extreme..they trample on the grace to which they were saved by soemtimes, we are still depraved humans not super human, but I do think in the end they will see the error of their ways and come back to live a truly repentant life. As you go from church to church we see all kinds of teachings, hopefully they are consistant more now days, but I doubt it completely. In this time of Paul, it sounds like teachings were different in each town. As some here took their freedom to mean they can do whatever because they are covered under grace. However, Paul is warning them not to do this, not to use their freedom that way, but to use it to serve and glorify God…before their salvation they could not do this, they were under the total control of the evil one, but at salvation they can now resist this temptation to sin because of the power the Holy Spirit can give to them to resist…total freedom in this. The heart and spirit God has placed in the new Believer will ultimately desire to be pleasing to God…I did not say 100% of the time, but the Holy Spirit will convict us of times we have been wrong and bring us back either gently or violently if we need it. Now, in James 2, as James is speaking to Believers probably Jewish Believers from all over the world, scattered out. So, he is not talking to those who lost their salvation or are lost in general nothing to indicate either, but those who have salvation yet may be mouthing their faith but not living it out as they should be in other words they have a useless faith if they are only mouthing it but not putting it to action. The example used is a good one, if someone is hungry and in need of clothing and all you can do is say “I’ll pray for you, go be hungry no more and stay warm” all words but no deeds how tragic, but it happens everyday even among the church today, but I dont question the persons salvation, I question their knowledge of true grace and faith. This was bringing about conviction to these Believers to start getting it right. I like James’ straight forward approach.

    3) According to John’s gospel, anyone that “believes on His name” (1:14) has eternal life – consistently throughout his text, John uses this phrase as a technical term for saving faith. Yet in 2:23 we see that Jesus did not entrust Himself to many of those who had episteusan eis to onoma autou, because He knew all men. Many of the Pharisees had “believed on Him”, episteusan eis auto, but refused to confess Him for fear that they might be put out of the synagogue (12:42). Nicodemus would be the obvious example hear.

    REPLY: Jesus knew the hearts of these people. They mouthed a belief or believed He was a different person, but Jesus also knew it was a false or fruitless faith. This actually serves as the intro to Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus. It is further affirmation that Christ was divine, He was omniscience. Even Satan and his demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, as a matter of fact they know He is from before the beginning, but they will not bow the knee or repent and call Him Lord, but they do believe. Simple believism is not the key. Use John in conjunction with the other Scriptures in the NT to see it is not just a simple “I believe” and you are in. It comes from a regenerated heart, a true repentance of sin, and a true faith that Jesus is a persons Savior and Lord who is now alive being raised from the dead as He said He would. I think John used that in simple terms, but the people understood what he was saying. People today say they believe in Jesus, but they never ever live a life different from before they were “saved”. Dont you think Jesus can bring change in a persons life when true authentic salvation happens? The Jesus I believe in has that power…the power to transform lives to His glory. 3:7-8 are a wonderful example that man cannot and does not come to salvation on his own. As Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel at being “born again”, because just as the wind blows where is wants and we dont know where it comes from, the same can be said for those “born of the Spirit”..God saves who He wants to save and He will move upon them at the proper time. Nicodemus that very day did not believe in Jesus as his savior and Lord because the Holy Spirit had not regenerated his heart to repent and believe. Jesus’ first words of ministry was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 4:17. The gospel of Christ is offensive to many, not easy, very narrow, not easy to believe.

    4) 1 Cor. 11:29-32 describes another situation among the church at Corinth where believers were coming to the Lord’s table drunk. Because of this, some were ill and others had fallen asleep. As I’m sure you’re aware, “sleep” was a common term for death amongst believers. God’s discipline of His flagrantly sinning children was sickness and physical death.

    REPLY: Not much to say here, except that when we partake of the Lord’s Supper we need to examine ourselves as we should daily to make sure we are taking this for the true reason it si intended. These eraly Christian’s who came to the table drunk without a serious understanding were disciplined with illness and some even to death…God used them as an extreme example of the seriousness of this ceremony of remembering what Jesus had done for us. Now, does this mean these people lived like that all the time? I doubt it. Persevering does not mean perfection to the end. Many have died at an aweful time in their life, yet God called them righteous…I cannot argue with God on that…did they persevere? I would say so, God called them righteous, so they must have.

    5) Saul (1 Sam 10-22) was a regenerate man that lapsed into carnality and died in that state.

    REPLY: I dont think Saul was regenerated unto salvation. It indicates God gave Saul another heart, but by all indications it was for the purpose of delivering His people, not to save Saul into eternal life. From what I can tell and even read among commentaries many do not think this change of heart was for conversion, but so that Saul could and would lead God’s people Israel. That is hard to explain, but as the OT goes, what we see in the NT for regeneration was not necessarily the same in the OT. It was like God’s hand upon Pharoah to let the people of God go to freedom…God held back the evilness of Pharoah so Israel would go to free, then to prove Who their God really is, God removed that hand or spirit from Pharoah in order to chase them to the Red Sea and God delivered them yet again, and by that time God had removed Himself from Pharoah completely to the utter destruction of Pharoah and the same is seen here with Saul as he utterly destroyed himseld, God was no longer keeping His hand on Saul. A question, it states in different places 1 Sam 16:14 & 18:10 that an evil spirit from God came upon Saul? That is interesting to me and I plan to study that further if possible (that is just a side note). In 16:14 one commentary stated that this is NOT an indication of one losing their salvation, that it is not describing the role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration in the NT sense. It was seen as the empowerment from God to be king, just like God puts a person into the office as President, which does not mean God is necessarily for that person, but He puts people in power for His purposes not ours of course. We must careful connecting the OT and the NT…it all connects, but sometimes how it reads in the OT may not have the same purpose as that same term in the NT…I have found that to be true all over. It does not mean one contradicts the other, but we must be careful not to just take at face value all the time, but look into it deeper in order that we do understand the original meaning, if possible.

    6) Lot was a righteous man (2 Pet 2:7-9) yet his life was characterized by sin. The last record we have of him is in Gen. 19 where we see him drunk and committing incest with each of his daughters. If Peter hadn’t told us that he was righteous, most would conclude that he wasn’t.

    REPLY: Lot was an interesting character to say the least. The fact that we are told Lot was found righteous must mean he persevered to the end…does not mean he lived a sinless life or a perfect life as we know he didnt. Yet, He must have had a profound faith in God to the end or he would not have been found righteous in the sight of God. God rescued Lot as He does to us all the time, but for Lot he needed to be rescued from his sin. I mean look in Gen 19, God sent the angelic beings to Lot rather than anyone else in Sodom. Also, Lot’s desire was to please God by protecting those angels even though Lot had a tremendous weakness for sin…he was caught up in it, but God spared him and saved him to be found righteous and persevere in the end. I think Lot may be a great example of persevering to the end based on 2 Peter 2:7-9…great example of a Christian life that struggles sometimes even to the end but is found to be preserved to eternal life in the end.

    7) Ananias and Saphira openly lied to Peter and the Holy Spirit – God killed them for it, but there’s no reason to conclude that they were not believers.

    REPLY: They were Believers, but got caught in their lying sin and died for it, but this does not mean they were not good or holy, but had a moment of selfish sin. They did not lose their salvation in order to sin. Again, I have not said we do not sin, but it is the ultimate desire that we want to please God. These two were a threat to the unity of the first church and God would not allow it. This had to happen to keep order. I find nothing to indicate they were not Believers or that they were not found righteous in God’s eyes, but God could not let this sin go unpunished and the punishment here was their immediate death…sounds harsh, but God has His reason.

    *In conclusion to all this is that those in Christ persevere to the end…Lot was found righteous, Saul was not saved in the first place, the man having incest in 1 Cor was kicked out of the church to either get his life right before God again or to be finally saved, Christian’s do screw up and sometime royaly, but in the end we persevere and God takes us in…we do not lose our salvation for a moment. God has placed in us a heart that desires Him when we are saved even though it is placed in a sinful human body that still can sin, but from the time of salvation to the time of death for those saved we will be found doing good for God, desiring after him at some point in our life, and in the end found righteous…those who proclaimed a salvation even went through the baptismal waters and all yet have never done or lived a day in their life for God all the way to the end, they were not truly saved and did not persevere even to the end…they did not hold to the faith they claimed.

    Great and compelling points. I love God’s Word dearly and to have any opportunity to expound on it is a high privilege we cannot take lightly even if we cannot agree on some points of it. You may think you can lose your salvation and I do not. We may never change each others mind on that and so be it, let’s move on.

    Pressing on in Christ,
    Scott

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