What?? A Permanent Salvation?? Are You Serious?

Dr. Tom Cucuzza has granted me permission to post this sampling of his wonderful pamphlet, The Permanence of Salvation. Although a scholarly and eloquent treatise, it is easy to read, simple to comprehend and one of the best I have ever seen detailing God’s Grace in Salvation. It effectively destroys all the “isms,” like Calvinism, Arminianism, Lordship Salvationism, Catholicism, etc. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the article. Tom has included a plethora of Scripture references to illustrate the Truth he presents:

“Salvation is permanent because the Eternal God does not give birth to temporary children.” Priceless!!

“If everlasting life could cease, then it would not be everlasting!  It would be temporary.”

 “Salvation is an event that happens only once in a person’s lifetime.”

“Jesus said, ‘Ye must be born again.’  He did not say, ‘Ye must be born again, and again, and again.’  Once you become a child of God, you are henceforth and forevermore a child of God!”

 “This is an amazing fact!  The believer is already seen [by God] as being in Heaven with the Lord.”

A believer “Being ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit can best be illustrated by examining the historical function of a king’s signet ring.  …..”

 “So it is evident that the entire Trinity is involved in keeping the believer saved.  He is held in the Son’s hand, enclosed by the Father’s hand, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.”

“The thought of [The Body of Christ] parts ‘coming and going’ is inconceivable and even preposterous”

“[E]verlasting life is a gift–not a reward.”

“[I]t is God who keeps us saved.”

“And so it is clear that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ you are saved forever.  You are safe and secure for all eternity.  This is God’s way of salvation and His promise to you. “

“[I]f it were up to each of us to keep ourselves ‘preserved’ for Heaven, then we are in very feeble–even impossible hands”

You may obtain the entire pamphlet when you go to the link below. Download the PDF file, read it and print it out. Give it to your friends so they may see how simple and permanent God’s Salvation in Jesus Christ really is. Tom will be using this as a bound pamphlet handout for his church members.

By Dr. Thomas M. Cucuzza
3686 County Road 8 S.E.
St. Cloud, MN 56304
Phone: 320.252.5677
 Copyright © 2009 by Thomas M. Cucuzza
All rights reserved.  St. Cloud, MN 56301
 All Bible quotations are taken from
the Authorized King James Version
 
UPDATE*** Just heard from Tom and the finished product is also available from their church in a beautiful booklet form for a $3.00 donation. This includes shipping and handling. 
For the printed booklet, Call Northland Bible Baptist Church 
320.252.5677 ext 0
 

 The Permanence of Salvation PDF << Click here

83 responses to “What?? A Permanent Salvation?? Are You Serious?

  1. You got me at the title! I’m printing it out now… thanks to you and Mr. Cucuzza for making it available.

  2. Pearl, let us know what you think.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  3. Hi Jack,

    The teaching of perm salvation is taught in Calvinism or Protestantism. Why does it “destroy” Calvinism?

    Peter Hyatt

  4. Peter,

    Thanks for dropping by. Perhaps I should have said, “Destroys the premise of Calvinism.”

    One of the doctrines of Calvinism called Perseverance of the Saints is interpreted many ways by Calvinists. However we can take some of Calvin’s own words in his commentary on 1 John 3:9

    “the hearts of the godly [believers] are so effectually governed by the Spirit of God, that through an inflexible disposition they follow his guidance.” (John Calvin)

    Think about that! And what if they follow for a while and then don’t “follow”? Were they once saved and then were lost because they did not follow? That is not a teaching of permanent salvation.

    “the power of the Spirit is so effectual, that it necessarily retains us in continual obedience to righteousness.” (John Calvin)

    Are all believers in “continual obedience”? No. From a Calvinist point of view, what is the eternal standing of one who falls into occasional or perpetual disobedience?

    Therefore we see Calvin ignores the obvious two natures of the believer by his statements “through an inflexible disposition they follow” and He “retains us in continual obedience.

    These are the same claims made by Calvinists such as John MacArthur, Francis Chan and others. They say in effect that you will obey or you are not now a believer. Read my previous posts on MacArthur and Chan and you will see horror stories of former followers who constantly feared for the permanence of their salvation.

    A quote from Calvinist MacArthur “Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

    Therefore, according to JMac, et al, final eternal salvation by faith, if such faith does not immediately produce a denial of self, must have cancelled that God promised permanent eternal salvation.

    In his commentary on Hebrews, chapter 6, John Calvin made the following observation:
    “…the grace of God is offered to us in vain, except we receive the promise by faith, and constantly cherish it in the bosom of our heart.”

    So if we decide to trust Christ by His Grace and then at some point do not “constantly cherish it in the bosom of our heart” are we then no longer eternally, permanently saved? Were we once saved and then lost?

    Calvinism with its similarity to Lordship “Salvation” is a confusing religion. I know from family experience.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  5. Hi Jack-
    Regarding your family experience of Calvinism, do you think you would ever do a post on that? Or maybe a series of posts?

    I think sometimes folks don’t know what some of the consequences of holding to that system are in the lives of those it affects.

    JanH

  6. Hi JanH,

    Thanks. Yep, will do — someday. It will be a long one and while some family may read my Blog, I will have to change names and places to protect the guilty. ;-)

    I love all of my family and would not demean them publicly. Though we discuss it periodically, it is still a personal and divisive topic.

    I’m physically and mentally not up to writing a book right now. That is almost what it would be. Installments maybe?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  7. Jack
    That was a revealing post you just wrote about Calvin- “Inflexible and continual”. Even if Calvins actions were impecible (which the history books do not lie and his actions were less to be desired) his thoughts would have condemned him in a second.
    Another point I would like to make is that when we were attending this Reformed Church the contradictions were numerous. Here is an example:
    “We need to pray to God for direction” and then this “We do need to pray about certain circumstances in your life, such as marriage, school, etc. Just make your own choice because it is predestined by God anyway.” Go figure- talk about confusing.

  8. Excuse me I meant to say “We do NOT need to pray about certain circumstances in your life, such as marriage, school, etc. Just make your own choice because it is predestined by God anyway.”

  9. Thanks Faith,

    Good to “see” you again. Those are interesting statements from your former church.

    I am still amazed that wonderful, rational people cannot see through the clouded doctrine of Calvinist teaching.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  10. Ex-p
    “Calvinism with its similarity to Lordship “Salvation” is a confusing religion. I know from family experience.”

    Sorry to hear that you had a bad “experience” with Calvinism. Honestly though, not trying to be mean or sound arrogant, but your comments show a lack of understanding about the doctrines of grace.
    http://www.RemovedByAdmin

  11. Shane,

    Sproul’s deceptive link and teaching is exactly what I would expect from a doctrinaire Calvinist. We don’t intend to advertise such error.

    We concern ourselves, not with the ever changing platitudes from devotees of Calvinism but with the Truth of God’s Word. These are polar opposites.

    My family, life experience and study of Calvinism extends from the age of seven through the age of 82 (next month). It is not a passing fancy but a lifelong view and study of Calvinist deception hiding under the cloak of “God’s Grace.”

    While most followers of Calvin and the vagaries of his teachings are outwardly very sweet people, too often the end result of such advocacy is doubt, disappointment and despair.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  12. “Sproul’s deceptive link and teaching is exactly what I would expect from a doctrinaire Calvinist. We don’t intend to advertise such error.”
    That was not a link by “Sproul”. You are being misleading by saying it is or perhaps it was just an oversight on your part. It was simply a link to a list of Scriptures that support the doctrines of grace. The author of the book is Nathan Pitchford.

    “We concern ourselves, not with the ever changing platitudes from devotees of Calvinism but with the Truth of God’s Word.”
    Great, I don’t follow Calvin either. I really haven’t read that much by him. Mainly just a few quotes here and there.

    It seems by reading your posts that you believe a person can see the depth of their sin, see that they are bound for eternal punishment, see that they have offended the Creator and broken all of His laws, experienced the new birth, and experienced forgiveness of their sins, not be changed and continue to live as if nothing has happened to them?
    If a person is a true Christian they will want to follow Jesus and obey Him, no matter how small of a manner in which they do it.

  13. Shane,

    Monergism is a Sproul and Calvinist promoting web site and advocates the false reformed theology. They do promote other Calvinists as you said – but only Calvinists.

    Obviously you have not read any of my posts, neither this post nor my comments on this post which include and illustrates the responsibility of the believer. I agree with Scripture which says every believer SHOULD be obedient (Ephesians 2:10) but, contrary to Calvinism and lordship salvation advocates, The Lord does not require following or obedience to gain or keep salvation. Salvation is by Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)– NOT of works. Salvation is a decision we make and then after that, service to our Savior is likewise a decision. Anything else would not be God’s Grace.

    You, like most Calvinists, seem to ignore the clear Biblical teaching of the two natures of the believer.

    2 Corinthians 11:3
    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    Why is the “simplicity that is in Christ” so difficult for Calvinists and lordship salvationists (LS) to comprehend? And why do you people seem to be able to determine, as you say, that “they will want to follow Jesus and obey Him, no matter how small of a manner in which they do it.”

    Yes Shane, believers SHOULD but not all believers do or will. Putting people under the law of Calvinism or LS will not cure slothfulness, apathy, carnality or disobedience. As Jesus Christ said to Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for thee..” For me, Christ’s Grace is likewise sufficient. and the Love of Christ constrains me to serve him (2 Corinthians 5:14)… not the law of Calvinism or LS.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  14. “contrary to Calvinism and lordship salvation advocates, The Lord does not require following or obedience to gain or keep salvation”

    No Calvinism or lordship salvation advocates teach you must work to keep your salvation. At least not any that I have read or heard preach or teach. They teach that a true Christian will show forth fruit coming from salvation. Works spring from faith, faith does not spring from works.

    I have however, heard plenty of synergistic (Arminian) advocates teach you must work to keep and/or earn your salvation. I myself sat under synergistic teaching for many years.

    Your comments show a lack of understanding about lordship salvation and the doctrines of grace.

  15. Shane,

    I will not rehash with you the errors of LS preaching.. Look it up on my search bar above right, Chan or MacArthur who are both Calvinist, LS teachers.

    You said to me, “Your comments show a lack of understanding about lordship salvation and the doctrines of grace.”

    I understand fully and am happy that advocates of Calvinism and LS like you are not the final Judge of my salvation or my Bible teaching, that is only by my Savior Jesus Christ, thank you.

    Shane, please explain to us how you, a Calvinist, KNOWS for sure you were CHOSEN by God to have eternal life, go to Heaven — RATHER than several of my good friends over the years who never trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  16. “Shane, please explain to us how you, a Calvinist, KNOWS for sure you were CHOSEN by God to have eternal life, go to Heaven — RATHER than several of my good friends over the years who never trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

    How do I know? Because Jesus said anyone that comes to Him will not be cast out and He will give them eternal life. He also says that the only people that can come to Him are those given to Him by the Father and that all of those that have been given to Him by the Father will come to Him. So if anyone does come to Him it proves that they are elect.

    John6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
    John6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
    John6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    John6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    KJV

    John6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
    KJV

  17. John 12:32 Christ said:
    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    Christ has been lifted up and now draws ALL men to Himself… but each individual has a choice, “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting Life.” They still must choose to believe.

    Everyone has the choice to believe or not. We are not chosen or elected to salvation in Jesus Christ. That is OUR choice to trust Him.

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (Repentance = a change of mind)

    It is not God’s will that anyone should perish but change their mind.. However, some folks by their own personal will – refuse to make that decision to believe in Jesus.

    1 Tim. 2:3-4
    “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

    Read that carefully. It is God’s will that all would be saved — but many will refuse to make that decision to believe in Jesus Christ.

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Shane, with all your words, you never mentioned whether you ever made a conscious decision to trust/believe in Jesus Christ as YOUR Savior. A decision to believe in Christ is required (whosoever believeth in Him), Salvation is not just morphed into a person. You must decide to trust Him as your Savior.

    Matthew 12:21 Speaking of Jesus Christ
    “And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.

    Shane, I pray you will make that decision to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.. rather than relying on the false assumption that you were somehow “chosen” by God for salvation.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  18. Shane, I pray you will make that decision to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.. rather than relying on the false assumption that you were somehow “chosen” by God for salvation.”

    Thanks for praying but I already trust Jesus for my salvation. I am a vile sinner that cannot earn his salvation. The only hope that I have is the finished work that Jesus performed by His death on the cross. If God didn’t give me the faith to believe (Ephesians 2:8) I never would have.
    
    [37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. [40] For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
    (John 6:37-40 ESV)

    [44] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
    (John 6:44 ESV)

    [65] And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
    (John 6:65 ESV)

    [32] And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
    (John 12:32 ESV)

    If John 12:32 means that Jesus is drawing “all people” to Himself and not all “types of people” then there is a big problem. John makes it clear in verses 37-40, 44, and 65 that no one can come to Jesus unless the Fathers grants them the ability. In verse 44 Jesus says He will raise up all of those that the Father draws.
    So if 12:32 means Jesus is drawing “all people” and not everyone is saved then Jesus is either a liar or a failure because Jesus said that He will raise up all of those that were given to Him by the Father and He came to do the Father’s will (v37-40) and that He would raise up those drawn to Him (v44).

    “Everyone has the choice to believe or not”
    Yes we have a choice but the problem is that left to his own, man will not choose Jesus: Romans 3:9-18; John 3:19,20
    God has to open the heart to belief: Acts16:14

    “ We are not chosen or elected to salvation in Jesus Christ”
    Christians were chosen before the foundation of the world: Ephesians 1:4,5;11-12
    Make you calling and election sure: 2Peter 1:10
    The elect: Matthew 24:24
    Chosen: John 15:16; 1Thes 1:4
    Appointed to eternal life: Acts 13:48
    Also see Romans 8:28-30. Those verses talk a little about predestination.

    Election is covered throughout the entire Bible. I rejected it for a long time until I really began to study it. Considering the wickedness of man it is amazing that God has chosen to save anyone.

  19. Shane I have never seen so much inaccurate scripture application.. except from other doctrinaire Calvinists.

    Elect/Chosen is not for salvation but service after salvation. Here are your reference verses:
    Ephes. 1:4-5
    “According as he hath chosen us in him”
    Christ has chosen all who are IN HIM, Jesus Christ. We are chosen after we believe because we are IN HIM.
    “…before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
    Not to be saved as you proclaim — but to be holy and without blame before Him.

    “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, ”

    Adoption is NOT salvation.

    Ephes. 1:11-12
    In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

    Not to be saved but “That we should be to the praise of his glory — WHO FIRST TRUSTED IN CHRIST!!”

    Ephesians 2:8 The Gift of God is NOT faith but “saved.” See
    Romans 6:23
    “For the wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFEthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.:”

    You should read some good (non Calvinist) word studies on this or learn the true Greek meanings of the words.

    Shane, I am happy you made the personal decision to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior… Most Calvinists will never say that.

    I would certainly recommend this excellent book for you, Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance?, by my dear friend Dr. Tom Cucuzza. (In the upper right sidebar)

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  20. Interesting story I just heard about a man in South Korea who crucified himself to a cross to endure what Jesus Christ did. What is sad is that he will
    find out that Jesus Christ covered ALL sin so that we could be saved if we believe in Him. He must of thought that this act would guarantee him entrance to heaven or a seat next to Jesus; in reality He died for nothing.
    The point that I wanted to make is that it is clear that works could never get us saved nor keep us saved. Calvinists are very good at getting one point down and that is that works can’t save an unbeliever, but miss on the point that if you are truely a “believer” you should be producing the works or you might want to think about the fact of whether you are a part of the elect or not. Does not anyone see how a church leader could abuse this and use it to manipulate those in his care? Scarey!
    Well the question is how much works must one produce to show that he or she is a Christian? Also, is if anyone knew ones thoughts and actions no one sees behind the curtains where would that “Christian” be then? What a spiders web of confusion and doubt would fill that poor vessels soul!

    I am a reader of history- and throughout the ages men who called themselves Christians started rabbit trails off from the true path. One of them was Augustine, who Calvinists love to quote, but by the way was thoroughly Catholic, separated others from preaching the gospel to the world (monks and monasteries), and taught amillenialism. Another was Martin Luther (who I believe was a Christian, but went on a rabbit trail) who was a known anti-semite. John Calvin was also one who became enraged with those who did not go with his state-run church and murdered/burned/hung many who refused to go along with his Calvinism- he was also against the Jews.

    James 2:10 says “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
    Now someone tell me who in the world could even keep the whole law perfectly? Not one! So who do we as Christians rely on to keep ourselves doers of the Word like the book of James states for us to like? Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit was given to us as a Counselor to guide us to be like Christ?

    John 14:26
    But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, HE WILL TEACH you ALL things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

    1 Corinthians 2:13
    These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom (John Calvin, Augustine, Finney, etc.) teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    So here we see that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ He has so mercifully and lovingly given us His Spirit to create in us a new spirit. Now here it gets to the nitty gritty- We are SINNERS people! We will grieve the Holy Spirit- We will mess up! Paul did not write to the Galations, Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Corinthians because they were perfect little angels (if they were so Paul had no need to be an Apostle). Christ said He had come to save the sick not the healthy. Also, Paul did not write to unbelievers- the Bible is for those who know it because only the Holy Spirit can reveal it; these letters were written to CHRISTIANS and they were screwing up. They had a choice and they were choosing to go back to the flesh. Did this forfeit their salvation or they were not saved to begin with? NO!

    Ephesians 4:25-32
    25 Therefore, putting away lying, “ Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”[e] for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”:[f] do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, BY WHOM YOU WERE SEALED for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

    Some of the early Christians were choosing to grieve the Holy Spirit and by doing so they forfeit rewards in heaven; hurt their witness for the gospel of Christ; and fail to love Christ and others fully and recieve the blessings and fruits of the Spirit. As a Christian, this is where Free Will is imperative for us to have a proper relationship with Christ Jesus and God our Father in heaven. Without the Free Will of man -relationship with Christ would be mechanical and robotic and void. This is why Paul was urging his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to choose to surrender and trust in Christ through the Holy Spirit to do the work.

    Thankfully we can rely on this:

    Philippians 1:6
    being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

  21. Faith,

    Thanks.. You express some great points and back them up with Scripture.

    It is good to hear such Biblical clarity from one who once was deceived by the lordship salvation lie.

    We appreciate your comments

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  22. Yes you are right about predestination- He chose us as a people, like the Israelites; set apart.
    This is His Church He set apart, but this does not negate the individual responsibility of man to choose whom He will serve. God wants our devotion to Him – He wants us to willingly choose Him. And yes, you are right that in and of ourselves we have NO way of obtaining that Salvation by any means whatsoever.
    Only through the drawing of the Holy Spirit can we be moved to that moment, but here is where our free will and God’s will combines- it is a mystery. I could never clearly explain it but it is there- God knows and foreknows, but man must choose.

    Joshua 24:15 (King James Version)
    15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

    Joshua chose on whom he would serve and the others chose whom they would serve. Why in the world do you think the Lord gave Israel so many chances to turn their hearts back to Him?
    Proverbs 1:29
    29 Because they hated knowledge
    And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
    30 They would have none of my counsel
    And despised my every rebuke.
    31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
    And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
    32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
    And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
    33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
    And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

    Galations
    1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth,[a] before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you[b] as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
    5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[c] 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”[d] 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

    Paul was going back and reminding the Galations WHY they had come to Christ- not by the Law but by the “hearing of faith”. What does hearing of faith involve? It involves hearing it but also taking a role in participating/choosing to believe and then acting in on that belief.
    Hence, God gives us the ability to either believe or not. If “predestination” was true in the way that Calvinists present it WHY would we need the Gospel? Why would we need to tell others about Christ? Why would we need in Romans 1:19?
    19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

    30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

    31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    This all had to do with man making a conscious decision before God that he would not believe, even though man was shown these things. So God gave man over to his own desires.
    If we look at this in the Calvinist way we would have to change these verses. We would have to scratch out “what God made known to them” because it would not matter what was made known to them. God had already “presdestined” them to hell anyway. We would have to scratch out
    “creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” because there is no basis for understanding by man if he has already been chosen. God has done the understanding for him. Also, “they are without excuse” has to involve some mental excercise of choice here. In fact, if you read all of this here in Romans it clearly spells out “choice” of man who changes what he should know to what he does not want to know.

    I am thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for giving us the freedom to choose Him because Love flows out from that and a more intimate relationship is developed because of it. It is the same with our children we want them to love us freely and by their own volition, not because they were conditioned as robots to love us. When, I as a Christian, choose to want and love the Lord more this is where the Holy Spirit starts really working and things start changing.

  23. Hey Jack,
    I did not totally get swallowed up by LS/calvinism- :) I was getting there, but after going to the church for two years I was starting to see some things I was not comfortable with. I had listened to JM off and on for years but had NO idea of what LS was until at this church. I just saw too many contradictions and was beginning to have severe doubt of my own salvation.
    My husband was also getting depressed. It was not until the church started implementing Spiritual Formation that we left and then I started seeing the error of LS/Calvinism. I can see where things such as Spiritual Formation could get started in a Calvinist or Arminianist church because of the “works” factor involved.

    The up above comment was for Shane.

  24. Faith, you have made many excellent points. As you expressed well, the idea of “robotic” love is completely foreign to the Bible and the Gospel. Norman Geisler in his book, “Chosen But Free,” calls it “forced love.” God would never force his love upon anyone!

    I have used your questions, “If predestination” was true in the way the Calvinists present it, WHY would we need the gospel? Why would we need to tell others about Christ?” I usually phrase it, “Why do we need Christian missions?” I have never had a Calvinist answer this question satisfactorily.

  25. Shane,

    Thanks for your participation.. but because you are so unteachable and blindly Calvinist, I have put you comments on moderation.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. Faith,

    Thanks again for your Biblical perspective and the note specifically to Shane. He will be able to read your comment but will be moderated in his responses,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  27. Bruce,

    Thanks for dropping in.. you should have been here sooner. ;-)

    Yes, your and Faith’s comments about the conundrum facing Calvinists re the Gospel and missions is usually only answered with, “We are told to evangelize.” Without any answer as to why.

    And “That is just the way the Lord does it.” answers many puzzles for them.. Taking Scripture out of context and defining words for themselves is a handy tool.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  28. I just saw too many contradictions and was beginning to have severe doubt of my own salvation.

    This is THE most common pastoral consequence of LS. It is intentional, sort of. They would make its inverse intentional, saying they want the saved person to really know for sure they are saved by putting them to these rigorous tests. Personally, I find it much simpler and far more accurate to ask whether Jesus’ blood is really sufficient to save me. The answer, of course, is yes. There. That settles it. But many are led down a path that leads to UNcertainty rather than certainty.

    My husband was also getting depressed.

    This is very interesting and something I found in myself as well when I would listen to John MacArthur. I would find that if I was having a good day, he would turn it into a bad day and if I was having a bad day I would want to jump off a cliff after listening to him. I never doubted my salvation because of him, but I sure was unhappy about being saved if this is who Jesus was! When MacArthur presented Him, He always seemed like a carrot on a stick, impossible to reach and never satisfied. He was not Emmanuel–God with us–but was very far away and not all that interested in being in relationship with Him. MacArthur presents Him this way on purpose, because he thinks those who are saved will respond to a “hard” message. But this is not how He and His way are presented in Scripture. Jesus says Himself that His yolk is easy and His burden light, and John who was taught personally by Him and served Him for many years also wrote that His commands are not burdensome. Yet, we have this idea that the Christian experience MUST be difficult or it doesn’t count. We even have books titled HARD to Believe, as if Jesus wanted us to be under this heavy burden! Go figure. Of course it will breed depression.

    It was not until the church started implementing Spiritual Formation that we left and then I started seeing the error of LS/Calvinism.

    Now, this is interesting. This is the first I have heard of this happening in an LS church and I am intrigued by it. Most of the strongest, most vehement opponents of Spiritual Formation are staunch LSers. I have wondered whether or not this teaching would eventually bring this kind of thing together with itself and whether or not LS would eventually open a door to the works based apostasy that is leading the Christian community back to Rome, so Christianity can be incorporated into the coming one world Supra Religion. I have held back really saying so out loud because so many LSers are so vehemently opposing this, and rightly so. However, this would be some proof that it certainly CAN provide an opportunity for that to happen. I have been less concerned about this with men like MacArthur, per se, but am keeping an eye on his spiritual progeny. We already have some intermingling of these things with Piper inviting Douglas Wilson to his Desiring God conference, and now he has had Rick Warren. Also, as I understand it, Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC has had one of the Federal Visionists (I don’t think it was Wilson but I can’t remember which one it was) in to preach while simultaneously denying Federal Vision.

    There is an excellent talk by Rob Congdon about how all these things are coming together to form the one world Supra Religion, though he doesn’t specifically mention the connection with LS teaching. But can be heard here:

    http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/audio/index.php4

    The talk is called Emerging Church and Other Issues.

    I don’t know how long it will be up before they update that page, but for now it is available. After that you would have to contact the church and get them to send you a copy. Well worth it, IMO.

    JanH

  29. but was very far away and not all that interested in being in relationship with Him

    This should say He was not all that interested in being in relationship with me.

  30. Thanks JanH,

    Never heard of Congdon but that is an interesting audio by him. He mentions many of the emergents that Lighthouse also exposes and (if I recall) even throws MacArthur’s LS theology into the mix – which Lighthouse seems to ignore.

    Federal Vision is a new term to me but is apparently the same old Calvinist/Reformed theology wrapped in new words. Calvinists are good at inventing new terms or “speak” in Latin to obfuscate the obvious false doctrine. But, amazingly, even they occasionally recognize the errors of the Rob Bells of the world. Lie exposes lie.. interesting.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  31. The Federal Vision heresy does come from the midst of the Reformed, having been promoted by a former professor at Westminster Seminary named Norman Shepherd. It was discovered when Shepherd’s students were answering ordination questions on justification and they said justification was by faith and works. Shepherd’s teaching was eventually condemned as heretical and Shepherd eventually removed from his position. But there were a number of other teachers at Westminster who agreed with Shepherd and as far as I know they are still there. It turned into a great controversy among Reformed, especially among Presbyterians. But because it is still being taught at Westminster, a generation of Presbyterian men have been infected with this teaching. Douglas Wilson among them. I have had kind of a hard time trying to understand what the teaching is because you have to be able to translate Reformedese to be able to do it. But it seems most of the problem is in what I just mentioned-that justification is based on faith and works. What I have not been able to find out as of yet is how it is essentially different than LS. I see some of the more superficial ways, like baptism being the point of entrance into the covenant (I think this is somehow different than baptismal regeneration but don’t ask me to explain that) but I don’t know how it is substantially different.

    Anyway, if anyone wants to know more about it there is a page on Wikipedia that explains it.

    I came across Rob Congdon on the Middletown Bible Church website. He is also a weekly commentator on Jimmy DeYoung’s Prophecy Today radio show. Turns out Lou Martuneac knows Congdon personally.

    JanH

  32. Oh, and Congdon does mention MacArthur and someone else from that crowd being on the periphery of all this. However, he is careful not to draw them into it any more than to say they are on the periphery. It is not true that they (at least MacArthur) support or are in anyway involved with these strange teachings. My concern is that their progeny may move in that direction, and that the teaching of LS could more readily open a door for such involvement. Also, that any meaningful divided between them will become increasingly unclear.

    JanH

  33. …meaningful divide.

    Sigh. I can’t type today.

  34. Hey Jan,
    Saw you were commenting on my comments- many leaders at my past church went to Masters and one leader of the church actually
    was “high up” in leadership at JM’s church. Now the spiritual formation was taught by a guy named Don Whitney who is reformed. He sets himself though apart from the Richard Foster and Dallas Willard types and says that his “spiritual formation” is the Biblical type. Whatever…..- Spiritual Formation is Spiritual Formation in whatever format they try to put it in.
    When I read through Don Whitneys website and I saw the same thing…..
    Silence and Solitude; Journaling; Repetition of Scripture reading, etc…
    These things are so what we are NOT to do…..
    It is not wrong to pray silently or journal, but to go into silence and state that journaling creates a closer walk with God is a bunch of malarky….

  35. JanH

    Yep, I found old Doogie Wilson on his web site — and he, like many Reformed, felt it necessary to present himself in a video in full beard and mustache in front of impressive, loaded mahogany bookshelves. Couldn’t bring myself to listen — hear that stuff too much. I believe he did have Westminster as one of his credits.
    ——————
    Faith,

    Interesting.. that your former church is a beehive of Calvin/emerging folks from JMac’s compound.
    You will have to educate me. I have not heard of Journaling.

    I sincerely believe that LS and Neo and old Calvinism/Reformed teaching is growing so fast that it will soon be the primary faux teaching in “evangelical” Christianity.
    Luke 17:1 ”
    “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”

    A good warning for all of us.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  36. Hi Jan:

    Thanks for the link to Rob Congdon. I’ll try to listen to it soon. Did you know that there is a Phil Congdon who writes for Free Grace Alliance? He is a pastor at New Braunfels Bible Church. Any relation?

  37. many leaders at my past church went to Masters and one leader of the church actually
    was “high up” in leadership at JM’s church.

    Oh my goodness! This is incredible!

    Any chance you can tell us more? This is extremely important information. How long ago did these people graduate from Master’s? Do you know? And do you know whether or not this was something they were taught there? I would have thought they would teach against it, to tell the truth. And maybe it would be good if it was known why this high up leader is not at Mac’s church anymore, i.e.-was it an amicable parting? Any chance you have that info?

    Whatever info you can provide would be extremely helpful.

    JanH

  38. Hi Bruce,

    I don’t know if there is any relation between Rob and Phil Congdon. Maybe Lou would know. (?)

    JanH

  39. Err, I just clicked on Don Whitney’s web site and I see he’s advertising a book he wrote that has a forward by J. I. Packer. Oh, brother!

    JanH

  40. The book is called Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

    JanH

  41. Back in March, there was quite a flare up between a few ministries involving Ingrid Schlueter, Mike Ratliff, the unbearable Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs, Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio, and others. Turk wrote an open letter of praise and appreciation to John Piper and, naturally, he was called on it by Ratliff and Ms. Schlueter (who had also expressed great concern that Mike Horton of Whitehorse Inn should pose with Rick Warren in a brotherly photograph). Then, Chris Rosebrough came riding in to Turk’s defense with shockingly rude comments against Ingrid.

    Around the same time, Mike Ratliff wrote a post against Federal Vision (I didn’t read it only because I didn’t recognize the names involved, nor am I familiar with the ministry at all,) and those associated with them, which he called the New Calvinists, New Evangelicals, and of course, the emergents.

    The lines are being drawn in all denominations, resulting in many necessary separations.

  42. Hi again Jan.

    My current church (I teach an adult Bible fellowship there) is regionally in geographical proximity to The Master’s College and Seminary. So there are many graduates who are members or are on staff. In areas other than biblical studies, such as music and history, the college gets high marks in the field of education. The Bible professors are somewhat of a mixed bag—several Dallas grads, some from Talbot (where I graduated from), as well as other places like Trinity and Grace Seminaries. I know at least one of them personally (a former professor of mine at Talbot) whom I know is not a proponent of LS. But my guess is that they would not be able to speak out strongly against LS teaching. And I’m sure that any Bible student who attends there would get a healthy dosage of LS teaching along the way.

    On our pastoral staff, we have three or four graduates from the college and/or seminary. Two are lordship. The senior pastor is not. He keeps a pretty even keel on things; he in no way advances or preaches LS teaching and I believe him to be a man of grace, although he does not feel that the lordship debate is such an important issue. I have chosen to stay for the fellowship and in order to have a positive influence through promoting a grace message. And I have been given total freedom to teach as I see fit.
    Probably, the average person attending the church (maybe even in evangelical churches in general as well) doesn’t even realize what the lordship debate is all about.

    By the way, did you know that The Master’s College was once L. A. Baptist College until it was taken over by MacArthur’s church in the mid eighties?

  43. Hi Bruce,

    Wow! A mixed bag at your church! I was actually asking that question of Faith as she indicated a commingling of LS and Spiritual Formation, and one of the people she mentioned–that Don Whitney fellow– sure does do that, according to his web site. But he is from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Do you find any warmth toward Spiritual Formation among the LSers at your church or are they steering clear of that stuff?

    I did know the Master’s College was once L.A. Baptist College. As I understand it, L.A. Baptist was losing funding to the point where they could not continue and they asked MacArthur to come and take it over. It wasn’t a hostile take over or anything, though I do think there was some less than straightforward dealing there. MacArthur made some significant changes that went over like a lead balloon among GARB folks. He took the school from teaching Baptist church polity to teaching elder rule, for one thing. That seemed to have some bearing on why they changed the name to Master’s and took Baptist out. They said they wanted to remove Baptist from the name because they wanted the school to have a broader appeal so they could get some non-Baptist students in there, but it seems they wanted to teach non-GARB polity too. And it was a GARB school, where MacArthur is TULIP. Strange bedfellows to say the least. I’m sure it is nothing like the school it was when it was L.A. Baptist. But I have heard all of that second hand and that was all before my time.

    I am absolutely certain the average person in the pew does not know anything about the LS debate. Interestingly, the ladies at my church recently did a study by Nancy Lee DeMoss, whom I know very little about, but looking through the study book I would bet any amount of money she is LS. I did not do the study, but found the conversation among the women after the first few weeks was that they were getting a little weary of having their sin constantly put before them. Apparently she was pretty heavy on that. I am sure they had no idea what might be behind that doctrinally, but they did know that it was not good to dwell too much on their sin because Jesus has taken that away. My take on the Christians I know is that they are really innocent. They just love the Lord and want to be taught of Him. They do hear His voice and follow Him and another they simply will not follow. They know to throw off the heavy yolk even when they don’t know how or why it is being applied.

    Do you find you’re able to have any appreciable impact with the LSers in your church?

    JanH

  44. Pearl-

    Schlueter, for all her LSishness, does hold a solid line. I don’t know about Ratliff, though his name is familiar. It does sound like he’s got the lay of the land, though. These people are all commingling together.

    I am frankly shocked that Horton would have anything to do with Warren. That is news to me. And Turk The Unbearable wrote a letter of appreciation to Piper, huh? That’s interesting. I thought I remember Pyro doing something calling Piper out for Warren. Well,…most interesting….

    JanH

  45. JanH, Pearl and Bruce,

    Obviously the so called conservative theologians are becoming mix-matched.. with differing doctrines.. but it appears they are all merging into a one-world theology.. Amazing times in which we live.

    I really appreciate you folks for standing firm for and discerning the truth.. and boldly proclaiming it.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  46. Hey Jan and Jack,
    I see that you went on the Don Whitney site. Our former pastor knows Don Whitney quite well- but the only time I saw Spiritual Formation actually being taught was this one time (Don Whitney came to speak on this topic) and then there was no mention of it afterwards. Our former church formed a theological “seminary” for the lay people at church where they can receive credits and this “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” was what was being taught for one class (Don Whitney came in from out of town- so he is not a regular at this church).
    I did not go to the class, but when I saw “spiritual disciplines” I went researchin’. The one thing I do know is that, yes, Don Whitney does teach a class on Spiritual Disciplines (spiritual formation) at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Here is an excerpt from one of his chapters called “Take a Nap”:
    Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap.

    Here is another from a “Do I Have to Keep a Journal?”:
    A second reason I advocate journal-keeping is because of the sanctifying benefits that so many Bible-believing Christians throughout history have attributed to the practice.

    You can see the serious issues when taking a nap and journaling are linked to our spiritual welfare and are suggested that they produce “sanctifying” benefits. These are only a few of the ridiculous false teachings.

  47. Here’s last years post by Whitehorse Inn featuring the friendly photo.

    http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2010/06/11/bff/#comments

    Reading the comments, you get an idea just how surprised, bewildered and disappointed some loyal readers were. The tone of the post is peculiar to say the least. I just learned at Apprising Ministries that Horton is scheduled to appear again at Warren’s Saddleback in June, together with other speakers I’ve never heard of.

  48. Oops…major mistake of mine! The date on that Apprising Ministry alert was from last May! My sincere apology for that error. The photo was taken at the end of that event. So, there is not a follow-up event scheduled. (I’m seriously red-faced here…)

  49. Hi Jan, Jack and all.

    Thank the Lord that Spiritual Formation has not made its way into the pulpit at my church. Jack, you are so right when you speak about the merging of doctrines. Do you think that we are nearing the final days? It seems as though Christians are often chided for speaking out against anything “new” that is introduced doctrinally to the congregation (“How dare you criticize God’s annointed leadership” is a phrase that comes to mind). I have spoken out to my own church leadership when there has been questionable doctrine taught. One example was my writing of the review of the Chan book “Crazy Love” http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/BookReview%20ofCrazyLove.pdf . I have also spoken out on other issues, such as when LS terminology has been used during baptisms. A couple of staffers have received my comments well. Some have tended to ignore them. One strongly rebuked me. So Jack was right when he called it a mixed-matched group of leadership. Maybe this is typical of a lot of churches today.

    Jan, thanks for the added background on The Master’s College. It all sounds correct to the best of my recollection.

  50. Bruce,
    I read your article- well done! Have you heard of David Platt’s book “Radical”? It pretty much states the same things as Chan. I have not
    read it but a friend of mine was reading it for Bible study at church. Also, the book “Slave” by JM really rubbed me the wrong way.

    I think that all of this is to go against the tide of complacency and lukewarmness of church, but instead of relying on the finished work of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to work in every believer they (WE) will come up short every time. Believers will feel that they can never measure up and unbelievers will believe that they could never get it (salvation) in the first place. Also, it sets up dedicated believers for one of the worst sins- PRIDE.
    We go to a Calvary Chapel now and the last Sunday we had a lady who came who states she is a Christian but hasn’t been to church in awhile and has a rough life. What would I tell this woman? Would I tell her “Unless you get your act straight you probaly won’t have a chance” or should I tell her “Hey, you know you can trust in our Lord and Savior to do His work in you; He wants a closer relationship with you so that you will grow to be more like Him?”

    Thanks Bruce for the article.

  51. I think that all of this is to go against the tide of complacency and lukewarmness of church, but instead of relying on the finished work of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to work in every believer they (WE) will come up short every time. Believers will feel that they can never measure up and unbelievers will believe that they could never get it (salvation) in the first place. Also, it sets up dedicated believers for one of the worst sins- PRIDE.

    I think I am going to print this out and frame it!!!

    JanH

  52. Here I sit enjoying this conversation.

    Jan, great idea to preserve Faith’s statement.

    Faith — thanks for that thought.. Just a quick analysis on another statement — since I have been told I am noted for being picky. ;-)

    You said when counseling a new believer, “He wants a closer relationship with you.” Just a thought — a believer’s relationship (standing) with the Lord is eternal, never changing — a Father-son blood relationship secured by the blood of Christ when we trust Jesus as our Savior.
    My personal preference would be that He (God) wants a closer fellowship (state) with you.
    As we see in 1 John 1:3b “…. and truly our [believer's] fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
    Just a picky point that might settle doubts in some baby Christians who think their relationship to Christ could possibly be severed or damaged by their behavior.
    Relationship (standing) is permanent — fellowship (state) is temporal, depending on our behavior and confession to the Lord.. (1 John 1: 6-9)

    Thanks, I appreciate you guys!!! Keep it up.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  53. Yeh- see what you mean : ) Jack. Fellowship- exactly!

  54. That is a neat point Jack. Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind myself. :)

    JanH

  55. Great discussion friends—Thanks!

    Faith, thank you for your kind words and insights. Yes, I have read the book “Radical.” You are correct that it is quite similar to “Crazy Love.” It is not quite as condemning as Chan’s book, although it pushes the same kind of radical over-the-edge obsessive living for God. The book “Radical” has a strong emphasis on missions which, in proper perspective, is a good thing. But the book wants to force each and every Christian toward some kind of foreign missions involvement, or else they are not among the truly committed to God. That’s where the screws of guilt come into play. It’s definitely a blatant theology of LS. It’s interesting that you brought this book up to me because I have already been toying with the idea of writing a review article on the book for Free Grace Alliance. You may have given me the nudge to do so.

    Regarding the book “Slave” by John MacArthur, I wrote a brief review on Amazon under the two stars section, if you want to check it out. And Pastor Jack picked it up here on his site as well:
    http://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/john-macarthurs-new-apostate-book/

  56. Hi there fellow free gracers,
    I have a question about eternal security and those that don’t believe in OSAS. I thought this post would be a good one to post in. A little over a year ago I came out of LS. I had believed in eternal security but was deceived in the areas of the false doctrine of ‘repent of your sins to be saved’ and fruit inspection. I was heavily influenced by Ray Comfort and his ministry. I was also of the opinion that someone could be saved even though they may believe you could lose your salvation. I have now rejected all these false doctrines since removing myself from LS and coming to a free grace perspective on the Gospel.

    One ministry which I respect and admire is ‘Clear Gospel Campaign’. The Gospel tract there is one of the best i have read, it’s so thorough and clear.

    I did read one thing there which I believe is in error and I would like to get your opinion on the matter based on scripture.

    Now, on the webpage on eternal security, seen below is where I have concern with what I believe to be error:

    http://www.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=7&c_id=127

    It says:
    “Occasionally, one meets a Christian who agrees that sin is not ground for losing one’s salvation because our sins have been paid for by Christ. But they nevertheless believe that one can lose their salvation by rejecting Christ and abandoning their Christian faith. Because such a belief teaches salvation by faith alone, and not teaching salvation by works, it is not a denial of the gospel. However, it does fail to understand the irreversable nature of regeneration and eternal life. The regeneration of the Holy Spirit is an irreversable event, imparting to the believer the same incorruptable life as possessed by God Himself.”

    Now, as far as I can tell from scripture, anyone that believes that they can lose salvation FOR ANY REASON, including the reason of ceasing to believe in Christ by rejecting Christ and abandoning their Christian faith, then they are NOT believing on Christ and are calling God a liar.

    I know it says that “such a belief teaches salvation by faith alone, and not teaching salvation by works, it is not a denial of the gospel” but isn’t requiring a person to continue in a lifestyle of faithfulness to God where the person remains in a state of faith WORKS? It puts the requirement of salvation on the person to continue in the faith and off of Jesus Christ as our all sufficient Savior!

    I think the following Bible passage below would seem to support that if a person does not believe in eternal life (eternal life is the same as everlasting life). If they believe you can lose salvation, FOR ANY REASON, then they have not believed the record that God gave of His Son and are calling God a liar! If they don’t believe that salvation is eternal and cant be lost then they are not believing on Christ. See the following passage:

    I John 5:9-11
    9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
    10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    From what I can see in verse 11:
    a. Salvation is a gift as it’s GIVEN to us not SOLD to us (God hath GIVEN to us eternal life).
    b. Salvation can only be found in Jesus (this life is in his Son).
    c. Salvation is eternal, everlasting and cannot be lost (God hath given to us ETERNAL LIFE).

    That’s what a person MUST believe if they are to be saved. If a person denies that salvation is everlasting, if they say you can lose it, even because of departing from the faith, are they not calling God a liar and unbelieving of the record that God gave of His Son?

  57. Hi Daniel,

    Good question!

    It appears to me that Ron Shea is speaking about typical Calvary Chapel theology, where a person is saved through trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone (not in good works). They (CC) would say that a person cannot lose his salvation but he could voluntarily walk away from it. I agree with you that this (CC) is terrible theology and, according to John 10:27-30 it is wrong! However, I also agree with Shea that if the person has indeed trusted in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation, then 1 John 5:10 would not apply.

  58. Daniel,

    Eternal life is eternal, Forever, NEVER ending. Are you trying to find a loophole? 8-)

    If a person believes his salvation is only by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone, he is indwelt and sealed with The Holy Spirit eternally:

    “In whom [Jesus] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13

    If you have believed in Jesus, The Holy Spirit seals you with His unbreakable seal for all eternity, and He will never send Himself to hell under any circumstances. You are as secure as the Holy Spirit!

    And just as a double assurance the Scripture says:

    “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
    “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” 2 Timothy 2:13-14

    Once we have believed, we depend upon HIS faithfulness — not our own, regardless of what we say or do, We are secure in Jesus Christ!! That is His very nature, purpose and promise!!

    The very Name “Jesus” is the contraction of the words, Jehovah (God) Saves; Jehoshuä = Jesus. He is the Savior, not we ourselves. He is not a probation officer, just waiting for us to break away. JESUS SAVES!!

    Thanks for your thoughts Daniel, but Simply Rest in Jesus – and “strive not about words to no profit”!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. Daniel, I am familiar with the text that you quoted from Clear Gospel Campaign, and it kind of puzzled me at first as well.

    I think Shea’s perspective is that faith is never a work, so someone who errantly believes they have to maintain their faith to stay saved could conceivably still be saved.

  60. Hi Jack and Bruce,
    Thanks for your answers though I think you may have misunderstood my question. I am not trying to find a loophole to the doctrine of eternal security. Neither am I asking this question about doubts about my own salvation but regarding some evangelism I am about to embark on.

    I agree that if a person stops believing that they can’t lose salvation, absolutely, they can NEVER lose it. In fact I do believe there are many saved people who got messed up in varying degrees of LS and that believe one can lose salvation but they are still saved because they at ONE MOMENT in their life they believed the gospel and trusted in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone (not in good works) and believed they could not lose salvation for ANY reason. They understood it was a gift that depended on Christ and were thus SEALED with the Holy Spirit. I don’t disagree there…

    What I am saying (and asking your stance on this matter) is that if a person who hears the gospel, believes that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again, paid for all our sins and understands that salvation cannot be lost due to sin, yet they still think that salvation can be lost because of walking away from the faith, what I am saying is that they still have not believed on Christ alone because they have not truly grasped the eternal nature of salvation, the fact that it really is a gift and that it TOTALLY depends on God and not on them and therefore have not believed the record that God gave of His Son and are calling God a liar.

    Even my wife, who is in this category, says that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus and not of good works and agrees that salvation cannot be lost due to sin but she says salvation can be lost from ceasing to believe. Now, I don’t know if she ever understood that salvation can never be lost for any reason but at the moment I would have to say that she does not believe on Christ alone…

  61. Hi John,
    I must have been writing my last response just as you posted and then posted my one just after you did!

    Yes, I see that he is saying that “faith is never a work, so someone who errantly believes they have to maintain their faith to stay saved could conceivably still be saved” and you know, I really hope he is right. However, looking at 1John 5:9-11 and also other scriptures such as 1:2, what I see is that people that say you can lose salvation are calling God a liar.

    I understand that he is saying that faith is never a work yet if one believes they have to stay in faith till the end of their lives to be saved, isn’t that person making faith a kind of work by making salvation a REWARD for a whole life of faithfulness rather than a GIFT that is received the moment one believes?

    Aren’t they also putting the requirement of salvation on themselves to persevere in faith and off Jesus?

    Also, does 1 John 5:9-11 not say that in order to believe the record that God gave of His Son (in other words, to trully believe on Christ alone) you have to believe that salvation is eternal life? Wouldn’t that mean that someone that says you can lose it, FOR ANY REASON, including ceasing to believe mean that they have not believed on Christ alone?

    This issue is especially close to home for me cause as i mentioned, my wife is in this category. Like I said, i don’t know if my wife at one point ever understood the eternal nature of salvation but at this moment of her life I cant say she is believing on Christ alone. I wish I could say that she was and I am working with her to show her the error of saying one can lose salvation due to stop believing.

  62. Little typo in there, when I said in the second paragraph of my post above, ‘other scriptures such as 1:2′ I meant Titus 1:2.

  63. Daniel, I would suggest sharing Tom’s booklet “The Permanence of Salvation” with your wife. Following is the link:

    http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

    I am really uncomfortable with the concept that one could “make faith a work.” The Bible never blurs, nor mixes the concepts of faith and works in justification. Nor am I aware of the Bible referencing any false professors who were relying on “maintaining their faith.” The Bible does mention false professors who were relying in whole, or in part, on their works.

    That said, I don’t know why someone who supposedly is trusting in Christ alone would hold onto the errant teaching that one could lose his salvation by “giving it back”, or by “walking away from it”, or by discontinuing belief, particularly when shown the myriad clear scripture to the contrary.

  64. Hi John,
    I will try and get my wife to read Tom’s booklet “The Permanence of Salvation” but I don’t think she will read it. Since I have said to my wife that we cannot go to any of the other churches around here other than the one church I found where there was no LS, she has become rather disgruntled with me and feels I am holding her back from making new friends since moving interstate. She has told me that she will submit to my headship and go to the church I have chosen for us but says she will go to a church of her choosing on Sunday evenings (most likely a Pentecostal church because of the style of music and so called exciting preaching and hype). I have told her that I will warn her about any errors in such churches but I wont refuse her to go as I don’t want to be controlling of her as it will only make more resentment. I have also tried to share this blog with her, she read a bit of your responses to her in a previous post but is not really interested in reading it, she also thinks you guys here are extreme and a little wacko. I have also tried showing her lots of scriptures saying that you can’t lose salvation and at times she has been unsure of the interpretation, other times she seems to be making progress but recently she does not really want me to show her anything about the topic of eternal security or even the gospel cause she says that’s all I want to talk about. She is very resistant to me showing her anything in the Bible recently but has agreed very reluctantly that she will listen to the odd sermon with me, at least that’s something.

    Regarding what you said above John, I see why you are uncomfortable with the phrase of ‘making faith a work’. Your right that’s not a Biblical phrase and probably not the best choice of words on my part. However, when someone is trying to maintain salvation, thinking they must remain faithful for the rest of their days, are they not saying you have to do something to keep it? Is that not works?

    It’s ok that the Bible does not reference any false professors who were relying on “maintaining their faith” as I don’t think the Bible lists all the examples of how people have called God a liar. The Bible does tell us however, in John 5:9-11 that basically there are two types of people in the world and it spells out exactly what those who are calling God a liar and have not believed the record that God gave of His Son do NOT believe;

    1st type of person are those who have believed the record that God gave of His Son.

    2nd type of person are those that have not believed the record that God has given of His Son and are calling God a liar.

    There is something this person does not believe that is compelling him to call God a liar. Its called the record that God gave of His Son and it’s found in verse 11.

    It says:
    “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

    The false professor does not believe is that “God hath given to us eternal life” and/or they don’t believe “this life is in his Son.” From what I see in the passage, if they don’t believe God gives eternal life, if they don’t believe in eternal security then they have made God a liar. They might believe in a life until you depart from the faith or in some kind of conditional life but have not believed the promise of God which is that He has given those who are saved, eternal life.

    If I was going to use an illustration it would be this. If someone was to give you a gift and I said, ‘friend, I am going to give you this, it’s a gift and it can never be lost and I promise you that I will never take it away for any reason’. If they then come back later and say ‘ok, I need that back now, I am taking that away, you lost the privilege to keep that GIFT’ what would that make them? It would make them a liar!

    Well, God has said:

    1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

    We know that God cannot lie so if someone says they believe in a temporary life or a conditional salvation, then they are calling God a liar and 1 John 5:9-11 says that have not believed the record that God gave of His Son.

    Like I said, earlier, I certainly hope that a person that who has only ever at any point in their life believed that salvation cannot be lost by sin but that erroneously believes that it can be lost by ceasing to believe, I certainly hope that such a person is saved but looking at the scripture I can’t see that they have believed in Christ alone because they have not believed the record that God gave of His Son.

  65. Daniel, I agree that if a person thinks God would ever take back His gift of salvation, then the person really hasn’t believed.

    I guess someone could have a twisted interpretation of John 6:37-39. That is, that Jesus would not cast you out, but you might choose to “jump overboard” on your own.

    Similarly, John 10:28 says no-one will pluck you from God’s hand. Someone could misinterpret this to think they could wrest themselves from God’s hand. However, in order to make this misinterpretation, someone would have to add something to scripture – that is they would have to add “except me” to “none”. The revised verse would be: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (EXCEPT ME) pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

    Both of these horrific misinterpretations would require ADDING to scripture, which is never a good idea.

    Daniel, it seems to me that if someone believes in Jesus unto eternal life, it would follow that he has believed in Jesus FOR eternal life. I would try to evangelize anyone who is indifferent, or worse, hostile, to the concept of OSAS.

  66. Daniel,

    I think that what has to be believed for salvation is the gospel that Christ (the Son of God incarnate) died shedding His blood as a sinless sacrifice for our sin. He then rose again and is alive today in heaven. We who believe are saved eternally not really because we necessarily understand all of the ramifications of eternal life at the time we believe but because our salvation is based upon what Christ accomplished on our behalf. I cor 15:1-4, 11. Notice also in verse 12 that some did not believe because they denied his resurrection. Here are some things that I see that prevent belief:

    Not admitting that one is a sinner – in that they are guilty of sin and therefore need a Savior (remember that this does not mean one needs to turn from sins to be saved just that the need to turn from unbelief to believe in the only one who can save)

    Denying there is a God, denying that Christ is God, denying that Christ is the atonement for all men, denying that belief in Christ can save, believing in Christ plus works of righteousness, believing in Christ plus other people or things, denying the resurrection, denying that Christ was sinless, there are likely more but I don’t necessarily see misunderstanding of eternal security as one. Don’t get me wrong because this is somewhat of a tricky topic and can be when extreme examples are used such as: Can a person who believed (were actually saved) ever walk away and renounce that belief? I have never personally heard of that but we do know that all who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior are saved from the moment they believe. They are forever united with Christ and can/will never perish – partly because Christ can/never will perish. We WILL be with him in heaven for all eternity. A believer may not [grasp] this fully about eternity and may possibly just be misunderstanding the benefit of salvation but may have truly believed the gospel. Take a child for example. I know when I was saved at age five that I was a little fuzzy as to what I understood exactly about eternity. It is a rather big concept to wrap your mind around as a child. I do remember though that I knew I was a sinner and that I had to trust Christ to save me. I put my faith in Him and I knew I was forgiven because Christ paid the penalty of my sin on the cross. I knew that he was a risen Savior and that I would be with Him one day in heaven. It wasn’t till a bit later one day that my mother explained more to me about heaven, eternity, reassurance that eternal salvation cannot be lost. I remember early on that sometimes I when I was afraid or had done something wrong as a child I would pray something like, “Jesus please save me” etc. That was the kind of prayer I knew. People eventually taught me the different realities surrounding assurance and further more how to pray based on that position in Christ.

    What I am saying is that we should make sure to look into everything. A believer may need instruction from the Word to better understand our promise of heaven. Or, in the case that they are actually trusting in a work then they need to trust in Christ alone. It is not always easy to know which is which. Also, we need to make sure that we don’t start adding in things that people need to believe before they can be saved. Such as, the rapture, rewards in heaven, eschatology, discipleship, etc. If a person comes to me with a misunderstanding of eternal life, then I take them back to the cross and ask them if Christ’s work was sufficient. If they say no then that is where you stay. If they say yes, then you begin to explain what that means for them eternally. There are plenty of scriptures to use to do so.

    Remember that when you witness to proclaim Christ and Christ crucified. That was Paul’s example. Don’t get bogged down with trying to convince people of things outside of the gospel before they have believed the gospel.

    Jim F

  67. I have some slight disagreements with Ron Shea on this. I’m still a little iffy because someone’s beliefs on OSAS can indeed reveal a lot, but I don’t quite consider it the litmus test.

    At what point does believing in eternal security actually become a part of the Gospel? Is believing in eternal security as essential as believing in the deity of Christ, or the Resurrection? If it is, how many correct doctrines must we believe (and how many false doctrines disbelieve) in order to be saved, since they are all linked to Christ? Will God save if someone believes the Gospel, but has yet to learn other important doctrines that are not specifically mentioned in the Gospel according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4? Is there any room for ‘learning’, or clearing up misconceptions we may have previously held without ever thinking about it?

    In this case, part of believing the Gospel turns into a search-and-destroy mission of how many hidden false beliefs must we kill in order to “REALLY REALLY” believe the Gospel and finally be saved. I have a hard time believing a child with their childlike faith is able to perform such rigorous introspection!

    In Acts 10:37-43 and Acts 13:22-29, neither gospel presentations explicitly state OSAS (unless I missed something), but were those in the audience who believed this message saved? Were the Ephesians saved before they learned that the Holy Spirit was sealed in them until the day of redemption? I mean, who knows what they would have told you if you asked them about Eternal Security?

    I’m very cautious about this because I place a lot of importance on OSAS, and I don’t want to make it look like a ‘disposable doctrine’. It’s definitely something worth correcting and not compromising on because it’s absolutely essential for having assurance and living a fruitful and peaceful Christian life. But I also hesitate to consider someone unsaved based on the fact that they believe one can forfeit or lose their salvation through unbelief. (And we’ll never really KNOW someone’s spiritual state anyway)

    I think just speaking truth and letting whatever effect (whether they believe unto salvation or simply clear up a misconception) happen, is the best thing to do. The rest is bordering on speculation, no?

  68. That’s what I get for refreshing the page too late! Jim F, you said it much better!

  69. Julie,

    You and Jim F both explained things well, thanks.

  70. “Is there any room for ‘learning’, or clearing up misconceptions we may have previously held without ever thinking about it? In this case, part of believing the Gospel turns into a search-and-destroy mission of how many hidden false beliefs must we kill in order to “REALLY REALLY” believe the Gospel and finally be saved. I have a hard time believing a child with their childlike faith is able to perform such rigorous introspection!”

    I don’t personally consider that to be introspection. Rather, I consider it becoming more childlike. A child trusts something that is said, simply so. Jesus says, eternal life. Eternal life is eternal, and eternal security is built into that. It takes an adult to disconnect eternal security from eternal life. A child will automatically assume, “I’m going to heaven. It’s eternal life”, they will put eternal security into that. At least, that’s my way of thinking of it. It’s far more introspective to assume that eternal security might not be a component of the Gospel. And for what reason would it not be a component of the Gospel?

    Eternal security is rejected because a person thinks they sin too much, or do too little in the ways of works. That becomes a false gospel, and the eternal security issue is right there alongside that reasoning process.

    So I have found no reason to avoid the issue when preaching the Gospel, even when preaching the Gospel to those that claim to be believers. There is room for learning, but a person might learn that they never believed the Gospel, and then they are thankful that someone approached them about it. Especially since the number of people in Matthew 7:21-23 is many.

    I have tried hard to make the eternal security issue “non-essential” when it comes to the Gospel. I’ve tried for the sake of being more “inclusive”. But then I think, why am I doing that? Because of someone that doesn’t want to believe they have an irrevocable gift? And for what reason do they want to fight that? At what point should I compromise with it, and what good does that do them?

    This isn’t directed at you, by the way. It’s my thoughts on this. I’ve tried to avoid it as part of the Gospel. But I’m beginning to think that it is essential to the Gospel, because eternal security = eternal life. The two are the same, that is what Jesus offers, and He offers nothing else.

    If that’s adding “components”, so be it. We must believe that Jesus is God, we must believe that He died for our sins and rose again. And we must believe that He paid it all in such a way that faith in Jesus is for eternal life, not for probation, not for a shot at it, not for anything less that permanent eternal life.

    Just my thoughts :)

  71. In fact I just had this discussion with someone. Let’s say that Billy Graham is doing his “commit your life to Christ” speech to a crowd, among which are many catholics (he always sets things up that way). The catholic hears, “commit my life to Christ”, and they assume, eucharist, confession, good works, etc. They don’t assume, “commit to faith alone in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life” (I doubt there are many people that make that assumption, but certainly very few among catholics).

    So it’s believing in Jesus, and for something. For what? For the catholic, it is believing in Jesus for an attempt to make it to heaven. That isn’t the same message as believing in Jesus for a free gift that guarantees heaven no matter what.

    Thus, the eternal security issue is crucial to the Gospel, in my personal opinion. That’s why the catholics fight so much against it. According to catholicism, eternal security is a “sin of presumption”.

  72. Julie (and Abe),

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    Julie, I think we must be careful not to conflate a recitation of historical events such as in Acts 10:37-43 and Acts 13:22-29 with an accurate plea for believing in Jesus Christ for Eternal life (OSAS). In 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, we read the classic presentation of the Gospel, reiterated to the Corinthian believers. And in verses 1-2a Paul says:

    “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,…”

    There are three important words which I have capitalized, RECEIVED, STAND and SAVED. The Corinthians had received the Gospel, they stand in the Gospel and are saved by the Gospel which they have believed.

    In that classic Gospel passage Paul uses the word “saved” (Greek: sozo, safe, delivered or protected, healed, preserveed, do well, be or make whole), which in that context and any interpretation means eternal life. Eternal or everlasting life IS never ending (OSAS) once saved, always saved.

    Abe, I appreciate your comment. Your description of a child’s belief is interesting and accurate. We might say as the child simply assumes eternal life (OSAS) until he is “educated” by confused teaching to incorrectly
    analyze or question OSAS.

    “Eternal life” and “everlasting Life” in John 3:15-16 are (Greek: aionios, from Greek [aion]; perpetual, eternal, for ever, everlasting, time without end). In other words, OSAS.

    Eternal Life, being eternal by its very nature, is an essential component of the Gospel and I think we often become so verbose in our presentation that OSAS, though implied, may be lost in the shuffle. Let us keep the message simple — but not so simple that it is incomplete. Let’s include the essentials as Paul reminded the believing Corinthians.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  73. Great questions, conversations, summation… We believe on eternal life and are given it when we are saved.

    If we are bewitched later into finishing in the flesh, it does not negate the fact we have already been saved. But if someone does not believe they are given the free gift of eternal life, they haven’t “received” it.

    We can’t just believe the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is ?

    “Eternal life” through Jesus Christ our Lord. And He died why? So we might have “everlasting life”.

    I got scared later in life, as I got more confused by those who twist the simple Word of God. I too came to Him when I was young, but I was told that eternal meant forever. I got it back then, but then the wolves came in and like the enemy said, “Yea hath God said”? And because of not being in the Word, or being in sin, I began to doubt. I was saved, but woe to those who made me stumble.

  74. Jack,

    “Eternal Life, being eternal by its very nature, is an essential component of the Gospel and I think we often become so verbose in our presentation that OSAS, though implied, may be lost in the shuffle. Let us keep the message simple — but not so simple that it is incomplete. Let’s include the essentials as Paul reminded the believing Corinthians.”

    I believe you are correct. It is one thing to teach the truth of eternal life to an unbeliever as part of a gospel presentation and another to try to help a person later that very well may be a believer already to understand certain things surrounding it. I personally do include instruction on eternal life when witnessing. It is unavoidable when using verses like John 3:16 etc.

    Jim F

  75. You know Jack, my favorite letter of the alphabet in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 is the ‘D’ in the words ‘RECEIVED’ and ‘SAVED’.

    And yes Jim and Holly, the words ‘eternal life’ and ‘everlasting life’ are used in some key salvation verses. If we look at the Gospel of John, the book that claims that the whole purpose that it was written was so that you would believe and be saved according to John 20:31, it’s the only book in the Bible that makes this bold statement, that’s why it has so many great salvation verses. In the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly emphasizes the words ‘eternal life’ and ‘everlasting life’ again and again in these salvation passages. Do a word search on these words and you will see how often these words are attached the very gospel message itself. If Jesus emphasizes the everlasting/eternal nature of salvation, why would we we not emphasize it in our gospel presentation?

    I see that people don’t want to make the presentation of the gospel complicated, that’s noble, there is no need to make the gospel complicated. By emphasizing the everlasting nature of the salvation, that’s not complicating the message, it’s just being thorough, there a big difference between the two. We need to cover all the main points that people need to believe if they are to accept the gospel.

    At the minimum, people need to believe they are sinners and therefore can’t make it to Heaven because the penalty sin, (which is death and Hell); they need to believe Jesus is God, that He paid for ALL our sins by His death on the cross, that He was buried and rose from the dead bodily. They need to believe that salvation is offered freely by grace, through faith in Christ and finally they need to believe that salvation is ETERNAL/EVERLASTING LIFE and that it cannot be lost FOR ANY REASON because it’s a GIFT and does not depend them but on God.

    If we want to be THOROUGH and SIMPLE, apart from showing people a scripture verse for each point we can use illustrations which are very powerful in helping people to understand the gospel. In showing people about eternal security, we can firstly show them how the words ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ in these great salvation verses means lasting forever.

    One of two most powerful illustrations I know of are that of using an illustration of gift and of adoption. Eternal security is easily understood if you can help people understand the nature of a gift and the permanence of the bond between a father and son.

    eg:

    Who pays for a gift, the giver or the receiver?
    If I said you can have this but you have to pay me 5 bucks for it, is that a gift?
    What about if I said you can have this but you need to wash my car, is that a gift?
    What if I said you can have this Bible as a gift but I come back later and say ‘hey, I need that back’ was that really a gift? It’s no gift, it’s a loan!
    If you were offered something as an everlasting gift that could not be lost or taken away and the ‘giver’ came back and took back the ‘gift’ for any reason, what would that make them? A LIAR!
    Well, God cannot lie and He has promised ETERNAL LIFE as a GIFT the moment anyones believes on Christ and He said this gift is everlasting and cannot be lost.
    Show them relevant verses such as John 5:24 Ephesians 1:13, John 3:16, Titus 1:2, John 6:39 etc
    How many times does a person need to receive a gift that lasts forever?
    If they are stuck, show them some more ES verses and use more illustrations but they need to believe in the eternal nature of salvation if they are going to believe on Christ and be saved.

    Similarly, using the illustration of how your son will always be your son even if he does the wrong thing or if he even says ‘I hate you dad’ he will still be in your family. He will be disciplined but will not be cast out of the family.

    John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    I would love to hear from you guys some other effective illustrations for communicating the gospel, anything that teaches me more about soul winning, my ears are wide open!

  76. Hi I have several questions for the administrators..

    1. Now that eternal salvation is established, what does it mean practically to have fellowship with Christ?

    2. Without confusing discipleship and salvation together, what does discipleship practically look like? Does discipleship entail giving up one’s whole life (including career, etc) to follow Christ and perform the works He did on earth?

    3. Are fellowship and discipleship intertwined?

    4. Is it possible to be a believer yet not a disciple? Or is it possible to be a disciple yet not a believer?

    Thank you for answering these questions.

  77. Naomi,

    Welcome — You ask some wonderful questions. I will attempt to answer some and invite others here to likewise respond.

    First we must establish that eternal salvation is secured by a one-time decision to trust Jesus alone as one’s Savior.

    #1 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
    (a) Read and study your Bible, (b) share your faith with others and (c) if possible, find a fellowship of believers who agree with the teaching of God’s Free Grace. Point (c) is difficult — and many of our regulars find fellowship here with us at ExP.

    #2 You ask: (a) “… what does discipleship practically look like? (b) Does discipleship entail giving up one’s whole life (including career, etc) to follow Christ and perform the works He did on earth?”
    (a) A disciple of Jesus is a voluntary follower. So discipleship is following Jesus’ leadership voluntarily. (b) You use the word “entail.” It may mean to impose a burden, whereas discipleship should be voluntary out of our love of Christ and what He has done for us. 2 Corinthians 5:14 -The Love of Christ constrains [compels] us…

    #3 Yes, fellowship can “intertwine” with discipleship. Proper fellowship can encourage discipleship.

    #4 (a) Yes, it is possible to be a believer yet not a disciple. Many folks trust Jesus alone as Savior for Eternal Life and do not comprehend, (hopefully they will later), the benefits of following their Savior. I was a believer for a year or more before I realized what I was missing by not following my Savior.
    (b) Yes, it is possible to be a disciple yet not a believer. One of the original Twelve, Judas, is one example that comes to mind. Many mainline churches Catholic, Mormon, Churches of Christ, Many Southern Baptists, etc are good examples of churches whose “gospel” is not preaching salvation by Grace through faith alone in Christ alone, but one of doing “good works” and “discipleship,” many times a social gospel.

    I pray this is clear and helpful.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  78. Hi Pastor Jack, thank you for your time. Your responses were very clear and helpful to me.

    I have some follow-up questions, if that is okay. Please excuse my elementary knowledge of the Bible.

    1. Is prayer mentioned anywhere in the Bible as being a form of fellowship with our Savior? How do I emotionally relate to Him?

    2. I think part of my confusion is how I ought to live my life. How do I grow to love my Savior more and more? Would it be inaccurate to say that in loving our Savior it will produce fellowship, and in fellowship it will produce discipleship?

    3. Is it possible for you to expand on what the benefits are of following our Savior? And what is it that we are missing by not following Him?

    I greatly appreciate your responses.

    Thank you, and God bless,
    Naomi

  79. Naomi,

    A quick clarification.

    A “disciple” is a learner, a pupil or one who follows the teaching of another person. Not necessarily a believer.

    “Fellowship” is the Greek word, “Koinonia” which means participation together, communion of friends of like mind, not necessarily of believers.

    Fellowship with Christ is not available to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

    For believers, we study His word, pray and meet (fellowship) with other like believers. Every believer is instructed to be obedient to God’s Word, revealed by the Holy Spirit Who leads us into all Truth. Our obedience brings us into closer fellowship with our Savior.

    We should be careful not to confuse “fellowship” (a Biblical word) with “relationship” (not a Biblical word) but implied in our Eternal familial existence by faith and guaranteed in Jesus Christ for every believer.

    Fellowship = changing,
    Relationship (if we use that word) = Eternal in Jesus, never changing.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  80. Naomi,

    I could give a sermon on each of your points… but I won’t. 8-)

    Point #1: Yes, prayer is a part of fellowship as Paul writes many times:

    Colossians 1:9
    For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled [influenced] with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

    1 Thessalonians 5:25
    Brethren, pray for us.

    2 Thessalonians 3:1
    Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

    I don’t believe we should seek to relate emotionally. As we study His Word and ponder it, we may feel an emotion of gratitude for what Christ has done for us. But don’t let your feelings overrule God’s Word. Ponder what He went through for you personally.

    Point #2
    Yes, Learning more about and loving our Savior SHOULD increase fellowship, and a close fellowship should produce discipleship.

    Point #3 Benefits if we are submissive and what we miss if we aren’t:

    Galatians 5:22-23
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  81. Jack,

    Thank you for those excellent solid answers to Naomi’s questions. Your responses will benefit many readers I’m sure.

  82. I was going to say the same thing to Jack, I appreciate the answers. I wish people would understand the burdens and yokes they are laying on people, vs. exhorting each other daily in His Word, or speaking the truth in love so they can grow up into the head which is Christ. How far sometimes they might send the young in Christ away from the Lord….

    I know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink”. I just had a funny thought regarding that. Lead a horse to water and throw it in it’s face and see what might happen. (I picture it rearing up and running away in fear). Lead a horse to water and try to force it’s nose down, see what might happen (even if the horse is thirsty), but lead a horse to water and stay with it, keep it there, and then see what the horse will do.

    People are so busy worrying about other’s salvation, they aren’t preaching a clear gospel and they aren’t helping other’s growth in His grace…

  83. Naomi,

    You asked, “Is it possible for you to expand on what the benefits are of following our Savior? And what is it that we are missing by not following Him?”

    There are many benefits to learning from Christ through the Spirit and His Word. Think about how much people are willing to pay for earthly teachers to give them specialized training. Well, every single believer can can directly from Christ (God) Himself through the Word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you into all truth. John 16:13-15.

    How much we learn from the Word is up to us.

    Jim F

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