Is the Salvation of the Believer ‘Secure’ – Or Can It Be Lost? (Introduction)
On May 23, 2012 At 9:48 pm
Responses : 5 Comments
As I have stated many, many times before in other articles, there are so many controversial issues that have caused a divide among Believer’s in Christendom. Another topic that is definitely on this long list is the question, "Is the Believer’s salvation really secure or can you lose it?"Biblicist and Theologians on both sides of the argument have their arsenal of supporting scriptures that, from their perspective, “unarguably” confirms their groups claim only. However, in the pursuit to disprove the others viewpoint, both sides totally disregard the verses that supports or in “seemingly supports” the other side. This issue is comparable to the “predestination” and “free will” argument as the Bible confirms scriptures that support both. When attempting to prove a theological point, one cannot simply choose to emphasize or focus on the verses that support their perspective when there are boatloads of opposing scriptures that prove the opposite as well. In this particular case, both sides have to do one of two things or else Biblical contradiction will be the case and people’s spiritual walk will be negatively influenced. Both sides have to:
- Exegetically prove their theological position while rightly dividing the scriptures that support their view. To add to this, give attention to the other scriptures that refutes their view by showing how those verses do not apply or are being used in the wrong context.
- Exegetically prove their theological position while rightly dividing the scriptures that supports their “dual” view if they rightfully mesh in the context of truth.
I am almost certain that my second bullet point about having a “dual” view probably did not sit well with you as you thought about it in the context of our discussion but let me explain. Though many would disagree with me, but in connection to the “predestination” versus “free will” issue, I conveyed an unarguable claim in a previous article that supports my position as one of a “dualist.” My reason is that I saw Biblical evidences and confirmations of both playing a significant role in the scope of the Believer’s life. While supporting both sides, I focused on an all-powerful God who is able to mesh both together in the scope of His perfect plan that He started and finished before the foundation of the earth. However, in the case of the Believer’s “secure” or “unsecure” salvation, there will be no meshing together this time, as I am a supporter of the Believer’s “secure salvation” but from a simplistic but perhaps a different angle.
When presenting my position as it pertains to a sensitive issue such as this, I generally like to preference my findings in terms of my approach to my views. With this said, despite the great contributions of notable Biblicist and Theologians of our time and times past, I am still not afraid to go against the spoken and unspoken pressure in Christendom to feel forced to choose a side. I say this knowing the potential backlash that can be received by those that I do not side with. I am not at all intimidated by anyone because of the minor or major speaking platforms that they may have in the world, not to mention the titles of credentials that precede their famous names. I have learned by way of personal experience that just because someone is on T.V., with its powerful influence, it does not automatically mean that they are always right in connection to what they preach. Instead, they have just been afforded a platform that most do not get or have. With this said, I am definitely not afraid to buck up against the theological standards that have already been set either but not just for the sake of doing so. Once again, I do not do this to try to present myself as being more loftier than anyone, to focus on disproving anyone or to focus on refuting anyone but to present fresh insights and or at a minimum, another way of looking at what we have been looking at in terms of the positions that we hold. If these things happen in the process, my motive just like theirs is to present supported truth. Most importantly, I am not presenting my position to pull anyone to my side of line because most of the time that never happens. In fact, in most cases, even if you show people that they are wrong scripturally, they will still choose to hold to their view because it is challenging to give up a long time supported belief system. I am not presenting my position to change anyone’s mind, heart, behavior, doctrinal or theological stance (for only God can do that) but within the scope of truth, cause one to rethink and or to challenge what they know and why. Nonetheless, when one holds to a position, people tend to focus on how one presents and supports their position within the scope of truth and believability as it gleams off what has already been accepted and established more than anything else. Let’s face it! One’s position cannot be so far off that it does not make any sense at all. However, being very, very confident of my unorthodox or perhaps not so unorthodox stance on this controversial issue, I just ask that you judge this series and this article on its answers and its ending as I build a very, very strong case. A case that is perhaps one you may or may not have ever heard presented before in this manner. In my humble opinion, this position is going to be very, very difficult to refute and to argue against. I do not say this in arrogance but for all those who think that they can, I do welcome all refuting arguments. However, for now I will focus on the task at hand and that is establishing Biblical proof that our salvation is definitely secure and (as I conveyed in my previous bullet points above) still give attention to the scriptures that supports the other side in the context of truth.
Plainly said, I maintain that if you are truly, truly born again, if you are truly, truly born of God you would never renounce, give back or fall away from the faith due to practicing a sinful life style. Hebrews 12:10, plainly confirms this either or issue by saying,
“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifested: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (NKJV).
This verse sounds pretty clear-cut to me. Now it does not mean that we as Believers in our humanity will never or feel like abandoning or retreating from our faith connectivity due to the devastation, hurt and pain that we sometimes receive from other Believer’s in the body of Christ. It does not mean that we as Believers in our humanity will never stumble, slip and feel like changing sides just as David did in Psalms 73, due to the struggles that we go through as Believer’s in light of the wicked prospering in their way. It does not mean that we will not get angry, agitated or upset with God, as we all have just like our Bible hero’s before us have because we don’t always agree with His ways and sovereign choices in our lives. As it connects with sin, It does not mean that we as Believer’s will never fall, fail or falter (Ps. 73:26a) in our walk as we all have and will continue to do from time to time (not practicing) because we are not perfect (Js 3:2). If I can go a little deeper, to “keep it real,” if we want to be honest, even with the secret, sinful strongholds that every Believer has in their personal lives (just as David had in Psalms 19:13) that are not so easy to shake, if one is truly, truly saved they still cannot fall away. None of these realities in the life of ever Believer constitutes falling away and I will share additional Biblical evidences as to the reasons why. So in essence, one is either saved and they stay, in the faith making their salvation secure. On the other hand or one is not truly saved or a professing Christian and therefore can fall away knowing the truth. Once again, there is no middle ground as I stated earlier in Heb. 12:10. For those that do “fall away” they were never with God from the beginning. In addition to (Heb. 12:10), this is conformed in 1 John 2:19 which says,
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest , that none of them were of us” (NKJV).
When we look at the issue of the Believer’s “secure” or “unsecure” salvation, both sides of the argument have their drawbacks in connection to the unbiblical human responses that it can produce in us behaviorally. If one supports the position that our salvation is secure, than one can be tempted to take on a lackadaisical attitude towards our progressive Christian growth and development (when we are to be adding godly characteristics to our faith daily as 2Peter 1:5-7 tells us) and began to take on a nonchalant perspective towards sin. This is especially true when we as Christians know that we can be forgiven for our sins. To go a step further, due to salvation, we have been forgiven for our past, present and future sins due to the once and for all, finished work of Jesus death on the cross. Paul addressed this very issue in Romans 6:1-2 that says:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin (this does not mean that we will not sin any more as some Christians are in the habit of misinterpreting) live any longer in it?” (NKJV).
On the other hand, if one supports the unsecure position in connection to our salvation, they will tend to be more sin conscience that can be a good and bad thing. More than this, the human response towards holding this perspective can cause one to become tempted into depending on themselves to have to hold on to their “free” salvation gift thus pulling them into a work system that is motivated by fear of not losing it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (NKJV).
Both of these outlooks are equally harmful to the Believers spirituality and it does not produce the abundant life that Christ desires for his children. Instead, it can bring about bondage in the life of the Believer. In Galatians 5:1, we are told:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made of free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (NKJV).
Also, the qualifier for our Christian liberty is addressed in Galatians 5:13, which says:
“For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (NKJV).
As I alluded to earlier, those who support the “unsecure” salvation position have their arsenal scriptures that they use to support that one can lose their salvation. I must admit that at first glance, when you read some of these scriptures, they “seemingly” present an unarguable case that Believers can absolutely lose their salvation. However, after studying the more prominent scriptures that those who support this claim adhere to, I have found that the proper use and context of these verses are not being use properly or exegete correctly. This is very, very important because when we study the scriptures, there are many things that we have to take into account to get the full and proper understanding of them. Just to name a few things that needs to be considered:
- Who was speaking?
- What was the background of the person speaking?
- Whom were they addressing?
- Is it symbolic?
- Is it literal?
- Is it figurative?
- Is it prophetic?
- Is it historical?
- Are scriptures being used in isolation?
- Are like scriptures being compared to like scriptures?
- What was the time frame and dispensation?
- What was the culture of that time?
- What were the customs of that time?
- Is it in the past, present or future tense?
- Is that particular verse for our information or participation?
- When does the same word mean the something different as it pertains to verse context? For example: “For God so loved the WORLD …” meaning HUMANITY (Jn. 3:16) or “And do not be conformed to this WORLD meaning CARNALITY.
- When does a word mean something different that what it looks like? For example, when does the word the at first glance conditional “if” really means “since” in its original context.
- Does that verse apply to Jews, Gentiles, Professing Believers or Believers?
You have already read the preference to my article and with all of this said, I will expose the contextual problems with some of the more prominent verses that those who believe that one can lose their salvation use to support their claim. However, before I do this, I will pose some questions that those who support this position have a tough time answering, which causes for some foundational errors in their view. As always my encouragement is for everyone to be like the Berea’s in (Acts 17:11) open your Bibles and study it for yourselves to see if it is so. I encourage you not to believe because I said it or anyone else but because God said it. Shall we let man’s perspective be the final viewpoint? As Romans 3:4a says, “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but everyman (including me) a liar …” If you do not, because we live out what we believe, your peace of mind as it pertains to your own salvation, spirituality and afterlife perspective may be at stake.
1. If one can lose their salvation, which particular sin causes one to lose their salvation?
There is no such thing as the “lighter” or more “heavier” sins from God perspective because He sees all sin equally as sin. Believers came up with this sin scale based on wanting to feel “better” about their “small” sins compared to someone else “big” sins. This sin scale perspective is also upheld by Christians based on knowing the differentiation in the level of consequences. Therefore, some sins must be more “heavier” than others in God’s sight too. For example, one is not going to go to jail for stealing a pencil off a co-workers desk but they would for robbing a bank. However, God sees both sins the same – as stealing. So then, which sin causes one to lose their salvation?
2. If one can lose their salvation, on what numerical sin does this take place?
This may sound ridiculous but does one lose their salvation on the 364th time in row they sinned or the 720th time in a row that they have sinned? With this said, “The Prodigal Son” in Matthew 13, who after living a riotous, sinful life with prostitutes for a long period of time, (during the course of a famine that overtook the country where he was which could have taken years) came to his senses by way of the Holy Spirit. After this he made his way back home to his father house, who received him with open arms, repented and then his father had the nerve to throw a celebration for him. What is the symbolism of the celebration? Heaven gets excited over one sinner who repents than 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke 15:7). I am not at all encouraging living in sin, let alone for long periods of time due to the consequences that accompanies it but based on this scripture, we can always come back to God no matter where we have been in life and for how long. Notice the lost son never lost his relationship to his father and neither do we.
3. If one can lose their salvation, how do they know?
Since every Believer has sinned and sometimes struggled with it at more times than others, how does one know today if they are “still” saved or not? How does one know that they have not already lost it? Those who support this view can only make suggestions because they do not have solid answers. Just think for a moment, “Do I really want my eternity in Hell versus going to Heaven being based on a suggestion?
4. If one can lose their salvation, can they get it back and if so what are the steps?
Does one have to say the sinner’s prayer again and get baptized again? Please correct me if I am wrong but I have never heard any church doing an alter call for those who lost their salvation and want to get it back. In other words, I have never heard of a church doing a RE-salvation call. I have never heard of a RE-baptismal candidate. I have never heard of Believers being told that they have to RE-take their discipleship classes in order to RE-receive the right hand of fellowship. I have heard of people RE-dedicating their lives back to the Lord in connection to making a deeper commitment to live and serving Him better though. As it pertains to all of these other examples, if I can take the liberty to make up my own word here, all of this should sound pretty RE-diculous if you ask me.
5. If one can lose their salvation and never get it back, would your Pastor be honest enough with you to encourage you to discontinue in the things of the faith.
For the Pastors who hold this position would they be willing to be honest enough to encourage their members who have “lost their salvation” to stop giving their money to their churches, encourage them to stop reading their Bibles, to stop praying, to stop believing and to stop coming to mid-week Bible study and church? I am not suggesting that people should ever stop striving to live a good moral life and treat people as they would want to be treated but in the context of the church, if one has no hope and is on their way to Hell because they lost their salvation and cannot get it back, what difference would doing these things make anyway? If my educated guess is right, I am almost certain that these Pastors would not do these things, especially not for the sake of risking financial loss.
6. If one can lose their salvation, why are not there any examples in the Bible of a true Believer being saved again?
Some Theologians who support this “unsecure” salvation try to suggest that the immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5 applies but in those passages of scripture, it never says that he lost his salvation. They only assume this but this is not valid because after he was disciplined and genuinely repented he was received back into the local church in 2 Corinthians 2:6-8. Once again, these verses never indicate that the immoral man lost his salvation.
7. If one can lose his or her salvation, does the new struggling convert lose his or her salvation shortly after he or she is saved due to his or her lack of maturity?
There are three levels of spiritual maturity: Babes, Young Men and Fathers being the more spiritually mature. No Believer is at the Young Men or Father stage of maturity when they first get saved. They may have an overwhelming zeal and joy but they still are considered a Babe in Christ and will behave spiritually as such. With this said, for the Babe in Christ, there are some things that God takes away right away (cold turkey) when they first are saved but there are many sinful things that stay in their lives for periods of time. Just like all of us, they will never be sinless but they will sin-less than they used to as they progressively grow in their sanctification process. Now that I think about it, with all of us having gone through this same process, is anyone saved then if you can lose your salvation due to struggling with sin?
8. If one can lose their salvation than these names SHOULD NOT be in the "Hall of Fame of Faith" in Hebrews chapter 11 and should be in Hell.
- Noah was a drunkard (Genesis 9:20)
- Jacob whose name means deceitful, back stabber, slickster and heel grabber (Genesis 32:27-28)
- Moses was a murderer (Exodus 2:12)
- Rahab was a prostitute who lied to save the spies (Hebrews 11:31)
- Samson had a lust problem and slept with the prostitute Delilah, among his many other sins (Judges 16:1)
- King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah (2 Samuel 11:4; 2 Samuel 11:14-17)
Theologians are quick to point out that they all did not receive the promise (Hebrews 11:39) but notice that in this same verse that it also said that they all obtained a good testimony through faith. To add to this I can prove that all of these Biblical hero’s were saved and are in Heaven. In the next verse, Hebrews 11:40 it says,
“God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (NKJV).
Since the Bible is a continuous writing we must look at Hebrews 12:1 which talks about the “us” that was mentioned in Hebrews 11:40, which says,
“Therefore (whenever you see this word beginning a sentence in the Bible always ask yourself what is it there for and then you have to go back to the previous exegetically connective scripture in the previous chapter that tells why it is there) we also, since are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness let “us”… “
We must ask ourselves who are these great cloud of witnesses that we are surrounded by? The answer is all those who are in the Hall of Fame of faith in Hebrews chapter 11, not to mention our saved loved one’s who have passed away as well. How do I know this?
When we go back to Hebrews 11 to find out why is the “Therefore” in Hebrews 12:1 is there for, the connective verse takes us to Hebrews 11:13 which proves that the missed promise that those in the chapter WAS NOT referring to them losing out on going to Heaven BUT INSTEAD IT’S REFERRING TO EARTHLY LANDS. In Hebrews 11: 13-16 says,
“These all died in faith, not having received the promise, (Do you see the similarity to Hebrews 11:39) but having seen them afar off (Remember that Moses and the children of Israel missed the promise land but saw it afar off) were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers (Exodus 2:22) and pilgrims ON EARTH. For those who say such things declare plainly that THEY SEEK HOMELAND. And truly if they had called to mind THAT COUNTRY (Earth not Heaven) FROM WHICH THEY HAD COME OUT, they would have had opportunity to return. BUT NOW (transition) they desire a better, that is, A HEAVENLY COUNTRY. Therefore (there is our word again) GOD IS NOT ASHAMED TO BE CALLED THEIR GOD (denoting salvation) FOR HE HAS PREPARED A CITY (Heaven) FOR THEM” (NKJV).
So in essence, despite the sins, iniquities and transgressions of Hall of Famers like Noah, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Samson and King David, not only did God still use them mightily but they all died in faith, THEY DID NOT LOSE THEIR SALVATION and they all went to Heaven.
I conclude this article with this saying that …
“If one is truly saved to begin with, they will stray but always stay and if they are not truly saved to begin with, they will stray and fall away.”
IN THE NEXT SEGMENT, WE WILL DISECT AND REFUTE ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY USED SCRIPTURES THAT SUPPORTERS OF AN “UNSECURE” SALVATION USE TO “SEEMINGLY” CONFIRM THEIR POSITION.