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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Challenge of Contradictions

Biblical proof that a true believer can lose his or her salvation (feel free to skim this for now):
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" (Matt 7:19-23).

"All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matt 10:22).

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:9-13).

"The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers" (Luke 12:46).

Then He told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down'" (Luke 13:6-9).

To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned" (John 15:1-6).

But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off (Rom 11:20-22).

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Cor 9:27).

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation -- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant (Col 1:21-23).

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Tim 1:18-20).

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Tim 4:1).

But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast (Heb 3:6).

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (Heb 3:12-14).

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace (Heb 6:4-6).

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:26-31).

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them (2 Peter 2:20-22).

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position (2 Peter 3:17).

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father (1 John 2:24).

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and His angels (Rev 3:5).

And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Rev 22:19).
Biblical proof that a true believer cannot lose his or her salvation (again, you can skim this for the moment):
If the LORD delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. They will be protected forever (Psa 37:23-28).

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:14-16).

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24).

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:37-40)

"You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (John 10:26-30).

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever (John 14:16).

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with Him in his resurrection...Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him (Rom 6:3-5, 8).

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all -- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:28-39).

...for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable (Rom 11:29).

Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Rom 14:4).

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (I Cor 1:7-9).

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession -- to the praise of his glory (Eph 1:13-14).

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph 2:8-9).

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).

... being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

... who has saved us and called us to a holy life -- not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9).

... but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them (Heb 7:24-25).

"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Heb 8:12).

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb 9:11-12).

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Heb 13:5-6).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade -- kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

We know that anyone born of God does not practice sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him (1 John 5:18).

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 24-25).
Okay, there are two lists here. (I'm sure there are more on both sides, but these are substantive lists, I think.) So, here's your assignment, if you dare. Your job is to make these two lists fit each other. There are rules. You can't discard passages because they don't fit your view. You can't place extra weight on passages just because they fit your view. You have to read these passages with equal simplicity. That is (for instance), if you're going to read "imagery" into one group because they just don't fit, then you'll need to read "imagery" into your favorites as well. In other words, as far as you possibly can, take them all at face value. And keep in mind that these passages have been in the Bible for as long as it has been written, and believers have concluded that there are no genuine contradictions, which suggests that my challenge is possible to achieve. (Hint: Go from the explicit to the implicit. Something that may be implied could be untrue if it goes against something that is explicitly stated in Scripture.)

You see, it is my belief that more often than not you (Christians in general) have taken the passages that agree with your view and concluded that your view is right, but you have not ever examined all the other passages that contradict your view to see how they agree. The view you end up with should be a view that agrees with all of these Scriptures, not discounting, minimizing, or glossing over some. If you're a person who takes your Bible seriously, I would hope that you would seriously consider taking up this assignment.


Stan said...

No takers? I'd like to think that at least some of you are giving it a shot (or will).

Dan Trabue said...

My initial thoughts...

It seems to me that most of the "canNOT lose one's salvation" passages aren't specifically speaking against this.

For instance...

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

And that's true enough. But that is not saying that those who wish to NO LONGER be "in Christ" are forced to remain in Christ. This does not preclude choosing NOT to be in Christ any more. So, this does not seem to be in conflict with the "CAN lose one's salvation" passages.

Similarly, this passage says...

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast

But it does not say that grace is forced upon you. You can accept that grace/gift, by which we are saved and then say, "Ya know what, I no longer wish to accept that grace/gift..." and that does not conflict with this passage.

Seems to me that nearly all of the "Con" argument fall into that category.

The possible exceptions seem to me to be a few of the earlier passages, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life..." for instance.

Dan Trabue said...

In short, for the most part, I don't see any/many contradictions. I think the Bible is fairly consistent and I think logic would support the notion that we can accept God's gift of grace or we reject it, or, that we could accept it and THEN decide to reject it.

We are free moral agents and that does not change when we get saved.

I don't believe any (perhaps one to three MIGHT be read that way) of the Cons would argue against this logical presumption.

Stan said...

Dan Trabue, thanks for "playing". (I used the familiar phrase, but I'm not thinking of it as a game.) I appreciate someone taking a shot at this.

If I look at the first "not" verse, it says, "the LORD upholds him with His hand." In the John 6 passage Jesus says, "I shall lose none of all that He has given Me." The Philippians passage says, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Jude's passage says that God "is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault." These are just examples. It sounds like what you're saying is this: God can uphold, can lose none, can carry it on, and can keep you from falling, but it's all dependent on you. If you're unwilling ... He's unable.

Is that what you're saying? (See? Question for clarification. Trying not to misrepresent, but to properly understand. We can do this.)

Dan Trabue said...

God can uphold, can lose none, can carry it on, and can keep you from falling, but it's all dependent on you. If you're unwilling ... He's unable.

Yes, that's it mostly. I would say, though, that If you are unwilling, God will not force you to accept God's grace and salvation.

One way I tend to look at this topic slightly differently is that I don't think the phrase "Lose one's salvation" is as appropriate as "reject one's salvation."

God's grace is great. God's power is limitless. BUT, God does not force on anyone salvation that someone does not want. I suppose since God's power is limitless, God COULD do so, but God limit's God's Self, choosing instead to make us in God's image with the ability to choose our own destiny.

Stan said...

Wow! Got it right the first time. Excellent! Okay ...

... so, when Jesus says, "whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24), in what sense (in your view) is eternal life eternal? I mean, if it can be lost (rejected), I don't understand the significance of "eternal" in that description of life. In what sense has he "crossed over"? Is this a multiple-path crossing -- back and forth as required? When Jesus says, "I shall lose none" in John 6, how do you understand that to fit in with this scheme? (I mean, if some walk away, He did lose some, didn't He?) When Jesus says about His sheep, "No one can snatch them out of My hand", you find an exception to the term "no one"? That is, no one ... except that particular "sheep"? I'm particularly baffled at this phrase from Paul: "And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified." Since the origin of the string is God's predestining (however you wish to think of that) and God's calling, and since that string has nothing at all to do with the person in question, how does this string of events remain true in the case of a person who rejects his salvation?

And on the original theme -- "If you're unwilling ... He's unable" -- in what sense is it reasonable to say "the One who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him"? Isn't it something of a failure on God's part if He "is able to keep you from falling" but doesn't? (I mean, surely someone who has genuine faith and then chooses to walk away has "fallen". What happened to God?) Seems problematic to me.

Dan Trabue said...

I don't see that as problematic at all. I see it as a function of free will. If God CAN prevent us from choosing to accept salvation, then do we have free will?

Again, I don't think "Fallen" or "losing salvation" are as appropriate terms as "rejected," or "chose otherwise..." As in, Derbert was saved by when his wife died painfully with cancer, he got angry with God and so Derbert rejected anything to do with God..."

Dan Trabue said...

Stan asked...

... so, when Jesus says, "whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life"... in what sense... is eternal life eternal? I mean, if it can be lost (rejected), I don't understand the significance of "eternal" in that description of life.

I just view it as not a complete description. Sometimes people describe things in shorthand to talk about a specific situation or to emphasize a specific point.

It's like the John 3:16 verse that says, "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life..." Well, no. Elsewhere in scripture, the Bible tells us that "even the demons believe... and shudder." Despite what John 3:16 may say, it's not the complete picture, I don't think.

If I'm not mistaken, orthodoxy tells us that to be saved one must believe in God, accept God's grace through Jesus, repent of one's sins and make Jesus the Lord of your life. At least, that's how they typically describe it with the evangelicals I'm around.

So, when you have a passage that "shorthands" it (whosoever believes...), I don't think it's saying that the passage is wrong, just not a full description.

When Paul says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," do you think that means we don't even need to believe OR repent? That it's just a gift from God? That IS what that verse says, right?

What do you think?

Stan said...

Interesting. So in your view rejecting God is not "falling". I don't quite get it, but ...

It would seem then, in the grand scheme of things, that Man's Free Will is the ultimate determination of what occurs. God has made salvation available, but us unable/unwilling to transgress Man's Free Will. If Man accepts God's offer of salvation, God will do what He can to help Man be saved, but Man can, at any time, change His mind and reject that salvation. God has no options at this point. Man is the ultimate determination.

And when Jesus refers to a person who believes as having eternal life (in the present tense), it's not ... how did you put it ... "the complete picture". It's a temporary eternal life that is pending the successful outcome of that Man's Free Will.

Do I understand you correctly? (Note that I'm not trying to disagree or debate you. If someone responded on the other side I'd be asking an equal number of questions that might look like debate or disagreement.)

One other question. On the "you can reject your salvation" side, the Hebrews 6 passage says that it is impossible to restore such a one to repentance. Is it your understanding that, once rejected, a person can return to salvation? If so, how does that view align with that passage?

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, you are getting my position correctly. I'll have to think on the Hebrews 6 passage.

Dan said...

I've been thinking about it. When is the assignment due? It's going to take awhile, for me anyway.

I will probably use this in our home school when the children are a little older.

Stan said...

Well, the "too easy" part is that the assignment is due whenever you get it done. It's just nice to know that a few people are giving it a whirl.

As for using it for your kids later:

1) I think these types of exercises are excellent for teaching kids how to think, to examine, to follow through.

2) I wish there were more such opportunities to do just that ... and think that there probably are.

David said...

I have finally tackled this assignment. The "can lose" section is tough for me, since I believe in eternal security.
Matt 7:19-23-This is clearly a reference to people that never were saved, since Christ says "I never knew you." This implies they never were saved, otherwise He would have said, "I knew you, but you turned from me."
Matt 10:22-This is just plain taken out of context. It is talking about how the Spirit will give us the strength and wisdom to do and say what needs to be done and said, thus with the Spirits aid, we will stand firm in the end.
Matt 24:9-13-“many will turn away from the faith” is literally “be caused to stumble”, which indicates a non-permanent falling away.
Luke 12:46-again, context, there are 4 slaves mentioned in this parable, 1) a good slave that did what he was told because he believed what he was told, 2) a slave that did not believe what he was told, 3) a slave that believed what he was told, but did not take the appropriate steps, and 4) a slave that believed but didn’t know what to do about it. Only the second slave is unsaved, the 3rd and 4th are punished, but not condemned, only the 2nd slave is condemned.
Luke 13:6-9-the context here is about repentance, not salvation; the fig tree is unrepentant for 3 years as the master (God) looks in on it, the servant (the Spirit) works on the tree toward repentance.
John 8:31-32-“believed” here is not a belief in Christ as Savior, but in what He said, as is indicated by verse 37, “You are descendants of Abraham, yet you seek to kill me because you do not keep my words.”
John 15:1-6-Every branch that does not bear fruit was not saved because we know that only those that are saved bear fruit, ‘by this you know you are saved”.
Rom 11:20-22-the “you” in this context is not the believers in Rome, but the Jews. All of Chapter 11 is addressed to the Jews.
1 Cor 9:27-The disqualification here is not from salvation, but from rewards in the works that are done. In chapter 3:15 the works of the believer are put through a test of fire, those that pass receive rewards, and those that fail do not receive rewards, but their salvation is untouched.
Col 1:21-23-The “if” doesn’t refer to the continuing, but the work of Christ before the continuing. It’s not a questioning if, but a “since” you continue because of what Christ did.
1 Tim 1:18-20-shipwrecked doesn’t refer to lose of salvation, but to a back sliding, and being handed to Satan to be taught is discipline, not condemnation, plus Paul doesn’t have the authority to revoke salvation.
1 Tim 4:1-same reference as in Matt 24:9-13.
Heb 3:6-same “if” as Col 1:21-23.
Heb 3:12-14-this is a call for fellowship to strengthen our faith, which will keep holding us firm to the end.
Heb 6:4-6-Christ died once for sin, so, if you were saved there would be no chance for it to be ineffectual the first time. Once the debt is paid, the same debt cannot be reaccrued.
Heb 10:26-31-this is a belief in what Christ said as true, but not a saving belief.
2 Peter 2:20-22-The reference here is to false teachers that know Christ’s teachings, but do not accept them. Knowing who the Truth is and ignoring it is worse than not knowing at all.
2 Peter 3:17-This is not a reference to a lose of salvation, but a firm foundation, since it is in reference to knowing that false prophets are coming.
1 John 2:24-All of I John is a guide to testing if your faith is genuine.
Rev 3:5-God gives the strength to overcome to His children; those that do not overcome were not His children.
Rev 22:19-Only false teachers would add to or take away from Scripture, and though they may believe they are saved and appear to be saved, they were not and have no part in the tree of life and the holy city.

David said...

And, because Scripture does not contradict itself, if you take all the references to not being able to lose your salvation and apply them to all those ‘if’s, the ‘if’s become hypothetical warnings, not condemnations. Since God is sovereign and true, He cannot say flat out that His gifts and call are irrevocable (Rom 11:29), and then revoke those gifts and call based on our actions. God made a covenant with Israel, if you do this, I will do that, if you don’t do this, I won’t do that. God made a promise to His children, I will do this without condition.

Stan said...

First, let me say that I really do appreciate you giving this a try.

Okay, so your primary approach is "None of these say you can lose your salvation" (or some such). This would be the standard approach of the "Eternal Security" crowd. The standard approach of the "Eternal Insecurity" crowd (my term) would be the same in reverse: "None of those say you can't lose your salvation." (Note also that most who say, "You can lose your salvation" like to stipulate, "Well, not 'lose' as much as 'surrender or leave' your salvation." I admit I'm not sure what the difference is, but ...

Now, some thoughts on your thoughts.

In Matt 10, first, Jesus is talking to His disciples. The "he" to whom He refers is among them. Second, He's talking about persecution as they travel (He was sending them on a mission). Third, one didn't endure to the end (Judas Iscariot). So that one is problematic.

John 15 ... in what sense is someone part of the tree (you know, to be "cut off") without being part of the saved?

You are a bit off on the Romans 11 thing. It is specifically referencing Gentiles (Rom 11:13) and Gentile believers in particular.

There are more problems with your explanations, but let me ask a general question. Is it your belief that Christians have nothing to worry about? Some have suggested, "Go ahead and sin all you want. Once you're saved, you're always saved and there's nothing to worry about!" It sounds like none of these warnings are anything that pertain to genuine Christians, so there's nothing for genuine Christians to be concerned about. Right? (It was, in fact, this very argument that caused Rome to reject it. "This kind of thinking will just lead to open sin among Christians because there is no motivation not to." Luther replied, "We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.")

(A note while we're at it. There are three common phrases for the view that says that if you are genuinely saved, you will definitely end up in heaven. You used "eternal security", one of the standards. Your arguments against these passages suggest "once saved, always saved", another of the standards. Now, I happen to believe in "the perseverance of the saints", the third standard name ... but (and this is a large "but"), "the perseverance of the saints" is not the same thing as "once saved, always saved". Think about it and see if you can see the difference. And if you can, perhaps you might find a better answer to some of these passages.)

David said...

I would not put myself in the "once saved always saved" bunch if put to the question. The difference between that group and the "perseverance of the saints" is what is being done. The former doesn't state any real change and can be problematic if applied to your first list of verses, but the latter sums it up nicely because we know that the Spirit will be there to keep us persevering. Now, in that light, once saved always saved isn't as bad. Its my belief based on Scripture (ie the second list of verses) that God will keep those whom He has elected, and anyone that doesn't persevere to the end was never one of His. And to the eat, drink, and be merry crowd because of our assured salvation, yes you CAN sin and not worry about losing your salvation, but if you continue in your sin without repentance, you were never a child of God. A true child of God would not WANT to disobey God, not for fear of retribution, but for love of the Father. I remember the last time I ever got spanked, I was crying long before I got the spanking, not because I anticipated the pain, but because I knew I had disobeyed and disappointed. That was worse for me than any punishment that was given.

Stan said...

Yes, the difference is as you say. The "perseverance" side says the saints persevere, while the "OSAS" side says ... nothing about what we do as believers.

Now ... is it possible, in light of this difference, that there are genuine warnings to believers laid out in the first list? (Hint: See this blog entry. See also Phil. 2:12-13 where Paul tells them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling ... and more.)