much thanks for clarifying that. I honestly don't see how people can accept predestination and live with their conscience, even though there have been great men who were calvanists. it just seems like an excuse that people make so they will think they are justified in sitting around and doing nothing for the kingdom of God.
I still have to disagree with your views on OSAS though. lol
It says in Romans 9 verses 29 through 30 that whom God foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What I get out of these verses, is that God knew who would respond to His grace, and that He predestined these to become conformed to the image of His Son and so forth. Once God has begun a work in a believer's life, I don't think it's possible for His grace to fail.
I'm gonna jump back to Hebrews 6 again.
Paul says, 'therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.'
He is saying, 'putting aside these things, let us go on to maturity, let us grow in Christ'
'For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and THEN have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.'
This is something very serious that Paul is talking about. Rather than staying babies, Paul tells them, lets move on to maturity. what's the point of laying the foundation again? of repenting from dead works? of baptism and the laying on of hands?
Now here is my interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-6. If someone could fall away, they would never again be able to renew themselves to repentence. Paul is really speaking of a hypothetical situation here. It's like saying, if the grace of God is not sufficient for someone, there is no hope for them. When you think about it, it's kinda like what Satan did, and why he fell. He, in full knowledge of who God was, simply rejected Him. That's a scary situation. Everyone who has not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ has rejected Him. We accept Him as a once and for all sacrifice for our sin. When we truly accept Him, and we truly believe this, we WILL change, or something is very wrong. If a believer is living in sin, it isn't because they have rejected Christ. If it is, then there is no other sacrifice for their sin. I am convinced that believers who live in sin either don't truly believe, or they don't know how to trust in God. It's hard to tell sometimes. It really frustrates me to see professing Christians living in sin. Usually I can tell by looking at how their sin affects their conscience. If it doesn't, then something is wrong. I have plenty of friends like this, who think they are saved, but don't think twice about slapping God right in the face. It really gets under my skin.
I think the bible supports Eternal Security, at least as long as someone wants it. Someone who has been exposed to enough light should want it. If someone who has received full revelation rejects it, then there is no hope for them I believe, but what is the possibility of that happening.
To say that a believer in Christ can lose his salvation seems to me like saying that Salvation comes through faith AND works. It also seems like saying that the Blood of Christ wasn't sufficient.
I am not trying to accuse you of these things, just throwing in this point so that you can have a chance to refute what I am saying. I really enjoy discussing these things, and I MAY BE WRONG.
If I am, I want to know.
I definately appreciate your time.
My reply is below:
The problem is that you don't understand my position. I know that because you made this statement: "I think the bible supports Eternal Security, at least as long as someone wants it."
That is my view too, but you take it much further then I am willing to. You can't lose your salvation, but I believe you can decide not to follow Christ any longer and thereby give up your salvation. For now let me address Hebrews 6. I believe you missed the point. First I don't believe this is a hypothetical situation. Why would God put hypotheticals in the Bible? I don't believe He would. So what does it mean? Let's look.
The author of Hebrews is not saying that someone who wanders from the faith can't come back. If that is what is being said, then the Bible contradicts itself and we know that isn't true. Let me show you:
(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 your assertion for Hebrews 6 is correct then James contradicts it by this passage, even if Hebews 6 is hypothetical. As I said we know that God is not the author of confusion, so we can be sure that the passage in Hebrews does not mean that a person who backslides can't come back. Now our job is to figure out what it does say. First we need to look at who the book of Hebrews was written to. That is pretty simple, since the name of the book tells us. It was written to Jewish believers. That is a very important fact.
What the author is saying is that if anyone who has been saved (placed their faith in the atonement of sacrifice of Jesus Christ) and then goes back into Judaism and tries to have their sins forgiven through the Law, they have rejected the only sacrifice that can take way their sins. They can't later come back because they have already rejected the sacrifice as not being able to totally save them. This is totally different than someone who wanders from the faith as James speaks about. But don't take my word for it, let's see if there is anywhere else in the Bible which would back this conclusion up:
(Galatians 5:2-4 NIV)  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Wow, looks the same doesn't it? Here again Paul is speaking to believers and tells them that if they, after believing in Christ, allow themselves to be justified (or attempt to be justified) by the Law then Christ will be of no value to them. They have fallen from grace.
I believe these passages expose the error of OSAS. Both of these passages show that it is possible to be lost even after placing faith in Jesus Christ at one time.
There are hundreds of passages which speak about our responsibility to remain in the faith and continue to follow Christ. This is not faith plus works. That is absurd. Read the book of James. James clearly tells us that if we truly believe in Jesus Christ our lives will show it by the works we do. He goes so far as to say that faith without works is dead. Why? Does it take works to get to heaven? No, but if you truly have faith it will naturally be followed by works. So if you quit having faith your works will stop, sin will follow and you are lost. Let me show you just a few of the many passages which show that we must continue in the faith:
(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.
This passage shows that a person who is saved cannot go on deliberately sinning and retain their salvation. By deliberately sinning the person is giving up their faith in Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
If you hold firmly. So what could that mean other than if you don't hold firmly you won't be saved? How can a person have believed in vain, if they never believed in the first place?
(1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Decide for yourself, was John speaking to believers or non-believers? If he was speaking to believers then the idea that all sins are forgiven at one moment in time is wrong. God does not forgiven sins twice, in other words if these sins have already been forgiven there is no need to confess them and gain forgiveness the second time.
(2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  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.
Notice the very last verse, past sins.
(James 1:13-15 NIV)  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Again decide to whom James is speaking, believers or non-believers. If it is believers then James is pretty strong about what sin brings. Now OSAS teaches that when death is used like this is just means physical death. I have a real problem with that idea and here is why. That would mean that God rewards people for sinning. If you sin enough He will take you to heaven sooner then the person who lives a holy life. No more suffering, no more pain, no more struggle in this life. Sounds like a reward to me.
(1 John 5:3-5 NIV)  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Doesn't this passage show that the person who goes back into sin and lives like the world no longer has love for God? We over come the world by faith, but if we quit having faith, well...
(Mark 9:42-48 NIV)  "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  where "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"
To whom is Jesus speaking? It won't do a non-believer any good to quit sinning, they will still end up in hell. This passage only makes sense in referrence to someone who already has placed their faith in Jesus Christ. He is showing how dangerous sin is and how seriously we should take sin.
(John 15:6 NIV) 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.
I think this speaks for itself.
(Romans 2:7-8 NIV)  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
So if a Christian is self-seeking, rejects the truth and follows evil, they will experience wrath and anger in heaven? That sounds like punishment and that can't be if those sins were already forgiven.
(Galatians 6:8-9 NIV)  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This passage says much the same thing. Notice the "if we do not give up."
(Romans 11:17-24 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.
 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
Why were the original branches broken off and why must we worry about the same fate? Lack of faith. We must continue in the faith!!
(Galatians 1:6 NIV) I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
By your standards it is not possible for these people to desert the one who called them, but Paul thinks otherwise.
(Hebrews 12:14 NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Sin is not holy and therefore those who live in sin will not see the Lord.
(1 Thessalonians 3:5 NIV) For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
Paul knew these people had faith at one time, so why did he worry about them being tempted away and his efforts being useless?
(2 Peter 1:10-11 NIV)  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.
If you do these things you will never fall. What if you don't? You might fall that is sure the implication.
(Hebrews 11:13 NIV) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Why bother telling us these people were still living by faith when they died if it makes no difference?
(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.
Since we are all born as enemies of God and can only be reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ, how can this passage refer to anyone other than believers? My point is that you can't become something you are already. So a sinner can't become an enemy of God by being friends with the world. Only a believer can become an enemy of God by being a friend of the world. Now tell me do you believe that God will welcome His enemies into heaven with open arms?
Look at this passage:
(Revelation 21:6-8 NIV)  He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  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."
Here is the eternal question. Why is 'the unbelieving' just one in a list of people who will be sent to hell? Unbelieving would cover all sinners, so why mention the other sins? Don't be fooled, a believer is no longer a believer if he is a liar, sexually immoral, unbelieving, etc... We must continue in the faith and walk as Jesus did. Yes we will stumble and fall into sin, but as long as we want to continue to follow Christ and listen to the Holy Spirit and turn from our sins, we will inherit the Kingdom, but when we think we have already been forgiven and therefore there is no reason to follow Christ we are on thin ice.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)