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Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at http://www.dawnfoss.tateauthor.com and http://www.dawnfoss.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Chain Cannot Be Broken

My last blog about eternal security brought up some questions.  George Zeller, who wrote that outline, which is based on the Word of God, responded to those questions with some great information that I will pass on to you all. 

Keep in mind that when discussing eternal security, we are only talking about true believers:

          The true believer is safe and secure in Christ forever.  The only other alternative is to say that God is guilty of breaking His Word repeatedly.  God forbid!

        Keep in mind, however, that the doctrine of eternal security does not give a person a license to sin.  All of these statement and promises apply only to those who are in the family of God (regenerated) and true members of the body of Christ.  Christ’s sheep are safe forever (John 10:28), but those who do not hear His voice and who do not follow Him are giving evidence that they do not really know the Shepherd (John 10:27).   

        “The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19).
In spite of what he says, the chain of Romans 8 cannot be broken.  Paul clearly tells us there that those who are justified.....them he also glorified. 

As for the earlier verses in Romans 8, see  below:

Romans 8:1-14

Contrast Between The Person Dominated By The Flesh
And The Person Dominated By God The Holy Spirit

Two Categories
THE PERSON
DOMINATED BY THE FLESH
"they that are after the flesh"  (v.5)
THE PERSON
DOMINATED BY THE SPIRIT
"they that are after the Spirit" (v.5)
Two Realms
"IN THE FLESH"  (v.8)"IN THE SPIRIT"  (v.9)
Two Spiritual Conditions
"He is none of His."  (v.9)He is His. (He is a Christian.)
Two Births
Born of flesh (Jn.3:6)
(We are in the flesh by natural birth.)
Born of Spirit (John 3:5-6)
(We are in the Spirit by the new birth, by regeneration.)
Two Mind Sets
He sets his mind on the things of the flesh (verses 5-7).He sets his mind on the things of the Spirit (verse 5 and see Col. 3:1-2; Matt. 16:23).
Present Condition
Death (verse 6)
(Having no relationship with God)
Cannot please God (verse 8)
Life and Peace (verse 6)
Life in a dead world
Peace in a troubled world
Future Condition
Death (verse 13)
(See Galatians 5:19-21)
Resurrection life (verses11,13)
Present Possession
He does not have the Spirit (verse 9).He has the Spirit (verse 9).
Relationship to God’s Law
Lawless (verse 7)
He is a rebel against God’s law and one who CANNOT submit to it.
The law is fulfilled in this Spirit-controlled person (verse 4).
Relationship to God
An enemy (verse 7 and compare Rom. 5:10)A son (verse 14)
Guidance
No supernatural guidance (verse 14)Led by the Spirit  (verse 14)
The Person's Obligation
He is obliged to live after the flesh (verse 12). There is no other way that he can live. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). The person who is "in the flesh" must live in that realm. He is dominated by his sinful nature inherited from Adam.He is obliged to mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body (verse13). POSITIONALLY this has already been done (Gal. 5:24) but EXPERIENTIALLY this needs to be done by faith (Col. 3:5; Rom. 6:11 in view of Rom. 6:6; etc.). By faith I must reckon on what has already been done by Christ.
OBSERVATIONS: There is only one way that the unsaved person can live. He is "in the flesh" and he must live and walk "after the flesh" (Romans 8:8 and compare verse 4). He has no choice but to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. He is in total bondage to indwelling sin. This walk after the flesh is described in Ephesians 2:1-3 and Ephesians 4:17-19.
The saved person is described as being "in the Spirit" (Romans 8:9) and he is no longer in the realm of the flesh (Romans 8:9). He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. His life is dominated by the Person and Presence of God the Holy Spirit, and even when he is not walking rightly the Spirit will make His grieved presence known (Ephesians 4:30).
The saved person’s life in totality cannot be said to be dominated by the flesh. He may fall into sin but he will not persist in sin (1 John chapter 3). By the Spirit’sconviction, by confession and if needed by chastening (1 Cor.11:31-32) he is brought back to the path of obedience. The believer at any given time may manifest any of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) but his life will not be dominated by the works of the flesh because "they which do (present tense--‘keep on doing’; those who persist in these things) shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:21 and compare 1 Cor.6:9-11 and Ephesians 5:5).
At the same time the Bible makes it clear that the true believer can be controlled by the flesh. Romans chapter 8 does not deal with this but Romans 13:12-14 does. See also 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and Galatians 5:16-25. It’s a terrible abnormality for a believer who is "in the Spirit" to walk as the man who is "in the flesh" and for a new creature in Christ to walk as a mere, unregenerate man (1 Cor. 3:3), but sadly, it does happen.

Romans 8:5-6

"Mind" = set their mind upon (see this verb used in Matt.16:23 and Col. 3:2). "After the flesh"--this refers to those who are dominated by their sinful Adam-like natures (see chart  above). Verse 6 should be translated "for the minding of the flesh is death; but the minding of the Spirit is life and peace" (compare Romans 6:21-23).

Romans 8:7

"Because the carnal mind (the minding of the flesh) is enmity against God." The flesh is always against God. The flesh is God’s enemy. "Subject" = submissive. The flesh is not submissive. Instead it rebels against God. It revolts against God and against God’s law. An illustration of this is found in Numbers 14:9-10,27-29,40-44 (If God goes with us we won’t go! If God does not go with us we will go! Whatever God says we will do the opposite!). "Neither is it able"--the flesh is unable to be submissive. It’s impossible for the flesh to submit to God. Man’s sinful flesh (man’s sinful nature) is non-submissive.
There are five things that will never happen to the flesh:
  1. The flesh cannot be changed. The rebellious, non-submissive flesh will never be transformed into submissive, obedient flesh. God’s method of dealing with the flesh is not to change it but to CONDEMN IT (Rom.8:3) and CRUCIFY IT (Gal.5:24; 2:20 and compare Rom.6:6).
  2. The flesh cannot be reformed. It cannot be corrected or restored to purity. That which is corrupt remains corrupt. That which is desperately wicked remains desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). The Church was reformed (we speak of the Protestant "Reformation") and restored to some degree of purity but the flesh will never have a reformation. Two thousand years ago it did not have a REFORMATION but it had a CRUCIFIXION!
  3. The flesh can never be trained. The flesh is stubborn. It refuses to change its ways. It’s immutable. You can never teach the flesh how to please God. The flesh is incorrigible--incapable of being corrected or amended. The flesh refuses to change its ways. The works of the flesh always remain the same (see Galatians 5:19-21).
  4. The flesh cannot be improved. It always remains as it is: depraved, corrupt, wicked, sinful, evil, anti-God, rebellious, stubborn, proud, etc.
  5. The flesh cannot be reconciled to God. It is always and ever opposed to God (see Gal. 5:17). It will never be at peace with God; instead there is constant war. God can never be brought into harmony with that which is out of harmony with His holy and righteous Character.
Every child of God can rejoice in this fact:  "And they that are Christ's (those who belong to Christ) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24).

Romans 8:8

Because these things are true of the flesh (v.7), those who are IN THE FLESH (those who are unsaved) CANNOT please God (it’s impossible for them to please God). Compare Hebrews 11:6 (those who are in the flesh are those who are without faith). For an Old Testament commentary on Romans 8:8 see Proverbs 15:8,9,26. The flesh can never, ever please God. It is very, very difficult for most people to accept the truth of this verse. It is saying that everything that I have done in my life (before coming to Christ) was unacceptable to God and was not pleasing to Him. We may have counted many things as being good and right and praiseworthy, but God was not pleased. The only way we can truly please God is "THROUGH JESUS CHRIST" (Heb.13:21).
What do verses 7-8 imply about the person who is spiritually minded? Let’s take the opposite: The spiritual mind (the minding of the Spirit) is a friend of God (at peace with God, no war, no hostility), for it is submissive to the law of God (Rom.8:4), and must ever be. So then, they that are in the Spirit CAN please God! The next verse speaks about those who are in the Spirit:

Romans 8:9

"Ye" is emphatic ("YE" in contrast to those who are in the flesh). You (plural) are not in the flesh! You can please God! Every saved person is "IN THE SPIRIT" and every unsaved person is "IN THE FLESH."  Every believer is "spiritual" in the sense that he HAS the Spirit (see Jude 19). "Dwell" = make his home in you. Your body is the Spirit’s house or dwelling place or holy temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Paul is saying here that YOU ARE IN THE SPIRIT IF THE SPIRIT IS IN YOU! If the Spirit is not in you then you are in the flesh (unsaved). "Any man" = anyone.  "He is none of His" = he (this person who does not have the Spirit) is not "of Him" that is, he does not belong to Christ, he is not His, he is not a Christian, thus he is unsaved. By implication this verse clearly teaches us that every true Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If a person is saved then he is INDWELT by the Holy Spirit and he is in (the realm of) the Spirit. Every single believer in Christ receives the Holy Spirit on the one condition of faith in Christ (John 7:37-39). There is no such thing as a true believer who does not have the Holy Spirit. The true Christian is no longer "in the flesh" (in the realm of the flesh). He is not in the flesh but the flesh is in him (Rom.7:18). Note how the Holy Spirit is referred to: "Spirit" "Spirit of God" "Spirit of Christ."
Verse 9 says that the Spirit is in you.
Verse 10 says that Christ is in you (see also John 14:17,20).

Romans 8:10

Compare with Romans 8:1--Christ is in me (v.10) and I am in Christ (v.1)! Romans 8:9 teaches that I am in the Spirit and the Spirit is in me! Blessed relationships! In Romans 7:18 Paul says, "I know that in me dwelleth no good thing" but the believer can also say, "I know that in me dwelleth the living God!" If a person is really saved, then Jesus Christ is IN this person (see 2 Corinthians 13:5). Thus, what Paul is going to say in verse 10 applies to a true believer. If you are really saved then this is what is true: the body is dead because of sin. In what sense is it dead? You are not physically dead yet. Paul means "dead" in the sense of "mortal" (see verse 11) which means subject to death and decay and disease because of sin. The body of the believer has not yet been redeemed (but it will be in the future--Romans 8:23). The body of the believer has not yet been quickened or made alive, but it will be in the future (Rom.8:11).
"The spirit is life because of righteousness". This verse is a contrast between the believer’s body and the believer’s spirit. The spirit is not dead, it is LIFE. I have been quickened or made alive spiritually (Ephesians 2:1,5). My spirit was quickened and made alive the moment I was justified. The quickening of my spirit has already taken place at the moment of salvation (Rom.8:10); the quickening of my body will take place in the future at the day of resurrection (Rom.8:11).

Romans 8:11

"Him that raised up Jesus from the dead" refers to God the Father. If the Spirit of God dwells in you (and this is so if you are saved--Romans 8:9), then God shall (in the future) quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies (your bodies which are now unredeemed and which are subject to death and decay and disease). If the Almighty God could raise up Jesus from the dead, then certainly He can take care of our bodies as well. This is a wonderful promise of the future resurrection of believers. The presence of the Spirit in you now is the guarantee of your future resurrection (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).

Romans 8:12

"Debtors" = those who have an obligation (Rom.1:14). We are not debtors to the flesh because we now live in the realm of the Spirit. We do not have any obligation to the flesh whatsoever. We don’t owe the flesh anything! In fact, we have given the flesh too much already! We have spent too much time in the flesh (see 1 Peter 4:2-3) and we have already sinned too much in the flesh. Instead I am a debtor to live according to the Spirit. This is my Christian obligation.

Romans 8:13

"Live" = present tense (constantly, habitually). Death (separation from God) is at the end of a life lived after the flesh (Romans 6:21). "Mortify" = put to death (the same word is found in Romans 8:36 "killed"). How do we do this? How does a believer mortify and put to death the deeds of the body?

The Biblical doctrine of MORTIFICATION:

Notice first that we are to mortify "through the Spirit."  This is something that is done by the power of the Spirit, not by our own power. There are two aspects of the believer’s mortification that must be considered:
1) POSITIONALLY it has already been done! Galatians 5:24 says, "they that are Christ’s (those who belong to Him, compare Romans 8:9) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Notice that this verse does not say to do this but it says that it has already been done. It does not say "crucify the flesh" but it says, "you have crucified the flesh (already)."  When did this happen?  Two thousand years ago (compare Galatians 2:20)!  When Christ died, I died!  That's when my crucifixion took place. 
2) EXPERIENTIALLY the believer needs to do it: "Mortify (put to death) your members which are upon the earth" (Colossians 3:5). But the key question is this: HOW IS THIS TO BE DONE? Faith is the key! Faith claims the fact that in Christ I have already died (see Colossians 3:3--"for ye died") and by faith I reckon this fact to be true. The "therefore" of Colossians 3:5 points back to the glorious truth of verse 3 that we already died with Christ and in Christ. Thus we are told to do in faith (Col. 3:5) what God has already done in fact (Galatians 5:24; Col. 3:3; Gal. 2:20). Galatians 5:24 sets forth the fact and Colossians 3:5 appeals to faith (based on the fact--Col. 3:3). The more we by faith reckon on our POSITION the more it becomes true (by the power of the Spirit) in our actual CONDITION. See Romans 6:11 and the discussion on "RECKONING."

Romans 8:14

In verse 9 we learned that a true Christian is one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In this verse we have another mark of a true Christian. All those who are LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. A true believer is Spirit-led. The person living after the flesh (v.12) is certainly not led by the Spirit. See John 10:26-27. What is the mark of a true sheep? A true sheep follows the true Shepherd. Christ leads and His sheep follow!  So here in Romans 8:14 we learn that a true son is led by the Spirit. The verb is in the present tense: we are constantly and continually being led by the Spirit. He is ever working in our lives. He is either leading us along the right path or He is leading us back to the right path. He is either controlling us or convicting us, but He is always at work in us (He will never leave us--see Ephesians 4:30). We are either grieving Him or pleasing Him. We are in the realm of the Spirit and we can never get out of that realm. Remember, we are "in the Spirit" (Romans 8:9).

5) CHAIN LINK #5--"THEM ALSO HE GLORIFIED."
The glorification of the believer is a future event. It has not happened yet (see discussion under Romans 8:17-18). We are not in heaven yet! Our salvation is not complete yet! We are not "LIKE CHRIST" yet as we shall be. We do not have our new glorified bodies yet. We are not sinless yet! But in this verse God say, YES YOU ARE! I HAVE GLORIFIED YOU! IT’S DONE! The past tense is used! From the believer’s point of view it has not yet happened. But in the mind and purpose of God, it is already done! It has already happened! This glorification is a future event so certain that it is written in the past tense as if it has already happened.  It is a done deal, even though from our perspective it has not yet happened. 
Let’s review and re-state these five links of the chain:

  1. FOREKNOWLEDGE--Before the world ever was God knew me and God knew that I would belong to Him.  This involves a special, loving relationship.
  2. PREDESTINATION--In eternity past God marked out a wonderful future for me, that I should be like His Son.
  3. CALLING--God brought me to Himself in a wonderful way, out of my darkness, into His marvelous light.
  4. JUSTIFICATION--God declared me to be perfectly righteous in His righteous Son, based upon the cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. GLORIFICATION--God will complete my salvation and in the mind and plan of God, it is as good as done!
We should note that these five things are true of every believer. You can’t have just one of these five things. It’s impossible for a person to be foreknown but not justified. It’s impossible for a person to be justified but not glorified (hence, it’s impossible for a person to lose his salvation!) It’s impossible for a person to be called and not justified: "whom he called, them he also justified."   Can only three of the five be true of a person?  No, they all must be true. It’s either all or none! A person is either saved or not, and if saved, then all five of these things are true. We should also note that NONE OF THESE THINGS are true of those who never become believers. Judas was never foreknown, predestinated, called, justified or glorified.
Someone might say, "But how can I know whether I have been foreknown or whether I have been predestinated or whether I have been called?  How can I know for sure that these things are true of me?  How do I know that I am a part of this salvation chain?"   The key is the fourth link of the chain: justification.  Can a person know whether he has been justified?  Absolutely.  The Bible makes it very clear that every person who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ has been justified (declared righteous in Christ).  See Romans 3:22-26; 3:30; 4:1-5; 4:24-25; 5:1.  Every believer is saved (Acts 16:31) and every saved person is justified (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  There is no such thing as a true believer in Christ who is not justified.   And if one link of the chain is true of me (justification), then the other four links must also be true (foreknown, predestinated, called, glorified) because the chain is a unit and cannot be broken.  The believer resting in the finished work of Christ never needs to lose sleep over whether he is included in God's eternal plan and purpose!  It is settled forever!   Let all those who love God's salvation say continually, "The Lord be magnified!"

I hope this helps! Thank you to George Zeller for his detailed and thorough reply.  He writes a lot of Biblical lessons. You can get more info on his church's website at: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/doctrine.htm

47 comments:

  1. Respectfully, the problem with Mr. Zeller's reply as I perceive it, is that he does not address any of my discussion points in Rom 8:12-13. We do agree that grace does not give a regenerated person a license to sin. We disagree however whether a regenerated person can forfeit his/her salvation. Mr. Zeller would claim that such persons were never believers in the first place. I'm sure Mr. Zeller is well aware of the golden rule of interpretation: “When the plain sense of the scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.” Therefore, take every word at its primary, usual, meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and fundamental truths, clearly indicate otherwise."
    Thus the reason for my citing Rom 8:12-13 is that I believe that the plain sense and usual meanings of the words employed in this passage make it clear that believers can lose their salvation so a specific counterpoint to this specific passage would be helpful. Also Mr. Zeller does not account for Gal 1:6 where the Apostle Paul gives his account of believers whom Paul referred to as "called" - yet they were turning away from the gospel which they initially believed. Are we to infer or doubt that Paul was somehow mistaken and did not know what he was writing about when referring to those Galatian believers as called? Paul uses the same root word "kaleo" (called) in both Rom 8:30 and Gal 1:6. So if one claims that being called is an integral link in the unbroken chain of salvation in the Romans verse, then one would also have to explain how the same link appears to be broken in the Galatians verse.
    Paul in parallel fashion states the same thing in Col 1:21-23 where he references believers as those who have been reconciled (past tense), holy, blameless and above reproach "IF indeed you continue in the faith..." v.23. The construction of this verse indicates that the believer's state of reconciliation is dependent upon continuing in the faith. I think that Mr. Zeller would agree as perseverance is required. Our difference though is converse logic dictates that if a believer does not continue in the faith then he/she is no longer reconciled and is spiritually lost. Paul was certainly not referring to the unsaved in this passage so to claim that these were never believers in the first place would not be a credible argument in my opinion.

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  2. The false gospel of the Galatians was legalism, the teaching that keeping the law is necessary for salvation and also for sanctification.

    One option is to say that the person loses his salvation. This is contrary to scores of clear passages, as the paper demonstrates.

    One option is to say that the person is a true believer, but has backslidden, and is not living as a saved person. This is possible and is illustrated by Lot and Solomon and other Biblical examples.

    Another option is to realize that the person may never have been saved in the first place. Like scaffolding, it seems to be part of the true building but in time falls away. It was just a temporary attachment. - George Zeller

    I agree with George, and that's why I have put his comments on my blog. It sounds like you are trying to make the Scripture match up with your theology, rather than the other way around. To deny eternal security for the true believer, you would have to explain away many other verses, which is absurd. The best application to these Scriptures is eternal security of the believer, and I believe it is very clear and plain. And that is wonderful news!

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  3. Since you disagree with my interpretation, would you mind showing me exactly where my argumentation is off, based on the scriptural text? I have offered scriptural evidence in Rom 8:12-13 and Gal 1:6 as just 2 examples where the teaching of eternal security is directly refuted. But so far no one has specifically countered my interpretation. You claim that I have eisegeted these passages instead of exegeting them but in what way may I ask? I think I have explained what the plain wording of these texts mean. If you disagree, show me where in the text itself. One cannot simply ignore them and pretend like they don't exist as we know that scripture cannot contradict scripture. Either these verses and others like them must somehow be reconciled to fit with our present understanding or we must change our understanding to accommodate the truth of what they state. If you think these verses are "absurd" because they do not fit within your theology then the onus is on you to explain why these verses don't mean what I claim them to mean. Iron sharpens iron.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that iron sharpens iron, and also agree that we have to take in the whole counsel of God. If verses seem to contradict themselves, we have to dig deeper to make sure we are interpreting them correctly, to find out why the apparent contradiction. Either the Scripture teaches eternal security or it does not. I did a little research during my lunch today to get some background info on these two passages. To start out, I'm going to type out the verses in question. First, let's start with Romans 8:12-13:
      "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." In context, it's talking about the carnally minded vs. spiritually minded believer in the earlier verses of the chapter.

      I looked up two sources for some background info, taking that entire passage in context. According to Halley's Bible Handbook, pg. 588, this passage is talking about our obligation to the Spirit. "Walking after the Spirit means that while depending wholly and implicitly on Christ for our salvation, we still struggle to the utmost to live up to His law. Paul is explicitly explicit that the Grace of Christ does not release us from doing everything in our power to live right. Walking after the flesh means giving ourselves to the gratification of our fleshly desires."

      Vs. 10 says, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." If we are living a carnal life, or one that is of the world's system, according to our lusts, then we are feeding the body, rather than the Spirit. Vs. 11 says, " But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." That leads us to our verses above, that we are to mortify the flesh, or put to death these fleshly desires and live unto God. This in context does not talk about losing your salvation, but rather being a productive, viable child of God, living in the power of the Holy Spirit, not inactive because we are living according to the flesh, defeated, lacking victory in our spiritual walk with the Lord. That is my take on it.

      According to the New Unger's Bible Handbook, in context of vs. 5-25 of Romans 8, here is what it says on p. 482: "The New Victory. The Holy Spirit takes over the conflict with sin, 5-13. The combatants are the 'sinful nature' and the 'Spirit'. The Spirit supplants the 'I' of ch. 7, and victory instead of defeat is the result. Proof is abundant that true sanctification is by grace through faith (6:1-11) which brings the power of the Spirit in victorious operation against the 'sinful nature', i.e., sin working through the human body. The new victory brings also a new realization of sonship, 14-17. Not only does the believer become a child by birth, but a son by adoption (cf. Gal. 4:5), with mature status and full legal rights; with guidance, 14; full family fellowship, 15; assurance, 16; heirship and stamina to suffer, 17 in view of coming glory, 18-25." So that's some more info on that passage. If anything, this is a beautiful example of the security we have in Christ, not that he would toss us out because of our sin, but an urgency to live in the Spirit. I'm going to answer you about Gal. 1:6 in another reply, as this is getting long.

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    2. As far as Gal. 1:6, I did find some interesting background information on this passage. According to Halley's Bible Handbook, pg. 609, "To discredit Paul in the eyes of the Galatians, the Judaizers, it seems, were saying that Paul was not an original Apostle and that he derived his teaching from the Twelve. This may supply the background for his passionate vindication of himself as an independent Apostle. He got his Gospel direct from God, and there is no other Gospel."

      Let's get the verse with its context. Here is Galatians 1:6-10: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."

      According to the New Ungers Bible Handbook on pg. 514, "The apostle is astounded or amazed that his converts in Galatia have been so quickly changed over to or transferred from the gospel of free grace to 'a different [heteros in Greek] gospel - which is really no gospel at all (allos in Greek, of the same kind; but hetero dox, not of the same class or category). It is a false gospel and hence not the gospel at all, only a perversion of it, 7. Here for all time Paul finalizes and fixes the true gospel of redeeming grace from any admixture of legalism or human works, 8-9."

      So it's refuting a "gospel" that would teach salvation is dependent on works, vs. dependent on the grace of God, which again, confirms eternal security because it's not based on our works but on Christ's work, who died once for all. He'd have to die over and over again if we could lose our salvation, and Paul says, "God forbid."

      1 Peter 3:18: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"

      Romans 6:6-11: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

      This link appears to have a great outline about Hebrews 6:4-6. I didn't have time to read it all, but you might find it interesting: http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/heb6v4-6warningsagainstcrucifyingchristagain.html.

      I hope this helps!

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    3. Thank you for your reasoned replies to my questions. I'll respond to your paragraphs in order:
      Haley's p.588 - I don't find anything here that I would disagree with. "Walking after the flesh means giving ourselves to the gratification of our fleshly desires." I agree with this definition.

      Vss. 10-11 - I also have no disagreement with what you've written here.

      Unger p. 482 - the problem that I see with citing Unger here is that the quote does not specifically deal with verse 13. You and I both agree that walking after the flesh means "giving ourselves to the gratification of our fleshly desires." You also correctly distinguish between the carnally minded believer and the spiritually minded believer. If I were to insert your definitions into Rom 8:13 this is what it would look like: "For if ye [carnally minded believer] live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye [spiritually minded believer] through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

      So aren't you in effect agreeing with me that those believers who are carnally minded and continue to walk/live after the flesh face will die; i.e. face spiritual death?

      Regarding the Gal 1:6 verse, I think you have missed the point and Unger's doesn't address it either.. Yes, it is very true that these people were turning to a different gospel. But the pertinent question is - just who were these people? Paul references these Galatians as "called" - a scriptural term that is only reserved for those who have been predestined and justified - in other words believers. They not only turned To another gospel but they turned FROM him/were removed FROM him in v.6. One cannot turn from Christ unless he/she had been following Christ in the first place. That is why Paul is amazed because in turning to a different gospel, these believers are deserting or removing themselves from Christ. That is why I believe this verse contradicts eternal security because it is believers who are deserting Christ - not unbelievers. They are the "called" ones.

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    4. Thanks for your response. I'm going to start my reply addressing Gal. 1:6. Where you and I differ is in our conclusion. I don't see this passage saying that they are no longer saved, but that they are being deceived. We see that believers can be deceived in Revelation. When speaking to the Laodicean church, it says, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Rev. 3:17). They were blinded by their wealth, God considered them wretched and miserable and poor and naked! It says nothing about them losing their salvation, but they clearly were not living what God considered a separated, abundant life for Christ. I love the expression by Sumner Wemp: "So many Christians live subnormal lives, that when a Christian lives a normal Christian life, everyone thinks they're abnormal!" Isn't that the truth? So anyway, I believe that people can be misled, even when a Christian. We have to be very careful about false prophets. John warned against deceivers in 2 John. He's speaking to the elect. He rejoiced they were walking in truth in vs. 4. In vs. 7-11, he states, "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh [a false gospel]. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought [or literally, worked for], but that we receive a full reward [Christians can lose their crowns and their rewards, but no where do I see in Scripture that someone could lose their salvation; works will be burned up, and only those things that we do that have eternal value, not wood, hay and stubble, but silver and precious stones, will be saved, but so a by fire. 1 Cor. 3:15: "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." Our salvation experience is considered a precious stone that will not be burned up]. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son [this is a test to see if someone is a false teacher or not. 1 John 2:21-23a: "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father"]. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: for he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds." God takes false doctrines and false prophets very seriously, and we are to avoid them. I believe that is the essence of Gal. 1:6.

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    5. As far as the Rom. 8 passage, I looked up the word "die" in my Stongs Concordance, because I think that is what is going to show us the intent of the passage, if we are spiritually dying and separated from God forever, or if it has to do with our works for the Lord as a believer, being dead as in nonproductive. I do believe that there are many Christians that unfortunately the Lord has to "put on the shelf" because they aren't doing a blessed thing for the kingdom, but are so backslidden that they are quenching the Spirit, and not hearing the voice of the Lord anymore. A true believer will feel convicted when doing wrong. If they can do wrong and not have a heavy feeling of guilt and conviction, which is the Spirit guiding and directing them back to Christ and to do what's right, then they don't know the voice of God, and are not saved. But the Bible also says we can sear our conscience and ignore that conviction for so long and get in the world so deeply that we aren't sensitive to His voice. That's a sad state for the believer. That's why God calls us to be set apart from the world and to listen to that still, small voice of God.

      Anyway, back to the word "die" in Rom. 8:13. I looked it up, and the Greek word is apothnesko, which means "to die off (lit. or fig.): - be dead, death, die, like a-dying, be slain (x with)." So it can mean die figuratively. I am comfortable with that interpretation based on the context and the many other Scriptures that support eternal security, being sealed unto the day of redemption.

      I wrote a song for my album I'm working on, "Sold Out", based on George's outline. This sums up the points of his article, just to review. I hope this study has helped answer your questions.

      You’re Saved Forevermore
      By Dawn Foss 4/17/15
      Based on an outline by George Zeller 4/15/15


      Chorus:
      It’s absurd to doubt His Word,
      You are secure in Christ,
      You’re not under the curse anymore.
      God will not undo
      What He has promised you,
      Praise the Lord! You’re saved forevermore!

      Verse 1:
      If you could lose your salvation
      That means God would cancel out
      All the promises He once made to you.
      He’d unseal you, unredeem you,
      Unjustify you, cast you out,
      You’d be unwashed, unbaptized by the Holy Ghost.

      It means you’d perish once again,
      God would leave you and forsake you,
      You’d forfeit the gift of eternal life.
      You’d be unchosen, amputated from the body of Christ,
      No longer part of His glorious bride.

      Verse 2:
      You’d be a sheep let go from the fold,
      Christ would not complete His great work in you.
      You’d be plucked out of God’s hand, unborn, disowned.
      You who passed from death to life would then pass from life to death,
      Your sins would be remembered once more.

      You’d have no hope of resurrection
      No longer be a child of the King.
      The Holy Spirit would leave you comfortless;
      You’d be separated from God’s love, Christ would no more intercede,
      Rich now poor, cursed who once was blessed.

      Bridge:
      You’d be under God’s judgment,
      Turned from a sheep to a goat,
      God who was for you would now be against you.
      Once adopted, now illegitimate,
      Once a stone in God’s building,
      From the wall you’d now be removed.

      Verse 3:
      You’d be sick who was healed,
      Again a child of wrath,
      Unconformed in the image of His dear Son,
      Untransformed, disinherited, unkept, allowed to fall,
      Reservation and inheritance gone.

      Stripped of your status, thrown back in the dark,
      Given back to Satan’s power,
      No longer a citizen, unforgiven, unsanctified.
      A new creature uncreated, alienated, again at fault.
      Now deadened who was quickened with life.

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  4. By the way, I would like to recommend my newly released book, "Fully Persuaded." It's a heart-felt book that will help you defend your faith and feel more confident in your beliefs. I use a lot of great resources. Even though it's 500 pages, it's an easy read. It's available at Tate Publishing or amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Fully-Persuaded-Dawn-Foss/dp/1632688875).

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  5. So just to make sure I understand your interpretation regarding Rom 8:13. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that Paul is addressing Christians and warns them that they can "die figuratively" if they continue to walk according to the flesh. I assume you don't mean physical death because you reference figurative death. I am also assuming that by "die figuratively" you don't mean spiritual death or eternal separation from God because that would contradict your belief in eternal security. So correct me if I'm wrong but are you saying that "die" means backslidden Christians who are "put on the shelf" as you described in your opening paragraph?

    If that is your interpretation, then I believe you are incorrect. As you know, we must allow scripture to interpret scripture and when "die" or "death" is referenced in the Bible we know that it always either refers to spiritual death or physical death. It never means someone whom has"put on the shelf" to use your definition. We must be careful to not insert our own personal definition into the Biblical text in order to support our view, but must always rely on the scriptural definition to inform our view. Having said that, other than physical death we know that the Bible defines die or death as in dying to ourselves or spiritual death. A few familiar examples being "I die daily," "for the wages of sin is death" and "he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death." Therefore when Paul warns that those believers who continue to live according the flesh will die, we can be absolutely certain that he is warning about spiritual death and becoming separated from God - not being "put on the shelf" as you would prefer.

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    1. Are you suggesting that when Paul says, "I die daily", that he is referring to spiritual or physical death? Dying to self means that we put aside the fleshly desires and worldly lusts to follow Christ.

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    2. "Die daily" in the context of 1 Cor 15:31 is equivalent to mortifying one's fleshly desires; or in plain terms "stop sinning" as Paul further writes in 1 Cor 15:34. IF we (believers) don't mortify the deeds of the body and die to self, but instead choose to habitually seek after fleshly desires and worldly lusts, we will die (spiritual death) according to Rom 8:13.

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  6. Regarding the Gal 1:6 scripture. I concur with you that Christians can be deceived and these Galatian Christians were indeed being deceived by turning to another gospel as Paul clearly states. However, you seem to miss my reason in citing Gal 1:6 and I apologize for perhaps not stating my point clearer. My point is that those who hold to the Reformed view give great emphasis to their belief that salvation is an unbreakable chain as you entitled your blog post. To those whom God predestined, he called, he justified and he glorified according Rom 8:30. Thus, some such as yourself claim it is a done deal since this chain cannot be broken. I think you would agree that each and every link in this chain must remain intact and unbroken in order that our salvation remain assured and secure. However, if it can be demonstrated that there is a "break" in the chain, then logic dictates that the belief that the chain is unbreakable and our salvation is eternally secured is a false claim.

    Hence my citation of Gal 1:6. I previously stated that Paul's use of the Greek word "kaleo" in Rom 8:30 is the very same word that he uses in Gal 1:6. Kaleo means to call or summon. In Gal 1:6 however I pointed out that these Galatian Christians, who despite being CALLED, were DESERTING Christ and being REMOVED from Him. Using your theology, it is impossible for a Christian who has been called, to ever depart from God as the chain cannot be broken. Yet the apostle Paul clearly refers here to Galatian Christians who had been called - but despite being called - they deserted Christ in order to follow another gospel. Your theology dictates that this is an impossibility; yet, Paul clearly testifies that this was an actual event. Gal 1:6 demonstrates that these Christians were not eternally secure because they chose to follow another gospel and were thus removed from Christ despite already being called by Him. Are we somehow over 2,000 years later, in a better position to doubt or second guess Paul? Did Paul not know what he is talking about? Was Paul deceived? In order for me to hold to your theological view, it would force me to doubt the veracity of Paul's testimony and that is something that I cannot do.

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    1. No, unlike Joel Olsteen, I do not think I know better than Paul or Jesus, or any of the writers of the Bible! LOL! I looked up the Greek word for "removed" from Gal. 1:6, and as you had noted before, it comes from the Greek word "yqeda (Chald.), from yqad; a conflagration: burning." I looked up conflagration, and it means, "fire, blaze, inferno." That does sound stronger a meaning than I thought. In that case, in order to be consistent with Scripture, that must mean that people in the church who are not yet saved are believing false teachings rather than the truths they were presented, and are leaving the church that is teaching truth, and ultimately ending up unsaved, and going to Hell. That is the best explanation, to be consistent with the rest of Paul's teachings. You have to compare Scripture with Scripture, because Scripture can easily be taken out of context when isolated. While God calls us, we still do have free will to be saved or not saved. Just as with Jesus' parable of the seed and the sower, some seed falls on good ground, but some on thorny, and some the birds eat up and take away from the good ground. I hold strongly to the doctrine of eternal security, or else I would be calling God a liar, based on the other Scriptures (see the original post about eternal security).

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    2. "...that must mean that people in the church who are not yet saved are believing false teachings rather than the truths they were presented, and are leaving the church that is teaching truth, and ultimately ending up unsaved, and going to Hell. That is the best explanation, to be consistent with the rest of Paul's teachings."

      Respectfully; do you not notice the discrepancy in your thinking? Based on your quote above, it appears that you are claiming that the Galatian believers in Gal 1:6 "are not yet saved." How can you maintain your view when the verse specifically states that they were "CALLED?" Called as scripturally defined means those who are chosen, elect, justified - in other words a true believer. Therefore the Galatian believers that Paul referred to in v.6 were true believers because he referred to them as "called." If those people were "not yet saved" as you claim, then you would also have to claim that Paul was wrong to refer to them as called. The term "called" as used in Gal 1:6 has the same exact meaning as "called" as used in Rom 8:30. So if Rom 8:30 refers to a saved person which I'm sure you agree with, then to be hermeneutically consistent, Gal 1:6 also has to refer to a saved person. There is no other way around it; otherwise to maintain your view, you create a conundrum for yourself.

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    3. I consulted with a Bible scholar, and this is the reply, which might help to clear things up a bit.

      He referenced William MacDonald's BELIEVERS BIBLE COMMENTARY.

      On Rom. 8:13 he says, Those who live according to the flesh must die, not only physically but eternally. To live according to the flesh is to be unsaved. This is made clear in 8:4-5. But why does Paul address this to those who were already Christians? Does he imply that some of them might eventually be lost? No, but the apostle often includes words of warning and self-examination in his Letters, realizing that in every congregation there may be some people who have never been genuinely born again. The rest of the verse describes what is characteristically true of genuine believers. By the enablement of the Holy Spirit they put to death the deeds of the body. They enjoy eternal life now, and will enter into life in its fullness when they leave this earth.

      Some understand verse 13 as God chastening His believers who walk in the flesh by taking them home to heaven (die prematurely, as in 1 Cor. 11:30).

      But consider the interpretation from those who believe that you can lose your salvation.

      Here is a believer who is saved, but then at some later time he starts living in the flesh, and because of this sinful way of living, he will lose his salvation, he will forfeit eternal life and he will perish forever in hell.

      But if God gave Him eternal life (John 10:28), then how can he lose it? Is God a giver of a precious gift, the most precious gift of all (Rom. 6:23), something we have not earned, only to take it back because we didn't live up to the law? Where's the grace? That's a works-based salvation. And how can he perish forever in hell if Jesus Christ promised him that he would never perish (John 10:28: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.")? Is Christ a liar? Are the promises of Christ not valid? John 10:28 translated literally from the Greek says, "They (His sheep) shall never, ever perish, no not ever" or "Forever they will never, ever perish."

      And how can one of Christ's true sheep die and perish forever? Doesn't the Shepherd keep His sheep? Does His true sheep end up being a goat?

      When we are saved a person passes from death to life (out of death, into life)--John 5:24, but according to this view of Rom. 8:23 a person would pass from death to life and then later from life back to death. Where does the Bible ever teach that such a thing is ever possible? Indeed, it teaches very clearly that the true believer will never die (John 11:26: "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"; also John 8:52). If Christ said in two places that the true believer will never die, then certainly Paul did not contradict this in Romans 8:13. There is no way that this passage can contradict the clear teaching of Jesus Christ and make His promise of John 10:28 of no effect.

      And the very next verse, Romans 8:14, clearly teaches that those who are true believers (the sons of God) are those who are led by the Spirit. They are not those who live habitually after the flesh. In fact, Paul clearly teaches elsewhere that those who live habitually after the flesh will not inherit the kingdom (Gal. 5:19-21). Their walk reveals their true spiritual state.

      As for Gal. 1:6, most of the Galatians (though probably not all) were saved people but they were being influenced by legalists who were preaching a false gospel and who were teaching that a person must keep the law of Moses to be saved and must keep the law of Moses to be sanctified (to live a holy life). Paul warned them that this was a major departure from the true gospel of the grace of God. But nowhere in Galatians 1 does it say anything about a true believer losing his salvation.

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    4. In other words, we will just keep going round and round on this. There is no way that the Bible would contradict itself, and that is what you are suggesting by your interpretation of those verses. Christians who have truly repented of their sins and trusted Christ for the free gift of salvation will never perish. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Everlasting has no end. If someone could die after claiming this precious gift, then it does have an end. And that would contradict many, many passages of Scripture, so is untrue. I am a proclaimer of truth. I stand boldly and confidently on the eternal security of the believer in Christ. I know my Savior's voice, and I know a false doctrine when I hear it, and that is what you are believing. It goes along with Satan's words to Eve in Genesis 3:1: "Hath God said?" Listen to what God has said over and over in Scripture, take it in context, and it will become clear.

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  7. Whether one consults a scholar or a commentary, you would agree that context must be adhered to; yet in your reply, context is not even considered. The scholar claims that the "unsaved" are being addressed in v.13. I’ll give you 3 reasons why this is incorrect. 1) In v.12 Paul explicitly states that he is writing to the BRETHREN. 2) Paul uses the personal pronoun “we” to identify and include himself in this group of saved people. 3) Only Christians alone can be said to be "debtors, not to the flesh." The unsaved on the other hand are certainly debtors to the flesh - so it is very apparent that Paul is not writing to the unsaved so how can the "scholar" make this unsubstantiated claim? He ignores the plain wording of v.12. He also fails to take into consideration that in v.13, only believers have a choice as to whether to choose to live according to the flesh or to choose to put to death the deeds of the body - to live carnally or to put off the carnal man and live in obedience to the Spirit. The unsaved have no such choice available to them as they are unregenerate; incapable of putting to death the deeds of the body and remain dead in their sins. The unsaved are incapable of choosing to live according to the Spirit. As I wrote earlier, one must have spiritual life in order to be in danger of spiritual death. You cannot threaten a spiritually dead person with spiritual death. Such a person is already dead. Thus it must be concluded that these are regenerate brethren who are being warned of spiritual death.

    You also say that v.13 means believers who walk in the flesh will die prematurely. That does not make much sense as everyone eventually dies physically, prematurely or not prematurely; irrespective of how we choose to live our lives.

    You cite Jn 10:28 but somehow overlook the fact that eternal life is only promised to those sheep who hear and follow in v.27 - in other words obedience is required. Eternal life is never promised to sheep who remain disobedient. You have lifted this passage out of context. But since you brought up the subject of sheep, let me answer your question: "Doesn't the Shepherd keep His sheep?" Yes, the shepherd does indeed keep his sheep - PROVIDED that they REPENT. Surely God does not give his grace so that we may go on sinning. In Lk 15 the shepherd seeks after the one lost sheep. When does he find his lost sheep? The answer is when the sinner repents in v.7. If you object, and claim this sinner wasn't a believer in the first place you would be incorrect as this one lost sheep was part of the flock of "ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" - indicating saved people. Thus the sheep was part of the saved flock – became lost because of sin – repented and as a result was found by the shepherd.

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    1. You are clearly confusing someone who is backslidden with someone who is losing their salvation. We as Christians have to daily confess our sins to God. We sin every day because we are still in this flesh until we get to our glorified bodies. The Shepherd sought his backslidden sheep. That sheep did not lose his salvation.

      Nowhere does it say spiritual death. You are reading into that. God knows the day and the hour when we will die, and yes, I believe that a Christian can get into so much sin that he will die physically because of his sinful lifestyle. There is the perfect will of God and the permissive will of God. That might not have been God's perfect will, but that person got into sin and in with the wrong crowd and died of drug overdose, for example. The consequences of our sin still affect us. We have free will. If we are living in the flesh, it is taking us down that road, and yes, God could allow that to happen.

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    2. Again, we must stick to the scriptural terms and allow scripture to define itself. No where in the entire Bible do we find the term "backslidden." It is a contrived term by man totally absent from the Biblical text. However the Bible frequently employs the term "lost" which either refers to being physically lost or spiritually lost (unsaved). Lost never means backslidden in the Bible. Your reply shows a total disregard for the text. Jesus told this parable to teach a spiritual truth via a familiar physical reality amongst his listeners. People knew that sheep were prone to getting lost and a good shepherd worth his salt would go out to find his lost sheep. Besides its physical meaning lost has a spiritual meaning as well, such as in unsaved, spiritually dead, etc. So I am astonished that you claim that "nowhere does it say spiritual death." It doesn't say "spiritual death" precisely because lost means spiritual death. Wasn't that mission of Christ and of us to seek and save the LOST (unsaved)? Also, for you to say that "a Christian can get into so much sin that he will die physically because of his sinful lifestyle" makes no sense at all as every single person (Christian or non-Christian) dies physically - irrespective of our our lifestyles. You are inserting your own personal interpretation into the text.
      As for the text, what does it actually say? The one sheep became lost from the flock of the other 99. Were these 99 saved believers? The answer is yes because the verse says they were righteous and who need no repentance. They already belonged to Him. What about the lost one - was he saved to begin with? The answer is clearly yes he was saved because he once belonged to the same flock numbering 100. He became lost when he strayed from the Shepherd. How did the Shepherd find him? Answer: when this sinner REPENTED in v.7. Therefore, Christians who live in unrepentant sin are lost; not "backslidden" and if they remain unrepentant they remain lost and will spiritually die having no salvation. That is the simple and plain meaning of this passage and I think for you to deny it is to deny the obvious. Like I said, I used to believe as you do - in fact I once thought this passage applied to nonbelievers as I thought that Jesus was searching for the lost non-Christian. Years later, much to my chagrin, I noticed the text doesn't support that.

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  8. Regarding Gal 1:6 your explanations don't match with the text. You stretch the meaning in order to hold on your doctrine. You claim that these believers were not losing their salvation. Allow me ask you a question. What does it mean to be "removed from him" or to "desert him"? What does it mean to "turn unto another gospel"? And if you did that - would you still consider yourself to be saved? To claim that this doesn't mean loss of salvation goes against the plain meaning of this verse. This is called apostasy and only believers, not unbelievers, can be guilty of apostasy. The Bible plainly says if we disown him, he will also disown us (2 Tim 2:12). To claim that these Galatian believers were not losing their salvation is to claim that those who apostatize do not lose their salvation. That simply does not make sense. If you turn from the true gospel to follow the beast; take his mark would you still consider yourself saved? If Christians in the Middle East yield to their Islamic captors turn to the message of Islam and desert Christ, would you still consider them saved? In addition you have not explained how you can maintain that Rom 8:30 refers to those who are “called” the elect and saved, but somehow the “called” in Gal 1:6 refers to the unsaved, so in doing so you clearly contradict yourself.

    You assert that the Bible “teaches very clearly that the true believer will never die (John 11:26).” Yet again like in Jn 10 :28, the very verse you use actually teaches the opposite of what you claim. This verse states whoever LIVES and BELIEVES. Two conditions are required – living and believing in Him – not just believing. To live in Him means abiding in Him. If one does not abide in Christ and live according to the flesh, then spiritual death is the result which is perfectly consistent with Rom 8:13. Everlasting life is only promised to those who obey Christ - never promised to Christians who disobey and live in habitual sin. To claim otherwise is to contradict Heb 5:9 - "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him." Your claim that this is “works based” salvation is a red herring argument. We are not to work FOR our salvation with fear and trembling. Rather, the scripture states we are to work OUT our salvation with fear and trembling – a big difference which you fail to distinguish.

    You are right when you say we can keep going round and round on this. You have much riding on this especially since you have a blog and have written books based on your theological stance. But consider this. If I am incorrect, what negative consequence would there be as a result of my belief? The result would be living an obedient lifestyle in following the Lord. On the other hand if you are incorrect, what negative consequence might there be? The biggest negative would be Christians who believe that they are secure in their salvation but may not in fact be secure due to chronic sin in their lives and have a false sense of assurance – the result being spiritual death. I can afford to be wrong but the risk is far too great for you to be wrong since you teach that. I do commend you however for engaging in polite and sincere discussion. I once believed as you do and it actually took me years to change my view on this subject. It was harder for me to unlearn things than to learn things after believing a certain way after so many years as we tend to be creatures of habit and comfort.

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    1. 2 Timothy 2:12: "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:" That doesn't say disown.You have some truth and some error in your reasoning, but yes, people have to repent and turn to God in obedience to be saved. If someone, for example, was in a church, professed Christ (but not possessed Christ), taught Sunday School, fellowshipped with believers, etc., and then turned Hindu, for example (a works based, non-Christ religion), I would seriously doubt that they were ever saved in the first place. How could someone who tasted of the gift of God, took salvation by faith by grace, had the Holy Spirit, and then converted to a works based religion, and not be miserable from the convicting of the Holy Ghost? Answer: it wouldn't happen. They would either fight the conviction of the Spirit and disobey and quench the Holy Spirit, or if they could do it easily, then they never possessed Christ, and were never truly saved. People might deny Christ when being threatened with death, but they might not mean it. But it's forced on them, and for the sakes of their lives or their children's lives they might lie, but still many would rather die than make that statement, which would be a lie if they were truly saved. I don't believe even if a Christian murdered someone that they would lose their salvation. I believe that if truly saved, the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sin toward repentance, but Christians can get so far into the world that they can keep ignoring that. Remember Moses and David were guilty of murder.

      If feeling no conviction by the Holy Spirit, then they were never saved. Yes, we work out our salvation, but not work for our salvation, and we cannot lose our salvation. But we need to grow and mature and develop into vessels that are pleasing to God. We will mess up, and the Holy Spirit will guide us into repentance so we can keep that close fellowship with the Lord and have a right relationship with God. Would you disown your child because they disobeyed you? That's nonsense! Remember, the prodigal son did not lose his family status. We are human, and Satan will use all his tricks to try to make us useless for the Kingdom of God. Since he cannot take our souls, he can at least make us fruitless. He is a real enemy and that's why we are warned that we have to be vigilant, as Satan would like to devour us. That doesn't mean we will lose our salvation. But we can lose our salt, our light. That's something we need to DAILY (I die daily) renew with the Lord, confessing our sins and recommitting our lives to Him to walk in the light, as He is in the light.

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    2. I also appreciate the debate. I can see you really believe what you believe, but I do fervently disagree with you. My goal as a Christian is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ with my life. Thankfully, if I have a bad day and am selfish, overindulge (the holidays were a bad time for calories!), watch something that I knew I shouldn't have watched, was unkind to someone, I will have conviction in my heart that I can either deal with or ignore, bringing me closer to God or farther away. I confess my sins often because I don't want to "sear" my conscience, I don't want a life too cluttered or else I might miss that still small voice of God in my ear. I make things right with others I have mistreated, and then feel that closeness again. God never moves, it's us that move and when we draw nearer to Him, He will embrace us, like a hug, but I do not see within the context of Scripture where we are disowned from God's family, then owned again, disowned, owned again. But our relationship is an ongoing thing, just as with a parent and child. God loves us thankfully, even though we are not worthy EVER, even with all the obedience in the world! It's by HIS grace ALONE that we are saved, and we are always going to be undeserving. However, we can show God how much we love Him by our obedience ("if you love me, keep my commandments"), but we can never lose or gain more of His love. And that's the true meaning of grace.

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  9. Too bad we can't have a good face to face conversation as these internet discussions often end up in going in circles. I respect the cordial nature of your replies but if we were talking in person I would continue to press you on Rom 8:12-13 and also how you can differ on your definition of "called" in Rom 8:30 and Gal 1:6. I have responded to your replies regarding those verses but you have not offered additional counterpoint. Do you still agree with the scholar that v.13 refers to an unsaved person despite what v.12 says? And regarding Gal 1:6, we know that Reformed theology teaches that God’s calling is "effectual" - that it always achieves its goal of bringing the lost individual to salvation without exception. Therefore when you claim that "most of the Galatians (though probably not all) were saved people" you contradict your your own Reformed theology. I think this is something that you will have to further reflect on as one cannot have it both ways. It puts a gaping hole in the Calvinist paradigm.

    Regarding your claim as to 2 Tim 2:12 - that there is truth and error in my reasoning and the verse "doesn't say disown." Actually - the verse does say disown as one of the meanings of arneomai is "disown" so again you must pay attention to what the text actually means rather then what you think it means.
    ἀρνέομαι (arneomai)
    Strong: G720
    GK: G766
    to deny, disclaim, disown, Mt. 10:33; to renounce, Tit. 2:12; to decline, refuse, Heb. 11:24; absol. to deny, contradict, Lk. 8:15
    Therefore, 2 Tim2:12 clearly declares that if we deny/disown Him, He also will deny/disown us. Calvinists don't like the simple and plain meaning of Scripture because it inconveniently interferes with their theology.

    It is wonderful however to hear of you walking with the Lord and abiding in him. Your obedience does indeed demonstrate that your are his child. You have his assurance because 1 John 2:5-6 states: "This is how we know we are IN HIM: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." However, for other believers who are not abiding in Christ and knowingly practicing sin in their lives, can you really claim that they are still IN HIM? I hope that you agree that this would be an absurd conclusion.
    1 Jn 3:9 further states: "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." Compare this verse to 1 Jn 3:8: "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning..."
    John's message is perfectly consistent with Paul's message which should not surprise us since the Word does not contradict itself. Paul wrote if a Christian lives according to the flesh, he will die. John wrote if a Christian practices sin he is of the devil - he is no longer a child of God. If one turns from his/her sins and repents, God is always gracious to forgive. His grace is abundantly available to those of contrite heart and spirit. No where in the entire OT and NT is his grace ever applied to those who stubbornly refuse to repent. I think that is where you confuse the meaning of grace.

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    1. First of all, please let me clarify: I am not Calvinistic, and really technically not Reformed, although I love R.C. Sproul! I am a fundamental, independent, Bible Believing Baptist!

      There is saving faith, and there is serving faith. This is where you and I disagree, because you think you are losing your salvation with every sin, and then repenting and gaining that gift of salvation back again, that God's grace will always take you back. What you are in essence believing is exactly what Paul warned against in Gal. 1:6: "the other gospel!" A works based salvation. Think this through: if you are repenting for the first time and getting saved by grace through faith in Christ, then losing your salvation by your sin, and gaining it back by your repentance and maintaining it by your good works, who's doing some of the work here? You! You're in the driver's seat! Obeying the law is what is required for salvation, by your theology. When Jesus died for your sins, it included past, present and future sins. He died once for all, and your salvation is once for all. Your confession of sin is throughout each day, but that affects your walk, not your status in Christ's kingdom. That is where our theologies differ, is in interpreting these Scriptures. We will truly just keep going round and round in this. You are pulling verses out of context and not taking in the whole counsel of God, Old and New Testaments. Jesus is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is not in the character of God to save someone, and then they sin and He says, "You are banned from my kingdom, if you die today you are going to burn in hellfire for eternity! HA! Get out! You are no longer My child, you wicked sinner!" OF COURSE we are wicked sinners, you and I both! Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, the Bible says! There is none that doeth good, no not one! So do not be self-righteous! Don't be a pharisee, and I mean that in love. The law is our schoolmaster, to show us that we cannot ever meet God's standard. It is ONLY through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we are saved, we are kept, we are sealed. We do not seal ourselves, we do not keep ourselves, we do not save ourselves - this is God's job, and to claim that it is your job is a false gospel, claiming you have to do something to earn your salvation and your status in Christ's kingdom.

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  10. Forgive me for assuming you were a Calvinist but whether you know it or not, your beliefs and arguments mirror Reformed theology. You claim that I believe: "you think you are losing your salvation with every sin, and then repenting and gaining that gift of salvation back again...." I don't know where you got that idea as I never wrote or even implied such a belief. I categorically reject the idea that one loses one's salvation with every sin. I specifically wrote and have always maintained that when a Christian refuses to repent and continues to engage in habitual sin or practices sin, then he/she is in danger of spiritual death or loss of salvation. One does not lose their salvation over occasional sins. Your argument is a red herring and it would be disingenuous of you to maintain that I believe that one loses one's salvation with every sin and gets it back again when one repents.

    You claim that I pull verses out of context. I have responded to each of your claims with scriptural back up and show you how they are not out of context but you don't even reply, so does that mean you agree with me or you don't know how to respond? When I pointed out your errors in Jn 10:28 and 2 Tim 2:12 did you agree or disagree? I am still waiting for your answer as to whether you still believe Rom 8:12 refers to unbelievers and how "called" can mean saved in Rom 8:30 but "unsaved" in Gal 1:6. You can speculate at length about what it means to be saved but if you're unwilling to deal with verses that appear to contradict your view then your position is weakened at best; unsupportable at worst.

    But since you and I have differing views what the true gospel message entails regarding salvation, let's allow the apostle Paul to describe in his own words the gospel message that he himself preached and see whether your belief or my belief most closely resembles what Paul preached:
    "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and DEMONSTRATE their REPENTANCE by their DEEDS" (Acts 26:20).
    As I wrote before, works is the evidence of salvation; works demonstrate that we have truly repented. Faith without works is a dead faith. Based on what Paul described as the gospel message that he preached in Acts 26:20, I submit that my belief reflects Paul's message as opposed to yours.

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    1. Let's go back to Gal. 1:6. I made a mistake when I looked up the word "removed." I was in the Hebrew and not the Greek part of the book (I have a hard copy of Strong's Concordance). Now it makes more sense than "burning"! The Greek word is metatithemi, which means to transfer, change sides, carry over, remove, translate, turn, pervert. Christians can absolutely turn to another religion or belief system or false doctrine. We are continually being charged to be careful of deceit and false prophets. In context of Galatians, Paul was warning them of false gospels, which taught a works based salvation. Chapter 2:15-21 talks about how justification is not of the law. Gal. 2:21: "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." There is no evidence in Gal. 1:6 that people are losing their salvation, but rather that they are being pulled away by false gospels, and believers are urged to stay away from anything that would promote anything other than salvation by grace through faith. Our works are demonstrated after we are saved, but are not at all determinate of our eternal destiny.

      2 Timothy 2:12 and John 10:28: I clearly disagree with you. John 10:28 speaks for itself. 2 Timothy 2:12 - let's take it in context. Paul is talking about how we need to avoid being entangled with the world, but endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, laboring, suffering, enduring for the cause of Christ. In vs. 11-13, it says, "It is a faithful saying: For, if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 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." It goes on to say we need to study the Bible with diligence to show ourselves approved unto God, and goes on with advice on personal conduct and relationships. So even if we stop believing, it is Christ who remains faithful. If we deny Christ in our lives (and while yes, if someone denies him and never gets saved, Jesus will say He never knew them, and they will perish, but I believe this is talking about Christians because he says "we", which would include Paul), our relationships and conduct, He will deny us, will deny us blessings and favor as we have damaged our fellowship with Him. Just like if your son or daughter disobeys you or shames the family, you will deny them privileges. Your sin could cause prayers not to be answered (see 1 Peter 3:7). Punishment to someone disobedient in the church or in God's family always has a goal of restoration. If we are to shun someone because of their sin, they do not lose their salvation, but are punished with the hope that they will miss the fellowship and desire to repent and come back in right relationship.

      Peter denied Christ 3 times. He did not have to get saved 3 times.

      Going back to Romans 8:12-13, he is clearly speaking to the brethren, or Christians (vs. 12). The whole context of this passage is to mortify the deeds of the body. The word for die, as was discussed earlier, can be taken literally or figuratively. But either way you want to interpret it, it doesn't create a problem. If you want to take it literally, I would accept that. Christians do die, there is a sin unto death, and is a natural consequence of our sin, to physically die possibly before we were meant to die because of our foolish choices. Man has free will. If you take it figuratively, that I would also accept, that we can become fruitless, and the quality of our life could be "dead" due to the consequences of our sin. Nowhere in these verses or in the context does it talk about death in Hell.

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    2. Yes, when we are saved we need to obey God and put "feet to our faith." But this involves serving faith and not saving faith. Saving faith is secure in Christ. He died once, we are saved once. Our relationship, however, requires we die daily to self, live a separated spiritual life, and we need to confess our sins to God, pray for one another, and encourage each other. We need to be under the preaching of the Word, in a good church, around godly people, practicing our faith and worshipping God in every single area of our lives, including whatever vocation we are in. When we fail, when we sin, we need to confess that to Christ (1 John 1:9) to regain a right relationship with Him.

      The Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (vs 16). The rest of Rom. 8 talks about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. If someone is living in habitual sin without any conviction of the Holy Spirit, then by vs. 14, they aren't sons of God, because they are not being led by the Spirit. They were never saved. We have to be careful, tho, because even believers in Christ can have their conscience seared. We can be deceived, as I said earlier, and become blind, as in the Laodicean church. But none of those places in Scripture ever suggest someone loses their salvation.

      People can live good lives and appear as Christians but were never saved. Even some pastors aren't saved. I have known people who were Sunday School teachers, soul winners, etc., called by God but not yet saved, and later they realized they weren't saved and then got saved.

      Acts 26:20: I agree that we demonstrate our repentance by our deeds. There are backslidden Christians who once did this but then fall into sin, and their actions don't reflect a sold out child of God. If they are truly saved, they will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and are warned not to quench the Spirit of God. God may punish them or allow them to fall into their own consequences of their sin, but do not lose their salvation. People who were never saved in the first place may live a good life for a while, but if they fall into sin, conviction by the Spirit will not follow.

      I for one want to demonstrate my repentance and my love for the Lord with my life, and am thankful that as my heavenly Father, He doesn't adopt me and unadopt me, but I am in His family forever. Praise the Lord! If I start sinning, I am also thankful for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to lead me back to Christ. That is why I am writing books and music, to lead others to this wonderful Saviour! It saddens me that many do not know Him. He is the most precious, loving, Heavenly Father, the best EVER!!!! He says, "Fear not", even though He is so mighty and powerful and fearsome. He is also tender and gentle, like a loving Shepherd to us lost, foolish, dumb sheep! Who are we that He is mindful of us? It's HIM that is so wonderful, not us. How can I help but ADORE Him?

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  11. Your attempt to explain Gal 1:6 makes less and less sense to me. You say "Christians can absolutely turn to another religion or belief system or false doctrine. Then you say "There is no evidence in Gal. 1:6 that people are losing their salvation, but rather that they are being pulled away by false gospels...."
    If Christians can turn to another religion or false doctrine (which is the very definition of apostasy) as you say, then aren't you contradicting yourself by saying that the Galatians are not losing their salvation in spite being pulled away by false gospels? You cannot have it both ways and thus contradict yourself. Moreover you still have not explained how Rom 8:30 is an unbroken chain yet in Gal 1:6 the "called" ones are turning away to follow a different gospel - again you cannot have it both ways.

    You wrote "Our works are demonstrated after we are saved, but are not at all determinate of our eternal destiny." I think James would disagree with you for he wrote faith without works is dead and since our eternal destiny is inextricably linked with our being justified, James also wrote "a man is JUSTIFIED by works, and not by faith only." Our works do indeed determine our eternal destiny as they are the evidence of our having been justified. No works = no justification = no salvation.

    Yes Jn 10:28 does speak for itself - in reference to v.27 - lest you take it out of context. In 2 Tim 2:12 you admit that this verse refers to Christians because of Paul's use of the personal pronoun "we." Problem is you take liberties in explaining away the text when you claim that God "will deny us blessings and favor as we have damaged our fellowship with Him." The text only says he "will deny us." Not blessings, not favor, not damaged fellowship - instead, deny us. To deny us means to have no relationship with God at all; not just damaged fellowship as you claim. When we continually deny him through word or deed, we go from being children of God to children of the devil (1 Jn 3) so he indeed will deny us.

    "Peter denied Christ 3 times. He did not have to get saved 3 times." Yes he did not have to get saved 3 times but he did need to repent. No repentance = no forgiveness.
    Your explanation of 8:12-13 also eisegetes the text instead of exegeting it and strains the text. Death here means the same thing as death in Rom 6:23 where the wages of sin is death = spiritual death. You are forced to come up with an interpretation foreign to the text in order to preserve your doctrine.

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    1. As I have already explained, there is saving faith and serving faith. You are concluding that Christians who turn away are losing their salvation, and I do not see that in the text. Our repentance isn't a one time deal; we need to ask forgiveness of our sins daily. No where in Scripture does this suggest we are losing our salvation. I have already explained these verses and we are going round and round, and I do not feel I need to explain them again. You and I are drawing different conclusions on the same verses, but I disagree fervently with your conclusions because they don't match the character of God that I see throughout Scripture, and I believe you are confusing what happens before you are saved with after you are saved. You are preaching a works salvation, even though you use the word grace, because you think you repent, and then your works have to maintain your salvation or else you lose it. That suggests the power of God cannot hold you, and that you are the one working for your salvation. If someone is in habitual sin with no conviction, then I would argue they were likely never saved. But I have already explained this.

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  12. You wrote "Our relationship, however, requires we die daily to self, live a separated spiritual life, and we need to confess our sins to God, pray for one another, and encourage each other."
    So if the above is indeed a requirement, then what happens to Christians who stubbornly refuse the above requirements? I suspect you would say that it just demonstrates that they were never really believers in the first place. You believe that someone who is a genuine believer cannot later fall away. However your belief contradicts Jesus' own teaching.
    Luke 8:12 references those whom the devil takes away the word from their hearts so that they "may not believe" and be saved. In the very next verse another group is described as those who receive the word with joy but having no firm root, "believe for a while," only later to fall away due to testing. The same Greek verb "pisteuo" is used in vs. 12 & 13. So if the first group did not possess saving faith because they DID NOT believe, would it not stand to reason that the second group did possess saving faith because they DID believe - if only for a while? In order to remain faithful to the text, one cannot interpret pisteuo differently in these two verses. Therefore Jesus himself illustrated that it is possible for a Christian to pisteuo/believe, i.e. to have saving faith for a while. To claim that he/she was never a believer to begin with goes against v.13 and the plain meaning of this passage. Moreover it is not logically possible for persons to fall away from something that they were never a part of to begin with. Only a person with true faith can be said to fall away from the faith.

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    1. Jesus explained the parable in Luke 8:11-15: "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Only those that receive the Word and keep it are truly saved, and this will be reflected by their fruit. That is how you know they are the children of God. They can hear the word, walk the walk, talk the talk, but not have received it into their hearts. Only that last category represents the saved.

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  13. Again, I repeat that there is no such reference to a "backslidden" Christian in the Bible. That term was coined to justify a doctrine which is unjustifiable. You wrote " If they are truly saved, they will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and are warned not to quench the Spirit of God. God may punish them or allow them to fall into their own consequences of their sin, but do not lose their salvation."

    If what you wrote is indeed correct, then true believers can never lose their salvation and can never end up in the same place; having the same destiny as unbelievers. Again in this case, what you believe contradicts Jesus own teaching in Luke 12:
    35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

    41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

    42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a PLACE with the UNBELIEVERS.

    If believers are found not to be doing his will at the Lord's return, then Jesus says that they will be assigned the same fate as unbelievers - which is eternal separation from God = loss of salvation which contradicts your belief.

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    1. Backslidden means carnal. Carnal is the word used in the New Testament.

      According to Halley's Bible Handbook on p. 511, "Jesus' thoughts pass from heaven to the glorious day of his Second Coming, and warn that it might be to a sleeping world in the dead of night (38). Blessed are the faithful who are ready to welcome their returning Lord. This parable (41-48) is meant for every Christian. But degrees in talent and position entail corresponding degrees in responsibility. Fearful is the warning here for faithless pastors."

      Watchfulness is the key here. Here is a good link to listen to for a message on this passage. http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2014/03/28/the-faithful-servant.

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    2. This second parable (vs. 41-48) has to do with faithfulness, as the parable before it has to do with watchfulness. We are stewards of everything, including the air we breathe, as it all belongs to Him. R.C. Sproul explains that this unfaithful servant is an unbeliever. There are degrees of punishment, based on privilege/responsibility. There are pastors who are not saved, and abuse their sheep, lead them astray, are not faithful with what God has given them. There is no neutrality with the Word of God. You hear it to your joy or to your judgment.

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    3. Here is another short video that will help clarify Rom. 8:30.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AJ9cYbhgvQ

      This is a great lesson on eternal security by Dr. David Jeremiah. It's about 26 min., but covers a lot of verses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObL99qJ4du8

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    4. This is pretty short, too: a pdf from one of Dr. David Jeremiah's books, that covers eternal security. http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/gly/excerpts/What-the-Bible-Says-About-Eternal-Security.pdf

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  14. Thanks I did listen to Sproul’s sermon. He states:
    “You can profess to have saving faith but you altogether are unconverted and on your way to hell.”
    “An unfaithful steward is an unbeliever.”
    You interpret the passage to say that the unfaithful steward was never a believer in the first place. I believe that to be unfaithful to the text for couple of reasons I can think of. First, in order to be a steward, one has to be qualified. It is unfathomable to think that the master would even put an unqualified steward in charge of his own household in the first place. In other words a master would not put an unbeliever in charge of his household and his servants so to claim that the unfaithful steward refers to an unbeliever is a very questionable claim. A master would never put an “unconverted” unbeliever in charge of his household and to have rule or supervision over the other servants. Secondly, the text does not say an unfaithful steward is an unbeliever. The text says an unfaithful steward is a steward (believer) who has subsequently by his/her actions demonstrated to have acted unfaithfully. As a result of these unfaithful actions, the believer/steward is then assigned a place with the unbelievers. The steward was never assigned or numbered with the unbelievers to begin with. Sproul himself stated at the 8:18 mark that this steward “was not [originally] numbered with the unbeliever.” The steward is only numbered with the unbelievers AS A RESULT of his disobedient actions. Therefore to claim as you do that the unfaithful servant is an unbeliever contradicts the text. Rather the passage teaches that remaining faithful and obedient to the master is requisite for all believers. If that condition is not met, then it is indeed possible for a believer to end up in the same place as an unbeliever. Simple as that.

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    1. The word "unbelievers" comes from the Greek word, apistos, which means unfaithful, faithless, (not to be trusted, perfidious). If this is talking about a Christian who has proven to not be responsible with his responsibilities, which were given him by the Lord (some scholars attribute this to pastors who have not been faithful in teaching truth to their congregations, and that there is a greater punishment for those with greater responsibility than for those with little responsibility when we are unwise stewards), then he is not going to be trusted. He is going to be held at a higher standard of punishment. I do not see in this passage that he is going to hell. You are reading into that, and not taking into account other portions of Scripture that are clear about eternal security.

      Portions of Scripture can be interpreted various ways, and that is why we have to be careful about taking in the whole counsel of God, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

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    2. Here is a commentary from Matthew Henry on this portion. He first noted the rewards given to the faithful steward. Now the Scripture contrasts that with the unfaithful steward.
      "3. What a dreadful reckoning there would be if they were treacherous and unfaithful, v. 45, 46. If that servant begin to be quarrelsome and profane, he shall be called to an account, and severely punished. We had all this before in Matthew, and therefore shall here only observe, (1.) Our looking upon Christ's second coming as a thing at a distance is the cause of all those irregularities which render the thought of it terrible to us: He saith in his heart, My Lord delays his coming. Christ's patience is very often misinterpreted his delay, to the discouragement of his people, and the encouragement of his enemies. (2.) The persecutors of God's people are commonly abandoned to security and sensuality; they beat their fellow-servants, and then eat and drink with the drunken, altogether unconcerned either at their own sin or their brethren's sufferings, as the king and Haman, who sat down to drink when the city Shushan was perplexed. Thus they drink, to drown the clamours of their own consciences, and baffle them, which would otherwise fly in their faces. (3.) Death and judgment will be very terrible to all wicked people, but especially to wicked ministers. It will be a surprise to them: At an hour when they are not aware. It will be the determining of them to endless misery; they shall be cut in sunder, and have their portion assigned them with the unbelievers.

      4. What an aggravation it would be of their sin and punishment that they knew their duty, and did not do it (v. 47, 48): That servant that knew his lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, shall fall under a sorer punishment; and he that knew not shall be beaten with few stripes, his punishment shall, in consideration of this, be mitigated. Here seems to be an allusion to the law, which made a distinction between sins committed through ignorance, and presumptuous sins (Lev. 5:15, etc.; Num. 15:29, 30), as also to another law concerning the number of stripes given to a malefactor, to be according to the nature of the crime, Deu. 25:2, 3. Now, (1.) Ignorance of our duty is an extenuation of sin. He that knew not his lord's will, through carelessness and neglect, and his not having such opportunities as some others had of coming to the knowledge of it, and did things worthy of stripes, he shall be beaten, because he might have known his duty better, but with few stripes; his ignorance excuses in part, but not wholly. Thus through ignorance the Jews put Christ to death (Acts 3:17; 1 Co. 2:8), and Christ pleaded that ignorance in their excuse: They know not what they do. (2.) The knowledge of our duty is an aggravation of our sin: That servant that knew his lord's will, and yet did his own will, shall be beaten with many stripes. God will justly inflict more upon him for abusing the means of knowledge he afforded him, which others would have made a better use of, because it argues a great degree of wilfulness and contempt to sin against knowledge; of how much sorer punishment then shall they be thought worthy, besides the many stripes that their own consciences will give them! Son, remember. Here is a good reason for this added: To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, especially when it is committed as a trust he is to account for. Those have greater capacities of mind than others, more knowledge and learning, more acquaintance and converse with the scriptures, to them much is given, and their account will be accordingly."

      Again, this portion of Scripture does not talk about someone losing their salvation, but degrees of punishment. I would agree that it is more likely talking about Christians, but I do not agree with your conclusion that it means they are going to Hell. They will be judged by God, tho, for being an unjust steward, and that judgment will be more severe than someone who didn't know as much.

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    3. Regarding your apistos explanation you wrote:
      "Portions of Scripture can be interpreted various ways, and that is why we have to be careful about taking in the whole counsel of God, comparing Scripture with Scripture."

      I agree - therefore it is important to see how apistos is used in the rest of the NT to come up with it's meaning:
      New American Standard word usage - Total: 23
      incredible 1, unbeliever 4, unbelievers 7, unbelieving 10, unbelieving one 1.

      King James word usage - Total: 23
      The KJV translates Strongs G571 in the following manner: that believe not 6, unbelieving 5, faithless 4, unbeliever 4, infidel 2, thing incredible 1, which believe not 1

      As you can see, when we sample the 23 occurrences of apistos in just the NAS and KJV Bibles, the overwhelming majority of the time it is translated as unbelieving, unbeliever(s) etc. So in essence being assigned a place with the "apistos" does in fact mean place with the "unbelievers." Taking the whole counsel of God into consideration and by actually taking the time to compare scripture with scripture, it is consistent to translate apistos as unbelievers. It would behoove you to be more careful in handling the text as for you to claim that I am reading into it is not supported by the rest of scripture which seriously weakens your argument. Despite your claim, the verse does indeed mean going to “hell” or more accurately the lake of fire - where the unbelievers are consigned to.

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    4. Your reference to Matthew Henry's commentary appears to me to evade the point. While it does discuss the differences between the servant who knew the master's will as opposed to the one who didn't, Henry doesn't elaborate on what he meant when he wrote "have their portion assigned them with the unbelievers." However note that he does write: "determining of them to endless misery." Doesn't endless misery mean hell? At best your argument is moot; at worst Henry contradicts what you claim.

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  15. Dr. Jeremiah would no doubt concur that the scriptures must be interpreted in their proper contexts. Yet when he cites passages such as Jn 10:28-29 and Rom 8:35-39 as the strongest basis for believing in eternal security he disregards their context. As I wrote earlier, eternal life is only promised to those sheep who listen and follow. Dr. Jeremiah agrees that a true believer listens and follows but the problem with his argument is that he does not consider the consequences for sheep who do not listen and follow. He supposes that these disobedient sheep are unbelievers. That is simply an impossibility because unbelievers are not capable of “listening” and “following” in the first place. How can an unbeliever be expected to listen and follow? They remain unregenerate and can only follow after the flesh. In addition Jesus would never refer to unbelievers as “my sheep” in v7 as that term can only refer to regenerate believers. Therefore Jesus taught that only believers who are listening and following him have the assurance of eternal life. Sheep who stray have no such assurance.
    In the Romans 8 passage, you must ask yourself just what is Paul referring to here in vss. 35-39? Paul is clearly referring to trials and tribulation which for persevering Christians cannot separate us from the love of God. Please take notice however that nowhere in this passage does Paul mention sin - for sin does separate us from the love of God. These verses fit well and do not contradict Rom 8:14 for to sin and live according to the flesh is to die an eternal death. In my opinion the verses that Dr. Jeremiah cites as some of the strongest for eternal security ironically - prove exactly the opposite.
    In Heb 6, it appears to me that Jeremiah resorts to twisting the plain meaning of the passage in order to fit his theology. Rather than question what he was taught by his seminary professors, he accepts what he was taught without questioning; fails to scrutinize the text and is thus a false teacher with respect to this basic doctrine. These believers have fallen away “parapesontas” (past tense; completed action) v.6 and continue to demonstrate that they have already fallen away by crucifying (present tense) Jesus all over again and putting him to shame thus making it impossible for them to be renewed to repentance. Jeremiah make the unsubstantiated claim that these are “willfully immature believers” just needing to get on with their lives in order to move on to maturity. That notion is clearly contradicted by the fact these believers have already “FALLEN AWAY” in v.6 – they have already APOSTATIZED – NOT “willfully immature believers” as Jeremiah teaches. Thus Jeremiah teaches a dangerous and incorrect doctrine which potentially gives believers a false sense of security.

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    1. In Hebrews 6, it's saying that IF that were possible, then they would be crucifying Christ over and over again, and that is not possible. And note, that if the believer could lose his salvation, if that is what there portion of Scripture was saying, then it would be impossible for that believer to ever be saved again. So if you follow along that line of thinking, then if you lose your salvation, then you are a done deal. No more chances.

      Yes, sin separates us from God, Isaiah 59:2. It hinders our prayers as well, as I referenced earlier. The believer will still sin, and will need to ask forgiveness of that sin. That is a well known fact in Scripture. Losing one's salvation is not.

      I agree that sheep refers to Christians. Goats refer to unbelievers. In John 10:26-30, Jesus shows how much He loves His sheep, and that they aren't going to be plucked out of His almighty hand. "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

      You are saying that they can be plucked out, that they will indeed perish. That's apostacy.

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    2. Contrary to your claim, Heb 6:6 does not contain the word "if." If you would take the time to glance at the original Greek, the word is "kai" which means "and." Most Bible translations correctly read "and" instead of "if."
      Also note that I paid particular attention to the verb tenses in v.6 which you apparently did not consider. Please note that the reason that it was impossible to renew them to repentance was because they had 1) already fallen away (past tense) and 2) are putting Christ to shame and crucifying him again (present, continuous sense). Therefore because of their ongoing actions of constantly exposing Christ to public shame it was impossible to renew them to repentance. They evidenced a hardened heart by their actions with no evidence of a repentant attitude. Instead they continued to publicly shame Christ and that's why they were fallen away and it was impossible to renew them to repentance. If they had truly repented, they would have ceased putting Christ to shame and sought forgiveness; however their actions demonstrated their non-repentance.

      Your explanation of Jn 10:26-29 doesn’t make sense to me. We agree that the verses refer to Christians. Do the promises of vss. 28 & 29 apply to all Christians? Or do the promises only apply to those Christians who hear and follow? It seems to me that since you affirm the former question as true but negate the later question; in doing so you completely disregard v.27. In order for you to claim that the promises of vss.28-29 apply to all Christians, you have to by necessity disconnect v.27 from the two verses that follow. However you cannot do that - as the text demonstrates. Verse 27 is connected to v.28 by the word “kago” translated as “and I.” The conjunction “and” joins v.27 with v.28 so the grammatical construction of the text demonstrates that you cannot disconnect v.27 from v.28 as you have done. Therefore you can be sure that the assurance of eternal life in v.28 is only promised to those Christians who listen and follow in v.27.

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    3. I am unwilling to debate this anymore. I can see that you feel very confident in what you believe, and while I'm sure there are many things we do agree on, this is one thing we do not agree on. There are definitely difficult places in God's Word, and some of the ones you have brought up are included in that list. They have been debated for years. However, there are some very clear passages in Scripture that we can clearly understand.

      For the benefit of you (if you're interested) and my other blog readers, I am putting a link (used by permission) for further reading on eternal security. At the end it has some great summaries and Scriptures that support eternal security.

      http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/security.htm

      Here is the link for the info regarding eternal security that I initially referenced.
      http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/eshappen.pdf

      For the difficult Hebrew passages, I would recommend the excellent commentary on Hebrews by William Newell, the same man who also wrote the song, "AT CALVARY."

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  16. Thank you for your willingness to dialogue. As I wrote before, I used to believe as you do but had to change my view over the years (a slow process) based on what I think is the plain reading of the scriptures. May God bless you.

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