CAN I LOSE MY SALVATION?
Outside of baptism, this is one hotly debated topic. Obviously the most convenient and most favorable answer is NO. Who would not want to believe that we cannot lose our salvation? We will study this topic in depth and answer it with the Scriptural truth.
What exactly is "apostasy"?
apostasy - the state of having rejected your religious beliefs
Greek = apostasia
a falling away, defection, apostasy
defection from truth, falling away, forsake.
Those in favor of Christians not being able to lose their salvation have different doctrinal names for their belief...
ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED (Once saved, we will always be saved.)
ETERNAL SECURITY (Once saved, we are eternally secure.)
IF SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED (If we are saved, we will always be saved.)
PERSEVERENCE OF THE SAINTS (All saints will persevere to the end.)
They all mean practically the same thing... that if and once we are truly saved, we cannot lose our salvation.
Unfortunately for those that believe we cannot lose our salvation, they are very misguided. Most people will simply accept what their preacher tells them as the truth and never worry about it. We indeed should not worry about it if we are truly saved, and as long as we remain in Christ. Notice I wrote "as long" as we remain in Christ. If we are going to be Christians then let's be Christians. We cannot be lukewarm Christians. We cannot get saved and say, "Okay, I have done my part, nothing more to worry about... I am saved and my preacher says I cannot lose my salvation, so no matter what I do, I am okie-dokie."
Revelation 3:16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
The question is not whether we are ever going to sin again... we all sin and even a righteous man sins and cannot always do right...
Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
The question is when we do sin, are we going to continue in that sin and never repent, thereby rejecting God? We will sin seven (many) times, but we can overcome it, if we choose to...
Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
We surely cannot say that we will not sin. When we are saved, and we sin, the apostle John wrote that we must confess our sins to God and He will forgive us our sins...
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
So, do we lose our salvation every time we sin? No. How many times do we have to sin to lose it? There is no set number of times that we must sin to lose our salvation. We are going to sin, and we are going to sin over and over and over. We cannot be sinless. The point of losing our salvation comes when we walk away from God... there remains no more sacrifice for our sins. Sin is what causes us to walk away. However, we can regain our salvation by repenting of our sinful ways and turning back to God. My point is this... if we obey the gospel and we become saved, but then we never do anything else for God for the rest of our life... we ignore Him, we do not live for Him, and/or we fall into a habit of sin and practice sin, we lose our salvation. When did we lose it? At the point in time when we cared no more about the fact that we were living for sin, instead of living for God. At that point we have no remorse for our sins, we do not care anymore, we do not repent... we just let it go on and on. When this happens, we let Christ go... He is no longer in us and we are not in Him. The Bible clearly teaches us that we must be "in Christ" to be saved.
I have a few statements and questions for some of those who believe we cannot lose our salvation. For those that do not know what to believe, this will be a good way to understand how absurd it is to believe we cannot lose our salvation.
When we are lost and all wrapped up in sin, we must repent of our ways and turn to God for salvation... we must obey the gospel and become saved. If we later go right back into being all wrapped up in sin, in a habitual way, do you really believe we will continue to be saved? That would be like having a license to sin and God does not grant us any such license. What would be the purpose of repentance and forgiveness of sins after we are saved? Are you claiming that repentance and forgiveness of sins is not needed after we are saved? If you believe that we cannot lose our salvation, then you will have to believe that we never need to repent of sin after we are saved... you will have to believe that we do not need forgiveness of sins after we are saved. Think about it for a minute... if you believe once we are saved that we cannot lose our salvation, then why do we need to repent of sin that we start practicing after we are saved? Why should we even need to ask forgiveness of that sin? You claim we cannot lose our salvation so why bother to repent or ask forgiveness... if we do not, then what is going to happen? Obviously nothing, because you claim we cannot lose our salvation. Apparently the apostle John wasted his time writing to Christians and explaining to us that we need to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
Many people believe that a person who claims to be saved and starts practicing sin again, falling in to a habit of sin... that they were never saved to begin with. My question to those who believe this is what exactly does it take for a person to be saved? Most people claiming this are the ones who believe all we have to do is pray to receive Christ, or that all we have to do is simply believe. So what happened? Did these people who were never really saved not pray right, or did they really not believe? Okay... let's suppose they did not really believe and later they truly do believe, and then fall back into that pattern of sin... did they really not believe the second time either? Let's take it a little further... suppose someone claims to be saved and they truly are saved... does that mean that they will NEVER EVER fall into a habit of sin? That is truly amazing if it is true. Let me get this right... someone who is truly saved, cannot possibly continue to commit the same sin over and over, because if he does then he was never truly saved to begin with? I am getting really dizzy about right now... we need a NO SPIN ZONE!
Now... let me share the truth with you... straight from the Word of God...
Let's consider how Jesus used the analogy of salt to represent his disciples...
Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people."
In this sense, Jesus is referring to salt as a preservative. If Christians are the "salt of the world", we will preserve those around us from the corruptions of the world. This would indicate that Christians should be capable of sharing with others the saving grace of God, preventing them from perishing. If salt loses its' qualities, it can no longer preserve and becomes useless. Just as Christians lose our ability to communicate to others the saving grace of God, so too, we become useless.
When we become saved, we must continue to live for Christ. If we are living for Christ then God does not see that sin in us, instead, He sees Christ in us... but we must continue to be in Christ.
Let us consider a few passages...
John 8:51 Truly, truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death at all."
Notice Jesus said "keeps"...
Let's consider the Greek word for "keep"
Greek = tereo
G5083: to watch; to guard (from loss or injury);
(in custody; figuratively to maintain);
hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve,
1) to attend to carefully, take care of
1a) to guard
1b) metaphorically to keep, one in the state in which he is
1c) to observe
When we "keep something", we "hold on to" it. Here the word is "keeps", and is in the mood of "continue" or "maintain". Now, in order to keep something we must have it to begin with. Jesus tells us that we must continue to keep His words in order to prevent us from seeing spiritual death. If we do not continue to keep His words then will we see spiritual death? If not, then Jesus wasted His breath even making this statement.
John 15:10-11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Notice that Jesus said "IF" we "KEEP" His commandments, we will abide in His love. Jesus said He spoke these things that He "MIGHT" remain in us. So, "IF" we do not "KEEP" His commandments are we still abiding in Him and He in us?
1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
If God's Word "remains" in us then we shall "continue" in the Son, and in the Father. In order to "continue" in Christ, we have to be in Christ to start with. Once we are saved and "in Christ", what we have heard, which is God's Word, must "remain" is us so that we can "continue" to be in Christ. If God's Word does not "remain" in us, then we will not "continue" to be in Christ. If we are no longer in Christ then we have lost our salvation. Plain and simple. We must "keep" God's commandments to abide in God and He in us...
1 John 3:24 The person who keeps his commandments abides in God, and God abides in him. This is how we can be sure that he remains in us: he has given us his Spirit.
Paul explains what has happened to us and what we must continue to do...
Colossians 1:21-23 You who were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled by the death of his physical body so that he might present you holy, blameless, and without fault before him. However, you must remain firmly established and steadfast in the faith, without being moved from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
As unsaved sinners, we were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, but now as Christians we have been reconciled by the death of Christ. "However", we "must remain firmly established and steadfast in the faith". Obviously this indicates that Christians may not necessarily "remain firmly established and steadfast in the faith".
Let's consider the Greek word for "abide"... a verb (a verb is a word that denotes an action or a state)
Greek = meno
G3306: A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):
abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.
1) to remain, abide
1a) in reference to place
1a1) to sojourn, tarry
1a2) not to depart
1a2a) to continue to be present
1a2b) to be held, kept, continually
1b) in reference to time
1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
1b1a) of persons, to survive, live
1c) in reference to state or condition
1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different
2) to wait for, await one
We can learn that the Greek word "meno" in its' verb form means... "abide, remain, dwell, continue, not to depart, to be held, kept, continually".
Now let's consider the Greek word for "abode"... a noun (a noun refers to a person, place, or thing... it can be used as the subject or object of a verb)
Greek = mone
G3438: (From G3306); a staying, that is, residence (the act or the place):
1) a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode
2) to make an (one’s) abode
3) metaphorically of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3306
We can learn that the Greek word "mone" in its' noun form means... "rooms, dwelling places, abiding places", and also poorly translated as "mansions".
Now consider John 14:2 in various translations...
John 14:2 There are many rooms in my Father's house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you? (ISV)
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (KJV)
John 14:2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)
In these verses we learn how the word "abode" is used in various ways... "many rooms, many mansions, many dwelling places". Jesus says that He is going to heaven to prepare a place for the people who are saved. Obviously He is not saying He is going to prepare a place for those who are lost. Now let's consider what else Jesus says in this same chapter of John...
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Jesus clearly says that He and God will make Their "abode" with us "if" we love Him and "keep" His words. "Abode" means "dwelling, abiding place"... "keep" means "continue, hold on to"... so we understand that if we love Jesus and "continue to hold on to" His Word, then He and God will "dwell" in us. Continue in this thought as you read the following passages...
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.
Jesus is the vine and God grows the vine with branches. The branches are people who become saved. This explains to us that God adds the saved to the church... because Jesus is the church... the church includes everyone that is saved.
John 15:2 He removes every branch in me that does not produce fruit, and he cleanses every branch that does produce fruit so that it might produce more fruit.
God will remove every person that does not obey what He commands and everyone who fails to produce fruit, but He will continue to improve those who do what His will is, which is to obey what He commands, so that we can produce more fruit.
John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Christians are already clean because we have been cleansed by the Word of God. God's Word gives us instructions on what we must do to be saved... because of His Word, we are cleansed of sin and saved. There is no doubt we are part of the vine.
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I will abide in you. Just as the branch cannot produce fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
Jesus tells us that if we "abide" in Him, then He will "abide" in us. Christ abiding in us is dependant upon us abiding in Him. We cannot do what we are supposed to do if we do not abide in Christ.
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus verifies that He is the vine and Christians are the branches. Note that Jesus does not say that "denominations" are the branches, but church members (the saved) are the branches. Again He explains that we must abided in Him while He abides in us, because without Him we can do nothing.
John 15:6 Unless a person abides in me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. People gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Jesus explains that "unless a person abides in me" (remember what "abide" means... "abide, remain, dwell, continue, not to depart, to be held, kept, continually")... then we are thrown away and burned up. Clearly we cannot "remain" in Christ if we are not in Christ to begin with... we cannot "continue" to be in Christ if we are not in Christ to begin with... so we must "remain", we must "abide", we must "continue" to be in Christ, otherwise we will end up being cut off from Christ and burned up. We cannot say that we were never part of the vine to begin with... remember Jesus clearly says we are "already clean"... that we "are the branches", so it is undeniable that we are actually saved. He is talking about people who are already saved and in the church. "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47b)
Consider now what Paul wrote...
Romans 11:21-22 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly will not spare you either. Consider, then, the kindness and severity of God: his severity toward those who fell, but God's kindness toward you-if you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off.
Here we learn there are those who fell as well as we learn of God's kindness towards us but there is a condition placed on that kindness... "if you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off." Clearly, Paul warns of others who may be cut off the vine if we do not continue in God's kindness.
Surely you cannot read these passages and believe anything other than once we become Christians that we must "abide", "remain", "continue" in Christ in order to "continue" to be saved. Jesus clearly tells us that if we do not, then those who are unfruitful will be "thrown away" and "into the fire". Absolutely, we can lose our salvation according to the very words of Jesus.
Consider the following passages that show we must do the will of God and "abide" in Christ...
1 John 2:6 The one who says that he abides in him must live the same way he himself lived.
1 John 2:14 I have written to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong and because God's word remains in you and you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 2:17 And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God's will remains forever.
1 John 2:24 What you have heard from the beginning must abide in you. If what you have heard from the beginning abides in you, you will also abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:27 The anointing you received from him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. Instead, because his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not a lie, abide in him, as he taught you to do.
1 John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
Also consider the combination Greek verb "hupomeno" which means literally "to remain under" and is translated "perseverance"...
Romans 5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
You see... the faithful Christian will remain (abide) in Christ and remain even under trial and tribulation... he will persevere. Where is the trial if you can not possibly fail "to remain under" these trials and tribulations? We would not have to persevere (remain under) if there was no chance of our falling away and losing our salvation. Consider all the above passages because they absolutely nail the lid shut on the false doctrine of "once saved, always saved". However we will not stop here.
Now let us consider the ultimate warning from the apostle Peter... follow through with me as we unfold his warning...
2 Peter 1:1-3 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received the same precious faith with us, in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through a full knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord; who by his divine power has given us all things relating to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and virtue.
There can be no doubt who Peter is writing to in this letter. He addresses "those who have received the SAME precious faith with us". Then Peter explains "through a FULL knowledge", that God, "by his divine power", has given us (the saved) all things relating to life and godliness "through the knowledge of him". What does Peter mean when he wrote "through the knowledge of him"? Let's look at what John wrote...
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
When we "know" God, and Jesus Christ, who God has sent, is when we have eternal life. Again, there can be no doubt that in Peter's letter he is writing to those that "know" God, and are indeed saved. I really do not believe anyone would argue with this Scriptural fact. Now let's continue with Peter's letter...
2 Peter 1:4 Through whom he gave us great and precious promises; that through these we may have fellowship with the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Once again we have evidence that Peter is writing to Christians... "Through whom" (the "whom" is Jesus Christ) God gave us (Christians) great and precious promises. Peter further wrote that Christians have "escaped the corruption that is in the world". Now let's read what Peter explains to Christians that we add to our faith after we are saved...
2 Peter 1:5-7 Because of this, give all diligence to add with your faith moral excellence, and with the moral excellence add knowledge; and with knowledge add self-control; and with self-control add steadfastness, and with steadfastness add godliness; and with godliness add brotherly love; and with brotherly love add love.
Peter wrote, "Because of this"... what does he mean by "this"? He is referring to our salvation. Because of our salvation, we should strive to "add" to our faith all of these things he has mentioned. Next we will learn what happens when we add "these things" and what it means when we have not added "these things"... let's continue with Peter's letter...
2 Peter 1:8-9 For if these are in you and abounding, they will make you neither idle nor unproductive in attaining a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; but he who does not have these is blind or shortsighted, and has forgotten that he was cleansed of his old sins.
We learn that IF we have added "these things" to our faith, that we are not idle or unproductive, but those that do not have "these things", he has forgotten that he was "CLEANSED OF HIS OLD SINS". What does it mean to be "cleansed of our old sins"? It means we have been washed of our sins, baptized into Christ, we have been forgiven of our sins... we are saved.
Finally, we get to Peter's warning...
2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you shall never fall. For in this manner the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.
If we do "these things" we will not fall. If we do not do "these things" then we have "forgotten" that our sins were cleansed, and thereby we could possibly FALL, losing our salvation. A very clear warning from the apostle Peter that we must be very careful not to fall, thereby losing our salvation.
Later in his letter, Peter warns of others who may cause us to fall...
2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Peter explains that there will be "false teachers" among us and they will "secretly introduce" their own doctrines, teachings, and their own ways. Peter wrote "many" will follow their wrong ways, and that they will malign the truth. These false teachers will exploit us with their false words.
2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after escaping the world's corruptions through a full knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled and conquered by them, then their last condition is worse than their former one. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and turn their backs on the holy commandment that was committed to them. The proverb is true that describes what has happened to them: "A dog returns to its vomit," and "A pig that is washed goes back to wallow in the mud."
Here we have those that "after escaping the world's corruptions through a full knowledge" (clearly indicating they are saved), who "are again entangled and conquered" by the world. The rest of the passage explains that they turned their backs on the holy commandment given to them, and it is not going to be good for such people.
In this same letter, Peter later re-emphasizes that we must be careful not to fall... we cannot get all tangled back up in the world... we must keep our guard up...
2 Peter 3:17 You then, beloved, knowing these things before, be on guard so that you will not be led astray by the error of the wicked, and fall from your own steadfastness.
Remember what Peter wrote earlier... that we should add "steadfastness" to our faith. We must take heed so that we will not fall from our OWN steadfastness.
Peter gives us another reason why so many people are misled. Just before Peter wrote this warning for us to be careful so that we do not fall from our own steadfastness, he explains what might cause us to fall... it supports his earlier comments about false teachers deceiving us...
2 Peter 3:15-16 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you. As also he speaks about these things in all his letters; in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, even as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
You see... God is patient with us, giving us time to understand and to know Him. Peter explains that we should consider this patience of the Lord to be salvation in itself. Then he explains that there are those who really do not understand the Scriptures because they have not really learned the truth. These people have simply listened to what others have told them and have done no study for themselves... they have not studied to show themselves approved. Therefore, they take the false teachings they have learned and distort them further, to their own destruction. This is one reason it is so vitally important for us to study and understand the Scriptures for ourselves, so that we can know the truth and not be misled by those that distort the Scriptures. All we have to do is read the Scriptures and believe them for how they read... and not some off the wall explanation. It is truly amazing how some people can explain away Scripture.
This next passage is another warning, but it is from the apostle Paul. We will need to read it in context to see how his warning unfolds...
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the fact that all of our ancestors were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea, and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and they all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink, for they continually drank from the spiritual Rock that went with them, and that Rock was Christ. But God wasn't pleased with most of them, and so they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things became examples for us so that we won't set our hearts on evil as they did. Let us stop being idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play." Let us stop sinning sexually, as some of them were doing, and on a single day 23,000 fell dead. Let us stop putting the Lord to the test, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by snakes. You must stop complaining, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down as a warning for us in whom the climax of the ages has been realized. Therefore, the person who thinks he is standing securely should watch out that he does not fall.
This is a truly powerful story... the Israelites were led by Moses (who symbolizes Christ) out of Egypt (symbolizing the land of sin). They were saved from Pharaoh (who symbolizes the devil). In this passage with Paul we learn that the Israelites were under the cloud and went through the sea... "they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea" (this symbolizes our baptism into Christ). The Israelites were saved from Pharaoh (symbolizing being saved from Satan) when they escaped through the departing Red Sea. If you have ever seen the movie The Ten Commandments, then you probably remember how this happened. The movie is very accurate with this event. Paul continues to explain that they "all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink". The spiritual drink came from the spiritual Rock and they "continued" to drink from the spiritual Rock... "and that Rock was Christ." While they were saved from the devil at one point, they did not do as God commanded and He became unpleased with some of them. In one single day 23,000 of them fell dead. They were worshipping idols, they played by sinning sexually, they tested the Lord, they complained, they were not all living for God as He wanted them to. Paul wrote in this passage twice that these things happened to serve as an example for us, as a warning for us. The point he was making is in the last verse when he wrote...
"THEREFORE, THE PERSON WHO THINKS HE IS STANDING SECURELY SHOULD WATCH OUT THAT HE DOES NOT FALL."
If it were not possible for a believer to fall, this warning from Paul would not have been given. There is no other possible meaning behind Paul's warning.
Let's look at an example of some who have fallen from grace (lost their salvation)...
Galatians 5:1-4 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.
Pauls wrote that "Christ set us free" and that we should continue to stand firm and not be subject to a yoke of slavery again. What is "a yoke of slavery"? Other translations call this "yoke of bondage"... but what does it mean? We need to understand this in order to understand Paul's warning. When we are unsaved, we are under the bondage of sin... it is a yoke of bondage (or slavery)... we are serving sin, just as a slave serves his master. Paul explains this in his letters to the Romans...
Romans 6:16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Paul wrote that we are slaves to what we obey... we either obey sin and are slaves to sin, or we are slaves of obedience to God. If we are "slaves to sin" and "serve sin" then we are under the bondage of sin, or "yoke of slavery".
There is also another way that "yoke of slavery" or "yoke of bondage" was used to describe being under a certain bondage.. The Law of Moses imposed troublesome laws on the Jews, it was a yoke to the Jews. They were under bondage to the Law... they were slaves to the Law of Moses... they were under a "yoke of slavery" because they were slaves to the Law.
Understanding now what "yoke of slavery" or "yoke of bondage" means, we can understand what Paul is explaining here. While the Galatians he wrote to were indeed saved, he did not want them to become under another yoke of bondage. You can go back to chapter 4 in Galatians and read that they were trying to be circumcised to be completely saved. There are several instances we read of throughout the New Testament letters, that explains how many of the Jews wanted the Gentiles to obey the Law and be circumcised. Paul is explaining here, as well as he does in many other instances, that the Law of Moses is not what makes them perfect anymore... it is Christ that saves them now... they no longer needed the Law to be saved. Christ set them free from the Law. Christ came as a replacement for the Law. Notice Paul wrote "stand firm and not be subject AGAIN to a yoke of slavery." What Paul is explaining is that they were once under the bondage of sin (yoke of slavery). If they go back and try to obey the Law of Moses and be circumcised so that they can be justified by the Law (or saved by the Law) that they will then be under a second yoke of slavery. The first bondage was sin, the second bondage would be the Jewish Law.
Today we receive grace from God through our obedience to the faith. We are saved because of what God and Christ did for us. God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. Once we receive that grace from God, we must hold on to it. There were some Galatians that Paul explains were severed from Christ because they were seeking to be justified by the Law. Paul wrote that they "have fallen from grace." Look what happened...
THEY LOST THEIR SALVATION!
It would be impossible to be "severed from Christ" if they were not "in Christ" to begin with. Clearly Paul explains that "Christ set them free"... they were saved, but then severed, cut off from Christ. Furthermore it is impossible to "fall from grace" if we do not have grace to begin with. We cannot fall from something we do not have. To say that we never had grace to begin with, as some would suggest, would be like saying we were not standing up before we fell down. Plus... it would clearly contradict what the Scriptures teach us. To say that we cannot lose our salvation is teaching a false doctrine. To teach the same makes one a false teacher.
Some people will bring up that the Bible teaches us that if someone does fall from grace, thereby losing their salvation, that it is impossible for them to be saved again. That is simply not true and the Bible does not teach us this. If we sin intentionally and continue in this sin, and never repent of it, then we will not be saved because there remains no more sacrifice for sin...
Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
If we "go on sinning willfully" after we are saved... if we continue to sin intentionally with no respect to God, then there remains no more sacrifice for sin. If we are saved and fall back into a pattern of intentional and willful sin... go out and start a life of sin, with no godly sorrow to our way of life, then we will lose our salvation. For example... let's say that I obey the gospel, I do what I must do to be saved and in fact become a Christian. I try to live a life for Christ and occasionally sin, as we all will do, but I understand when I have sinned, confess and asked forgiveness of this sin, then I remain in Christ and Christ in me. My sins are forgiven. Later on in life I hook up with the wrong persons and get coerced into a business scam. The scam involves deceiving the elderly into investing in this scam, knowing that they will never make any return on their investment. I am financially in trouble and desperately need the money so I get involved and go through with the scam on our first elderly couple. At first I have some remorse for stealing from these people, but the money is so good that I think to myself, maybe I can do it just one more time. I do it again and I do not feel quite as bad the second time... after all, these are old people with lots of money and it really will not hurt them to lose a little of it. So, I decide to do it again, and again, because now it is really not bothering me at all. I end up stealing money from quite a number of elderly people, but I eventually quit. Now I have built up a nice nest egg, bought a bunch of new toys (cars, house, RV, vacation home, boat, etc., etc.). I am living it up and have forgot all about God. I no longer even attend church, I no longer pray... I have turned my back on God. If I died right then, I would no doubt be eternally lost. It was a progressive sinful pattern that eventually led me to rejecting God and losing my salvation. However, there is only one sin that cannot be forgiven, which is speaking against the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if I do not die at this time, the sins I have committed are forgivable sins. What must I do? I must do what God tells me in His Word. I must make the wrong that I have done, right. I must confess and I must ask for forgiveness of these sins. I must also have godly sorrow and repent of these sins, and start living for Christ again. What is this going to include? I have to repay what I stole by selling all those nice toys and giving these elderly people their money back. I may have to even sell some items that I had before I had all these nice toys... I have to make it right.
We can use a similar analogy with any sin. Let's consider what the writer of Hebrews referred to when he wrote verse 26. If we look at it in context we can learn of an example of habitual sin...
Hebrews 10:23-27 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
First we learn from the writer that we must hold on to our salvation without wavering... this means we should hold on to it firmly and not fall away. Then he wrote that we should consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Next, he wrote, "not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some." Now here we have an example of a sinful habit. Yes, you are reading it right... if we are saved and get into a habit of not attending church we are in jeopardy of losing our salvation unless we repent of "forsaking our own assembly" and start getting back into the habit of attending regularly. This does not mean that we cannot ever miss a service, but it does mean that we cannot get into a habit of missing, just like we cannot get into a habit of any sin. Now notice what the writer wrote next... "For if we go on sinning willfully AFTER receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins". What does he mean by sinning willfully and there being no more sacrifice for sins? He is explaining that by our willful, habitual, continual sin, we have given up Christ who is our sacrifice for our sins. Christ died as the sacrifice for our sins... when we are saved, we accept Christ as this sacrifice. If we go on sinning habitually we lose this sacrifice. At that time we lose our salvation because we have lost the sacrifice for our sins. We no longer "abide" in Christ and Christ no longer "abides" in us... Jesus and God no longer have Their "abode" with us because we have quit loving God and we have not kept His commandments.
The parable of the soils might help us to understand how some see salvation at their fingertips but cannot hold on to it, how some are saved but lose it quickly, and how some are saved and eventually lose it, and how some are saved and keep it. You can read the entire parable in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8, but I will only quote the part when Jesus explains it in Mark 4...
Mark 4:14-20 The sower sows the word. Some people are like the seeds along the path, where the word is sown. When they hear it, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others are like the seeds sown on the stony ground. When they hear the word, they accept it at once with joy, but since they don't have any roots in themselves, they last for only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes along because of the word, they immediately fall away. Still others are like the seeds sown among the thornbushes. These are the people who hear the word, but the worries of life, the deceitful pleasures of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word so that it can't produce a crop. Others are like the seeds sown on good soil. They hear the word, accept it, and produce crops-thirty, sixty, or one hundred times what was sown."
Earlier in the parable Jesus explain how some will hear but because they do not understand it, or give it very little attention, they choose to ignore it and/or reject it. Satan will do anything to trick and distract men from the being saved. He knows that when people are ignorant they are much easier to deceive. Therefore, he works meticulously to remove all knowledge of God and of His word from the minds of men before it can take root. These clearly resisted the opportunity to be saved.
Then there are those that hear the Word of God, accept it with joy, and actually obey the gospel. They walk with the Lord for a short time and when temptation or persecution comes, they fall away and lose their salvation. As long as everything is easy and going good they hang right in there, but when problems start to arise, they can no longer hang. These may be faced with different kinds of problems which cause them to fall. Their work schedule changes and it makes it difficult for them to attend worship services. They may have family troubles that distract them from serving God. There may be some kind of illness or sickness that they blame on God and walk away from Him. We must realize that Satan is out to get us and he will do everything in his power to lead us astray. We must hold on to our salvation regardless of our problems. These may or may not regain their salvation, depending on what they continue to do with their life.
Then there are those who receive the Word of God, obey the gospel, and make a real effort to live for Christ. But, they get wrapped up in things of the world... covetousness and deceitfulness of riches. These people want to straddle the fence that lies between Christ and the world. They lack the full commitment that Jesus expects of those who follow Him. They become so captivated with the opportunities for wealth and material things that they lose sight of the only true possession that is worth anything... their soul. They become unfruitful. They stand to lose their salvation as well unless they repent and turn from the ways of the world. Satan will not give up easily on these and he will pull out all of the stops when it comes to the person who is striving to live a godly life. The world is attractive, but it is only temporary...
1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Then of course we have those that are considered the good ground. These hear the Word of God, receive it, obey the gospel, and keep God's commandments with patience and perseverance... they "DOETH THE WILL OF GOD" and abide forever. These are steadfast in their service to God and unwavering in their commitment. They share the Word of God and bear more souls for Christ (the church). Of course their life is not without temptations from Satan, as well as other problems, but they are able to overcome and not let affairs of this life discourage their efforts to enter to the kingdom of heaven.
Now let's consider some others that lost their salvation...
John 6:70-71 Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
Acts 1:17 "For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry."
Judas was "chosen" and "counted among" them and received his share in the ministry of Jesus...
John 13:21-27 After saying this, Jesus was deeply troubled in spirit and declared solemnly, "Truly, truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me!" The disciples began looking at one another, completely mystified about whom he was speaking. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus kept loving, was sitting very close to him. So Simon Peter motioned to this man to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. Leaning forward on Jesus' chest, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "He is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread after I have dipped it in the dish." Then he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After he had taken the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do!"
Satan did not have reign over Judas from the beginning... the devil did not enter into Judas until after he was chosen by Jesus, then what does Jesus say later...
John 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
Judas was cut off from Christ. He was chosen by Christ, he was in Christ, but he lost his salvation...
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Acts 1:24-25 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Judas lost his salvation (he fell) and it was because of his transgressions.
1 Timothy 1:18-20 Timothy, my child, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may continue to fight the good fight with faith and a good conscience. By ignoring their consciences, some people have destroyed their faith like a wrecked ship. These include Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Paul handed over Hymenaeus and Alexander to the devil. Other translations read he "surrendered" them to Satan because they made "shipwreck" of their faith. They ignored their conscience and lost their salvation. We must fight the good fight and not box into thin air. We do not want to be handed over to Satan... but if we are... it may be so that we will wake up and realize we need to live for God. Let's read how Paul instructed the Corinthians to hand over some who were in sin so that they might end being saved in the end...
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the gentiles. A man is actually living with his father's wife! And you are being arrogant instead of being filled with grief and seeing to it that the man who did this is removed from among you. Even though I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit. I have already passed judgment on the man who did this, as though I were present with you. When you are gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus and my spirit and the power of our Lord Jesus are present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord.
We can lose our salvation, but we can also regain it by realizing we are doing wrong, having godly sorrow, repenting, and turning our life back over to God.
The following passage needs in depth explanation in order to understand its' meaning, it is very complicated and one that I studied for quite some time. It explains that we can definitely fall but is often misunderstood to mean that if we do lose our salvation, that it is impossible to regain it. This is not what the writer is communicating here and we must consider it in full context with the entire book of Hebrews to fully understand it.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
I cannot promise that I will be able to put this is easily understandable words, but I will do my best. Hopefully you will come away with a clearer understanding. In order to understand this passage completely, we must go back and look at the preceding passages, even back into the previous chapters, which I will reference as I explain this passage of Scripture. Let's start with the preceding passages...
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
The passage starts out with "Therefore", so this is referring back to a conclusion in the previous chapter. You will really need to read all of Hebrews to understand the full context and be able to pick up on what the writer is communicating, but I will give you the primary points. Let's look back and see what he was referencing in the previous chapter...
Hebrews 5:9-10 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
What the writer is explaining in the above passage is also referenced as far back as chapter 2...
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
The writer is explaining that Jesus was qualified to be a high priest; He was made perfect, and He is the author of eternal salvation.
Hebrews 5:11-12 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
We learn these Hebrew Christians had become "dull of hearing"... they were not understanding the Scriptures very well. They needed someone to go back and teach them the "elementary principles of the oracles of God" (KJV reads "first principles") so that they could see that Jesus was now qualified to be their Savior and High Priest. When we go back and read the full context of Hebrews, we learn that these people (the Hebrew Christians) were trying to go back to the old Jewish system (Jewish Law/Law of Moses) and did not understand it to begin with, or at best they were trying to use a little of both the Jewish and Christian systems. We should understand that "the elementary principles of the oracles of God" in 5:12 are the same as "the principles of the doctrine of Christ" in 6:1 as they both point back to the Old Testament teachings that pointed to the Messiah (Jesus the Savior).
Now let's go to the beginning of chapter 6 again... "Therefore leaving" (which means they needed to "leave behind") the teachings they had received on the first principles of Christ, or they needed to leave behind the instructions concerning Christ that was in the beginning, so that they could move on to "perfection". Let's understand that in the end of chapter 5, they needed someone to teach them that the Jesus Christ would be their Savior at some point in time. Then in the beginning of chapter 6, it was time to move on past these teachings that they should have understood in the beginning. It was time for them to learn more about what the Messiah brought for them... which was "perfection". We have to move ahead a few chapters to learn what "perfection" was, and was not...
Hebrews 7:11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
Hebrews 7:19 For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Obviously the "perfection" was not the Levitical priesthood, which is how the people back in the Old Testament received the Law... nor was the "perfection" the Law.
Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The "perfection" was Christ, and this is what the writer of this book is more concerned with than anything else. As stated above, these Christians were at best straddling the fence between the old Jewish system (obeying the Law) and the new Christian system (obeying the Gospel). They could not seem to let go of the old system completely. They are encouraged to completely get rid of the old system and start following the new system. The writer is trying to get them to understand that Christ is the perfect way now and the old Law is not needed to bring us to salvation.
Notice the writer continues in the first part of the passage with "not laying again the foundation of", and then there are six different elements listed. Why does he write this? He does not want them to go back and learn again all the rituals of the Old Testament Law (the foundation of the Law).
Then we notice that the writer mentions those six different elements that he does not want to lay again the foundation of. These six elements at first appear to be related to the Christian system (obeying the gospel), but in fact the writer is referring to Judaism (practicing the old Jewish Law). Let's consider each one of these elements and prove that they are not referencing obedience to the gospel and it will make understanding Hebrews 6:4-6 much easier...
The six elements mentioned are...
- repentance from dead works
- faith toward God
- doctrine of baptisms
- laying on of hands
- resurrection of the dead
- eternal judgment
The "repentance from dead works" would not be referring to Christian repentance because Christian repentance is more appropriately labeled as simply "repentance" or "repentance of sins" as mentioned in Luke...
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
We also know from James that dead works in the New Testament times reference disobedience to God's will and commandments, not repentance from dead works. Now consider these passages in Hebrews...
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 10:2-4 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The blood of Christ is "perfect", He was the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins and His blood purges us from consciousness of sins. However, during the Levitical ceremonies the cleansing from animal blood was not "perfect" as this washing left behind "dead works" or "consciousness of sins".
The "faith toward God" refers to Old Testament Jews belief in God.... they had faith in God, not Christ. The Jews after Christ's death still believed in God, but they did not completely believe in Christ... while the Gentiles struggled and most of them were ignorant of even our one true God. The Hebrew Christians (who the writer is writing to) were being encouraged not to simply "believe in God" in the same way their Old Testament fathers did, but to believe in Christ as well. They needed to understand that Christ was now the "perfection" and that they could not just simply have faith in God alone... they also needed to believe in Jesus Christ, and this is verified by what Jesus said...
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
The "doctrine of baptisms" is referring to the Jewish cleansing rites which included Levitical rituals or ceremonial washings. The Greek word for baptisms (plural) is "baptismon" a form of "baptismos" which is defined as "washings". All Christian baptisms are referred to by the Greek word "baptisma" or "baptizo". In the Manuscripts the passage with these six elements actually has the word "washings" instead of "baptisms". The definition for "baptismos"...
1) a washing, purification effected by means of water
1a) of washing prescribed by the Mosaic Law (Heb.9:10) which seems to explain the difference between the washings prescribed by the Mosaic Law and Christian baptism
The word "baptismos" is used only to refer to "washings" in this sense, as we can learn from the following passages...
Mark 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
We can also differentiate from ceremonial washings and water baptism that saves, in the following passage...
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The "putting away of the filth of the flesh" refers to Jewish ceremonial washings which was only a purification of the flesh. Whereas water "baptism" that "doth also now save us" is referring to "the answer of a good conscience toward God"... water baptism is our new way of purifying our souls in obedience to the truth.
The "laying on of hands" refers again to Levitical rituals when those offering sacrifices laid hands on their animals. We see many examples of this in the following Scripture...
Leviticus 1:4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
Leviticus 3:2 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
Leviticus 4:4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.
Leviticus 4:15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.
Leviticus 4:24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.
Laying on of hands was also part of the consecration of the priests...
Exodus 29:10 And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.
Leviticus 8:14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
It was even a ritual on the annual Day of Atonement which followed the sacrifice that was made for all of God's people and involved the laying on of hands with all Jews...
Leviticus 16:15-21 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
These offerings are alluded to in Hebrews chapter 5...
Hebrews 5:1-3 For every high priest selected from among men is appointed to officiate on their behalf in matters relating to God, that is, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with people who are ignorant and easily deceived, since he himself is subject to weakness. For that reason he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those of the people.
But we learn that Christ only had to offer himself...
Hebrews 7:27 He has no need to offer sacrifices every day like those high priests, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he sacrificed himself.
The "resurrection of the dead" was also revealed in the Old Testament and was nothing new to these people...
Job 19:25-27 As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!
Isaiah 26:19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
It was a common belief of the Jews in the New Testament as well...
Acts 24:14-15 However, I admit to you that in accordance with the Way, which they call a heresy, I worship the God of our ancestors and believe in everything written in the Law and the Prophets. I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish-that there is to be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.
Acts 26:6-8 And now it is for the hope of the promise made by God to our ancestors that I stand here on trial. Our twelve tribes, worshiping day and night with intense devotion, hope to attain it. It is for this hope, O King, that I am accused by the Jews. Why is it thought incredible by all of you that God should raise the dead?
Jesus quoted Exodus concerning the resurrection of the dead...
Luke 20:37-38 Even Moses demonstrated in the story about the bush that the dead are raised, when he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all people are alive to him.
Finally, "eternal judgment" was again another doctrine that was well known in the Old Testament days...
Jude 1:14-15 Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied about these people when he said, "Look! The Lord has come with countless thousands of his holy ones. He will execute judgment on all people and convict everyone of all the ungodly things that they have done in such an ungodly way, including all the harsh things that these ungodly sinners have said about him."
Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.
Isaiah 26:21 For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain.
It is not necessarily any particular one of these elements that the writer of the Hebrews letter is trying to get them to eliminate, but rather he is explaining that these elements are central to Judaism and the Old Testament system. The writer is trying to convince them that there is no perfection in the Levitical priesthood. The first ten chapters of the letter to the Hebrews is focusing on turning these Jewish Hebrew Christians away from their old system and to completely follow the "perfect" Christian system of obeying the gospel, and that new system was all they needed.
Understanding those first few 3 verses of Hebrews 6 allows us to better understand verses 4-6, which is what our main focus is anyway...
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The initial state of repentance mentioned ("to renew AGAIN unto repentance") could only be referring to true Christians... the Hebrew Christians... and in fact would prove that we could indeed fall from a full state of grace. We should note that the word "If" that begins verse 6 is not in any Manuscripts. While it is scripturally evident that some Christians can fall to a point of no return, verse 4 is not referring to this point with the word "impossible". This passage of Scripture was written to the Hebrew Christians warning them not to fall away as some had already done. As I have shown, they were in danger of going back to the Old Testament Levitical system with its high priesthoods and sacrifices, and this letter was written to try to prevent them from doing so. The writer wanted to show them the superiority of Christ and Christianity over Judaism.
Now go back to the statement I made with we started this study section on this passage. We must clearly understand that the writer does not mean that we cannot regain our salvation. The point of the word "impossible" is to warn them that if they do happen to fall back into Judaism then it would not be possible (or it would be impossible) for them to be spiritually renewed through that old system. They could only be renewed through the Christian system. We learn of this similar warning later on in Hebrews...
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Ultimately, Hebrews 6:4-6 is not about falling away in general, but rather falling back into Judaism... either way it does prove someone can lose their salvation. The old system was limited and has been taken away... it cannot bring perfection like the New Covenant with Christ is able to do. Therefore, it is "impossible" for the Old Covenant to "renew them again unto repentance" because under the old system "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins". It is not impossible for those that fall away to be brought back to Christianity, but it is impossible for Judaism to bring them back. We may not be in danger ourselves of falling back into Judaism, but we can certainly fall in to a continual state of sin or be led astray by false teachers and false doctrines causing us to be lost in the end. If we do start practicing sin and fall away, then we need to quickly realize it, repent, and start living for God again. We can prevent this falling away by remaining faithful to God's Word, which can build us up and help us discern between good and evil...
John 8:51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It is interesting to note that the encouragement in Acts 20:32 comes after a warning that Judaism teachers will try to mislead and teach the Gentile Christians that they must follow the old system.
Let's consider a few more passages...
Acts 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me this power too, so that when I lay my hands on someone he will receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your money perish with you because you thought you could obtain God's free gift with money! You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart isn't right before God. So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you're turning into bitter poison and that you’re being chained by wickedness!" Simon answered, "Both of you pray to the Lord for me that none of the things you have said will happen to me."
Here we have the story of Simon, who was already saved, and the apostle Peter. The apostles were laying hands on some to give them spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Simon saw what was happening and wanted to buy this same ability to lay hands and give others these gifts as well. This was a huge mistake, Peter explains. Even Peter was unsure if Simon's sin could be forgiven when he said "if possible, this thought of your heart may be forgiven you." Simon was also worried and ask them to pray for him so that he would not be lose his salvation.
Revelations 3:5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Here we have those who have been added to the Book of Life when they were saved... but we notice that we must "overcome" in order to keep our name in the Book of Life. We must be careful to not fall away and lose our salvation.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 You know that in a race all the runners run but only one wins the prize, don't you? You must run in such a way that you may be victorious. Everyone who enters an athletic contest practices self-control in everything. They do it to win a wreath that dies, but we to win one that never dies. That is the way I run, with a clear goal in mind. That is the way I box, not like someone punching the air. No, I keep on beating my body and making it my slave so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified.
We must overcome the world and run the race to be victorious. This is how Paul lived his life, so that he would not be somehow "disqualified". Even Paul feared somehow he might lose his salvation and is warning us to be careful so that we are not disqualified.
Philippians 2:12 And so, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I am absent, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
We must run the race as to win eternal life... we must continue to obey, and "continue to work out" our salvation "with fear and trembling." We cannot be saved and just sit back and relax, ignore God, and expect to end up in heaven.
2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
John wrote that we must watch ourselves so that we "do not lose what we have accomplished". What is it that we have accomplished? Salvation!
Now read this stern warning from Jude...
Jude 1:15-25 He will execute judgment on all people and convict everyone of all the ungodly things that they have done in such an ungodly way, including all the harsh things that these ungodly sinners have said about him. These people are complainers and faultfinders, following their own desires. Their mouths speak arrogant things, and they flatter people in order to take advantage of them. But you, dear friends, must remember the statements and predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They kept telling you, "In the last times mockers will appear, following their own ungodly desires." These are the people who cause divisions. They are worldly, devoid of the Spirit. But you, dear friends, must continue to build yourselves up on your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit, and remain in God's love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire. To others, show mercy, but with fear, hating even the clothes stained by their sinful lives. Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand faultless in his glorious presence with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.
Jude mentions that we should remember all the warnings from the apostles concerning false teachers who cause divisions (denominations) because they are worldly. God, Jesus, nor the apostles created denominations... men created them. Jude encourages us to "continue" to build ourselves up with our faith. We cannot be deceived by these false teachers. Finally, Jude wrote that God can keep us from falling... He is the one we must turn to for help and guidance.
Let's consider a few other warnings...
James 5:19-20 My brothers, if one of you wanders away from the truth and somebody brings him back, you may be sure that whoever brings a sinner back from his wrong path will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
It is very evident that James is writing to Christians. He warns them that if any of them wanders from the truth and loses their salvation, and then someone converts them back from the error of his ways, they would be saving a soul from spiritual death. Notice James wrote "brings him back".
I believe it is very clear that we can fall... unless we endure...
Matthew 24:6-13 You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See to it that you are not alarmed. These things must take place, but the end hasn't come yet. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will hand you over to suffering and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations because of my name. Then many people will fall by the way and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people, and because lawlessness will increase, the love of many people will grow cold. But the person who endures to the end will be saved.
Jesus clearly says that "many people will fall" and that "the love of many people will grow cold." Then He said, "BUT THE PERSON WHO ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE SAVED." What will happen to those that DO NOT endure to the end? Obviously if was not possible for us NOT to endure to end, then Jesus would not have had to mention it.
Acts 20:28-31 Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to be shepherds of God's church, which he acquired with his own blood. I know that when I'm gone savage wolves will come among you and not spare the flock. Indeed, some of your own men will come forward and distort the truth in order to lure the disciples into following them. So be alert! Remember that for three years, night and day, I never stopped warning each of you with tears.
Jesus purchased the church (the saved people) with His own blood. We must always be be on watch for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even some Christians will distort the truth in order to lure others to follow them. We must be alert! Paul warned other Christians for three years, night and day... he never stopped warning them, even with tears. We must do the same.
2 Timothy 2:5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.
In order to play by the rules, we must know the rules... study God's Word to show yourself approved... study God's Word so you can know the truth!
Next we have one of the most blatant warnings of falling from grace ... please read it carefully...
Galatians 5:13-26 For you, brothers, were called to freedom. Only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity to gratify your flesh, but through love make it your habit to serve one another. For the whole law is summarized in a single statement: "You must love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you are not destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so you do not do what you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us stop being arrogant, provoking one another and envying one another.
A stiff warning comes from Paul who wrote that we should not turn our freedom into an opportunity to gratify our flesh. He explains what these things are that gratify the flesh... "sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that." He explains that Christians who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. He is speaking to Christians, people who are saved. If we are saved and begin to "practice" these things then we will not end up in heaven, we will lose our salvation. We may fall to one or more of these sins, but we cannot and should not practice these sins. Our fruits as saved souls are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."... these are the things we should practice. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit through God's Word.
God will help us through His Word, which is the truth... but, we must be willing to study it and learn the truth. If you are truly saved, how much does your salvation mean to you? Are you simply going to listen to someone else and not even bother to study God's Word to see if what this person is telling you is true? We place our souls in the hands of men when we do this, and men cannot save us. We must have put our trust in God, not man!
Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
In these passages we have reviewed, we see several different proofs of salvation... many of these proofs also describe Christians today. We learn that some were chosen by Christ... were attached to the vine... believed... received the gospel and stood firm in it... have been reconciled through Christ's body... have been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift... received the Holy Spirit... have been sanctified by the blood of the covenant... and have escaped the corruptions and pollutions of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior. However, these saints did not or will not persevere. We know that at least some of these Christians lost their salvation, while others were warned, just as we are warned today. There is simply no doubt there is the possibility of Christians today losing their salvation. However, if we are truly living for God, then I do not believe we have anything to worry about. Are you living for God?
Now I will discuss passages that some people use in an attempt to say that we cannot lose our salvation. It amazes me at the number of preachers and teachers that are supporting such a false doctrine. Not only do they attempt to explain away all of the passages that I have previously provided that clearly prove we can lose our salvation, but they also take out of context, twist, distort, and malign other passages in order to try and prove their own man-made false doctrines.
Let's consider some of those passages...
Mark 13:22 For false christs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens to deceive, if possible, the elect.
False teachers use this verse to say that it is not possible to deceive the elect... because the verse ends "to deceive, if possible, the elect."
This verse does not say that it is not possible and it does not indicate that it is not possible. False christs and false teachers will definitely try, and may possibly lead some astray. Let's use this "if possible" in an example. If possible, I am going to finish this webpage and upload it to my server to be displayed over the Internet. Now, this does not mean that it is not possible that I can do this. It means that it is possible. In fact, is was possible because I did it. We would also like to go to the mountains, if possible, within the next few years. However, circumstances have to be met for it to be possible. Now it is possible that we may get to go, but it is also possible that we may not get to go. The same is the case with losing our salvation. If the false teachers have their way they will deceive the saved... by whatever means possible. When we take a verse like this out of context, it can be used to deceive someone into believing something that is false. Now let's place it in context and see what Jesus really says and means...
Mark 13:21-27 "At that time, if anyone says to you, 'Look! Here is the Christ!', or, 'Look! There he is!', don't believe it. For false christs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens to deceive, if possible, the elect. So be on your guard! I've told you everything before it happens. But after the suffering of those days, 'The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken loose.' Then people will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. He will send out his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven."
Jesus is giving a warning... He has just finished talking about the suffering of the last days in previous verses. Then He warns that if someone is telling us that Christ is here, we should not believe him unless what He has told us has indeed happened, because there are going to be false christs and false teachers that will be trying to lead us astray. Jesus says, "don't believe it." Jesus tells us to be on our guard! He says, "I've told you everything before it happens." Then He goes on to explain what will happen after those days of suffering (that He had spoke of in the earlier verses). Think about it logically, if it were not possible for Christians to be deceived by these false christs and false teachers, why would Jesus waste His time warning us, telling us to be on our guard and to not believe what is being told us. Jesus did not come to this earth to waste His breath... if it were not possible to deceive Christians, then He would not have even brought it up. We must also consider all of the other warnings that Jesus gave us, and I quoted these earlier.
Let's consider the next famous false teacher passage...
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I could not agree more than the next person with what this verse tells us... but clearly it does not tell us that we cannot lose our salvation. What false teachers would like us to believe is that because the verse says nothing can separate us from the love of God, we cannot possibly lose our salvation. Look... God gave His only begotten Son because He loved the whole world... that is everyone, lost or saved. If God did not love the lost, then everyone would be doomed to hell. We would be in big trouble! God loves everyone, however, He does love some less than others. What false teachers are trying to get us to believe is that God hates the sinner and loves the Christian... and that if we were to lose our salvation then God would no longer love us, therefore, if nothing can separate us from the love of God, we cannot lose our salvation. Can you see all the twisting that is going on?
We must understand that the word "hate" does not mean God does not love some people. The word is poorly translated for its' meaning from the early days. Let's look at what it means...
Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as his own life, he can't be my disciple."
OUCH! Is Jesus teaching that a true disciple of Christ will hate his parents, his wife, his children... his whole family? Of course not! At least not in the way that we interpret the word "hate" in this day and time. The definition for the Greek word "hate" means "esteem less" or "love less". A true disciple will love Jesus above his parents or above his family, or any material possession. Jesus clearly tells us we must love one another... it was His greatest commandment, therefore, we cannot literally "hate" our parents in the same way we define the word "hate" in today's society. We simply love them less, or we love Jesus more.
Now we understand that just because we lose our salvation does not mean that God will not still love us, He may just love us less.
Let's move on to yet another passage that false teachers use...
John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
In order to understand what Jesus is communicating to us in this passage, we have to consider the passage in context with what Jesus said earlier...
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."
We must "follow" Him, not just once, but continually. If we follow Him, He will give us eternal life. Jesus said, "he who follows Me will not walk in darkness,". What does it mean to "walk in darkness"? It is to continually practice sin. So if we are saved we are obviously following Christ. If we fall into a habit of sin and continue in this sin, are we still following Christ? Absolutely not! Would you believe that there has never been any saved people that have fallen into a sinful pattern and continued in that sin? Consider the repented sin versus willful sin...
1 John 1:6-9 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
If we are following Christ and not walking in darkness, as John explains in 1 John, then the blood of Christ cleanses us from all of our sins. We must confess our sins and we will be forgiven and cleansed. But, if we walk in darkness, we are practicing sin continually and willfully and fail to repent, we have no more sacrifice for sin. We have rejected Christ and lost our salvation.
Now let's go back to the original passage when Jesus says, "they shall never perish" and "no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." From these last few passages we learned that as long as we walk in the light, and not in darkness, we will in fact never perish. Jesus says we must continue to "follow" Him and not "walk in darkness" after we are saved. As long as we "follow" Him, we will never perish.
The Greek word for "pluck" ("snatch" in some translations) has a definition which means "to seize" or "carry off by force". This can only refer to anyone other than your own self. There is that possibility that we could turn away from God ourselves. If you lose something or give it away, are you plucking or snatching it from yourself? Are you carrying it off by force? Plucking or snatching requires force by someone other than yourself. You or no other person could take my salvation away but I could fall away or walk away from God by my own choosing. So to say that our salvation cannot be "plucked" out of God's hand is true. But, it does not mean we cannot lose our salvation by walking in darkness and turning away from God on our own... which in no way requires any "plucking".
Let's consider a few more passages that false teachers use...
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, "I will never leave you or abandon you."
The verse clearly says that God says... "I will never leave you or abandon you." I could not agree more, why would I call God a liar? Whoa to me if I did such. God will in fact never leave us or abandon us. But, we can choose to walk away from God... we can abandon Him. Losing our salvation does not mean God abandoned us... we abandoned God. In this particular verse the writer has advised us to keep our lives "free from the love of money". Now, if we do not keep our lives free from the love of money, what happens? We stand a chance to lose our eternal life with God... we have abandoned God and His Word. Let's look at what Paul warned us about the love of money...
1 Timothy 6:9-10 But people who want to get rich keep toppling into temptation and are trapped by many stupid and harmful desires that plunge them into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with much pain.
Clearly the "love of money" and "eagerness to get rich" causes people to wander "away from the faith". Our love of money could cause us to wander away from our faith, but that does not mean God abandoned us... instead, we would be abandoning God.
Here is a really good one that false teachers will try to deceive us with... and this is how they use it...
Matthew 28:20 "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
First of all... they must really think everyone is literally stupid. They fail to quote the entire verse here. Now some people that are not that familiar with the Bible might be deceived by this... I would not call them stupid, but I would say that they are ignoring God's Word and not studying to show themselves approved. This is one reason we must study the Scriptures. Secondly... false teachers not only fail to quote the complete verse, but they also take it completely out of context. Let's look at the verse within the full context of its' meaning...
Matthew 28:16-20 The eleven disciples went into Galilee to the hillside to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him, though some had doubts. Then Jesus came up and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age."
Jesus is clearly speaking to the apostles. There is no doubt that Jesus was with the apostles until the end of the age ("completion of the age" is from the Manuscripts). Jesus was with them in the form of the Holy Spirit. They had the "full" measure of the Holy Spirit to guide and lead them through their age. Now... provided we are saved, and continue to remain in Christ, just as He has commanded us to do, He will also be with us until the end of our age. We receive an "earnest" measure of the Holy Spirit when we are saved.
Let's look at another couple of passages used by false teachers...
Hebrews 10:10 By his will we have been sanctified once for all through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
False teachers say that we have been sanctified (set apart and sins forgiven) "once for all" and that "we are perfected for all time", and that this means we were made perfect forever and cannot lose our salvation. I encourage you to read all of Hebrews chapter 10. You will learn what is meant in context if you do. In summary... Jesus was the sacrifice "once for all"... He was sacrificed "once" and it was for "all" or "everyone". Of course we have to believe this and obey the gospel in order to be saved. Jesus, "by a single offering" and "once for all" has "perfected for all time" those who are saved. What this means is that our sins are forgiven "for all time". This is our sin before we are saved. You see... when we are saved, our sins are washed away and are remembered no more. We are then made perfect. Does that mean we will never sin again? Of course not... even a righteous man cannot be without sin. Does these passages indicate we cannot lose our salvation? Of course not... if it did then the Bible is full of contradictions. We must consider the passages within the context of other Scripture. Provided we "remain" in Christ... provided we "continue" to walk in the light... provided we do not "walk in darkness" and go back into a habitual state of sin, we will indeed be perfected forever. Remember, as long as we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, when God sees us, He sees Christ. If we fall into that habitual pattern of practicing sin, then we no longer have that perfection. As long as we remain faithful then we do indeed have that perfection for all time. Yes, Christ died once and it was for everyone, and it will always be forever as far as He is concerned, we only have to "remain" in Him.
Here's a really good example of a false teacher who clearly does not understand what the Scriptures teach... they yank a passage so far out of context they have no idea what it is means...
This is what this false teacher wrote... "What about the 'backslider' or somebody that forsakes the Lord? The Bible says he will suffer loss (rewards, etc.) — but he himself shall be saved!" Then this false teacher goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 as the Scriptural proof. I almost had to laugh to keep from crying. It is really sad that someone will so clearly and blatantly do such evil work with a passage. Let's go all the way back to the first verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, quoting a few verses at a time, and learn exactly what Paul is teaching...
1 Corinthians 3:1-6 Brothers, I couldn't talk to you as spiritual people but as worldly people, as mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you weren't ready for it. Why, you're still not ready for it! That's because you are still worldly. As long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, you are worldly and living by human standards, aren't you? For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," you are merely human, aren't you? What is Apollos anyhow? Or what is Paul? Mere servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord gave to each of us his task. I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God kept everything growing.
Paul begins by addressing Christian brothers, explaining that when he had visited them previously he could not talk to them as mature Christians. Paul had to talk to them as if they were still infants so that they could understand what he was saying. In his words he did not get into the meat of Christianity, but instead only gave them milk to drink, because they were not ready for the solid food yet. (From 1 Corinthians 16:8-9,16 we can learn that since his visit he had received information back from some other Christian brothers that caused him concern, which was the purpose for sending this letter to them. From this information he learned they still were not ready.) Paul explains to them that they are still acting worldly with jealousy, quarreling, and living by worldly standards. Paul continued to explain to them that when they were claiming to belong to Paul, Apollos, etc., that they were acting as mere humans and not Christians by creating division among themselves. This proved their infancy in Christ. If they were to act as mature Christians were supposed to act, they would claim to belong to Christ. Then Paul explains that he only did the planting, Apollos was watering, and God was doing the growing, but they obviously were not accepting the growth too well or he would not have wrote what he did. The first fact that we can establish is that these are brothers who Paul converted when he was in Corinth. Now let's pick up with more of Paul's letter...
1 Corinthians 3:7-11 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant, but God, who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own work. For we are God's co-workers. You are God's farmland and God's building. As an expert builder using the grace that God gave me, I laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus Christ.
Paul continues his letter explaining that it is not the one who does the planting or watering that matters, but instead it is God. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, which is to receive a reward for their work. Paul wrote that he was an expert builder and he laid the foundation while someone else is building on it. However, each person must be careful how he builds on the foundation, because the foundation that is laid is Jesus Christ. We build on the foundation of Christ.
In summary, from verse 1 through verse 11, we have learned that Paul is explaining that he laid the foundation of Christ with these Corinthian brothers. In the same way we may lay this same foundation in others... we may share the Word of God and His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ with others. While building on this foundation we must be careful that we build it strong... while teaching these others, we must be careful to teach the truth, because we are building up Christ's body, the church. Now let's look at the passage that the false teacher takes out of context...
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.
Now Paul explains what happens with those who are building on the foundation. He is not referring to the foundation itself... he is referring to the person who we have shared the gospel with and had become saved. If we build up this person with gold, silver, and precious stones, the person will be turn out strong and mature in Christ. Paul is using the analogy of building up the church... if the material used is precious and imperishable, such as gold and silver, then all is good. The gold and silver are the same materials as the apostolic doctrines and men moulded into the image of Christ. On the other hand... if the materials are wood, hay, and straw... the same being erroneous doctrines and unstable men, then the building may not be strong enough. Paul explains that the workmanship will be evident when the day comes that it will be tested to see if it can hold up. He uses the analogy of fire to show how it will be tested. The next verse is crucial to understanding what Paul is explaining. He wrote, "If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward." This means that if we have used good doctrines, the truth, and teach our Christian brothers properly, and they survive the test, WE will receive a reward. However, if our building burns up... if our brother does not make it, then our brother may be lost, and therefore we suffer a loss. Then Paul wrote, "However, he himself will be saved". Paul is not claiming that the person we were teaching will be saved, he is declaring that we will be saved. This is how we can understand this verse... "If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward." BUT, just because our work burns up in the fire, and we have suffered a loss, does not mean that WE will be lost as well... WE will still be saved... but it will be like going through fire.
Now... VERY CLEARLY... THIS PASSAGE DOES NOT TELL US THAT THE BACKSLIDER OR PERSON THAT HAS FORSAKEN THE LORD WILL BE SAVED! IT CLEARLY TEACHES THAT THE PERSON WHO IS TEACHING THE BACKSLIDER WILL BE SAVED, even though the teacher suffered the loss of the backslider.
This same false teacher maligns another verse as well...
This is what the false teacher claims..."Our salvation is so secure — even if we BELIEVE NOT after we're saved, because we become part of Him (the body of Christ), ". . .yet he abideth faithful: HE CANNOT DENY HIMSELF." Then the false teacher quotes 2 Timothy 2:13...
2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Now this false teacher would have us to believe that the capitalized "He" in "He cannot deny Himself" is the person who BELIEVE'S NOT after we are saved. This is actually about as absurd as it gets. The "He" in "He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" is the same person as "Himself" and that person is "JESUS CHRIST", not the one who no longer believes. How much more deceiving can someone try to be? Now... so that you can understanding the TRUTH... let's consider the verse within context...
2 Timothy 2:12-13 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Now... VERY CLEARLY... we learn that if we endure, NOT WHEN WE ENDURE, but "IF" we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we DENY Him, He will DENY us... HE WILL NOT SAVE US! Just because we are faithless does not mean He will be faithless too, because He (Jesus Christ) cannot deny Himself. In a nutshell, this means if we DO NOT BELIEVE then He will deny us eternal life... He will deny our entrance into heaven, but Jesus Christ will still hold up His end of the promise He made. He is still faithful. All we have to do is KEEP believing and ENDURE, and then we will not be denied. Now this passage is about as far as we can get from claiming that even if we stop believing after we are saved, that we will still be saved. It very clearly explains the opposite of what this false teacher has claimed. This false teacher should be ashamed and definitely needs to repent. It even appears this false teacher needs to be saved, because this false teacher teaches the sinner's prayer will save us, which is also very clearly a false doctrine of man (see WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? "SALVATION" in the menu).
I would encourage this false teacher to read the passage following this passage in 2 Timothy that this false teacher uses in a failed attempt to prove a false doctrine... let's pick up where we left off in 2 Timothy chapter 2...
2 Timothy 2:14-18 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
Hmmm... we even read again of someone else who strayed from the truth. But the key here is that when false teachers argue with the truth, they are hurting the ones that are reading or hearing their false teachings. They should take heed and accurately handle the Word of Truth. Their worldly chatter will spread like gangrene.
I want to cover one more passage this same false teacher teaches... this is exactly how this person uses the passage...
1 Corinthians 5 reports of an awful sin in the church. And even though Paul commands ". . . To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh" — Paul still speaks of that person being saved — ". . .that the spirit MAY BE SAVED. . ."
"It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. . .To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit MAY BE SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1 Corinthians 5:1,5
Again we see another example of Scripture taken out of context... notice how verses 2-4 are skipped over. It is okay to skip over verses if we are teaching TRUTH, but when it comes to supporting a false doctrine, we must call out the false teachers and prove them of their wrong. About the only way to understand this passage is to read the entire chapter... let's read it...
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the gentiles. A man is actually living with his father's wife! And you are being arrogant instead of being filled with grief and seeing to it that the man who did this is removed from among you. Even though I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit. I have already passed judgment on the man who did this, as though I were present with you. When you are gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus and my spirit and the power of our Lord Jesus are present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough, don't you? Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough, since you are to be free from yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So let us keep celebrating the festival, not with the old yeast or with the yeast of vice and wickedness, but with the bread of purity and truth that has no yeast. I wrote to you in my letter to stop associating with people who are sexually immoral- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or greedy people, robbers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you to stop associating with any so-called brother if he is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a robber. With such a person you must even stop eating. After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are inside, aren't you? God will judge outsiders. "Put that wicked man away from you."
It is true that Paul has heard of a particular man that has been sexually immoral by living with his father's wife. Paul encourages the congregation to remove the man from the church and that he has already judged him. The sexual immoral man refused to repent of his ways and was continually living in sin so he lost his salvation. What Paul wants them to do is get him out of the church because he is wicked. Read the last verse.. "Put that wicked man away from you." So Paul tells them to turn the man over to Satan for destruction of the flesh... maybe he will repent and be saved in the end. This passage does not indicate that the man will indeed be saved... it clearly reads in every major translation and in the Manuscripts "so that he MAY be saved", not that he WILL be saved. There is no guarantee... this man is going to have to repent and turn back God. A careful study on this letter to the Corinthians will help us to understand that this was a common practice in the early church days and should be a current practice in the church today. When someone is publicly sinning willfully, they must be confronted with their sin. If they do not choose to repent, then they should be turned over to Satan in hopes that the humiliation, shame, and state of lost condition, will cause them to repent. Again... we learn that this passage does not guarantee eternal security. It proves that someone lost his salvation by continued and willful sin.
You should see now... if we simply take the word of false teachers then we can easily be deceived. Jesus clearly warns us that this is going to happen, and it is one reason why "many" will follow the path to destruction, and only a "few" will "find" eternal life and enter through the strait, narrow, and small gate that leads to heaven.
We have the evidence before us that proves we can indeed lose our salvation. Beware of those who teach otherwise... better yet... once you are saved, keep living for Christ and being obedient to God and then you will endure to the end. If we abide in Christ then we do not have to fear losing our salvation.
I encourage you to please read and study the Word of God yourself and verify the truth... do not believe in me, nor anyone else... believe in God and the truth.
God bless you!