eternal security

What Does It Take To Lose Salvation?

By Dr. Roger Fankhauser
Some people have heard the sad words, "we're disowning you" or "we're writing you out of the will". Some think something comparable can happen to the believer; God can "disown us" under certain circumstances. Have you ever thought carefully about what must happen for us to lose our salvation? I started making a list in my mind. To lose my salvation for any reason, including for "losing faith", would require God to:
  • Unjustify us
  • Unadopt us
  • Unredeem us
  • Unreconcile us
  • Unregenerate us
  • Unforgive us
  • Unsanctify us (positional sanctification)
  • Remove eternal life from us
  • Uncircumcise our circumcised heart
  • Disinherit us (remove our birth inheritance)
  • Unbaptize us (Spirit baptism, 1 Cor. 12:13)
  • Unseal us (take away the Holy Spirit)
  • Make both Father and Son release their hold of us (John 10:28-29)
  • Make the New Creature old again
  • Transfer us out of the Kingdom of light and place us back in the kingdom of darkness
  • And most importantly, it would require the faithful, promise-keeping God to be unfaithful (2 Tim. 2:13)

You get the idea. And I suspect there is more we could list. So, "losing my salvation" isn't as "simple" as it sounds. It forces God to undo so much that he has done and so much that he has promised us. 

I'm grateful I'm held by His grace.

Refreshing Grace: The First Book from Biblical Framework Press!

RefreshingGraceFrontCoverOnlyHave you ever wondered how God can be in control of everything and still allow people to have free will? I think that for many Christians, this is a real conundrum. Sure, there have been “fights” between Calvinists and Arminians over this issue for 500 years; Calvinists argue that God is great and in control, and Arminians counter that God is good and offers salvation to all.  

For many Christians, though, neither answer is sufficient because God says both in His Word. But how can both be true?  Well, this week John Correia, an FGA executive Council member, published a new book titled Refreshing Grace. This book takes a new approach to this often emotionally charged issue and explains the issue, and a fresh biblical solution to it, in an understandable way.

 

If you’re interested in the issue of God’s sovereign control and our free will in salvation, our prayer is that Refreshing Grace will help you understand the issue with more clarity and passionately pursue Christ with that new knowledge.

 

The book is available on Amazon.com in paperback as well as on Kindle. It will also be forthcoming on the FGA resources page and available at the FGA national conference!

 

Amazon.com paperback edition.

 

Amazon.com Kindle Edition.

What is Eternal Life? - by Dan Lash

Dan is the Pastor of Weston Street Bible Church in Rome City, Indiana.  He may be reached at dan_lash at hotmail dot com. We who believe in security are sometimes so motivated to find verses that support our belief that, in the process, we fail to comprehend what the Scriptures teach concerning the concept of eternal life. When we take every occurrence of the phrase “eternal life” to be a reference to eternity in heaven, with an emphasis on duration of that existence, we fail to comprehend the full meaning of this phrase in the Scriptures. In the majority of occurrences, the emphasis of the phrase “eternal life” is not the granting of a positive eternal destiny. Rather, it is the addition of the capacity for communion with God.

Let’s first understand the truth behind this life which is eternal in its duration.

The Lord Jesus, in John 17:3, gives us the following definition of eternal life:

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Likewise the Apostle John gives us a similar definition eternal life in I John 5:20: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Eternal life is the capacity to commune with God. In the Garden of Eden, humanity forfeited this purpose for which it was created, i.e. to enjoy the communion of God. All people since Adam are now brought into the world possessed only with a nature and perspective which is incapable of communion with God. (Romans 8:7) God’s ultimate goal in saving us is to bring us to the place where we can commune with the perspective of God.

Now, make no mistake about it, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior does guarantee one’s eternal well being. The following verses identify for us the duration of this gift of eternal life:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 5:24 " Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Believing upon Jesus as your Savior produces a life which is eternal in its duration because it bears the image of God at the core of its being. When a person is born again they are now in possession of a life which is eternal in duration, because the new person on the inside is made in the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph. 4:24) This new person is now the believer’s eternal identity before God. However, just because that person exists on the inside doesn’t mean that this new person is automatically directing the ambitions of the believer. When a believer is operating by the power of a mind renewed in the Scriptures, that believer is said to be experiencing eternal life.

A great deal of confusion can result in our interpretation of Scripture if, in every context, we focus only on the duration of eternal life and not the purpose for that life. For example, in 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul exhorts Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” Does this suggest that maybe Timothy’s security is not yet certain? If we define eternal life as eternity in heaven, then we might conclude from this text that Paul was calling Timothy’s security into question. However, if “laying hold of eternal life” speaks of Timothy’s walking consistently in communion with God, then Paul’s exhortation to “laying hold on eternal life” in no way challenges the doctrine of security.

Consider also Galatians 6:7-8.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

Once again, if we take this above occurrence of everlasting life to be a reference to eternal existence in heaven, then, according to this context, eternal existence in heaven is reaped as a result of sowing to the Spirit. And that would mean that a home in heaven is secured on the basis of the choices made after we are saved. But if eternal life in this context is experiencing communion with God then security would still be consistent with the meaning of this verse.

This approach to the concept of eternal life also better accommodates some of those passages in I John, which, on the surface, present a challenge to grace teaching. For example, 1 John 3:14-17 says,

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

Is this above context teaching us that it is impossible for a believer to hate his brother?

No, not at all. Verse 17 of this context is clearly an example of a believer hating another believer. In the Scriptures, hatred is not necessarily viewing another with disdain or wishing harm upon another. Hatred is often as passive as neglect, as demonstrated by this context. If eternal life in this context means eternity in heaven, then the person who fails to meet the needs of a brother or sister in Christ needs to question whether or not they are on their way to heaven. If, however, we understand eternal life to be communing with the perspective of God, then this context need not call into question a person’s eternal destiny; rather, this passage calls into question a person’s communion with the Father. The primary purpose of the epistle of I John is precisely this test of fellowship, a fellowship which I John refers to as eternal life.

A believer is experiencing communion with the Father when God’s perspective as gleaned from the Scriptures is serving as that believer’s functional frame of reference. Being saved does not automatically establish God’s perspective in the heart of the believer. That takes diligence and consistency in the application of Scripture. When the believer consistently judges events in his life from God’s perspective, it can be said that they have laid hold on eternal life. Like the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” When the Father gives us to Christ in the New Birth, Jesus is said to have laid hold of us for eternal life. When God’s perspective becomes the believer’s functioning frame of reference, that believer is said to have laid hold of eternal life.

Rob Bell and the Deadly Trend in the Free Grace Movement

Br Dr. Fred Lybrand

Let's have a discussion.


So, Rob Bell writes a book called "Love Wins" and it is basically all about heaven and hell with a final conclusion that Love wins out; God's love will ultimately persuade everyone to embrace Him and His heaven.  It sounds like universalism, but Bell and others are also denying it.  You can call it what you want, but if everyone gets in, then salvation is clearly 'universal' (hence the name).


Of course this is unabashedly anti-scriptural (nice interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA ), but what is behind his conclusion?  Cynically we could speak in terms of fame and fortune as motivating Bell to depart from the historic / biblical Christian faith.  I, however, think there is a far more simple way to think about it theologically.  Bell has just imposed a hierarchy on the attributes of God.  The net result is that Bell has taken grace (he says love, but a loving God must be gracious) to the extreme.


Face it---if God is gracious wouldn't He save everyone (that's the idea)?  If you are gracious to save one, you are even more gracious to save two.  If you are loving enough to save one, you are even more loving to save two. The more the merrier...why not just save all?  Rob Bell is simply running one piece of the puzzle to the extreme.  This is the kind of logic behind Paul's accusers in Romans 3:8, that grace was un-boundried.




In Back to Faith (http://www.backtofaith.com) I have an appendix dealing with Antinominism.  Basically, I point out that the real antinomians are the universalists.  Rob Bell is the end result that Lordshippers and Legalists think our theology leads a person to conclude.


Though I have fought against the legitimacy of that accusation, I'm starting to waver a little.  It may be that some of us are flirting with the same deadly trend we see in Rob Bell.  I believe some of us are starting to create a hierarchy within the attributes of God to our own demise.  If this is new to you, then indulge the thought for a moment.  God has a nature (complex of attributes) which includes such things as love, holiness, justice, mercy, omnipotence, etc.  These attributes essentially describe God and the way in which He functions as best we can discern from the revelation through His Word.  When we understand God's attributes as perfectly balanced within His person we are fine, but if we begin to elevate one attribute above another, we reshape the very nature of God.  Consider how different each of these 'gods' would be:


1.  A god who is more justice than mercy
2.  A god who is more love than justice
3.  A god who is more forgiveness than truth


Each one would be different from the other.  The other attributes aren't excluded, but they are subservient.  In a similar way, if we make any person of the Trinity 'more' and another member 'less'---then the doctrine of the Trinity collapses.


So, what of us in the Free Grace Movement?  What is our danger?


Simply put, many of us have been overly concerned about Reformed Theology, especially as it shows up in the various renditions of DORT.  The theory is that if you buy one part of the '5 Points' you must buy them all.  Of course, it is the Calvinists who try to insist upon this...and some of us just follow along.  Mostly it is a definitional problem and an allegiance to a theology over Scripture.  Personally, I am clearly a 'moderate Calvinist' (labels being what they are), but I am also Free Grace to the core.


Here's the deadly trend--- we have folks in our Shire who are saying that the Doctrine of Election cannot be true because "What love is that?  How could a loving God who can elect whomever He wishes elect some to hell?  What love is this?"  I believe that there are many assumptions in this argument that don't match the record or Calvinism; however, the BIG ISSUE is that the love of God is being elevated above His sovereignty (at least).  Indeed, I have friends who try to argue that sovereignty isn't much of an issue because it isn't mentioned the Bible (counter arguments: see the word *Trinity*).  Of course, even the definition of love is warped a bit in the argument as well (a different post should address this).


In any case dear friends, please consider that what is happening is an elevation of one attribute above the others in the very nature of God.  God's nature is complete and balanced unto itself.  This is why the Cross makes such sense given the character of God.  Justice and love are perfectly balanced in the death of Christ for us.


Rob Bell has elevated one attribute above the rest, and so he is off to sup with universalism.


However, are we much different?  Are we elevating one attribute of God above the others?  It doesn't take much math to see how this trend leads us astray.  Are our accusers on to something?  Are we forcing categories on God to make our own theology work?  I find comfort in mystery, not knowing how it all works.  I find fear in tampering with the Word of God.


God help us.


Grace and peace,


Dr. Fred R. Lybrand


P.S.  Please tell me what you think...let's have a discussion.