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Losing Your Salvation – Part 6
- What (so-called) biblically-based, Evangelical churches (and Christians) believe and teach = The false doctrines of Eternal Security, Perseverance of the Saints or “Once Saved, Always Saved”: Those who are truly saved (the elect), can/will never lose their salvation.
- What Moses, Jesus, Paul, the author of Hebrews, Peter, James, Jude and John believed and taught = Legitimately saved people or true Christians can (and will) lose their salvation if they do not continue in faith and faithful obedience.
(Discussed: Deu 29:18-20, 32:5; Mat 6:14-15, 8:11-12; Rom 11:17-22; 1Co 9:24-10:12; Gal 5:4; Phi 2:12-16; Col 1:21-23; 1Th 1:4 w/3:1-5; 1Ti 1:18-20; Heb 6:4-9, 10:19-30; Jam 5:19-20; 2Pe 2:20-21; Jud 1:3-5; Rev 3:5, 22:19; Additional passages to consider: Psa 50:14-23, 51:11-12; Eze 33:13; Amo 5:21-27; Mat 25:24-27; Luk 19:24-26; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:1-10; Heb 3:12-4:11; Jam 2:14-26; 2Pe 3:14-17; 2Jo 1:8)
The doctrine of the Loss Of Salvation has always been (and continues to be) the majority historical position among those professing to be Christians in the world. It wasn’t until the 16th century and the Reformers (or more specifically, John Calvin) that anyone believed (or taught) salvation was eternally secure (or couldn’t be lost). Even some of the Reformers rejected this doctrine. For example, Luther – the “Father of the Reformation”, believed apostasy was real and Christians could therefore lose their salvation. Consider his comments on Galatians 5:4:
“Verse 4, ‘Ye are fallen from grace.’ That means you are no longer in the kingdom or condition of grace. When a person on board ship falls into the sea and is drowned it makes no difference from which end or side of the ship he falls into the water. Those who fall from grace perish no matter how they go about it. … The words, ‘Ye are fallen from grace,’ must not be taken lightly. They are important. To fall from grace means to lose the atonement, the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness, liberty, and life which Jesus has merited for us by His death and resurrection. To lose the grace of God means to gain the wrath and judgment of God, death, the bondage of the devil, and everlasting condemnation.” (Commentary on Galatians)
This was also true of the Reformers “patron” Church Father – Augustine. He not only taught loss of salvation but rejected the idea that someone was a false Christian if they went apostate:
“If, however, being already regenerate and justified, [a Christian] relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, ‘I have not received’, because of his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God, that he had received.” – Augustine (Treaties on Rebuke and Grace)
- Why (so-called) biblically-based, Evangelical churches (and Christians) believe and teach that you cannot lose your salvation=
B/C they erroneously believe that in relation to salvation the bible teaches: The Godhead does it all – including Christ covering it all, which means all that God gives to us in salvation is irreversible.
3.1. The Godhead does it all…
From beginning to end, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (i.e. the Trinity) are the only ones working to secure the conditions of our salvation. The Godhead is the only truly responsible party – or the only ones with real obligations, in relation to our salvation. Salvation is all of God or all of grace – we contribute nothing. Which means that those verses that seem to communicate loss of salvation are really about false Christians who never actually possessed it in the first place – since if they did, the work of the Godhead guarantees it will remain. This view is sometimes referred to as “monergism” (one working) (e.g. Monergism.com). And though the verses used to support this view do teach that our salvation is the result of the Godhead’s gracious work, none of those passages negate – or are the same as saying, that we are not responsible for contributing anything to our salvation – or that the Godhead is the only responsible party in our salvation (CONSIDER):
3.1.1-3.1.3.The surrounding context of many of those passages/verses clearly reveal that God’s promises are contingent upon our continued faith and/or faithfulness. In other words, we too have work to do. Hence the reason the all the commands in Scripture are directed at us (not God). The same could be said about the warning passages in Scripture. Why warn us unless the responsibility to avoid such danger lies with us?
3.1.4. When vetted by their surrounding context – or the Scripture as a whole, those passages which seem to teach faith/faithfulness as gifts of God, or something that He alone produces for us – or that His work in salvation is immutable, are equally defused [DISCUSSED]
Additional support for comment on (Eph 1:4 – What Paul is referring to when speaking about God’s election in Christ prior to Creation itself, is not some eternal decree as to who will be in heaven, but rather that God had decided in eternity past to extend the means of salvation to sinful humanity [“us”] before our egregious fall into rebellion) = See Eph 3:4-9 – “hidden for ages” = Same as “before the foundation of the world”. As such, those “chose(n) in (Christ)” before Creation were also Gentiles (the Ephesian church was a Gentile church – hence the reason for Paul telling them this). IOW: As the contingency plan to our possible rebellion, God made the choice to save the entire “world” (not just Jews) (Joh 3:16) through Christ (2Co 5:19).
3.2. Christ covering it all…
Jesus’ sacrificial death made full and final payment for sin. As such, when a person puts saving faith in Him, they receive forgiveness for their sins past, present and future. No sin therefore remains – including the sins of unbelief or apostasy, which could condemn them or cause them to lose their salvation.
Though Jesus’ death was full and final, that doesn’t mean it has covered/forgiven the sins of its recipients past, present and future the moment they receive it. Such assumptions are problematic on three fronts:
3.2.1. It denies any further need for repentance or forgiveness/cleansing from sin (yet Scripture calls for both) (Mat 6:12; 1Jo 1:9; Rev 2:16, 21-22, 3:3, 19; Joh 13:1-10 w/Mat 26:26-28; e.g. Louie Giglio).
3.2.2. It ignores the (middle) verses or context of Romans 8:1, 34 (See vv12-13; Consider: Does the “no condemnation” referred to in Rom 8:1 exclude any obligation on our part – or does it apply to all human beings – i.e. everyone is now in a state of “no condemnation” before God? No, it applies only to those who are “in Christ Jesus” – i.e. in a saving relationship w/Him. Can a person be in a saving relationship w/Him and yet not obedient to Him? Jesus , Paul and John say “no!” – Joh 8:31, Rom 6:1; Tit 1:16, 1Jo 1:6, 2:3-4).
3.2.3. It also ignores the context of several passages in the book of Hebrews.
(Heb 7:21-25) = The Eternal Security camp/Evangelicals understand these verses to be teaching that our salvation is forever secure because Jesus is forever making intercession/mediating our peace w/God. Such interpretation however completely ignores the surrounding context which is not about the permanency of our salvation, but Jesus’ role as our priest. He is a “priest forever” – or “holds his priesthood permanently because He continues forever.” This then is why the author can say He is the “guarantor of a better covenant.” Because – unlike the “former priests” who “were prevented by death from continuing in office” – i.e. in their roles as mediators or intercessors making peace with God on behalf of the people, Jesus knows no such limitations. He instead is always available – or “able to save at all times (see Fn on “uttermost”)…since He always lives (or again, is available) to make intercession for them.” Notice it doesn’t say “He always lives making intercession” but rather once more – “He always lives to make intercession”. The first communicates what Jesus is doing whereas the latter (and biblical rendering), what Jesus is able (or available) to do. The truth therefore being established in these verses is not (once more), our salvation is forever secure because Jesus is forever making intercession or mediating (making peace w/God) on our behalf (the Evangelical interpretation) but rather, Jesus is forever secure as God’s people’s High priest, Intercessor/Mediator (or Peacemaker) and Source of salvation because He lives forever (See v16 and 1Ti 2:5). Last but not least, the phrase, “those who draw near to God through Him” also bears witness to the fact that what the author has in mind is not some unconditional form of intercession on the part of Jesus. This phrase instead refers only to those who are – or remain, faithful (e.g. Jam 4:1-10 = Drawing near to God means submitting in faithful obedience to His will/ways).
(Heb 10:14) = The Eternal Security camp/Evangelicals understand this verse – and especially the statement “he has perfected (i.e. perfectly cleansed or forgiven) for all time those who are being sanctified (or justified)”, to be teaching that Jesus’ sacrifice has forgiven the sins of its recipients – past, present and future. However, based on the surrounding context, what is meant by the phrase “for all time” is not the scope of sins forgiven (i.e. past, present and future) but the number of times this perfectly cleansing sacrifice will need to be made. Unlike the sacrifices of the Old Covenant “priests” which needed to be “continually offered every year” – yet could not “make perfect those who drew near” (v1), Jesus has “offered for all time a single sacrifice” – one that removes any further need for such sacrifices in future, since by it perfect cleansing (or forgiveness of sins) has been achieved (vv11-12). It is in this sense (again) that Jesus can be said to have “perfected for all time” its recipients. Not the removal of all sins past present and future, but the removal of any further sacrifices for sin (past, present and future). Hence the reason the author can state that upon completion of this singular sacrifice, Jesus “sat down at the right hand of God.” The last sacrifice that will ever be needed for sin, had been offered up.
(Heb 6:6 and 10:26) = Both of these verses exist as part of the larger context of the Hebrew letter and therefore must be taken into consideration when attempting to determine the meaning of the previously discussed verses from the book. In other words, however I interpret Hebrews 7:21-25 and Hebrew 10:14, they must not violate (or contradict) the message be communicated by these two verses: that those who “have fallen away” or “go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth” will no longer be afforded the justification or forgiveness associated w/Christ’s “sacrifice for sins” – since to do so wb “crucifying once again the Son of God…holding Him up to contempt…spurn[ing] the Son of God and profan[ing] the blood of the covenant” (Heb 6:6 w/10:26 and 29). As a result, these verses (Heb 6:6 and 10:26) provide the strongest argument against viewing Jesus’ intercessory and sacrificial roles in Hebrews 7:21-25 and 10:14 as somehow immune or unaffected by the behavior of its recipients. They instead make clear that the such benefits are conditioned upon our continued faith and faithfulness. Unfortunately these verses tend to be overlooked or ignored by Evangelicals/those in the Eternal Security camp when attempting to argue their position from Hebrews 7:21-25 and 10:14. In this respect, it should also be mentioned that it is completely wrong-headed to conclude that if someone holds to the biblical doctrine of Loss Of Salvation they are saying Christ failed in His mediatorial and sacrificial roles (the rebuttal of the Evangelical/Eternal Security camp). It is not about Christ failing us – but us failing Him, His covenant and His church. Loss of salvation is about our unfaithfulness to the gospel – never His (or the Godhead). Hence the reason those passages dealing w/apostasy always vindicate the roles of the Godhead (2Ti 2:11-13; Heb 10:29; Eph 4:30).
- Final thoughts/considerations:
4.1. Pastors preaching Eternal Security/Perseverance Of The Saints/Once Saved-Always Saved are lying to their people and making liars of those in Scripture as well. Why? B/C they tell their people they are legitimately saved and call them brothers/sisters in Christ (as does Paul and others in Scripture), yet the whole time these pastors believe they may not actually be (saved).
4.2. The doctrine of Eternal Security (in reality and ironically) gives no such security or assurance. A person can never ultimately know whether they have truly put saving faith in Christ or in the end will be shown to be a false Christian since (according to those in this camp) their salvation or damnation is ultimately not up to them, but God. It is therefore only those believing they can lose their salvation that can possess assurance since their eternal future is not only up to them and doable, but something that can be measured through their faithfulness. Hence the reason Paul could say what he does in (2Ti 4:7-8: Notice his assurance is based on what he did and knew to be true about himself in relation to his actions).
- CONCLUSION: Thank God the Bible does not teach salvation to be monergistic! It is instead synergistic (us working w/God). We too possess obligation/responsibility/culpability when it comes to our eternal future. This (again) has been the majority position throughout church history and is the only position taught in the pages of Scripture.
 Upon hearing the word “work”, Evangelicals think of earning one’s way to salvation since for them there are only two possible options: 1) you earn your way to heaven (the impossible option), or 2) God (or more specifically Jesus) earns it for you. Neither however is communicated in the Bible. The gospel is (and always has been ) a marriage – or a system of gain (by symbolic faith) and maintain (through law faithfulness). The word “work” is therefore meant to refer to labor for the purpose of maintenance not merit.