PART 8 ETERNAL SALVATION

PART 8 ETERNAL SECURITY

CHAPTER 13

What Are the Remaining Paramount Scriptures on Salvation That We Should Be Familiar with?

Before we take a look at the final sections of Scriptures on this topic, I wanted to mention the apostle James’ instructions to the Jewish believers who were scattered throughout the ancient world.

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

In James 3:14-17, James told the Jewish believers who thought their ideas and practices were the only correct ones, which were promoted out of selfish motives, to not be prideful. This earthbound wisdom was considered unspiritual and demonic. In contrast, heavenly wisdom, that to which they should aspire to is:

• Pure—free from self-interest.
• Peaceable—helps others to settle their differences.
• Gentle—tolerates and accepts the differences of others; not easily aroused or annoyed by what they say or do.
• Easy to be entreated—always willing to listen to other people’s views and ready to be persuaded.
• Full of mercy—shows compassion to those in trouble or in need.
• Full of good fruit—just, benevolent, and kind in action.
• Without partiality—not swayed by worldly honor.
• Without hypocrisy—has nothing of which to be ashamed, and which needs to be concealed.

With that in mind, let’s continue looking at more Scripture sections that churches use to support their perspective on whether a believer could lose their salvation?

Some use the word unrighteous to refer to those Christians who have lost their salvation. Just who are the unrighteous?

Such Were Some of You: “But Ye Are Washed”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We are told that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of whom were involved with the committing of habitual overt sins such as:
●Fornication.
●Idolatry.
●Adultery.
●Effeminate behavior (the passive male partner in homosexual intercourse).
●Abusers of themselves with mankind (the active male partner in homosexual intercourse).

There are others, Corinthian believers that are mentioned, who habitually practiced some of these sins, but were now converted to the Lord and would subsequently inherit the kingdom of God. As such, their sins were washed away; they were sanctified (the setting apart of one as consecrated by the Spirit in the eternal purpose of God66); and they were justified (of being acquitted or declared innocent by God, and so placed in a right relationship with him67).

With these thoughts in mind, just who are the unrighteous? Are they unbelievers or believers who have decided to reengage in these sins? The answers will be presented according to how someone chooses to answer this question.

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• The unrighteous believer, who habitually chooses to continue practicing these sins will not enter into or become a partaker of the kingdom of God.

NO

• The unrighteous are unbelievers, who did not repent of their sins to God the Father and believe in his Son and therefore will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What does it mean to be a castaway in relation to salvation?

Those Who Run a Race: “Lest…I Myself Should Be a Castaway”
Suggested Reading:1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

The apostle Paul made himself a servant to both the Jews, who were under the Law, and the Gentiles, who were not under the Law, when preaching the gospel to them, hoping for a favorable response. By analogy, we, Christians, are like runners in the Isthmian games, one of the four great national festivals of the Greeks. Every runner who contended disciplined himself very carefully, enduring ten months of preparatory training and practice in the gymnasium under the direction of judges who had themselves done the same thing.68 Self-denial and hardship was required in order to compete in the contest and possibly win a perishable wreath.

Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, that they should strive for a prize that will never fade. As for himself, he ran not as a boxer, beating the air and practicing without an adversary; but as one who, in his conflict with evil, struck straight and did not despair. As the Greek boxer wore a pair of fur lined gloves covered with cowhide and loaded with lead and iron69 in order to punish his opponent, so should we be as energetic in addressing sin in our own life.

Our bodies, which is where the sin nature resides, are like the horses in a chariot race that must be kept well in hand by whip and rein if the prize is to be secured.70 Like the herald at the games who proclaimed the conditions of the games, displayed the prizes, exhorted the combatants, excited the emulation of those who were to contend, declared the terms of each contest, pronounced the name of the victors, and put the crown on their heads71, Paul proclaimed the consequences of this race and the necessity of the body being brought into submission.

What did Paul mean when he said that if he, and inference them did not keep the body under subjection, then he or they would be a castaway in respect to salvation?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• A decision not to live separate from the world in victory over sin would result in Paul being a castaway, and therefore he would lose his salvation, being rejected by God who is the ultimate judge.

NO

• If we don’t address sin in our life by subjecting our bodies to God’s discipline, then we could become a castaway, but not lose our salvation.

~ Being a castaway is analogous to a judge in the Greek games disqualifying a runner for breaking the training rules, and subsequently being unable to obtain the prize.
~ The runner was not barred from the entrance to the race nor did he lose his citizenship—only his opportunity to win a prize.

One of the paramount expressions for those who believe that salvation can be lost is found in the next section.

Stand Fast in the Liberty: “Ye Are Fallen from Grace”
Suggested Reading: Galatians 5:1-4
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:1,4)

Paul encouraged the Galatians to depend on the ministry of the Holy Spirit; not like the Judaizers (Christian Jews) who believed that salvation was not only predicated on repentance and belief, but also on keeping certain aspects of the Mosaic Law. They also believed that obedience to the Law would bring about spiritual maturity and thus neglected reliance on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Those believers who followed their teaching would be characterized by the apostle Paul as having fallen from grace.

If a believer was fallen from grace, does this mean that he/she lost their salvation?

YES

• Believers lost their justification or standing because they chose to live according to the mandates of the Mosaic Law; and therefore, they were fallen from grace.

NO

• Believers were not able to live a life pleasing to Christ, because they were not being sanctified (they had ceased from deriving spiritual benefits through the ministry of the Holy Spirit72).
• The words fallen from grace mean that they lost their hold upon grace for daily living, no longer depending on God's abundant supply.73
• This, however, does not refer to the loss of permanent justification through Christ or eternal salvation.

One of the prominent expressions for those who adhere to the view that a believer cannot lose their salvation will be looked at next.

“Ye Were Sealed with the Holy Spirit”
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

After you heard the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again; you acknowledged him as your savior and were sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of much more to come and a taste of the life God has promised to his people in the future.74

What does the word seal mean, and how does it pertain to salvation?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• The word seal means to mark with a seal.
• A seal can be broken, such as in Matthew 27:57-66, 28:1-2.

⁓Following Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathaea begged Pilate for Jesus’ body so that he could place it in a new tomb.
⁓The chief priests and Pharisees, remembering that Jesus said that after three days he would rise again, commanded the tomb to be sealed; and a stone was placed over its entrance.
⁓So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. (Matthew 27:66)
⁓On the first day of the week an angel of the Lord came and rolled back the stone.
⁓And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. (Matthew 28:2)

NO

• The word seal means a stamp of ownership or a finished transaction.
• The sealing by the Holy Spirit is based on the blood of Christ.
• Faith is the condition or intermediate agency, and not the ground or basis for salvation.75
• Salvation is based on the blood or primary agency of Christ, who paid the debt of sin and removed God’s just condemnation from the believer.
• Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. (Romans 3:24-25)
• Christ, not us, secures the seal, so therefore, a believer cannot lose their salvation.
• And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
• As the seal of the tomb was broken, so can a seal be broken when a believer practices habitual sin, resulting in the Holy Spirit’s departure and the subsequent loss of eternal life.

The word destruction is another one of those words that appears to signify loss of salvation.

Is there another way of interpreting it?

Be Followers of Me: “Whose End Is Destruction”
Philippians 3:17-19 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

The apostle Paul instructs the brethren to be imitators of him, and to fix their attention on those who set a righteous example. Many Christians live as the enemies of the cross of Christ, using their liberty as a covering over licentiousness.76 Their fixed doom is destruction because they:

⁓Worship their own appetites, sexual gratifications, and self-indulgences.
⁓Take pride in the things of which they should be ashamed.
⁓Depend on earthly things to earn God’s favor, holding onto rituals and beliefs from Old Testament times rather than on all that is available in Christ.
⁓Give in to the lusts of their flesh.
⁓Have no spirituality.77

How is the word destruction translated as pertaining to losing salvation?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• Believers who habitually live for self as identified as being enemies of the cross of Christ do not secure God’s favor. Their inevitable outcome is destruction or separation from the presence of God in eternal judgment.78

NO

• This idea of the words Whose end is destruction can be similar to what was said about a person who had sex with his stepmother.

⁓ In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul had received a report concerning someone in the church who was involved in an illicit sexual relationship with his stepmother. This person was to be cast out of the church and given over to Satan for physical suffering so that he would be corrected, humbled and reformed before the day of the Lord’s judgment when believers would receive rewards for their works.79
⁓ 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 5:5)

If Christ were to say to a believer that He will deny them, is He saying that they are no longer His children?

We Have Died with Christ: “If We Deny Him, He Also Will Deny Us”
Suggested Reading: 2 Timothy 2:11-14
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:12-13)

Having died with Christ, we shall also live through Him. If we remain faithful in the midst of suffering, we will reign with Him. We experience a measure of reigning with Him now, because He enthrones Himself within our hearts.80 But, He will also deny us, if we deny Him.

What is meant when the scripture says, if we deny him, he also will deny us?

YES

• The word deny is used of the followers of Jesus who, for fear of death or persecution, deny that he is their master, and desert his cause, or disown81 Him. In this case, he will also deny that any of them are his followers and will not acknowledge them as his own.82

• Christ’s denial of us means that our relationship with Him and the receiving of eternal life has been lost.
• Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

NO

• If we deny Him through unfaithfulness in the midst of suffering, He will also deny us; which indicates a loss of fellowship, but not eternal life.
• Similar verses of scripture which convey the concept of physical suffering for Christ’s sake are found in 2 Corinthians 4:5-10.

⁓ Paul and Timothy suffered intensively for Jesus, amidst great perils, their bodies bearing the marks of physical abuse, so that His resurrection power might be seen in them.
⁓ Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10)

• Christ denying us has to do with His resurrection life not being operative within us as we operate in the flesh, doing things under our own power. It is in this sense that Christ has denied us.
• The idea of relationship or of whether a believer can lose eternal life is found in the subsequent verse (2 Timothy 2:13). This tells us that even if we are unfaithful or untrue in our Christian life, he cannot disown Himself or unprofitable members of His body. Christ's faithfulness to Christians is not contingent on their faithfulness to him.83

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Is obedience to Christ’s commands, the secret to keeping one’s salvation?

The author of eternal salvation “unto all them that obey him”
Hebrews 5:8-9 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Jesus learned experientially what it meant to obey the Father while enduring intense suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. And because of such, He was made perfect (reached the goal of his spiritual journey) having paid the penalty owed to the justice of God for the sin of all mankind. His sacrifice was accepted as evidenced by His resurrection following His death on the cross. He is therefore become the author (the great procuring cause) of eternal salvation (for people to be saved forever) to those who obey Him.

Some claim that what is being said here is that if an unbeliever repents to God the Father, believes in his Son Jesus, and is obedient to Christ’s commands, then he/she will secure their salvation.

Is this what it means to obey Christ?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• Obedience to Christ means to repent, believe, and show forth good works.
• This all that is needed to be saved and secure one’s salvation.
• Those believers who followed Christ’s teachings evidence that their salvation is genuine and will not be lost.
• At salvation, one of its benefits, eternal life, is conditional based on obedience (to Christ’s commands).
• A believer’s obedience is to be a model of Christ-likeness toward others.

NO

• The obedience spoken of here refers to the hearing of and responding to the Gospel of Christ.
• Salvation (a believer’s standing with God) is distinct from sanctification (a believer’s walk with God).
• A believer’s walk does not nullify their standing with God.
• In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (2 Thessalonians 1:8)

To get rid of something by fire signifies its destruction. When applied to a believer, does it mean the same thing?

For It Is Impossible for Those Who Were Once Enlightened: “Whose End Is to Be Burned”
Suggested Reading: Hebrews 6:1-9
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. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8)

These scriptures are some of the most controversial concerning the question “Can a believer lose their salvation?” The context appears to be of believers leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ and not going on to maturity. Having once been enlightened in their minds and hearts to understand the gospel; having tasted (experienced) the heavenly gift (of salvation); having become partakers of the influences of the Holy Spirit; if they have fallen away, it has become impossible for them to be renewed and as such their end is to be burned.

Does the word renewed infer that it is impossible for them to regain their salvation and as a result their end is destruction (eternal misery)?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• These believers did not go on to maturity; totally abandoning their faith, becoming disqualified for further service, and losing their salvation. God cannot save them again. He can’t allow them to come back either, because of their condition.
• They are like the farmer’s land that produces thorns after the rains — the briers are rejected, because they have no value, and will be destroyed by fire; meaning loss of salvation and going to hell at physical death.

NO

• These believers chose not to go on to maturity by totally abandoning their faith and deviating from the right path. Because of their depraved mind and apostate condition, it is impossible for them to be renewed (to be brought back) to repent (to return to Christ) and be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, renewing their fellowship with God.84
• The analogy of the farmer’s land that produces thorns after the rains refers to the believer’s works, which are rejected as worthless, cursed as useless, and are burned as punishment.

⁓ The PURPOSE of burning land in this way was to render it available for useful purposes by destroying noxious weeds, and thorns, and underbrush.85

• If left up to those in the apostate condition, they would never return to their faith, but God will chastise them with the hope that they will acknowledge their ungodly works, repent, and be renewed.

⁓ "This is the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the divine image" (Trench). This is the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification86, thus bringing forth fruit for God’s glory.

• Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5)

What we will look at next is another Scripture section about fire that is associated with the words judgment and fiery indignation. This begs the question, what do these words mean concerning a believer’s salvation?

Not Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves Together: “Looking for of Judgment and Fiery Indignation”
Suggested Reading: Hebrews 10:21-31
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:25-29)

These believers were instructed to enter God’s presence with a right and genuine attitude toward Him, unwavering in their confidence in Christ for purification through his blood and by grace, confessing their faith without being shaken by trials or by the arguments of our enemies. Like them, we should be mindful of each other’s spiritual welfare, encouraging one another in ministry as we share love and good works with others. And we should not stop meeting together for reading, exhortation, and worship. It is interesting to note that the emphasis here is not on what a believer gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the assembly.87

If any believer repeatedly commits deliberate and willful sin and chooses to renounce their Christian faith by returning to the Law, then they are no longer have access to the benefits the sacrifice Jesus made for our sin; and all that will remain is the fear of God’s judgment against those who oppose Him. The Jewish believers were warned of severe punishment, if they discounted the Son of God by deliberately and contemptuously rejecting his sacrificial death on the cross, considering it to be of no value.

The question remains that if these or any Christian rejects Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and decides to return to obeying the tenets of the Mosaic Law or that of any other faith will they have forfeited their salvation?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• These Jewish believers, who at one time heard and responded to the gospel, were now treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing and renouncing its efficacy. No other sacrifice can address this sin.
• This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for much greater punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic setup; and the punishment is fiery indignation, meaning divine wrath or hell.
• There is a similarity between apostates under the Law and those under the gospel in that both perish without mercy; but the kind of death is different. What the Apostle prescribes on the despisers of Christ not only the deaths of the body, but eternal perdition.88

NO

• These Jewish believers, who at one time heard and responded to the gospel, were now treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing and renouncing its efficacy. No other sacrifice can address this sin.
• Christ’s sacrifice is the only true one, and the reference to fiery indignation refers to severe discipline.
• This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for much greater punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic setup, and it could involve a form of divine retribution such as mental and emotional turmoil that can be worse than immediate physical death, always keeping in mind the desired end of divine discipline, which is to restore the believer to the fear of the Lord and a godly and holy life.

What does it mean when God calls a believer a bastard and not a son?

You Have Not Yet Resisted unto Blood Striving against Sin “Then Ye Are Bastards, and Not Sons”
Suggested Reading: Hebrews 12:1-17
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

As Jesus endured (to bear up courageously under suffering without sinning) all that came against Him, so should we lay aside (get rid of) every weight (hindrance; obstruction; stumbling block), and the sin (sinful propensity) that easily besets (distracts) us, so that we can run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us. At this time, the persecution these believers were enduring had not involved physical death which accompanied with it the temptation to renounce one’s faith in the Messiah in order to be relieved of suffering.

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And the he goes on to say, don’t despise (not pay attention to) the chastening of the Lord. In other words, persecutions are allowed by God for your chastening (correction; of whatever in adults cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions; to instruction which aims at the increase of virtue). This word does not have in it the idea of punishment, but of corrective measures which will eliminate evil in the life and encourage the good. Persecutions were used of God in an effort to clarify the spiritual vision of the readers, enlightening them to the relative merits of the First Testament and the New Testament, warning them against returning to the temple sacrifices and urging them on to faith in the Messiah as High Priest.89 Then this statement was made, if you are without chastisement, then you are bastards, and not sons.

What do these words mean in respect to a believer’s salvation?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• Those believers who wish to be removed from correction or who will not submit to correction will lose their salvation, and become bastards (those born out of wedlock with no inheritance).
• Those believers, who would renounce their belief in Christ as the result of being persecuted thus returning to the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law, would lose their salvation.

NO

• God chastens all of his sons. Chastening is proof that we are his children. Those who are not disciplined by God simply means they are unbelievers (bastards), and not the Father’s real children.

For those who believe that works must accompany faith in order for a person to be saved will use these verses to support their perspective.

My Beloved Brethren “Can Faith Save Him?
Suggested Reading: James 1:22-25; 2:14-26
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

The apostle James is addressing Jewish Christians, those who were scattered abroad beyond Palestine. He is instructing them to be doers (to live out the gospel message; put into practice what they have heard and known) of the Word and not just hearers only, thereby deceiving themselves by false reasoning.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:23-25)

After which, he gave an example of what any Christian, who is only a hearer of the word, is liken unto. They are like a man who is attentively observing and considering his reflected image (his natural face; who he used to be) in a mirror. The mirror can be by analogy the Word of God, which not only helps us to see our shortcomings and defects, but also provides the appropriate instruction that will allow us to address these areas of weakness such as self-examination, confession of sin, and meditating on the Scriptural perspective that would allow us to see ourselves as we are seen by God.

However, this man (any believer) decided to disregard the divine prescription for his life. In other words, he is choosing not to grow spiritually. Therefore, he goes his own way and unfortunately not only is not able to experience the love of God (the fruit of the Spirit) in his own life, but is also not able to evidence divine love in his words and actions toward others whether believers or unbelievers.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

James decided to address this matter of not being a doer, but only a hearer, once again by providing an illustration of such.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (James 2:15-16)

If any believer chooses to not provide for the needs of a fellow sister or brother in the Lord, then can his faith save him? What do you think is the Biblical answer to this? The answer depends on how the words can faith save him? are interpreted.

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• There could be two ways to look at the question “Can faith save him?”
• Because this faith lacked evidence, that being works, one could conclude that it was not genuine. Therefore, this faith would be representative of a false declaration.
• Another way to look at this question “Can faith save him?” could be to restate it as “Can faith alone save him?” The answer being no.
• If an unbeliever made a profession of faith, which initially indicated that he received salvation, and yet over time evidences no accompanying works, then this faith would be considered dead (non-existent). At some point, the subsequent benefits of this faith (e.g. the indwelling Spirit; eternal life; etc.) will be removed.
• V. 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

NO

• The context of these verses is not about a believer losing their salvation, but about a believer not growing spiritually.
• When the word of God is spoken and they have become aware of personal sin and the weaknesses of their flesh along with the divine means to address these issues, and they decided not to apply the word they have heard, then their faith will be considered as being unproductive.
• The fruit of the Spirit will not be operative in their life and as such it will not be evidenced by works (actions) toward others, whether they are unbelievers or believers.
• When James asked the question, “Can faith save him?” the word save means to keep safe and sound.
• So, with this in mind the question that he asked could be worded in this manner, can this faith keep him safe and sound?
• This is not referring to salvation, but sanctification.
• In this respect, the answer would be no.
• The saving faith would not keep him safe and sound as relating to his spiritual walk.
• In other words, even though this person has received by faith spiritual benefits (e.g. the indwelling Spirit; eternal life, etc.) this will be of no benefit to him or others in time, if he chooses not to respond to the word of God in respect to self-examination, confession of sin, and meditating on the scriptural perspective that would allow him to see himself as he is seen by God and be empowered (spiritually motivated) by the Holy Spirit to provide for the needs of his fellow brother or sister in the Lord.

If someone says they know Christ, but does not obey His commandments wouldn’t this tell us that they are an imposter and were never saved in the first place?


And Hereby We Do Know That We Know Him “The Truth Is Not in Him”
Suggested Reading: 1 John 2:3-5
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 John 2:3)

How can we have evidence that we know that we know Christ? This scripture says that this can be realized by keeping his commandments. Is this saying that if we keep the Ten Commandments this will bring about evidence to us that we know that we know him? The first word know means to come to recognize. The second word know means to know in a personal way, to be intimately acquainted with a person’s intentions and character.

How does a believer come to realize that they truly know that they know Christ in a personal way?

The apostle John says by keeping (the moment by moment safeguarding of; to hold in remembrance) his commandments. What does the word commandments mean? The word commandments according to the Koine Greek, the language of the common people during which time most of the New Testament was written, is entolas, which refers to precepts (various commands) that were given to the church by the apostles and/or by Christ, when he lived on earth as pertaining to the dispensation of the church. If the word commandments in the Greek was the word nomos then this would be referring to the Law, and as such we could deduce that this word was talking about the Ten Commandments.

With this in mind, what could be some of the commands that we as believers should obey?

We are commanded to:
a. Love one another with a pure heart fervently. (1 Peter 1:22)
b. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2)
c. Come out (separate ourselves) from the immoral behavior and influence of unbelievers.  (2 Corinthians 6:17)
d. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
e. Be sober, to be vigilant because our adversary the devil walks about seeking whom he may devour, whom we are to resist by being steadfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
f. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4)

If we say that we know Christ and don’t keep these commandments, then we are considered as being a liar revealing that the truth is not in us. What does it mean to be called a liar?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• There are two ways to look at as to who this person is who is being called a liar.
• If they were an unbeliever, then they would be characterized as someone who is religious. They might say that they know Christ, but they really don’t. Their lack of works would indicate that their salvation was not genuine.
• If this person was a Christian, who says that they know Him and keep His commandments, but in reality does not, then they are not only not telling the truth, but their salvation would be lost.

NO

• This context is referring to a believer, a born-again Christian.
• To know Christ has to do with fellowship. Apparently, this Christian was boasting that they were keeping the commandments, whereas in their experience there was no evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in this regard.
• In effect, this person was making a false profession as to their walk with God. The profession in word didn’t line up with the truth in action.
• This is not talking about a believer losing their salvation, but rather this pertains to sanctification to their walk whereby the truth (doctrine) is not a dynamic controlling influence in their life.

If a believer had left their first love and were fallen, is this saying they had lost their salvation?

I Know Thy Works, and Thy Labor: “Thou Hast Left Thy First Love”
Suggested Reading: Revelation 2:1-7
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)

The apostle John is writing to the seven churches that are located in Asia Minor. While there were more Christian churches than seven in Asia, these seven are the ones that the Spirit guided him to write about. It appeared that he was caught up in a vision, seeing someone like unto the Son of man, who told him to write down things that are and things that will be.

What we are going to look at briefly is what revelatory information he received in regard to the church of Ephesus. There is one like the Son of man, who declared that He knows their works (manner of life; behavior), their labor (persistent and painful struggles to maintain their Christian profession90), their patience (endurance of suffering and persecution) and of their intolerance (opposition) to those who have bad moral and spiritual qualities. These included some who had professed themselves to be apostles. This church was commended for having thoroughly examined their claims and found them to be imposters. However, they were also told that there was something that they needed to address personally, and that was the fact that they had left their first love, the result of which had caused them to be fallen.

What does it mean to lose one’s first love and be fallen?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• The words left thy first love means they are no longer operating in God’s love, and conversely their walk with God can be classified as being religious. And thus, they have fallen (lost their salvation).
• If they repent (change their attitude and conduct), they will regain their salvation.

NO

• These believers have left their first love, which means they were no longer operating in God’s love, which is a love that God has for people.
• Without this love operating in their life, they were no longer evidencing this love to their brethren in: helping one another in the Christian life; being loyal to one another; acting always in the best interests of the whole body of believers.91
• This is not about them losing their salvation, but it has to do with their walk with God (personal sanctification). They needed to recover the filling (fruit) of the Holy Spirit.
• They were instructed to repent (to return to the love they once operated in).
• They were told to put themselves in remembrance of who they were made to be and of all that God had done for them, when they became Christians.
• They were also told to reengage in the works, when they first became Christians. This could involve: prayer, faithfully attending to the teachings, fasting, helping out fellow believers, proclaiming the gospel, etc.

We have come to the final scripture section, which is taken from the book of Revelation.

Does the blotting out of a person’s name in the book of life mean that at one time this person was Christian but because they didn’t overcome, they lost their salvation?

He That Overcometh: “I Will Not Blot Out His Name Out of the Book of Life”
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Overcomers will be clothed in white garments and will not have their name blotted out of the book of life. Just who are these overcomers and what is the basis for their name not being taken out of the book of life?

Can a Believer in Christ Lose Their Salvation?

YES

• The book of life contains the names of those who have eternal life92, names that could be removed as a result of habitual and unrepentant sin; the individual forfeiting the privileges of the theocracy, shut out from God’s favor, and losing eternal life.
• Instead of being an overcomer in every circumstance by thinking with divine viewpoint, these believers habitually chose to think according the form, fashion, or appearance of the sentiments and morals of men.
• And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)

NO

• The book of life contains the names of all humanity, including those who did not believe in God as He revealed Himself whether in the Old Testament or in Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
• The names of the unbelievers are removed from this book when they die, and thus, at the final judgment the book contains only the names of believers.93
• Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. (Psalm 69:19, 28)
• And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)
• An overcomer is a person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, God come in the flesh.
• Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5)

I hope that now you have a better understanding as to what it takes to do a thorough study on any Biblical topic. If you were to attempt something like this on your own, I would suggest a few things. First, try as best as you can to look up as many scriptures on the topic at hand. Second, try to understand who the author of the Biblical writing was talking to and about (i.e., the context) by looking closely at the verses that come before or after the passage or passages of scripture that you are looking at. Finally, look closely at some of the words in the verse finding out their meaning according to the Koine Greek language they were originally written in.

Don’t be taken aback when you are discussing your view on a particular doctrine and a fellow believer states that they don’t have the same perspective as you do. When I hired a young lady to edit the original manuscript, I knew nothing of her doctrinal beliefs on any Biblical topic. While at times she corrected the grammatical mistakes, she also provided comments throughout. As I began to read her comments in respect to one of the discussions in this study, I became aware as to her view on this topic, which was different from mine. At various times, she would mention different Scripture sections that supported her position, which I hadn’t taken at look at. So, I decided to include all of the Scriptures that she brought up, which I had missed. This not only gave me a more thorough understanding as to why she believed what she believed, but it also caused me to reexamine my personal view.

And one more thing, when I was on staff for a church in my younger years, I never had the opportunity to do an in-depth study on any Biblical topic, even though I had questions about what I was being taught. Now, after having retired from teaching high school math (for thirty years!), I have the opportunity to do the kind of studying I have always wanted to do. It has been my pleasure to share this study with you. I have left you with some parting words to think over.

Endnotes
66Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
67UBS.
68Weust.
69Weust.
70Robertson’s New Testament Word Pictures Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 22 September 2012 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
71Adam Clarke.
72Weust.
73Weust.
74IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 28 September 2012 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
75”Eternal Security- or Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?” 1 October 2012 ˂http://www.equipsaints.org/EternSec.htm>.
76The Pulpit.
77Bible Exposition.
78Bible Knowledge.
79Barnes.
80The Biblical Illustrator 2002, 2003, 2006, 8 October 2012 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
81UBS.
82Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 12 Feb. 2012, 9 October 2012 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
83Bible Knowledge.
84Bible Exposition.
85Barnes.
86Weust.
87Bible Exposition.
88Calvin.
89Weust.
90UBS.
91UBS.
92UBS.
93Bible Exposition.

E-mail: rondolord@hotmail.com
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Synopsis
What are the paramount scriptures on salvation that we should be familiar with?
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