Can you lose your salvation – Part 1

Can you Lose Your Salvation?

This is a question every believer encounters at some point in their journey with Christ.  Some people wonder if they were truly saved in the first place, which is a similar question.  The issue is ‘did I do something that made God mad at me?’  Or, ‘I have backslidden and I am not pursuing God, does God still consider me saved?’ Or, ‘I think I have committed the unforgiveable sin.’

In considering this question it is obvious that theology matters.  You must know what you believe about soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation.  How does a person become saved and if saved, always saved?  What are the conditions for salvation?  It is essential to know what it takes to go to heaven and whether salvation depends on you or not.  Your perspective and bias on how you approach Scripture will influence how you answer this question as well.  A Calvinist, for example, will always say no to this question since it is part of Calvinism that one cannot lose his or her salvation.  So, if Calvinism is true, the question is answered in the negative, you cannot lose your salvation.  But, then the questions just morphs for the Calvinist to ‘Are you sure you are saved?’.  Because if you do not persevere and you do fall away, then they will say you were never saved in the first place.

 

What are the conditions for Salvation?

Faith and Repentance from man; Grace and mercy from God.

One place to start is Eph 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you are saved through faith and this not of yourselves

NAU Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

NAU Ephesians 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

By grace through faith.  Many people mis-translate the part ‘not of yourselves’ as referring to faith.  That is incorrect.  In the Greek the pronoun is neuter and so its antecedent must be neuter as well.  Faith in the Greek is feminine.  Obviously grace is not from man, it is from God, so it doesn’t fit either.  The proper antecedent therefore is salvation is not of yourselves and salvation is not the result of works, it is the gift of God.  Does God exercise faith to save us?  No, the Bible is clear that we must exercise faith to receive the gift of salvation.  Therefore, faith is not a work otherwise this Scripture would not be true.

So God saves us from our sins and gives us salvation or eternal life as a free gift.  It is not something we earn; it is something received on the basis of faith.  This leads me to John 1:12

NAU John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

This verse presents two conditions for salvation: receive Jesus and believe in the name of Jesus.  This verse also presents salvation as becoming a child of God.  Other verses state that we are adopted by God the Father.  This relationship is one of the reasons many people will give to state that we cannot lose our salvation since we would also lose the relationship of being God’s son or daughter.  In effect, God would have to un-adopt us.

So, we have at least two conditions for salvation: faith and receiving Jesus.  What about another famous verse, Romans 10:13: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  The idea here is that anyone who calls out to be saved will be saved.  You say, “Jesus, save me” and Jesus saves you.  Pretty simple.  This is not a separate condition, though.  Calling out to Jesus is the action that relays to God that you believe Jesus will save: faith.

One of the aspects of belief is that the Bible presents it in the present tense.  In other words, it is not a one-time event.  In the Greek, a one-time event is presented in the aorist tense which in English is translated as past tense.  In the Greek present tense, an ongoing action or continual action is implied which means that belief is ongoing.  It is the idea that our faith must have lasting value.  One cannot be considered to be saved if he believed for one day and then changed his mind.  His belief in Jesus must continue.  An analogy might be marriage.  You love that person for life.  A one-night stand does not constitute love nor marriage.

This brings up an important question.  What if a person believed in Jesus for a long time and then began doubting that Jesus really is God?  If you stop believing in Jesus, do you lose your salvation?  The answer to this question at this point would be yes because present tense belief, ongoing belief, is a requirement to be saved.

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While Paul said, ‘I am the chief of sinners’, he didn’t mean it

 

1 Tim 1:15 – “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost.”

It is God’s pleasure to save sinners, to see them repent in faith and turn to Him and receive the gift of the forgiveness of sins.

Paul is explicit: ego eimi (I am) chief of sinners.  Why the present indicative?  He could have said, ‘among whom I WAS the foremost.’  But, the emphasis is not on the fact that his sin is in his past, which we all know it is because he no longer persecutes and blasphemes.  Since it is evident that his sins are not present, Paul is emphasizing that he is the worst of sinners.  (one of the uses of the Present Indicative in Greek is emphasis.)

He also emphasizes that he is the foremost of sinners because through him Jesus Christ ‘might demonstrate his perfect patience’ to other sinners looking for mercy.   If Christ can save Paul, he certainly can save you, sinner.  That is Paul’s point.  To demonstrate how far the mercy of Christ will reach.

So, Paul is not the greatest sinner in the present, he is the greatest sinner before he came to know Christ.  Paul would be appalled that people would think that as a Christian Paul was the greatest sinner.  Once a Christian, no longer a sinner.  Yes, Christians sin, but it is not an identifying trait and not normative.  (That is why gay Christian is an oxymoron).

 

 

Is God blessing your church?

From the book of Haggai, chapter two:

If a man touches a dead thing, he becomes unclean.  If holy meat touches bread, that bread does not become holy.  It’s a one-way street.  We cannot impart our holiness to others, but the world’s deadness can make us unclean or unholy.

Patrick Hawthorne:

For days I pondered and prayed about what the Lord was showing me.  This morning, I woke to the answer.  The Church – the Body of Jesus Christ as a whole – has been guilty of mingling with the deadness of the world.  That which is holy has become defiled and unclean.  With pomp and parade, the Church has offered up the sacrifice of praise unto the Living God while succumbing  to the pressures of the world, content to let the house of God remain in a state of ruin.

https://servinggrace.com/2018/10/11/unclean-that-which-they-offer/

Holiness is what we are about, yet not separation or isolation from the world.  We must interact with the world but not become partakers in its licentiousness.  What areas do we flirt with the world?  We indulge our flesh, we seek the world’s entertainment.

Haggai says that the Lord tells us to ponder the results of our unclean sacrifices and the work of your hands: “From that time when one came expecting a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten…I struck all the products of your labor with blight, disease, and hail, and yet you brought nothing to me.”

But, now that they had responded to His earlier rebuke and began building the temple, the curse was lifted and God says, “from today on I will bless you.” (2:19)

How does that apply today?  These people were selfishly motivated, building their own lives and building their own houses and allowing the House of God to remain in ruins.  They changed their focus off themselves and onto building the temple of God.  Today, we are the temple of God.  Let us focus on building the Church (not the church building), the community of believers.  Let us make disciples.

 

What does it mean to be one of the Elect?

In Colossians 3 verse 12 we find these words: “As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion…”

What does it mean to be chosen by God, or elected by God?

Here is my interpretation:   I think Paul wants to emphasize God’s choice in salvation rather than man’s choice, that it is God who did the heavy lifting in salvation.   But, doesn’t choice imply choosing between one group and another group or between individuals?  Did God’s choice mean that He has chosen some to save and some not to save?  I don’t think so.  That does not ring true with God’s character of loving the whole world.  Rather, it is similar to a marriage proposal made by a man.  The man chooses the woman, yet she must give her assent.  The focus is not on our assent to God’s proposal, it is on the fact that God chose to offer us a marriage proposal in the first place!  Who am I that the God of the universe would care about me?  And why care about me and not my neighbor?  Yes, I am nobody and I don’t deserve God’s attention, yet He loves me!!!  And it isn’t that He selected me over someone else, but that He chose to save all, but most reject His marriage offer.  In the context of this passage, definitely it is the correct understanding of the word  because Paul adds “holy and loved”.

Notice also in the Greek: ws eklektoi – as chosen ones, not as THE chosen ones.

I think it is important to not think of yourself highly as in God chose me but not that other fellow.  In God’s sight we are all dust, differing levels of dust, yet all dust.  God didn’t select some dust to be elevated and leave the rest of the dust to be blown away and punished forever.  No, He loves all of us and desires all to be saved and so He chooses all to be saved; He makes the marriage proposal to every person, but many reject His offer of grace, of forgiveness.  It cannot be that God loves some of His children more than others and so chooses them to be saved.  God is a universal lover of men, an impartial lover of men; He accepts all of us through the blood of His Son.

The loss of William Dembski

William Dembski, one of the founders of the ID movement, retired from the ID movement and now works on educational software.  What the heck?  He may as well as died.  Why did he retire?  He says he contributed all he thought was necessary.  What a loss of a great mind.  He also lamented that the comradery he once had with other colleagues in the movement dwindled.  He left seminary teaching largely because his views were not orthodox and he was not afraid of making them known (Noah’s flood was localized, not global).  What a sad thing.  Yes, the powers of these seminaries answer to people like Ken Ham who called him essentially a heretic.  So, his fight was for academic freedom which he lost.  Academics, though, took the greater loss.

Expelled from the secular university for not being orthodox on evolution.  Expelled from the sacred institutions for not being orthodox on Scripture.  I am glad he took a stand against evolution on the first count, not sure his stand on the second count was a hill to die on.  But, die he did on that hill over the extent of a flood.

Pouring water on the embers of sexual desire

Col 3:6  On account of these things the wrath of God will come (upon the sons of disobedience).  In them you also once walked, when you lived in these things.

On account of sexual sin, fornication, pornography, adultery, the wrath of God is coming.  Paul singles out these sins over murder and stealing and pridefulness.  The wrath of God is on us as a nation.  Sexual sin is rampant.  What evils follow after this sin in our hearts: human trafficking especially of children, incest, and molestation.

So, put these things to death.  You once walked in them and thank God you were delivered from them.  Yet, the embers of those sins still smolder.  Douse them with water.

Put to death the sexual sin and put aside sins of the tongue: anger, slander, abusive words, lying tongues.  Because you have put off the old self and its sinful habits and put on the new self.