Thursday, May 23, 2013

Can one lose salvation by sinning?

It is only in moving back to Memphis, in the mid-south, in the middle of the bible belt that this question arises. My blog has been targeted at those who already believe in the eternal security of the believer. Yes, I am writing about the idea that is pejoratively described as once saved always saved. I realize that there are many, many segments of evangelical Christianity here in the bible belt that view the idea that once one is saved they are always saved, as ridiculous and totally unbiblical. But, is that true? Or, are the ones who believe that one can lose salvation by sinning the ones who do not properly understand the bible? I, of course, am convinced that the latter is the case.

This is not as cut and dried as using proof texts would make one believe. There is a fair amount of nuance in understanding that one does in fact have eternal security. Nuance is important in understanding our relationship with Father God. I feel that the strongest evidence for eternal security is found in the many redemptive decrees. Redemptive decrees are passages of scripture that make declarative statements that if they are not true as they stand then the scripture itself is simply not truthful. My favorite of all of these is Romans 10:9-10  “ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  (10)  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” If you put other conditions on salvation, like *not sinning,* then you make Romans 10:9-10 simply a poetically expressed lie. There is absolutely no wiggle room in “thou shalt be saved.” If one is not saved by confessing with their mouth and believing in their heart then it is quite simply untrue.

Another powerful redemptive decree is the ever popular, most memorized passage in all of the bible. John 3:16-18  “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.  (17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  Here again, if one believes on Jesus they will not be condemned but be saved and if they do not believe in Jesus, they are condemned already. Look at the passage in the Amplified Bible:

John 3:16-18  For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.  (17)  For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.  (18)  He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]

Beyond the redemptive decrees, there are verses that plainly state that one cannot lose salvation once they have obtained it. The one that states it unequivocally is John 10:28-29: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  (29)  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” When it says that no man shall be able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand it means no-one including they themselves. If no man can pluck me out of my Father’s hand it means that I cannot pluck myself out.

So then, if what I have posited thus far is true, then, there must be a way that the verses that are used to prove that one can lose salvation have to be taken out of their context. I can say that in every case they are. When you read them in their total context they do not end up saying that one can lose salvation. Let’s look at a couple to see if this is so.

Here is one that is often used to prove that one can lose salvation: 1Co 6:9-11  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  (10)  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  (11)  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” It is important to read verse 11 in the context of this passage. Yes, some of them were the things mentioned but, not before God, why... because it was covered by the blood of Jesus.

The fact is this. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself not counting sin. He made Jesus, who knew no sin, not only did not sin, but did not know how to sin… He made him to be made sin for all believers, that the believer might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ Jesus.) The fact is this. Sinful humanity has been declared and decreed righteous by God based upon faith in Jesus. Now then, it is for a greater purpose. The purpose is so that man can really truly love God. How is this accomplished? Well, read Romans chapter five and it will be explained. We have been justified, that is made right with the Father or, in other words, we have been declared the righteousness of God to give us peace with God. It is from peace with God, a peace that surpasses all understanding, that we develop our true love for God. This is the catalyst for our obedience to God and is the source of supernatural transformation. This post is getting too long, and I will need to do a series to explain this fully.

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