Some thoughts on Perseverance

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by icthus, May 16, 2005.

  1. icthus

    icthus
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    Though I am by no means a "Calvinist", and would not call myself Arminian, as I have never read any of his works, I have, from the testimony of Scripture, been challenged on my view that a saved person can lose their salvation.

    I am fully aware of the "problem" texts there are in the New Testament, which are in my opinion, srtong on the belief that one can lose their salvation. This I do not deny.

    However, there are certain Scriptures, especially what I have seen from the study of the Greek text, that have indeed made me question my own views. I am not here trying to debate anyome, but wonder if there are any other non-Calvinists who are not believers in the "P" of Arminianism?

    The very fact that Jesus Himself spaeks of the "life" of the believer as "eternal", give us a pause for thought. In Matthew 25:46, Jesus says, "and these shall go into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life" It is evident from this passage, that the "duration" of the after life of both the righteous and unrighteous are in view. For the orthodox Chriatain, the "eternal" of the unrighteous is indeed as it says, "without end" (this is even stronger in the Greek of verse 41, "eis to pur to aionion", lit, "into the fire, the eternal", where the article in the Greek is repeated, with the meaning, "the fire that is everlasting". A very strong emphasis). If the "eternal" damnation of the wicked is said to be "without end"; then, by using the same adjective to describe the "life" of the just, must needs be the same in its "duration". These is no justification to take one of the uses of "aionios" in the same verse, in a different sense than the other.

    In John's Gospel there are at least two places where Jesus' words on "eternal life" need to be considered further. In John 10:28 He says, "and I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish". In the following chapter we have Jesus speaking with Martha, where He says, "and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (ver.26)

    I have yet to see an English version that truly does justice to the Greek at both places. What Jesus really says is this:

    "kai ou_me apolontia eis ton aiona" (10:28), and;

    "ou_me apothane eis ton aiona"

    Firstly, note the use of the double negative in the Greek, "ou_me". When used togather, it indicated a strong denial, "never, never".

    We then have the part left untranslated even in the KJV, "eis ton aiona", that is, "in the (coming) age". Literally, Jesus was promising that those who put their trust in Him, would "Never, never perish, for ever" The Greek is a very strong statement for this "life" indeed being "eternal", that is, "without end".

    These verses, and some others, have made it untenable for me to continue to believe that a truly saved person could be lost.
     
  2. whetstone

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    it is a strong testament to scripture that stubborn people (such as myself) could be convinced of my erroneous position and change my mind. Your comments reflect things I've said in my own life- but how wonderful it is when you discover the truth! [​IMG]
     
  3. icthus

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    Yes, thanks
    :D
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Matt 18 shows "forgiveness revoked".

    Ezekiel 18 shows "forgiveness revoked"

    Hebrews 6 shows "salvation denied"

    Galatians 5 shows "falling from Grace"

    Genesis 3 shows "falling from eternal life" as does the fall of Lucifer.

    And the Bible speaks of our receiving eternal life here by faith and points us to the promise that "in the age to come" - we receive Eternal life.

    At the New Birth we enter into eternal life by faith -- but are never (ever) in all of scripture declared to be "immortal" until the 2nd coming (see 1Cor 15).

    And this does not even begin to address the many many statements in the NT text about the fact that we are destined for that eternal life "IF we remain faithful" "IF we persevere FIRM UNTIL the end".

    (and obviously - to "persevere in staying lost" is not what is being argued. It is argued that we must Persevere IN THE SAVED state)

    Every aspect of the argument that once you are saved you can not choose rebellion and the loss of the saved walk with Christ - has been refuted.

    The Arminian model stands validated as "the Bible model".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. icthus

    icthus
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    Hi Bob

    I have held the view that you do for over 22 years, and know of all the arguments on both sides. I am aware, as I have mentioned already, of the difficult texts there are on the side of "conditional security". I am still "open" to the Holy Spirit on this (as I am on a few issues). However, in the balance of things, the evidence for "Eternal Security", is stronger than the other side. It has net been easy to change my views, but feel that the Word of God has thus far convinced my of my present position.

    I know too well that language of Hebrews chapter six and ten, and have used both even on this board for the purpose of showing that a person can loose their salvation. However;

    We have to ask the important question. How is the salvation of the believer secured? does our "eternal life" depend on? If our salvation is dependant on us, then we are all going to fall short. Is it a partnership? Quite possibly. However, I see Scripture that says that we are "kept by the power of God". The Greek for "kept", is the verb "phroureo", which is a military term, "to keep by guarding, as by a garrison". Language that shows absolute protection,like a fortress. This protection is provided by Almighty God Himself. This reminds me of Paul's use of "earnest" (arrabon) for the Holy Spirit, in the life of the believer. It is used in Greek to denote a "pledge" of a "downpayment", as a security for a final purchase. In modern Greek, "arrabon" is used for the "engagement ring", where people are "pledged" to marriage.

    I used John 10:28 in my OP, where I referred to the Greek which is very strong in the denial that someone could lose their salvation. A further word can be said on this verse. Jesus, after using this strong negative language (in a good sense) for the security of the believer, went on to say, "neither shall any snatch them out of my hand...my Fathers hand" (ver.29)The security of the believer is even more emphasised by all what Jesus says here.

    This is not all. In chapter five on this Gospel, Jesus also says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he that hears My words and believes on Him that sent Me, has life eternal, and shall not come to damnation, but has passed out of death into life" (24) "has passed" , the Greek is, "metabebeken", which is the perfect indicative. Of which Dr De Witt Burton tells us; "THE PERFECT INDICATIVE. The Perfect of Completed Action. In its most frequent use the perfect indicative represents an action as standing at the time of speaking as complete. Thed reference of the tense is thus double; it implies a past action and affirms an existing result" (Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, p.37) The use of the Greek langauge here seems to be conclusive on what Jesus says and means.

    For you to say, "The Arminian model stands validated as "the Bible model"." Is not dealing with all of the evidence.
     
  6. webdog

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    Icthus, very well said. To add to that the Bible refers to salvation as God's, not ours (Revelation 7:10, 19:1), even though we refer to it as ours. How can we lose something that doesn't actually belong to us?

    Salvation is also mentioned as our "inheritance" (Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 9:15, Revelation 21:7). How is it possible to lose an inheritance until you physically receive it? My parents are leaving me an inheritance, but I have to wait until they die to receive it, then I could lose it. We will receive our inheritance once we die, and at that point it will be too late to lose it, thankfully.
     
  7. BobRyan

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    I have not found that to be true at all.

    Further - the principle is not correct. I the Bible few concepts are "exhaustively stated" rather we observe them in the form of their "boundaries". This is how for example we find the truth about the Trinity without actually having "a Trinity" statement.

    So as soon as the Bible shows us that "forgiveness revoked is real" it is impossible to argue "OHHH no it is not!".

    And then "prop up that argument" by saying I have found some interesting ways to speculate about implications of "other texts" so as to get them to oppose the idea stated clearly AND explicitly in Matt 18, Ezek 18, Heb 6.

    In other words you have a "set of texts" whose SUBJECT is the DANGER and REALITY of falling from grace and losing forgiveness.

    You have another set of texts that speak to our having "eternal life" but NOT directly addressing the issue of "our being incapable of falling" or "no possibility of forgiveness revoked" - rather we choose to "infer" that idea from the strong statements about "eternal life" and what "that must surely mean". The text (in those specific cases) is never (even remotely) discussing "forgiveness revoked" and declaring it to be "an impossible idea".

    The fact that scripture explicitly DEALS WITH the very concept that is MOST DENIED by OSAS - can not be ignored as if "more texts piled on top of it will eventually silence the doctrine".

    It just does not work that way.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Notice the method that must be employed to get this text to perfectly contradict Christ's illustration in Matt 18?

    It is to "see how much we can infer" from the explict teaching on our assurance and security in Christ. If we have eternal life does that mean we lost our ability to choose and that forgiveness revoked is no longer a valid concept? (an extreme inference at a level that some would like to extract from this text ) -- or IS the EXPLICIT focus of the text on the reality of the gift AND NOT addressing AT ALL our loss of free will OR the ability to choose rebellion OR the consequence of failing to endure (i.e. all the other subjects EXPLICITLY addressed in scripture).

    When the text is bent to say "more than it actually does" then it is no wonder that this can be made to oppose even the "explicit" texts that actually deal with the subject that "inserted" into texts on eternal life.

    The principle I am describing here gets used on a great many subjects not just the denial of perseverance and the need to warn people about "remaining faithful to the end".

    THink about it - how often does Christ use the argument "IF you don't forgive neither will my Father forgive you"? How can that be a valid argument ONCE a person is saved -- if you ever talk yourself into loading up the "eternal life" texts with all the inference material that people seek to pile in there?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. billwald

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    It is a circular argument. The saints are those who persevere.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Rev 14:12

    Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
     
  11. Pipedude

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    When you affirm one side of this question, you have to deal with the other side's verses.

    Building a case for either side is a snap; a high-school-age preacher boy could rattle the verses off in his sleep. I think that the real question is how satisfactorily you can deal with the other side's verses.

    In my own experience, I found that I could affirm one position--let's call it Position One--and easily explain the other side's verses with a little study and rethinking. On the other hand, I found that affirming Position Two and trying to deal with Position One's verses was much more difficult. I had to mangle them all out of shape to make them fit in with Position Two.

    So now I boldly, unashamedly proclaim my adherence to Position One, and I encourage the rest of you to do likewise. [​IMG]
     
  12. icthus

    icthus
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    Good for you. It would help to know what you mean by "Position One" :D
     
  13. BobRyan

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    Been there. Done that.

    But instead of finding Bible-vs-antiBible what I found was "agreement" when taking all the texts as boundary conditions where ALL have to be true. It works if you don't force one text to say MORE than it actually says.

    I notice that the OSAS guys get stuck in pushing their texts right off a cliff - inferring far more than the text actually explicitly addresses - only to find themselves in the direct path of an oncoming text from "the other side".

    They could avoid the problem if they did not eisegete so much.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. Pipedude

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    Nah, I got 450 years of history that says it wouldn't help a bit. [​IMG]
     
  15. Pipedude

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    Bob, I agree that your approach is very helpful. It may be another way of saying the same thing I said.

    It is truly a mystery to me that people can disagree over doctrine, even though they show every evidence of intelligence, education, good will, and spiritual anointing. I'm tempted to say that God doesn't want us all to agree, lest we unite into an unweildy bureaucracy. But that theory of mine would make God the author of confusion, so I'm trying to come up with a modified version of it before I die.

    But if I have to go to Heaven to find out, I'll see if I can't get word back and explain it to where y'all can quit disagreeing over it.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    God makes a point of emphasizing "unity" and not division in the NT. So I would argue that the differences in doctrine between Christians are not "of God" at all.

    In 1Tim 1 we see that "doctrinal error" was springing up like weeds in the church at Ephesus and this was the reason for leaving Timothy at that church. That error was not "of God" either, but it demonstrates the human tendancy to introduce error into a pristine error-free system.

    As to why people are drawn to error - It has a lot to do with bias, and pride and man-made-tradition and the way that it clouds objective Bible study in this realm of sinful humanity.

    I find it very interesting that even when confronted with such a devastating case against one's own tradition where "no answer is even possible" - yet STILL I see people "cling to tradition anyway"...

    It is the human condition.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. Pipedude

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    Thank God those things aren't true about me! [​IMG]

    (I'll pray for those of you who are in error.)
     
  18. Paul of Eugene

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    I think scripture cautions us to let others persist in their "weaker" opinions and still tolerate them, in order to preserve unity. So those of you who believe you can lose your salvation go right on letting that fear keep you saved and those of us who believe we prove we were really saved by perservering will prove we are really saved by perservering.

    Hmmm. If it weren't for the spin you put on the resulting action, how could you possibly tell the difference between the two approaches?

    Self, be quiet, next thing you'll be saying is the whole thing is much ado about nothing.
     
  19. Wes Outwest

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    If it were not possible to lose one's salvation:

    Why are there so many WARNINGS in scripture about it happening.

    Why is there so much emphasis on Perseverence?

    Why are we commanded to "keep the faith, baby"?
     
  20. BobRyan

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    Matt 18 must have been spoken by a "weaker Jesus" who actually believed and taught "Forgiveness revoked".

    I guess this is true of the Holy Spirit in Ezek 18 as well - as it teaches "forgiveness revoked".

    And then there is Heb 6:1-8 and all the others.

    That "weaker Holy Spirit" gets around - eh?

    There is no Bible basis for saying that God is the author of "weaker doctrine" - though some "like to see it that way".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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