Skip to comments.Finders Keepers? - The Evangelical notion that Christians can't lose their salvation is unbiblical.
Posted on 06/27/2010 3:10:25 AM PDT by GonzoII
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"we can't keep the law."
Then you make Christ sound silly for commanding us to to keep it. And I'm talking about the Ten Commandments not the old Jewish precepts aside from the Decalogue.
The "Ten Commandments" are "old Jewish precepts." They never applied to non-Jews, and do not today.
Your words are a perfect illustration of a most ironic situation I have noticed over the years. The more "antinomian," "faith only" a chr*stian is, the greater his sentimental attachment to the "superseded" (G-d forbid!) Jewish laws and rituals, because he finds them in the Bible. The less antinomian and more "action" oriented a chr*stian is (and the more he defends "law" in the abstract), the more hostile he is to the "superseded" Jewish law.
Liturgical chr*stians are trying to have it both ways. If you need a savior, then get a savior and dispense with law altogether. If you believe you have the responsibility to keep "the law," then you don't need a savior (in the traditional chr*stian sense) at all.
Ultimately, as I've remarked several times, all Catholic/Orthodox arguments against Protestantism are Jewish arguments against chr*stianity.
The bible AND the constitution? I’d shake your hand if I could reach through the computer. :)
I learn something new each time too. I could live to be 100 years old and read my bible 100 times and still have a ton to learn. The bible is so rich.
What amuses me is that, after the first few times through, I thought I knew just about everything. I was “enlightened”!
Now I know better. I’m like Job when God speaks to him. (I literally tremble when I get to that part.) Job had nothing to say when God spoke, and I have nothing to say either except that there is only one God, and he is worthy of our love and obedience and worship. And that I love him. That’s all I know.
Gosh, you wouldn’t happen to know Hebrew too, would ya? That would be the trifecta!
This is posted in religion. Why are you seeing it if you are browsing in news?
Once saved — always saved has never made biblical sense either.
Man has a free will and can turn on God at any time.
I have my articles set to “All”. The Religion Forum shows on that setting. He may have it set that way too.
Incidentally, I purchased a Bible on MP3 by Alexander Scourby that is great. Listening to the Bible is a great plus, also, because Mr. Scourby pronounces all the tough names for me, and I can carry it and listen while I drive!
We are declared (past tense) righteous, and we now (present tense) have perfect righteousness before God, not personally, but legally
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress,or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written,For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor power, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height,nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 8:34-39).
Many, many times. Every word.
And I also post a daily thread right here on FR that goes ONE CHAPTER at a time through several Books. In six Months, we have read through several “Minor” Prophets, The First twenty chapters of Exodus, Many Chapters of Genesis, and large portions of Isaiah and Jeremiah. We are Now going Through Psalms, ONE AT A TIME.
Have not missed a day in six months, since it was started.
Wanna sign up?
Every word. All the “begats”, all the ritual laws. I’ve done it about 6 times in about 4 different translations.
It’s been a while since the last time, though, so maybe I’ll do it again.
You can surely "opt out" by committing deadly sin..there is no forcing by God to stay in this relationship. And that is what it is, a relationship with God.
It is more than just a relationship. You become a new creation.
“6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ...” - Phil 1
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL...But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God...for by ONE OFFERING he hath perfected FOREVER them that are sanctified”. (Hebrews 10:10,12,14).
Yes, if works are needed to obtain salvation, they are needed to KEEP salvation. The Scriptures explicity say, as you point out, that FAITH alone in Christ alone is what saves us. A totally paralyzed person can be saved—without moving a muscle to do a “work” towards that end. James points out that such faith works itself out in some manner, however, beginning with a cleansed, changed heart. I have two very close friends who believe that a person can lose his/her salvation. Imagine walking on eggshells every minute of every day, wondering if you have salvation or not.
If you do not wish to see RF posts, do NOT use the "everything" option on the browse. Instead, browse by "News/Activism." When you log back in, the browse will reset to "everything" - so be sure to set it back to "News/Activism."
But, yeah I have, even the ‘boring’ parts like the genealogies.
No one can be good 100% of the time every day of their life because even though we are saved, sin still lives within us. God knows this and that is why He sent his Son and that if we believe that He came to atone for our sins, that he rose from the dead, then we are saved. To expect us to adhere 100% to scriptural teachings would be to expect 100% perfection from us and there is only One who was 100% perfect - and He died on the cross for us.
We are saved by believing. this is not to say we can go on sinning. But kn owing that sin still lives inside of us we are to bear our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him. that is what brings true happiness on earth and true salvation in heaven.
“If the Bible is supposed to be a rule book, why no consensus on what it demands?”
1. “Bible only” (sola Scriptura) Christians (from the SBC to Calvary Chapel’s to the Church of God) - for whom “only” does not mean that the teaching office of the church is not needed, nor that history and traditions cannot be helpful, but that Scripture alone is the ultimate doctrinal authority on earth, it being the only objective revelation which is affirmed to be wholly God-breathed - almost universally do agree on the foundational truths which are articulated in the Nicene creed, in addition to salvation by grace and the supremacy of Scripture.
This unity is shown its stand against cults which rejects the historical orthodoxy as regards the divine nature of Christ, and the means of salvation, and eternal punishment, etc.
And such aberrations are not the result of sola scriptura (SS) but of formally or effectively holding to an authority over the Bible, such as the Watchtower Society leaders or the “living prophets of the LDS as well as the traditions of Rome which fail of sound Scriptural warrant.
2. Both Rome and evangelicals have standards by which heresy is defined, while allowing for varying degrees of dissent in more peripheral areas. Rome herself has infallibly defined very little of the Bible, and the Catholic Bible interpreter has the liberty to adopt any interpretation of a passage that is not excluded with certainty by other passages of Scripture, by the judgment of the magisterium, by the Church Fathers, or by the analogy of faith. That is a great deal of liberty, as only a few interpretations will be excluded with certainty by any of the four factors circumscribing the interpreters liberty (Jimmy Akin, Catholic Answers)
Catholics even can disagree somewhat with teachings of the Ordinary and General magisteriums, while a significant number of both priests and laity disagree with some infallible teachings. They usually just do not leave Rome, neither do they need to, and by this Rome effectually teaches that memberships with her is what really counts.
3. Unity itself is not the goal, and if it were then such cults as the WTS would win, and complete doctrinal unity is a goal yet to be reached. The unity of the early church was of heart and mind, but did t encompass all aspects of doctrine that could or would be dealt with.
And while the Scriptures do materially provide for the teaching office, both in the O.T and N.T,, infallibility is not assured based upon conformity with a formula. The Jewish magisterium was in fact reproved for teaching for doctrines the traditions of men which were contrary to Scripture. (Mk. 7:7-13)
Rather, as seen i Acts 15, doctrinal assurance was realized by its conformity with the prior established revelation of the Scriptures, along with accompanying supernatural Divine attestation, which along with its enduring life-changing power, is part of what often worked to establish revelation as being Scriptural.
4. God could have eliminated any rational freedom to dissent, either by opening up the ground to swallow any who opposed a Moses type figure, and or making the Bible even more astounding its predictive elements, and free from any problematic passages which skeptics need to justify their rejection of the rule of God.
But instead, like a veiled women, God most clearly manifested basic truths, beginning with nature, but only those who respond by seeking and obeying out of a honest heart what they know as truth find the truth that makes one free, and progressively so. And the means which such noble souls prove doctrine is by searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), by which the Lord and His disciples substantiated what they taught, and in adding to a then-open canon. (Mt. 22:23-45; Lk. 24:27,44; Acts 2:14-40; 13:16-41; 17:2; 18:28; 28:23)
This method must allow for those who reject it, while division because of truth is actually necessary, (1Cor. 11:19) but rather that promoting a paper unity based upon Rome’s self proclaimed formulaic infallibility, the authority of very apostles was established “by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,” , so they testified, “by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2Cor. 4:2; 6:7)
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1Cor. 4:20) And while it lacks the pomp and ceremony or Rome, it is evangelical churches, even its current compromised state, that manifest this the most, over institutionalized counterparts.
To help me read through the Bible again, i began doing this a while ago on Christians Unite, with commentary, though now its about all i can do to read the Bible text. http://forums.christiansunite.com/index.php?topic=15497.
Thanks. I have read all the Bible through more than once, and just finished the O.T. again, but my concentration level has much decreased, esp. today, and i do better doing doctrinal studies, some which are here: http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/, to God be the glory.
I am working on placing all of the N.T. on html pages, using the free TheWord software which places cross references with the Bible text, and using the RefTagger in the pages allow you to see verse pop ups. Thank God who alone is wholly good. . Best under Firefox. See here for the TOC and Matthew. http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/New_Testament_TOC.html
And thank God for your Is. 66:2 type spirit! And please put this unworthy servant on your list.
1 1 2 For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. 2 It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. 3 4 You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 7 You were running well; who hindered you from following (the) truth? 8 That enticement does not come from the one who called you. 9 A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. 10 I am confident of you in the Lord that you will not take a different view, and that the one who is troubling you will bear the condemnation, whoever he may be. 11 As for me, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, 8 why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. 12 Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves! 13 For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. 16 I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. 18 But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. 26 Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.
I think that says it all. There's lots of footnotes in the New American version.
What I really was wondering is, what authority do you look to? I’m just curious. I don’t go to the religious boards enough to know the discussion.
It is easy to not understand OSAS, if one is dichotomous in their anthropology, vice trichotomous.
Falling out of fellowship or grieving the Holy Spirit, is a consequence of a mental state effecting our relationship with Him, but He doesn’t cease indwelling our spirit when we are out of fellowship.
Too many people confuse forgiveness with salvation. When we are saved, we are also immediately forgiven, but as soon as we sin again, until we face Him and confess our sins, we are not forgiven them. This doesn’t kill the regenerated spirit, rather we are simply out of fellowship. If we were so killed a second time, then nobody would have salvation, because 1) everybody sins, and 2) everybody returns into fellowship by 1st John 1:9, and 3) there was only one sacrifice for sin and if it were no longer sufficient for salvation, then there is no other to provide for us returning to Him.
James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
I am an (Eastern) Orthodox Christian.
Don’t confuse justification with salvation.
Romans 3:20 -
20because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:28 -
28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Galatians 2:21 -
21"I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
Ephesians 2:8 & 9 -
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Titus 3:5 -
5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Keeping the commandments is important, (Eph. 2:10; John 14:15). They are the proof of salvation not the means of it.
Christ specifically said that he who does not keep the commandments the truth (or faith) is not in him:
John 14:21 - " He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
John explains in I John 2:4 that those who DON'T keep the commandments aren't really in the faith - "The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;"
Once you add keeping the commandments (faith + works) as a means of justification (rather than their intended function of sanctification) you've just slapped Christ in the face and told Him his shed blood wasn't good enough.
True genuing saving faith will ALWAYS be accompanied by 'works' or keeping the commandments (James 2:18.... I will show you my faith by my works). That section doesn't mean we are 'saved' by keeping the commandments, it means we prove we are not saved if we don't!
Don't confuse sanctification with justification. The verses I posted above (along with the entire books of Ephesians, Galatians and Romans) prove your belief that its not faith alone that justifies to be error. Either that or you're going to have to get a pair of scissors and start cutting out huge hunks of Scripture.
Interesting! Thank you for telling me. :) I have never really conversed with anyone of this religion. I am not sure how to word this, but I’ll give it a try...what geographic region does the Eastern Orthodox church consider to be where it originated? And to which Apostle do they attribute their beginning? Also, are congregations independent of each other? And do Bishops serve in the capacity as described in Titus 1? I understand now, what you meant about the church related to scripture and authority. I’m just very curious about details. I hope you don’t mind me asking! :)
If you 'opt out' you were never IN the faith to begin with:
I John 2:19 - 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 all are not of us.
I do not mind the asking. But, I won’t do your research for you. You obviously have a computer equipped with a web browser. Everything I could tell you is a Google (or a bing) away.
In reality, even under the old law the Jews were not saved by perfect adherence, that is, they were saved by faith as well. But in neither the old law or the new law is obedience optional. We are saved by works in the same way we are saved by grace, faith, confession, repentance, baptism, and hearing.
Or do you suppose that someone can be saved without repentence? Of all we must do, that is probably the hardest, harder than probably any other command.
Those who preach faith only need to take a long hard look at James 2, espcially James 2:24 where James explicitly says that we are not saved by faith alone. You must look at Paul's writings with James 2 in mind, just as you must look at James 2 through Paul's writings.
Far too long we have simply pulled Paul out of context because it suited the televangelism gospel of "pray and pay (me)".
That is indeed the error of Rome, that the faithful “by those very works which have been done in God,...have truly merited eternal life.” While faith without works is dead, it is God-given faith out of a poor and contrite heart, which exalts God and debases man, which results in righteousness being imputed to the believer.
As man has a sinful proclivity to suppose that his works will merit him eternal life, or that a faith that has no works will save him, the Bible establishes that one is justified by faith thru grace alone, but not by a faith which is alone.
And it is not enough to simply hold to this doctrinally, as due to man’s Adamic proclivity, the sinner must be convicted of his utter inability to justify himself, and desperate need for salvation. Treating souls as Christians based upon their infant baptism, and fostering hope that the power of the church will help to finally gain them eternal life, is not what Biblical preaching manifests.
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (Romans 4:3-6)
When James states that Abraham was justified by faith, he refers to this fulfilling Gn. 15:6 which Gn. 15:6 indicates was a present condition prior to Gn. 17 and his offering up Issac in manifesting that faith, and Gn. 15:6 is seen to confirm Paul here, but there need be no real contradiction. Paul is dealing precisely with the issue of the basis for justification, that of the merit of works versus imputed righteousness, appropriated by God-given faith. James is dealing with the antinomian misconstruance which Paul protests against in Rm. 6, and elsewhere makes clear that while one is saved by grace thru faith, the manner of faith which justifies is of a confessional quality.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10)
But what if someone is mute? The idea is that faith in the heart will be expressed if it is salvific, and baptism is the initial ordained means of confession. This does not militate against the doctrine of salvation by grace, which some suppose negates any cooperation in salvation, and thus make grammatical arguments about Acts 2:38. However, even in a silent "sinners prayer" the heart/mind makes an active response, and there is no real difference between moving your tongue in confessing Christ versus moving your legs in confessing Christ by the body language of baptism. However, this is not saying that one must be baptised to be born again - Cornelius and household were born again by faith, which confessed Christ, before baptism, (Acts 10:43-47; 11:8; 15:7-9) but that the faith which that body language confesses and demands, (and can be a catalyst to bring forth) must be present, and which faith, and repentance, is a gift of God, (Eph. 2:8l; Acts 11:8) and is to result in being baptized, if possible. Thus while salvation is by faith, and which God sees in the heart, it must be of a quality that will result in "the obedience of faith", (Rm. 16:26; cf. Hebrews 5:9; 6:9) or in the case of deathbed conversions, be one that would.
This correlation between faith and works is the reason why there are verses which seem to contradict the clear and unambiguous verses which affirm that it is "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost", (Titus 3:5) and which takes place upon faith conversion, (Acts 15:7-9; 1Cor. 6:11; Eph. 1:13) and instead state such things as that women "shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety", (1 Timothy 2:15) this denoting the normal manner in which women lived out saving faith, but by no means restricting it to that maternal mode. (1Cor. 7:32-38)
But while Scripture establishes that faith that is without works is dead, and the works here are not simply good deeds, but those which are a result of faith in Christ (1Thes. 1:8,9) and His work as the basis for salvation, neither Paul nor James render the works themselves as meriting salvation, even if done by God's grace, but the faith which is expressed in faith-works appropriates imputed righteousness, this faith being utter reliance upon the mercy of God in Christ crucified, and risen again.
In contrast, as the Bible and the issue of the Jews, JW's, etc. testifies, the normal disposition of man is that of justifying oneself, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3)
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" (Philippians 3:8-9)
Unless this normal proclivity of man is confronted, and preaching convicts souls of their utter inability to escape their just punishment in eternal Hell-fire, no to merit eternal life with God, then souls will find some way of so doing. The error of Rome her (and she is not alone) is that of officially teaching that (nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life." Trent, 1547, The Sixth Session Decree on justification, chapter XVI) and overall effectually fostering confidence in one's merit, and the power of the church to achieve salvation, rather than abasement and contrition before God, and casting all faith and reliance upon Christ and His sinless shed blood (Rm. 3:25) for salvation (which relative few Catholics and mainstream Prots seem to testify they have), resulting in regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and a new life in Christ, and fellowship of the Spirit (Phil. 2:1) with those who do, and walk therein. To the glory of God alone.
Ah, so now you imagine scripture is errant? What do you base your faith on?
See the Pharisee and the tax collector. Which one was really obedient? Which one felt like God owed him salvation?
The Catholic perspective is he( Paul)is talking about old mosaic law and sacrifice as he was writing the epistles. Meaning during his era the Hebrews were still sacrificing with works. A good book is James Akin’s “The Salvation Controversy”.
Assurance of Salvation?
There are few more confusing topics than salvation. It goes beyond the standard question posed by Fundamentalists: “Have you been saved?” What the question also means is: “Dont you wish you had the assurance of salvation?” Evangelicals and Fundamentalists think they do have such an absolute assurance.
All they have to do is “accept Christ as their personal Savior,” and its done. They might well live exemplary lives thereafter, but living well is not crucial and definitely does not affect their salvation.
Kenneth E. Hagin, a well-known Pentecostal televangelist from the “Word Faith” wing of Protestantism, asserts that this assurance of salvation comes through being “born again”: “Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Though much of Hagins theology is considered bizarre in Protestant circles, his explanation of being born again could be endorsed by millions of Evangelical Protestants. In his booklet, The New Birth, Hagin writes, “The new birth is a necessity to being saved. Through the new birth you come into the right relationship with God.”
According to Hagin, there are many things that this new birth is not. “The new birth is not: confirmation, church membership, water baptism, the taking of sacraments, observing religious duties, an intellectual reception of Christianity, orthodoxy of faith, going to church, saying prayers, reading the Bible, being moral, being cultured or refined, doing good deeds, doing your best, nor any of the many other things some men are trusting in to save them.” Those who have obtained the new birth “did the one thing necessary: they accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior by repenting and turning to God with the whole heart as a little child.” That one act of the will, he explains, is all they needed to do. But is this true? Does the Bible support this concept?
Scripture teaches that ones final salvation depends on the state of the soul at death. As Jesus himself tells us, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13; cf. 25:3146). One who dies in the state of friendship with God (the state of grace) will go to heaven. The one who dies in a state of enmity and rebellion against God (the state of mortal sin) will go to hell.
For many Fundamentalists and Evangelicals it makes no differenceas far as salvation is concernedhow you live or end your life. You can heed the altar call at church, announce that youve accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, and, so long as you really believe it, youre set. From that point on there is nothing you can do, no sin you can commit, no matter how heinous, that will forfeit your salvation. You cant undo your salvation, even if you wanted to.
Does this sound too good to be true? Yes, but nevertheless, it is something many Protestants claim. Take a look at what Wilson Ewin, the author of a booklet called There is Therefore Now No Condemnation, says. He writes that “the person who places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his blood shed at Calvary is eternally secure. He can never lose his salvation. No personal breaking of Gods or mans laws or commandments can nullify that status.”
“To deny the assurance of salvation would be to deny Christs perfect redemption,” argues Ewin, and this is something he can say only because he confuses the redemption that Christ accomplished for us objectively with our individual appropriation of that redemption. The truth is that in one sense we are all redeemed by Christs death on the crossChristians, Jews, Muslims, even animists in the darkest forests (1 Tim. 2:6, 4:10, 1 John 2:2)but our individual appropriation of what Christ provided is contingent on our response.
Certainly, Christ did die on the cross once for all and has entered into the holy place in heaven to appear before God on our behalf. Christ has abundantly provided for our salvation, but that does not mean that there is no process by which this is applied to us as individuals. Obviously, there is, or we would have been saved and justified from all eternity, with no need to repent or have faith or anything else. We would have been born “saved,” with no need to be born again. Since we were not, since it is necessary for those who hear the gospel to repent and embrace it, there is a time at which we come to be reconciled to God. And if so, then we, like Adam and Eve, can become unreconciled with God and, like the prodigal son, need to come back and be reconciled again with God, after having left his family.
You Cant Lose Heaven?
Ewin says that “no wrong act or sinful deed can ever affect the believers salvation. The sinner did nothing to merit Gods grace and likewise he can do nothing to demerit grace. True, sinful conduct always lessens ones fellowship with Christ, limits his contribution to Gods work and can result in serious disciplinary action by the Holy Spirit.”
One problem with this argument is that this is not even how things work in everyday life. If another person gives us something as a graceas a giftand even if we did nothing to deserve it (though frequently gifts are given based on our having pleased the one bestowing the gift), it in no way follows that our actions are irrelevant to whether or not we keep the gift. We can lose it in all kinds of ways. We can misplace it, destroy it, give it to someone else, take it back to the store. We may even forfeit something we were given by later displeasing the one who gave itas when a person has been appointed to a special position but is later stripped of that position on account of mismanagement.
The argument fares no better when one turns to Scripture, for one finds that Adam and Eve, who received Gods grace in a manner just as unmerited as anyone today, most definitely did demerit itand lost grace not only for themselves but for us as well (cf. also Rom. 11:17-24). While the idea that what is received without merit cannot be lost by demerit may have a kind of poetic charm for some, it does not stand up when compared with the way things really workeither in the everyday world or in the Bible.
Regarding the issue of whether Christians have an “absolute” assurance of salvation, regardless of their actions, consider this warning Paul gave: “See then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but Gods kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22; see also Heb. 10:2629, 2 Pet. 2:2021).
Can You Know?
Related to the issue of whether one can lose ones salvation is the question of whether one can know with complete certainty that one is in a state of salvation. Even if one could not lose ones salvation, one still might not be sure whether one ever had salvation. Similarly, even if one could be sure that one is now in a state of salvation, one might be able to fall from grace in the future. The “knowability” of salvation is a different question than the “loseability” of salvation.
From the Radio Bible Class listeners can obtain a booklet called Can Anyone Really Know for Sure? The anonymous author says the “Lord Jesus wanted his followers to be so sure of their salvation that they would rejoice more in the expectation of heaven than in victories on earth. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).”
Places where Scripture speaks of our ability to know that we are abiding in grace are important and must be taken seriously. But they do not promise that we will be protected from self-deception on this matter. Even the author of Can Anyone Really Know for Sure? admits that there is a false assurance: “The New Testament teaches us that genuine assurance is possible and desirable, but it also warns us that we can be deceived through a false assurance. Jesus declared: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21).”
Sometimes Fundamentalists portray Catholics as if they must every moment be in terror of losing their salvation since Catholics recognize that it is possible to lose salvation through mortal sin. Fundamentalists then hold out the idea that, rather than living every moment in terror, they can have a calm, assured knowledge that they will, in fact, be saved, and that nothing will ever be able to change this fact.
But this portrayal is in error. Catholics do not live lives of mortal terror concerning salvation. True, salvation can be lost through mortal sin, but such sins are by nature grave ones, and not the kind that a person living the Christian life is going to slip into committing on the spur of the moment, without deliberate thought and consent. Neither does the Catholic Church teach that one cannot have an assurance of salvation. This is true both of present and future salvation.
One can be confident of ones present salvation. This is one of the chief reasons why God gave us the sacramentsto provide visible assurances that he is invisibly providing us with his grace. And one can be confident that one has not thrown away that grace by simply examining ones life and seeing whether one has committed mortal sin. Indeed, the tests that John sets forth in his first epistle to help us know whether we are abiding in grace are, in essence, tests of whether we are dwelling in grave sin. For example, “By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10), “If any one says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20), “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
Likewise, by looking at the course of ones life in grace and the resolution of ones heart to keep following God, one can also have an assurance of future salvation. It is this Paul speaks of when he writes to the Philippians and says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). This is not a promise for all Christians, or even necessarily all in the church at Philippi, but it is a confidence that the Philippian Christians in general would make it. The basis of this is their spiritual performance to date, and Paul feels a need to explain to them that there is a basis for his confidence in them. Thus he says, immediately, “It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (1:7). The fact that the Philippians performed spiritually by assisting Paul in his imprisonment and ministry showed that their hearts were with God and that it could be expected that they, at least in general, would persevere and remain with God.
There are many saintly men and women who have long lived the Christian life and whose characters are marked with profound spiritual joy and peace. Such individuals can look forward with confidence to their reception in heaven.
Such an individual was Paul, writing at the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). But earlier in life, even Paul did not claim an infallible assurance, either of his present justification or of his remaining in grace in the future. Concerning his present state, he wrote, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby justified [Gk., dedikaiomai]. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor. 4:4). Concerning his remaining life, Paul was frank in admitting that even he could fall away: “I pummel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). Of course, for a spiritual giant such as Paul, it would be quite unexpected and out of character for him to fall from Gods grace. Nevertheless, he points out that, however much confidence in his own salvation he may be warranted in feeling, even he cannot be infallibly sure either of his own present state or of his future course.
The same is true of us. We can, if our lives display a pattern of perseverance and spiritual fruit, have not only a confidence in our present state of grace but also of our future perseverance with God. Yet we cannot have an infallible certitude of our own salvation, as many Protestants will admit. There is the possibility of self-deception (cf. Matt. 7:22-23). As Jeremiah expressed it, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). There is also the possibility of falling from grace through mortal sin, and even of falling away from the faith entirely, for as Jesus told us, there are those who “believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). It is in the light of these warnings and admonitions that we must understand Scriptures positive statements concerning our ability to know and have confidence in our salvation. Assurance we may have; infallible certitude we may not.
For example, Philippians 2:12 says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” This is not the language of self-confident assurance. Our salvation is something that remains to be worked out.
What To Say
“Are you saved?” asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic should reply: “As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:58), but Im also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:910, 1 Cor. 3:1215). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:1113).”
You are not comprehending my argument. Scripture is not errant, but James would be contradicting Genesis 15:6 (And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness,” and Paul “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (Rom 4:6) by stating “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”, (2:24) IF that is understood to mean that works of faith merit eternal life, rather than teaching what manner of faith is salvific, that being one which will confess/evidence saving faith, and which works “fulfill” or manifest that he possessed a complete, saving faith.
Romans 4:5 -
5But to the one who does not work(Old Law ), but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,-
Romans 3:20 -
20because by the works of the(Old ) Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the(Old) Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:28 -
28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from (Old)works of the Law.
Galatians 2:21 -
21"I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the(Old) Law, then Christ died needlessly."
Ephesians 2:8 & 9 -
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of(Old) works, so that no one may boast.
Titus 3:5 -
5He saved us, not on the basis of (Old Work)deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Please read all my prior posts before you address me as a staunch defender of OSAS or close to an antinomian. I reject the latter, and can make a better case against the former than you have, yet believers can trust that God will perfect that which concerneth them, (Ps. 138:8) and that is able to keep that which we have committed unto him against that day. (2Tim. 1:12) To God be glory.
As for assurance, God does sanction subjective assurance, as “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”, (Rom 8:16) and provides objective means ( “these things” of 1Jn. 5:13) for the same, and the former is tested by the latter. If one is fully trusting in Jesus and His sinless shed blood to save him/her as an unworthy, damnable sinner, and sees the Lord leading and working through them, with fruits which accompany salvation, and a poor and contrite heart which repents of sin when convicted, they should have assurance, according to the Bible. Rest in the Biblical Lord Jesus Christ as savior, and you will follow Him as He is Lord. According to Biblical faith be it unto us, while God is even greater than our hearts.
But Rome fosters confidence in one’s works and her power for finally gaining eternal life, which is both officially and effectually attested to, typically treating infants as Christians (as do some Prots), rather than laboring to convict such of their destitute condition, and need for personal repentance and rebirth, which multitudes of Catholics have found by hearing the gospel thru evangelical channels, which her apologists oppose.
Be back later.
No way. If we 'are bound to keep' anything we don't need Christ and His sacrifice was pointless (Galatians 2:21). And with that teaching you are preaching a different Gospel (Galatians 1:9).
Being 'bound to keep' anything also returns us to the old law. It is in Christ that we are freed from the law by grace through faith. Why anyone would want to return to the law when we have freedom in Christ is beyond me.
However, if you're going to seek to live by the law you'd better be 100% perfect and not screw up at any point from the time you were BORN. James 2:10 - "10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
Good luck with that.
If you can lose your salvation, that implies that you can earn your salvation.
And that implies that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was indeed not sufficient to reconcile us with God.
Ah, but Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient.
1 John 5:13 "I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
How can I know I have it if I can lose it and how can I lose it if it's eternal. The apostle Paul also states that "what God has begun, He will finish." God began the work of salvation in me and He will complete it. Receiving salvation is not dependent on my works; neither can keeping it be by my works.
The new man created by God in righeousness and holiness at the new birth cannot sin, it is of God. The old man who is corrupt is the one who sins. The new man will eventually overcome the old man in Christ. "Greater is He that is within me, than he that is in the world." It is God who saved us, and it's God who keeps us.
I once believed one could lose his salvation until through study of God's Word and the Holy Spirit set me free from such fear. "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind." I am completely secure in Christ.
Salvation is a gift from God. One can receive it but reject it later. Just as Paul told us.
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
Had I wanted pat website answers, I would have researched immediately. I was looking for first person thoughts. But I understand that don’t wish to share. No problem.