I have read your apologetic pages and forwarded much to a friend that has good questions that deserve answers, and you are on the mark with most issues...here comes the "but"...but I have to strongly disagree about your comments about losing your salvation (you stated you had accepted Christ early in life, then walked away and feel if you had died during that time you would not have gone to heaven). I believe in once saved- always saved. Charles Stanley has observations on your view:
My response is in Green:
I will try to address your questions, but I won't try to answer all of Stanley's statements. The reason is that his arguments are from a theological point of view and I want to answer with scripture. I don't have a desire to change your mind, only to show you why I have come to the conclusion that a person cannot lose their salvation, but can reject that salvation and walk away. I have addressed a couple of his statements, but only briefly.
If God's holiness compels Him to take back the gift of eternal life from certain believers because of their sin, one of 2 things is true: Either God compromises His holiness for a time-through their small sins-or man's good works can meet God's requirements for holiness- at least for a short period of time. In that case, Christ died needlessly. **
This statement does not address my point of view. It assumes that a person can lose their salvation or that God will take it away from them for some reason. I have tried to show that I don't believe that, but I do believe that a person can choose to give their eternal security back and reject their faith.
What about being sealed with the Holy Spirit...What is the significance of a seal that can be continually removed and reapplied? What does it really seal? 2Cor 1:21-22. **
I don't think it can be continually removed and reapplied, but I think it can be removed at the request of the person who was sealed. I don't want to argue against scripture or the way Stanley views it as I have tried to say before, but I want to show that I believe that scripture just as clearly teaches a person can walk away.
The authors of the New Testament left us with detailed explanations of how one becomes a child of God; if that could be reversed, doesn't it make sense that at least one of them would have gone into equal detail explaining that as well? **
I think they did. I have many of these verses quoted below but here are a few of the passages that I think show this: Matthew 18:22-35, Hebrews 10:26-27, 1 John 2:15, John 15:1-6, 2 Peter 1:8-11, Matthew 24:9-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Hebrews 2:1-3, Hebrews 3:12-14, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 6:11-12, James 4:4, James 5:19-20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Revelation 22:18-19.
And finally, if Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost and yet we can somehow become unsaved-and therefore undo what Christ came to do- would it not be wise for God to take us on to heaven the moment we are saved in order to insure we make it? Isn't it unnecessarily risky to force us to stay here? **
There is no 'risk' you either hold on to the faith or you decide to reject it. There is no reason for a person to worry about their salvation. I believe God will hold you as long as you want to be held. Why would God force a person who has made the choice to reject Him to live with Him eternally?
I would welcome any comment or counterpoint(s).
I have often said that I am not a theologian. I have never been to Bible college or seminary. I am just a former street cop who loves the Lord. I have studied the Bible and looked at it the same way I use to look at evidence in an investigation. I believe that God has made His word plan and that He has said what He means. When possible I believe we should interpret the Bible literally.
I also believe that if you have to twist a passage to fit your theology then you should take a closer look at your theology. God's word is consistent, but it must be taken as a whole. If you take isolated passages and base your whole theology on them, you will likely be mislead.
There are many verse which state that the believer is safe and secure. I have no desire to try to prove those verses mean anything but what they say. I believe that a believer is as safe and secure as the believer wants to be. I do however, believe that a believer can change their mind and walk away from their faith. I believe as long as we have the breath of life in our lungs we have free will and God will honor our decision.
I do not believe that God wants to take anyone's name out of the Book of Life. I don't believe that God will take your name out of the Book of Life for sinning, as long as you will listen to His voice and repent. God hates sin and I believe that He will convict you of your sin and draw you to repentance, however, I also believe that we can choose not to listen to Him and after a time we have in effect chosen to reject our faith.
People claim I am saying that a believer can lose their salvation. I am not saying that, I am saying that we can choose to reject the faith we once had and walk away from our salvation. I believe this is what the scripture teaches and will attempt to show those passages which I believe support this view. No one should ever worry about their salvation, if you want to stay safe and secure, God will help you, but we should never take our salvation lightly and think we have been forgiven and locked into heaven no matter what we do from this point forward.
(Luke 12:42-46 NIV) The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.  I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. Isn't the servant here a Christian? Isn't the master, Jesus Christ? Isn't the place with the unbelievers hell?
(Luke 14:25-35 NIV) Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,  saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'  "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Why would Jesus tell people that before they follow Him they should count the cost and be sure they are able to follow through?
What about the parable of the Prodigal son? He was a son to start with, but he chose to leave. He comes back and the father tells his brother that he should be happy because his brother had been lost and was now found. I believe this shows a believer who leaves and later comes to his senses and comes back to God.
(Matthew 18:22-35 NIV) Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'  The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.  "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'  "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.  "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'  In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." Jesus even says that this parable is about a believer. I guess the question then is what does it mean that the Father would turn some of us over to the jailers to be tortured until we pay for our sins? I can't believe that people will be tortured in heaven. Nor do I believe that if God has forgiven our sins past, present and future that He will at some later date call us wicked. God says that when He forgives us He will never remember those sins again.
(Matthew 25:1-13 NIV) "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'  "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'  "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'  "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.  "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'  "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. There are several points in this parable. First, notice that the five foolish virgins lamps were going out, it was not that they could not light them. Meaning that they must have had some Holy Spirit (which most people believe is the oil). Second, Jesus tells believers that they should keep watch since we don't know when He is coming back. Why, if we are saved and nothing can change that, what difference does it make?
(1 John 1:9-10 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this to Christians. Why would God command Christians to confess their sins and then say that He would forgive them if they (the sins) had already been forgive when they were saved?
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV) If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Again this was written to Christians. I believe that the knowledge of the truth is salvation.
(1 John 2:15 NIV) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. This verse shows us that a person cannot love the world and also be a Christian.
(Philemon 1:23-24 NIV) Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.  And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. We see here that Paul considers Demas a fellow worker, or in other words a Christian.
(2 Timothy 4:9-10 NIV) Do your best to come to me quickly,  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. In this verse Paul says that Demas deserted him because Demas loved the world. This does not prove that Demas was then lost, but it sure shows that a person can walk away.
I believe we see the same principle in the letters to the churches in Revelations. I have heard people try to claim not all these churches were Christian churches, but I can't believe that. Why would Jesus write people and call them churches if they did not know Him? I won't quote all the verses but let me just quote those which I think are important for our discussion.
(Revelation 2:4-7 NIV) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.  But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Notice He says if they don't repent He will remove their lampstand. He also says to 'him who overcomes' they will get to eat of the tree of life. That would seem to mean not everyone will, but only those who overcome.
(Revelation 2:14-17 NIV) Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.  Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Again He says to those who overcome...
(Revelation 3:1-6 NIV) "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.  Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.  He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. This one I did quote in its entirety. Notice that Jesus says they should strengthen what remains and is about to die. They must have had something to start with, and it must be able to die. He also talks about those who have not soiled their clothes. Since we know that we have all sinned this cannot mean people who have never sinned, it must be people who have not gone back into sin and rejected what they had. Again He says these people (who did not soil their clothes) are the ones who will walk with Him and He will dress in white.
(Revelation 3:14-19 NIV) "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Why would Jesus threaten a church of non-believers with being spit out of His mouth? I don't think He would. Lukewarm, means they were once warm, but had lost that warmth.
(Romans 11:17-21 NIV) If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,  do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.  You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in."  Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. To be graphed in one must be a believer and if a graphed in branch is a believer then it clearly says they can be broken off again. It clearly says they were broken off because of unbelief and that we will not be spared either.
(John 15:1-6 NIV) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and we do not remain in Him we become like a branch thrown away and burned in the fire, what could that mean? I believe you have to twist this passage to show anything but judgment for those believers who reject their faith. To me this passage debunks the theology of carnal Christianity. If a believer is living a carnal life the Father will cut them off from the vine which is Jesus Christ. I didn't say that Jesus did.
(Ezekiel 18:23-28 NIV) Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.  "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?  If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die.  But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life.  Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. My question here is has God changed? How were Old Testament saints saved? Was it the blood of animals, or was it faith in God that He would send a Redeemer to take away their sins? Of course it was by faith, just as we are today. The difference was that their faith was for something in the future and ours is for something in the past.
(2 Peter 1:8-11 NIV) For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this passage Peter mentions that the person has forgotten that they were forgiven of their past sins. He does not mention past, present and future, just past. He goes on to say that we should be eager to make our calling and election sure. If we can never give up our salvation then this verse makes no sense. Nor does the statement that if we do these things we will never fall. To make that statement would have to mean it is possible to fall or it would be meaningless.
(Matthew 24:9-13 NIV) "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Jesus says that many will turn away from the faith, He also says those who stand firm will be saved. What about those who don't stand firm? The obvious interpretation would be that they will not be saved.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NIV) Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. Paul says they have believed in vain if they don't hold to the word he preached to them. In the verse before that he says they were saved.
(Hebrews 2:1-3 NIV) We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,  how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. People can say this was written to people who had not yet believed, but to me if a person drifts away, it shows they were at one time where they should have been.
(Hebrews 3:12-14 NIV) See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. I think this passage pretty much speaks for itself. We must hold firmly till the end. The author also states that it is possible for someone to turn away.
(Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,  if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. How can a non-believer have tasted of the Holy Spirit? This passage might scare people who have sinned and fallen short and want to come back. Again I don't believe this passage is talking about those people, I think it is speaking about believers who for whatever reason have made a deliberate decision to reject their salvation. Jesus said that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws them. If a person decides after tasting salvation that they no longer want to spend eternity with God, I believe He will allow them to make that decision and never draw them again. If He does not draw them, they can never come back.
(Hebrews 6:11-12 NIV) We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. If we are once saved always saved, then why do we need to make our hope sure? What happens to those who do become lazy and lose their faith, since those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised?
(Hebrews 10:35-39 NIV) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.  But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. The author says we need to persevere and if we do we will receive what He has promised. Wouldn't it makes sense then that those who do not persevere will not obtain what was promised? Notice that those who shrink back will be destroyed, but those who believe will be saved.
(Hebrews 12:16-17 NIV) See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. I believe again that this passage is speaking to and about believers. The author wants us to be sure none of us sells his birthright (salvation) for the pleasures of this world.
(James 4:4 NIV) You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. I think this shows the choice I was talking about. If we choose to reject God and live like the world we become enemies of God.
(James 5:19-20 NIV) My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. If a brother (believer) wanders from the truth we should try to bring them back to save them.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV) 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. This is what people would have us believe a carnal Christian can be like. I think Paul makes it clear if you live like this you will not see heaven.
(Revelation 21:7-8 NIV) 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." He who overcomes! Doesn't look like carnal Christians if there were such a thing would make it by this passage either.
(Revelation 22:18-19 NIV) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.  And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. It would appear John is speaking to people who have a share in the tree of life to start with.
(2 Peter 2:20-21 NIV) If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. When you look at this verse you have three choices; (1) That it refers to people who heard the gospel but rejected it, did not ever accept Jesus Christ as their savior. I think that is wrong, because it says if they are "again" entangled. To be entangled again, would mean you were free from it at one point. (2) That these people are true Christians and never fall back under judgment. I don't see how that can be true, since there is no way that losing rewards or even chastisement by the Lord would ever be "worse" then not having been saved in the first place. (3) That this refers to people who have truly accepted Christ Jesus as their Savior and then due to their own actions and falling back into a sinful life and thereby eventually totally walking away from their faith are lost. Since those who go to hell will be judged on what they knew and what they did with that knowledge, it would be better if they had never known because their punishment will be much harsher due to the knowledge they had. I think number 3 is the only legitimate interpretation of this passage.
I know that this has gotten very long, but I wanted to make sure that I am not accused of taking one or two verses and making my theological stand out of them. I believe that God is consistent and that He is merciful and that we can trust His word. Having said that, I believe if there are places in the scripture which seem to contradict each other then we need to try to see over all what God is trying to say. On the one hand there are many verses which say that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will never die. I agree, after all that is what scripture says. However, does that also mean that if and when the person quits believing they will still never die? I don't think so. The Bible says we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, but again, what if we decide we don't want Him?
As I said if you read all of these verses and have to twist them into saying something different then what their common meaning would be then maybe you should reevaluate your doctrine. Why would God clearly state how to be saved in one place and then have vague statements in other places which could not be taken at face value? I don't believe He did.
One last note. I admit I could be wrong, but if I am, what are the consequences? I would be erring on the side of caution. I am saying that we should try to serve God, and live a holy life with His help. That we should attempt to strengthen our faith and not allow it to grow cold. That we should flee from sin so that we are not tangled and drawn away from God.
Now what if I am right? I hesitate to say this but I think it needs to be said. If I am right and we are capable of rejecting the faith that saved us. If we can wallow in sin and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to draw us back and thereby make a decision to walk away from God. What is the danger? Wouldn't there be a lot of "carnal Christians" who will end up in eternal punishment who thought they could live like the world and yet be admitted to heaven?
(1 John 2:24-25 NIV) See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.  And this is what he promised us--even eternal life. (Emphasis added)
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