Some Bible passages may appear on the
surface to teach that a saved person may be lost. However, on closer study they
perfectly harmonize with the overwhelming weight of Scripture which teaches the
security of the believer.
The basic principle of Bible study and
interpretation is that the Bible is one great, harmonious presentation of truth,
and that each part agrees with every other part. If an apparent meaning
contradicts the vast body of Scripture, then we must seek another
Question: Why do people misunderstand verses of this kind?
Answer: 1. Some verses concern chastening of believers.
2. Some are taken out of context.
3. Some refer to unbelievers.
Note: You must not throw out 1,000 clear verses on
security of the believer and hold on to two or three unclear verses that require
deeper study that on the surface seem to teach loss of salvation.
Let us consider answers to these passages:
1. In Ezekiel 3:20; 18:4 and 33: physical
death as a punishment for the sin of Israelites under the Law dispensation is
involved, not loss of salvation.
"Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered: but his blood will I require at thine hand." (Ezekiel 3:20)
"When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness' shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." (Ezekiel 33:13).
"When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby." (Ezekiel 33:18).
"Behold, all souls are Mine; as the
soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that
sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4).
- Ezekiel 3:20. If a righteous
person had left the path of righteousness, he was in danger of physical death.
This does not refer to a person losing salvation. The one who obeyed God's Law
was to be protected during the approaching Babylonian judgment, but those who
broke the Law could expect death.
- Ezekiel 18:4 "The soul that sinneth, it
shall die." Check the context: A proverb in Israel was "The fathers have eaten
sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." Ezekiel 18:2. This meant
that people thought that they were suffering, not because of their sins, but
because of their parent's sins. They were blaming God for punishing them
unjustly. God saw that this false proverb had to be refuted. It is true that the
effects of sin are serious and long lasting, but God does not punish innocent
children for the parent's sins. In blaming others, they were denying their own
guilt, and charging God with injustice. God replies: "The soul that sinneth, it
shall die." (18:4), meaning that those who are guilty will receive their own
deserved punishment; in some cases "death."
- Ezekiel 33:13,18 is Ezekiel's second
commissioning as a watchman with a different message (587 BC). It was
still an individual accountability and responsibility but the message's thrust
was on God's restoration of Israel. His first commissioning in 3:1-21 in 595 BC
was a ministry of judgments, which was now completed.
Conclusion: These passages are not referring to spiritual
death of a righteous man losing salvation, but to a righteous man who turns to
sin, and his sins bringing the punishment of physical death upon him.
2. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matthew 24:13).
Some say that we must endure to keep
ourselves saved until we die, or we will lose salvation. The Bible never says
that salvation from the penalty of sin is by enduring. It is by believing on
Christ, not by our works. Believers in the seven year Tribulation period must
endure the Antichrist's persecution until the seven years are finished. It is
not referring to the spiritual salvation of a believers soul, but refers to
people being rescued by Christ returning to defeat Antichrist.
3. "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."(Matt 22:11-13).
This parable is about a king who prepared a wedding (marriage feast) for his son (Matthew 22:1-4).
1. Marriage feast = the Millenial age, beginning when Christ returns.
2. Man without a wedding garment = someone not clothed in Christ's righteousness, and is therefore unsaved.
3. Outer darkness = he is cast into
darkness outside Christ's kingdom. At the beginning of Christ's 1,000 year
kingdom, all who are not saved are taken from the earth in judgment as is
represented by this man. (Matthew 13:41,49; 3:12; 25:30, 41-46;
4. Five wise and five foolish virgins
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not". (Matthew 25:10-12).
Some say the five foolish virgins who took no oil represent Christians who have lost their salvation. Not so!
1. Marriage feast = the 1,000 year kingdom age of Christ on earth.
2. Five wise virgins = those saved.
3. Five foolish virgins = unsaved people, because:
a) They took no oil. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9.
b) The Lord says: "I know you not." See
5. Parable of three servants
"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:30).
The earthly kingdom set up by Christ will
be a place of light and blessing. To be cast into "outer darkness" means to be
cast out of the kingdom into the darkness of death outside. The word "servant"
does not always refer to believers. All men are responsible to serve God. eg:
rulers are the ministers of God (Romans 13:4), as are ungodly kings (Jeremiah
25:9). The servant cast into outer darkness represents an unbeliever who is on
the earth at the time of Christ's return who is taken from the earth in
6. "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." (2 Peter 3:17).
It does not say "fall from your
salvation", but from "your own stedfastness." "Stedfastness" in Greek means:
"firm condition of mind." A person may be saved, but be unstedfast in his mind.
It is not discussing loss of salvation, but losing one's mental convictions on
7. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1Corinthians 10:12).
The context here is a warning to
Christians about the possibility of falling into sin or backsliding, not falling
8. The Vine
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and, they are burned." (John 15:1-6)
This passage is an illustration and the problem is that it is possible to stretch an illustration far beyond its intended meaning.
a) Abiding in the vine = a Christian abiding or remaining in close, unbroken fellowship with Christ. Fruit is produced.
b) Abiding not in the vine = broken fellowship with Christ and fruitlessness.
This refers not to our "standing" before God of salvation, but to our "state" of not living in close fellowship with Christ. We are faced with three problems in this passage:
1) "He taketh away" 15:2 means that those believers who do not bear fruit are taken away or lifted up out of their place. Taketh away = lifted up from the ground. The Father reserves the right to remove an unfruitful believer to heaven. This is maximum discipline of physical death. Fruitful branches are purged or pruned to bear more fruit. Therefore, both fruitful and unfruitful branches are under the immediate care of the Father (the Husbandman).
Purging means to cleanse a branch from filth and impurity by washing off insects, parasites and moss.
The washing is by the Word of God. (15:3)
2) "He is cast forth as a branch, and is withered." (15:6)
If a believer does not abide in Christ, he is out of fellowship with Christ, his public testimony is rejected by men, and his spiritual vitality is diminished or withered. He is like the castaway in 1 Corinthians 9:27 who is disapproved but not lost. All backsliders have a withered, reduced spiritual vitality.
3) "Men gather them, and cast them into the fire, they are burned." (15:6)
Notice the plural pronouns "them" and "they". It is not "men gather him, and cast him into the fire, and he is burned", as it would have been if it referred to losing salvation or to a professor. The "them" and "they" are what issues from the one who has been cast forth as a branch - dead works: wood, hay, stubble, which will be burned at the Judgment Seat of Christ, as 1 Corinthians 3:15 tells us: "If any man's work shall be burned (the same word as in John 15:6), he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."
Hence "them" and "they" refer to the
believers dead works which are burned up at the Judgment Seat of
9. "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life." (1 John 2:24-25).
If believers resist the lies of
antichrists, and let the Bible truth that they had heard from the
beginning "abide" in them, they would continue to abide in
unbroken fellowship with God the Father and God the Son. "That"
refers to Bible doctrine, which, if it remains in us will keep us in
unbroken, close fellowship with the Son and the Father.
10. "What is meant by "overcometh"?
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (Revelation 2:11). See Revelation 2:7, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21 where "overcometh" is used in a similar way.
Some feel that this verse means that a believer must do good works, or not do certain sins in order to "overcome" or he will lose his salvation. "Overcomes" is explained in 1 John 5:4,5:
"For whatsoever is born of God
overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he
that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" "He that
overcometh", then, is every born-again believer. These verses in
Revelation 2 and 3 are really verses of security, for the things promised
to "overcomers" are for all believers.
11. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." (Revelation 3:5)
Some think that this verse implies that
God may blot some people's names out of the book of life. The verse says nothing
about blotting out any name, but it is a promise that God will not blot out the
name of him "that overcometh". According to 1 John 5:4, 5 "He that overcometh is
"he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God." This is a verse of assurance
to all believers that we are eternally secure. John 6:37 "Him that comes to me I
will in no wise cast out."
12. "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:15).
This passage refers to the Judgment Seat
of Christ, for Christians only. Christian's works are judged. Some receive
rewards (1 Corinthians 3:14). Some suffer loss of reward (3:15), but all
believers are saved.
13. "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10).
Some people think that those who are
faithful unto death will receive eternal life. This verse does not say eternal
life, it says "crown of life", which is one of the rewards given to
Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is given to those who endure
temptation, and hence prove their love for Christ. (James 1:12).
14. "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11).
Crown does not refer to eternal life, but
to a reward given to Christians for faithful service. They may
lose rewards if they don't hold fast to sound Bible doctrine, and fall into
deception, sin, and false doctrine.
15. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body" (1 Cor 11:28-29).
Damnation seems to imply eternal
punishment in hell. "Judgment" is an alternative word, as seen from v.30,
31, 32. "For this cause many are weak and sickly, ... many sleep." Judgment here
is God "chastening" His own, not loss of salvation.
16. "Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith." (1 Timothy 5:12).
Damnation again means "judgment"
taking place in this life, not in eternity in hell, as seen by "having", which
is present tense, not future in hell. Wuest paraphrases it: "incurring (the
reproachful) judgment (of their fellow Christians) because they have nullified
their first faith." The passage is about younger Christian widows who vow not to
remarry, but change their mind and marry again, and may therefore incur the
judgment of others for breaking their vow.
17. "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia." (2 Timothy 4:10).
Demas was saved, but a backslidden fellow worker
of Paul's.Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24. There is no mention here of losing
salvation. All too often, the pleasures of this world lure Christians to forsake
the work of Christ, and to become unfruitful.
18. "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." (1 John 5:16).
Some sins are not punished by a
believer being quickly put to death by God. Sometimes a Christian may sin so
seriously that God judges that sin with swift physical death eg.
Ananias and Sapphira. We don't need to pray for it. Loss of salvation is not
being discussed here.
19. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Castaway means disapproved (Greek -
adokimos). It means that by sin and disobedience, a believer is put on the shelf
and is of no use to God. (Like an athlete left off the team). "dokimos", in
Greek means "approved", and is used in Romans 14:18; 16:10; 1 Corinthians 11:19;
2 Corinthians 10:18; James 1:12 and 2 Timothy 2:15.
20. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law." (Galatians 5:1-3).
The "yoke of bondage" is not a lost
condition, but a condition of being under the law, of attempting to keep the law
as a necessity for salvation. If the Galatians were to put themselves under the
law, and submit to the rite of circumcision, they would deprive
themselves of the effects of the ministry of the risen Christ. Hence "Christ
shall profit you nothing."
21. "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4).
"Fallen from grace", does not mean loss of salvation, but by insisting on works to remain saved, they have put themselves in a position under the law where grace is unable to continue working. Galatian's theme is not salvation from the penalty of sin, but an appeal to live in the liberty of grace, instead of law bondage. This teaching by Judaizers deprived these Galatian Christians of their dependence on the Holy Spirit's work of grace in their lives. This is what is meant by "fallen from grace."
The context is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, not salvation. The cure is to: "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." Galatians 5:16. Galatians 5:22, 23 describes the result of walking in the Spirit, which is to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit.
These Galatian Christians had fallen from
grace in the sense that they had deprived themselves of the Holy
Spirit's ministry of giving them daily grace for daily living.
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
22. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobediance received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him." (Hebrews 2:1-3).
We cannot neglect our salvation until it
is ours. This is speaking of Christians who neglect their salvation. A man may
be married and neglect his wife, but she is still his wife. Christians do not
lose their salvation by neglecting it, but they do lose their joy and fellowship
with the Lord. They are also chastened in this life by God ("receive a just
recompense of reward.")
23. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12).
This verse is written to Christians
("brethren") as a warning against backsliding. We must guard against a
sinful, unbelieving heart, as shown by the wilderness generation, whose
heart turned away from God. The preventative remedy is to "exhort one
another daily ... lest any of you be hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13. No loss of salvation is mentioned
24. "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (Hebrews 4:1).
Israel at Kadesh-Barnea failed to enter the "rest" of the land of Canaan because of their unbelief in God's promises to safely bring them into the land.
Many Christians today wander
spiritually, not knowing the faith-rest life of blessings that is
rightfully theirs by believing the Bible's promises for joyful living. They fail
to possess the blessings already theirs (Ephesians 1:3) because of
25. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." (Hebrews 6:4-8).
This is a warning to Christians that
unless they go on to spiritual maturity, God may not let them. They will
not lose their salvation, but they will lose the blessings and rewards that
could have been theirs if they had claimed them. They will become unfruitful and
produce works fit only to be burned.
Notice the context in which this passage is found.
In Chapter 3 of Hebrews we have an
illustration of the Children of Israel hardening their hearts and
refusing to enter the promised land (Canaan) because of unbelief.
God had promised to give them the land and to drive out the inhabitants from
before them, but they refused to believe Him. Because of this, God would
not let them enter the land even when they desired to do so and they
wandered for forty years until their "carcases fell in the wilderness". (Hebrews
In Chapter 4 the writer of Hebrews
shows that there is a "rest" for believers, but that some may not
enter into that rest because of unbelief. The land of Canaan is an
illustration of that rest. Canaan does not illustrate Heaven, for even though it
was a place of victory it was still a place of conflict. It illustrates for the
believer that place of spiritual maturity where there is victory,
blessing and rest.
In Chapter 5, the writer of
Hebrews points out to the believers that they need to grow up
spiritually. There are many things that he would like to say to them but he
cannot because they are still babes in Christ. This thought is continued into
Chapter 6 where he says in verse 1 that they should leave the
basic things of the "doctrine of Christ" (the milk) and go on to
"perfection" (spiritual maturity). In verse 3 he says, "And this we
will do, if God permit." There is, evidently, the possibility that God
will not permit some to go on to spiritual maturity. Then follows the awful
warning of verses 4-8.
Lance B. Latham writes: "The
repentance that can no longer be effected is toward their perfection! These
Christians, `dull of hearing', `milk' Christians, and `babes' need this fearful
warning - just as we need it today. There comes a time, in God's infinite
knowledge and wisdom, when they cannot go on to perfection. `It is impossible -
to renew them again unto repentance' (not justification)."
God did not abandon the Israelites when He refused
to let them enter Canaan but continued to watch over them and care for them. He
continued to feed them with manna and to deliver them from their enemies. God
will not abandon His own today even though He refuses them the blessings that
could have been theirs if they had gone on to spiritual maturity. Notice
that those to which this passage refers:
1. "were once enlightened."
(v.4). Enlightened (fwtizw) is translated "illuminated" in Hebrew 10:32,
where it refers to all believers.
2. They "have tasted of the
heavenly gift." This goes beyond the idea of just sampling
salvation or coming to the threshold of salvation without really believing.
The Greek work translated "tasted" in Hebrews 6:4,5 (ceuomok) is the same word used
in Hebrews 2:9 where it says concerning Jesus, "That He should taste death
for every man." Did Jesus just sample death or did He enter thoroughly
into it? The latter for certain. The same word is translated "eat" in Acts
10:10; 20:11; 23:14. The word may also be translated "experience". "They
have experienced the heavenly gift." "They have experienced the good Word of
God, and the powers of the world to come."
3. They "were made partakers of the Holy Ghost." Partakers is used in:
i) Hebrews 3:1 "partakers of the heavenly calling."
ii) Hebrews 3:14 "partakers of Christ."
iii) Hebrews 12:8 "chastisement, whereof all are partakers."
"If any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of His. Romans 8:9.
4. They "have tasted the powers of the world to come." 6:5.
This implies that there had been at least
some fruit in their lives due to the Holy Spirit working. Verse 6 does not
state from what the believer is falling away. Therefore this must be
determined by the context. The writer is speaking of going on to
perfection (spiritual maturity) in verses 1 to 3 and this is
evidently still the subject here (the "for" at the beginning of verse 4 ties the
passages together). They are falling away from going on to spiritual
maturity. The cares of this world are choking their fruitfulness.
5. "It is impossible ... to renew them again unto repentance." v.6
The word "repentance" is used, not salvation. Repentance means a "change of mind."
i) When the unsaved repent, they change their mind about the person and work of Christ.
ii) When the saved repent of their
misdeeds, restoration results, not fresh justification. When a believer
fails to repent, he fails to receive the restoration of fellowship he
needs, God will judge him now (1 Corinthians 11:31-32), and he will
lose rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians
There is evidently a point in the life
of a Christian, who repeatedly refuses to go on to spiritual
maturity, at which God will no longer allow him to go on to spiritual
maturity even though the Christian desires to do so, a point at which God
will no longer allow him to have the blessings that could have been his if he
had only fully believed. He is still the Lord's own and he will watch over him
but he cannot enter into the rest illustrated by Canaan.
In Hebrews 12:16-17 Esau is given as an
example of one who did not value his birthright and sold it for a morsel of meat
(food). Because of this he lost out on the blessing that could have been his and
"found no place of repentance, though he sought it ... with
tears." Some Christians today do not really value their spiritual
birthright and as a result of worldliness lose out on the blessings
that could have been theirs, and though they later seek it, they find "no place
In Hebrews 6:7-8 the writer uses the
earth (soil) that "bringeth forth herbs" as an illustration of a
Christian whose life is fruitful. The writer uses the earth (soil)
which "beareth thorns and briers" to illustrate a Christian whose
life is unfruitful, but bears only that which is worthless. This
is similar to two of the kinds of ground in the parable of the Sower
(Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-25; Luke 8:4-15). The good ground brought forth much
fruit (Matthew 13:23) but the ground with the thorns, was
unfruitful because of the "care of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches."
6. "They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." v.6.
Those who renounce their Christian faith
are taking a step that amounts to a fresh public rejection of Christ. They are
agreeing with Jesus' enemies that He deserved to die on the cross. Backslidden
Jewish believers going back to Judaism are particularly referred to here. They
have a deeply hardened heart against all efforts to win them back, not to
Christian conversion, but to Christian commitment.
7. "That which bears thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." v.8.
Question 1: What bears thorns and briars?
Answer: The soil.
The soil (believer) is not destroyed by fire, but the unwanted thorns and briars.
Question 2: What is to be burned?
Answer: Thorns & briars.
"Rejected" is "adokimos" in Greek, and means castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27) or disapproved or loss of reward in heaven. Every Christian's works will be tried by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13). If his works are burned up, he loses rewards. If his works remain, he is rewarded.
- John 15:6 speaks of useless works of believers being burned:
"men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
In Hebrews 6:9 the writer does not
believe that his readers have gone as far as those in 6:4-6. He is persuaded
better things of them, and things that accompany salvation.
Hebrews 6:4-8 was written to Jews at a
time when many, due to persecution, were giving up the Christian faith, and
returning to the old Jewish faith. It was also written to Jews when Temple
worship was still going on. Judaism in effect crucified Christ again by their
continued sacrifices. These Jewish believers who were going back to Judaism were
crucifying Christ afresh. It says nothing about loss of salvation.
26. "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." (Hebrews 10:26,27).
The warning here is against defection from the faith. Most sin is deliberate, but the writer here is influenced by the Old Testament teaching about sins of presumption (Numbers 15:29-31) which lay outside the sacrificial provisions of the Law. Apostasy from the faith is such a wilful act that for those who commit it, no sacrifice for sins is left.
Key: If the sacrifice of Christ should be renounced, there remained no other available sacrifice which could shield an apostate from God's judgment by raging fire.
Hebrews 10:28-31. If defiance of the inferior Mosaic covenant brought such punishment, the punishment for defying the superior New Covenant would be much greater.
- To tread under foot the Son of God, and
- to count the sanctifying blood of the covenant an unholy (common) thing, and
- to insult the Spirit of grace who wooed him to Christ, this kind of spiritual rebellion calls for a much worse punishment than the death penalty under the Mosaic Law. The writer was not thinking of hell. Many forms of divine punishment are much worse than immediate death:
1. Jeremiah said "The punishment ... of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom that was overthrown in a moment." Lamentations 4:6.
2. "They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger ... the hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children..." Lamentations 4:9.10.
3. King Saul's last days were burdened
with such mental and emotional trouble that death by suicide was a release.
Don't regard this punishment as an idle threat. God has claimed the right to
take vengeance and to judge His people v.20.
27. "Cast not away therefore your
confidence, which hath great recompence of reward." (Hebrews 10:35). A
Christian may lose his confidence, without losing salvation.
28. "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." Hebrews 10:38
If a Christian draws back (backslides) he will be chastened by the Lord in His displeasure. This verse does not say that he is lost, as v.39 proves:
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
God may be displeased with believers, but
this does not mean or say that salvation is lost.
29. "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Rev 22:19).
Question: Does a person who gets his part taken from the book of life lose his salvation? Not so. Consider the following:-
What is the book of life?
1. Exodus 32:32-35 "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin -; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book."
2. Psalm 56:8 ".. put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?"
3. Psalm 69:28 "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous."
4. Psalm 139:16 "In thy book all my members are written."
5. Daniel 12:1 "... there shall be a time of trouble, ... at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."
6. Malachi 3:16 "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."
7. Philippians 4:3 "My fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life."
8. Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name..."
9. Revelation 13:8 "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
10. Revelation 17:8 "They that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast."
11. Revelation 20:12 "... another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
12. Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
13. Revelation 21:27 "They which are written in the Lamb's book of life (shall enter the New Jerusalem.)"
14. Revelation 22:19. "And if any man
shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away
his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things
which are written in this book."
Note: 1. We never read of the entry of names into the book of life being made during an individual's life.
a) For believers today, our names are in the Book of Life. Phil 4:3.
b) Believer's names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20.
c) As the church of the firstborn, our names are written in heaven. Hebrews 12:23.
d) Tribulation overcomer's names are written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. Revelation 17:8.
2. Names may be blotted out of the Book of Life.
a) Moses prayed, "blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book." Exodus 32:32.
b) "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living..." Psalms 69:28.
c) Sardis overcomers names will not be
blotted out. Revelation 3:5.
Therefore, many names (if not everybody's names) are in the Book of Life originally, but names are eventually blotted out for a final rejection of Christ and His Word, from which Christ can see no repentance. There is no reference to believer's names being written in the book at the moment of conversion.
3. These names in the Book of life
will be confessed by the Lord before His Father. "Whosoever therefore
shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father.." Matthew
10:32, Luke 12:8.
Revelation 22:19 assumes that a true
child of God will not tamper with the Scriptures. Revelation 3:5 says that a
believer's name will not be blotted out because of his faith in Christ, which
all overcomer's have (1 John 5:4,5). Some have seen the Book of Life, not as the
roll of those who are saved, but a list of those for whom Christ died, that is,
all humanity who ever had physical life. As they come to maturity, they have the
responsibility of receiving or rejecting Christ. Those who reject Christ find
their names blotted out of the Book of Life. Those who accept Christ as Saviour
are confirmed permanently in the Book of Life. This viewpoint is to be
30. "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee." (Romans 11:20-21).
Read all of Romans 11.
Question: Who is this spoken to? "take heed lest He also spare not thee."
Answer: Romans 11:13 "For I speak
to you Gentiles." The natural branches are the Jews, broken off because
of unbelief (11:20). Through the Jews fall, salvation is offered to the Gentiles
(11:12). The warning here is to the Gentiles, not to individual believers
that they will be cast out. In the millenium, Gentiledom will be cut off, as was
Israel, and Israel will be restored to it's former place as the channel of God's
blessings to earth.
31. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." (Revelation 2:5).
This warning of removing thy candlestick
is to the local church at Ephesus (1:20), not to an individual Christian. When
churches become lazy and compromising, and allow unbelievers to control it, they
lose their candlestick and cease to be one of God's churches.
32. "I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16).
This warning is to the lukewarm Laodicean
church, not to any individual believer. Revelation 3:20 is an invitation to
individuals. Eternal security does not apply to local churches, only to
33. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).
Nowhere in the Bible is anyone said to be saved from hell by keeping anything in their memory. Salvation from the penalty of sin is an already accomplished fact for the believer, not a process now going on. However, each day the believer is being saved from the power of sin, as a continuing process in his life. How? By keeping Bible preaching in his memory.
- 1 Corinthians 15:1 is the past tense of salvation "which they had received" (Greek: aorist, active, past, indicative) in which they stand. This shows that they were already saved from the penalty of sin.
- 1 Corinthians 15:2 is the present tense of salvation "By which also ye are saved" (literally: are being saved daily; Greek: present, passive, indicative - indicating action now going on). They are "being saved" from the power of sin, they are growing in grace, maturing as Christians, if they were keeping in memory (holding fast) what Paul preached to them.
- "Unless ye have believed in vain" means
unless your belief was "unreal" - unless they had never really been
34. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12).
This command is in the present tense of salvation, being saved from the power of sin in their daily lives, growing in grace, growing in Christlikeness, in sanctification. "Work out your own salvation" is urging Christians to mature spiritually. There is no hint here of an unsaved person doing good works to earn salvation because:
1. Those addressed were already saved: "my beloved".
2. The Bible clearly teaches that nobody is saved by works. When Paul was with them, he taught, inspired, and encouraged them to grow in grace. Now in Paul's absence they were responsible to grow in grace. They have justification. Paul speaks about their sanctification. Carry your growth to Christlikeness. 1 John 3:3. "purify himself".
"Work out your own salvation" means to cultivate a field that you already own.
"Work out" means to "put into practice in their daily living."
They were not told to work for
their salvation, but to work out their salvation. It means to work out
the details of your salvation, applying it to daily living.
35. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Tim 4:16).
Again, salvation here is in the
present tense. This is not talking about salvation from the
penalty of sin (past), but of salvation from the power of sin
(present). Timothy was already saved, but continuing in sound doctrine would
save him and others from false doctrine, unbelief and error. Hence "save
thyself" means to save yourself from false doctrine.
36. "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me have I kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; ..." (John 17:12).
Some say that this verse shows that Judas was once saved, but that he lost his salvation.
Answer: Jesus says that He kept those that the Father had given Him.
"This is the Father's will ... that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing..." John 6:39.
"...of them which thou gavest me have I lost none." John 18:9.
Judas was never given by the Father to Jesus.
"Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him." John 6:64.
"Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot ...for he it was that should betray him..." John 6:70, 71.
Judas was chosen as one of the twelve, not chosen to be saved. In John 17:12, Judas is not listed as an exception to those that Jesus had kept, but in contrast to those that He kept. None of those that the Father gave to Jesus was lost, but Judas was lost.
"That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship; from which Judas by transgression fell..." Acts 1:25.
Judas fell from an official position
of ministry and apostleship, he did not fall from salvation, because he was
37. "From that time many of His disciples (followers) went back, and walked no more with Him." (John 6:66).
Even a true believer may backslide and
walk out of fellowship with the Lord. Loss of fellowship is not loss of
38. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called ..." (1 Timothy 6:12).
"Lay hold on eternal life", means that
Paul wanted Timothy to experience more of what eternal life is about in his
daily life. Seek and seize the crown of victory as eagerly as competitors at the
Greek games sought the winner's prize.
39. "Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Timothy 6:19)
Rich people need to use their riches to
win people to eternal life in Christ in heaven. They must not live only for this
life, but live for eternity, laying hold of the issues of eternal life.
Use what God has given you for eternal blessings and the salvation of
40. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14)
We who believe already have holiness.
"Ye are a chosen generation, a holy nation ..." 1 Peter 2:9.
Hebrews 2:14 tells us to "follow
holiness." This means that we should seek, through yielding to the Holy Spirit,
to cultivate true holiness in our daily lives. We should seek to cultivate that
which is already true of us in our eternal standing before God. Since no sin can
stand in God's presence, Christians will be sinless when we see the Lord (1 John
3:2). In view of this, let us pursue holiness here and now.
41. "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." (Hebrews 12:15).
After we have been saved by grace, grace
continues to work, teaching us to live "soberly, righteously and godly." Titus
2:11, 12. Some believers can be so controlled by sin and envy, that they can no
longer respond to some people with the grace of God, but with envy, bitterness,
anger and nervousness. They react in carnality, not in grace. They have failed
of the grace of God. They, by bitterness, cut themselves off from the grace of
God operating in their lives. They constantly act ungraciously.
42. "To present you holy and unblameable299 and unreproveable410 in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard ..." Colossians 1:22, 23.
Some say that salvation is ours only IF we continue in the faith. Here "IF"1489 means "that which is taken for granted."
Answer 1: v.22, 23 We will be presented holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight: IF (or since, or it is taken for granted)
a) ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and
b) be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel.
It is taken for granted that these two conditions will be fulfilled, "IF" means certainty. This passage is not looking to the future, but speaks of the Christian's present condition as a test of the reality of his salvation.
Answer 2: If we continue in the
faith (sound Bible doctrine) we will be presented, holy, unblameable, and
unreproveable in his sight at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We will be approved,
we will have confidence, and not be ashamed at his coming if we abide in Christ
(1 John 2:28), and continue in the faith of sound doctrine (Colossians 1:22,
23). If we don't abide or continue in the faith, we will be disapproved, ashamed
and lose rewards at Christ's coming. The subject is rewards, not loss of
43. "But Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:6).
Some say that this verse teaches loss of salvation if we do not hold fast our confidence firm to the end. This is false because:
Answer: The writer in Hebrews 3:5
speaks of Moses being faithful in all his house (the Tabernacle). The writer
uses the word "we", to include himself in the scope of this admonition. Moses'
house was a sphere of priestly activities v.5. Christ's house v.6, is not
the body of Christ, of all believers. In 3:12 the writer warns us against "an
evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. Should any believer do
this, they would forfeit their robes in the Son's priestly house, which is only
maintained by holding firmly to their Christian profession. The writer did not
mean loss of salvation. The writer was thinking in priestly terms. As long as
the readers held firmly to their Christian commitment, they also functioned
within Christ's priestly system. Just as a Levite could withdraw from
participating in Moses' tabernacle, so too may a true Christian withdraw from
his priestly role as a servant of Christ. Therefore, Christians (as some
Levites did) could withdraw from their priestly service to God over God's
44. "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20).
The sinning one here is a believer who
has gone astray from the path of truth or has backslidden. To patiently go after
such a person and to turn him again to obey the Lord is to save him from
physical death, of God's discipline, and will hide, or cover or prevent a
multitude of sins. He is preserved from going into more sin, by being
45. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
These people spoken of here have departed
from the faith of their fathers. There is no reference here to departing
from personal faith. "The" before faith, means "Faith as that body of doctrine
which Christians believe", not faith as an action. These people never
46. "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." (2 Peter 2:20, 21).
Here it speaks of "knowledge" of
Christ, but it does not say that they have received Christ. Knowledge is
not enough to save a person. One must appropriate that knowledge to himself and
accept Christ's payment for sin. When these teachers or their victims reject the
knowledge about Jesus Christ, their end is deeper corruption (entanglement), and
a more severe degree of punishment. For example, many children have been raised
in a Christian home, been taught the knowledge of Christ from infancy, and been
religious, attending church regularly. They have escaped much of the outward
pollution of the world. But if they reject Christ as Saviour, and go into sin,
they will be worse off than if they had never known about the way of
righteousness. Peter chose dogs and pigs (lowest animals v.22) to describe
people who knew the truth and turned away from it. A dog pictures a false
teacher. A pig pictures the natural unsaved man who may look
cleansed outwardly but still loves the mud (the things of the world), and as
soon as the restraint is off, he will go back to the filth in which he once
lived. "But it is happened unto them according to the proverb, The dog
is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her
wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:22). The dog and the pig were never
47. "From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling." (1 Timothy 1:6).
This refers to Christians who have been
lead astray by false teachers into fruitlessness (vain jangling). "Vain
jangling" (3150) means "senseless, mischievous, vain talking" which well
describes believers who have swallowed false doctrine, and talk about it to
others, trying to persuade others of their false views.
48. "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." (1 Timothy 1:19-20).
It is possible to be shipwrecked and live.
- Holding faith means faithfulness to the Christian cause, as a solider. He should steadfastly believe true doctrine.
- Good conscience means to honestly follow what is right.
Men make shipwreck of their faith by not keeping a good conscience. Men shipwreck their faith because they wish to indulge in sin. To remain faithful demands moral purity.
Sins and departing from true doctrine
will shipwreck a man's faith. Delivering a person to satan, is to allow satan to
bring physical suffering to disobedient Christians. Many Christians who put away
faith (doctrines) by believing false doctrine, are still saved.
49. "And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:17-18).
Hymenaeus and Philetus taught false
doctrine. A Christian may believe and teach some false doctrines. The Lord will
chasten him, but it does not say that he will lose his salvation. "Overthrow the
faith" means to depart from true doctrine.
50. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
2 Corinthians 6:17.
"Wherefore" means "since you are a peculiar people, and God dwells among you", come out from idolaters and unbelievers.
"Come out" is taken from Isaiah 52:11 where Jews are called to leave their exile in Babylon with its idols.
"Be separate" from all worldly corrupting influences.
"Touch not the unclean thing" means to be pure from idolatry etc.
"I will receive you" means "I will enjoy fellowship with you."
"I will be a father unto you" means God will protect us as a father protects His children if we forsake idolatry.
Obedience brings God's fatherly protection. Disobedience brings self inflicted suffering.
Some think that this verse says that God
will only receive those who come out and be separate. This appeal for a
separated life is based on the previous verse (v.16 "Ye are the temple of the
living God). Therefore v.7 is an appeal to holy living based on the security
of the believer that we are the temple of God. There is no threatened loss
of salvation. God promises "I will receive you." There is no "if" condition
51. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: IF we deny Him, He will also deny us." (2 Timothy 2:12).
Some say that this verse means that if we deny that we know Him, then He will deny that He knows us and we will be lost.
Answer: The word "deny" here means "to withhold".
If we deny Him (withhold from Christ) our service, or our fellowship, He will deny us (withhold from us) the blessings, joy and fellowship that could have been ours.
It cannot mean loss of salvation because Paul uses "we" including himself and Timothy. He never thought that he could lose salvation. What else could it mean?
The context in v.12 is suffering. Some Christians suffered with Christ. They will reign with Christ in the millenium. Some Christians deny Christ during suffering or in their lives. Deny means "not willing to suffer for Christ" and "failing to confess Christ". Peter denied Christ but he did not lose his salvation. Christ did rebuke him for denying Him.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Lord will deal with our failures and successes. If we deny Christ now, then Christ will deny us blessings, rewards and heavenly privileges in front of the holy angels.
- "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32, 33.
- "He that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." Luke 12:9.
- "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and
of my word in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son
of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy
angels." Mark 8:38.
We shall be held accountable for our
unfaithfulness by the denial of some earthly joy and some heavenly
Pr. Keith Piper