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Could Both Arminianism and Calvinism be Wrong?

Discussion in 'Soteriology DEBATE' started by xjohnson, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But remember, he did not pray for the world. Only those the Father gave to him and those who would believe through their word. And faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So they had to be saved by grace before they could believe.
     
  2. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    Again, Jesus did pray for the world - that they would believe. (Jn 17:21) He did not pray that the world get unity with God, etc. My last post went through this extensively. And Jesus' Gethsemane prayer was one prayer with a specific focus.

    We are not saved before we believe. Scripture never says such a thing. Salvation is by grace through faith.
    https://ebible.com/questions/15669-...is-is-not-of-ourselves-but-is-the-gift-of-god

    If you believe, -then- you are saved! (John 11:40, John 3:16, John 5:24, John 12:44-50, Mark 16:16, Rom 10:9-13, Acts 2:21, Acts 16:29-31 etc)

    "...He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” - Acts 16:29-31 [Not, "well, that depends on if God chooses to save you by grace or not. I guess if you believe we'll know He did."]

    Faith being a 'fruit of the Spirit' is not the same thing as our initial faith in Christ unto salvation - our faith Christ is Messiah is not a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We do not receive the indwelling Spirit until after we believe ( Gal 3:2-3, Gal 3:10-14, Eph 1:11-14, II Cor 5:17,)

    "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?" Gal 3:2

    "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Gal 3:13

    "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having also believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Eph 1:13-14

    However, for a believer walking by the Spirit we do bear fruit out of our initial faith:

    "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins." II Pet 1:5-11
    And we even grow in our own faith - learning to trust God more and be faithful in trials, etc., hence why faith is also one of the traits of the fruit of the Spirit. Faith begets stronger faith when we submit to Christ.

    "Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand," II Cor 10:15

    "For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Col 2:5-7
     
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  3. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    The debate has been raging for far too long.

    I think both have good points, but one is dangerous (Armenian with his legalistic gospel of works) and Calvinism, in my view gives God a bad name, as double predestination is a stain, and it takes away love, One can not love if they have no free will.. apart from love, there can be no relationship. yet at the same time, I view calvinists as my brothers and sisters
     
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  4. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how Arminianism can be construed as a 'legalistic gospel of works' since it very clearly teaches that salvation is from Christ alone and based in faith, not works. Even their belief on security in Christ is based in the person believing/trusting in Christ and remaining in faith-union with Christ - not by the person's works. (Though many Arminians believe such rejection of faith is impossible - it's not mandated by FACTS to believe that a person can theoretically reject faith.)

    I'd suggest reading their own view, such as here: http://evangelicalarminians.org/the...nian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/ Vs. interpretations of it by non-Arminians which are subject to bias or outright misrepresentation. There is nothing 'legalistic' about it.

    Now, I do know people who incorrectly think Arminianism teaches works-based salvation (often because they encountered that strawman or a charge that Arminians are semi-pelagian, etc.) and so don't believe they are real Christians. That IS dangerous in those cases, as it's treating brothers and sisters in Christ as not truly part of the church and setting beliefs in man-made theories as a further litmus test above the gospel as to who is included in Christ.
     
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  5. xjohnson

    xjohnson New Member

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    Hi -

    What do you think about my thoughts on the subject? Thanks in advance, and welcome to christianforums.com.
     
  6. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    They claim salvation can be lost, eternal life is not gauranteed, if this is true, one must maintain their salvation by some sort of work of their own power. Thus in reality, they deny the power of christ, salvation in The end is based on works, because those who are eventually saved have maintained their salvation till the end.

    Now what works one believes, that can be a point of discussion, many believe in works, but what works are not the same.
     
  7. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    That's a false dichotomy, as 'works based' or 'eternal security' are not the only mandated options by scripture. Believing one can reject salvation, by rejecting faith, is not the same as t holding that *believers* can lose it or misplace it or have it taken away. And Jesus alone gives and 'maintains' the salvation of believers. The believer isn't 'maintaining' salvation by faith - rather the ongoing believer *holds* eternal life by the promise of God (Jn 3:16, etc.)

    It's like the many analogies of remaining in the vine (John 15, Rom 11): Believers (those who respond to the gospel in faith) are grafted in (God's work) to the vine (Christ.) Obviously, the believers due not maintain the vine. But, if they do not continue in faith/remain in Christ, God severs them from the vine.

    Faith is not a work of the law. (Gal 2:16, etc.) Continuing in faith is not a work of the law. So on what basis do you claim that continuing in faith would somehow become a work of the law? There is no scripture that claims such a thing. But there are many scriptures that command us to continue in faith, and indeed the present active verb use in many familiar passages such as Jn 3:16 show that only an "active/ongoing" faith holds (active/ongoing) eternal life - not a once and done faith of the past.

    Also, faith does not mean man is completely 'uninvolved.' As Jesus said, faith is the work God requires man to do (Jn 6:28-29.) Man is "involved" in responding to the gospel in faith. But that involvement wouldn't somehow make faith a work of the law or of righteousness or of merit. Scripture contradicts that idea many times.

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him," Col 2:6 (The word received here implies taking a gift with strong personal initiative. Involvement of a type, but no credit for the gift itself.)

    "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (active/ongoing): first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Rom 1:16-17

    Why would needing to believe (active/ongoing) to the end somehow make salvation not the power of God?
     
  8. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    Thank you for the welcome

    I think isreal as a nation was elect for a purpose (but this did not save them)

    I think jew or gentile alike were elect to salvation based on Gods foreknowledge, not the calvinist way

    I believe salvation has always been by grace through faith, from adam until today and will always be that way,
     
  9. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    Sorry but I Disagree,

    If salvation begins by the spirit, but must be maintaind by the flesh or it is lost, then it is a false gospel, in fact paul calls it foolish.

    Eternal security is based on Gods promise,

    1. He gave eternal life, not conditional life
    2. He gave the seal of the spirit as a pledge until the day of redemption, not until the day we no longer fullfil some condition
    3. He perfected us forever, (not until we stop fulfilling some condition) while he is in the process of sanctifyi g us (which continues until we get to heaven at death or the rapture)
    4. The bible says he began a work in us the moment we were saved, and he will complete it, it does not say he might complete it.
    5. Faith is earned, it is not just given, people who place their faih in christ for salvation do it based on the work of God in their life, because god has proved to be faithful, otherwise we would never place our faith in him to begin with, you do not just lose that faith, the only way you would or could is because God became unfaithful, and lost his trustworthyness as one who can save us, and his promises are no longer assured (they no longer believe he is able) ie, people do not lose faith, to me they never had faith to begin with, they may believe, but mere belief never saved anyone, even demons believe yet tremble

    You can not give salvation back, its not yours to begin with, its gods, if God did adopt you, he will never unadopt you, you can walk away as a prodigal, but your still his child.

    As john said, thise who give god the finger and no longer believe (antichrist) were never saved to begin with, i tend to trust john, i think you can agree, that is what we should do.
     
  10. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    Why would continuing in faith be akin to "continuing in the flesh' or trying to be perfected by the flesh? That idea is opposite what Gal 3, which I assume you are making a reference to by 'begins by the Spirit' says:

    "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who are of faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

    Faith is in every way contrasted with "works of the law" and "means of the flesh." Faith is not 'maintenance of the flesh'! The accusation that it being necessary to continue in faith (Which Col 1:23, Acts 14:22, and other passages exhort us to do) would make faith akin to "maintaining salvation by the flesh" has no basis whatsoever in scripture.

    This is a misunderstanding of what eternal life is. We hold (Active/ongoing) eternal life on the condition of believing (active/ongoing) in Christ. Holding eternal life is not the same as having 'unconditional' life, as faith is always the condition while we are alive on Earth. Jn 3:16 and many other passages spell out that condition of faith.

    Brief primer on Greek grammar: The Greek present active denotes an ongoing state or action (action in progress, state of persistence.) The Greek present indicative shows action taking place or happening in the present time of the speaker speaking (such as Eph 2:22.) The Greek aorist denotes a 'simple occurrence' - i.e. the fact something happened or will happen, but without regard for the amount of time taken to accomplish the action.
    https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm


    "Whoever believes (present active) in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe (present active) God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed (perfect active indicative) the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us (aorist) eternal life, and this life is (present indicative) in his Son. Whoever holds (present active) the Son holds (present active) life; whoever does not hold (present active) the Son of God does not hold (present active) life. I write these things to you who believe (present active) in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you hold (present active) eternal life." I Jn 5:10-13

    Holding (Active/ongoing) eternal life, then, is conditional on believing (Active/ongoing) in the Son.

    There is nothing in the Greek that would mandate someone having faith for a moment and getting eternal life for a moment would mean they must 'forever hold' that eternal life, even if they deny faith. The scripture describes us as *holding* eternal life (as well as holding the hope of future eternal life at the resurrection where we literally receive spiritual bodies that cannot die.) Despite the imagined concepts the English translation of 'Eternal life' might dredge up, scripture doesn't treat eternal life as a past and done given gift but rather as an ongoing state. That state is conditional as it is only given by God's grace, and He only gives it to those who believe (active/ongoing) in the Son.

    Who does He give the Spirit to? Those who are included in Christ by their faith. Those who are "God's possession." Faith is not 'some condition,' it is THE only condition by which God graciously grants us salvation, applies the work of Christ and His righteousness on our behalf, and makes us part of His people and inheritors of the promises.

    "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Eph 1:13-14

    "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him." Rom 8:16-17

    The Holy Spirit is a pledge of inheritance looking forward to the redemption of God's possession (Eph 1:14.) But if one rejects their inheritance and denies Christ's redemption and hence ownership, then he cannot later claim that inheritance (II Pet 2:1, Heb 3:6; Heb 3:13-14, Col 1:22-23) This is similar to how Esau could not reclaim his birthright once he sold it (Heb 12:17.) Simply having a birthright, earnest deposit, or other legal stamp of a future payment one is to inherit or receive doesn't mean one -must- accept that payment in future. It simply means the other party has guaranteed the payment from their end.

    Heb 10:10-14 is about how Jesus through His once and for all sacrifice 'made perfect forever' those of us who are being made holy. This is because God looks at Christ's holiness because of that sacrifice, not our own, when judging us righteous! The passage isn't saying we are suddenly perfect and sinless and holy of ourselves. Rather, we are made perfect forever since God views us through Christ.

    "In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters." Heb 2:10-11

    Now, note the condition: this perfection is for "those of us who are being made holy" and God's "family." Who are those people? Only those who believe in Christ! (I Cor 1:2, Eph 1:4, etc.)

    And there is nothing in the Greek to mandate that God viewing us through Christ once or for a while, and thus viewing us through Christ's once and for all perfect sacrifice, means that God could never 'not' view us through that lens of perfection if we deliberately left God's family and rejected that sacrifice.

    The context of Phil 1:6 says nothing about God forcing us to continue in faith. It's Paul's exhortation to the Corinthians of His confidence that God will complete the work He started in them based on several factors:
    - They had partnered with the ministry of the gospel from "the first day until now" (1:5)
    - They shared in grace with Paul in supporting his particular ministry and supporting him while in prison (1:7; 4:18, 19)
    - Paul is praying for them and trusting God on their behalf (1:3, 9-11)
    Etc.

    But this is not a 'guarantee' they will continue in faith, just Paul's confidence that God will continue to work in them and that based on their track record God will complete it. It's also a corporate message to the Corinthians - not a high level soteriological discourse on the nature of whether or not given individuals will persevere.

    "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Phil 2:13)


    - Why would it be 'impossible' to lose faith in something we once believed? People do this all the time in lesser matters (parents, church, society, science, etc.) Many times it isn't because what they believed in 'changed' or 'let them down' but due to their own emotions/temptations. I highly doubt flat Earthers lost their faith in the shape of the Earth because the Earth suddenly changed shape on them, for example.

    "Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away." Lk 8:13

    The 'seed' didn't change or let them down. But they didn't have root in Christ enough to believe more than for a little while.

    - Why would it reflect poorly on God's faithfulness if we denied Him? That isn't a failure of His, it would be our own.

    " Here is a trustworthy saying:
    If we died with him, we will also live with him;
    if we endure, we will also reign with him.
    If we disown him, he will also disown us;
    if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself."
    II Tim 2:11-13

    Disowning Christ is possible - but it means Christ will disown us at the judgement. ("I never knew you") And the faithlessness of unbelievers or former believers can do nothing to affect the faithfulness of God. God can't go back on His promises. And part of those promises? Eternal life is granted *only* to those who believe. God can't let someone in who once believed but now rejects Christ, as He cannot deny His own character.

    - Scripture shows people can reject faith after accepting Christ (Lk 8:13, Jn 15:4-8, Rom 11:17-23, etc.) And we know these people did not "merely" believe as scripture uses terms like them having shared with the Holy Spirit (Heb 6:4-6,) had true knowledge/personal relationship with Christ and were sanctified by Christ's blood (Heb 10:26-29,) escaped the corruption of the world through true knowledge/relationship with Christ (II Pet 2:20-22,) etc. If having faith, a personal relationship with Christ, and having the Holy Spirit isn't enough for us to know if we are "real" believers or not, I'm not sure what would be!
     
  11. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    Anything done with the mindset of trying earn or gain something is works.

    Paul said it is by grace THROUGH faith that we have been saved,

    It is faith in the work of God in the cross, not faith in our ability to continue to have faith, that makes no sense.

    Your placing a condition on salvation, This alone shows it to be works. Grace is not based on conditions, it is based on God alone.

    It also makes no sense. In John 3, Jesus says whoever believes HAS eternal life. I can not have eternal life one minute, then lose it, if I could for any reason. That life was never eternal.

    In John 6, Jesus said whoever believes will never hunger never thirst live forever, has eternal life has passed from life to dseath and will be risen on the last day. I can not have these things in possession, then lose them, if they could be lost Jesus lied.

    In Eph 1. Paul says after I heard the word, and then believed, I was sealed by the spirit, until the day of redemption. The condition of continued belief was never given.

    In John, he tells us we have eternal life. And our knowledge of this FACT is what is the motivation to continue to believe in his name, If I am not assured eternal life which I have been given, if there is ANY reason it could be lost. How could I continue to have faith in that hope which God, who can not lie? I can;t it would be easy to lose faith. Because I was never assured to begin with.

    Once again, John said any who denys jesus is an antichrist, A person denies jesus when they do nto have faith in him. John also said whoever claimed to be part of the church, and now denies christ was never saved to begin with. They did not lose salvation, they never had it.

    Finally, You have God giving someone a gift, telling them they will never die KNOWING that person will later deny him in lack of faith, thus forcing God to remove his eternal life from them. Ie, it is an insult to the diety of God to say one can lose salvation because someone who CLAIMED to have faiht lost it. And thus lost salvation.

    You added a condition not given. Paul said th pledge was UNTIL the day of redemption. There was no condition of keeping faithful.

    Your ignoring justification. Justification is the process of being forgiven ALL SIN, of making one perfect. It is a leagal term which means I have been aquited of all charges against me, God paid for all my sins on the cross. Not just the ones up to the time I believed.
    Sanctification is a process of taking the justified believer and growing them into a mature believer, which is an ongoing process which will take a lifetime, Paul plainly said he continued to run the race, because he never made it, Non of us will come to the point of we are perfect in this lifetime conditionally. So perfection is this verse is not about being made perfect conditionally where we are sinless. It is about being made or given the righteousness of Christ in us.

    Who said anythign about God forcing people to continue in faith? I never said this nor did I insinuate this. And I am offended you would try to twist my words.

    Phil 1 is about God who started a good work in a believer, the work is sanctification. And paul made it clear. The god who started it WILL COMPLETE IT. Any other interpreation makes paul out to be a liar.

    2 things, God does not have to force people to have faith. All he has to do is continue to be faithful. We are talking about salvation here, Not faith in God in all areas of our life. I can lack faith of God in a particular area of my life, and because of it, continue to sin in that area. It does not mean I lost faith in him as my savior.

    Phil 2 is paul telling uys to work out what we already have in our possession. The greek term has been found to be used as a mining term, where you take the material which is in the ground and mine it or work it out of the ground. Paul is telling us to take the salvation we already have and using it (work it out) thus making it usefull. He is not telling us to work in order to earn salvation.
    People lose faith in people who become untrustworthy, who have failed them, or who they never really trusted in the first place.

    Many people want to “try out church” so they believe for awhile. But church was not what they thought it was, so they left the church, You can say they lost faith. But I would say they never had it to begin with, They had maybe mere belief

    Trying to compair flat earth with God and his trustworthyness is troublesome, for one, flat earth the more you investigate, the more you see it is not true, so your faith should change,

    God however, the more you investigate, the more he proves himself. Your faith should not fade or Go away, it should get stronger, That is unless you never really had faith to begin with.

    They had no root. Who is the root? The root is christ, They had no root, because they did not have christ, which is why they fell away.

    You have god saving he knows will turn,, God is not fooled. He does not save people. Then say oh wow. This guy fooled me, I did not know he would lose salvation.

    While I agree, people may not trust God in all areas. We are talking about salvation here.

    If I trusted and was assured of the promises of God concerning salvation. There is no way I would lose salvation inless God proves to be untrustworthy, A person truly following CHrist owuld not have their faith diminish, it would grow. Because God never lets us down.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  12. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    Trying to *earn* something is indeed works. Wanting to *gain* something that is freely offered by the work of someone else? That is not a work of the law, of righteousness, or of personal merit. We can desire to receive the gospel of salvation when it is freely offered to us - that doesn't mean we somehow "worked" for our salvation via the law or personal righteousness.

    Did the martyrs 'work' for salvation because they continued in faith even through torture because they desired to obtain the resurrection? "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection." Heb 11:35

    There's nothing in scripture that states faith would somehow become a 'work' if we desired the offered salvation in Christ and were aware we would 'gain' an inheritance and salvation from God if we turn in faith.

    I agree. But our continuing in faith doesn't make it any less by grace!

    It makes no sense because no one has claimed that. Continuing in faith in CHRIST is not the same thing as 'faith in our ability to continue in faith' - whatever that means. One's belief in eternal security, or not, doesn't affect one's salvation - only faith in Christ. One's personal belief or doubt that one can endure in faith doesn't affect one's salvation.

    1. God puts 'Faith' as a condition on salvation (and continuing/ongoing faith at that as previously shown through scripture)
    2. Scripture says faith is contrasted with works so that no man can boast.
    Conclusion: The condition of faith is not in any way a work man could potentially boast in or make Salvation less by grace.

    "..through whom we hold (active/ongoing) access by faith into this grace in which we now stand (active/ongoing.) And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." Rom 5:2

    Also, wouldn't 'belief in eternal security' be a clear condition on salvation in your view, and thus something needed in addition to faith in Christ?

    For example, I personally have assurance of salvation because I have faith. When I examine myself I can look to my faith and the evidence of the Holy Spirit as confirmation that God gives me salvation, by His grace, on account of that faith. But under your view, it would seem I could have no assurance of salvation. I would have to believe not just in Christ's work as Messiah but *also* the theory of eternal security to be saved. And as I do not believe in eternal security, finding no scriptural evidence for it and much that clearly stands against it, I wouldn't be saved and would have no assurance of salvation under such a view. And what of the people prior to the 4th century who lived before anything resembling a formal theory on eternal security was developed? Were they out of luck?

    The believer 'holds' eternal life. 'Has' is a fine translation, so long as you recognize that it is an 'active and ongoing' having. And while people see the English term 'eternal life' and they often imagine something that can't be lost or end of itself, that isn't what the Greek implies. The Greek just shows 'age-long life' (eternal by context and parallel scripture) granted to the one that holds it.

    For example, imagine Adam when he was in the Garden of Eden. While he was there, he held access to and permission to eat from the Tree of Life and thus held access to eternal life. (Whether he ever did or not is unknown) But he was driven from the garden precisely so he could not (or no longer) eat from the Tree of Life and live forever.

    Basically, imagine eternal life as life in Christ with God sustaining you, forever. "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Jn 17:3
    (And at the judgement, of course, a new spiritual body that literally can no longer die.) If we stop knowing Christ (reject faith) do we have eternal life anymore? No. If we disown Christ, can we then hope that God will continue to give us life?

    He who believes (active/ongoing) holds (active/ongoing) eternal life. Jn 6:47
    https://biblehub.com/lexicon/john/6-47.htm

    He (the active believer) has passed from death to life at that first moment of faith - that is when he began to hold eternal life. The 'will be risen on the last day' is the future hope of that believer. Nothing in the text demands that person cannot stop believing, hence stop holding eternal life, and hence return to death.

    It's like saying, "The moment I enrolled in 12th grade I passed from junior to senior. I have the hope of graduation and will walk the aisle to get my high school diploma on the last day." (Not a perfect analogy since it's Christ's 'grades' and not ours that count...) That hope is an assurance by his school to him. It doesn't force the student to remain - if the student drops out, he loses that hope of graduation.

    The seal of the Holy Spirit doesn't ensure we stay believing. The Seal of the Holy Spirit guarantees that God will fulfill His promises to His children, *believers.* If a person rejects faith and hence the seal, God is not mandated to give them the promises. (Indeed, His character ensures He must judge them.)
    [Question: What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?
    See Answer: http://ebible.com/answers/29251?ori=167400]

    [/QUOTE]
    In John, he tells us we have eternal life. And our knowledge of this FACT is what is the motivation to continue to believe in his name, [/QUOTE]

    No, John states over and over that those who *believe* (active/ongoing) hold eternal life - not that it's a completed thing of the past we could never potentially stop holding. Knowledge of that fact gives us hope in God's assured promises and motivation to continue in faith even during hard times. If we literally thought we already had eternal life and couldn't reject it no matter what, that would be very poor motivation to continue believing if our lives were threatened or we were tortured since to us it 'wouldn't matter.'

    Why would an assurance based in faith be difficult? Is salvation by faith prohibitively difficult? Why would one be more apt to lose faith if they thought that it was necessary to overcome the world in faith? Isn't that backwards? Wouldn't we be more apt to 'lose faith' when facing trials if we thought it was un-necessary to continue in it?

    If you read the text of I John 2 it just shows that their leaving showed they were not part of the church - nothing about whether they once believed or not long ago before their departure. If they'd belonged to the church (e.g. believers) they would have stayed. Believers continue in fellowship with the church. If someone stops believing, then they are no longer part of the church regardless of 'appearance' and attendance. By leaving, they publicly showed they were not part of the church and not believers. Had they been believers, they would have stayed in fellowship. (This doesn't mean or imply a believer is guaranteed to stay in fellowship and never stop believing. Rather, it shows that when people leave the church it is usually because they really stopped believing some time ago. Certainly, some people can join the church in appearance and never have believed at all - but this doesn't mean that everyone who leaves the universal church fits that profile.)

    Furthermore, the very same chapter shows that remaining in Christ is a condition for eternal life: "As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life." I Jn 2:24

    God states they *hold* eternal life and have passed from death (condemnation under sin) to life in Christ. All that is true for someone when they believe, no matter how long they believe for. If they deliberately reject faith, then they are cut off and uprooted - returning to death (condemnation under sin.) That in no way makes God 'a liar' - it's completely in line with the revealed gospel and what many passages warn as the fate of those who reject faith and willfully return to sin and death.

    Basically, our new life starts at the first moment of faith. Our eternal life in Christ continues as we walk with Christ in faith. And we have the hope that we will receive eternal life (new spiritual bodies that cannot die) at the resurrection - a hope rooted in our faith. But if we reject faith and hence reject Christ, we no longer can claim that hope or that eternal life. We return to condemnation and have only the expectation of fiery judgement.

    The pledge is only to believers. The pledge lasts until the day of redemption *only* to believers. There is no promise to unbelievers, whether or not they once believed.

    Again, think of school. The school gives the 'pledge' of graduation to those who meet the conditions. All students have this hope. (Not exact analogy, again, as it's Christ's grades and works that matter not ours - our only 'condition' is faith.) But if a student drops out, does that mean the school failed it's pledge? No, the pledge is for the students who remain until graduation. It doesn't apply to any student who leaves, even if they once were under the same pledge for a time when they used to be in school.

    Justification is God viewing us through Christ's perfection, not our own. To be justified is to be "declared righteous" - not become righteous in and of ourselves. God forgives our sin through the covering blood of Christ, not by removing all sin from us. And how are we justified? By FAITH. "know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." Gal 2:16

    "...Being justified (present passive) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies (present active) the one of faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of works? No, but on that of faith." Rom 3:24-27

    Justification is not a once and done thing of the past. We are justified from the first moment of faith and God continues to justify (active/ongoing) those with faith.

    Paul is confidence God will continue the work he began in the Philippian church (note this is a plural/corporate confidence, not one that goes to individuals) based on their track record. This is a common form of exhortation, and is about confidence in God's work not their individual actions.

    For example, if I were to say, "Wow, I have seen how your group has partnered with missionaries from the first moment you guys believed. I'm confident God will finish the work he started" my personal confidence that God will keep working in them has no power to 'mandate' that no single individual in that group would turn away. And there is no basis in the text to over-extrapolate Paul's confidence based on their prior work in the ministry to be a teaching that no individual can ever reject faith.

    And note the exact reasons Paul gave for his confidence (and it was not 'no one can fall away'): ""It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.""
    I.e. his confidence was based in their fruit.

    Paul's confidence or fears about groups do not mandate their individual actions. For example, when Paul says "I am afraid I have labored over you in vain" (Gal 4:20) He isn't stating that it is definite that every single individual Galatian was going to end up falling away. Rather, he is stating a fear based on their displayed fruit and their desire to return to the law.

    See also: https://www.jba.gr/He-who-started-the-good-work-in-me-will-finish-it-anyway-Philippians-1-6.htm for a longer discussion of this text.

    True, but if we disown Christ, then Christ must disown us before God. God, in His faithfulness, must judge the unbeliever regardless of whether that person once believed.

    I completely agree. Struggles with doubts or sins are not the same thing as deliberately rejecting faith in Christ (Lk 8:13, I Tim 1:19, Heb 6:4-8, etc.) and willfully returning to sin (Heb 10:4-6, II Pet 2:20-22, etc.)

    I agree Paul isn't telling anyone to 'work to earn salvation.' I never said he was saying such a thing. But why would Paul tell them to "hold fast to the word of life" as part of this so Paul could be proud in the day of Christ that he didn't run in vain (Phil 1:7) if it was impossible that they wouldn't hold fast or impossible that Paul could have ran in vain? I Tim 1:19 shows it is possible to not hold fast to faith and thus make shipwreck of our faith; and Gal 4:20 shows it was a real fear of Paul's that he could have ran in vain. This has nothing to do with individuals not doing enough 'works' or bearing enough 'fruit,' but the consequence of them not holding fast to faith or seeking to return to the law.
     
  13. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    Those are some reasons people 'lose faith,' sure. But hardly the only reasons. I've talked with a lot of homeless people in my area through a local Search/Rescue program, for example. Some tell tales of others letting them down (family kicking them out, the legal system failing them, abuse, etc.) But many tell tales where no one let them down - they just rejected family, or society, etc. It's very common for those who have come out of homelessness and gotten back on their feet to confess that no one failed them at all. They abandoned church and family for reasons like drugs, rebellion, popularity, etc.

    And the Bible shows many reasons a person might be tempted to 'lose faith' - most notably trials (adversity from without) and temptations. This is why Jesus promises us suffering along with blessing s (so we will not be caught unaware) and asks us to count the cost to follow him before we begin.

    If someone believes in their heart that Jesus rose from the dead and confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, then that 'faith' is enough to save (Rom 10:9) Now, some people 'trying out' a local church don't actually believe. But believers become part of the true, universal church. So if someone believed for a time (Lk 8:13,) had the Holy Spirit for a time (Heb 6:4-6), bore fruit for a time - then they also held salvation, justification, eternal life, etc. for a time.

    And trying to split hairs between 'mere faith' and 'faith' doesn't work. Scripture even circumvents that line of reasoning, as it is sure to clarify that the people of II Pet 2:20-22 and Heb 10:26 had "true knowledge," not mere head knowledge. The Greek word is 'epignosis' - used of a relational, experiential, exact knowledge (such as comes through relationship with Christ and walking with him.) It's like the difference between being friends with Bob and merely knowing 'about' Bob. These people had true knowledge, a relationship with Christ, but then still fell away.

    The vast majority of current flat earthers used to believe in a round Earth. But 'investigation' led them to believe in a flat Earth. Why? I agree it seems counter-intuitive! But they stopped 'holding fast' to what they knew (science regarding shape of Earth,) and gave heed to what they wanted to hear to have their 'ears tickled' (e.g. prioritizing the teachings of conspiracy theorists.) Because of confirmation bias, competing evidence makes them just more likely to dig their heels in and insist that pilots and scientists are all just lying.

    Faith is based in secondary evidence (not sight) - so evidence can indeed strengthen our faith. But if we start ignoring the evidence we have; maybe we are getting teased for it, maybe people we respect are telling us it's wrong, maybe we're getting tortured for it, etc.; and paying undue heed to competing theories or seeking out what makes our ears tickle, for example dabbling with witchcraft, embracing the 'I'm saved so I can sin all I want' misunderstanding, giving undue heed to gnostic claims, etc. that all can undermine our faith. This is why there are so many warnings in scripture to 'hold fast' lest we drift or even make shipwreck of our faith.

    While a nice thought, it doesn't really fit human nature. God proves himself, sure - but He also is a God who hides. He isn't going to reveal Himself with more and more miracles and over-the-top proofs the more someone investigates or doubts. Some Christians go through long phases where they have difficulty even feeling connected with God. It would be lovely to think everyone's faith "just gets stronger" over time, but this isn't a necessary reality for all Christians. Many struggle with cyclical doubt, or periods where it feels like their faith is not growing.

    In Lk 8:13 Jesus doesn't say the plants on rocky soil never had faith - He says they did believe for a time. They would have had to to *grow at all.* They fell away as they had no root to endure in faith. Jesus doesn't say in Jn 15 that "if you do not remain in me, you never were in the vine to begin with." Rather, He states that those who do not remain (stay, abide - had to have already started!) will be tossed away and burned.

    Why would God in any way be fooled? He knows who will remain steadfast in faith vs. who will reject Him. It's not as if such a thing would take Him by surprise. And this is why we *hold* salvation as we have faith, and hold the hope of future salvation and redemption, etc. God doesn't give us all of salvation now as a once and completely done package. It starts at faith, continues with faith, and is fulfilled for those of faith at the judgement.
    https://www.challies.com/articles/salvation-a-past-present-future-reality/


    You could deliberately give up salvation if you gave up the single condition for it (faith.) That would have nothing to do with God's faithfulness, but your own faithlessness. (II Tim 2:11-13) It has nothing to do with God not having done enough through revealing Christ and other evidences, but one's own rejection of those evidences.

    And someone following Christ will grow in faith and add to it due to their relationship with Christ (true knowledge) (II Pet 1:3-8.) Someone not growing in faith is in danger as they've forgotten Christ cleansed them from their sins (II Pet 1:9) And someone who rejects faith is not following Christ at all, they've returned to the world and exited that personal relationship with Christ (II Pet 2:20-22.)

    It's not like we reach some level of faith that makes it 'impossible' to reject Christ. Sometimes baby Christians fall away (a frequent problem in colleges, when newer Christians are confronted with many authority figures and friends telling them God is a lie.) But sometimes longstanding Christians, active in spiritual gifts and the church, fall away. This is because we need to remain in Christ and rely on Him, not trust in our own strength.
     
  14. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Member

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    forgive me, I know it has been awhile. I have been concentrating on other threads. Did not want to give a rush answer to your post.

    I have seen these people also. You will see they did not lose faith in these things, They never had faith in them, They reject family, They reject society, they reject God. Thay may try to play family or play church for a time, but in reality, They never had faith in them.

    As for people leaving because of sin, The prodigal son left because he wanted to do his own thing, He never stopped being the son, And he never stopped being his fathers child. I was a prodigal child for 5 year, I rebelled hard. But I never lost faith in the Gospel. I just further proved how much of A sinner I was. and further proved how much I need God and grace..

    while I may have stopped trusting in God in certain areas (I went through a nasty divorce, and the legalism I was exposed to in the church made it so I could not live up to the standard the church put on me, so why bother. Most people I know who left church left because they did not feel they could live up to the standard, and were being judged, or hiding sin so they would not be judged, but they could not live hiding stuff they knew was wrong..

    now some of these people may have loved God more than the world which is why they left. Because sin (selfishness) was already what their faith was in.. And again, These people were never saved,,

    edit, half my post was lost. It took a long time to write what I wrote. I will get back to it.. I do not have time now. Forgive e, and does this happen alot?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  15. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I take Charles Finney's position. He said that he believed some parts of Calvinism and some parts of Arminianism. He crossed swords with the Calvinist Presbyterians of his time because he evangelised the lost, while the Presbyterians didn't because they believed that elected people would accept Christ without having to be evangelised.

    It is interesting to note that 85% of Finney's converts went on for Christ and never backslid into the world again.

    John Wesley, in later life, could no longer maintain his stance on pure Arminianism because his evangelistic experience proved it wrong. He saw thousands come to Christ and go on to be faithful members of the body of Christ. He saw that those who refused were those who chose not to believe the gospel, but all those who believed the gospel were well and truly saved.
     
  16. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The problem with Finney, and later B Graham that preached the same "decisional regeneration" is that salvation results from a self-righteous act of the will on the part of the "saved". Essentially, it is salvation by self-righteousness. In truth, the gospel is an announcement, not an offer, that whosoever believes, has eternal life. Belief (salvation) happens before making any decisions. You must believe (be saved) before you can decide.
     
  17. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Interesting...
    I had a strong belief in God and in Jesus from a young child. It is just that I didn't do anything about it. After hearing the gospel made clearer to me, which I believed anyway, I discovered that I needed to turn my life around and start living for Christ. That was my decision and things progressed from there.

    I am not sure about your comments about Finney. I have his Systematic Theology, and have read it through, and he appears pretty sound to me. I hope that you are not saying that the 85% of the souls who embraced Christ through his ministry and preaching who remained faithful to Christ were false converts!
     
  18. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All that the Father gave to Jesus will come to him. And many come trough a less than accurate version of the gospel. Only with decisional regeneration, they end up thinking they save themselves because of their decision. God has ways of correcting their thinking though.
     
  19. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    That's why the Scripture says that we should examine ourselves to establish that we are genuinely in the faith.
     
  20. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    The epistle to the Ephesians is to a Gentile audience and has the following:

    Ephesians 1: NASB

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. 4For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love 5He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One.

    7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And He has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ.

    11In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory.

    13And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation—you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory.
     
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