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Thread: Can Salvation be lost?

  1. #61
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    I think backsliding is a term that is used too loosely. Look at Psalm 23. That guy said he almost slipped. Yet, he had the mind of a beast. He was bitter with God. And ultimately God had him restored. Not sure he ever "lost" his salvation. David, stayed away from the Lord for a long time, and in his repentance, didn't ask for salvation again, but rather, the restoration of the joy of salvation.

    I don't think scripture teaches one can "lose" their salvation. I think they can walk away from it, willfully, until the Lord grants them a divorce. But at that point, there's no coming back since it would require a 2nd crucifixion and that isn't going to happen.
    Hebrews 6 agrees with this point.

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    I think backsliding is a term that is used too loosely. Look at Psalm 23. That guy said he almost slipped. Yet, he had the mind of a beast. He was bitter with God. And ultimately God had him restored. Not sure he ever "lost" his salvation. David, stayed away from the Lord for a long time, and in his repentance, didn't ask for salvation again, but rather, the restoration of the joy of salvation.

    I don't think scripture teaches one can "lose" their salvation. I think they can walk away from it, willfully, until the Lord grants them a divorce. But at that point, there's no coming back since it would require a 2nd crucifixion and that isn't going to happen.
    I agree with this. Where we could differ is that I believe that God would not give something He hates to His children which is a divorce, but if He would then there would be no coming back as Heb 6 clearly states.

    Also how do you divorce your child? You can divorce your spouse and in the new dispensation it is the church, not the children which are the believers. Then again Jesus being the head of the church promised to keep it until He would come again, but I believe certain denominations/congregations can backslide and be cut off.

  3. #63
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Yes, I see what you mean. But will a loss of faith in Christ not lead to loss of salvation? In the situation where the believer didn't retrace his steps back to Jesus before they die?
    If a man decides to fall away, this doesn't indicate a loss of salvation; it indicates that God was not saving him in the first place.

  4. #64
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Do you believe salvation can be lost? If yes, what are the circumstance(s)?

    If you believe it can't, please give your reasons.
    It really depends on how technical we want to get. The Book of Life was written from/before the foundation of the world. Jesus went to prepare a place for us in advance. God already knows every single name of those who will be saved from creation onward. Every name written is saved.

    Of course, we do not have access to the book to check if our name is in it. We also don't get progress reports throughout our life to grade our faith, etc. If we did know exactly how we would end up, we may have more trouble avoiding sin. So, the questioning helps keep us in check always. This is why faith is so important to God, imo.

    Also, the Holy Spirit knows all things, including the future. Therefore, He knows whether or not we will be saved at the end. I don't think He would waste time sealing and unsealing a person, perhaps over and over, if He knew the person would be lost in the end. Likewise, there are some people who never really have a "conversion experience" because they were probably sealed at birth. Some people just seem to be born as Christians. Perhaps God is answering the prayers of the parents, idk. Everything is a surprise to us, but nothing is a surprise to God. So, I think when a person is sealed, it is permanent. Though, I don't have any seal glasses to see who is who at the moment. We are all waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.

  5. #65
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    I think backsliding is a term that is used too loosely. Look at Psalm 23. That guy said he almost slipped. Yet, he had the mind of a beast. He was bitter with God. And ultimately God had him restored. Not sure he ever "lost" his salvation. David, stayed away from the Lord for a long time, and in his repentance, didn't ask for salvation again, but rather, the restoration of the joy of salvation.

    I don't think scripture teaches one can "lose" their salvation. I think they can walk away from it, willfully, until the Lord grants them a divorce. But at that point, there's no coming back since it would require a 2nd crucifixion and that isn't going to happen.
    I don't think your view is too different from mine despite your going about it in a round about way. I have been consistent in stating clearly that salvation is lost only if one backslides and didn't come back to Christ BEFORE death. Many here have jumped down my throat in the claim that a believer's salvation is irrevocable with only conjecture and unrelated scriptures as support of their spurious claims. This proviso in my statements sadly has been overlooked by people too eager to assert they are right without objectively reviewing scriptural evidence before them.

    By citing Psalm 23 you unwittingly proved my case. Despite David's numerous transgressions, he kept coming back to God. So did he die in unrepentance? NO. Now, contrast this scenario with a believer who for reasons best known to them, backslides and goes back worldliness, doing all things that God detests and unfortunately dies in that state. How can anyone who claims to know the God we serve assert that such a person's salvation is secured?

    You said "you think they can walk away willfully..." this is what backsliding means. It's the individual's willful/personal decision. Although, I must confess I have no clue of what you mean by the Lord "granting them a divorce" despite their unilateral decision to walk away. Being in Christ does not amount to being held against one's will, therefore, no "divorce" is required to set one free.

  6. #66
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    I don't think your view is too different from mine despite your going about it in a round about way. I have been consistent in stating clearly that salvation is lost only if one backslides and didn't come back to Christ BEFORE death. Many here have jumped down my throat in the claim that a believer's salvation is irrevocable with only conjecture and unrelated scriptures as support of their spurious claims. This proviso in my statements sadly has been overlooked by people too eager to assert they are right without objectively reviewing scriptural evidence before them.
    I don't think we agree. I wouldn't use backslid the way you do though.

    By citing Psalm 23 you unwittingly proved my case. Despite David's numerous transgressions, he kept coming back to God. So did he die in unrepentance? NO. Now, contrast this scenario with a believer who for reasons best known to them, backslides and goes back worldliness, doing all things that God detests and unfortunately dies in that state. How can anyone who claims to know the God we serve assert that such a person's salvation is secured?
    Had David died before Psalm 51 was accomplished in him (i.e. full repentance), I think he still would have been saved. He longed for the joy of his salvation to return. He didn't ask to be saved again but rather, to be restored in his emotions and in his soul (bones).

    You said "you think they can walk away willfully..." this is what backsliding means. It's the individual's willful/personal decision. Although, I must confess I have no clue of what you mean by the Lord "granting them a divorce" despite their unilateral decision to walk away. Being in Christ does not amount to being held against one's will, therefore, no "divorce" is required to set one free.
    If one becomes lost again, i.e. no longer saved, there's no room for repentance again. For that would require Jesus to die again and that is not going to happen. I think Jude refers to these people as "twice dead" or "doubly dead" depending on the translation.

    By willfully walking away, I don't mean to go into sin. I mean they no longer wish for God to be their God. It is a severe thing, not something that happens quickly. It took hundreds of years of sin, then repeated rejection of God's wooing before God gave Israel a writ of divorce. He is as patient with us as he was with them.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    I think you and Paul have a different idea of "shipwreck," or perhaps I misunderstand Paul. If I understand Paul's metaphor correctly, he has pictured faith as a journey, beginning with an initial confession of faith and sailing toward the safe harbor of salvation. His warning for Timothy is that the course set for salvation must constantly be maintained or else the ship will run aground and be destroyed. Ultimately, a shipwrecked faith will not arrive at salvation. Does Paul say that explicitly? No, but I think the implication is there.
    Yes, we do look at it differently. I see in the life of Samson a life that was "shipwrecked," but not "lost." In fact, I think there are many possible examples of lives that were ruined, but not lost. Paul mentions that a believer could be turned over to Satan for the destruction of his body, in order to save his soul. He is not lost, but he was "shipwrecked."

    The biggest example in the Bible is Israel herself. Here, an entire nation was "shipwrecked." It obviously didn't mean they were "lost," because later they were restored, ie following the Babylonian Captivity. Even today, though the Jews are "shipwrecked," they can still be restored to be a godly nation.

    We do see "shipwreck" differently. Obviously, some can "shipwreck" their faith in Christ, and lose their salvation as well. In my Predestinarian viewpoint they were never saved to start with, but only had a temporary faith in Christ. They were never truly "born again," but only "tasted" of the heavenly gift, and may have exercised "spiritual gifts."

    But knowing God and experiencing His spiritual power are not the same thing as salvation. Only those who truly persevere in their love for God are the "born again," in my theology--a theology of perseverance. God knows those who truly love Him. But shipwrecking our faith will not destroy our salvation if we truly have it.

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Paul use of the word "shipwreck" to explain that the individual is lost from faith. In most of his epistles, he always urged the sinner to repent, never did he label them as shipwrecked. So in my view, the one he referred to, as shipwrecked are those who are forever lost. Those who temporarily turned from God and repent later are not into this category.
    Trouble is, I don't find any technical application to "shipwreck" in the Scriptures that require it to mean "loss of salvation" in every case. The most obvious example might be Jonah, who was actually tossed out of his ship. Did he lose his salvation? Obviously not!

    In Ezekiel reference is made to Tyre suffering shipwreck. Does that mean every inhabitant of Tyre was damned? Obviously not.

    In 1 Timothy 1 Paul refers to two men whose faith was shipwrecked? Were they damned? I don't know, but it doesn't have to be. It says that Paul turned them over to Satan--the same words Paul used in turning a man over to Satan in 1 Corinthians 5...and the man was saved!

    Beyond this Jesus rebuked Peter for letting Satan speak through him. Nevertheless, Peter was saved! Making a shipwreck of your faith will hurt you, but it won't necessarily damn you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee
    Those who choose to limit Ezekiel 18:2 to ancient Israel living in the Law, fail to see how it endures even in the NT age. It has every to do with 'eternal fate'. Just like the apostles who believed and were saved, but at some point inexplicably turned from their faith and abandoned the work of God lost their salvation. I cannot make head or tail why some believe that once you believe in Christ, you have a get out of jail card to heaven irrespective of how you live your life?
    Well, that may be your problem--I *don't* believe born again Christians have a "get out of jail free card!" When Christians mess up they pay an awful price, if indeed it is a serious infraction. That is what a "shipwreck" is!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee
    You used a term earlier "eternal salvation" and I responded that God who is ever a keeper of covenants, always keeps his own part of the bargain. But the same cannot be said about us mortals. Therefore, eternal salvation only remains eternal as long as the believer keeps his part of the bargain, ie remain in Christ! For example, a 20-year old who comes to faith might lose it say, 20, 30 years later if he reverts to worldliness.
    No, I'm saying that we never really have "eternal salvation" if we can lose it. We should rather call it "conditional salvation." I agree that all men can experience the spiritual life of Christ. But not all men truly receive it. An experience is one thing, but having it is a true possession.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee
    Jesus told one of the people who healed from infirmity, "go and sin no more". What do you reckon will happen to that fellow if he ignores that warning and reverts back to sin?
    Shipwreck! The wages of sin are death. The wages of sins result in punishment. This does not apply just to those who will be damned, but also to those who will live forever. We all pay for our failures...unless, of course, you think Christians who are saved truly have a "get out of jail free card?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee
    I personally see this *once saved, always saved* doctrine as dangerous in the sense that it gives people the false hope that they can do and live as they pleased and God will turn a blind eye. A man who fears his home will be looted locks his door when going out because he's afraid of losing his goods. On the other hand, a man with nothing worth stealing/losing wouldn't care so much.
    Look, I'm saved, and I don't feel this way at all. I'm motivated out of love to do the right thing. I'm also motivated out of fear that God will be angry with me if I do wrong. It has nothing to do with fear of damnation! God's anger with me in this present world is serious stuff! I've known it, to some degree. It's enough to make me take God's anger seriously.

    I don't need the threat of damnation to take things seriously. But because I'm born again I obviously don't want to be damned. So I'm motivated to please God to remain in close contact with Him. This isn't just attempting to stay out of Hell, but more, a wish to remain in contact with God forever.

    Those who don't fear Hell are those who don't value being with God. The threat of Hell will do little for them. Hell is an assurance to *believers* that God will be just, and separate ungodliness from us, His righteous ones.

    Remember, Jesus said that even if one came back from the dead to warn wicked relatives about Hell they still wouldn't listen. The threat of Hell does nothing except encourage believers to keep on living for things that will last. Hell is actually a trash bin! We don't expect to be there. But neither is it tempting to want to spend time there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee
    It is the same with salvation, if you fear you may lose it, then the fear will spur you to guard it with all diligence by living to please him. Conversely, if you are convinced it can't be lost; well, sin is always enticing and attractive. Why not sneak out to a whorehouse now and then, gamble and do all things that God detests. And turn down your nose at the ungodly while you are at it, after all, you are better than they are - for the gate of heaven is ever opened for you.
    Giving up even a small part of your life to sin is a crushing loss. That's why we don't want to sin. We will suffer, for sure. But also, we will not be able to accomplish things that we can be proud of--things that will help others. Instead, our sins may spread out and infect others--not something we should ever wish to do.

  9. #69
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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    In no way does Paul state that the Thessalonians thought the "Great Tribulation had started." Rather, it was the day of Christ's Coming that they thought had taken place, together with the assembling of God's People.
    I judge that you are not wrong. During Paul's very short stay there (three Sabbaths - Act.17), his teachings would have included the sequence of events at the Lord's coming. The "gathering" of the saints in rapture was one of the events, and the promise, like Luke 21:36 and Revelation 3:10, is that the worthy saints (for all is conditional) would be "gathered" to the air before this time. So in the sequence of events, you are correct, but I spoke of the theme of the Book. The Thessalonian Church underwent such an aggressive persecution that they thought the Great Tribulation was upon them (2nd Thess.1:4-7).

    2 Thessalonians 1:4-9 introduces the theme - God's righteous judgement and vengeance on the world who persecuted the saints. It has its counterpart in Revelation 19 where the Lord comes with His angels for vengeance.
    4 "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
    5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
    6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
    7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
    8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"


    Then, Chapter 2 continues that "that day" has certain signs. 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3;
    1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Are you implying there are many different gospels to avoid eternal damnation? Or that there are many other things we get saved from? I believe the latter, but PB seemed to think you were speaking of many gospels concerning avoiding damnation and your reply to him doesn't really address that concern.
    That is why I ask that he read my posting carefully and find any mistake. If all the statements are true, then my explanation is valid, and he will, as an intelligent man, and a seeker of the truth, have to consider it. The Bible does not only have one Chapter. It cleverly reveals the full salvation of those who believe in Jesus - from having their sins put away to entering the Kingdom to rule with Christ in a resurrected body. It could be that he is faced with this outline for the first time. In which case the natural propensity of man is discard it. But he should at least study it to see if it has merit.

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pbminimum View Post
    This is clearly works based salvation. All of the things you are listing as a way unto salvation, are not achieved through our own effort. They are acts unto sanctification that are only done through the Holy Spirit. If one has no fruit of the Spirit , they never had the Spirit. Not vice-versa.

    Read John 3. Read 2 Cor. 5. Salvation happens when we are saved, is happening while we are living, and had happened when we get to glory. All are saved.
    I find it hard when my brothers in the Lord are "selective" like the world's press - that is, ignoring and/or leaving out crucial information. How can one write such a statement when, in my very first posting, #7, paragraph 5 I write ...

    Walls posting #7, paragraph 5
    And it is in the matter of the transformation, or "salvation" of the soul, that all the warnings to Christians go out. The rebirth is a matter of FAITH (Jn.1:12). The resurrection of the body is guaranteed (1st Cor.15:22) - ours with "celestial glory" (1st Cor.15:40-42). BUT WHAT OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SOUL FROM A SELF-SERVING AND CORRUPT PART TO A GOD-SERVING AND GOD-REFLECTING PART?

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    I don't think Paul is talking about a different kind of salvation. He is talking about being saved unto eternal life. What Paul is NOT saying is, "childbearing is the means by which women are saved." What Paul IS saying, "childbearing is the arena where a woman works out her salvation." In other words, God gave childbearing to women and not men. Childbearing is exclusive to women and because she is a woman, this is the place where she will be tested and grow in the faith.

    Why does Paul raise this issue? Apparently Paul has witnessed certain women, not all women, who chafe at the idea of being female. For these particular women, taking an otherwise male role in society is a way to repudiate being a woman, which in Paul's mind is a repudiation of God's creative wisdom. These particular women are raising their fist to heaven in order to say, "God, why did you make me a woman? I would rather be a man." Not all women in leadership roles have this perspective or attitude and I don't think Paul is speaking to them. He is speaking to women who aren't happy being women.

    Paul wishes to disabuse the church of the false notion that women, by virtue of their role as mothers, aren't able to serve the Lord, or more significantly, women who decide to stay home and be a mother aren't as holy as women who gain leadership roles in the church. Paul argues to the contrary. Women who decide to serve the Lord in the context and arena of being a mother are holy by virtue of the fact that being a mother is a God given role unique to her. Childbearing is an existential reality for a woman; and any woman who finds fulfillment in that arena can never be considered unholy. A woman who chafes at childbearing and repudiates her womanhood is unholy -- not holy.
    I agree with just about all you have said. Since Pbminimum cannot, or will not address this verse, I will give my understand of it.

    The process of rebirth and obtaining divine life is BY FAITH. This pertains to the spirit of man. But, as outlined in my posting #7, I propose that man's FULL salvation includes his spirit, soul, his body and entering the kingdom of God when it is set up on earth. The process of the salvation of the soul is called transformation. It is a work done by a combination of man's cooperation with God and God's power and life to do it. And the tools that God uses for our transformation is mostly everyday life. It includes eating God's word "to grow" (1st Pet.2:2), it includes suffering to be "refined" or the removal of dross (1st Pet.1:7, 4:12), it includes God's chastisement (Heb.12:5-9), and it includes the restrictions of everyday life.

    To the man is given to be subject to the Laws of the country, to be subject to his boss, whether good or bad, to be "not slovenly in business" and to be unselfish by putting his wife and children's needs before his own. For the woman, she too must abide by the Laws of the country, subject herself to the whims of her "head" - her husband, and suffer the all consuming needs of her children, whether the morning sickness of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, the sleepless nights of child-feeding and caring, the trials of their teenage years and the co-sufferings with them when they face trials in adulthood. All these forced disciplines are a major part of God forming the character to be subject to Him, to deny oneself, to put others before oneself, to be patient, to be forgiving, to seek harmony without giving up God's laws, etc. etc. That is, it is the main contributory process to the "salvation of the soul". The "salvation" of the woman in 1st Timothy 2:15 is NOT her salvation from the effects of sins and the Lake of Fire. It is the "salvation of the SOUL" to make her Christlike.

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pbminimum View Post
    Look at the context of Hebrews 7 / 25. It was to the Hebrew Christians. Basically telling them that Christ alone was enough to completely and totally do away with sin. It wasn't so much about man, as it is about Christ's perfect sacrifice to completely and totally save.

    No more law. No more sacrifice. No more works. Christ alone unto salvation.

    Simple, but this is what it means.

    *edit* We are saved from many things...Our flesh, the enemy, the judgment, this world, etc. But we are saved one way. Faith in Christ alone.
    I'm sorry my brother, but you are wrong. Faith is the thread throughout the salvation process, but the wording and grammar of scripture is clear. In the matter of the salvation of the body, that is, resurrection, faith will not help you one wit. It is a guaranteed fact. Even the most heinous of men, like Hitler, will be resurrected FAITH OR NO FAITH (1st Cor.15:22).

    In the matter of the salvation of the soul, the faith one needs is that which understands that everything that happens to you is God's hand in transforming you (1st Pet.1:6-7). But it is the "trials" that do the work.

    In the matter of entering the Kingdom of God when He sets it up on earth it is YOU "deny yourself", YOU "take up your cross daily", YOU "ADD to your faith virtue", etc., YOU "PRESS toward the mark OF THE PRIZE of the up-calling", YOU "work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling", YOU "STRIVE to enter the narrow gate", YOU "do not trust riches" and YOU "prepare YOUR OWN garment of righteousness" (Rev.19:7 - "the wife has made HERSELF ready").

    However, thank you for continuing this discussion and not bowing out. I think we all prosper from such a discussion.

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    The salvation we are discussing is the promised "eternal life" through faith in Christ which is only redeemed in the resurrection. It is not about being saved from the myriad of afflictions that befall the flesh, given your examples above. When an unbeliever comes to faith, he is assumed to have received salvation in Christ. The question, therefore, is whether, at any point in the life of that individual, he might lose that salvation as a result for example, of unrighteous lifestyle?
    Yes. I gathered that, but any discussion on losing one's salvation, and there are hoards who do, needs an explanation as the all the dire warnings directed at the believer (as posting #53 shows). If these are not correctly dealt with, the Calvin versus Arminius discussion goes round and round with no solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    And I think your interpretation of "uttermost" in the text is incorrect. I understand it to mean, completely.
    What is the difference? Here is Strong's on the word: "full-ended, i.e. entire (neuter as noun, completion), uttermost."

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    Re: Can Salvation be lost?

    What I perceive in this thread, and all the like ones that have preceded it, is that the saints take note of the warnings to Christians, but just cannot come up with a single verse that pointedly says that ones rebirth, eternal life, sonship to God and being "partakers of the divine nature" are all extinguished by evil works. The reason? There are none. Next, what hinders the saints most is that in the scheme of contemporary Christian doctrine, viz., that a believer goes to heaven after death, there is no room left for any loss. Although not a single verse in the whole Bible states that dead men go to heaven, this doctrine is as rife among us today as any other doctrine. It is used in evangelical meetings, it is used in Church Bible studies, and it is firmly believed by most Christians. Even those who have the deepening sensation that it just does not add up, keep it at the backs of their minds.

    Next, because of the fiercely guarded doctrine of "salvation by FAITH", any allusion to WORKS as means to salvation are summarily abandoned lest one be called a heretic. And because of this "turning a blind eye" the student of the Bible is left with only one option. He must lump the word "salvation" into ONE SINGLE MEANING. This failure to find the context and application of "salvation" in every mention leads to a stunting in matters Biblical. In my posting #25 I posed two questions. Except for CadyandZoe in posting #44, no one - but no-one, has ventured to address these verses. Both contain a "salvation". The reason? They do not fit the general pattern of "salvation". And there are more verses like this that contain the word "salvation", the which do not talk of sins set aside and eternal life. Example; 1st Peter 3:20. "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." Note that eight souls were NOT saved FROM water, but BY water. Any comments? The "salvation" here cannot be the "salvation" bandied about by Christians. The grammar won't allow it.

    To supplement my posting #7 I would like to offer the following for discussion. God's purpose with man is to have a man in His image and likeness to express Him, to have a man in His likeness and image to rule this earth, sea and sky the way God would, and to have a man in His image to be a Wife "up to the standard of" (the meaning of "help meet") the Man Jesus. If any of you think that God has had to give up His plan because Satan was more powerful and able to thwart Him, read no further. But if you think that the councils of God cannot be overturned, then you must look for the following in the Bible;
    1. God organizing a voluntary judicial Substitute to die for men because God is righteous and will not wink at ONE sin
    2. God infusing His divine life into the men who accept this judicial Substitute
    3. God starting a process of changing the the utterly fallen thoughts, decisions and feelings of this fallen man to His thoughts, decisions and feelings
    4. God allowing the fallen flesh of man to die and then resurrect him in a new and incorruptible body
    5. God restoring this cursed earth to a pristine condition with His man ruling this earth and satisfying Jesus as a "help meet"

    And do we find this in the Bible. BY ALL MEANS! Where is then the stultifying doctrine of a God thwarted by Satan in His councils, and whisking some dusty and dirty dead men who are barely in His image to heaven?

    The FULL salvation is a man who has undergone a REBIRTH BY FAITH. This rebirth makes him the son of God (by birth), and imparts the divine nature into his SPIRIT. Then starts a long process where God, together with the cooperation of the man, TRANSFORMS his thinking, deciding and feeling organs into the image and likeness of Christ. Then, when the appropriate time is come, God raises the dead men and gives them a new body, one that is fit for ruling His domain THE EARTH. The rebirth is by FAITH; but this in itself is a "gift of God". The resurrection is also a gift of God. Man has no say in this matter. But the TRANSFORMATION of the soul is effected by cooperation between God and the man. As I have written before; it is YOU "deny yourself", YOU "take up your cross daily", YOU "ADD to your faith virtue", etc., YOU "PRESS toward the mark OF THE PRIZE of the up-calling", YOU "work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling", YOU "STRIVE to enter the narrow gate", YOU "do not trust riches" and YOU "prepare YOUR OWN garment of righteousness" (Rev.19:7 - "the wife has made HERSELF ready"). There is God's part in infusing you with the means to be a man in His image and likeness, there is His part in protecting you and keeping you, there is His part in urging and encouraging you, BUT there is the part that man must do.

    And to spur Christian men on to cooperate, God, in His infinite wisdom, HAS SET FORTH A PRIZE for the diligent Christian. The PRIZE set before the diligent, self denying, obedient and intimate Christian, IS THAT HE MAY RULE THE FIRST THOUSAND YEARS OF CHRIST'S REIGN ON EARTH WITH HIM. Conversely, for the slothful, uncaring, self-loving, disobedient Christian, God has promised a place called "outer darkness" with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, chastisement and buying oil for these thousand years. This process is NOT to destroy the Christian, but to complete the TRANSFORMING WORK so that when the New ("Renewed" - lit. Gk.) Earth is ushered in, God will have completed His purpose with the Church, and His dear Son Jesus can be presented with His Bride and a citadel of reign ON THIS EARTH FOREVER.

    Let us be accurate with the Bible. The threats leveled at Christians do not address rebirth, eternal life and sonship to God. They address THE COMING 1,000 YEAR KINGDOM OF GOD - the GAIN or LOSS of this magnificent prize.

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