Philip wrote: ↑
Mon May 14, 2018 11:39 am
Most Atheists have a childhood growing up as Christian, and they turn away from Christ during their teenage years.
The question is, what does it mean that a person can "turn away from Christ?" Becauase, if a child truly believes, commits himself to Christ, asked Jesus to save them - then he is FOREVER so saved. As the salvation applied is made possible and thus done so by God, preceded by His wooing the soft heart of a child to a very basic understanding about Jesus, then that salvation is protected by God - and NOT by someone growing older who "hopefully doesn't later reject Christ." If they ever truly reject Christ, that's a child who just was merely posturing the external, cultural / communal aspects of Christianity, yet without ever having actually been saved. Because if we believe a child cannot be saved WHILE STILL A CHILD, then we shouldn't encourage it - not if we're encouraging the impossible. Hopefully no one is asserting that a child can be saved and then can later lose that salvation. If we don't believe that to be possible with adults (that salvation can be lost), why so with children? (Not saying K is saying this - just clarifying).
"for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." And because, one entering ETERNAL life remains in Christ from that moment onward!
Ok, let me tackle this... and I knew someone would raise it here since we're all pedanticists on this board.
First, you say "commits
himself to Christ," and I take exception to "commit".
I know Christians use this in common religious terminology, like we must commit ourself to Christ to be saved. Seriously though, it's nothing more than lip service. We fail to commit to Christ over and over again. So then, what matters here is the act of willingness, strong desire, to commit to Christ -- which shows our heart's desire and belief in Christ.
Second, the OSAS issue as it pertains to what I said about an Atheist who kind of rebels as a teenager against God, and lives their life anti-Christ. Who dies... and it is here indeed a particular kind of Atheist I'm referring to. A Christian Atheist who did understand and who in their heart believed in Christ, who for whatever reason turned away from Christ. You know our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9), that we don't often know our own hearts. God searches, tests and knows our hearts AND besides ourselves knowing we love Christ, Christ alone knows ALL who belong to Him.
So then, I believe not all Atheists who turn away from God/Christ necessarily stopped believing in Christ within their hearts. They could have been severely wounded in life and acting out, perhaps suffering from depressions, mentally afflicted, I don't know. BUT, when God peels back the layers of pain and scars covering their hearts, there it is a suprise to everyone else, that belief and hope in Christ. It only needs to be the size of a mustard seed, right?
As for those people who have had NDEs, they are very lucky. They're given another chance to make some amendment if you will, to have their hearts further tested. Perhaps they're like a coin tossed which lands on its edge rather than heads or tails. Only they've been slapped in the face with a truth they can no longer deny. Like Paul, they're special cases.
In any case, I believe you can and will have many people who "believed" and even thought they accepted Christ as a child, and yet they're not saved. It turns out that it was just their parents influence perhaps, maybe the influence or peer pressure of those around them to conform, being placed in a Christian school, saturated with religion, fear of disappointing others or the like. So then, as their life plays out, in their later years they shun God, become very anti-God, and their hearts reveal their true self and lack of belief. These persons are not saved, they never were as children, so they've not lost anything. Some might feel uncomfortable by my saying so here such things, yet if a child (or adult) merely pays lip service with the sinners prayer -- I think most of us here are thoughtful enough to realise it's not repeating mere words that saves.
Yet then, similarly only vice-versa, you have those who turned away and in their pain they shunned God, nonetheless they truly did believe and these people are saved. It is here where things aren't so clear to us as external observers, and one reason why we should never judge another person's salvation (though there is nothing wrong as I see with observing someone who appears lost, and so trying to reach out to them as best we can). There are some I feel might even be at this board in this category. And, it is the reason I put that verse in my signature (Rom 10:13), if it so happens they end up being a special case who wake up in the afterlife. Just cry out to Jesus for help, but I say, this is by no means the norm and I'm unsure whether such is possible, except what scantly comes across via some reported NDEs.