Once saved, always saved?

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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RGeeB
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Once saved, always saved?

#1

Post by RGeeB » Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:50 am

Is a one off acceptance of the justification payment enough for a ticket to heaven?

..or do we need to back it up by a lifelong exhibition of works (evidence of santification?)

..or do we attain holiness prior to glorification (purgatory?)

....actually, what is salvation - is it an eternal process or a discreet event?

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#2

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:20 am

If heaven (whatever heaven might mean to you?) is an action of accepting "justification payment" (whatever that also may mean?), then how could one not be justified after such payment is made? What is the need for anything else, such as further works, if one is justified by accepting the justification payment (unless of course it isn't really a "justification payment")?

I'm more wondering what your thoughts on these matters are—that might be a better place to start.

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#3

Post by BavarianWheels » Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:14 am

.
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If we Christians truly believe that God endowed his created beings with total and complete freewill, then we must believe that just as we can choose Christ, we can just as easily choose against Christ one day later or ten years later.

We are justified by faith but our faith is evidenced by what we do.
See James 2:18-26

"...faith without deeds is dead."

This means to me that there is a work that the Christian must do and s/he does willingly. It is the evidence of their faith. When we quit working our faith dies...and while I cannot explain at what point salvation is lost (if we knew that we would work only to stay above that point) but if the two go hand in hand, one slipping away makes both equally gone.

My opinion is that once saved, always saved is true only in the context that a "true" Christian will remain a Christian. Someone who chooses or looses faith later was never a "true" Christian.

Maybe the best explanation of this is from the parable of the sower (?)
Matthew 13:3-9 NIV wrote:A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.
Clearly there are some that ignore the gospel altogether...those on the hard packed path. Then there are some that actually hear and accept the Gospel (apparently) but their faith is weak...those in the rocky places and the soil among the thorns. But there are the ones that are in good soil and when the seed falls, it produces.

I believe this is the best evidence that once saved, always saved is a deceptive teaching.
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#4

Post by RGeeB » Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:57 am

This is how I understand Heaven - The location of the Throne of God - This will ultimately be among men, as described in the last few chapters of Revelation. (I also believe Jesus will literally rule on earth before this.)

Justification payment - Jesus' sacrifice on the cross - only that will do and only that is enough for God not to hold my sins against me.

The question is - What about the sins I commit, following this? Is saving me from my sinful nature a lifelong process or a one off?

When saints die, are they perfectly holy, so they can see God?

I've been a follower of Christ, as long as I can remember - Not sinning does not come naturally! So, is perseverance also necessary to ensure I complete my salvation?

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#5

Post by RGeeB » Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:42 am

I would have to say that my thinking on this is very similar to that of Mr Wheels. The teaching in my Church gatherings is similar to what K reponded above.

There are certain topics which do not have a clear cut answer in the scriptures. Maybe God wanted us to ponder over them, so it brings us closer to Him. The devil uses these to try and divide us :(

Those who advocate 'once saved always saved' for themselves - They are still followers of Christ if they have not fallen away - The issue is relevant for those who have backslidden. Those who once called upon the name of Jesus and are agnostics now - I guess they don't even care about this issue!

Wonder why Christianity was called 'The Way' initially? I think salvation is a lifelong process.

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#6

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Oct 13, 2004 7:38 am

"Once saved, always saved" IS a correct doctrine. You cannot lose your salvation.

The first thing you need to understand is that salvation itself isn't completed until death. People equivocate "saved" with "salvation," and, as such, they come to faulty conclusions. There are three things that go specifically into this process:

1) Justification
2) Sanctification
3) Salvation

Here's the deal: the literal way to say it would be, "Once justified, always justified." You, I think, were seeing this when you said, "What about the sins I commit, following this?" When Jesus justified you of your sins, He justified you of ALL of your sins. He "declared you righteous."

The word for righteous that Paul uses in all his discussions pertaining to this matter (see esp. Romans 4) is dikaiosune. Says Vincent concerning the usage of this word in Rom. 4:5:
Is counted for righteousness]/b] (λογίζεται εις δικαιοσύνην)
Rev., is reckoned. See on Rom_4:3. The preposition εις has the force of as, not the telic meaning with a view to, or in order that he may be (righteous); nor strictly, in the place of righteousness. Faith is not a substitute for righteousness, since righteousness is involved in faith. When a man is reckoned righteous through faith, it is not a legal fiction. He is not indeed a perfect man, but God does not reckon something which has no real existence. Faith is the germ of righteousness, of life in God. God recognizes no true life apart from holiness, and “he that believeth on the Son hath life.” He is not merely regarded in the law's eye as living. God accepts the germ, not in place of the fruit, but as containing the fruit. “Abraham believed God.... No soul comes into such a relation of trust without having God's investment upon it; and whatever there may be in God's righteousness - love, truth, sacrifice - will be rightfully imputed or counted to be in it, because, being united to Him, it will have them coming over derivatively from Him” (Bushnell). The idea of logical sequence is inherent in λογίζεται is reckoned - the sequence of character upon faith. Where there is faith there is, logically, righteousness, and the righteousness is from faith unto faith (Rom_1:17). Nevertheless, in the highest development of the righteousness of faith, it will remain true that the man is justified, not by the works of righteousness, which are the fruit of faith, but by the faith which, in making him a partaker of the life and righteousness of God, generates and inspires the works.
Observe that the believer's own faith is reckoned as righteousness. “In no passage in Paul's writings or in other parts of the New Testament, where the phrase to reckon for or the verb to reckon alone is used, is there a declaration that anything belonging to one person is imputed, accounted, or reckoned to another, or a formal statement that Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers” (President Dwight, “Notes on Meyer”).


Here's the point: justification from sin is the basis of salvation. It is a work of God, NOT a work of man (see Rom. 4; Eph 2:9-10). It is God who declares us as not guilty, because the price has already been saved. How, then, can man undo the work of God? K made this point when he asked, "then how could one not be justified after such payment is made?"

The lifelong process that you and Bav are talking about is sanctification. The word here (hagiasmos) comes from the root word hagio (actually, first, through hagiazo), which means "holy." Hagiasms is a verb, and, as such, is rendered, "The process of making one holy." Notice that this is a process. There is a difference in being justified and being holy. Justification leads to righteousness, which, ultimately, will lead to holiness. But, one cannot be holy without first being justified. Justification is an EVENT. Sanctification is a process that has to do with right living! Hence, Heb. 6, which many people use as a proof text that one can lose your salvation. But, the passage there does not say that you cannot be saved again. It only says, "it is impossible to restore again to repentance . . . " (Heb. 6:4 ESV). In other words, the process of sanctification has stopped, since the process of sanctification is a process of repentance of sin.

So, in salvation, we see that I was saved (justified), and am in the process of being saved (sanctification), and I will be saved (salvation) in the Last Day from God's wrath. We see that I had nothing to do with it. I placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of that, God has declared me "Not Guilty." There is nothing I can do to change that, because all sins--past, present, and future--have been paid for by the Blood of the Lamb.

If I may add one more note, what you may want to be VERY, VERY, VERY careful of is how you handle this doctrine. What is the basis of salvation? It is not faith. It is GRACE. Grace saves you--it saves you THROUGH faith. The question I have is this: what is your faith in? In what are you trusting for your salvation?!? If you are trusting a combination of God's saving work plus your own ability to follow His laws, are you submitting your full self to Him in faith? I don't think so, and as such, I have major, MAJOR doctrinal problems with "faith+works" salvation. There are three major kinds of this doctrine. The first is the out and out "Works save." This is damnable. The second is the "Works sustains salvation" view, which is equally damnable, because, again, your faith is in some ability of yourself to keep some laws. The last is a "faith only" doctrine but with some ecclesiastical requirement, usually baptism, but other times such things as the Lord's Supper or the giving of alms or other such nonsense. Again, this is "a faith plus" doctrine.

What saves? Grace. How do we attain this grace? Faith in it and it alone. Grace is, by definition, unmerited favor. You CANNOT EARN IT. Thus, as you cannot earn it, you cannot lose it. This is by very definition. Those whom God justifies are justified, and those whom He condemns are condemned.

God bless

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#7

Post by BavarianWheels » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:12 am

Jac3510 wrote:"Once saved, always saved" IS a correct doctrine. You cannot lose your salvation.
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.
Jac3510 wrote:So, in salvation, we see that I was saved (justified), and am in the process of being saved (sanctification), and I will be saved (salvation) in the Last Day from God's wrath. We see that I had nothing to do with it. I placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of that, God has declared me "Not Guilty." There is nothing I can do to change that, because all sins--past, present, and future--have been paid for by the Blood of the Lamb.
Provided one stays in the faith. (Acts 11:23, Acts 14:22, Acts 20:28-31, 1 John 2:24, Rev. 14:12)
Jac3510 wrote:"If I may add one more note, what you may want to be VERY, VERY, VERY careful of is how you handle this doctrine. What is the basis of salvation? It is not faith. It is GRACE. Grace saves you--it saves you THROUGH faith. The question I have is this: what is your faith in? In what are you trusting for your salvation?!? If you are trusting a combination of God's saving work plus your own ability to follow His laws, are you submitting your full self to Him in faith? I don't think so, and as such, I have major, MAJOR doctrinal problems with "faith+works" salvation. There are three major kinds of this doctrine. The first is the out and out "Works save." This is damnable. The second is the "Works sustains salvation" view, which is equally damnable, because, again, your faith is in some ability of yourself to keep some laws. The last is a "faith only" doctrine but with some ecclesiastical requirement, usually baptism, but other times such things as the Lord's Supper or the giving of alms or other such nonsense. Again, this is "a faith plus" doctrine.

What saves? Grace. How do we attain this grace? Faith in it and it alone. Grace is, by definition, unmerited favor. You CANNOT EARN IT. Thus, as you cannot earn it, you cannot lose it. This is by very definition. Those whom God justifies are justified, and those whom He condemns are condemned.

God bless
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)

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.
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#8

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:31 am

Bav,

Before we deal with specifics, I thought you were a Calvinist?

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#9

Post by BavarianWheels » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:46 am

Jac3510 wrote:Bav,

Before we deal with specifics, I thought you were a Calvinist?
...and where did you get that idea?
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#10

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:28 pm

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.

God bless

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#11

Post by BavarianWheels » Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:03 pm

Jac3510 wrote: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."?
I sure do remember that discussion. I can see how you may think I was a Calvinist. Ok.
Jac3510 wrote: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 . . .):
You are correct. I follow the SDAism more than any other, but I do have my lines drawn at some points in the SDA official theology.
Jac3510 wrote: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?
Great question!! One I almost fear to give an answer to, but we are not actually "saved" this side of eternity. We have been given a promise from God...and God doesn't promise light-heartedly. Given. Understood. But as the parable mentions, there is seed thrown out and it does take root as Christ says something grows. The growing part is my assumption that the Gospel was heard and accepted. This we must assume that at one time, short as it may seem, they had put faith in Christ and had salvation.
Jac3510 wrote: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 agree. As practicing and faithful Christians (as humanly possible), our sins are paid...past, present, and future. But I think we are "arguing" two different scenarios here. I will try and mention my point again.

The way I see those that promote the once saved, always saved theology is that it doesn't matter what you do once you have been saved because you are saved and "no longer under the law." This is such bogus hogwash because if we really were no longer under the law...that would presume it is the following of the law that saves. You and I both know that "the law is powerless to save" us nor did it have the power to save the Hebrew/Jewish people in the OT...I digress.
Jac3510 wrote: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.
So then you are saying...a person that has accepted Christ can knowingly continue in sin and not have anything to worry because s/he is sealed in Christ?
Jac3510 wrote: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.
The unpardonable sin is the rejection of the HS...and yes I agree with you that there is a point unknown to us when that rejection becomes permanent and thus is unpardonable.
Jac3510 wrote:
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.
Why "remain" faithful and "steadfast" if they have no consequence? Why should they be mentioned at all if there is no real reason?
Jac3510 wrote:"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.
Well...again why the warning if there is no real consequence to being lured away?
Jac3510 wrote:"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.
Where exactly does it refer to a "law of liberty?" This is a new one and probably another discussion but this is a thought that is paralleled from Hebrews 8:10 where it clearly is the law of God and one that Rev 14:12 below re-emphasizes.
Jac3510 wrote:"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.
I agree...but one cannot fall away and stay away and still be saved.
Jac3510 wrote: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!)
I agree...justification is maintained. But I would add...only when one reenters the sanctification process. It is why we daily submit to God and follow Him. John 14:15-21 tells us that we will follow.

I hope you understand my point. I agree with you that one can be backslidden (sp?) and remain in God's grace, but what if that state of being backslid has become a new way of life...relying on the theology of once saved, always saved?
Jac3510 wrote: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.
We do have an example of not being fruitful and gaining salvation. We have the one example of the thief on the cross. He saw Christ for what he was...innocent and the Savior. Christ told him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43 NIV)
[sidenote: The original text has no punctuation...the interpreters of the NIV and others inserted a coma where they believed it belonged. Jesus could've said, "I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise." which fits better as the thief didn't die that day.]
Mark 4:16, 17 NIV wrote:Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Trouble and persecution only come to those that have put faith in Christ and so I interpret "no root" as there not being any depth in their Christianity and so are easily scared off when the trials come. There is root, but not deep enough as to keep the person steadfast. In your own words above you write,
Jac3510 wrote:but at the first sign of strife, he gives up (doesn't stay faithful).
Doesn't "stay" faithful assume there was faith.
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#12

Post by BavarianWheels » Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:18 pm

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Let me reword my opinion on the topic.

I believe in once saved, always saved but only in the context of a steadfast Christian. A steadfast Christian can never lose his/her salvation.
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#13

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:15 pm

BavarianWheels wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:Bav,

Before we deal with specifics, I thought you were a Calvinist?
...and where did you get that idea?
Aren't you? I thought you were also... or at least from a Church with reformed teaching. :P

I haven't read everything here, so I will perhaps add my own direct reply a little later if I think after reading more thoughtfully that some things have been missed or overlooked. However, if I may slip in an idea... I see that one always being saved is true, and I also believe it is true that one can lose their salvation. I think it is only a matter of qualifying what one means. For us, living temporally and with uncertainty, not knowing the end from the beginning, it follows that we can love God and then turn away from Him. On the otherhand, from God's perspective, He has known the end from the beginning for all eternity without being dependant on restraints such as time for knowledge, and so God has certainty about who belongs to Him.

If I also may add a further comment, I'd perhaps be inclined to swing towards reformed Calvinist thought here with respect that one can have certainty of salvation. If you love God and have a relationship with Christ and all that entails, then I believe one can be certain they are saved irrespective of whether they continue to fail to add up. That is afterall Christ's purpose in coming here, and so it then becomes our hearts response to Him and our sins are taken away by God's grace. I'd agree with Augustine who argued that the grace of Christ, is not given by meritorious works, but is given gratis (freely), and "for this reason is termed 'grace.'" All that matters now is whether we love Him, and if we do then we'll naturally want to change. It really makes no sense for someone to say that one can accept Christ and then go on happily sinning. Such to me, shows they never really loved Christ if they don't care much about what He thinks. It'd be like me saying, I love my mother and then committing actions without caring whether or not they will hurt her. Anyway, if one does come to accept and love Christ but then turns away, then I think such an event will be obvious as they will outrightly reject Him. Infact Scripture says such people are like a dog returning to their vomit:
<blockquote>'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. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit..."' (2 Peter 2:20-22)</blockquote>
Kurieuo.
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#14

Post by BavarianWheels » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:23 am

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K,

I would agree. From God's perspective, he knows who is saved...and they cannot be taken away from Him. However...and I think you agreed...from a human perspective, a person is free to choose and unchoose God as the Peter text clearly states. They had escaped the corruption and knew the Lord and Savior and they later returned to their vomit or returned to their sinful ways.

I don't believe having assurance of salvation is anything that Calvinists have the corner of the market on. The apostles were sure. :wink: :D

It is true that grace is given freely...but grace cannot be given where it is not accepted nor where it has been outrightly rejected.
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#15

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:33 pm

BavarianWheels wrote:I would agree. From God's perspective, he knows who is saved...and they cannot be taken away from Him. However...and I think you agreed...from a human perspective, a person is free to choose and unchoose God as the Peter text clearly states. They had escaped the corruption and knew the Lord and Savior and they later returned to their vomit or returned to their sinful ways.
Yeah, although I'd perhaps push both further to even a human perspective. For example, I have certainty I am saved now, but if I turned away from God back to my vomit ;) then would I have ever really been saved? Well, I believe the answer is that I would have really been saved, but then I also believe it would be correct to say I was never really saved. To see both these answers, all one has to do is look through their finite perspective, or look through the more final eternal perspective.
I don't believe having assurance of salvation is anything that Calvinists have the corner of the market on. The apostles were sure. :wink: :D
They had Christ to assure them didn't they? ;)
It is true that grace is given freely...but grace cannot be given where it is not accepted nor where it has been outrightly rejected.
Agree on all accounts. Grace can not be forced, but is freely available for anyone to accept. My point is just that grace is not something earnt, or gained through favour for things we do. Such can be a really hard concept for us to grasp I think, that God loves us the same and always despite whether or not we sin. At times I may reflect after feeling guilty about having done something I know was wrong, how could God accept that... or that such may have turned God away. Yet, that is not really the case, and I think if anyone were to say it was (that such sins can turn God away from us), then they are discrediting and lowering the amount Christ really paid for us.

Therefore, what counts salvation-wise after acceptance is that our hearts desire continues to be for God. In this way it could perhaps be said that salvation is ongoing. And also, it is in this way we will also want to change our ways for God. However, I would vehemently deny it is ongoing in the sense that we must continue being flawless, because otherwise we will loose our salvation in those moments we sin.

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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