Debatable Doctrine

As in any church, from time to time questions creep up regarding doctrine. It seems that one of the most debatable doctrines in the entire Bible is that of, Can one lose their salvation? I looked at this topic more closely in my hub, Oops! I Lost My Salvation (http://lifegate.hubpages.com/hub/Oops-I-Lost-My-Salvation). Although it is a debatable topic for sure, I will not debate it. The Bible is the only source of doctrine we have, so that is where I spend my time.


Recently a young girl in my church had some ongoing questions about this topic. I am taking you directly to an email I received from her and my response. This may clear up some issues for some. It may antagonize others. Let God be true.


She wrote: Can u clarify these passages? 1 cor. 15:1-2. 2 peter 2:20-22.... Take ur time in getting back to me. Thanx again. :)


I wrote: Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. It's been another one of those busy weeks.


I Cor. 15:1, 2--"Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain."


I know sometimes these verses can be a little tricky, but if someone is really searching for the truth (like you), they'll find it. Like your Dad said, we all have bias, and if we are taught that we can lose our salvation there will be a certain spin people put on these verses to justify their erroneous belief. We, likewise (as believers in eternal security) have to keep from putting our own spin on things lest we fall into the same trap. So the only thing to do is let the Bible speak for itself and with a little study God will make these things plain to you.


There are two main principles involved in what we call the study of hermeneutics (the study of proper interpretation). One is to always keep things in their proper context, and number two, parables do not determine doctrine. Much of the eternal security debate falls into one or both of these categories. That being the case, I Cor. 15 is not a parable, but it is filled with doctrine, so we must first get the context.


Paul mentions that he is writing to belivers (brethren) in verse one. He also goes on to mention that the Corinthians have both received the Gospel and stand in it--the same Gospel that saved them.


Remembering that God wrote only one Bible (in Hebrew and Greek and a little Aramaic) we need to see what is being said in the original language of Greek. There are four words in v. 2 that have a slightly different English meaning:

If--can mean "if, that, or whether"

Unless--"if not"

Believed-to have faith

Vain--Without a cause, without purpose


So we can render the verse as follows:

" By which also ye are saved, [whether] ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, [If not, then] ye have faith without a cause."

The bottom line is not that their salvation was lost, but that their "faith" was useless, without purpose, without a cause. Weak faith is not a loss of faith. I hope that helps.


Pastor


Her homework assignment was to rightly divide II Peter 2:20-22, which she also asked about.


It saddens me to see so much controversy and misunderstanding in God's church, sometimes even to the point of anger over this topic. Although I only considered these two verses for this article, there are many verses that people use to prove or disprove the doctrine of Eternal Security. Let it be known that I do not promote an "add Jesus to your life" message. For someone that is truly saved God's grace is sufficent to keep him as well (I Peter 1:5), and we will seek to please Him as Lord.


On the other hand, if I can lose my salvation, my God is not very powerful at all. It is not enough to know a handful of verses. It is enough to trust a holy God with my keeping. So many of us have faith to believe for salvation, but not strong enough faith to believe God can keep us when we raise our fist in His face. For sure, He will deal with us as children (Hebrews 12:6-9). For sure, He will make every attempt to draw us back.


I think of my own children. They did not always obey. At times there was outright rebellion. They were still mine. Even if I had disowned them, they still would have been mine. Honestly, have you given up on your children? I did not think so. Thank God for His amazing grace that never gave up on me although I certainly deserved it. He is still my God and will continue to be my God throughout eternity. That is eternal security.

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Comments 46 comments

Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Yes, likewise, I thank God for His amazing grace in my rebellion. This hub ministered to my spirit. Thank you.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

FD,

Glad it was meaningful. The love of God never ceases to amaze me.


Eddie-Perkins 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing this with us Lifegate. I agree 100% with you on this; “It is not enough to know a handful of verses”. People seem to think they can prove whatever “doctrine” they have with verses taken out of context. I, like you have no intention of debating – especially online where I am unable to sit down and talk face to face with Bible on lap.

Great hub, keep sharing – we need your influence here. ~ eddie


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

As you rightly assert, revealed eternal truth cannot be whittled down to looking at a few out-of-context verses translated from an ancient language you don't speak and construing doctrine from that limited and ill-informed effort. For me, the eternal security question/debate comes down to what we understand salvation to be in the first place.

Salvation is not something that I have gained for myself by believing and so as long as I keep on believing I keep my salvation - salvation is a work of God done to us, we are not the same creatures we once were, we have been born of the Spirit . . . in order for me to 'lose my salvation', in order for me to become unsaved again, I would have to be unborn again, again. I would have to not be born a second time, of the Holy Spirit, but - I was.

God created this world and ordained the course of man as He did for a reason - God reveals Himself in His creation. Can your child be so bad, do something so wrong, turn against you to such a degree that he un-becomes your child? You may have to discipline him, or even restrict him from your home and presence, but you can't unmake him the person that he is, your son.

It's not a matter of piling up verses and seeing which stack is highest - it's a matter of understanding the whole of the message, it's recognizing the forest that all the trees together make . . . if one genuinely understands what God has done in saving us, if we understand what has happened to us, then the notion of 'losing your salvation' simply makes no sense.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

Genuine or counterfeit salvation?

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

Hebrews 6:4-8

There are two distinctions:

1. Those that are new, or a stranger to the faith, and resist out of ignorance; there is still hope.

2. Those who have been partakers in the body of Christ and "seen it all", but decide that the world's offer is better than that of Jesus Christ's.

It should be sobering that *partaking* in a experience does not equate to salvation. Partaking of the blessings of all God has to offer and then producing "thorns and thistles" is not real genuine salvation.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Hebrews 12:15-17

God knows those who have genuinely repented.

The question to ask is, what has accompanied salvation?

Moving forward in faith, obedience, and relationship is a genuine action of following Jesus Christ.

The Hebrews passages will only bring fear to those who claim to believe, but their hearts desire the worldly way of life.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

just one verse is all that is needed to prove we can lose our salvation.

Revelation 3:5

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

that is from the KJV. there is only one thing that can cause us to lose that salvation...us. we walk away from it by willingly turning our backs on GOD. though it is hard for me to imagine, people have accepted CHRIST as the Son of GOD and their Saviour, then when things did not go as they thought they should they denied both and went according to the lusts of their hearts. you say that GOD must not be very powerful if HE cant save such people...you miss the point of free choice. the blame does not fall on GOD...it falls on the people who made the choice to reject GOD.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Eddie, Thanks for the visit and the encouragement. Eternal Security (or should I say, lack of it) is one issue that has negatively affected my town. People just don't seem to get it. It's the difference of works vs. the free gift--Real salvation or just a head knowledge. Thanks again for stopping by!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Mickey,

you make some very good, valid points. Thanks for stopping by and adding them to the discussion.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

PandN,

Your statement, "It should be sobering that *partaking* in a experience does not equate to salvation. Partaking of the blessings of all God has to offer and then producing 'thorns and thistles' is not real genuine salvation" is right on target. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

timcgaa70,

Thanks for visiting. I understand free choice, but if, as you say, " the blame does not fall on GOD...it falls on the people who made the choice to reject GOD," then those that walk away are more powerful than God who claims to keep their salvation (I Peter 1:5). Also, I don't know of any Bible doctrine that has been built from just one verse.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

tlmcgaa70

As I said, simply pulling a verse from here or there and considering it out of it's context is not a serious and effective way to understand Scripture. The Bible is different from any other book in that is revealed truth - but it is still a book, it used language and argument and evidence, etc, to present it's point.

If I said that Sydney Carton was a no account scoundrel, I could support that assertion with line after line from "A Tale Of Two Cities", I could show you any number of statements from that book that 'prove' Carton was a drunk wasting his life away - however, that would be a very myopic understanding of Sydny Carton and the story of "A Tale Of Two Cities" . . . and someone else could easily show me passages that demonstrate Carton as literature's great selfless hero.

You simply can't reasonably assert that one statement "proves" you are right about some doctrinal point you already hold before you even come to the text. The Bible also says that unless we are perfect, unless our righteousness is without flaw, we have no hope of being with God - but it also says that no one is or can be perfect . . . we need the whole picture, not one little corner here or there to understand the message.

However, even if you want to insist that one verse can 'prove' a point, and you use . . .

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels"

. . . to 'prove' that believers can lose their salvation, then you must be honest about your one-verse-proof-text method. John wrote in Revelation that only those who overcome will be saved, those who fail to overcome will not be saved . . . now, because that is Scripture I believe it to be the truth, but I count all of Scripture to be the truth and all of Scripture must be considered and each passage must be informed by all of the rest of what the Bible presents as the truth.

John wrote that only those who overcome will finally be saved - but in his first letter John, the same author who wrote that only those who overcome will finally be saved, wrote this ~

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world"

I fully agree that only those who overcome will be saved, and the Scripture tells me quite directly that the ones who overcome are ALL those who are saved, who have been born again, who have been born of God. Be honest now, don't squirm to stick to a doctrinal teaching you have already accepted before you consider the text, adopt as your own beliefs what you find the Bible to present as the truth. According to your own proof-text approach, if you're saved you are indeed saved and will finally be saved and cannot become unsaved . . .

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life . . . everyone who has been born of God overcomes"

John even later asks, in a 'what could you be thinking' tone - "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"


"Quill Again" 5 years ago

Morning lifegate... Great subject matter and a lively discussion. We see many who accept HIm and move through life living much the same as before. We might say riding on the free gift yet are living in contempt of the one they have accepted as being the Lord and Saviour. Each of us have Scripture we have adopted as truth in our lives. The word of God is a gift to mankind, thus He calls us to understand and live it according to our understanding.

Salvation is the greatest of gift we could ever be given. We are called to live our lives here each day as though it is our last.

Blessings and Hugs as always


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

QA,

Good to hear from you, my friend. Your last comment is so true, "We are called to live our lives here each day as though it is our last." We need to keep that in mind as we go from day to day, moment to moment! thanks for stopping by. You're a blessing!


einron profile image

einron 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

lifegate

I agree with timcgoa70 and I have also written a hub on the subject of ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED: WRONG.

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/oncesaveda...

God be the judge.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

let me ask you guys this question...do you believe that you get saved then go on with your life just trying to be as good as you can be? dont you think we are actually supposed to strive for that very perfection CHRIST told us to...to be holy even as GOD our Father was. we may never be perfect on this earth...but we are to strive daily to reach that state. in that way we overcome. what is we overcome? self...anything and everything that is connected to self. and i could care less about doctrine. what you call doctrine is not of GOD...it is the teaching of men of scripture and it is flawed. i know what i know because i do not listen to men but to GOD alone, the source of that scripture.


HOOWANTSTONO profile image

HOOWANTSTONO 5 years ago

A very short HUB but yet to the point. It is surprising to see how many "Believers" rob themselves of the truth, by rejecting that Jesus Christ completed our salvation 100%, and he also removed the possibility of losing our Eternal salvation, by his never ending Grace, all in the Blood of Jesus. I totally have strength in just knowing and reading in multiple verses that he is our "Completeness" and we could never attain that at any point by what we do, think, or say. Once Saved Always Saved.

To lose our salvation would mean God would have to withdraw Jesus from us that are in him, and that will never happen. We are Christs and belong to him as sinners.

Peace


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

Those who reject the idea that is commonly called 'once saved always saved' frequently make this mistake; they misconstrue that eternal security is a doctrine invented by men (regularly Calvin is sited as it's creator) and that they 'just follow the Bible'. The truth is that it is observable and demonstrable in both Scripture and history that the idea that a Christian can lose his salvation is the man-made doctrine.

The Bible, Jesus and His apostles, present salvation as a work God does that cannot be undone and the earliest Christians believed what we today call 'eternal security' was simple, basic Christian truth. It was false teachers who regularly tried to introduce this notion that keeping our salvation was up to us, that we remained saved by our own effort, who created the man-made doctrine here . . . and their teaching was consistently rejected generation after generation.

Calvin didn't invent the idea that salvation was eternal, he was merely one of those men of his generation who admonished the church to reject the newest incarnation (Arminianism) of this false doctrine and called believers to remember the faith of their fathers.

Those who imagine that one God has given His Spirit to, one who now has eternal life, can somehow convert back to the kind of creature he was before God converted him frequently hold this view and resist the truth of eternal security because they are troubled by this very question; if when God saves us we can never be re-lost then why would Christians even try to live righteous lives, how can a Christian go on to heaven if after he was saved he continued in the corrupt life of a sinner?

But this is exactly the false teaching the Galatian church was caught-up in - read Paul's letter to the Galatians, he deals with this very concern . . . and what does he say to the Galatians, sounding quite frustrated with these believers, Paul asks them ~

"O foolish Galatians! . . . are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? . . . you were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you."

. . . from the very beginning has had to deal with this ugly false teaching - it has always been with us because it is born in the heart of man, even when we admit we can do nothing, that salvation is a gift, we still need something to mark us as deserving of God's favor and as better than our neighbor, and so, we concoct this scheme and contort Christianity into yet another religion of man . . . we say 'yes, God saves us by grace - but WE keep ourselves saved by OUR obedience'.

That is not Christianity, it is not the gospel message - it is mere religion and has more in common with Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam, wiccan, etc, etc, than with the gospel of Jesus.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

ok...i will not strive over this. go ahead and believe as you do. i fail to see how people who accept salvation and then live life ignoring the commandments of GOD will be acceptable to HIM...just because a person accepts the gift does not mean anything if they cant live in obedience. how many times does GOD say if you love ME keep MY commandments. does JESUS not say there will be some who will say to HIM Lord, Lord and HE in return will say I never knew you. do you not understand the parable of the sower? many are called but few are chosen. just because someone calls themselves christian does not mean that CHRIST calls them HIS. GOD knows a mans heart. better than a man knows his own heart. this is my final comment on this subject.


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 5 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

The Apostle Paul wrote for I know in whom I am believed and persuaded that HE is able to keep that which I have committed unto HIM against that day. So if timgcgaa70 uses Rev. 3:5 to say we can lose our salvation then II Tim. 1: 12 contradicts that and there is no contradiction in the HOLY SCRIPTURES. I believe those who teach we can lose our salvation are preaching heresy and a very damnable doctrine. Jesus said No man can pluck us out of His hands He said I and my Father are one and No man can pluck anything from God's hands. (John 10:28) Sure there will be those thinking they know Christ and are saved that will hear the words depart from me ye who work iniquity for I never knew you. There also will be those in Heaven despite themselves. One's that deny eternal security have obviously NEVER truly studied the Gospel of John or what the words eternal and everlasting mean.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

tlmcgaa70, you are arguing against ideas you make-up in your own head (or hear from others) and not addressing the real issue at all. You ask ~

"how many times does GOD say if you love ME keep MY commandments"

. . . as if orthodox believers are asserting that Christians need not concern themselves with keeping God's commandments - when a Christian asserts that his salvation is secure he is not at all suggesting that he can live however he pleases without consequence. You are addressing your own flawed assumption and not the real point at all.

When you ask ~

"does JESUS not say there will be some who will say to HIM Lord, Lord and HE in return will say I never knew you"

. . . you ask it as thought orthodox believers are asserting something contrary to that, and we're not at all. I fully believe that many who identify themselves as Christians do not know the Lord at all but are merely religiously attentive to follow certain rules and perform particular rituals, etc. Again, you are addressing your own flawed assumption and not the real point at all.

Then you assert ~

"just because someone calls themselves christian does not mean that CHRIST calls them HIS"

. . . again as if orthodox believers are saying that salvation is accomplished when one simply calls themselves 'Christian' . . . and of course no one is suggesting that at all. Again, you are addressing your own flawed assumption and not the real point at all.

Then you say this ~

"i fail to see how people who accept salvation and then live life ignoring the commandments of GOD will be acceptable to HIM"

. . . this statement reveals two flaws in your thinking; first, like your other assumptions, you are struggling against a notion you yourself attach to the Biblical teaching that when God saves you you are fully and finally saved - no one is suggesting (except you guys) that either you believe you can lose your salvation unless after God saves you you keep His law, or that if God really saves you for real then it doesn't matter how you live.

You guys build this false scenario that suggests orthodox Christians who recognize the Biblical teaching that God actually, really does save you must necessarily then promote the idea that Christians can live however they please and it doesn't matter . . . that is the point you guys debate but it is a point you make-up and none of us who understand the gospel message are suggesting for a moment. You never really address what we're factually saying because your busy fighting against your own assumed notions that none of us have even hinted at. I show your Scripture that you simply set aside and then argue against ideas in your own head that I haven't suggested at all.

The other, more critical flaw in your thinking that this statement - "i fail to see how people who accept salvation and then live life ignoring the commandments of GOD will be acceptable to HIM", reveals is this; what are you suggesting makes us acceptable to God, our efforts to do right or Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf? There is no way around it, either you believe the gospel and trust fully in Jesus as your only hope - or you deny the truth of the gospel and, like every other religion concocted by man, you imagine that there is something you can do to merit God's acceptance. As I quoted earlier, Paul asks us "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect in the flesh?" . . . what do you think he was saying when he asked that?

Finally you say - "just because a person accepts the gift does not mean anything if they cant live in obedience" . . . again, as if we were saying that as long as you 'accept' salvation being obedient, keeping God's law, doing what is right, means nothing. And again, no one is remotely suggesting that at all.

I believe that only those who overcome will finally be with God, that if don't live any differently than the world we have no call to think ourselves Christians, that unless we keep and love God's law His Spirit is not in us and we are not His, etc, etc. BUT, here is the difference; you turn Christianity into yet another dead religion of works, that God will only accept us if we do good enough - I believe the gospel, I believe that when God saves us He actually really saves us, He does something real and consequential, we are not the same as we were, I believe we are genuinely born of the Spirit.

Your teaching suggests that salvation is nothing more than a statement we make, that if we announce we 'accept' Jesus we are saved but only as long as we live as we should - if we fail to live as we should then we lose the 'accepted' salvation we once had . . . tlmcgaa70, it's as though you don't really think salvation is anything actual and real at all, merely an announcement we make.

As much as you prefer this be the point we debate, the fact is we both believe Christians are called to be holy, we both believe if a person calls themselves a 'Christian' but lives like a sinner he has no reason to imagine he will be with God, we both believe only those who love God and keep His commandments will be in heaven - the difference is I believe the gospel message that God has given us His very Spirit and that when we were saved we were changed. As the Bible says, only those who overcome will finally be saved and all those who trust in Jesus as their only hope will overcome.

Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect in the flesh? Our sanctification is not our work any more than our salvation was - it is God's work, and the Bible promises us that God WILL finish the work He has begun in us, those He saves He WILL keep. We both believe Christians must be obedient, love God and keep His word, etc . . . the real point of debate is, you think that this is all up to you, that either you yourself keep your salvation or you lose it, your salvation, ultimately, is your own work - I believe the Bible clearly teaches that we must be obedient, love God and keep His word, but that it is God within us that accomplishes this, that my salvation is not my work but His.

The Bible promises that God alone saves and that He alone keeps saved all He saves. Ultimately we're both saved when we overcome and love His law and keep it, etc . . . but in the end you are saved because you were good enough - in the end I am saved because God saved me and kept me. Your account is mere religion no different than any other dead religion of works - my account is the gospel message.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

MickeySr...i think there is a miscommunications problem here and that in the end we are trying to say the same thing, but from two different angles.

first, i do not believe that we are saved by works but that works are...lets say they are an obvious necessary, or required fruit of, salvation. faith without works is dead.

let us return to the parable of the sower again...

3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

it is important for people to understand that GOD is not some article of clothing to be tried on today and if not found to their satisfaction, tossed off tomorrow. GOD is our creator, not the other way around. we take HIM for granted at our own risk. those people who receive HIS word, but let the cares of the world steal it away, have done foolishly. but as you say and as i know, were never HIS to begin with. it is not that i am making assumptions by things said...it is that i am makings assumptions by what i see and hear in todays christians. i have yet to see or hear a christian who speaks or acts in a manner that CHRIST would approve of. they are to caught up in the cares of the world and the festivites of the worlds. what good does it do to to be a preacher to thousands and have not charity to even a few? and that is only one example but since she is a preacher she is setting an example for thousands to follow. while it is true that no one else may pluck us from the hand of GOD...we ourselves can remove ourselves from it. GOD has left with us freedom to choose and not once does HE take that away...and some turn away, if they did not that verse from revelations would not be there as a warning to us.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

tlmcgaa70,

It's a peculiar kind of irony that those who adopt the doctrine that a believer can lose his salvation often come to this teaching because they are grieved by a contemporary Christendom filled with so many who own a 'God is my co-pilot' popularized self-help sort of what-can-I-get-out-of-this religiosity, who take righteousness and obedience so lightly. Here's why I say this is ironic; think about it for a moment tlmcgaa70, the above described manner of Christianity plagues the contemporary American church since, historically, the broad acceptance of the doctrine that a Christian can lose his salvation - again, historically, when and who was the church fully persuaded of the truth of the eternal security of the believer and fully rejected the false teaching that keeping ourselves saved was dependent on our conduct . . ? . . they were called 'puritans' because their lives were so committed to living holy lives before God and man. And before the puritans were the reformers, before them the 12th-16th century scholastics, before them the church fathers, etc.

The eras and movements within Christendom that have been marked by separation from the world and a concern and practice of righteousness have always been when men faithfully trusted that God alone was the savior and keeper of their soul, when they understood that they could do nothing to add one speck to their salvation but relied fully on the Holy Spirit to conform them to the image of Jesus . . . it's when, because of a reasonable repulsion from an easy believing mood kind of religiosity about Jesus, believers turn back to the law and the notion that unless we do it, unless we obey, unless we live as we should, then we can lose our salvation that Christianity is turned into yet another empty religion of works, trusting in our own efforts rather than trusting fully and only in Jesus and then we become judgmental of our brothers and lack the one thing that can really sanctify us and make us overcomers - the reliance on the Holy Spirit and no confidence in the flesh.

In a sense I think you are right tlmcgaa70, we are sort of seeing and saying the same thing but from different angles; faith without works is dead - but it's not that a lack of works kills true faith, it's that faith without works is dead, it is a dead faith and not a true faith at all . . . the parable of the sower is not about Christians becoming non-Christians again - it's about how men's hearts receive the word of God. Only those who grow and produce good fruit are the ones who were genuinely saved, some rejected the gospel instantly, some pretended but gave-up if it wasn't fun enough, and some got real religious and thought they were better Christians than everyone else - none were born again and then became un-born again, again.

And please think about this; you make this statement - "GOD is not some article of clothing to be tried on today and if not found to their satisfaction, tossed off tomorrow" . . . what doctrine promotes that kind of idea about God, teaching that you can get saved but if you don't obey enough you can get lost again, but if you repent right you can get saved again but . . . etc - or the teaching that salvation is God's work and all those He saves He WILL keep?

In my previous post I talked about that no one is saying that as Christians we can live however we please - but that is, in a sense, exactly what I'm saying but you have to understand the gospel to see it . . . Augustine said "love God and do as you please". What you need to understand is that something really happened when you got saved, it was merely making an announcement or saying that you changed your mind about an idea - God actually gives us new, eternal, spiritual life and we are no longer the creatures we once were. The true Christian can live just as he pleases and be assured of heaven - because the true Christian is pleased to serve God and do His will. That's why the Scripture tells us that all the law is found in love, and that if you genuinely know God and truly love Him, you WILL keep His commandments. It's simply not a matter of if we do then etc, it's a matter of all those who God saves WILL overcome, because it is His work in us not our own efforts. The Christian cannot lose his salvation because salvation is God's work and He WILL finish the good work He has begun in us.


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lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

tlmcgaa70,

As I mentioned in the hub, I won't involve myself in debate. It is what it is, but I realize that you seem to be sincere. If you have any questions you would like to personally address to me, feel free to email me. I'd be glad to discuss it further if you like. I want to be a help to anyone at any time that I can.


Eddie-Perkins 5 years ago

Praise the Lord for your response lifegate. How I wish I would have had an elderly pastor who would have cautioned me about debating when I way a young “know it all” preacher. I love your response. God bless you my dear brother. ~ eddie


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lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Michael,

It certainly is heresy. The damage is that by claiming we can lose our salvation, we cheapen the act of Christ on the cross, and in effect, say it wasn't enough and bring him to an open shame.

I think what a lot of people don't understand is that if someone is truly saved, their life will be changed. I was away from the Lord for eight years. I didn't lose my salvation. I lost my fellowship, and you better believe I knew I was being chastised as a son. But I'm glad for His faithfulness to me even when I've not been faithful to Him. Thanks for the visit.


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lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Eddie,

Been there--done that! Glad to have you stop by again!


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tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

MickeySr...one thing i do know for fact, I am safe in HIS hands. I surrendered my will to HIS many yrs ago, and told HIM that if ever I should attempt to leave HIM, please do not allow me to do it as I would not be in my right mind if such a thing were to occur...and several yrs later, I actually tried to leave, i was in a deep depression. i erroneously believed i was a burden to HIM that HE did not need (as if that could ever be!) and i began pulling away from HIM. Then one day i was asked if i would attend a revival meeting with my neighbors. (i still attended church back then) I fully intended to say no, yet when I opened my mouth to say no, yes came out instead, so i was stuck for it, and it was the catalyst that not only brought me out of my depression but made me aware that GOD was keeping my trust in HIM to not let me go.

GOD knows whom HE will save and who will not be saved. so what you say does make sense. now i am trying to make sure it is not just my pride making me cling to the scripture i first quoted. so i ask you...what is the meaning of that warning...doesnt it imply it is possible to lose salvation, to lose your place in the book of life once your name was put there? i am asking hoping you will help me come to a conclusion here.

and lifegate...i also refuse to debate or argue...yet a discussion can often lead to clarification.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

tlmcgaa70, I appreciate your honest and direct consideration of this matter - it's not often that you see someone present a thoughtfulness to recognize that we all, even ourselves, too often practice a knee-jerk defense of what we already think rather than a genuine investigation for what the truth is.

I also appreciate that this is lifegate's hub and he seems disinclined toward the kind of back-and-forth disquisition that you and I are having . . . what some count to be a sincere and useful examination of ideas others seem to regard as contentious and useless debate. As this is lifegate's hub I don't at all want to confiscate it for purposes contrary to his interests. So I will only respond briefly here to your direct question, but invite you to any of my hubs or to contact me more directly if you desire to pursue this further.

Your question, I'm thinking, is on the passage in Revelation that states "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life". My first thought is that we cannot define doctrine from our interpretation of events, illustrations, parables, etc, over what is clear didactic instruction. All Scripture is equally inspired, equally authoritative, and equally true - but not all Scripture is equally clear. Is there an actual book in heaven with names actually written in it, or is the the reference to names written in a book addressing an idea and not a an material text?

I mean, when God says "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life" He is teaching us that once you're saved your name literally gets listed so that if He says He will not blot it out we are to understand that He will blot some names out, suggesting that one who has been saved can become unsaved - or is He simply assuring us that we are sealed until the day of redemption? When we consider that when God is very directly speaking of redeeming men and says "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish", the convoluted interpretation of what the names in the book and blotted out of the book means seems a bit of a stretch to base doctrine on.

I believe our best course when studying Scripture is to take what is directly stated, to take clear instruction to mean what it says within it's larger context and within the larger context of all revealed truth and count that understanding to be the Christian message, and then apply that understanding as we interpret events, illustrations, parables, etc.

tlmcgaa70, I think teachers can pull a verse from 'here' and a statement from 'there' and make it seem reasonable to believe that you can lose your salvation, and as I said, a shallow religion called 'Christian' can prompt us to a sense of urgency that salvation must be more than merely claiming forgiveness and safety from eternal punishment . . . but again, I think the Bible is clear and church history evidences that it's not a fear of losing your salvation that causes believers to walk in obedience - it's a full trust in God alone as your only hope and a resting in the Holy Spirit as conforming you more and more to the image of Jesus, finishing the work He promised to finish in you that produces authentic spiritual fruit in the Christian's life.

Here is the thing - God saves us for a reason, He has a purpose and He WILL do what He has determined to do . . . and the reason He saves us and keeps us is that He is producing a holy family to love and glorify His Son. When we are saved a real thing takes place, something actually happens . . . there are two kinds of people in the world, those who have been born once and those who have been born twice, those who are spiritually dead and those who are spiritually alive, those who resist and reject God and those God has determined to save. The Christian will overcome, the Christian will grow in holiness, the Christian will be refined and presented to Jesus spotless and beautiful . . . because that's what God does when he saves someone - if it were up to us and our efforts and our obedience, etc, no one would be saved. That's why it's called a 'gift'.

lifegate, I hope you'll forgive this back-and-forth if you count it an intrusion, I don't at all want to use your hub for anything other than what you intended it for. Thank you for your patience.


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lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

MickeySr and tlmcgaa70,

I don't mind the interaction at all. I think it's good to examine the issue from all sides. I myself will not be drawn into dabate, and I didn't necessarily mean debate was taking place. I apreciate all the comments that have come in. As long as we can treat each other with respect and Christian love born out of humility, I say, "Bring it on!"

Just because I won't debate doesn't mean I won't take a stand. Without a doubt, the teaching that we can lose our salvation is in error and when all the Scripture is examined as a whole and in context, it becomes apparent.

Sometimes it seems that someone turns to false doctrine and brings others unsuspecting with him. What is necessary is that each individual study the Word for himself as the Bereans did. The same Holy Spirit won't lead two different people two different ways.

I have found that quite often pride can be involved. I hope I don't come off sounding prideful, but I simply won't be moved from the clear Biblical teaching. We know that there are no contradictions in the Bible--period.

As I mentioned earlier I do not subscribe to an "add Jesus to my life" philosophy. If I am truly saved, I don't add Jesus to my life. He is my life. Works won't save me or keep me. That was all taken care of by Christ on the cross. But to say I can go and live my life any way I want without regard for His sacrifice is ludicrous. If I truly understand eteranl security, that should casue me to want to please Him all the more.

Still at times I may slip away from His will. I've not lost my salvation, but I did lose my fellowship. That's where the chastening of Hebrews 12 comes in--and if I refuse to repent I will be most miserable--been there, done that. For someone to walk away from God and not feel the affects of loss of fellowship and chasening means one thing. He was never saved to begin with, no matter how he might look on the outside.

I could discuss this topic non-stop, but I won't. If you have other questions I'd like to direct you to my hub, Oops, I Lost My Salvation at tp://lifegate.hubpages.com/hub/Oops-I-Lost-My-Salvation.

If anyone still has any questions and is honestly looking for answers, I stand ready to help where I can.

Thanks for your involvement.


Eddie-Perkins 5 years ago

Thanks Lifegate, I was waiting for your reply just to say that I agree with tlmcgaa that discussion is good for clarification and I appreciate the sincerity expressed to understand. I also appreciate the humble spirit of Mickey and the obvious way he has helped a seeking soul.

With that said I have seen so many hubs hijacked with debates that the slightest hint of a debate is a concern. I ask people to consider carefully if their comment is positive and if will it contribute or distract from the hub theme. If the answer is uncertain a private communication with the author might be in order. If an honest attempt is made at Christ-like discussion then private communication would be in order. I appreciate you ~ eddie


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Eddie,

Thanks once again for the comment and for the encouragement. You've been a blessing and your insight has been Holy Spirit driven. Thanks again!


Disappearinghead profile image

Disappearinghead 5 years ago from Wales, UK

Saved. Saved from what exactly? Saved from a burning eternity in hell? Is that the God you know? Would you do that to your children? Would you light the fire that burnt somebody at the stake? If you think that is evil why would you suppose God would do it? Do we not have earthly judges to ensure that punishment fits the crime? How then can setting fire for all eternity to grandma or litte Johney fit the 'crime' of not 'having a relationship with Jesus'?

Saved can only mean saved from God's judgement. But judgement has to do with fairness and balance, not a vindictive "burn sucker you had your chance". Revelation tels us that at the great white throne all will be judged upon their WOKS not some sinners prayer or our use of the term 'saved'.

Being judged according to our works covers everything and makes the question of once saved always saved redundant. All of humanity will be judged and the outcome will be tailored to the individual, but the outcome of judgement is always to bring about a redeeming work in the person. That's the point of believing in Messiah now; we have the opportunity to get all the judgement and redeeming of our characters done before we die. Better now than later.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I have read the arguments on both sides of this issue and each are compelling.

My thoughts on this come from a personal experience at one time in my life when I claimed to be Christian and believed to have had an ongoing relationship with God but was living otherwise on the side. God clearly confronted me of the dangers of such living from a spiritual perspective and asked me to choose one or the other. It was an extremely unpleasant experience that included the terrifying prospect of possibly crossing a line. Hebrews Chapters 6 and 10 were relevant points of conviction. I do have to say that I am eternally grateful for that experience, even as unpleasant as it was, as it drew me close to Him and feel that had He not allowed that experience I might still be in that sin today and God only knows what my spiritual condition and position would be today had He not intervened. My assurance is that He loved me enough to give me that space to repent while I am yet alive.

I know that sometimes people get hung up on the loss of salvation and live in fear of doing something to do that. I don't think what most people think might cause that to occur is accurate. And I think the mistake is made that this is a permanent condition while they are yet alive as if God would not grant restoration or room for repentance. But at the same time to willfully live in sin as I was can be riding on the line. I shiver to think had I died in those moments where would I be.

many use that nothing can separate us from the love of God verse in reference to this but in reading it in context with the rest of that chapter it seems that the verse mentions only things in relation to persecution for being a believer it isn't in reference to willful sin. Isaiah says that our sin does in fact separate us from Him. I am not referring to the daily living mistakes and fleshly struggles but the outright blatant living like the world. That dual life of, I can live life on my own terms and have a great relationship with God, kind of thinking is dangerous I think. He said that if He came back and found us living it up like the world does as in partying and being intentionally mean we would be counted with the hypocrites and unbelievers and He would claim to have never known us. He spoke this to His disciples (believers) in that discourse.

I do like however the assurance of salvation and your presentation of it and I believe this to be so in that our faces are set towards Him. I think that we end up in whatever direction we are headed.

I think the assurance of salvation is this that if we do find ourselves heading in the wrong direction that God in His mercy will always honor that repentance that turning around and heading in the right direction. As long as we are still breathing He offers that opportunity. I don't think there is anything that God won't forgive and allow for that repentance as long as we are alive but may we never say "my master is delayed in coming so lets just live it up"

I don't think this negates the power of what Christ did for us because I agree with you that what He did was powerful enough to cleanse us and keep us but I also think it will always be a choice for us. We still have to choose it on a daily basis in the choices we make and when we make the wrong ones and recognize it we run back to Him as He waits with open arms.

I have made many a bad choices in my life and I believe His forgiveness and love is big enough to cover it all. I just don't want to ever delude myself again that God doesn't mind my sin and live as if the gravity of what He did was nothing by willfully living a sinful lifestyle.

A thought provoking article.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

disappearinghead,

"Saved. Saved from what exactly? Saved from a burning eternity in hell?" Read the hub again. I said nothing about hell. That's your take. We are saved from the power of sin and death. The only thing that sends a person to hell is his unblief in the One who died to save them from that destiny--namely, Jesus Christ--and we are all headed there except for Christ's intervention.

It amazes me how people can so grossly misinterpret the Scripture to fit their own ideas of what they think it should say.

I know this may fall on deaf ears, but you really don't understand what the Scripture is saying. If you have any questions out of genuine concern, please email me. I want to show you the beauty of Christ if you would allow me.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

TJ,

Regardless of what you may have gained from your experience, I think it shows that God keeps us and you responded to God's chasening. I have to wonder if someone doesn't respond if they were truly saved to begin with. I was running from the Lord for eight years, but through it all God was working on my behalf.

I realize it really isn't any of my business, but if you would or could share more details of your experience, I think it would help me to minister better. If you feel it's appropriate, just drop me an email, and if not, I certainly understand. Thanks for the visit!


HOOWANTSTONO profile image

HOOWANTSTONO 5 years ago

Is forgive truly forgive, if God says forgive then that's what it is, if he saves then you are saved, if you are redeemed then you are redeemed, all this on the Cross, so how could God reverse this, well he cant because it would be a double standard, and God is not wavering.

1Cr 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Amen, Hoo!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

Hi lifegate, I see my comment was a little lenghthier than I thought. sorry about that but I could mail you the details that might kind of help where I come from on it.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks TJ!


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

Great hub which presents great thoughts to ponder on. I believe in eternal security for the genuine and true christians. If you are a true born again regenerated believer you will always choose to remain in the center of God's will.As it is written. "They went away from us because they were not among us." Thank you for sharing this timeless truth. May you be blessed today and always. Best regards.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Cristian,

Thanks for stopping by, and all I can say to your comment is "Amen!" God's Word is clear if we allow it to be.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I went away, sort of. Our church was famous during the renewal movement (if you know what that was), speakers clamored to come. There I was in the trenches. The work was going well and His favor was on us. It was like walking through walls. We couldn't be stopped. We were counting coup with the enemy every day.

The Church split, just like several others in town. I tried to reason with the leadership on both sides. I know they didn't hear the Lord. Meanwhile, the work was not supported and died on the vine. The central Baptismal even had a sign . . ."closed". I stuck it out to the bitter end. It was like a bad dream and I couldn't wake up. One Sunday service, the self appointed preacher was talking about how we aren't moved by the Spirit like men of old. Before I knew it, I was out of my seat. I tore the closed sign off the stairs and threw it out the back door. I climbed the stairs and ripped off the plywood covering he Baptismal that had been blocking entry for so long. I flung it across the room knocking down the empty chairs on that side of the sanctuary. All the while I was admonishing what was left of the congregation that we had forgotten why we were there and how we were off task for the will of the Lord. No one tried to stop me as I stomped out the front door. Later in the week, I went to a customary meeting and was told to leave and never come back. The police would be called if I did.

I complied. I have tried to attend other Churches, but it is no use. That is where I should serve. The work is dead on the vine. I am tired.

Debate doctrine. If anyone reads these comments and comes to me worried about losing their salvation . . . I will say that God does not want you to respond from fear. "Perfect Love casts out fear." No one can snatch you from his hand.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

WD--Amen!!


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

Amen?! I guess I made the prayer list then.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Interesting comments this hub has generated. I would like to look them over more closely because it can be good to try to understand where people's thinking is coming from.

It's so easy to pick a few passages rather than take the time to examine the whole counsel of God's Word on a topic. Not everyone is able to do that, but we can look for input from people who have done so historically or are able to do so now, and the proof of their faithfulness to God's Word is in an obvious willingness to prayerfully let Scripture examine and prove itself from start to finish.

How blessed and good it is to know God through the Christ according to His Word, and to take Him at His Word, resting in the fact that once we are His in His Son who is very God Himself, neither life nor death, nor any other thing can separate us from His perfect love, and then to walk in the new life He gives--secure in the growing knowledge that every day of our earthly pilgrimage is a day that we need the Lord's cleansing power that God worked in us with our faith in Jesus.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

RT,

Thanks for the comment and for adding to the discussion. I love your last paragraph. Hope all is well!

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