'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

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'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:37 am

The above statement is the one I have a problem with regarding eternal security. How about this analogy - you take out a life insurance policy and the paperwork tells you you're covered until a certain age; let's say it will be a few decades. However, you decide it's too expensive and cancel the policy. Now you're no longer insured until you're a ripe old age - okay, it was far from eternal, but it was well into the future. Make any sense, or is my analogy a crock of... :)

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Philip » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:06 am

The question is, WHO actually intiates, guides and COMPLETES one's salvation, and also asserted there is a precise moment of salvation? WHO deemed that as a transition into what HE called "ETERNAL" life? GOD!

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

For by grace you HAVE been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8)

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me HAS eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but HAS passed from death to life.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:19 am

Philip wrote:The question is, WHO actually intiates, guides and COMPLETES one's salvation, and also asserted there is a precise moment of salvation? WHO deemed that as a transition into what HE called "ETERNAL" life? GOD!

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

For by grace you HAVE been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8)

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me HAS eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but HAS passed from death to life.


Sure, but when you have life insurance you know you're insured for a long time; unless you change your mind and then it ends right there. I suppose the main difference is, with eternal life once we die we won't have to keep believing; it will be absolute reality so we won't have to keep 'paying' as is the case with life insurance.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Jac3510 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:29 am

The problem with your analogy is that you are viewing eternal life as a commodity, a thing you can have or lose. But life is no such thing. To have life is to be alive. To not have life is to be dead. Life is that which lets you have commodities. It is not a commodity in and of itself. To lose life, then, is not to lose a thing but to be something: dead. When Jesus says that we have eternal life, that means that we will never die (and so John 3:16 is emphatic on this, as is 5:24). To "lose eternal life" would literally be to say "to die even though it is impossible to die." It's self-contradictory nonsense.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:33 am

Jac3510 wrote:The problem with your analogy is that you are viewing eternal life as a commodity, a thing you can have or lose. But life is no such thing. To have life is to be alive. To not have life is to be dead. Life is that which lets you have commodities. It is not a commodity in and of itself. To lose life, then, is not to lose a thing but to be something: dead. When Jesus says that we have eternal life, that means that we will never die (and so John 3:16 is emphatic on this, as is 5:24). To "lose eternal life" would literally be to say "to die even though it is impossible to die." It's self-contradictory nonsense.


Hmm, maybe you have a point there.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:30 am

The question I have from that is what about little kids who die - if they go to heaven, were they spiritually alive? What happens to those who grow up not believing in Jesus - do they gradually die spiritually?

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Philip » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:00 am

Nicki, read this about children that die: http://www.gotquestions.org/age-of-accountability.html

And also, here: https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-doctrine/heaven-hell-the-afterlife/death/do-infants-and-young-children-who-die-go-to-heaven/

While the Bible is not specific about children that die, it might be of comfort to think upon the nature of God, His love, His justice being perfect. Does God require a child to do what he cannot - understand his sin, guilt and need for salvation, need to call upon the Lord? At a certain age - and at an age which would be different from person to person (depending upon their intellectual maturity) - one does become aware of these things, but beforehand could not YET understand them, or what God requires of them. I would say, God calls all people to do what they CAN understand (the importance of putting their faith in Christ), but not what they CAN'T intellectually comprehend. I would put people with severe mental retardation in this category as well: God doesn't ask of us things we are INCAPABLE of, but those things we DO understand and that we CAN do. If one cannot comprehend their sin or need for forgiveness, well, that's different - afterward.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Jac3510 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:11 am

Good articles linked above Nicki.

For my own part, I would only add that precisely because the Bible is not specific, we have to be very careful in going beyond what the text says. I would remind you, then, of what the text does say, which is that everyone who believes has everlasting life. So whatever answer you decide you are comfortable with regarding children, just make sure it doesn't challenge or put into question what the Scriptures do say about the gospel.

For what it is worth, then, my own speculation about children is that they go to heaven for the simple reason that they are not dead. Paul tells us that sin kills us, and if something is to kill us, we must first have been alive. So I presume that prior to Paul's first sin, he was alive. That sin killed him, and if he died in his sins--that is, if he died while dead (spiritually)--he would have suffered the second death. Rev 20 tells us that those who are condemned to the lake of fire are all those not "found written in the book of life." So what reason do I have to think that, if a child is spiritually alive (having not yet sinned) that he or she would not be "written in the book of life"? There seems to be a common assumption that the way you get into the book in the first place is by explicitly putting your faith in Christ. Yet, as popular as that assumption is, I don't see where Scripture actually says that. I see quite a bit about having your name blotted out of the book, and most of that has to do with sin. But I don't see anything getting written into the book. I think I'm free, then, to posit that all children, all the unborn, indeed all people are in the book by default and remain there until sin kills them. At that point, in their spiritual death, they must rely in Christ for their eternal life so that they are not blotted out after all.

Again, that's just my speculation. It's an answer I'm comfortable with and seems to do justice both to Scripture as well as to what I know about God's nature.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby SoCalExile » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:47 pm

Ultimately, the issue you have is with the words Christ used.

When Christ said "eternal life" (or sometimes translated as "everlasting life" He used a word that means, "perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well)".

So when Christ said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47), He meant we that when we believe, we have life that is forever in the future (and the past, see Ephesians 1:4). How can Christ promise that if we might lose it?

See also John 10:27-29, 2 Timothy 2:13, Ephesians 4:30, Romans 8:38-39...oh, and see this principle that has already been applied to modern Israel in the partially-fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 36:16-36.
God's grace is not cheap; it's free.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Philip » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:25 pm

As for those dying very young, without comprehension of their own sin/need for Christ, one might wonder why Scripture HINTS that such are likely saved - and yet, why is Scripture not clear - at least one way or another, as to this issue. It might seem far-fetched, but if Scripture stated clearly that young children dying young, or as unborns or infants, it is possible that some twisted, unbalanced people might use that to justify killing or aborting children, reasoning that, "since they are instantly in the arms of the Lord, how can that be a bad thing?"

As for infants or toddlers sinning, at what age do you figure YOU committed your first sin? I'd say it's got something to do with a stinky diaper. :pound: Or surely sometime around that time.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:42 pm

Philip wrote:Nicki, read this about children that die: http://www.gotquestions.org/age-of-accountability.html

And also, here: https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-doctrine/heaven-hell-the-afterlife/death/do-infants-and-young-children-who-die-go-to-heaven/

While the Bible is not specific about children that die, it might be of comfort to think upon the nature of God, His love, His justice being perfect. Does God require a child to do what he cannot - understand his sin, guilt and need for salvation, need to call upon the Lord? At a certain age - and at an age which would be different from person to person (depending upon their intellectual maturity) - one does become aware of these things, but beforehand could not YET understand them, or what God requires of them. I would say, God calls all people to do what they CAN understand (the importance of putting their faith in Christ), but not what they CAN'T intellectually comprehend. I would put people with severe mental retardation in this category as well: God doesn't ask of us things we are INCAPABLE of, but those things we DO understand and that we CAN do. If one cannot comprehend their sin or need for forgiveness, well, that's different - afterward.


I agree - I was just wondering about the spiritual state of children before they're old enough to understand - if, having believed in Jesus and having passed from death to life, we can never die spiritually again. If the children have eternal life when they're little, how can they lose it?

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:47 pm

SoCalExile wrote:Ultimately, the issue you have is with the words Christ used.

When Christ said "eternal life" (or sometimes translated as "everlasting life" He used a word that means, "perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well)".

So when Christ said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47), He meant we that when we believe, we have life that is forever in the future (and the past, see Ephesians 1:4). How can Christ promise that if we might lose it?

See also John 10:27-29, 2 Timothy 2:13, Ephesians 4:30, Romans 8:38-39...oh, and see this principle that has already been applied to modern Israel in the partially-fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 36:16-36.


I've known the John 10 scripture for a long time but I always assumed we could jump out of his hand. There's a big difference between that and being snatched. Same with the other scriptures - God will stay faithful but some people don't stay faithful to him and some are never faithful.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:53 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Good articles linked above Nicki.

For my own part, I would only add that precisely because the Bible is not specific, we have to be very careful in going beyond what the text says. I would remind you, then, of what the text does say, which is that everyone who believes has everlasting life. So whatever answer you decide you are comfortable with regarding children, just make sure it doesn't challenge or put into question what the Scriptures do say about the gospel.

For what it is worth, then, my own speculation about children is that they go to heaven for the simple reason that they are not dead. Paul tells us that sin kills us, and if something is to kill us, we must first have been alive. So I presume that prior to Paul's first sin, he was alive. That sin killed him, and if he died in his sins--that is, if he died while dead (spiritually)--he would have suffered the second death. Rev 20 tells us that those who are condemned to the lake of fire are all those not "found written in the book of life." So what reason do I have to think that, if a child is spiritually alive (having not yet sinned) that he or she would not be "written in the book of life"? There seems to be a common assumption that the way you get into the book in the first place is by explicitly putting your faith in Christ. Yet, as popular as that assumption is, I don't see where Scripture actually says that. I see quite a bit about having your name blotted out of the book, and most of that has to do with sin. But I don't see anything getting written into the book. I think I'm free, then, to posit that all children, all the unborn, indeed all people are in the book by default and remain there until sin kills them. At that point, in their spiritual death, they must rely in Christ for their eternal life so that they are not blotted out after all.

Again, that's just my speculation. It's an answer I'm comfortable with and seems to do justice both to Scripture as well as to what I know about God's nature.


So we can't be killed again by sin (or lack of faith) later in life? If a child has eternal life how can they lose it? I was thinking after I originally posted about children that perhaps they're spiritually dead but if they die without having understood the gospel God gives them eternal life at that point. It does make more logical sense to me though that they would die spiritually once they'd done something they knew to be wrong (sinned) but that raises the question of how they can lose the eternal life they were born with.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Jac3510 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:59 pm

No, we can't be killed again by sin later in life, because you cannot kill what cannot be killed. Sin cannot kill eternal life because it does not come from us but rather from the seed of God in us, and when we sin, it is not the seed that sins but rather the old sin nature (and so, see Rom 7). That's one of the reasons the resurrection is so important. In that event, we receive a glorified body no longer infected with a sin nature, and so we will finally be able to live life in line with what we really are.

As far as kids go, to be clear, I wouldn't say that kids have "eternal life." I would say that they are innocent. If they die in that state, they will be granted eternal life in the resurrection. By way of analogy, they have the same life Adam had before the Fall. Had Adam not sinned, he would have been confirmed in righteousness. He fell, though, and so died (spiritually). The difference with kids today is that while they are innocent, they are born with sin natures, and that nature is bound to express itself eventually. That is to say, given enough time, the kid will sin, will die, and will need Jesus to save them.

None of that is to say that a kid who dies in a state of innocence doesn't need Christ to save them. As far as I see it, they are still saved by Christ, insofar as they are raised in His image. Christ is the firstfruit of the Resurrection. They take part in His resurrection the same way we do: by grace. It's just that they are found in the book of life not on account of having placed their faith in Christ and therefore having a life that cannot be lost but simply because they were born alive and never blotted out of of it. As such, they receive eternal life in the resurrection.

Again, that's my view. Other schools of thought offer different approaches.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: 'If you could lose eternal life it wouldn't be eternal'

Postby Nicki » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:25 pm

Could be right. I don't see much difference though between having eternal life and being born alive and innocent. A different kind of eternal life, perhaps?


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