Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CAN A Christian Lose Their Salvation? The Weaknesses of Eternal Security and Calvinism.

There are many who believe that once save, one is save for good and they give variable reasons. The first of such reasons is that we are saved by grace; man has no ability to work for his salvation (Eph 2:9-9). Another reason they give is that, God will never abandon his own. Theologically, this topic will not suffice with a single paper as many scholars have written on it. However, I will glean through the most important verses to establish a case that a Christian could still lose their salvation for various reason I will explain below. By just saying that once saved, one is saved for good would establish that man has no freewill of his own. By freewill I mean no decision making power on whether he does evil or good; whether he goes to heaven or hell, or whether he abandons God or follows Satan.  

Does Grace Exempt Works?
Many have taken Epph 2:8-9 and Gal 2:16 to mean that once saved we are saved for good because we are not saved by own strength; we are saved only be grace. That though would be in direct variance with James 2:14-26. Permit that I situate the context of Ephesians. Ephesians were people from Ephesus, the current Turkey. It was written by Paul in AD 60 while he was imprisoned in Rome. It falls under the type of writing called epistle which is different from a letter. It was written to a group for public reading and it was sent through Tychicus (Faithful) who was the bearer of the letter to the Colossians, Timothy and Titus too. The church did not have any problem as we see in the text, and also as we read from the revelation to John at Patmos. It is one of the churches that was commended for their faith. It had an outside threat from the Nicolaitans: an outside ritualistic and sexually immoral sect that was antinomian.  In Revelations, there are three expressions ("I know thy works", "Thy labor" and "Thy patience") which would refute the thought that the passage exempts works. God knew their works (daily activities), their labor (struggles; life's difficulties) and their perseverance (steadfastness and perseverance). To balance both Eph 2:8-9 and gal 2:16 with James 2:14-26, they simply mean that man has done nothing to merit the salvation of God. However, God sent his son to die for mankind to give humanity the salvation. When you are called from darkness unto light, you must live now as someone who walks not in darkness but in light.
You must now grow good works in you to show that you have been handed salvation or the process thereof. Otherwise, you will go nowhere as it would mean you have not received anything or you receievd it but lost it. That is why Simon the sorcerer could not buy it (Acts 8:9-24). If they start to sin back, they are devoured by the devil (I pet 5:9). That is if we do not abide in the things of God, we transgress the doctrine of Christ (salvation) and we lose the reward (2 Jn 1:8-9). If what is preached to us does not benefit us, then we will not come to his rest (Heb 4:1-2). “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb 4:11). Why would we labor to come into his rest if grace alone in abstentia of works is good enough?

Does Man Have Freewill?
Jacob was the first person we see ask his family to make a choice by getting rid of the foreign gods (Gen 35:2). Joshua asked the Israelis to choose between God and the idols and the people chose God (Joshua 24:15-16). In Judges 6:10, God rebukes the Israelis for not listening to him even though he had told them not to worship the gods of the Amorites (Judges 6:10). Why would God hold them accountable if they have no power to make any choice? Naomi told Ruth that Orpah was going back to her parents to worship their pagan gods. She asked Ruth to go with her, but she refused and promised to die with her (Ruth 1:15-17). As if these people have not been faced with the alternative, we have Elijah asking them to cure themselves of aboulia. He could not understand why they kept halting between following God and following Baal (I Kings 18:21).  Why would Elijah make them to choose between God and Ball if they have no freewill of their own? Did the people choose then? Nebuchadnezzar had Israelis choose between worshiping the golden image and death. Daniel and his companions chose the latter, albeit were saved by God (Daniel 3:18-30).  Micah and the people promised that even if the nationals walked in the name of their gods, they were going to walk in the name of their God forever (Micah 4:5).Wasn’t that freewill they had? How will they exercise a freewill they do not possess? We will not end with the Old Testament.
Pilate asked the people to choose between Jesus and Barabbas and the chief priests engineered the people to choose Barabbas, a notable criminal (Matthew 27:16-26). Peter lamented why the devil could make Ananias and Saphirra to choose lies and deception when it was their right to not even give at all (Acts 5:1-5). The whole bible is replete with freewill because that is how man was created. Man was not created without one. If not Adam and Eve would not have had to choose between eating every fruit in the garden except one. If they did not have one, why would God ask them to exercise one? By saying that man has no freewill, we mean that man is like a puppet. How on earth will God hold accountable a puppet man?

Can A Christian Fall Away From Grace?
The Bible clearly prophesied some would fall away (Acts 20:28; 1 Ti 4:1). Why would Luke and Paul prophesy the falling away of some if one is save and saved for good? If they do not exhort them, the weak brother or sister may perish (1 Cor. 8:11). Isn’t that a loss of salvation because they perish in eternal damnation? Paul and James encouraged the Christians to restore those who have fallen. Why would they be restoring people who can never fall Gal 6:1; Jas 5:19-20? By the way, what are they fallen away from? It is very clear that the elects could fall away; otherwise they will not be exhorted to be steadfast (Lk 9:62; 1 Cor 15:58), put on qualities that will take them to heaven (2 Pe 1:5-11), will reap what they sow (Gal 6:9) , be encouraged to practice things through which God will reward them (Phil 4:9), or even being faithful unto death (Rev 2:10; Rev 3:5). The Bible clearly states that Children of God; those who have been called unto salvation could fall from grace (Gal. 5:1-4, 13); the same grace they have acquired freely. Simply because someone obtained something freely does not mean they cannot lose it. It even establishes the easiest way people fall from grace which is by erring from truth with error in belief (Romans 11:19-23; James 5:19-20; 2 Pet. 3:17; Col. 1:21-23). The desire to acquire the things of the world will led many astray (1 Tim. 6:9-10; 2 Pet 2:20-22; Jam 5:19-20).That means they were initially on the right path! Or they weren't?
Some fall away bymerely denying Jesus or depart from the living God (2 Pet. 2:1; Heb. 3:12). How could the disciples be drawn away (Acts 20:17, 28-30) if they are undrawable? Paul even cites examples of people like Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus who fell away from grace (I Tim 1:18-21; 2 Tim 2:16-18)
When anyone denies the Lord or God, they leave from no condemnation in Romans 8:1 and now fall into condemnation (James 5:12). They depart from their first love (Rev 2:4-5; Rev. 3:16-17). Once that happens, the individual is cast away (I Cor 9:27) and becomes accursed (2 Pet 2:14). The book of Hebrews stresses in no unflattery terms enough the fact that those who have once tasted salvation could lose it (Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-27; 10:38-39).
Falling away is such a great issue that God took his time to remind the Israelis via Ezekiel lest they wallow in some fallacy thinking that once they have been declared righteous, they were righteous for God. He told them that your past righteousness does not overweigh your present sinful condition. You must keep being righteous to make it to heaven else everything good you have done will be forgotten (Ezekiel 3:17-20; 18:24-26). Why would Paul and Peter exhort Timothy and the people to protect something he will never lose (1 Tim 4:1; Tim 6:20-21; 2 Pet. 2:1; 3:17; 2 Jn 8-9)?  
When one gives their life to Christ, they are not entirely saved; they are on their way to salvation. It means theretofore, they have engaged themselves on the way of salvation/. It is like receiving a good seed and nursing it to grow and bring forth fruits. If the ground become barren or grows weeds and tares, the seed will die and the ground will be without fruits.  That is why Jesus tells his disciples to abide in him because he is the only one who can furnish them the strength and ability to overcome the viles of the devil to retain their offer of salvation. Aren’t the dead branches ( Jn 15:1-6) and wicked slaves who hid their talents (Mt 25:14-30) and wild branches (Rom 11:13-23)  symbolic of Christians who fall away?

Sometimes even those who claim to believe in God and Jesus will even challenge the authority of the Bible, disregarding even its own declaration of infallibility just to defend their point. They seem to unconsciously disparage the word of God in an attempt to defend their viewpoint. Jesus Himself believed every word of the Old Testament and quoted indefatigably from them.  If anything Paul said was incorrect or subjective, the bible will not make these claims I am going to make below.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. “2 Tim 3:16-17.

If every scripture is by the inspiration of God, then Paul’s words are inspired and you are unqualified to shoot them down.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Rom 15:4

If whatever thing was written for our learning, then I will adjure you to read and believe.

“Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “ 2 Pet 1:20-21.

If no word of God came from the interpretation of man, then there is no word from Paul that came by his personal interpretation.

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim 2:1

To counter your arguments, I will merely make a horizontal study by juxtaposing the parallels of the verses you used. Rom 8: 33:35 is en media res of the letter to the Romans. At this juncture, Paul’s considering everybody as living by works and grace as he has already in 8:1. Take note of the linear presentation. “There is NOW no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTYER THE SPIRIT.” In others words, if you are in Christ but still walk after the flesh and not the Spirit, there will be condemnation. He stated that clearly in Romans 6: 1 when he rhetorically asked them if they expect grace to abound while they wallowed in sin. He replied again that God forbid!
Eph 1:7 is stating the vehicle through which humanity obtains salvation. It is through his blood, which is a synecdoche for his life. Consequently, it could be transliterated as “it is because God is so gracious that we are saved.” If you go back to Acts 26:16-18, you will see the full elements of soteriology in display. That does not exempt works, even one bit. It requires both to go hand in hand.  
I want you to revisit the plot of the parable of the prodigal son. Although he was his child, he had lost his place as a son and was living and working in a pig sty; synonymous to those who backslide. And then he recollected himself and came back to his father. His return reactivates his filial relationship. In his absence, he is considered “dead”. These backsliders can still come back to God. While they are away, if the prodigal son had died, would anyone had known that his father was wealthy? Not at all! That is why they treated him that way. When you live like a pig, albeit a Christian, you forfeit your right of sonship and are treated as a stranger to the kingdom. That is why John The Baptist asked the people to produce fruits worthy of repentance. (Lk 3:8). The Pharisees and the chief priests misconstrued that because they were Jewish, they automatically had obtained salvation. So he told them, don’t even use that as an excuse; you should produce fruits to show that you have repented. It is unequivocally stated that those who believe in Christ must produce fruits to match up their salvation gift; otherwise, they will not keep it. The US gives you a green card and tells you that you must not live out of the country in an entire year without visiting once. Does that mean you did not have the green card? However, you must show that you live in the US to obtain citizenship.  
If there was no works involved with the woman caught red handed in the act of adultery, Jesus would not have told him go and sin no more. You saw the unlimited grace, but you failed to see Jesus requesting for works when he said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (Jn 8:11). In other words, now I have shown you unrestrained and unlimited grace, but do not abuse it. Do not continue in your adultery. In other words, produce better works of someone who has received the gift of salvation. I don’t have time, so I will stop here and we can continue the discourse when we come back from the festivities.

Until Then, a Christian can lose their salvation.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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