There are some scriptures that give me definite pause when I consider the Calvinist verses Armenian positions with regard to one being able to lose Salvation.
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NASB
Obviously Solomon did not yet know the Lord at this point in his life, so this could be considered God’s call on his life. Seek and you shall find, but forsake and—-. And this is a big but. First let me say that you cannot earn you salvation by works, or by anything that you do except to believe what the Holy Spirit is showing you. But in order to forsake another there first had to be a bond.
In John 15:1-6, we hear: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
Some would tell us that there is no cost to us in this life of faith, yet Jesus on more than one occasion mentioned a cost. Was taking up the cross daily equivalent to abiding in Him? Jesus said take up “your” cross daily, not His cross but your own?
2 John 1:2, 8-10 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;
Who we are in or who we remain in is determined by our believing expressed in our trusting and following His truth. One is saved at this point and we are called the people of the way. Little Christ like ones, believers. John explains it this way:
John 1:11-13 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
These (you and I), who have no power to birth ourselves unto salvation, but who are birthed by God (His Spirit); we are then given a “power to become”; to abide; a power to endure unto the end; to persevere. Those who use this power and do not forsake Him will one day be revealed as “sons of God”. We are not yet sons of God. We are born again. We are given power to become. Our faith is in a test tube of sorts. Listen:
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12 NASB
So what is this crown of life for those who love Him, and what does it mean to earn this through persevering?
John 3:16 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.
*Other translators say (shall not); (will not); or (may not). But there is a big difference. If I tell you that you should not or may not have cancer vs. you will not have cancer you will have a totally different reaction. Why the differences in translating a word? There is a new translation put out by Claimed to be conservative scholars. It is called The Pure Word, here is how it takes the “original Greek” and translates it on this verse:
“Because, God has Loved in such a manner the satan’s world, so that He Gave His Son, the Only Begotten Risen Christ, in order that whoever is Continuously by his choice Committing for the Result and Purpose of Him, should not perish, but definitely should, by his choice, be Continuously Having Eternal Life.” -John 3:16.
This translation is supposed to remove the bias from translation for the Bible teacher. Just how it does this I can’t tell you. What does it say to you? Each of these translations of this one verse can only be verified based on the remainder of scriptures teaching.
James 5:19-20 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
If one who is among the brethren strays from truth he is in danger. What is the truth spoken of here? Is it Christ? Is it His word? He is The Word.
Hebrews 6:4-8, 10-11 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
So, it is Christ. These are not all of the scriptures that give evidence of our need to persevere in the faith, in Him we have our being. Paul gives Timothy instruction followed with:
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:16 NASB
If Timothy is not already saved then why would Paul instruct him to teach, and why write him such a clear warning as he did here concerning what he teaches? And why would he connect timothy’s salvation to his teaching when he is already saved if the warning is not real?
Now, I know that Jesus also said that no man can pluck you out of My hand or The Father’s hand, but if one is not abiding in Him; if ignoring Him, or if refusing to consider all of what He says to us; then what? He is the Word of God. If we take only part of Him (His word) and feast on only that which makes us feel good rejecting all else of Him, will He consider us abiding, and believing and teaching right doctrine; and thus worthy to attain to the resurrection and sonship? Listen:
Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Luke 20:34-35 NASB
Jesus makes clear that we possess that which makes us worthy. It was a gift to us. That something is Jesus and His Holy Spirit, who resides in us as the power to become. He is the truth, He is our righteousness. He is the word of God.
If we are to believe that one has no need to even consider being worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus The Messiah made for us, and if His warnings mean nothing; then what must the significance of scripture be?
So if salvation, which is free and fully paid by Christ, is acquired by placing our total trust in Him who is the truth, and we do this in faith believing; then is it not also understood that our ongoing faith and trust in Him as He continues to reveal His truth for our grow in Him, is also significant to our remaining in Him. If we fail to follow Him as we are to be teachable and grow in His revelation to us of truth; then are we abiding?
Isn’t this what James says: James 5:19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back…
My purpose for writing articles such as this is not in order to win an argument, but rather to warn the reader of our need to examine ourselves compared to Scriptures truth. Paul states it this way:
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB
how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,
Hebrews 2:3 NASB
As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Jesus is not only savior, He is the way of life; the way to life eternal. Abide in Him.