Christians and, hopefully, soon-to-be Christians. Welcome to our Discussion Board.
I know that many of you were disappointed that we had to suspend our old board due to so much spam. We were having so much fun presenting and defending the Gospel of Christ. Hopefully, we have resolved that problem while maintaining ease of access for our visitors.
We encourage ALL posters to be respectful in your posts as we will have many visitors who may never post, but will read your posts in diligent search of... "For what saith the scripture?"... on any given topic.
Please be reminded that Dr. Jack Evans rarely, if ever, visits or posts comments on this board. The board is for the benefit of those who seek Bible Answers to Bible Questions. Various points of view will be given on this forum, so we encourage each of you to study and support your views
"rightly dividing the Word of Truth". (II Timothy 2:15)
I tend to reject the idea that a christian can lose his salvation. When a christian "backslides" he still has a relationship with God. It's just that he is out of fellowship with God.
The main reason that I can't accept the loss-of-salvation idea is that no one can tell me what sin I would have to commit in order to lose my salvation. We sin everyday. Which one is the fatal blow to my salvation?
Is it the curse word that I think about (sinning in thought)?
Is it when I cheat on my taxes? When I exceed the speed limit? What is it?
Does the Bible teach that there are degrees of sin and does it teach us which one will cause us to lose our salvation?
Is there a scripture that teaches that christians can go to hell in Christ?
The concept of once-saved always saved is an erroneous position. There are too many scriptures and teachings that prove otherwise; both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
First of all God expects obedience more than sacrifice. This is an immutable law; God cannot embrace any sin. The concept of once-saved always saved, like the belief in predestined or preordained salvation, promotes the idea of lawlessness being covered by grace. This is far from the truth.
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Only the Throne of Heaven is fit for judgment, however, consider how Satan and a third of the angels fell from Heaven, how Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, how the Hebrews perished in the wilderness. You might also consider Ananias and Sophira in the Acts of the Apostles.
Jesus expressly gives an example in His parable of the 10 virgins; five were wise (saved), the other five, although they were apparently were part of the wedding party (the church or kingdom) lost their position and were locked out due to a failure to be prepared. Backsliding is a dangerous position because it separates one from God and places one outside the protection of the blood of Christ. Pray that if we find ourselves in this position that we have time to reconcile ourselves to the blood and body of Christ; for it is only there can one find salvation. Had the prodigal son died with the foreigners and swine, he would not have returned home to the feast and a loving father and the story would have a very different meaning. The hope of this story is in the fact that he does make it back home and is restored; no return, no restoration. No fellowship with God is dis-fellowship with Him.
If we become corrupted by the world and become entrapped in sin, we cannot expect to be more powerful than the demonic forces. These principalities that are in opposition to us are far too powerful for human wisdom, will, and might alone to obtain salvation outside of divine protection and strength. Peter warns of this:
2 Peter 2:20-22
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."
You see, sin can easily and effortlessly overcome us if we are not diligent to be on guard against it and are not prone to hate sin by being filled with the wisdom of the Holy Scriptures. This cannot be looked upon lightly or in a cavalier manner; this war is to the "death"; the ultimate death. To those who have died twice and remain dead to sin; they will receive eternal life.
Scripture makes it crystal clear that one can certainly escape the corruption of this world; how, by knowing our Lord and Savior and then returning to a life of sin (remember Judas). Since some may become like the Pharisees, and appear to be saved but harbor sinful hearts, it is beyond any human to make judgments related to eternal salvation but this is a verdict that can only be delivered from the Throne of Heaven. (Matthew 7:21-23).
In 2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter instructs us to add to our faith the characteristics necessary to make our calling and election sure. This explicitly states that there is a manner of living that will make our calling and election unsure. Do you think the Holy Spirit would have inspired Peter to write this if our calling and election is sure and permanent just by accepting the Gospel as truth and Jesus as Lord? He goes further, though, and informs us that if we lack these characteristics we are spiritually blind and have apparently forgotten the very essence and nature of Christianity. Will such an individual be pleasing to God? We don’t want to face God having led a spiritually blind life.
If we love God, we will hate sin. Even when we sin daily, if we love God we will mature and His word will help us grow to a point where willful sin is not a part of our lives; this is lawlessness and grace does not abound to cover lawlessness. We should not think that we can outwit God even in our heart because of His omniscient divine nature and power.
Due to the fact that you raise some pointed issues; most of your positions I can consider my own to a point. I don't believe that a Christian can go to Hell if he or she is in Christ. I believe that we sin and have a sinful nature that we war against constantly. I believe that any sin can cause separation from God and cause one to lose his or her soul; but I believe in God's mercy and grace too. I believe this because the scriptures teach it, not by my reasoning. My reasoning would not allow a single soul to endure Hell; forgive and forget would be my position. How arrogant of me to even jokingly make such a claim, but I only do it to make an effective example. My puny reasoning and wisdom is so unfit to judge that it is even an insult to God for me to even try to make a good point about it; may He forgive me for doing so and may anyone who reads this, and is offended, forgive me in my human error for straining to provide clarity.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."
Samuel lost his rightful position as king of Israel because he wanted to please "the people" rather than obey God. We tend to do the same thing today. People are fascinating, smart, strong, beautiful, talented, and some even adore us but we have to make considerations related to salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:14
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Watch our human influences and associations. Watch where we get mental and subliminal messages that are against God and His salvation. The world is is in opposition to God. Sometimes this fact may even apply to God's people as in the case with Saul. This sin stuff is very serious business.
Once again, you have pushed me to the mirror to examine my own sin. I thank you for it and I look forward to your (or anyone else's) feedback. I am not trying to push my position but am trying to answer part of your inquiry with scripture. Since no response had been posted and I was passing through... why not... and I benefited in the attempt to answer your questions scripturally.
As for degrees of sin, consider the sin of teaching false doctrine:
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Also consider the following:
1 John 5:16-17
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
Sin in general is lawlessness when it is committed with an unrepentant heart or an even more callous disregard of God’s judgment by somehow thinking, with some human sense and super-ego, that we can outwit or know better than He. The degree of sin may have more to do with the results of the sin; murder versus lying, lusting versus sexual sin, etc. You will certainly not live long committing murders; unprotected sex can be fatal these days but you won’t catch a STD (sexually transmitted disease) from lusting. This is a very deep inquiry (the degrees of sin)and I am forced to give it further study, prayer, and serious contemplation (again, it seemed so simple upon initial investigation). I am anxious to discover how scriptures correct my own thinking on this matter; my human wisdom tends to think there are distinctions & degrees of sin but I am not able to verify scripturally as of this writing. One immutable law is that the wages of sin is death! Another is that you will reap what you sow!
I, too, have to continue to study this issue even more. Right now, though, I still can not accept the doctrine that a christian can lose his salvation.
I have two points: one is about punishment and the other is about comparing sinners with christians.
The most common examples people usually give are Judas and Simon. I believe that Judas and Simon were saved. Some people who believe in the once-saved-always-saved teaching will say that Judas and Simon were never saved.
I don't agree with that. They were. Judas was punished for his transgression, but nowhere in the Bible have I ever read that he is going to hell. When the Bible says he is in his place, where is that? His place is the grave. He is not in hell. No one is in hell.
When we sin in this life, God punishes us in this life. That does not mean that we will go to hell when we die. So I think people just assume that Judas is going to hell because of the grave sin that he committed.
Also Matthew says that Judas was filled with remorse and stated, "I have sinned." That's what we do as christians, don't we? When we sin, we are remorseful and confess our sins. Who says Judas is going to hell?
Regarding Aninias and Sapphira, there is also no verse that says they are going to hell. (We also just assume that they were christians even though the Bible does not say.)
It was a long time ago that I rejected the idea that a christian can lose his salvation. Since that time, I have questioned people on the subject (preachers, teachers, etc) and for some reason which I guess I will never understand, they always start talking about people who become christians and then start living a sinful life thinking that they are going to be saved anyway.
Anyone who is living a sinful life is NOT a christian, so why make the comparison? When I say I believe in the once-saved-always-saved position, I am referring to a person who is a true christian.
A true christian has the spirit of God in him and the spirit of God is a lot stronger than our strongest temptation. We still have a human body that is subject to sin, so there will be times when we engage in sinful acts. But that NEVER causes us to lose our salvation.
Sinners enjoy their sinful ways. That is why they do it. A christian does not enjoy sin because God's spirit is in him and he has the desire to please God. So I believe it is erroneous to use the example of a sinner (claiming to be a christian) to try to refute the once-saved-always-saved position.
One of the main reasons I even brought the subject is because my preacher said that a person can live 80 years as a christian, serving God, being faithful, etc., and if he sins just one time and dies while committing that sin, he will go to hell.
Does the Bible really teach that? I don't see that it does. Once we become christians, are relationship with God never ceases. We are only out of fellowship with God.
Since you have clarified your position, I concur 100% with regard to a Christian being saved. But the scriptures are clear that one can be a "true" Christian and lose his or her salvation if they fall from grace. That is the overwhelming power of sin and death when we become enslaved to it. A person can become complacent and so negligent as to lose salvation. I think I have used enough scripture to validate this position.
Your preacher is not in a position to say the thing that he says; judgment is reserved for God. No one is in a position to say where Judas (or anyone else) will spend eternity either.
A true Christian has to be very careful of sin because it can end in the second death. Sin can contaminate anyone and that is the very real and serious danger of sin and also why we must strive with fervent prayer and study so that we mature to hate sin.
But you are correct; the true lover of God is obedient and loves His word, loves His church, loves His neighbor, and hates sin. That person, being filled with the Holy Spirit, is in a position to receive salvation. However, the Holy Spirit can be grieved and blasphemed against with heresy and disobedience by true Christians when they are careless with sin and even those things that can lead to sin. Satan is cunning, baffling, powerful, and relentless in his attempts to ensnare us. This is the very real danger of dying outside of the fellowship of God.
It is a horrifying scenario for those who live in error while believing themselves to be in truth to have Jesus say "depart from me, I never knew you"... these persons that Jesus is referring to are "true" Christians; sacrificing in His name, doing great work in His name and all the while living sinfully. "Workers of iniquity" they are called; workers of sinful acts. Teaching false doctrine, no matter how sincere; causing others to be in error too. Relying on human wisdom and traditions instead of God's divine Word. They have good intentions and a true spirit of meekness but are acting outside of the authority of the Word and independent of the covering of the blood and body of Jesus Christ.
So, in essence, we have to really give diligence not to think that Jesus and His covenant are so common as to neglect its purity, righteousness, holiness, and power to save. Our adversaries will use our preachers, our husbands and wives, our children, our brothers and sisters, fellow Christians, sinners, wealth, health (disease), careers, war, pestilence, persecution.... you get the point.. they will use anything fair or otherwise to trip us up. They will even use the truth with the slightest twist in order to raise that which is against God. We can have hope, even in all of this raging battle, and overcome by an unyielding, diligent, and totally submissive service to our Savior. You are right; His blood can overcome sin!
2 Corinthians 13:5-8
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.