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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: Perseverance of the Saints

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# 07908 :  Perseverance of the Saints

I recently bought a Reformation study Bible and this happened to be one of the doctrinal teachings subject given in it. Please read and especially the last paragraph. My heart truly humbles to know that Jesus Christ did it all for me. Nothing [I mean nothing] in me could gain salvation – but His gracious act.

[K. J, I think you may have some disagreements on this. Please direct your questions to my email –tomj3162000@gmail.com

 

Perseverance of the Saints

Most of us know people who have made a profession of faith in Christ and who have perhaps even made a strong display of faith, involving themselves deeply in the life and ministry of the church, only to later repudiate that faith and become spiritual dropouts. Such evidence always raises the question, can a person once saved lose his salvation? Is apostasy a clear and present danger for the believer?

The Roman Catholic church teaches that people can and do lose their salvation. If a person commits a mortal sin, such sin kills the grace of justification that inhabits his soul. If he dies before being restored to a state of grace via the sacrament of penance, he will go to hell.

Many Protestants also believe that it is possible to lose one's salvation. The warnings of Hebrews 6 and Paul's concern about becoming "disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:27), as well as the examples of King Saul and others, have led some to conclude that people can fall fully and finally from grace. On the other hand, Reformed theology teaches the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. This doctrine is sometimes called "eternal security." In essence the doctrine teaches that if you have saving faith you will never lose it, and if you lose it, you never had it. As John writes, "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" (1 John 2:19).

We know it is possible for people to be enamored by certain elements of Christianity without ever embracing Christ Himself. Perhaps a young person is attracted to a fun and stimulating youth group that has an appealing program. The person may be "converted" to the program without being converted to Christ. Such a person may be like those pictured in the parable of the sower:

A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold. (Luke 8:5-8)

The parable may refer to those who believed at first, but afterwards fell away, or it may mean that those who "believed" had a false or spurious faith, as Reformed theology maintains. Only the seed that falls on the good ground yields the fruit of obedience. Jesus describes these as ones who hear the word "with a noble and good heart" (Luke 8:15). Their faith proceeds from a truly regenerate heart.

The doctrine of perseverance does not rest on our ability to persevere, even if we are regenerate. Rather, it rests on the promise of God to preserve us. Paul writes to the Philippians, "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). It is by grace and grace alone that Christians persevere. God finishes what He begins. He insures that His purposes in election are not frustrated.

The golden chain of Romans 8 gives further testimony to this hope. "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Romans 8:30). Paul goes on to declare that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

We have security because salvation is of the Lord and we are His craftsmanship. He gives the Holy Spirit to every believer as a promise that He will fulfill what He begins. He has likewise sealed every believer by the Holy Spirit. He has marked us with an indelible mark and given His personal down payment that guarantees He will finish the transaction.

A final basis of confidence is found in the high-priestly work of Christ, who intercedes for us. Just as Jesus prayed for the restoration of Peter (and not for Judas), so He prays for our restoration when we stumble and fall. We may fall for a season but never fully or finally fall away. Jesus prayed in the upper room, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled" (John 17:12). Only Judas, who was a son of perdition from the beginning, whose profession of faith was spurious, was lost. Those who are truly believers cannot be snatched from God's hand (John 10:27-30).

From the Reformation study Bible - Tom Johns. 

Post by : tomj  View Profile    since : 22 Jan 2016


Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 22 Jan 2016 8:24:13 PM Close

Another article from www.gotquestions.org 

Again, K.J - if you have questions [which I know that you do] please send me an email at the email ID given at the 1st posting. I will reply promptly. 

Question: "Perseverance of the Saints - is it biblical?"

Answer: 
Perseverance of the saints is the name that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the eternal security of the believer. It answers the question, “Once a person is saved, can he lose his salvation?” Perseverance of the saints is the P in the acronym TULIP, which is commonly used to enumerate what are known as the five points of Calvinism. Because the term “perseverance of the saints” can cause people to have the wrong idea about what is meant, some people prefer to use terms like “preservation of the saints,” “eternal security,” or “held by God.” Each of these terms reveals some aspect of what the Bible teaches about the security of the believer. However, like any biblical doctrine, what is important is not the name assigned to the doctrine but how accurately it summarizes what the Bible teaches about that subject. No matter which name you use to refer to this important doctrine, a thorough study of the Bible will reveal that, when it is properly understood, it is an accurate description of what the Bible teaches. 

The simplest explanation of this doctrine is the saying: “Once saved, always saved.” The Bible teaches that those who are born again will continue trusting in Christ forever. God, by His own power through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer forever. This wonderful truth is seen in Ephesians 1:13-14, where we see that believers are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchase possession, to the praise of His glory.” When we are born again, we receive the promised indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that is God’s guarantee that He who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). In order for us to lose our salvation after receiving the promised Holy Spirit, God would have to break His promise or renege on His “guarantee,” which He cannot do. Therefore, the believer is eternally secure because God is eternally faithful. 

The understanding of this doctrine really comes from understanding the unique and special love that God has for His children. Romans 8:28-39 tells us that 1) no one can bring a charge against God’s elect; 2) nothing can separate the elect from the love of Christ; 3) God makes everything work together for the good of the elect; and 4) all whom God saves will be glorified. God loves His children (the elect) so much that nothing can separate them from Him. Of course this same truth is seen in many other passages of Scripture as well. In John 10:27-30, Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Again, inJohn 6:37-47, we see Jesus stating that everyone that the Father gives to the Son will come to Him and He will raise all of them up at the last day. 

Another evidence from Scripture of the eternal security of a believer is found in John 5:24, where Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Notice that eternal life is not something we get in the future but is something that we have once we believe. By its very nature, eternal life must last forever, or it could not be eternal. This passage says that, if we believe the gospel, we have eternal life and will not come into judgment; therefore, it can be said we are eternally secure.

There is really very little scriptural basis that can be used to argue against the eternal security of the believer. While there are a few verses that, if not considered in their context, might give the impression that one could “fall from grace” or lose his salvation, when these verses are carefully considered in context it is clear that is not the case. Many people know someone who at one time expressed faith in Christ and who might have appeared to be a genuine Christian who later departed from the faith and now wants to have nothing to do with Christ or His church. These people might even deny the very existence of God. For those who do not want to accept what the Bible says about the security of the believer, these types of people are proof that the doctrine of eternal security cannot be right. However, the Bible indicates otherwise, and it teaches that people such as those who profess Christ as Savior at one time only to later walk away and deny Christ were never truly saved in the first place. For example, 1 John 2:19 says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out from us, in order that it might be made manifest that they all are not truly of us." The Bible is also clear that not everyone who professes to be a Christian truly is. Jesus Himself says that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-22). Rather than proving we can lose our salvation, those people who profess Christ and fall away simply reinforces the importance of testing our salvation to make sure we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and making our calling and election sure by continually examining our lives to make sure we are growing in godliness (2 Peter 1:10).

One of the misconceptions about the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is that it will lead to “carnal Christians” who believe that since they are eternally secure they can live whatever licentious lifestyle they wish and still be saved. But that is a misunderstanding of the doctrine and what the Bible teaches. A person who believes he can live any way he wants because he has professed Christ is not demonstrating true saving faith (1 John 2:3-4). Our eternal security rests on the biblical teaching that those whom God justifies, He will also glorify (Romans 8:29-30). Those who are saved will indeed be conformed to the image of Christ through the process of sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11). When a person is saved, the Holy Spirit breaks the bondage of sin and gives the believer a new heart and a desire to seek holiness. Therefore a true Christian will desire to be obedient to God and will be convicted by the Holy Spirit when he sins. True Christians will never “live any way they want” because such behavior is impossible for someone who has been given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Clearly, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints does accurately represent what the Bible teaches on this important subject. If someone is truly saved, he has been made alive by the Holy Spirit and has a new heart with new desires. There is no way that one that has been “born again” can later be “unborn.” Because of His unique love for His children, God will keep all of His children safe from harm, and Jesus has promised that He would lose none of His sheep. The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints recognizes that true Christians will always persevere and are eternally secure because God keeps them that way. It is based on the fact that Jesus, the “author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2), is able to completely save those whom the Father has given Him (Hebrews 7:25) and to keep them saved through all eternity.

www,gotquestions.org - Tom Johns

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 16 May 2016 9:51:10 AM Close

Hello Tom Johns,

The posts that you put up on Preserverance of the Saints was interesting and easy to understand.

Thank you for the same and may God continue to teach his children of His eternal love

Regards,

Joe.

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 17 May 2016 9:13:58 PM Close

tomj,
Just to give more background, I been reading this forum for so many years, may be from its inception (do not recall accurately), though I do not participate in the discussions often. I know this subject was discussed on this forum numerous times with much vigor. Majority of people from KB background here align to the teaching that salvation will not be lost. But at the same time there are good number of people from KB and Christian circles teach the other way. Both sides have presented strong argument for their views. I know you are VERY passionate about this doctrine and you have written so many times to defend it. I respect your conviction and the way you try to explain your understanding to others with love and humility. I also believe and think that you are fully convinced that a person will not lose his/her salvation. 

Now let me come to the subject. I did fully believed in pre-destination and once saved always saved (OSAS) teaching. Lately I started thinking more about it and I see the other side presenting a very strong case and seems more logical to me with respect to Bible. I am NOT here to defend or teach anything, and at this point I am open to learn/know more about this. I consider you as a person approachable for people like me. I know how others treated kristinjude and it’s a common theme on this forum for some people, when the other party do not agree with them, they use all tactics to attack and destroy them. I read another Christian forum on a regular basis, and I am SO amazed by all the participants there (highly knowledgeable people), how they discuss and respect each other’s view, but agree to disagree based on Bible. Why I wrote this is to let you know my intention in regard to this thread and to make it clear that I am not a scholar, but I try to understand things in simple, plain way that makes sense.

So to start with, I understand that Jesus Christ did it all for me. Now is there any responsibility from my side for me to get saved? Should I be willing to obey the gospel, and based on my will with full conscious make a choice to believe in the accomplished work of Christ? Is it not that God has given us a will where we have the freedom of choice, whether to accept Him or reject Him? Or is it that that God dictates everything and we are hard-wired to believe in Jesus only those who are pre-selected? This sounds to me more robotic. The way I think, from the beginning we see that freedom of choice rest on man. In the Garden of Eden, God told them, not to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I understand it was fully their decision to obey or disobey, and God gave freedom completely to them in this aspect. I don’t believe that they were hard-wired to disobey. One may ask whether God knew whether Adam/Eve going to disobey? My understanding is that God may or may not. He is God and he can know everything if He want, but on the other side He may choose not to know also. So when someone say that there is nothing needed from my side for salvation, I think that’s not right. I have to make a conscious decision to obey and that responsibility rest on me and God has given me that freedom of choice. Otherwise I will be like robot who is hard-wired to believe in Jesus If I am a pre-selected person. Please share your thoughts on this and God willing we can discuss more on my questions/comments..

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Reply by : paulthomas1   View Profile   Since : 18 May 2016 3:01:46 PM Close

Hello Abic,

I fail to understand why you don't look at the scripture for these answers first and post here if you need clarifications on those. The word of God clearly teaches us (it has been pointed out by many in multiple threads) Salvation cannot be lost and it is not by human works - so we don't boast about it. You are using your own logical reasonings ( as an example - hard-wired approach on pre-selection) instead of looking into the word.

What does the Bible say about salvation and where is your confusion that it can be lost.

 

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 19 May 2016 2:40:47 AM Close

Dear Abic, 

I just saw your posting. I need some time to respond since I am busy with few things. But I appreciate your honest expression of your feelings. 

Tom Johns

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 19 May 2016 4:35:11 AM Close

Hi PaulThomas,

This is a dilemma which many people feel about salvation even after looking at the scriptures today. We should as believers try and solve this dilemma for him because his questions are sincere and concerning. There are lot of twisters of the word of God. 

I think Tom Johns should respond to him and then on that basis, we can see if the answer convinced him. If not, we can all try.

ABIC,

Thank you for not mentioning the other forum's name here. I can tell you the reason why. But I guess you are wise and know why you did not :-)

Regards,

Joe 

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 19 May 2016 8:45:40 PM Close

Thanks paizanjoe and tomj. As I mentioned in my first post I see strong reasoning from both sides and my desire is to know the truth. Moreover I also mentioned, I believed in pre-destination, mostly out of the preaching that I was exposed to. When I started reading more about this subject in the Bible, I have so many questions and now I am having an open mind on this subject. Most of the time I approach a KB person, they tell read the Bible and you have to believe this. I did read all the strong Biblical proofs posted here from both sides. But as usual majority wins :), those threads got side kicked out or deleted. Hope you understand my dilemma now. My understanding is that Bible is given for us to understand. Whatever revealed to us through the Bible, we should be able to understand that in a simple/plain way and there should be a harmony of various passages dealing with the same subject. I will wait to read from tomj and will respond as time permits. If I am delayed on my response, please pardon.

Paulthomas1,

Yes I use common sense logic that makes sense to me in accordance with Bible. I did not ask my concerns about whether salvation will be lost or not. I haven’t even reached to that topic yet. What I am trying to understand first is, do an individual has any responsibility from his/her side to be saved? Do we have a will and the freedom of choice as given by God to decide whether to obey or not? Once I am clear on this, then I think its simple logic to understand whether it will be lost or not.

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 22 May 2016 11:36:15 AM Close

Hello abic,

I hope you have received you answers from Tom Johns? If not, do let me know and let me know try and 'practically' explain it to you. 

In case you have not, you can mail him directly. 

Regards,

Joe

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 25 May 2016 1:52:24 PM Close

I am sorry. I haven't replied yet. But it is not forgotten.

Tom Johns

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 25 May 2016 7:54:23 PM Close

Dear abic, Aplogize for the long delay in answering - 

Eternal security – Questions

I wrote this article about three years ago answering few questions from someone who had been active here, and still is, to some level in this forum. I am modifying it to some level to address the recent discussions.  

“How do you know whether salvation in Jesus Christ is secure and eternal? Ans. - Because God says so in the Word of God.” This is the correct answer. It is like many in the Brethren group would say ‘go study the Bible & you will see that the salvation is eternal.’ – often they would quote few verses and for them those could be totally convincing, but to many others they are muddy and murky.

Our answer is indeed scriptural but there are a number of people who do not see such truths so explicitly as we would see. Most of them are true to their convictions and not refusing to believe what the Bible teaches. This initial answer I gave can be considered as ‘truth based on the word of God.’ It is known otherwise as the ‘objective truth of the gospel.’ It is ‘objective’ because the collective teachings of the Bible are intended to bring out that message, not necessarily just isolated verses. Upon careful study of the very nature of salvation would require us to believe that it is permanent and secured eternally. So, this may require more than a casual study.

We will set aside those ‘objective truth of the gospel’ for now. Let us see how confusing we get without those objective truths and go headlong into the other side -[believe in the conditional security or CS.] Life of someone who believes in the CS can be filled with extreme tension and possesses no peace. Let me explain why I say that. If we were to ask a CS proponent the following question -   

“How do you know whether you yourself is a saved child of God?”

The usual answer would be something like – “Because the Spirit of God internally confirms that to my spirit and also because I am externally displaying my internal saving faith in the manner with which I turn away from sin and wickedness.”

When someone says ‘I am externally displaying my internal saving faith in the manner with which I turn away from sin and wickedness,’ how reliable could those be? We all agree that such transformation would gradually happen and at varying degrees from believer to believer. Yet those changes are the biblical standards given to us to measure and see that we are indeed genuinely saved. So, their answer is certainly scriptural. Even then, I’d consider this as the ‘subjective feeling of assurance.’ Let me explain why I believe these are ‘subjective feeling of assurance’ and why they create such confusion even to many devoted Christians.

How the Spirit of God does confirm to our spirit? There is no verbal confirmation. There is no real checklist. 1 John 3:6 reads, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” In verse 4 we read, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness.” How much of a repetition of a certain sin is considered ‘practicing sin?’ Is it two or ten or hundred or thousand? Can I repeat the same sin the same day seven times and would it be considered ‘practicing sin?’

We can safely say that John was not teaching ‘sinless-ness’ when he wrote ‘no one abides in Him sins.’ Otherwise he would not have written in Chapter 1 verse 9 “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins.” He goes on to say that if we sin, we have an advocate in heaven - Jesus Christ; to intercede on our behalf. When we see two truths placed side by side, we are bound to acknowledge both. Ignoring one and clinging to the other gives a distorted view of God’s message. So, we have to agree to the fact that there will be sin in believers. Since there is sin we are asked to ‘confess’ our sins.

Now we have another subjective situation to deal with. How well I know - how to ‘confess’ my sins? If I have repeated the same sin five times yesterday and day before and had been doing it for years, what good is my confession and repentance? Gal. 5:20-21 gives a list of sins. “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor. 6; 9-10 gives another list.

Now we have yet another subjective situation. Is immorality of the same level of sin as outbursts of anger? Is ‘disputes’ as bad as Idolatry? Are factions equal to sorcery? Are the first few sins listed worse than the other sins? Now we come to yet another problem. The verse ends with a dagger –“and things like these.” What are ‘things like these?’ Could those be smoking and visiting movie theaters and drinking or similar vices? Are we at liberty to make up our own list?

Often we do not place much emphasis on anger & disputes or things of that nature. Because who in the world is free of anger & disputes? Is this how we treat sins? No. All sins are equally bad in the sight of God, although each may have its own earthly consequences at varying degrees. Immoral walk could bring children out of wedlock or catch diseases or destroy family lives. [It is considered as one of the most destructive sins and believers are strongly cautioned against it.] Whereas outbursts of anger could lead to physical altercation or vehicle accidents or someone could even beat us up with a club. The results may be different, yet sin is a sin in God’s eyes. [I am not forgetting the OT laws and varying degrees of punishments based on the severity of offenses. Most of those are ways how God measured the need for restitution and personal responsibility.]

Let me go back to my earlier question about ‘confession.’ How do I know if I am confessing correctly? More importantly, what does the biblical meaning of the word ‘confession?’ Most of us think that we tell God the offenses / sins that we committed and ask God to forgive those. Catholics teach their congregation to go to the Priest in a private setting and narrate the sins and the Priest will prescribe certain penance.

But the biblical concept of ‘confession’ is more than that. In fact, asking for forgiveness of sins could be considered as part of repentance. The result of repentance is a willing desire to turn away from sins at all cost. This aspect of repentance will be an on-going task for all believers. But the crucial aspect of repentance is a change in our mind in regard to God and Jesus Christ. That change would lead us to embrace Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior. This change would lead us to the other aspect. “The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. “ Charles Ryrie. Acts 26:20 ‘that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.’

What is the biblical concept of confession? The Bible sees confession in a more divine way. ‘Confession’ means to say the same thing about sin as God does and acknowledge God’s perspective about sin. Now we face yet another dilemma. How well I know – how God measures sin? Unless I know exactly as God sees, my confession can be flawed. I am sure I could have a mountain of un-confessed sins because my perception of sins and God’s perception of sins must be different.

Jesus Christ made this point clear when he defined ‘adultery and murder.’ The actual acts, though not committed externally, were considered committed internally. So, even if I did not react with outburst of anger and controlled it, I have committed that sin; even to the level of murder. [Matthew 5:21] Pharisees thought they knew all about ‘sin.’ But Jesus Christ stripped them off their façade. All of us do have such façade.

We know that we are commanded to love others. Love one another; [John 13:34.] Love just as I have loved; [John 15:12.] Taught by God to love; [1Thess 4:9.] Love just as I commanded; [1 John 3:23.] Love your neighbor as yourself; [Lev 19:18 & Matt 19:19.] These commandments are the least observed among us. I know that I break these commands several times a day with no second thoughts about it. There seven places in the NT that we see the command to love your neighbor as yourself. When I ignore these commands I do sin against God. When was the last time anyone of us asked forgiveness for ‘not loving our neighbor as ourselves?’ If we did not, do we have a clear stand before God?

What was the sin of Adam & Eve? They violated God’s command and ate the fruit of the tree. Today, such a sin will not raise the eyebrows of church elders. It will not make local news or national news. Even a most devoted Christian might forget to confess such a ‘miniscule’ sin. But God of the universe had to become a Man and die on the cross to wipe away that seemingly ‘insignificant’ sin. This is how God sees sin. Remember, there are seven NT commandments to love our neighbor as ourselves and we don’t even flinch about it. That is a serious sin of ‘omission.’ How many such sins are there that we ignore?

When we do any Christian service with less than absolute pure motif we could be sinning. If I try to show off my knowledge while I write or preach or show hypocrisy I am sinning. When I show arrogance and anger in my expressions I could be sinning. We start conforming to God’s mind about sin as we mature in Christian life. But a new Christian may not have such sensitivity about sins. Our understanding about our own sinfulness goes through changes. It is for the better as long as we properly understand scriptures. This is why studying the scriptures [in the correct way] is so very important.

All what I had written from the beginning of this posting convince me that no matter how pious could I be and conscious of my upright living, still I would fall short of God’s high standards unknowingly and unintentionally or knowingly and intentionally. As we grow spiritually, we become more and more aware of our sins. We understand the mind of God more intimately. So, my repentance can be flawed; my confession could be inadequate; my understanding about sin could be imperfect. If my salvation is based on 1 John 1:9 and its ‘perfection’ and turning away from sins, even if I have the strongest desire to please God by obeying His commands, I may fall short of that lofty goal, with or without my knowledge.

So, if I am left with 1 John 1:9 as my major ‘life-line,’ how could I get peace? If my salvation is based on the good works I am bound to produce as a result of my ‘salvation,’ how can I settle in my mind that I am saved? How much of good works would push me over the threshold to be considered safe? The proponents of ‘conditional security of salvation’ consider that our salvation remain in effect as a result of ‘up to date confessions’ and ‘staying in faith.’ These indeed are evidences of salvation and are necessary factors. Yet they are ‘subjective’ by nature because of the various reasons I cited above.

If, all we are left with is this ‘subjective feeling of assurance,’ it is bound to generate more questions than answers. Those who believe in the conditional security [or Arminian teachings/ CS] are struggling with this ‘tension.’ Although the ‘subjective feeling of assurance‘ is a necessary and sure result of salvation, it does not constitute the necessary cause. The proponents of CS place their anchor of their faith in the shifting sand of ‘feelings.’

The ‘objective truth of the gospel’ found in the pages of scriptures will give a firm foundation and a safe anchor. The CS proponents ignore or give less importance to the very essence of these truths. They sidestep the ‘truth of the gospel’ and go seeking the ‘feeling of assurance.’ Once we have these two concepts [truths] understood in the order it is meant to be, we enjoy the Spirit’s communication assuring of our salvation. Rom. 8:16 ‘The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.’ But that communication will be received only by those who believe in Rom 8:1 “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

It is true that the Spirit of God indeed is communicating to me and confirming to me now that I am saved. I have no doubts. But I did not start out like this. I probably prayed for my salvation more than 100 times in my younger days. I lived in fear and trepidation. I was not sure if I had enough repentance in me to be saved? I was anxious that I could be left out at the rapture. The Spirit of God was not confirming anything to me in those days.

What gave me peace? God removed the ignorance from me. When I started studying the Bible I realized that my salvation is an utterly divine and totally sovereign operation. My assurance came from understanding what took place on the cross. It is no longer a feeling that I am saved. It is not a feeling without reason. My subjective feeling [the Spirit communicating with me & my good works & desire to live a godly life] of assurance remained shaky until I understood the objective truth of the gospel.

Now I can say with confidence that the Spirit is confirming to me the reality of salvation. Now I know what Apostle John is saying in 1 John 5:13 –‘that you may know that you have eternal life.’ Some of you may not be getting that ‘confirmation’ from the Spirit. If you are like that, you are not alone. But you are able to. We need to anchor our faith into the 'objective truths of the Bible and then to the subjective truths.' Not the other way around. I hope & pray that this will help some struggling souls. 

Tom Johns

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 26 May 2016 1:58:58 PM Close

If you have read the posting above, please start reading this one. I have posted this some years ago and I am not making any change to this article. It is found in the web-site "Gotquestions.org." Reminder! Please read the earlier posting and then continue with this. 

“Question: "Can a Christian lose salvation?" 

Answer: Before this question is answered, the term “Christian” must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer, or walked down an aisle, or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what “makes” a Christian. A Christian is a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? Perhaps the best way to answer this crucially important question is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation, and to study what losing salvation would therefore entail. Here are a few examples:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This verse speaks of a person becoming an entirely new creature as a result of being “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be canceled and reversed.

A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The word “redeemed” refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase that He paid for with the precious blood of Christ.

A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

A Christian is promised 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 3:16). Eternal life is a promise of eternity (forever) in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be taken away. If a Christian is promised to live forever, how then can God break this promise by taking away eternal life?

A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). As we learned in Romans 5:1, justification is declared at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification is guaranteed for all those whom God justifies. Glorification refers to a Christian receiving a perfect resurrection body in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

Many more illustrations of what occurs at salvation could be shared. Even these few make it abundantly clear that a Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation cannot be reversed. A Christian cannot be un-newly created. Redemption cannot be undone. Eternal life cannot be lost and still be considered eternal. If a Christian can lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and change His mind—two things that Scripture tells us God never does.

The most frequent objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation are 1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? 2) What about those who are Christians but later reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these two objections is the phrase “who are Christians.” The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a continually immoral lifestyle (1 John 3:6). The Bible declares that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he never truly was a Christian (1 John 2:19). Therefore, neither objection is valid. Christians do not continually live immoral lifestyles, nor do they reject the faith and deny Christ. Such actions are proof that they were never redeemed.

No, a Christian cannot lose salvation. Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee and maintain the salvation He has given us. Jude 24-25, “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.” [End of quotes.]

Your brother in Christ,

Tom Johns

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 26 May 2016 3:07:04 PM Close

Dear abic, I know that I did not specifically address your questions from the last pargraph of our posting. Please read the two postings above and we will come to the questions on the 'freewill' later. 

Tom Johns

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 27 May 2016 7:47:13 PM Close

tomj,
Please don’t be sorry or apologize for the delay. We all are busy and I appreciate the time you took in writing this. I have read the post a few times.

I think primarily you were dealing with the subject of an individual sinning and whether it has any impact on his/her salvation. Generally what I see around in Christendom is that people have categorized sins under varying degrees, as you noted in your post. Some sins are considered really worse and some are not even considered a sin (e.g. a small lie, anger, knowingly doing something illegal whether in real estate or with finance or with your profession etc.). With the list that you have pointed out in Galatians 5:20-21 and 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, I also believe that, “all sins are equally bad in the sight of God although each may have its own earthly consequences at varying degrees”. Given this, by sinning if I lose salvation, I am sure I will be losing salvation every day :) the point that I am trying to understand has nothing to do with whether a person sin or not. I haven’t come across a single believer who haven’t sinned. So the question that I am trying to understand is how do we get saved and what holds our salvation?

You have aptly put it who actually a Christian is? “A Christian is a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9)”. So here the important aspect is faith or the belief of the person. You have also pointed out the following passages:
2 Corinthians 5:17 – New creation – There is an “if” clause there, “if anyone is in Christ…” how do someone become in Christ? My understanding is that by believing in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-19 – Redemption – Tell us that we are redeemed (purchased) by the blood of Christ. But this purchase (as I understand) is based on our belief/faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout this chapter we read about belief and faith. We also read about the trial/proof of faith (v7), salvation as the outcome of faith (v10) etc.
Romans 5:1 – Justification – Again here we are justified through faith. I understand this as my belief/faith in Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 – Promise of eternal life – Here also I understand that the promise is based on whoever believe., again it’s based on my faith
Romans 8:30 – Glorification – As you noted “justification is declared at the moment of faith”

So to comment on my own question above, my understanding is that, my salvation (redemption, justification, promise of eternal life etc.) rest on my belief in Jesus Christ and His work. I am NOT at all concerned about whether I do good or bad, or what all sins I commit. It has nothing to do with what I do, but based on my faith in Him. Please do not think I am advocating to go and do whatever or not to confess sins. Someone here may be ready to shoot the gun against me, but hope you understand what I am trying to explain. Being said that there is a possibility, if someone continue in their sins and do not confess their sins, he/she may abandon his/her faith later, which is a different subject.

So going back to my initial question, this belief that I have or the faith that I put in Jesus Christ, is this my responsibility based on my will and the freedom of choice that God has given to me? Or is this fully orchestrated by God so that whatever happens, I will automatically believe in Him at some point in my life, if God has pre-selected me? I do not know what word to use, hard-wired, or automated or orchestrated, whatever, that means the outcome of each individual is already determined, and I don’t have any will or freedom to make a choice whether to obey Him or not. That’s why in my first post I asked whether Adam/Eve made the choice to disobey God’s commandment based on their freedom of choice consciously? Or was it all pre-set and they didn’t had any role in that? You know my dilemma :)

If we read passages like John 1:12, John 3:16-18, 3:36, 5:24, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:8-11, Romans 11:20-22 (seems unbelief can cause a break-off), 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (asked to hold fast our faith), Colossians chapter 1 (v4,23), Hebrews 11 (v6),  and several others, it’s clear that they all are conditional in the sense that the salivation is based on one’s belief, and the act of believing in Him rest on individuals responsibility. It’s an individual’s freedom of choice to obey or not. God has not dictated the outcome. We see similar theme in Old Testament also. But if we read passages like 1 Peter 1:1-2, Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:3-12, Hebrews 12:2 etc. it seems everything is pre-set, though I have some questions about these passages which I may bring it later. I know you are fully convinced on pre-destination, but as I am trying to understand this, hope you will also keep an open mind. Because what I have seen is, if we go with a pre-conceived mind, then it’s just trying to convince the other party, doesn’t matter what the other party is saying. On a different note since you quoted from gotquestions.org a few times in different threads, I found this article http://www.gotquestions.org/faith-work.html where it says “The Bible is just as clear that salvation is conditional; God does not save everyone. The one condition for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. Nearly 200 times in the New Testament, faith (or belief) is declared to be the sole condition for salvation”. So this faith, do I make a conscious decision from my side, or is it pre-set by God so that somehow (whatever be the means) one day I will believe, if I am pre-selected? Thank you and May God continue to use you.

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 30 May 2016 1:22:26 AM Close

rick,

Your understanding is correct, I am dealing with salvation and trying to understand the starting point. Being said that, in my mind, salvation and perseverance are very closely related. Thanks. 

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 30 May 2016 5:43:56 AM Close

Hello,

ABIC, what you have stated are valid points. These are matters which I have even wrestled with a long time back. There are different school of thoughts which say salvation, predestination, free will, faith, belief etc. are different aspects or even different topics. The more you learn and the more read about them, there are chances of confusion. As I came to terms to with it, it was by gauging the word of God directly.They are all connected and one and each of these subject matters in various account complement and substantiate each other.

Let me try my reasoning with you through an example/scenario. I will interject verses in them as I go along so that you will see they are scripturally viable. It is a very basic example – maybe as we discuss it can take a deeper root if unless you are not convinced.

THE EXAMPLE

In some parts of the world, the first thing people do is secure a bright education for the future children. Therefore, even without the child being born – he/she without knowing has the privilege without doing anything to get into that great school. – PREDESTINATION

Verses:

Ephesians 1:4-5

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Romans 8:28-30

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Acts 13: 48

48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

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Now the child has grown knowing and being made aware of the school that he/she has been enroled for. Here is the acceptance of the child having the knowledge of the said place. He/she is aware in a great/small sense about the validity and necessity of the school. The knowledge provides him/her with every opportunity. This has been expounded to him/her by his parents, well-wishers and society. The reason for this is because he/she needs to know and that message is conveyed some way or the other – KNOWLEDGE

Luke 1:77

To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins,

2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

 

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Now since he/she has the knowledge. It is not necessary for them to accept it in the first instance itself. It might take him/her a short time or a long time. But this acceptance has to come since he/she is already enroled in it and knows he/she has a bright future here. He/She can choose to continue to grow or he/she can decide on leaving, and maybe some time later after truly accepting the potential, is drawn back. Here is the FREE WILL (1)

Once he/she goes out, he/she still has a fail-safe of coming back because the school considers him/her their treasure and gives him/her the opportunity again because the commitment given to benefactor. But of course with warnings and disciplinary action – ASSURANCE (2)

Revelation 3:20

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

John 6:44

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Galatians 5:1, 13

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

13 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.

Let me know, till now if this makes sense to you, then I will cover the different aspects that would be applicable in them.

In all this, keep in mind – You are referring to our God who knows, sees all things.

Regards,

Joe

 

 

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 30 May 2016 5:50:09 AM Close

 ‘rick’s statement : It is not right to say "He may chose not to Know".

 “… These times of ignorance God overlooked  ...” (Acts 17:30) – does not this verse mean that God acted as if not knowing? (This whole verse questions the Calvinistic predestination).

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 9:15:33 AM Close

It is not the case of God’s ignorance (?) I have taken here as a point for discussion, it is about His overlooking. Overlooking means, to skip noticing, that is as if not looking. If one looks at not something, then he knows not what it is. It is to say that ‘overlooking’ means ‘choosing not to know’.

‘rick’s has written that never in the Bible, as far as he knows, God chose not to know anything/something or about anything/something. In accordance with our Trinity doctrine, the Father and the Son apparently posses separate entity and in eternity they are one and the same, that is, Christ Jesus Himself is the God. Interestingly we read in the NT that this omniscient God does not know one thing. We read in Mark 13:32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. Does this verse mean that the Son has no knowledge, absolutely not? It is His choosing NOT to know. In His role of the Son of man, He appears to be not knowing, though in His eternal power, as a Son of God, He knows everything.

‘rick’s says that the time of ignorance was the time when Gospel being preached to the Gentiles, who had no knowledge of the true God. ‘rick’s has to make it clear that what this time period was. was it before Christ Jesus and John the Baptist, was it between the OT and NT time. If it was before Christ Jesus, what was that Gospel preached and what is the scriptural proof that that Gospel was preached only to the gentiles.

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 12:57:21 PM Close

'rick' has closed his post saying that this is not for discussion on this thread and so I do not add any thing more as my response to his post.

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 3:06:31 PM Close

rick,
I know I posted under the “perseverance of saints” thread. And I think salvation and “perseverance of saints” are very closely related. Per my thinking, if I don’t have any responsibility to believe or put my faith in Jesus, then I have nothing to do in keeping it as well. But if I have the freedom of choice to obey or disobey, then I may have some responsibility. Again I am not talking about the sins or good/bad works we do. 

I did not question the absolute authority of God. He can do whatever He pleases. The reason why I said He may or may not, (generally people talk about God knowing everything, agreed), but if He may choose not to know, He could, because He is God. I believe everything is possible with Him. In Hebrews 8:12 we read “for I will be merciful to their iniquities and I will remember their sin no more”, the same we read in Isiah and Jeremiah. I understand that God doesn’t have any memory loss or forgetfulness. He choose not to remember the sins and only He can do that. So that was my reasoning when I made that comment. I never thought about the verse that kristianjude pointed out about overlooking, but could be viewed from that angle as well.

I like the analogy that you gave in regard to Adam/Eve about conducting a quality test. I am fully with you that God as the creator has absolutely authority to do whatever with His creation. You mentioned that “anyone will ever put anything for immediate use before testing its usability”. For discussion, let us assume, God also might have done the same thing. But what was God testing here? We read that God saw everything good after the creation. So He was not testing any material defect or manufacturing defect, right? The one variable I think in the creation probably was their freedom to choose. So I think God was testing that. Again I believe this freedom was given by God. Yes God know everything, let me be with you on in this aspect, but knowing and influencing the outcome are two different things. Even as a human being I know what some people choose when presented with two options, but no way I am influencing that outcome. If my feeble mind can know what some people choose, what it will be for the Almighty God?

Please understand, I am not questioning you or defending anything, as I mentioned in my first post I am plainly trying to understand. When I believed in pre-destination, I always wondered about Adam/Eve test, if they had no freedom of choice, then what is the point? Similarly God’s question to Cain in Genesis 4 always amazed me “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Does it tell that Cain chose something not right by his will? Or God pre-planned and decided the entire event?

In my simple mind there are two options, one is God has pre-determined everything and I have no freedom of choice to do anything including believing in Him. Second option is God has given me that freedom to obey or disobey and the responsibility rest on me, God is not orchestrating or influencing the outcome. OR as a third option, are we missing something, is there something that I haven’t understood? Because some of the passages that I quoted above and paizanjoe quoted seems to tell everything is pre-determined. Are those passages telling me something completely different? Is it talking about me or someone else? You can share your thoughts, if you want, what you understand or believe, when it comes to freedom of choice. Thank you!

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 3:11:45 PM Close

paizanjoe,
Thanks for the passages and your post. Though I addressed my above post to rick, hope you might have read that as well. Those are my thoughts.  I don’t want to repeat what I stated and what I am trying to understand. In fact I have quoted some of the passages that you have quoted in one of my earlier post. True if you read these passages it seems God has pre-determined the salvation. But what about other passages, may be 5 times or even 10 times more, that states that you have to believe and if you believe you will be saved. Those passages seems to state that the responsibility of believing is on an individual. Let me ask you, do you believe that you have absolutely no will or freedom in choosing anything in this world, including believing in Jesus Christ? Do you believe that anything that you choose is pre-ordained and already dictated by God that means you just follow a preset hard-wired routines? Please share honestly per your conscious, ONLY if you wish. 

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 1 Jun 2016 12:51:35 AM Close

Hello Abic,

I have read the posts that you have addressed to Rick and also to me. I had put forth the understanding on the basis of an example to simplify it. As said in the post - I have also interjected verses in different portions of the example to substantiate it. So it could be the verse you have referred to, or something new. Let me try and explain.

Salvation, Predestination, Free will, Perseverance, Santification, Redemption, Grace, Faith, Hope, Love, prayer, works etc are all different topics. But each one of it closely associated with one another. For e.g. To understand predestination you need to be saved. You can only persevere in the wicked world if you have faith in God and His grace. And so forth.

My understanding is that even though I have been predestined for His salvation. I can only taste it if I accept it. I am given an opportunity to accept it on my own. I am not hard wired. I am given a choice. I have made the choice already because God can see my future. God knows that I will make that choice in the future and he has planned all and everything for my good. the right word here is INFLUENCE

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Of course, He can influence you. If our own father can influence our choices in life, then the heavenly father who laid down his son to demonstrate His love for us can do so more. After all - we are all His children. Influence is very different from being programmed, coded and hardwired. This influence is to not only establish to this world that we are His own but also to draw from us the acceptance of His great love and sacrifice. Influence comes from two sources  - God and the Devil. Influence of the devil leads to temptations, God does not tempt. He might test. but he would not tempt. 

James 1:13

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

It will take time to understand these aspects since there are many more deeper truths which we should understand by connecting the dots. As Rick suggested, it is advisable a new thread, so that the topic starts afresh based on your queries.

Regards,

Joe

 

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 6 Jun 2016 8:39:20 PM Close

paizanjoe,
I read your example and after going through that example, in fact it was more confusing and conflicting to me. That’s why I didn’t comment on that first. Let me state my understanding through your example:

“In some parts of the world, the first thing people do is secure a bright education for the future children. Therefore, even without the child being born – he/she without knowing has the privilege without doing anything to get into that great school. – PREDESTINATION

Per the above scenario, what I understand is God has selected some people from different parts of the world, even before they are born and without their knowledge. Not sure based on what this selection is, may be random? So here you are saying we don’t have the freedom of choice because the unborn children, they didn’t have any say in what school they will be when they are born. I asked a question to you in my prior post and you avoided answering, but that’s your wish. But based on this example I assume you believe you have no freedom of choice in anything that you do in this world, including believing in God. Sorry if I assumed wrongly, but this example that you gave lead me to believe that way.

And you quoted Ephesians 1:4-5. This chapter is one of my favorite and not sure how many times I have read this. I have read it numerous times to support my prior pre-destination stand. Now I could quote (I don’t want to repeat what I quoted in my prior post and I am sure you know all those passages) numerous passages that state that one has to believe in order to be saved and the responsibility of believing rest with the individual. All those plain and simple passages made me to think differently and come to where I am today, that I am keeping an open mind to understand, whether it’s my responsibility to believe based on the God given will, or am I a robot and I have no choice? When I look at the general theme of the Bible in this regard and all those overwhelming passages, I tend to think that God has given human beings a choice so that they consciously decide to obey or disobey Him. I tend to think that God has not created human beings as a robot, where He dictated and decided everything from eternity past. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But believe me it’s difficult for me even today to approach the Bible with an open mind, because I still read these passages with my pre-conceived notion of pre-destination, that I call my own ego :) When I recently looked into Ephesians 1, I noticed something which I never noticed before. From verses 3 to 12 the usage is ‘our’, ‘us’ and ‘we’ but when it comes to v13-17, it immediately changes to ‘you’ and ‘your’.  So the question that I have is that in verse 3-12, is Paul including the Ephesian Christians or excluding them? May be a silly thought, but honestly I do not know whether there is truly a difference. I have absolutely no knowledge about whether there is something different, just an observation that I never noticed when I believed in pre-destination. What do you think? Read the entire chapter and not just a few verses. You may also want to read the prior chapters as well.

You also quoted Romans 8:28-30 which is considered as a proof text for pre-destination. If I understand Ephesians 1, I think I can easily understand/reconcile this passage.

“Now the child has grown knowing and being made aware of the school that he/she has been enroled for. Here is the acceptance of the child having the knowledge of the said place. He/she is aware in a great/small sense about the validity and necessity of the school. The knowledge provides him/her with every opportunity. This has been expounded to him/her by his parents, well-wishers and society. The reason for this is because he/she needs to know and that message is conveyed some way or the other – KNOWLEDGE

Continuing with your example, now the child is aware that he/she is in a specific school. You compared that with acceptance of the knowledge. There is no acceptance or rejection here, remember the child did not choose it willfully, it was pre-determined for the child. So in this scenario, there is no choice (Acceptance or rejection). The only choice is to stay in that school. Now you may probably understand why I said salvation and perseverance are closely related, though some think it is not. In this example, since the child had no option to accept or reject, and the school was pre-determined for the child, there is absolutely no way of coming out of it, in another sense, you don’t lose salvation, because it was decided by God for you, and nothing can take away that, except God. Another point to note is that other children outside that school also may be aware of the necessity and validity of the school, but they can’t, because their parents did not choose that school for their children. This tell me that even if someone would like to accept Jesus Christ, they cannot, because he/she was not chosen by God. Comparing this example now with Bible, what you are stating is, Jesus Christ came to this world only for certain pre-selected people. In 1 Timothy 1:15 we read “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” It doesn’t say some pre-selected people from some parts of this world. Also in v14 Paul says he acted ignorantly in unbelief and in v16 that this is an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. You quoted from Luke and 2 Peter, but nothing there suggest me that I don’t have the freedom to choose. In fact 2 Peter seems to suggest the opposite.

“Now since he/she has the knowledge. It is not necessary for them to accept it in the first instance itself. It might take him/her a short time or a long time. But this acceptance has to come since he/she is already enroled in it and knows he/she has a bright future here. He/She can choose to continue to grow or he/she can decide on leaving, and maybe some time later after truly accepting the potential, is drawn back. Here is the FREE WILL (1)

Once he/she goes out, he/she still has a fail-safe of coming back because the school considers him/her their treasure and gives him/her the opportunity again because the commitment given to benefactor. But of course with warnings and disciplinary action – ASSURANCE (2)”

Moving on with your example, here I really got lost and I am not even sure what you believe. Per the above part of the example you are stating that, initially the child had no choice, but now after being enrolled in the school, now the child can stay there or leave. So now the child got freedom of choice (per your quote it is free-will). So taking this into the Biblical context, what I understand from your example is, God has pre-destined some people for salvation before they are born, but after being a Christian for some time of that knowledge (being in the school), they have the freedom of choice to obey or disobey God. So you are saying salvation will be lost later depending on their choice. But if they repent and come back they have the assurance to be part of the school again. If not they are lost? 

So to conclude here is what I understood from this entire example, God has pre-destined some for salvation before they are born (without their knowledge and in fact they have no choice). But after born, since they are already selected, they become Christians, after that, they possess freedom of choice to continue as a Christian or get lost, but they always have the assurance if they come back.  Very interesting thought!

I truly appreciate the time you took to put your thoughts and understanding, I know it’s really difficult to communicate over these forums, it is much easier to talk in-person. It takes lot of time to think, study and write. I don’t want to go in circles and waste your time, and I tend to keep an open mind in this aspect till I am fully convinced. Thank you very much and my God bless you!

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 7 Jun 2016 2:45:40 AM Close

Hello ABIC,

Thank you for your response. As explained earlier - it is a simple example which could be build further. My intention was to explain how it works. the idea is how all of it correlated to each other. 

We will not go in circles because what you have put across are things I have wrestled upon. Give me some time, and let me get back to you on this.

regards,

Joe 

 

 

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 9 Jun 2016 4:44:17 AM Close

Hello,

Let’s start from the beginning with a clean slate. Let’s not look at any examples or scenarios initially, and try and comprehend the elements (Predestination and Free Will) in the discussion.

The first thing that we have to keep in mind is that the will and grace of God are for ALL mankind.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

1 Timothy 2:4

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Ezekiel 18:4

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

I have only taken some verses since I want to keep this as short as possible.

Getting back to the discussion – looking at these verses. You nor I do not know who has been enrolled in the ‘school’, which means who have and will be saved. The basic prayer that we as Christians and true believers of his great mercy is to pray for all mankind.

God who is a creator and owner of all souls has given mankind in its entirety the choice of acceptance.

John 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

1 John 5:12-13

He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

The choice comes from free will. You are not truly saved unless you believe and accept Jesus as Lord and as your redeemer. God does not control you like some robot. The uniqueness of God’s love is the freedom that he has given to mankind to make that choice for himself.

His only presence is his influence. As I had mentioned earlier, influence is something that everyone goes through in their day to day life. In a normal scenario (I mention normal is because the current situations in the world is quite contradictory) which father would not want the best for his child? Which of our father would not go to any extent for the protection of his child? If we think that is great, then how wonderful is the father in heaven that he wishes even the Islamic fanatic also to be saved one day?

Now there could be a question of control. Control and free will co-exist. Just like the sun has to stay put in its revolutions. You cannot have it bouncing around and causing havoc. Just like fathers using certain measures to control when things go out of hand. In this, you have to realise one thing. The same God who protects us, believers protects the unbeliever as well. Why? Because there is a time when he/she would/might come to that knowledge. Here too, you do not know. It’s like a secretive marketing campaign which Apple in 1984 had. Nobody knew, but everyone was excited. It’s the same thing, nobody knows who all are saved or predestined – but we are excited about the salvation of mankind.  

The belief and revelation of your choosing only come after your acceptance and acknowledgement of the redeemer.  The spirit is the one who reveals that to you. Just like a successful orphan accepting his good fortune and then learning about his anonymous benefactor at a later stage.

Romans 8:14

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:16

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

It is the spirit of God that leads you to the confession. And it happens at an opportune time set by God for those who have been chosen. Once that happens, the spirit then reveals your special marksmanship to you. A chosen race of people. It is just like Moses’s realisation that he was part of God’s people.

Hebrews 11:24-26

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

After this revelation is given to you, you preach and practice the word of God with conviction and fervour because now you know (Knowledge).

One last point about salvation.

You are not going to lose – salvation comes from knowledge, confession, acceptance and acknowledgement of Christ. It is also God’s workings from the beginning of time for all mankind. You are also warned not to grieve/quench it. True believers need not worry since they are led by the spirit of God.

Regards,

Joe

 

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 13 Jun 2016 1:41:51 PM Close

paizanjoe,
I have to admit that reading all your post on this subject in this thread, has caused confusion to me, as there is contradictions/conflicts in your own writing. As I mentioned earlier in my previous post, this could be due to the fact that we are trying to communicate through words over a forum and I accept it is difficult. Based on this let me try to understand the post dated 9 Jun 2016 4:44:17 AM with clean state as you stated. Let me ignore your previous examples and posts.

Per John 3:16, I agree with you I do not know who will believe and be saved (“whoever believes in Him”). But I understand that a person is not a believer till he/she believe.

1 Timothy 2:4: We see the desire of God here. Being a human being, if I have a desire, and if I have the ability to get that desire, I will go for it. Being the sovereign God, I totally believe, if God wants/desires, He can make everyone a believer, but He did not do that, why?

Ezekiel 18:4: Agreed all souls belongs to God, as I understand it is the breath of God that gives and sustains life for all living beings. If you read through that entire chapter, after making the statement in verse 4, it’s talking about several aspects. From verses 5 to 9, that if a man practice justice and righteousness he will surely live (ps: every verse starts with an ‘if’ condition). Then it describes about an evil child of the father from verses 10 to 13, and state that he will be put to death for his evil ways. Then from verse 14 to 19 explain a different scenario of the son of an evil father, but if this son do right, he will not die. So in all these scenarios, I understand they had the choice to do good/bad and the consequences based on that. 

Also reading john 5:24 and 1 John 5:12-12, and what you stated “The choice comes from free will. You are not truly saved unless you believe and accept Jesus as Lord and as your redeemer. God does not control you like some robot. The uniqueness of God’s love is the freedom that he has given to mankind to make that choice for himself.” By ‘free will’ hope you mean the freedom of choice that God has given to mankind, if that’s the case I believe so. So what I understand from your explanation here is that, we are not robots that are hard-wired, and each individual do have the freedom of choice to obey/disobey. That means, it was not pre-set or pre-determined. If that’s what you were trying to explain, yes I am inclining to believe that way, but sometimes my pre-conceived notion of pre-destination wake up :)

Then after quoting Romans 8:14,16, you stated “It is the spirit of God that leads you to the confession. And it happens at an opportune time set by God for those who have been chosen. Once that happens, the spirit then reveals your special marksmanship to you. A chosen race of people. It is just like Moses’s realisation that he was part of God’s people.” Don’t you think this statement of yours fully contradicts with what you stated above? First you said that each individual have the freedom of choice and we are not robots, then here you say, only those who are chosen by God will believe at an opportune time set by God. What I understand here is, only those who are chosen have the freedom of choice, and they will choose to believe and the rest do not. It’s very conflicting to me. Either we have the freedom or we don’t. Either God dictated everything or God has given us a will where we have the freedom to choose. Should this be very simple and plain?

Coming to Romans 8, it starts with “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” what I understand here, it’s addressing people those who are in Christ Jesus, that means those who have believed in Christ Jesus. Then it continue to explain the fleshly side and the spiritual side. And what I learn from verse 14, is that all those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. True only the believers are led by the Spirit of God, right? Also true the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit. Do you think the Spirit testifies with the spirit of an unbeliever? And an unbeliever cry out “Abba! Father!”? I do understand that the Holly Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16), but not sure whether Holly Spirit forces someone to become a believer? In regard to Moses choosing affliction with the people of God, was that a conscious decision that Moses made based on his knowledge and realization of God, or was that pre-determined by God and Moses had no role in his choosing? Hebrews 11: 24-26 states, by faith, so I understand he believed in God and based on that he chose the affliction.

Your last point you mentioned that salvation will not be lost. True if God has pre-selected some people from eternity past, then they don’t have a choice to loose. For the rest, they don’t have a choice to be saved also, because they are not pre-selected. Just out of curiosity, what was the basis for this pre-selection? Based on God’s knowledge who will do good or bad in the future? Or was it random? Or something else? Being said that I do understand that Bible reveals certain instances of choosing for certain purposes (God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, Jacob/Esau case etc.). Based on this, is this the general theme of the Bible or are these certain special instances that God used to achieve certain purposes? Finally thank you again for your time and patience.

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 14 Jun 2016 4:37:52 AM Close

Hello ABIC,

Now I am a little perplexed by your statement ‘all your posts’. As far as I can remember and check, I have written twice only in this matter.

  • The example of the school child
  • The second without any example at first but using the scriptural backing and then some examples

I am going to respond to each of your point on this mail, but it would be answers based on the paragraphs that you have given. I do this because there is no colour functionality to highlight my points and doing it in italics or bold tends to be more confusing. Hope you are to understand this.

Let me start.

1. The matter of confusion arises because you are basing your belief that the as per first example and second topic – the child/person knows his/her future beforehand. You need to drop that thought. You do not know about the salvation or predestination of a believer apart from yourself after you gain knowledge and finally confess within yourself. Then it is revealed

2. We are one on this so there is no need for any explanation

3. It is not your desire, work, or act. If there is anything called or defined as act – then that act is your confession and acknowledgement. You are making that effort because something in you (spirit) influences you to make the effort. With regards to who is chosen and who is not. That is not your burden. Your burden if you want to call it that, is to pray that all mankind should taste His salvation and glory. Salvation and choosing who should and should not be saved, is God’s prerogative. He is creator. Leave it to Him

4. Ezekiel was about a day and age when the spirit of god did not reside in man as it does today. They were given the Law of Moses. Abide in it and live. The spirit of God did not inspire and dwell in all men, except for the ones who kept the law and the ones who were after the Lord’s heart

5.       The next two paragraphs: Here again, you have to make the confession. Unless you confess you are not saved.  You do not know whether the other person is saved or not. But you know about yourself. The free will is, you have the choice to make the confession. Whether it takes days, months years, that is up to you. But the spirit of God will keep reminding you.  Knowledge is one thing. Acting on it is another. For e.g. I have spoken to a few of the orthodox people in my family, one of them even is a priest. They know that whatever I say makes sense to them according to the scriptures, but they refuse to leave. Why? Multiple world reasons or maybe they still have not seen the light through the spirit. Our only hope is to pray for the revelation. Only the spirit can reveal and convince you of the truth whether you are truly saved.

The next thing, you do not know of your predestination till you are saved and the spirit reveals to you. The knowledge of being saved before you even confessed is part, parcel and testimony of God’s great love and care for you.  It’s like you wish/wanted a bike for your birthday but think your parents don’t know of your desire. But when you get it, and they say that they knew all along – wouldn’t that overwhelm you with joy to the fact that they know your heart and desire without you even telling or indicating? Same thing, YOU desire of the salvation and ask for it.  And the God telling you were already predestined for it and to have His peace. Wouldn’t that make you love, bless and worship Him more?

6. Except for the really dense and tribal portions of the earth, everyone on this earth have heard the gospel in some way or the other.  The message is to let everyone know of sin and God’s great sacrifice. As I mentioned earlier, people know or have heard the gospel, but only some follow the calling to be chosen. If the influence of God through His spirit is there on this earth, so does the devil have his influence as well. That is why while we are in the flesh we are asked to abide in him. To let go and give control to Him. Why? Free will to let Him control you before and after. Because God does not force anyone. He will influence you. And for that He has the spirit put in you. Even when you have the spirit, you are still asked to stay in Him. Why? Because you can with the spirit in you, still sin. An unbeliever who is not convinced of God’s grace can never call the heavenly Father ‘Abba’ with conviction. E.g. only the high priest was allowed into the holiest. And for that he needed to be eligible by birth and descent. We enter the throne of grace which is much holier, and we were made eligible through adoption and redemption. ‘Notional Christians’ have the knowledge, they call on God and then call on all the saints. Much like the people in captive Israel (2 Kings 17:25-34). That is not what God wants.

With regards to Moses. I think you will have a clear indication; like the first example I gave you. One – He was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.  How did his belief come to him? How did he have the faith? For this, if you read Exodus – you will know that it was his mother who cared for him, took him, nursed him and taught him as well. (Exodus 2:7-10). She was asked to take him away for this very purpose. It was God’s plan to use his mother and sister as his influence. He could have still said, thank you very much and grew up as the second ruler of Egypt. But something moved him to see the affliction of his people. That is the Spirit of God working in him.

7. The last point when you look at is a marvellous thing. Again, you do not know who are preselected or predetermined except for yourself. There is no question of whether you will do good or bad. You were born in sin and would do bad. Even David, who moved with God sinned with regards to Uriah. And when David’s testimony is mentioned – this aspect of his life is always mentioned. But that does not mean God left him. He was still there with him. In the same manner, if we are truly saved – God is there with us in all manners of life. We are being reprogrammed in Christ to do only good. But there is still the tendency of us to do bad as well while we are on this earth. But because of his final act of redemption, love and conviction through Christ. He will not forsake us. If we go wrong, He will correct us through His measures. (Hebrews 12: 1-12). You see the testimony of people in the OT here and then, the blessing of that privilege that we have got from the heavenly father.

Hope these points have clarified some of your doubts at least. In case you are still confused. You can now:

  • Still ask, but would recommend you start another thread - Tom Johns might be fuming on his thread going so long :-) (No offence but light banter)
  • Wait and see if someone else could put in a different yet understandable perspective
  • Or take this conversation through personal mail or chat.

In any such case, Let us grow in His wisdom and knowledge.

Regards,

Joe.

P.S. Don't worry, It is not I who is trying to convince you. But God who would, at the correct time :-)

 

 

 

 

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 15 Jun 2016 6:25:30 PM Close

paizanjoe,
I am sorry if you are perplexed by my statement. I meant only your posts on this subject in this thread. Because on one side you say that we have a freedom of choice and we are not robots, then immediately you say that we are pre-selected by God. Anyway thanks for your time and contribution and no more comments on your last post. Also I don’t worry :) and it’s my prayer that may God give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. Thank you!

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 16 Jun 2016 5:44:04 AM Close

Perseverance of a believer

I am not sure whether Mr. Tom Johns will take an interest to respond, if I comment all his writings and so I am not going into his posts at present. And also I am not going to present an elaborate writing, but produce hereunder a passage from the NT as a proof to say that ‘Perseverance’ is purely a believer’s responsible act, failing of which will cause an adverse effect to his soul.

John 15:1 to 10 is the passage wherein we read very much the words of Christ Jesus.     

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“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. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Readers can mull over this passage.

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 18 Jun 2016 4:14:50 AM Close

Hello abic,

You do not have to apologise. the point is even when I said those two points - I have tried to explain how Free Will and Pre Destination are inter connected, which maybe was overlooked or not understood. Either way it is fine. 

The reason for the confusion or if I put it another way - not convinced, is because of a set base of thoughts that governs the mind influencing it from seeing or undertsanding logic or the intepretation. Confusion or not understanding subject matter causes worry. You might be 'okay' outside, but inside, there are conflicting thoughts causing discomfort. That is why I asked you not to worry. If it is not there, then God is truly merciful.

I told you I wrestled with these thoughts of free will and pre desitination. Mind you, it was very difficult for people to convince me because in all aspects of this discussion, there is a counter point that seems really valid. I can see those, when you put it to me. But the Lord, one day, like he did for me - will reveal it to you.

Regards,

Joe 

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 20 Jun 2016 12:40:53 PM Close

Thanks paizanjoe!

kristianjude, I will follow the "God's Foreknowledge" thread and will add my thoughts/questions as time permits. THANK you!

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