But what is your take on what would have happened if the prodigal son or anyone who had received salvation backslides by rejecting the Father, His Son, the Holy Ghost and totally turned away from the faith and DIED without having repented or had the opportunity to return to the fold. Would that person be heading for hell or heaven? This is a conversation that came up with a couple of my work colleague when we were in an after discussion on Luke 15:11-32 so I would be interested in having a discussion and receiving everyone's point of view.
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"I know that some of us were born again, but are any of us saved...Yet? Hmmm..."
That really is big question and while we are alive it needs to be figured out and then make sure those we influence understand it fully, because we are as leaders responsible to God for all those we influence. What I see is that our salvation is to represent the truth and the love and will of God to all those we influence.
If that were true then Jesus would not have been tempted all the time that He was in ministry. I had to think on this a while and what seems to be true is that the closer one is to God the more one is tempted, because the enemy really knows what is at stake if we really get it together.
The falling away and the great tribulation are signs that the enemy tempted many and many accepted the temptations, which are all because of influences usually inside the church. It is why we all need to be on guard with everything we hear or see or even read and seek the Holy Spirit for the truth behind what is being said and not just the words being spoken or written as there are many familiar spirits.
I am reminded of the prophet that was given specific orders from God to do things and then do not go back the same way he came. On the road he met a man professed to being a prophet also and said he was to take him to his house. The prophet followed the man and God's reaction was to take the life of the prophet and not the man that deceived the prophet. The closer we are to God the more that is expected of us, not less.
We are however given the tools to withstand the influences which comes in large part from Jesus walking with us and the Holy Spirit guiding us, but we have to be bright enough to make sure we ask Jesus to walk with us and the Holy Spirit to guide us even if it is multiple times each day for what to do in all things or what to say or what to write. We will be judged for every idle word and as I see it, the only way not to sin is to always be in God's presence, which can be done through Jesus.
We all should be seeking God for what to say or write, because to influence people and take them in the wrong direction as a leader is something we all should abstain from. Our lives depend on it. We may not think so, but we are like that prophet where we all need to be seeking God not just individually but as the body of Christ as a whole as to how to deal with all things and forget about our personal beliefs.
Our beliefs are a killer and we all have the option to seek God for the truth or hang on to our beliefs which are all caused by influences. We listen to those influences because it is easier than seeking God for the truth, but the bigger truth is if we are going on our own personal beliefs including what we think salvation is, we influence others to do the same things as we are all living examples of the good and the bad.
I agree that one's life should line-up with what they have professed, meaning they responded to the Spirit's calling tugging at their heart. Thus, a change of heart, mind, motive, intention has taken place God's Spirit has done a work of redemption a new birth has taken place, yes this is a must as Paul speaks of life in the spirit and being heirs of the faith and consistency of a true Christians walk which is not after the flesh (Old nature), but hes says Romans 8:9, "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you, if anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (ESV).
It is not by works of righteousness which we have done. But according to His mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
While there is nothing that we have done, or even can do to merit salvation, there is much we can do to forfeit it. Let us not forget that God said nothing unclean shall enter into His kingdom. No idolaters, no adulterers, fornicators, murderers, liars, whoremongers, effeminate, or the like shall enter in. The only people that shall enter into His kingdom will be the overcomers. He said, "to him that overcomes will be given a crown of life". Now if there wasn't anything to come over He wouldn't speak of overcoming. In this life you've got to come over some things.Everybody wants to jump on the O.C. band wagon. They all want to be overcomers but don't want to come over nothing. Your soul's salvation must be WORKED OUT with fear and trembling. Because your soul is your only possession, you should take it's future very seriously. Your soul is all you've got, and it's worth more than the whole world. A man profits nothing by gaining the world if he loses his soul. Why would you trade so much for the flighty experience that we call life. But the life that we seek is of a different sort, and if we despise now a life, holy and undefiled, when we have not now received it, how then do we expect it to receive us on the last day? For if we are ashamed of our LORD before men now, He will be ashamed of us before His Father and the Holy angels in heaven. No. Sir Anthony, your salvation is not predicated on what you do. But salvation can be neglected. Should I accept what Christ has done, receive salvation, then turn and shake my fist at God? God forbid. I should fearfully strive to live according to His word daily. But because I am weak in my flesh, I will fall. But I must pray to my righteous mediator and High priest, and Jesus Christ the righteous is just and will weigh my fault righteously. And if my heart is right, he will forgive me of my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. A righteous man may fall seven times, but he gets up again. Sadly some people won't get up. They wallow until they die. Neglecting the altar, the way of escape, even salvation, they die in an unforgiven sin. When you sum it all up, It's not the sins which we commit that sends us to hell. It is the UNFORGIVEN sin that sends us to hell. If my heart is penitent and pure towards God, and I ABIDE in Him and in His Words, I have no worries regarding my salvation.
I am afraid while we all tend to go back and forth on what we think is salvation and who is saved and who is not saved, it seems to me to be a matter of arrogance?
To me at least, it is God who ordains and saves who He does. No one is good enough. No one is smart enough and no one does enough.
I am reminded that it says "all ye are like sheep and have gone astray." This is not for the unbeliever, but the believer. I feel at least, this all should be approached with a lot more humility than it is. In that humility is love.
I am not picking on anyone in particular. We all should be approaching this subject with a lot more humility. God has a sense of humor and I seem to be a reflection of that sense of humor, but God has another side which is far more serious than most people even try to grasp. Like, "who are we to be telling anyone anything?"
Although Jesus is my brother of whom I call out to often and honestly He has always treated me with love and respect, I know that I do not have the ability to walk in His footsteps. I am totally amazed at what He went through and we talk about it like "its no big deal." Can we even fathom what He went through? If we cannot fathom that, then how can we even fathom who is saved and why?
Shalom family, Salvation; who was IT given to in the first place, and to whom was it giving because of their fall? And why was, and still is, Salvation being misunderstood?
The answer that is before you concerning Salvation, many probably won't like what is written in the Scriptures about IT.
But to make a long story short, my web-site and my book have some important information concerning Salvation.
HELL BOUND WILL THIS PRODIGAL SOON BE. HE REJECTED JESUS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN
What is salvation contingent upon under the New Covenant according to the Bible?
Eph 2:8,9 "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."
Rom 4:1-5 "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about— but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."
John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him."
The good news is that salvation is by faith in Christ and not a function of one's performance, one's works. Those who trust in their good behavior to obtain or maintain their salvation status are not trusting in the blood of Christ. For "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood." Rom 3:25 And "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:5 Thus salvation is not contingent upon our works.
A performance based salvation is a righteousness obtained by law, a conformity to a set of moral standards. "No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Rom 3:20-24 Consequently, The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. Rev 22:17 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:23
But there are those disturbed by the gospel that salvation is a free gift, and claim that such a concept would lead to licentious behavior. Consequently we find heretics, wolves among the sheep, who change the gospel, reckoning salvation to be a function of one's behavior, thus making salvation contingent upon one's works, one's behavior.
Such heresy is nothing new. Even in Paul's day under the very noses of Peter, James and John, overseers of the church at Jerusalem there arose such a cult saying, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." Acts 15:5 In Galatians 2:4 Paul says, "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." So also today there are those claiming that if you fail to follow the 10 commandments, for example, you will lose your salvation status. Or in order to be saved you have to go through a ritual to be saved, namely water baptism. And others will add all kinds of requirements. But all are of the same spirit as the first century cult of the circumcision.
There are many verses the heretics use to mislead people into a different gospel - a legalistic gospel. Even the churches in Galatia were being led astray on this point, to whom Paul wrote, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Gal 1:6-8
Those who turn from the gospel of God's grace whereby salvation is not dependent upon one's performance, to a different gospel - a gospel of legalism whereby one views salvation contingent upon a certain behavior, a certain performance level, a conformity to rules, regulations or rituals, have been severed from Christ. "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." Gal 5:4
But as an example of how such a person would justify their legalistic gospel based upon scripture, they'll used verses like 1Cor 6:9,10, which says, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
And there are many of these kinds of verses which correlate a person's behavior with their salvation status such as also Eph 5:5,6; Gal 5:18-24; 1John 3:7,8, and a number of verses in the gospels.
The heretics use these verses with the following logic:
But their logic is faulty in that, intentionally or otherwise, they fail to take into account the nature of the correlation, the cause-effect relationship, between a person's behavior and their salvation status.
What I am saying first of all is that when a person believes in Christ, he is saved right then. For if he is not saved until he acts upon his faith, whether changing behavior or getting baptized or such, then salvation is a matter of works, which it isn't. And secondly that once a person is saved, their behavior is changed by the Holy Spirit such that their lifestyle is characteristically righteous and not sinful. For "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9 and as such one's salvation status can be diagnosed based upon their behavior, as John continues, "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10
Thus such verses as 1Cor 6:9,10 like verses are not speaking of salvation being contingent upon behaivor, but rather behavior being a way to diagnose whether a person has been saved. Consider the verses right after 1Cor 6:9,10 "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1Cor 6:11 Notice he says "were". Granted that he was speaking to the Corinthians who had become genuine believers and as such were washed. But notice that the change of behavior was so inevitable due to the regenerative effect of being born of God that there wasn't a single one of them who could be characterized as "wicked". Not one of them could be characterized according to such lists of wicked behavior.
Thus the heretic's position concerning such verses is no more than a strawman argument in that there doesn't actually exist anyone born of God who continues to live a lifestyle of sin.
But there are those who use the reverse logic saying that they knew so and so who was "genuinely" saved, but then continued to live a lifestyle of sin and on that basis they derive their doctrine. In contrast I encourage people to derive their doctrine from the Bible and scrutinize their experience in light of what the Bible teaches.
For example in this case concerning an alleged believer continuing to live in sin, I would call into question whether they are genuine believers. In fact John goes even further saying that such people were never saved to begin with. For he says, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19
Now of those who believe you can lose your salvation, there are two categories. There are the Legalists as I mentioned above, being heretics, the children of the cult of the circumcision. But another group are those who acknowledge that salvation is contingent upon faith in Christ alone - though granted it is an application oriented faith, which is the same as saying it is a genuine faith. Such people also agree that one is saved prior to actually acting upon one's faith, nor is salvation lost if one fails to live up to.
Much as I hesitate to use the word "clear" or "clearly", as such words are abundantly used in arguments of which the matter is not in fact clear, I would say that they are clearly correct in their stand that seeing as salvation is abundantly spoken of thoughout the New Testament as contingent upon faith in Christ, a person who does not believe will not be saved. Like if a person dies as an unbeliever he is condemned to suffer God's wrath in the lake of fire. Yes I agree with that.
However what I would take issue with is whether in fact a person who has come to faith in Christ and consequently been born of God and given te Holy Spirit, being washed in regeneration from his former way of life, can then go on to become an unbeliever. Has such a person ever existed?
In practice there's no difference between my own perpective which is that of eternal security and this position. For while if there are those who are alleged to have believed but lose their faith I would claim they didn't really believe to begin with, while these others would say that they lost their salvation, but in either case the present state of the unbelieve is that such a person is unsaved, and the solution is the same in both cases - namely both I and these would agree that the gospel is "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" Acts 16:31a
But I would contend that there are no verses which unambiguously indicate that a person who had in past genuinely believed in Christ and consequently had been saved, born of God, having received the Holy Spirit "who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" Eph 1:14 who then went on to become an unbeliever.
Take into consideration the fact that the Bible at times uses the word "believer" to refer to false brethren. For compare Acts 5:15 "Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." with Gal 2:4 where Paul spoke of the same circumstance "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." For Acts was speaking of the outward claim and affiliation, but Paul speaking of their inward conviction.
Jesus and Paul speak likewise of wolves in sheep clothing. Thus the outward "faith" is merely skin deep. I content that such faith is not the kind of faith that saves. Indeed James acknowledges that there is a kind of faith that does not save. "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" James 2:14 Non-application oriented faith does not save because it's not genuine faith. Anyone who has genuine faith in any particular thing will end up taking action on it.
Likewise Paul speaks of a "vain" faith, which I contend is not genuine faith. For example he says, "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." 1Cor 15:2 Notice also the tenses here, which cannot be explained other then by the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. For he does not say, "By this gospel you will be saved if you hold firmly", but rather "By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly". For a person who doesn't continue in the faith is not indicative that they lost their salvation, but rather that they had never been saved to begin with, their belief being futile. Like notice Jesus description of those who "believed for a while", speaking of the sower who sowed the Word of God to those whose hearts were characterized as rocky ground. "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away." Luke 8:12 Notice that the Word stayed only on the surface, failing to take root in their hearts, and as such their faith was vain, only having a surface faith, but not genuine faith.
And again in the case of 1John 2:19 John evaluates those who leave the faith as never having been saved to begin with based upon the principle that "if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us"
The faith that saves is the faith that persevers. Thus Jesus said, "he who endures to the end shall be saved." Mt 24:13
The question is whether we as created beings can separate ourselves from Christ, or whether there are things to come which can separate us from Christ, Paul writes, "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 8:38,39 Since we are all part of the creation, and since nothing in all creation can separate us from Christ, it logically follows that we cannot separate ourselves from Christ. Furthermore note also the word "future". There's nothing that will occur in the future that can separate us from Christ. In other words this verse advocates eternal security, the burden of proof being upon those who see otherwise.
And there are many verses which express full assurance that one will be saved, which could not be the case if salvation is loseable. For example when Paul says, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 2Tim 4:18 He could not logically say this if it were possible that he would end up in hell.
Likewise with all the verses which speak of salvation contingent upon faith, but which use the aorist tense. The aorist tense is a tense in Greek (the language of which the New Testament was originally written in) which expresses a point in time or historical event, as opposed to present tense that has a strong sense of continuity, stronger than we generally use in English.
John 10:9 I am the gate; whoever (ean) enters (aorist subj) through me will be saved. (fut ind) He will come in and go out, and find pasture.(all fut ind)
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls (aorist subj) on the name of the Lord will be saved.(fut indic)
Acts 16:31 They replied, "Believe (aorist imp) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (fut ind) -- you and your household."
Rom 6:5 If we have been (perfect) united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Rom 6:8 Now if we died (aorist) with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Rom 10:9 That if (ean) you confess (oarist subj) with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe (aorist subj) in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
1Tim 2:11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died (aorist) with him, we will also live with him;
The future indicatives are basically promises of that which will occur, not simply may or may not occur. For the subjunctive would be used for possibility, but the indicative for certainty. But notice the condition. Here each example is a case in which a promise of future salvation is contingent not upon continued faith, but upon a past or point in time event. Not that there isn't a continued faith, for in fact there is. But since perseverance is inevitable, therefore salvation can be spoken of as being contingent solely upon one's initial faith, if it is genuine.
If salvation were loseable then it is a lie to say that if you believe right now, right at this point in time, then you will be saved in the future. For if it were possible for a person to lose faith, then it would have been a POSSIBILITY that they would have lost their salvation status at some point. Thus these promises should have used the subjunctive and not the indicative. But the fact they use the future indicative indicates the speakers advocate eternal security.
The only possible rebuttal to this is to hypothesize that the authors are speaking by way of ellipsis, leaving out possible exceptions. Burden of proof is again on them, and as a figure of speech, an ellipsis is generally used only when those who are being spoken to are so well aware of the exception that it need not be spoken. But if you take an example like Acts 16:31 I would think it would be clear that Paul's jailor was no Bible scholar.
And likewise you don't get the sense that losing salvation is possible from verses which speak of unconditioned guarantees. "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." 2Cor 1:21,22 "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" Eph 1:13,14 Having been sealed and guaranteed eternal life, doesn't sound like the rhetoric of a loseable salvation.
There's also another theological position which begs for comment, namely Free Grace Theology. These people believe in eternal security, but unlike myself are more in line with those others I mention above who trivialize the effect of regeneration. Thus they would say that a person may come to genuine faith in Christ and be saved, but continue to live a lifestyle of sin and or fall away from the faith, but still maintain their salvation status. These along wtih the others deny that "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." and consequently deny that "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." The Bible says, "everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1John 5:4 Does EVERYONE born of God overcome the world? I say, Yes, but not according to all these other people I've written about. Does "overcoming" involve behavior? It certain does. Read the first three chapters of Revelation where the word is used abundantly. Or better yet Rev 21:7,8 "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." The "But" indicates overcoming involves the opposite type of behavior spoken of those who end up in the lake of fire.