Remember our TAOA discussion? I made the comment "I'm not a calvinist nor a catholic. That may be where we differ." And you replied, "It most certainly is!" Eh, let me just get the actual quote . . .
From this thread
On Feb. 5, 2004, Bav wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:Children don't go to hell. I'm not a catholic, nor am I a calvinist. Here's where you and I may differ.
It sure is where we differ.
I suppose, looking at it now, that you may have been objecting to the first statement, that "children don't go to hell."?
Anyway, that's where I got the idea . . . in response, though, to your other ideas (side note, I was under the impression that SDA's were Calvinists. Or am I wrong that about that, too, as I might be? Or, am I wrong that you are SDA?!? LoL. I'll have to look back to where I got that idea . . .):
Bav wrote:I agree...one cannot "lose" your salvation. My point above is that one can certainly CHOOSE to opt out. If not...freewill is not really freewill. Choosing and losing are quite different. The Christian community that promotes the once saved, always saved "doctrine" promotes it as one can be saved and essentially live like hell and still go to heaven. That is the context (I believe) that is being addressed here.
So the argument is philosophical. If humans have free will, they must be able to reject Christ, even after their salvation. Now, I disagree with the last four words. Once God justifies of your sins, how can you "unjustify" yourself? Would it not be a sin to turn your back on God? But has that sin not already been justified? And would this not make God a liar? He has, after all, declared you righteous the moment you accepted Him as your savior. Must He now declare you unrighteous? Can we undo the works of God? In any case, how would that work? As noted above, your sins have been paid for. How can you take upon you a new debt? Is sin still not sin?
I believe that humans have the ability to choose to accept or reject the grace of God. That, as far as I am concerned, is the entire reason that God made this particular creation, to create a world in which temporal, free will decision could be made concerning the choice to submit to God or not (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-38). Once that choice is made, it is sealed. The choice to accept Christ is permanent in that God then justifies us. Our salvation is assured, though some may be saved, "as by fire." (1 Co. 3:15) Some will be greatly rewarded in heaven, and others simply granted access, so to speak. The idea of rewards in heaven is a very interesting discussion in and of itself, but I guess it would be too much of a tangent to tackle it here.
The choice to reject Christ is permanent as well. See 1 John 5:16 and Matt. 12:31. It is possible for a person to become so hard against God that He finally leaves them alone, so to speak. That is, they have chosen to reject the grace of God. I don't know when that is, either . . . only God does. But, the point, I think, is that the choice to accept or reject God's grace is permanent, as Scripture says.
Bav wrote:Provided one stays in the faith. (Acts 11:23, Acts 14:22, Acts 20:28-31, 1 John 2:24, Rev. 14:12)
Let's look at these (I've not yet--all quotations ESV):
"Acts 11:23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,"
OK, an exhortation to remain faithful . . . no warning, though, that salvation could be lost if one doesn't.
"Act 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
Same as before . . .
"Act 20:28-31 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. "
Again, I don't see a reference to people losing their justification and thus salvation. False teachers will come in and lure disciples away . . . does it follow, then, that they have been unjustified? I don't think so.
"1 Jo 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. "
I actually preached out of 1 John 2 this past week (3-6). Again, I don't see any reference to the loss of salvation . . . "abide" as you know means "to live in." So, John is repeating the OT exhortation. Let the Law (in this case, the Law of Liberty) be in your heart and in your mouth. If this Law is in you, then you will be in the Son and thus in the Father. "In" refers to a close fellowship . . . that is, the process of sanctification. This says nothing of justification.
"Rev 14:12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. "
Again, all the same as before. Let the saints endure tribulation. Let them not fall away.
Bav, I'm not saying, obviously, that Christians shouldn't be persistent in their faith. What I am saying is that it is possible to fall away and still be saved. If it isn't what does Paul mean by some being saved as by fire (referenced above)? Or, in the same book, Paul says that all will be judged by their deeds, and some will be shown to be as gold and others as straw that will be burned away . . . this is in strong contrast to Jesus' saying that some will say "Lord, Lord," and not enter into heaven! So, clearly, this is referring to Christians who have done no works or their works have been faulty. The point, I think, is that along with all the other Scriptures I've referenced, this makes it pretty clear that justification is maintained, though sanctification may not be (indeed, this interpretation, as I see it, is the only one that makes sanctification make any sense!)
Bav wrote:While on the whole we are in agreement...especially about the above and grace (I was thinking that was a given since this forum is now geared towards Christians and I didn't think I needed to explain the whole deal)
I was more explaining grace for anyone else who may have been reading . . . just trying to be thorough. I know that you are well aware of the different aspects. Some, though, aren't as well educated :p
Bav wrote:But anyone, please explain Matthew 13:3-9 in the context of the topic at hand. Christ himself through this parable acknowledges that many accept saving grace...and then...lose it. Help me understand.
This one I like. It is a good reference to your position, I think. The parable of the sower, where the seed is the gospel. Let's look at the four outcomes:
1) Seed never gets planted . . . the devil takes it away.
2) Quick growth, because no depth of soil, but at the first tribulation, the burn away.
3) Minor growth, but the thorns choke out any growth.
4) Good growth.
Now, (2) and (3) can clearly support your position, and if not for the other references I'd mentioned, I suspect I'd agree with you. It is the "easiest" interpretation. But, given what I said before about justification, we have to look to see if there is anything any deeper.
That said, if we look at Jesus' own interpretation, we get our answer. The person in the first situation never accepts the Good News. The person in the second "receives it with joy," but at the first sign of strife, he gives up (doesn't stay faithful). The third doesn't grow at all because the cares of the world keep him from truly accepting the gospel, which is different from the first. The first didn't understand. The third understood but chose to reject, so he is in a far worse position! (c.f. the Rich Young Ruler) The fourth obviously has no bearing on our particular discussion.
So, it is up to you to show that the person in the second situation has actually lost his salvation due to his unfaithfulness. I just don't see that in the parable. What I see is that he isn't fruitful, unlike the person in the fourth situations. So, we see that 1 and 3 contrast and 2 and 4 contrast.
No reference to loss of salvation, volitional or otherwise.