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Monday, August 6, 2012

Salvation is Secure, The LORD Promises

I had to share this wonderful article by Darci Escandon. In response to some scripture being used to support "loss of salvation".

The LORD told me early on, "I will NEVER LEAVE you Shawn, you can trust me...."

Response to the idea of loosing salvation
By Darci Escandon in Ps139 for our Ps139 group of edifiers

Hebrews 10:26-31  “26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  The author is talking about people who deliberately refuse God’s invitation. He is talking about people who refuse to get to know God. He is talking about everyone who refuses the gift of the Holy Spirit and Salvation.

Rev 3:5 “5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” This has nothing to do with apostasy. All this verse is talking about is that people whose names are written in the book of life will get into Heaven. The names of all believers are registered in this book.

17:8  “8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.” This verse says that people who didn’t know God, will not have their name in the book of life. It has nothing to do with apostasy. If you do not know God and He does not know you, you won’t get into Heaven.

Proverbs 26:11  “11 As a dog returns to its vomit,  so fools repeat their folly.” The first line of this saying is quoted in 2 Peter 2:22. Like a dog that returns to his vomit: It is known everywhere that after vomiting a dog will lap up its vomit. So returns to his vomit means “eats its vomit again.” Is a fool that repeats his folly: The fool does not learn from his foolish errors but rather repeats the same foolishness over and over. The comparison is between the dog repeating the eating of its vomit and the fool repeating his mistakes. In translation it may be necessary to say, for example, “Fools always repeat their mistakes like dogs always eat their vomit.” [1]

To lose your salvation is called Apostasy. the Greek root of the word ‘apostasy’ is used for Paul’s alleged rejection of Moses and, in 2 Thess. 2:3, for an expected rebellion before the end.

First of all, the idea of apostasy or the loss of salvation stems from the Arminian view. They cite that many of their examples such as Judas, Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:16-18), Demas (2 Tim. 4:-10); the False teachers and those who follow them (2 Peter 2:1-2) as examples of people who had faith at one time and then lost it. As Armenian’s and those that belive that you can loose your salvation see it, only a most contrive line of reasoning can explain away the obvious impression that these individuals were actual believers who departed from their faith.  Note that the Arminans used two basic methods to formulate their view. First, they focus on didactic passages that apparently teach that it is possible to apostasize. Second, the point to historical phenomena, biblical narratives that tell of specific people who appartnly did fall away. When the author directly interprets what occurred (e.g. when Paul asserts that Hymenaeus and Alexander have made shipwreck of their faith), however, these particular passages are actually functioning as didactic material.

In addition to biblical examples, Arminians also point to various extrabibilical cases of persons from history or from their current experience who at one timegave every appearance of being regenerate yet subsequently abandoned any semblance of the Christian faith. In these caes, of course. The line of arbument is based on experiential phenomena rather than biblical teaching. [2]

Let’s explore the true biblical teaching. John 10:27-30  constitutes a powerful decloration of sercuritu. Verse 28 is especially emphatic: “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” In the clause “and they shall perish” John uses the double negative (ou me greek) with the aorist subjunctive, which is a very emphatic way of declaring that something will not happen in the future. Jesus is categorically excluding the slightest chance of an apostasy by His sheep. A literal translation of this from Greek would be “They shall not, repreat, shall not every perish in the slightest”.

Now, as for Hebrews 6:4-6 , this passage warns the Christian Jews that if they returned to Jewish customs and beliefs, they would not go to Heaven and were cutting themselves off from God’s forgiveness. Verse 6 points to the Hewbrew Christians returning to Judiasim and thus, committing apostasy. The writer is warning against the hardness of heart that would make repentance inconvievable for the sinner and would cause the person to renounce Christ. Those who fall away cannot be restored so long as they persist in their flagrant and public rejection of Christ. The subject of ἀνακαινίζω (anakainizō, in this context, “to cause to change to a previous, preferable state”45) is not identified and could be either God (the convicting ministry of his Spirit), other Christians seeking to “restore”(RSV) their fallen brother or sister, or both. Regardless of the agent and in spite of persistency in the effort (the writer shifts from past oriented aorist tense forms to the present, continual, tense here), the word impossible (v. 4) makes it clear that in their present condition they will not respond. It is important that we consider the nature of that condition and precisely what is described as impossible.

What is their condition? The last part of v. 6 describes the degree to which their lives have actually turned in the opposite direction—they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Just how they do so is not specified. Perhaps upon their rejection of the Christ they once embraced they have come to engage in active and public opposition to his gospel, perhaps their return to an open lifestyle of sin and immorality cause the gospel to be disgraced or both. Regardless, the outcome is the same. It is clear, in a public sense for all to see and know, that they no longer regard Jesus as the Savior crucified for their sins. Their rejection is so extreme that it is as if they were nailing him to the cross all over again. There is nothing in these verses to suggest that the atonement which Jesus accomplished at the cross does not apply to the future sins of those who remain within their covenant relationship with God, repentant and grateful for the sacrifice made by their Savior. Those described here refuse to repent and have decided to reject him. This resembles closely the description of a clear and final rejection of Christ described by Peter (2 Pet 2:20–22).[3]

These verses are also suggestive as to how we see ourselves and others. Many want to know, “have I committed apostasy and am I therefore beyond the grasp of God’s grace?” The answer suggested here is that the only people beyond the grasp of God’s grace are those who wish to be. Anyone who is willing to repent—probably anyone who cares enough to ask the question—can be restored to his or her relationship to God on that condition. As to whether others around us are in such an “apostate” condition is a decision that should be left to God since any decision to repent places a person outside of the class described here and we can never be sure whether or not a person will someday make that decision. Our most appropriate response is to never give up in our efforts to restore them and allow God to make, “in the end,” the decision about their eternal fate.[4]

God is the only one that can give and take away salvation. Salvation is granted when we believe with our whole hearts that we need God, that Jesus is who He says He is, That He will come again. In fact, I just wrote a piece in EHP regarding salvation. Salvation is not granted based upon our sins or our good deeds.

Now, that does not mean that He will not hold us accountable on judgment day for our choices. There is a great division in the church about Salvation...who can be saved, how people can be saved, how people stayed saved.We have to exercise extreme caution when we want to use a verse to illustrate a point. It is with great understanding that we must understand who and what the audience was that the writer was addressing. In this case, Paul was addressing the church in Corinth. The church was headed in the wrong direction. Paul was not addressing salvation or the loss of it, rather, he was addressing the fact that the church seemed to not care about their choices. In other words, people in this world even today, are only sorry for getting caught when sinning, or the effects of their sins, but not at all for committing them.

The notes in the NIV Study bible say this “Compare Peter’s remores and repentance with Judas’s bitterness and act of suicide. Both disowned Christ. One repented and was restored to faith and service, the other took his own life. The message of 2 Corinthians 7:10 needs to be looked at in the context it was written. It is apart of verses 5-19. This section was Paul feeling Joy over Titus’s report. Paul had waited anxiously for Titus to bring information about the response of the Corinthians to his strongly worded letter (1 Cornthians). Would they reject the letter and their apostle? Would God use Paul S words to change the Corinthians? Paul rejoiced when Titus told him that God had used his strong words to bring about repentance in the Corinthians. He affirmed his unchanged devotion for the Corinthians and expressed confidence in them (7:12-16) . It is apparent, in verses 9 through 16 that God's hand was evident in the church's response. They had become sorrowful as God intended (v. 9). The phrase is literally "grieved according to God" (elyphthete kata theon). But what does this mean? Renderings include "sadness . . . used by God" (TEV), "suffering that God approves" (JB), "made sorry after a godly manner" (KJV, NKJV) and "as God would have had you sorry" (Phillips). The NASB's "made sorrowful according to the will of God" or the NIV's became sorrowful as God intended is probably the sense here.

The kind of sorrow that God intends results in a change of heart: Your sorrow led you to repentance (v. 9). This is the third reason Paul can be happy. The Corinthians did not merely regret what they had done but repented of it (v. 9). Metanoia (repentance)denotes not just a change of mind about something but a reorientation of the whole person (Goetzmann 1975:357-58). Judas felt remorse for what he had done in betraying Jesus to the authorities (metameletheis, Mt 27:3), but his remorse did not issue in repentance. Repentance, to be sure, involves a recognition that a wrong has been committed. The Corinthians, when confronted with their failure to defend Paul in the face of his detractors, felt sorry for the pain they had caused him. This is remorse. But repentance goes further. It not only recognizes the wrong committed but also seeks to rectify it. This the Corinthians did by admitting their blame and by punishing the offender (2:6; 7:11).

So, please, when you use a verse to support your thought, make sure you understand the context in which it was written and audience to which it is written to. As for using Hebrews 6:4 to back up the idea that believers will loose their faith is preposterous. A true believer will not abandon Christianity. True believers will endure their commitment to Christ because God will preserve them by His power (1 Peter 1:5). Remember, the moment a professing believer abandons Christianity, they reveal that their faith was not real. The distinctive evidence in true Christianity is endurance (Hebrews 3:14)

[1] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 562-63.

[2] Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Pp. 1001-1002

45 So Louw and Nida (p. 157) who point out that in other contexts forms of the word can mean “to cause something to become new and different, with the implication of becoming superior” (cf. 2 Cor 4:16 and Col 3:10 where ἀνακαινόω appears and Rom 12:2 and Titus 3:5 where ἀνακαινωσις is used). ̣Ανακαινίζω appears only here in the NT.

RSV Revised Standard Version

[3] James Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse, Hebrews, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1997), Heb 6:3.

[4] James Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse, Hebrews, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1997), Heb 6:3.

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