Arminianism and salvation

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Helen, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Helen

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    I hope it is clear to everyone who has been following any of these threads that I am most definitely NOT Calvinist. I hope it is also just as clear that I am most definitely NOT Arminian.

    In the Calvinism and Belief thread, a recent post spoke about falling away and the possibility of losing salvation. The question was asked what does falling away mean if not losing salvation and why so many admonishments to keep the faith and run the race that we see in the New Testament.

    To the Arminian, or those not believing that salvation is not only now but eternal for the believer, I would caution against trying to combine the concept of salvation with the concept of rewards, or crowns, which can be earned by the saved.

    At the end of Psalm 1 we see that the wicked will not stand in the judgment. Now, ait is obvious that whatever judgment this is, the wicked will not be there and that there will be some kind of judgment of only the righteous. The righteous are, by definition in the Bible, those whose names are written in the Book of Life. We refer to them as 'believers' in Christian terminology.

    It is this judgment of the righteous, where the wicked cannot even attend, that has to do with rewards earned. It is for this that the believer is told to run the race, keep the faith, don't fall away.

    Can a believer fall away so as to lose his or her salvation?

    Christ is the Good Shepherd. If you belong to His flock you are still a sheep, but His. Sheep wander. Sheep get into trouble. Sheep get cast (a life threatening thing where the sheep has laid down in a hollow of ground and cannot get up again, or the wool is so thick and perhaps soggy that it cannot get up again. This produces intestinal problems that can quickly be lethal). Christ said clearly He will go after any sheep that wanders. So yes, a sheep of His flock can certain fall away from the herd and go wandering -- almost always to its own harm in one way or another. But that wandering does not escape either the eye or rescue of the Good Shepherd, to whom that sheep still belongs.

    I'm using only references the Bible uses here, nothing made up. Once a person is born again in the Lord, tht person cannot become unborn or pass from that life to death. Christ has not lost one.

    There is a verse Barry pointed out to me in reference to this which is the last verse of John 3: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.

    To the Arminian: in the first part of the sentence, both 'believes' and 'has' are in the present tense. Salvation is now and it is forever, for it is eternal life, not part-time eternal life!

    To the Calvinist: God's wrath remains on those who reject the Son. It is, since the cross, not a matter of sinning, but a matter of believing or rejecting Christ, just as Christ Himself also stated in John 3:16-18.
     
  2. BrianT

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    I'm not so sure, for "rejects" is also in the present tense. Rejecting once, in the "now", does not mean one "will not see life", but only if that rejection is ongoing, and one never believes in the future. Thus, "believes" that verse might not mean a once, in the "now", either, but also an ongoing belief. In other words, the present-tense "rejects" is obviously in an ongoing sense, so the "believes" might be meant in this way as well.

    Yes, sheep do go astray, and yes, Christ comes after them. But *why* does he come after them? Because wolves eat sheep. What happens if the sheep dies before Christ recovers it?
     
  3. Skandelon

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    Helen,

    What about the passage when Jesus speaks about the unforgiving servant who is forgiven a great debt but then chooses to not forgive his debtor. What happen to him? He was cut off. His original forgiveness was revoked. Jesus went on to say "so it is with your Father in Heaven."

    That sounds like someone could have been forgiven and then cut off to me. Unforgiveness can cause God to remove his forgiveness of you. Isn't that the very point Jesus is trying to make?
     
  4. massdak

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    for God to remove His forgiveness of salvation by His Son Jesus this would mean that Jesus did not finish the payment on the cross.if you believe that a person has to keep his own standing for salvation then you have not trusted in Christ
     
  5. Helen

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    Brian wrote: I'm not so sure, for "rejects" is also in the present tense. Rejecting once, in the "now", does not mean one "will not see life", but only if that rejection is ongoing, and one never believes in the future. Thus, "believes" that verse might not mean a once, in the "now", either, but also an ongoing belief. In other words, the present-tense "rejects" is obviously in an ongoing sense, so the "believes" might be meant in this way as well.

    Yes, sheep do go astray, and yes, Christ comes after them. But *why* does he come after them? Because wolves eat sheep. What happens if the sheep dies before Christ recovers it?


    a couple of points, Brian. First of all yes, the unbelief has to be ongoing, but the lovely thing about belief is that once you are born again you are in the care of Christ and as Philippians 1:6 says, He is faithful to begin the good work He began in us. We are in HIS care then, and that is a far greater thing than any of our individual vagaries.

    Secondly, Christ says He has not lost one. So I guess the wolves in that area are just going hungry!


    Don't confuse forgiveness with salvation! In Christ sin was atoned for at the cross. All sin. Forgiveness is available to all. But look at the Lord's Prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others." The way I explained it to my kids was that it was like a cup inside of them which could only hold so much. They could fill it with their own anger and accusations, in which case there was no room for God's forgiveness, even though it was available to them, or they could pour it out by forgiving all and empty their own cup so God's forgiveness, which had been available all along, could be poured in. Our hearts are limited in capacity. What we want them filled with is up to us.

    So we can, by refusing to forgive others, block God's forgiveness in our lives. This is the point of the parable.

    But again, although forgiveness for sin is there for all, that is not what gets you into heaven. That is not what gets you saved. It only paves the way. If you refuse it, there is no other way. Christ is the Way. And He achieved the forgiveness from God that we all need so that through belief in Him salvation would be given us, IN ADDITION TO forgiveness.

    =============

    Barry read my response and is talking some things through out loud. Here is what he is saying, and I am typing as he is talking:

    As we walk day to day with the Lord, we can fall short of what He requires or wants of us. And we seek His forgiveness for this. We keep 'short accounts' with God. But then if there is something we don't forgive in our brother in something, we are blocking the effect of the Lord being able to use us in some way. We create a blockage in our life which decreases our effectiveness.

    It's not that the forgiveness isn't there, it's that we have created a block against it by refusing to forgive others.

    This is what I have found in my own life. If there is some blockage there, my relationship with the Lord is not clear the way I have come to know it can be.
     
  6. BrianT

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    So a man can unbelieve all his life, believe for one hour when he's 45 years old, then change his mind, and unbelieve again until his death at 87 years old, and he's still got his golden ticket? I don't think so. [​IMG]

    Where does Christ say that?

    Also, read these parables:

    Luke 15:6-10 "And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. [7] I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. [8] Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find [it]? [9] And when she hath found [it], she calleth [her] friends and [her] neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. [10] Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

    Notice how the lost is found: *he repents*. What if he doesn't repent?

    Ah, so if it's impossible for a wolf to eat a straying sheep, where's the danger in straying? *Why* does Jesus come looking for the wandering sheep in the first place? Why not just let the sheep wander, since they'll be perfectly safe?
     
  7. Skandelon

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    Helen,

    Your reply is sweet and all but where is that concept in the scripture?

    The texts says,


    "the kingdom of God"
    "delivered"
    "torture"
    "heavenly Father"
    "forgiveness"

    What else could this be speaking about except the penalty of sin and salvation? Are you saying that we can be saved yet still be delievered by God to be tortured? Please explain.
     
  8. Helen

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    I don't think so either. Please understand that when the Bible talks about belief, it is not talking about mental acknowledgement, but rather about living out that belief and not shelving it, so to speak. If you are truly born again, then you belong to Christ. Period. Philippians 1:6 says He is faithful to begin the good work He began in us. Romans 8:28-30 states that those who love the Lord are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. It is an ongoing thing in a person's life -- a maturation process. It is not like a room you can walk in and out of! I would also make bold to mention that the older a person becomes as an adult, the less likely it is that he will actually repent and believe. The older we get, the more set we get in our ways. I think perhaps that is why you never (at least I haven't) see an old person who is 'middle.' They are either quite cranky and bitter or quite lovely and kind. We tend to remain with our choices that we made when younger, and simply live them out.

    I will say that there can be an unbeliever who is nevertheless looking for the truth his whole life and finally understands what it is on his deathbed. I know that is possible because my father was like that. The religion he was exposed to as a child was a purely business and social affair and what he got as a radio announcer in the fifties was about sixteen different ministers coming and going every Sunday and preaching each for their half hour, fighting with each other on the way out, and disagreeing about every conceivable thing. Nevertheless my father loved what truth he knew and when he knew he was dying, asked me why I believe what I believe. I told him. A few months later, when the last day of his life arrived, he had a joy of discovery he had never had before and he affirmed that day that he knew who Jesus was. Something had happened, and I am not sure what the Lord did, but my father was led to Christ because he had loved the truth. So that kind of 'deathbed conversion' is something that rings true to me, but the evil man who tries to 'repent' at the last minute as a ticket into heaven.....well, let's let God be the judge....but I have my doubts....

    John 6:39 -- And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

    John 10:27-30 -- My sheep listen to my voice; I know then, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch themout of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.

    You are stretching the parable too far. Those who do not need repentance are already part of the Flock. However when someone is lost in sin and not part of the Flock, but nevertheless responding to the truth positively, Christ will find them and bring them in. Repentance is part of that response initially. You must pay attention to the fact that Christ says that the 99 do not NEED TO REPENT. Why not? Because they already did and are born again souls. But the one that has not yet repented, but is still lost, and yet responding to the truth -- that is the one God draws to Christ, and over whom heaven rejoices.

    Ah, so if it's impossible for a wolf to eat a straying sheep, where's the danger in straying? *Why* does Jesus come looking for the wandering sheep in the first place? Why not just let the sheep wander, since they'll be perfectly safe? </font>[/QUOTE]The quote is in the damage we do to ourselves. We can hurt ourselves terribly when we stray from Christ and then it can take time for those wounds to heal -- just like a sheep that strays and falls off a rock outcrop or casts itself. We put ourselves in danger daily, I sometimes think. We NEED our Good Shepherd to watch out for us and care for us. Sheep are the stupidest of all herd animals. It is no accident that we are likened to them. Nevertheless, we are loved and cared for, no matter what those of us who belong to Him manage to do to ourselves. Remember Hebrews 12 and discipline? We wouldn't need that discipline if we weren't straying, would we?
     
  9. Helen

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    Are you saying that we can be saved yet still be delievered by God to be tortured? Please explain.

    No, not that. I think you misunderstood me. I was trying to make the point that foregiveness is not the same as salvation. The unregenerate is still offered forgiveness as Christ atoned for all sin. However by refusing Christ, he is putting himself in the center of God's wrath and hell is looming. It will be his destiny even if he forgives others, for he did not believe on Christ. I do appreciate it when anyone forgives me, however, be he pagan or Christian!

    Salvation is different. When we are saved, we have become the responsibility of the Holy Spirit in our maturing, and He will finish that good work that was begun in us. If we do not forgive someone at some time during our Christian life, we will find ourselves in a very uncomfortable position and God will discipline us if we do not change our minds about that forgiveness, but we will not be tortured, no.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Helen,

    With all due respect, you have still yet to deal with the text. What did Jesus mean when he said, "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

    thanks
     
  11. BrianT

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    Exactly. *Continuous* belief. But people change their minds. It is possible to *really believe* something, and then some time later no longer believe it. Your point earlier was that "both 'believes' and 'has' are in the present tense. Salvation is now and it is forever, for it is eternal life, not part-time eternal life!" and "the lovely thing about belief is that once you are born again you are in the care of Christ and as Philippians 1:6 says, He is faithful to begin the good work He began in us. We are in HIS care then, and that is a far greater thing than any of our individual vagaries" - I took that to mean that one-time belief is enough, while I believe it must be continuous. Now you are saying it must be continuous too. I don't understand which you are arguing for.

    John 6:39 -- And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    </font>[/QUOTE]That says it *is the will of God* that Jesus not loose any. But we all know that things happen that are opposed to the will of God. It is the will of God that all come to salvation! But that doesn't mean all men get saved.

    Yes, no one can snatch them out of his hand, just as no wolf can snatch a sheep away from a good shepherd. But a sheep can wander away from the shepherd of its own choice.

    No, read them again. The parables are talking about things that were originally in the posession of someone, then that person lost them, then found them again. The woman didn't find a coin she didn't originally own, the shepherd didn't find some stray sheep that really belonged to someone else. Likewise - the sinner at the end that *repents* and is "found" is one that was originally in the possession of Jesus before being lost, then repents and is restored. It is not talking about people that were not in Christ's possession in the first place, but people that were. What if that person doesn't repent after being lost?
     
  12. Yelsew

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    The only time in human life that Faith in God has serious consequence is the time of passage from death of this natural life into the next phase of life. It is that time that the Salvation clock runs down for each individual.

    So, Deathbed confessions are valid!

    AND, loss of faith remains a danger!

    Jesus said in John 3:5 "Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; 6 what is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit." I believe Jesus is establishing the conditions in which man must be born again. That is while living in the flesh (born through water) and born in the spirit. (and of spirit). So it is by the constraints of this natural life that man must come to faith because after this life there is no opportunity offered for one to come to faith. (sorry Catholics, no purgatory!)

    If man can gain faith, man can lose faith by the same process, that is why false teachers are successful, hence the warnings against false teachers and the warnings against teaching children wrong doctrine or wrong activity. Woe to the one who does wrong and teaches the little ones to do wrong.
     
  13. Helen

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    I'm sorry. I'm racing through these as my time is short and so I short-changed you!

    OK, it's later now. I let that first paragraph hang while we had an 'instant dinner' this late at night (we've been busy all day) and we prayed for wisdom here and Barry looked up some stuff, too.

    OK, there are two ways of looking at this which are in accord with the rest of the Bible.

    First is the way offered by Dr. Sidlow Baxter and many others, which says that the Kingdom of Heaven is different from eternity with Christ, but is the time of the Millennium when Christ reigns on earth. Whether or not you agree with this, I wanted to present this idea, as many do feel this way from what they get out of Scripture. If this is the case where this parable is concerned, then you have people who are living under the reign of Christ on earth who, in refusing to forgive others as they have been forgiven, are then hell-bound. This has nothing to do with losing salvation, but of never gaining it.

    The second scenario is also not about losing salvation, but of never gaining it. However the time is now, here, on earth as we know it. Let me try to go at this one a little more slowly.

    We know from Romans 8:28 that everything that is done God uses for the benefit of those who love Him. Now I know and you, I think, will agree, that God does not limit the evil imaginations in the hearts of evil men, but He does put strict parameters around how that evil is expressed -- parameters explained by Romans 8:28.

    In this sense, then, because He uses everyone, unregenerate and regenerate alike, all are His servants.

    My point with this part is that the picture of the servants could be ANY of us, not just saved, not just unsaved initially.

    However, it is also the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ when we repent and believe, right? This is the rest of the Romans 8:28-30 passage and indicated other places as well.

    That first servant was in no way like his master. Christ atoned for the sins of all of us, just as that first servant found himself forgiven without any deserving on his part at all. But if he had been like his master, he would have forgiven others.

    But he was not like that. He was vengeful, selfish, and vindictive. His actions in not forgiving showed exactly the condition of his heart, despite what had been done for him. Thus he was given over to punishment.

    What we do shows what we are inside. I think that is the clue to the whole thing.

    Comments?
     
  14. Helen

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    BrianT, Once a person has placed his faith in Christ, he is born again. That is a permanent condition. It is a passing over into another life and there is simply no going back, for, as Paul reminds us in Romans, the man who is alive to righteousness is dead to sin.

    Belief, biblically, is not simply a matter of mental acknowledgement or agreement, both of which can be changed with an upset stomach! It is a matter of turning one's life over to Christ, and that is not rescindable. Therefore our belief is continuous as part of our new nature, not because of simple continuing mental acknowledgement. In order to turn one's life over, one has to trust; one has to believe. That part is a one-time thing. Once the change is effected, belief and trust grow constantly as the Holy Spirit takes charge and raises us up as children of God.

    Then you talked about things happening against the will of God. Against His perfect will, yes. Against His permissive will, never. He will not permit any to be lost. This is a very clear message all through the New Testament. This is why John, in his first epistle, made such a point of stating in chapter four that we may KNOW we are saved.

    Can a sheep wander away from the Shepherd? Of course -- that's why He has to go get it and discipline it! But can it wander away out of the Shepherd's care entirely? Jesus said no.

    You said the parable talked about those things that were originally in the possession of someone who then lost them. What do you think happened in Eden? All of this was originally in God's hands, and He allowed us to manage. And we blew it. We are all become lost. And when one is found, there is great rejoicing.

    yelsew, As much as I have appreciated a number of your answers, if I thought my salvation could be lost, I would be worried constantly about....MYSELF! I would be working constantly on my own behalf! That is not at all the message the Gospel gives. We can trust Christ with ourselves and then turn and do the good works (which is actually Him working through us) which He has planned in advance for us to do. We may have absolute confidence in our salvation because we may have absolute confidence in Christ Himself.

    No sheep can buy himself for a Shepherd. Neither can any sheep take care of himself. That's just the sheepiness of it.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    This seems to be quite a stretch. I think you probably agree which is why you went on with this second explaination...

    This scenario has some pitfalls. If every person has been forgiven a great debt then all he has to do is forgive others and he will be saved in the end. I'm sure their have been unbelievers who have lived their lives without unforgiveness for others, do they get saved simply because they forgave?

    Secondly, he is speaking to believers here, not just everyone.

    Thirdly, he never offers the explaination for this text you are giving. The natural rendering of the text, if you objectively put all the debating aside, is to strike fear in the hearts of Christ's disciples with a direct ultamatim. If you don't forgive others, my forgiveness of your sin will be revoked. Your answer seems to explain this fear away nullifying the very purpose he gave it.

    Jesus never says, if your were really forgiven in the first place by me you would forgive others. He said that they were forgiven and that forgiveness was revoked when the forgiven one failed to forgive another.
     
  16. Helen

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    This scenario has some pitfalls. If every person has been forgiven a great debt then all he has to do is forgive others and he will be saved in the end. I'm sure their have been unbelievers who have lived their lives without unforgiveness for others, do they get saved simply because they forgave?


    That's putting it backwards from what I was trying to say. You don't get saved because you forgive others. But the person who does forgive others BECAUSE he knows he is forgiven is showing that his heart is ALREADY changed and he is living in imitation of Christ.

    That forgiveness is a sign of who you are, not a way to become something else. And it is who you are inside, a slave of righteousness or a slave of sin, that will determine your eternal destiny.

    As to your second point, it does not matter, actually, if Jesus is speaking to believers or unbelievers -- because the lesson is objective in that way. He is speaking to believers, but He is also speaking about all people's choices.

    The explanation of the text lies in the fact that it is a response to Peter's question, first of all. The rest of the explanation lies in the rest of the Bible, concerning what Jesus cannot be meaning (believers could be tortured for not forgiving others, for instance), and other things He said and that which Paul said. It is when all these things are put together that the meaning becomes clearer.

    It really is vitally important to know the whole Bible and not just some special sections of it. Bible truly does explain Bible.

    Can forgiveness of sin be revoked? Not unless the cross can be undone. But keep in mind there is one sin that cannot be forgiven. That is the refusal of Christ. The servant who put the debtor in jail refused the new life without debt that the master had offered him, by declaring himself still under the law.

    So the master allowed him to follow through with that and demanded he be in obedience to the law. He would have to pay his own debt. That is the position he put himself in, not the position the master had wanted for him.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    Ok, you've got two ways this parable could be taken by a true believer sitting in front of Jesus.

    Your way: Oh, Jesus you must mean that the servant wasn't really ever forgiven in the first place but just that he was being offered forgiveness because I know, because of the doctrine I have adopted, that if he were really forgiven he would have forgiven his brother, but sense he didn't forgive his brother it was because he really wasn't ever forgiven in the first place eventhough you just said he was. Ok, so I don't need to fear losing the forgiveness you've granted me regardless of what I do.

    My way: Wow! Forgiveness must be important to God!!! He might revoke my forgiveness if I choose not to forgive others. That strikes fear in my heart, and that fear leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to obeidence and obeidence leads to sactification.

    Helen, doesn't it worry you in the slightest that the doctrine you have adopted might be explaining away the fear that God intended to be in the hearts of his listeners. Do you think maybe this lack of fear has something to do with the trend of so-called Christian youth who call themselves believers but live like hell without fear. Your doctrine removes all fear and I don't see that as being healthy, nor do I see it as biblical.
     
  18. Helen

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    You are still misunderstanding what I am trying to say here! If I am wrong, at least first understand what I am saying... :D

    Forgiveness is for real and for all. Period. Christ accomplished that on the cross.

    In accepting Jesus, in submitting to Him, we become changed beings by the operation of the precious Holy Spirit. Then we are predestined, as believers, to be formed into His likeness. This is the clear message of Romans 8:28-30.

    Those who are being conformed to His likeness will exhibit the outward behavior that reflects that -- and one of those outward behaviors (and inward attitudes) is forgiveness from the heart. It is our response in accord with the gratefulness we have in His forgiveness of us.

    However, there are those who refuse Christ and His work. They REFUSE God's grace, even though their sins are forgiven and will stay that way! The Bible is clear that it is unbelief which sends a person to hell. But that unbelief also shows up in a person's heart attitude and thus his actions. He will carry a grudge and not forgive. He will demand justice.

    God will give him justice. That is the scary part. God will call him to account under the law, which is what the man himself demanded in his life! It is not a lack of forgiveness on God's part. That was always there. And it was refused. But that man had the choice to live under grace as a changed person in Christ or live under the law as the person he had always known himself to be. In choosing the latter, he refused grace, and thus refused the effects of the forgiveness that had been there for him all along.

    The forgiveness never changes. Christ accomplished it once for all. He atoned for all our sins. That will never be undone.

    It is our response to that which makes all the difference in our own destinies, and that is what Christ was pointing out in his parable.
     
  19. Skandelon

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    I understand what you are saying but your missing my point.

    You are arguing that everyone is forgiven. But notice in the parable that the servant begs the master for forgiveness.

    Does everyone beg God for forgiveness? No, only those who are truly saved.

    My argument is that your position removes the fear for Christians out of this parable nullifying the its very purpose. Regardless if someone sincerely begs God to forgive him and is granted that forgiveness, he can lose it.
     
  20. Helen

    Helen
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    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    Somewhere it is written that perfect love casts out all fear....
     

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