When looking at scripture, it appears at first glance that we as Believers can lose our salvation.
What we are going to find is that after doing our exegesis of the Word, the scriptures that some say support an “unsecure” salvation have been taken them out of context. Once again, as I always encourage you to do, comparing like scriptures with scriptures, study, study, study it and wrestle, wrestle, wrestle with the scriptures for yourself. This may take some time but it will be well worth it when you get the enlightenment and answers that you have been searching for. Depend on the Holy Spirit to teach you, who promises to guide us in ALL TRUTH as you study the Bible for yourself. Your spiritual health and well being is at stake period and as it pertains to this particular discussion, your peace of mind as it pertains to your “secure” salvation is at stake as well.
There are many, many scriptures that “seemingly” confirm at first glance that we as Believers can lose our salvation. Since I already thoroughly tackled the main scripture in the last article, in this article I will dissect and examine only five more of the more notable scriptures that serve as the “trump cards” for “unsecure salvation” supporters.[stextbox id="info" caption="This story is part of an ongoing series…"]
SALVATION, THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES.
Scripture No. 1: John 15:5-6, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (NKJV).
Now I know that when people see the word “burned” they automatically get bent out shape as their immediate preconceived thinking is, “Here they go again telling people they are going to Hell” but this is not the case. This verse is talking about abiding in Christ and is specifically referring to a Believers CONTINUOUS CONNECTION with Christ. To go a step further, it is dealing with our CONTINUOUS COMMUNION not our UNION with Christ. In verse 6 it uses figurative language to point out that when a Believer does not abide in Christ, their carnal testimony is comparable to a branch that is burned up or destroyed. In other words our testimony has no more value when we do not abide in Christ thus not taking on the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Once again it is comparable to men throwing away a carnal Christians testimony like wood being thrown into a fire. For example, if people know that one is a Christian and because they are not CONTINUOUSLY COMMUNING with God on a daily basis, they will ultimately exemplify carnal or ungodly behavior. Once a Christian begins to exemplify consistent carnal behavior that is visibly seen by unsaved people or people of other faiths, they lose their witness to those very people. That Christians (branch) testimony for God becomes null and void and is equivalent to branches that are gathered and thrown into the fire and destroyed. In short, our potential witness is destroyed. For example, let’s say that a non-Believer consistently sees a Believer consistently exemplifying un-Biblical behaviors. Do you think that the non-Believer would want to be witnessed to by the Christian who they see consistently exemplifying un-Biblical behavior? Certainly not! Why is this? It is because they would not be able to receive it coming from them and deem them hypocritical. Once again, this is equivalent to a Christians (branch) being gathered and thrown into the fire and destroyed. In actuality, the Believer destroyed their own testimony but it all began by not being CONTINUOUSLY CONNECTED to Christ. How do I know this? It is because in verse 6 it says, “THEY gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” So we need to ask ourselves who is the THEY that the scripture is talking about. In this figurative language, the THEY is referring to man or mankind disregarding or throwing away our carnal testimony like wood or branches being thrown into a fire when we do not CONTINUOUSLY COMMUNE with Christ thus abiding which gives us the power to be Christ-like. Men gather branches and wood and burn it not God. Notice that the verse DID NOT SAY that “God gathers them and throw them into the fire and they are burned.” If the word THEY was referring to God in connection to the Triune God, (not here to argue about the confirmation of the Trinity) it would have use the word We with capital letters just as in Genesis it said, “Let Us (plural with a capital U) make man in Our (plural with a capital O) own image …” (Genesis 1:26).
Scripture #2: Galatians 5:4, “You have become estranged from Christ, YOU WHO ATTEMPT TO BE JUSTIFIED BY LAW; you have fallen from grace” (NKJV).
As you can see by the letters that are in capitals that this verse is referring to those who had been saved by grace through faith who were trying to “stay saved” by keeping the law and therefore fell away from the true teaching of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). They lost sight of unmerited grace but they did not lose sight of salvation. Whenever we try to keep in our own strength and means, we forfeit the grace that God has provided for us to live in His strength. A life like this is an on pins and needles, frustrating life because it is depended upon us not losing what God has freely given us by faith. How do I know this? It is because the context of the book of Romans confirms that we are saved by grace through faith and that is it (Ephesians 2:8) while the context of the book of Galatians confirms that we “stay saved,” for a lack of a better term, by grace through faith and that is it. It is safe to say that those who lean towards “earning salvation” by works will also lean towards “keeping salvation” by works. The danger in all of this is adhering to trying to be justified by the Law as the scripture says and legalism is sure to follow. To add to this, if other Christians do not uphold or behave in accordance to the legalistic way of life, they will sure to be classified “a bunch of sinner’s” among many other negative names that some Believer’s can call other Believers. Once again we are saved by grace through faith and we stay saved by grace through faith not by keeping the Law or by a legalistic system of living.
Scripture #3: Colossians 1:21-22, “And you, who were alienated and enemies in your *mind by wicked works, yet now He reconciled (past tense) in the body of His *flesh through the death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the *gospel which you heard, which was preached to every *creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (NKJV).
This verse is similar to Hebrews 4:13 such that the closer one gets to the original translation “if” means “since.” Test the verse out for yourself by reading it as is keeping in mind that the word reconciled is in the past tense. Afterwards, read the verse with the word “since” in there and you will find that it makes more “sense” in connected to being reconciled in the past “since” we indeed continue in the faith in the present vs. 23. The phrase “if indeed” in vs. 23 is not conveying a message of doubt but instead a message of confidence. Paul is confident because of the Colossians “secure” salvation that they would not deny their faith just as the UNSAVED JEWS did in Hebrew 6:4-6, 7, 8 and 9-12 which are the connective verses. See how the Bible supports and confirms itself when exegesis is done correctly? Paul is confident that the Colossians would continue to abide (John 15:5-6) which we stated earlier deals with a CONTINUOUS COMMUNION not our UNION.
Scripture #4: Hebrews 10:26, “For if (“if” does not mean “since” in this context) we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery *indignation which will devour the adversaries” (NKJV).
Biblicist and Theologians who support and “unsecure” salvation use this scripture as the all out warning against an apostate from Christianity. However, this verse is once again referring to UNSAVED JEWS who had a HEAD KNOWLEDGE of Christ but not a HEART KNOWLEDG of Christ. Instead, they went back into a ritualistic life style of Christ-rejecting Judaism. How do I know this? Not only because of the context of Hebrews but also because in verse Hebrews 10:39 IT TRANSITIONS TO BELEIVERS by saying:
“BUT (transitional word) we (Believers) are not of those who draw back to *perdition, but of those believe to the saving of the soul” (NKJV).
My question is, if Hebrew 10:26 confirms that one loses their salvation due to “willfully” sinning than every Believer has lost their salvation. Why because the Word lets us know that in our regenerate state we are “dead to sin and alive to God” (Romans 6:1-14) and that we went from “slaves of sin to slaves of God) Romans 6:15-23). Of course this DOES NOT mean that we will never sin because if that was the case then there would be no need for 1 John1:9 which tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we would confess them. However, it does means that we do not have to sin and that we have a choice and liberty not to sin. To go a step further, let’s look at some people who went through some “willful” sin stages like Paul did who in Romans Chapter 7 could not seem to get it right from a God pleasing behavioral standpoint. You know the verses but in 7:19 he said,
“for the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, THAT I PRACTICE or keep on doing” (The word “practice” in this verse does not mean as a consistent life style but as a struggling Believer).
I have a quick question. Did Paul who was saved for 20 years when he was struggling with sin in Romans Chapter 7 apostate? Certainly not! I have another person who went through a “willful sin” stage in that of King David who not only sinned with Bathsheba and killed Uriah the Hittite BUT begged God to keep him from his “willful” sins. This verse can be found in Psalms 19:13 which says:
“Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression” (NKJV).
I have another quick question. Did King David apostate as well? Certainly not! Once again I am not giving Believer and E-Z Pass to sin and yes, there are definitely negative consequences for our sins especially if we continue to sin. However, we do not lose our salvation. True Believer’s can stray, backslide or struggle with sin in phases of their walk and life but they can never apostate.
Scripture #5: 2 Peter 2:20-21, “For if, (The word “if” here means “since”) after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have *known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (NKJV).
Once again this is yet another verse that a first glace is talking about Believers being able to apostate but once again this is not the case and I will prove why. First and foremost this is talking about the deceptions of false teachers who we are going to find out in a minute when we exegete the text, that THEY WERE NOT SAVED. Before we expose that we have to look at some key words in this verse with the first being the phrase “THEY ARE AGAIN ENTANGLED IN THEM …” The key word here is AGAIN which means that they came from a negative, came into a positive and then went back to a negative AGAIN. Let’s fill in the negative and positives. What this means is that these UNSAVED false teacher (hold on a second and I will prove this) came from a POLLUTED, UNSAVED lifestyle (negative) came into a HEAD KNOWLEDGE (NOT HEART KNOWLEDGE) OF THE LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (positive) then WENT BACK INTO THEIR POLLUTED UNSAVED lifestyles AGAIN (negative). The reason why the latter for them is worse for them than the beginning is because they now have knowledge of the way and the truth. This has to do with the exhortation in James 3:1 to be not many teachers because they will receive a more severe and stricter judgment. This applies to SAVED True teachers and UNSAVED false teachers discussed in this verse. Why is this? It is because they are going to be held more accountable for what they know and their application of it. These UNSAVED false teachers knew the Word but was not applying it at all in their own lives – that’s why they were classified as false teachers.
So how do I know that these UNSAVED false teachers were UNSAVED? Just go to the very next verse and look at the connective verse. 2 Peter 2:22 says:
“But (transition) it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, (pig) having washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (NKJV).
Now you show me a scripture in the entire Bible where Jesus refers to His children as dogs and pigs. I will say this again! Will someone please show me a scripture in the entire Bible where Jesus ever referred to his children as dogs and pigs? Oh, I can answer that for you – you will not be able to find it because Jesus refers to His children a SHEEP (John 10:27-28). While we are on the subject of John 10:27-28 and SHEEP, Jesus says, My SHEEP hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH; NEITHER SHALL ANYONE SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND” (NKJV). I just wanted to kill two birds with one stone by mentioning that God’s children are called SHEEP and throw in some more scriptures that confirm that we have a “secure” salvation. Keeping in line with my original thought, on the other hand, I can show you a scripture where Jesus refers to the UNSAVED BLASPHEMERS TOWARDS THE GOSPEL AS DOGS AND PIGS. This verse is found in Matthew 7:6 which says:
“Do not give what is holy (the Gospel) to the DOGS, nor cast your pearls (God’s truths) before SWINE or PIGS, less they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (NKJV).
WOW! This is some strong language is not it! I am in a lot of trouble now are not I? Hey, people may get mad at me but I did not say this, God said it. Just check the copy of your Bible in your house and I guarantee you that if you look at this same verse, it will say the same thing. Just think for a second, your Bible was in your house before you read this article. You see, we get angry at the instrument who is me, when in actuality we really have a problem with the instrumentalist who is God and His Word. However, since I have allowed Him to use me, I do not mind being the focus of animosity. It comes with the territory and I accept it but I still do not bend unless I am just flat out wrong. I had to throw that in there but anyway, what this means is that we as Believers are given permission to be selective who we give the Gospel to. We are NOT to preach or to give the Gospel to those who manifest a contemptuous blasphemy towards it. If we do this we cheapen the Gospel and endanger ourselves. With this said, and I do not intend to sound insensitive or mean but I do not care about the faith paths that people choose for their own personal lives nor will I debate about theirs or mine. That is between them and God and that is where I leave it as my job is done. Everyone has the right to believe what they choose and choose not to believe and I respect that. I cannot change anyone’s mind or heart and I do not try. Debate I ask? Debate for what purpose when people already have made up in their minds and hearts what they are going to believe and what they are going to continue to believe. They have that right as I stated before. I have found peace and freedom in simply being God’s mail man and those who are presented with it can choose to read it, ignore it, throw it in the trash, shred it, share it or do whatever they choose to do with it. My encouragement for those who cannot handle my writing style or non traditional type of sound doctrine and theology would be to save your selves from getting angry and upset and do not read it. Do this for your own sake and peace of mind but I am confident in my approach to studying the Bible and have been train to do so by some of the best around. Not that I am always right and I will be the first to admit it but other than this I am confident in everything that I list or I would not list it. I am aware of the environment that I write in but I like it because it forces me to study and be a thorough as possible.
None the less, the DOGS and SWINE discussed in Matthew 6:7 are referring to Jews and Gentiles and are metaphors for a TOTALLY UNRECEPTIVE PERSON. This being the connective verse to 2 Peter 2:20-21, the verse that supporters of an “unsecure” salvation use, is this talking about SAVED people or preachers? Give me a break, certainly not. Once again study it for yourselves but NO WAY.
There are many, many other scriptures that those who support and “unsecure” salvation viewpoint use that I could continue to dissect but then this series would never end. More than this, I have to get to the many, many verses that support our “secure” salvation. I gave you a taste of some of the verses that we will be diving into when I talked about John 10:27-28 but the saga continues. However, before I go I would like to share a personal testimony because if there was anyone that should have “lost their salvation” for a lack of a better term, it should have been me AND I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, THAT I AM SAVED.
A TRUE, PERSONAL TESTIMONY.
If I can be open, honest and transparent, as my motivation is to use myself as a living testimony, I can use my personal experience as a testimony that you can never lose your salvation even if you try to abandon or denounce the Christian faith when you are a true Believer. Now I know and understand that many, many people have started out as Christians and have left and or denounced the faith due to their displeasure with it. Trust me, I definitely understand and you will see that I can identify with you as you read my own testimony. God’s Word declares that those who left and or try to denounce the faith will:
- Eventually come back to the faith just as the lost son did in Luke 15 which means that in terms of salvation, they never left the faith in heart but instead strayed. Why is this? It is because at one point they sincerely placed their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ death on the Cross which seals the deal.
- Never come back because they were not a true believer in the first place. This is confirmed 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.” God said it not me.
To the second bullet point, (I know some people will get upset about it) this does not mean that there is something extra wrong with those who “were not of us” it just simply means that they were not saved in the first place, keeping in mind that God is the ultimate judge of everyone’s heart. This also does not mean that their reasons for leaving or denouncing the Christian faith were not valid either. This does take us into the issue of what about those who prayed the “sinner’s prayer” at one point and then left the Christian faith. My response would be refer back to the two previously listed bullet points – they will eventually come back or they will never come back, once again keeping in mind that God is the ultimate judge of the sincerity of one’s heart not me. However, to add to this, if someone has made a decision to leave and or denounced the Christian faith, they should not have a problem with the specifics of the second bullet point anyway because they themselves declared that they are not a Christian. So in truth and more importantly in their own truth, it should not matter anyway. I say this in connection to fact not to be smart because if you were to ask them are they a Christian they would say, put nicely, “NO.” So in essence, there is no need to get upset about whether I am trying to judge the sincerity of someone’s (at one time) prayer or heart set or not because I am not doing that. In short and plainly said, the Biblical confirms that a Christian will stay a Christian or they were not truly a Christian from the beginning. Once again a true Believer cannot apostate but can certain stray and sometimes for long periods of time. As I have stated over and over again, the “Parable of the lost Son” in Luke 15 confirms this. To add to this, my own personal testimony confirms this as well.
To get right to back to my personal story, I have been through years and years of willful hurt, pain and devastation by way of church folks and especially church leaders in my life. I was tired of the spiritual abuse that I had endured since coming into that ministry as a youth, not to mention the continuous unnecessary crap that I had to go through as an adult with the church. One day after making a decision to leave that church that I was a long time member of, I made a decision that I did not want to be a Christian anymore. What helped my decision was when I began to reflect on how I had been constantly and continuously treated so negatively and for no reason. I began to reflect on how I experienced a lack of compassion in the church along with all the other unnecessary persecution that I went through, mostly due to people’s deep rooted envy, jealously and insecurities. I began to reflect on the open humiliation from the pulpits on Sunday’s, during Ministers meetings and during staff meetings. I did not have a problem with imperfection or blamelessness BUT I did have a problem with wilfulness because there is a huge difference. When a person hurts someone blamelessly, repentance always follows but when it is wilful you can rest assure that there will be no remorse. After contemplating all of this and more, I contemplated to myself:
“If this is what Christianity is all about, Lord you can have it and I don’t want anything to do with this junk because I don’t have to tolerate this kind of treatment, I am worth more.”
After this decision, over a long period of time, I was angry at God and Christians and did not want anything to do with both. I had stopped praying to a God that would allow me to be treated so badly (especially by leaders who were supposed to be watching for my soul) when all I did was try to love everyone, work with passion and had given so much to that church from my heart and from my pocket. I also stopped reading my Bible and due to a new job that I took that required that I work on Sundays, I had to stop going to church for a long, long time. Interestingly enough, this was what I wanted because I did not want to work or worship in the place where I was being spiritually, mentally and emotionally beat up when I needed healing myself. To me, church had become a psychological symbol of hurt, pain, devastation and a negative reminder of what I did not want to experience or be a part. While I was working at my new job, I met some unsaved friends that treated me better and showed me more love and compassion than the church folks did. One of the persons who I worked closer with who was of another faith was more caring than a lot or most of the Believers that I knew. Over a long period of time I began to inquire about my co-workers religion and no, it was not flawless just like all the others either but I did like their loving concept. Besides, I witnessed an outward demonstration from my co-worker and her religious affiliates consistently sticking together and really looking out for each other unlike my experience with the Christians. As more time passed I had decided to convert and by this time I had even began to take on their outward appearance as well. I had not delved into their studies or visited were they worshipped yet but it was definitely on my agenda. None the less, I had denounced the Christian religion all together.
One day after work, I walked in the house and turned on the T.V. and it “just so happened” to be on a Christian T.V. station. I gathered it was there because my wife must had been watching it because in my turning away or should I say straying away state, I know I did not turn it on. I definitely did not turn it on because I did not want to hear anything Christians had to say. When the T.V. came on these were the words that the preacher on the T.V. station said that I know that the Holy Spirit used to speak directly to me and draw me back despite how I had made a decision to give up on Christianity. He said:
“You can try to turn away from God but you know He is not going to let you go.”He has done too much for you.” “You know that He healed you when you were sick when the doctors had given up on you.”
Tears begin to whelp up in my eyes as I knew the Holy Spirit had used this man to speak directly to me because I had a miraculous healing testimony as he said. God had healed me from a rare heart disease that I had after which the doctors gave me only one day to live and told my mom and dad there was nothing else that they could do. To fast forward to the end, of course I stayed a Christian and have been one every since but ONLY BECAUSE OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR ME PERSONALLY not for the sake of the religion itself. Other than that, I would probably be of another religious affiliation today.
If I can go a step further and be even more honest, God’s goodness to me is the only thing that is holding me in the faith to this very day. Why is this? It is because I finally realized that at the end of the day it is about my personal relationship with God that cannot be predicated on imperfect, sinful man. With the negative direction that the church has gone in and continues to go in, God has to be my personal daily focus or it will surely become discouraging and I might be tempted to change sides as David was in Psalms 73. I truly, truly understand why those who are “saved” and “unsaved” turn away and or fall away. It is just that when one is truly born again, they eventually come back. You see it was the Holy Spirit that reminded me of God’s goodness in my personal life that caused me to make my way back home to my Heavenly Father just like the lost son did. I want to make it clear that I was not living the sinful life as the lost son lived but if you want to say that it was sinful from the perspective of being disconnected from God then yes that was me. I was simply inquiring about another faith and moving in that direction because of being tired of the unnecessary negative personal experiences that I was having with my own faith. Yes there is unnecessary negativity in every faith but it was God’s love and goodness for me personally that would not let me go when I had made a verbal and behavioral decision to denounced my faith. Why is this? It is because I was truly, truly saved to begin with. More than that, at the present time, no one on planet earth, above the earth or below the earth can tell me that I am “still” not saved.
Let me give you some evidence: If I was not saved I can assure you that I definitely would not be writing articles on behalf of Christianity, you can trust me on this one. While we are on the subject of my negative experiences with the “Christians” in connection to my writing these “Christians” articles, in the present, the way that I see it, is that getting hurt by the church benefited me in so many ways. One of the ways that it helped me was that it freed me to tell the truth about our faith and not to worry about what “Christians” will think of me. With all the negative things that “Christians” do to “Christian” some get upset when other Christians tell the truth about our faith, especially to a non-Believer. Some believe that we should keep it in the family, for a lack of a better term if we acted like “family.” My response to this is perspective is two-fold. First, if I lie and paint a picture like the church is not in the bad condition that it is in, then the church would crucify me for lying and non-Believers who see and know what is truly going in the church would not respect this. However, I believe that they will at least respect someone who is being honest about what is going on in the church. Why is this? It is because most of them can relate to my negative experience as well. I have people who oppose the Christian faith express their appreciating for me being honest about our faith, not to mention making myself available to answer questions and exemplifying the courage to put myself in a position to have my faith challenged. Secondly, if Christians do not want other Christians telling the truth about the bad condition of the church, THEN CHANGE THE NEGATIVE WILLFUL BEHAVIOR AND STOP EXPECTING PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO RIGHT AN BE A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF OUR FAITH TO COVER FOR YOU. As I said earlier, I could care less what Christina think about me for telling the truth. In conclusion, as a result, I know that everyone who reads my articles my not always agree with me and that is to be expected but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am blessing more people than not. As I see the big picture, if my negative experience was for those who would be blessed by it, not to mention getting sound doctrine and theology from my articles than it was all worth it. Be blessed!
NEXT WEEK WE WILL WRAP UP THIS SERIES BY EXAMINING SOME OF THE MORE NOTEABLE SCRIPTURES THAT CONFIRMS THAT THE SALVATION OF THE BELEIVER IS INDEED “SECURE.”