Eternal Salvation?

Hey Ya’ll,

I don’t typically choose to turn my blog into a doctrinal debate center. It’s typically more focused on worship, leadership, and family.

Over the years, I’ve often struggled with the “eternal salvation” doctrine. It usually boils up to the point where I make a case and the response from the “eternal salvation” crowd is the typical “well, in that case, we just have to believe that person was never really, truly born again to begin with“.

This morning, sippin’ my 1st cup of coffee … I run across Hebrews 3:13-14. This is one of those mysterious Scriptures that I’ve struggled with …. reading commentary, searching various translations, etc. Read it this morning during my study/prayer time on YouVersion.Com:

13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”

To better understand the context of this verse, you have to look back a few verses. We see that God was warning this current generation, the readers of Hebrews, and comparing them to the children of Israel who rebelled in the desert and had unbelief. He was so angry with their non-stop rebellion and unbelief that he finally said “they shall never enter my rest“.

It’s easy to say these Scriptures are referring to “unbelievers”, but in Verse 14, it’s clear that they “had it” at one time, and if they “hold firmly till the end”, they’ll keep it.

I suppose one of the most troubling verses I’ve ever seen is in Rev 3:5. (note, I really thought a similar verse was in the OT, but after finding this reference, I stopped searching, but I’m positive the notion is mentioned more than once in the Scriptures).

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”

As we know, the “book of life“, also known as the “Lamb’s Book of Life”, is the book of salvation. As Christians we believe that when you are born again, your name is “entered” into the “book of life”. (see specifically the “References in Christian Bible” section at Wikipedia)

Here we see that God promises that for those who overcome, their names will NOT be blotted out of the book of life. I struggle to see any other way to interpret this other than concluding that a name COULD be blotted out.

In conclusion, let me assure you of this … I’m in no way suggesting that we have no means of eternal security. I’m in no way suggesting that we must walk each day questioning our salvation. By no means! On the contrary, we’re promised that the Holy Spirit “seals” us for the day of redemption, and by the Holy Spirit, we bear witness of our salvation. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can convince me that my salvation is questionable. At the same time, I do walk out my salvation with “fear and trembling”, and I’m not so proud to think that I couldn’t be swept away in such deception that I fall into unbelief, eventually even denouncing Christ and coming to a place of apostasy.

We know in the Word that nothing can separate us from God’s love … but God loves those who are saved as much as those who are lost, so that’s not really the issue.

Makes me ponder, makes me study, makes me pray. What do you think?
Fred

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  • Shannon –
    quit using the word “lose” … as soon as I see that word in there, I close my eyes. I continue to say we don’t “lose” our salvation.
    As for the doctrinal statement, not lately, although I know that eternal security is one of the things mentioned in there …. I’d not heard that it was being revised, though?

    More comments later, gotta go for now.

  • Amen, Fred!

    Shannon, let me say it out-right: I don’t believe ANYONE can LOSE their salvation. Period.

    Bernard –

    I’m so moved by your pure way of expressing yourself here. You seem to be “as real as dirt”. I appreciate your comment more than words can say when you said that all the bickering and fighting over a subject like this caused you to almost reject “religion” altogether.

    I’m so glad you didn’t. I know people who have, and it reminds me again of that blasted “millstone”. Don’t want to be guilty of it.

    I encourage you to share the gospel. Period. And what is that gospel? God so loved the world that He gave His only son – that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    Also, John 1:12 says that as many as received Him, He gave them the power (right) to become sons of God.

    THAT is the gospel. The good news. Sadly, that’s all most people hear. It’s all about Jesus being savior, and nothing about Him being Lord. We also need to show them that we were bought with a price and are no longer our own (I Cor 6:20 and 7:23).

    Give your son and others these words of life, and train them up in the way that they should go, and let God take care of the rest.

    The scripture is clear: all we are to do is plant the seed and water it. It is the Lord that causes the growth. Let’s not weigh them down with a bunch of other things that only cause division and doubt. Simply keep it simple.

    You’re right, brother. WE complicate the simplicity that is in Christ straight to the point that we cause the very “world” that He loved and died for to say “I don’t want to deal with what I see in the church. They fight among themselves more than we do in the world!”

    Kieth Green put it so well when he wrote “keep doing your best, and pray that it’s blessed – and Jesus takes care of the rest.”

  • Bernard – hey man, I hear you…and most definitely it’s not worth ‘arguing’ about. I can’t CHANGE anyone’s mind or heart – the process by which that happens is far outside my hands, ya know? I hope I didn’t make it sound like I was going to chase anyone who doesn’t agree with me down and cram Scriptures down their throat. I was just trying to be real: don’t we all, really, want others to agree with us? If we didn’t, would we enter these discussions to begin with? I did overstate my intentions, though.

    Fred, sorry – I didn’t even notice that I had phrased it that way, and had to reread my post 4 times to find the reference – what I should say then is “I don’t believe that Salvation is ever ours to do anything with or to” – it’s God’s, as are we, safely in His hands. That’s my firm conviction at this point, BUT – believe it or not – I have changed my views on this (hard to believe) more than once. 😉

    I asked about our doctrinal statement because I had lost my copy that I had printed out, but I was talking to another church member at a wedding who had joined our church last year from a PCA Presbyterian background, and he specifically mentioned how “Calvinist”-leaning our church’s doctrinal statement was (with, as he put it, ‘touches of Southern Baptist’ and others) when he had read it only before visiting. Given that so many of the church’s founding members are/were ‘reformed/presbyterian/calvinist’ (most had helped found a PCA church locally before starting SSCC), I wondered if ‘Eternal Security’ might be in there. Honestly, I actually hope it’s not (again, hard to believe, I’m sure) – I don’t think that’s an issue to divide a church over, for sure. I think we do a good job at standing FIRM on the Gospel – the church, you (Fred), & I (Shannon) – and that’s EXACTLY where a church should stand. I’m blessed to be a part of that.

    p.s. – I responded to “what type of worship leader are you”

  • Hey,
    Last time I read/saw the document maybe 6 mos ago or something, it definitely WAS in there, which was NOT a deal-breaker for me.

  • I feel ya Shannon. I know I want everybody to agree with ME. Thank God they don’t!! I would have steered some folks away if they did.

    And I don’t think any less of any of you all for being wrong . . . . (just kiddin’).

    Anyway, you all have caused me to “re-think” what I’ve always said that I believed. You’ve caused me to go back to the scriptures and really dig deep. I don’t want to be wrong about anything – though I know that I am and will always be wrong about SOMETHING. Isn’t this what growth is all about?

    I’d love to meet all you folks. Fred really has found a gold mine. I thank you all for allowing me to share in his wealth.

  • I don’t think any less of me for being wrong, either 🙂

    This has been an excellent discussion. I’ve said most of what I think, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop talking, so somebody pull out the coffee press and let’s get some java flowing and see what happens then…

  • Did Adam have a belly button?

  • Speaking of Adam and belly buttons, have you ever watched Kyle XY? 😉

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