Thursday, January 3, 2008

Once Saved Always Saved?

Pastor Saiko Woods in Texas regularly witnesses. The Gospel for him and for all Christians consumes our everything. It is like a deadly(heavenly)virus that not kills but gives life. He is a Black and Reformed Pastor who is very solid. Here is his response to a Arminian pastor. It is lengthy but worth the read.

Saiko's response to the arminian theology.

The Bible supports the doctrine of Eternal Security because it is based solely upon the finished work of Christ’s atonement on the cross for those who believe. Those who fall away, are unrepentant, or refuse to accept Christ’s free offer of salvation give evidence that their salvation was never genuine to begin with. In other words, they NEVER were saved (1 Jn. 2:19)! To say that a true Christian can lose his/her salvation contradicts, conflicts, & compromises the following (3) things that God has done for the truly repentant believer:

It nullifies the Electing purpose of God in salvation

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be  holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in  the Beloved (Eph. 1:4-6; emphasis mine).

The Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit makes this declarative statement concerning our position in Christ. If our salvation were on the basis of what we would do, then it would be according to works and not God’s electing grace (Eph. 2:8-9). If keeping ourselves saved were true, then that would contradict Paul’s teaching in Phil. 1:6; 2:13.

It nullifies Christ’s redeeming work on the cross for His elect

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep (Jn. 10:14-15; emphasis mine).

It nullifies the securing work of the Holy Spirit to God’s elect

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:13-14).

Paul uses the Greek word (sphragizo- pronounced “spra-gid-zo”) and it is used in the passive voice meaning that the recipient receives the action. In other words, the Holy Spirit sealed (protected, pledged, secured) those who God chose to save unto salvation. We [believers] had absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. God is the active cause in salvation; we are the passive recipients of His saving grace. Salvation is totally sola-gratia (by grace alone).

In your letter, you ask the following question:

“However, the questions remain, “Can we walk away from salvation?” Or, can we reject the salvation that we once embraced?” Clearly, the previous verses indicate that nothing external can place our eternal security in jeopardy, but what about an internal choice to reject Christ? What does the Bible say”?

No truly born-again believer will ever walk away from Christ in a saving relationship with Him. Why? Because the love of Christ constrains (i.e. to hold) us (2 Cor. 5:14). To reject a salvation that you once embraced is not biblical salvation and is foreign to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles (Jn. 10:28-30; 1 Pt. 1:5). As far as an “internal” choice to reject Christ in the life of a true born-again believer, I will refer to the scripture that you quoted from the Apostle Paul when he said,

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39; emphasis mine).”

“What about the individual who sincerely accepts Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, but then subsequently chooses to reject a relationship with Jesus, wanting nothing to do with Him, or His salvation”?

No one who is truly saved will ever reject the lordship of Christ in his/her life. It is utterly impossible (1 Jn. 2:19). There are varying views concerning the interpretation of Hebrews in chapters 6:4-6 &10:26-27. However, most scholars who interpret the Bible based on the principles of hermeneutics would strongly agree that both passages do not teach that a Christian can lose his/her salvation (Heb. 3:1, 12; 6:9).

“The Bible teaches that only those who “receive” Him are privileged with eternal life (see John 1:11-12). There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that God EVER takes away our free will, especially in regard to salvation. The picture of God forcing someone into heaven against their will is terribly inconsistent with scripture”.
The Apostle John gives his readers the reason why those who receive Christ are born again in the 13th verse of John.
….who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (emphasis mine).

Jesus makes this pride-destroying statement in the 6th chapter of John.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…. (Jn. 6:44; emphasis mine).

The word “draw” is the Greek word (helkuo) which means to drag or to induce to come. The word is in the active voice meaning that God is the one who brings or “draws” those He desires to save to Himself. Those who come to Christ is because of the Father’s drawing them to the Son, and His drawing is irresistible (Jn. 6:37).

Also Scripture is abundantly clear that no one chooses to come to Christ (Rom. 3:10-12) because they are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2). The only way a person can accept Christ is that God must first regenerate the sinner making him able to respond in saving faith to the gospel of Christ (Eph. 2:4-5). To say that man who is spiritually dead is able to “choose” Christ out of his own “free-will” is totally inconsistent to the doctrine of the depravity of man (Rom. 8:5-8) and robs God of His glory.

In closing, based on the reading of your letter it seems to me that the teaching that you hold regarding Christians losing their salvation is based on man and not the power of God that needs serious attention and consideration (1 Pet. 1:5). If salvation were up to me to keep it, I know that I would have lost it the moment I had it. Also man’s will will always consistent with his nature (Gen. 6:5; Psalm 14:2-3).