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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can We Loose Our Salvation?

Have you ever been talking with a Bible Christian and the topic of loosing your salvation comes up? They say that because they believe in Christ there is no way they could loose their salvation. But there are many verses suggesting otherwise, and loosing your heavenly inheritance is a big warning in the New Testament. In fact every book save Philemon talks about this topic.

But if I was going to go to one verse out of all of them
I would go to John Chapter 15 verse 1-6.

In this section, Jesus gives an illustration about how he is like a vine, his Father is the vine dresser and there are two kinds of branches IN him. There are branches that bear fruit and those that do not, and the ones that do not get cut off and thrown into a fire.

There are really three issues here that you might have to tackle.
#1 What does it mean to be IN Jesus.
#2 The fruit that is to be born in Jesus
#3 Getting cut off from Christ.

So what does that mean to be IN Jesus?
The Bible in a number of passages talks about what that means.
Romans 6:11, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:1, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
1 Cor. 1:2, "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus."
I could point to a number of other verses that say more on this topic. But being IN Christ means, being saved. That might be another point of contention, "How do you get saved" But it is clear in these verses in John 15 that the ones that are IN Christ are the branches.

What about bearing the fruit. Don't some Christians say that those who are "truly saved" naturally bear fruit. Like where there is fire there is light, they go together. So where there is faith there is works.

While that might sound right on the outside, it isn't what the Bible teaches. God still gives us free will to either follow him or not.
But in John 15:1-6 it is clear that there are two different kinds of branches in the vine - two different kind of believers in Jesus. There are some that bear fruit meaning good works, and there are some that do not. This is clear from the very verses. So that is not necessarily true that where there is faith there is also works.

There consequences to not bearing fruit.The consequence is that you are then cut off from the vine, cut off from Christ and then thrown into a fire meaning Hell.

Now that we have had a set up lets read John 15: 1-6
John 15:1-6 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

Now I have been in a dialogue about these verses with a protestant for the past week or so. Here are some objections that he has brought up.

One objection is that the fire spoken of here is like a refiners fire like in 1 Corinthians 3 that speaks about the metals and the wood of someone’s works being tested by fire.
The problem with that is in John 15 it isn't talking about metals. It is talking about a dried up vine branch that has been cut off from the vine.

Most of his objections have had nothing to do with the text of John 15 because even the very vocabulary that Jesus uses concerning the fruitless branch is bad news.

I did a study on the words "cast forth"
Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
Matthew 13:48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.

I did a study on the words "gather / fire"
Matthew 3:12 "And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Finally I did a study on the word "withered"
Matthew 13:5-6 "And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. - This is the word of God that found no root.

So even the very vocabulary that Jesus uses to describe someone that at one time was attached to the vine but is no longer supports the Catholic interpretation of the Scriptures.


Ed Winkle said...

I believe we can. A believer not following his belief should feel like his name is being erased from the Book of Life. That is no where to be! The Devil can hide it from you though until it is too late so beware, "so you don't undergo the test!"

Gary said...

Hebrew children in the Old Testament were born into God's covenant, both male and female. Circumcision was the sign of this covenant for boys, but the sign was not what saved them. Faith saved them. Rejecting the sign, circumcision, for boys, either by the parents or later as an adult himself, was a sign of a lack of true faith, and therefore the child was "cut off" from God's promises as clearly stated in Genesis chapter 17:

"Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

What was the purpose of this covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? God tells us in the beginning of this chapter of Genesis:

"And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."

This covenant wasn't just to establish a Jewish national identity or a promise of the inheritance of the land of Caanan, as some evangelicals want you to believe. In this covenant, God promises to be their God. Does God say here that he will be their God only if they make a "decision for God" when they are old enough to have the intelligence and maturity to decide for themselves? No! They are born into the covenant!

If Jewish children grew up trusting in God and lived by faith, they then received eternal life when they died. If when they grew up, they rejected God, turned their back on God, and lived a life of willful sin, when they died, they suffered eternal damnation. Salvation was theirs to LOSE. There is no record anywhere in the Bible that Jewish children were required to make a one time "decision for God" upon reaching an "Age of Accountability" in order to be saved.

Therefore, Jewish infants who died, even before circumcision, were saved.

The same is true today. Christian children are born into the covenant. They are saved by faith. It is not the act of baptism that saves, it is faith. The refusal to be baptized is a sign of a lack of true faith and may result in the child being "cut off" from God's promise of eternal life, to suffer eternal damnation, as happened with the unfaithful Hebrew in the OT.

Christ said, "He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be damned."

It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the lack of faith that damns.