It has been 25 years since I first understood the implications of believing salvation can be lost, especially from the preterist perspective. Also, why is this debate so incredibly important? Some think it is a trivial debate, but is a difference between believing in salvation by grace versus believing in salvation by works. We must not view this difference as secondary, peripheral, non-essential etc. It is a critical difference between the Gospel and a false gospel.
Paul disputed daily about the difference between salvation by grace vs. salvation by works. So must we. In the process of doing this we are often accused of being unloving. While we love people, we can openly argue against error. But some take this as unloving. Therefore we take great care to not attack a person or character but instead we stick with the argument and facts, and we avoid ad hominem attacks. Such attacks are not loving. We judge no man, nor do we state our view of the status of their salvation, pro or con.
But we may freely judge bad philosophy and erroneous doctrine, and if that is considered unloving, then so be it:
1) If we can lose your salvation, who is maintaining it?
If our answer is: we are maintaining it, then is this not salvation by works?
If our answer is: God is maintaining it, and we lost it, then God failed
Now, if we are in the kingdom now, and physical death doesn’t affect our status, but we simply continue living in the kingdom after we die, then, if we can lose our salvation now, why can we not also lose our salvation after we die? That is, if our will is free to lose our salvation now, why is it not also free to lose our salvation after we die?
If we argue that we cannot lose our salvation after we die, are we saying that our will is no longer free after we die? What Scripture teaches that our will is free before we die but not free after we die?
If we answer that our will is not free after we die, what is wrong with saying our will is not free before we die? Spiritually speaking, what is the theological difference? Rather, we conclude that our will is neither free to lose our salvation before we die nor after we die:
John 6:37-39 All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out. (38) For I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.
In which part of these promises has God failed? Since we do not believe that God fails, the promise is sure:
1) All that the Father gives to Christ *will* come to Christ. There is no failure in that. It is a guarantee, for it is impossible for God to lie. We believe that Christ told the truth. And this giving us to the Son must happen before we come to the Son. The promise is sure. All those given to the Son *will* come. What is the next promise?
2) and the one who comes to the Son He will in no way cast out. Again, this is a promise and a guarantee. Why? “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me, I should lose nothing…” Again, there is no possibility of an alternative here. Our will is not free to counter the will of the Father. He gave us to the Son, and we came to the Son because we were first given to the Son. And because we were given to the Son, we came to the Son, and the Son promises that we will not be cast out. If one loses their salvation, they were never given to the Son, and they never truly came to the Son: 1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us.
John is clear in both books. “They were not of us.” He did not say, “They once were of us…” When they went out, *that* was the revelation that they were not all of us: “That it might be revealed that they were not all of us.” Christ did not say, “Depart from Me. I once knew you but then you left.” Rather, Christ says, “Depart from Me. I *never* knew you.” But John doesn’t stop there: He reiterates the promise of God:
John 10:26-29 But you did not believe because you are not of My sheep. As I said to you, (27) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand. (29) My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.
Notice the order: The Pharisees did not believe because they were already not His sheep. All His sheep hear His voice. And the guarantee is certain: “And they follow Me.” That is, they never go away. But they first must be His sheep, whether they were pre AD 70 sheep of the house of Israel or post AD 70 sheep. God’s promise is sure. And it is also sure that “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish.” If a believer perishes, then Christ lied. If a believer perishes, then they lost their eternal life, and thus their life was never eternal. Christ would have to lie multiple times if a person can lose their salvation or suddenly stop believing. “No one is able to pluck them out of My hand.” But this promise fails is we pluck ourselves out of His hand, thus we would make God a liar. Why did the Gentiles in the book of Acts believe?
Act 13:48 And hearing, the nations rejoiced and glorified the Word of the Lord. And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
This goes hand in hand with, “All that the Father gives me will come to Me.” The “ordaining” and the “giving” came first–not the belief. The belief is the result of the ordaining.
Here are the implications of believing one can lose their salvation, and such slander and maligning of God is obvious, if we believe we can lose our salvation:
1. He is not able to perform what He had promised Romans 4:21
2. He will not present me blameless 1 Thessalonians 5:24
3. He did not predestine me unto the adoption as a child Ephesians 1:5
4. There is condemnation for me even though I am in Christ Jesus Romans 8:1
5. Christ has not risen from the dead Romans 6:8-12
6. The Holy Spirit will take back His deposit Ephesians 1:13-14
7. The Holy Spirit did not seal us 2 Corinthians 1:22
8. He will leave me and He will forsake me Hebrews 13:5
9. He will not keep me from falling Jude 24
10. He will not preserve me forever Psalm 37:28
11. The truth (Jesus Christ) will not be with me forever 2 John 2
12. He did not cleanse me from all unrighteousness 1 John 1:9
13. His foundation is not sure 2 Timothy 2:19
14. He does not know them that are His 2 Timothy 2:19
15. He will cast me out John 6:37
16. He did not perfect me Hebrews 10:14
17. His prayer for me was not answered John 17:11-12
18. He is not interceding for me Hebrews 7:25
19. He did not complete the work He began in me Philippians 1:6
20. My life is not hid with Christ in God Colossians 3:3
21. I have not passed from death unto life John 5:24
22. He is not able to keep that which I have committed to Him 2 Timothy
23. I am not at peace with God Romans 5:1
24. I can be plucked out of His hand John 10:28-29
25. I can be separated from the love of God Romans 8:39
26. His righteousness is not everlasting Psalm 119:142
27. His love is not everlasting Jeremiah 31:3
28. He is not immutable Hebrews 6:18
29. He did not keep His promise Hebrews 6:17
30. He is a liar Titus 1:2
The belief that one can lose their salvation has catastrophic effects regarding the nature and character of God and theology proper. Such a belief is not the Gospel but instead is a human-centered fabrication designed to manipulate people by fear and guilt. Such a doctrine produces only fear and torment. Such a doctrine is not a doctrine of love, but rather of fear, self-centeredness, self-worship, and self-deification. It is not the Gospel. It is another Jesus and another Gospel rooted in fear, torment, guilt manipulation, and self-righteousness. It produces a judgmental spirit and creates division.
1Jn 4:18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love. (19) We love Him because He first loved us.
Gal 1:6-9 I marvel that you so soon are being moved away from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to another gospel, (7) which is not another, but some are troubling you, and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we or an angel from Heaven preach a gospel to you beside what we preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we said before, and now I say again, If anyone preaches a gospel to you beside what you have received, let him be accursed.
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now perfect yourself in the flesh?
By Ward Fenley – Chosen People Royal Priesthood Holy Nation –