Once Saved, Always Saved?

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Summary:  Does the Bible teach that once a person receives Christ, their soul cannot be lost?  Can one forfeit their salvation through negligence, persistant unfaithfulness, or the practice of unrighteousness?  Join Wade in a consideration of “Once Saved, Always Saved?”

16 thoughts on “Once Saved, Always Saved?”

  1. @gary I’m not certain whether or not you plan to continue. I do not want to let your objections go without an answer both for your sake and the sake of those who read this thread.

    1. Just because there is evidence for a Creator does not mean that the Creator is the Christian God, Yahweh.

    Agreed.

    2. Our current Bibles contain thousands of scribe alterations, most of them inconsequential, but a couple of them are shocking. Why did God allow scribes copying the original Scriptures to change, delete, add, or alter his inerrant, Holy, Word?

    There are approximately 400,000 variants across the manuscripts of the New Testament. With a little over 138,000 words in the New Testament, this is a significant amount of variation. However, the number of variants is due to the number of ancient manuscripts which numbers between 20-25,000. As you rightly point out, the overwhelming majority of variations are inconsequential. However, there are a few significant variants.

    The original documents – the letters or accounts that left the apostles’ or prophets’ hands – are inspired because the men who wrote them were inspired. Scripture never suggests that those who copied or translated the originals were inspired. Therefore it is no surprise that the copies and the translations contain errors, only a handful of which are significant.

    You are obviously aware of the consequential variants within NT manuscripts. Can you recall any substantial variant that alters any article of the Christian faith? Or, to put it another way, are the substantial differences between manuscripts doctrinally substantial?

    With regards to the assertion that there is no evidence of either eyewitness testimony or of a resurrected Christ, I would direct you — or other visitors — to the following articles on this site:

    http://www.letsreasontogether.net/uncategorized/jesus-the-evidence/
    http://www.letsreasontogether.net/jesus-christ/jesus-the-evidence-ii/
    http://www.letsreasontogether.net/jesus-christ/jesus-the-evidence-iii/

    I look forward to any further discussion on this topic!

  2. Read Lee Strobel’s A Case for Faith, He outlines some very good reasoning for a doubter to consider when questioning the believe that Christ resurrected.

    From a Jewish perspective though, isn’t prophesy a good start. Psalm 22, Isaiah 53. Or Psalm 16:10, 49:15, 24:7-10, 68:18, 110:1.

  3. Here is my story: I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. I repented of all my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior at age nine…and again in my early teens…just to be sure. In my early 20’s my family moved to another state where we attended a non-denominational, evangelical mega-church (which taught Baptist doctrine) for several years. In my mid to late 20’s I stopped going to church because I didn’t “feel” God inside me and he didn’t seem to listen when I prayed.

    I remained unchurched until I was married in my forties. I started attending liberal churches. When we had children, I started looking again at more conservative/fundamentalist churches, something closer to what I had believed as a child and teenager. We joined a conservative, orthodox Lutheran church. I became very involved in the church. I was happy and content in my orthodox Christian belief system. I read the Bible and prayed regularly.
    One day I was surfing the internet and came across an atheist’s website. He was a former fundamentalist Baptist/evangelical pastor! I was shocked! I started to engage him in conversation, and also tried to bring him back to the Faith, to belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
    However, this man pointed out to me some very big assumptions in my Christian belief system which I had never thought of, such as:

    1. Just because there is evidence for a Creator does not mean that the Creator is the Christian God, Yahweh.

    2. Our current Bibles contain thousands of scribe alterations, most of them inconsequential, but a couple of them are shocking. Why did God allow scribes copying the original Scriptures to change, delete, add, or alter his inerrant, Holy, Word?

    3. How do we know that the books of the New Testament are the Word of God? Is there a verse that tells us? Did Jesus give us a list? Did Paul?

    4. Do we really have any verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or is it all hearsay and legend?

    5. Modern archaeology proves that the Captivity in Egypt, the Exodus, the forty years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, and the great kingdoms of David and Solomon are only ancient Hebrew fables.

    At first I fought him tooth and nail. I fought him for four months. At the very end I had to admit that there are no verifiable eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus in the Bible or anywhere else. All we have are four anonymous first century texts full of discrepancies and contradictions. The only thing I had left to attach my faith to was the testimony of the Apostle Paul: why would a devout Jewish rabbi convert to a religion he so hated unless he really saw a resurrected dead man on the Damascus Road?
    But after studying the five Bible passages that discuss Paul’s conversion, I had to admit that Paul never says he saw a resurrected body. All Paul says is that he saw a light…and that this event occurred in a “heavenly vision”. Visions are not reality…not in the 21st century nor in the 1st.

    And as for the improbability that a Jewish rabbi would convert to a hated religion, there is a Muslim cleric in Israel today who not too many years ago was an ardent Zionist Jewish settler and rabbi, intent on ridding the Muslims from Jewish land.

    Strange conversions occur. They do not prove that the new religion is true and inerrant.

    I was broken-hearted, but I saw my Christian Faith was nothing more than an ancient superstition that had been modified in the first century by Jesus, a good man, but a dead man. There is zero evidence that this first century Jew is alive and the Ruler of the Universe.

    1. Hi Gary. I’m so glad you stopped by the website and felt compelled to share your story. You raise several legitimate questions, so for the sake of clarity and, above all, readability, I’ll ask you one question: What would you consider verifiable eyewitness testimony?

      I look forward to your answer and our discussion if you are willing.

  4. Wade, wanted to touch base on the thoughts about the place of works in the believer’s walk, why these works provide the potential for reward, crowns, and inheritance in the body of Christ. I know you know that before we are saved, our works are called filthy rags. There is no salvation in doing good works. That’s because of the lost person’s spiritual separation from God. But, even so, the lost man’s works are judged at the great white throne. The only conclusion to me is that the works of the lost determine the degree or place in hell for eternity.

    Before the lost are judged, the house of God is judged at the judgment seat of Christ. We will receive “for the things done in the body.” 2 Cor.5:10 The good works are those works we have been created in Christ to do. In actuality, it is Christ in us, doing the works. How? Through the word, through our submission to the word, through the transformation of the mind so that what we do does please the Lord. When we put sin to death in our walk, we give the word of God the chance to change our walk. The Lord rewards the believer for this. He doesn’t have to do that. But, the reward is grace in action toward because of our walk.walk.

    So, we are not saved by works, “lest any man should boast”, Eph.2:9, but at the same time, we’ve been created unto good works “God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10 Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

  5. Very good study Wade. I’ve learned that ones perspectives of the word and what it says, sometimes, just takes time to work out. This is part of “working out our salvation in fear and trembling.” Of course from a believer who sees OSAS, working out our salvation is not working for our salvation In other words, the salvation we have is “sealed unto the day of redemption.” Eph.4:30

    What I am trying to show, is that, at the judgment seat of Christ, the believer is “receiving the end of your faith” which is the salvation of the soul. 1 Peter 1:9 This is key to understanding eternal security, because the word “soul” is used, not spirit. Salvation is first a spiritual rebirth. The soul and the spirit are not the same, although we could discuss that forever, because Hebrews 4:12 shows us that the word of God “pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.”

    I believe my understanding of the soul as the life we live is based upon the scripture from what Jesus said about the soul in Matthew 16:24-27 and verified again by the Lord in Luke 9:25 Jesus makes a distinct difference in these passages from the soul and the spirit. He rewards every man according to his works. vs.27. He ties the saving of the soul to discipleship. This has to be in accordance with what we think and do. It is the life we lived defined by what we think and do, and also say.

    Jesus is looking for an “exchange.” for the life we have, he’s given us, and talks about either saving ones life or losing it. Again, when speaking in terms of the soul of the believer, it has to be placed in the category of discipleship, not in comparison with the gospel of grace which spiritually reborns us into the family of God.

    The saving of the soul is the believer possessing their salvation in Christ completely. To illustrate, all we have to do is check out what happened to Israel in the wilderness. They were a saved people, under the blood, separated from Egypt [the world] by the Red Sea, who never went hungry, eating manna from heaven, always had water to drink from the Rock, and yet would not believe God at Kadesh Barnea to go into the promise land and “possess” it. God judged his own people. Out of the original group leaving Egypt, only two entered into the promised land.

    Caleb, couldn’t wait to get into the land to possess what was given him. In other words, there is more to our salvation than just being saved and going to heaven eventually. This is what the salvation of the soul is teaching. Do we want an “entrance ministered unto you abundantly [into] the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” 2 Peter 1:11 Who doesn’t get that abundant entrance? Peter says who doesn’t in 2 Peter. 1:9-10

    The believer who “lacketh these things”, what things? What Peter said in 2 Peter 1:4-8 The believer who lacks these things is called by Peter “blind”, who doesn’t see “afar off” which is what we are discussing in the salvation of the soul, and then this believer “has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” Does any of this make the believer not saved? No. They just can’t see afar off, have forgotten they have been purged from their old sins.

    But, that believer needs to understand, that just because they are saved, have been forgiven, whether they have forgotten this or not, they will not receive an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom, to enjoy all their is to know for the believer who inherits “all things.” Peter mentions that all believers have been given “exceeding great and precious promises,” that “ye might be partakers of the divine nature,” “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter.1:4

    The promises given the believer are conditional. Nothing different here than when God was telling Israel he would fight for them, provide them with milk and honey, bless them in Canaan, but they didn’t believe him. They didn’t get to go in to Canaan. They died in the wilderness. This is why I believe the salvation of the soul is tied to our inheritance, rewards, and crowns. So, we are spiritually saved, secured by the blood and sealed unto the day of redemption by the Spirit of God. In order to understand what can be lost by the believer, we cannot tie this to birth into the family of God but have to apply loss to our walk.

    To answer your question, we are saved apart from the soul, but are to be believers who “believe unto the saving of the soul.” Can a believer be confident that their soul will be saved? Yes. Paul said it. ” for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is [able] [ jude 24 ] to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Tim.

    Getting to the end of your questions, which are challenging, well thought out. Just want to say again, that I make a distinction between birth into the family of God, and our walk as a child of God. The walk is what i am applying the salvation of the soul to. Jesus said to his disciples that the soul could be lost. By applying this to our works that will be judged, I have no problem seeing that loss the believer can suffer is of things pertaining to our inheritance, crowns, and rewards. And, that this is what the Lord is speaking to when he teaches us about losing the soul.

    All believers will be resurrected and receive a new body. That’s an unconditional promise. All believers spirit are saved. One time Paul told believers when they are gathered together, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, “to deliver such a one unto Satan,” hard talk toward a brother, “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Cor.5:5 The day of the Lord Jesus begins first with the believer at the judgment seat of Christ. The house of God is judged first. ! Peter 4:17 Paul calls the brother who is to be delivered unto Satan, “wicked.” 1 Cor.5:13 The saved could suffer loss, and yet the promise is sure, “yet he himself shall be saved.” 1 Cor.3:15 That word “himself” implies that the Lord completes our salvation which means the experience of the judgment seat, the suffering of loss, the denial of rights to rule and reign in the coming world, is chastisement, to correct the flaws,

    Finally, that inheritance, which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, is [ reserved ] for the believer who are kept by the power of God through faith [unto salvation] ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter. 1:4-5 Every believer has an inheritance to receive. It’s been given us as the right of a first born. But, heirship is earned. Romans 8:16-17 ” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; [if] so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

    This is a great study Wade. I know that I don’t do it justice. I’m wordy in my explanations. I don’t know it all, believe me. It’s tough to communicate these things. The walk of the believer is a tough study when it includes what it means for the believer to be judged as a child of God. There are so many cross over thoughts doctrinally from what any of us has been taught that confuses things, but this is a worthy study. Appreciate, Terry

  6. Wade, looking at 1 Cor.3:11-17 , Paul moves from speaking about himself and Apollos as “ministers
    by whom ye believed” to the individual believers role in buiding upon the foundation , which is “Jesus Christ.”
    Paul warns believers to “take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” vs 10 He uses the word “every man” which includes all of us as believers.

    It is our work which is to receive reward. To only make this work a ministry thing is to take away from the point Paul made after verse 3:15, when he said” If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. The word “destroy” means to spoil or ruin. The idea is that our work is defiled one way or another. Could be sin involved, could even be bad doctrine that will be exposed as worthless. That’s why I appreciate you asking me to speak on your web sight, the things I believe the Spirit has shown me in the word. But, ultimately even that will be tested by the fire.

    Paul has a theme in his writings concerning judgment of our lives. So, much so, that he does not want to be a castaway after he has shared the scripture with others. He keeps his body under control. That’s a personal thing that goes beyond the ministry he has as the apostle to the Gentile. Being a castaway was explained by the Lord. Jesus said, ” For what is a man advantaged,if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9:25 Again, this is in the context of discipleship, proved by the following verse 26 Verse 26 says the Lord will be ashamed of the believer who is ashamed of him by casting him away. Away from what? Has to be away from “things” only given the overcoming believer in their walk.

    Also, in 1 Cor.9:24-27, Paul is speaking about running, striving, keeping his body under subjection. This is not language used for the gospel of grace that saves. It is about our walk as believers. So, a castaway in this context has to be one who is not allowed to “receiveth the prize.”

    You are correct to note that what is burned is lost. But, don’t forget the end of what Paul said about this. There is a suffering of loss. The word “suffer” means to experience detriment, even violently. It means one is injured. The one suffering is the individual whose work is burned. And yet, Paul says, “he himself shall be saved;” This is a different conclusion than you have said. Paul always points to “every man” , “every one” who “must appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive for the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor.5:10 That word “bad” is not good. It means works that wicked, worthless, evil. The individual is being held accountable, not only for ministry, but for the way we walk.

    I like what jesus said to paul in Acts 26:18. He sent paul to the Gentile “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and …. note this, and inheritance [ among ] them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” I’m trying to show from what I’ve seen in scripture about our walk as believers, what it means to receive inheritance [ among ] them which are sanctified … To me, that word ‘among’ means there will be some who are sanctified, saved, but not able to receive inheritance.

  7. Wade, I’m seeing some confusion as to what I have said about the soul from your response. The soul is the life that a person lives, whether they are saved or saved. Jesus tells us this in Matt. 16:24-28. In that context, jesus is talking to his own, the family of God. The subject is discipleship. Jesus says in verse 25, ” .. whosoever will save his life [ speaking to the family of God ] shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for [my sake] [speaking about discipleship] shall find it.”

    The saving of the soul for the believer is about how we walk, which will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ. And Paul says, that the believer can “suffer loss” at the judgment seat of Christ and yet still be saved.

    The believers walk goes into the fire. 1 Cor.3:13 The issue at the judgment seat is reward or loss. Jesus said he would “reward” every man [ speaking in context about discipleship ] according to his works. The soul is tied to our walk or works as a child of God. We know it is not about salvation that is freely given by grace, because there are no works in the birth of the believer that saves them. When I show that inheritance, rewards, or crowns, represent the saving of the soul, the opposite has to be shown that the loss of these things is the loss of the soul or life the believer lived, that has been judged worthless. Do you understand this?

    Death is not hard to understand. It is a cut off from life. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is spiritual death. But, James is not speaking about spiritual death. First, he says a believer can err from the truth. That’s a given. Ps.19:7 makes an interesting statement about the soul. It says, ” the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” I see this as a verse that explains how the word of God helps the believer change the way we walk. It follows the same thinking of Paul when he says what he says in Romans 12:1-2. We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind..” Meaning by hiding the word of God in our heart that we might not sin against Him.

    So, I see James telling believers that sin in our life could cause death, physical death. It would be judgment against a sinning saint 1 Cor. 11:30 says that some believers who drink unworthily the Lord’s table, judges themselves not discerning the Lord’s body, and as a result many “sleep.” That word “sleep” is koy-mah-o. It means to be put to sleep. fig. to decease, be dead. 1 John 5:16 goes right along with James5:20. “If any man see [his brother] sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death.” This is speaking about physical death.

    So, James is speaking about physical death that also will result in the death of “things’ that eye hath not seen nor ear heard” that will be given to believers that love the Lord. 1 Cor.2:9 Remember that James just before he ended his epistle said, ” the judge standeth before the door.” James 5:9 I’ll respond to what you said concerning 1 Cor.3:15, but will wait until we understand each other on James 5:19-20 It may be will just have to disagree. Good discussion Wade.

    1. Sorry this response took so long. I spent a great deal of time evaluating your last entry, re-examining the scriptures, and formulating a response that I hope rightly divides God’s word. Lest we lose sight of the forest through the trees, allow me a moment to highlight some points on which we agree:

      “The soul is tied to our walk or works as a child of God.”

      Yes, though we are judged according to our works, the Lord does tie the inward and outward persons together. I like this statement in 1 Peter 4:6:

      For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

      “Death is not hard to understand. It is a cut off from life. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is spiritual death. But, James is not speaking about spiritual death. First, he says a believer can err from the truth. That’s a given. Ps.19:7 makes an interesting statement about the soul. It says, ” the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” I see this as a verse that explains how the word of God helps the believer change the way we walk. It follows the same thinking of Paul when he says what he says in Romans 12:1-2. We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind..” Meaning by hiding the word of God in our heart that we might not sin against Him.”

      I heartily agree with this paragraph. In my estimation, James is not speaking about spiritual death. We agree that a believer can err from the truth, though we disagree on the consequences for that error. You well point out the transforming effect of God’s word to which I would add the Holy Spirit as Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 3:18. James also stresses the word’s effect earlier in 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

      “1 Cor. 11:30 says that some believers who drink unworthily the Lord’s table, judges themselves not discerning the Lord’s body, and as a result many “sleep.” That word “sleep” is koy-mah-o. It means to be put to sleep. fig. to decease, be dead.”

      I completely agree with your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:30, though I am not convinced it applies to James 5:19-20 since it talks of the death of the soul and not the body. It does seem that first century believers who observed the Lord’s table in an unworthy manner physically died. Such dire consequences were not unheard of in the apostolic era. Ananias and Sapphira are another example of such judgment.

      The points of disagreement that I perceive are these:

      “The soul is the life that a person lives, whether they are saved or saved…. So, James is speaking about physical death…”

      While I acknowledge the necessity of outward conduct reflecting an inward condition, I cannot go along with your definition of “soul”. If I understand you correctly, you interpret the word “soul” in James 5:20 as a figurative term representing the cumulative deeds and words performed in the body. Like our earlier discussion on death, I think that you will agree that our points of view each depend on how the term “soul” is defined. I hope I join you in expressing a desire to define terminology based on the Bible, not upon our private interpretation.

      I define “soul” in the terms expressed by Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” The phrase, “living being” I consider the soul (corroborated in the Greek by Paul’s quotation in 1 Corinthians 15:45). Man, created in God’s image, is a tripartite being composed of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The spirit and soul comprise the internal portion of human beings and are often treated as interchangeable terms by New Testament writers (e.g. John 12:27, 13:21). To distinguish between the two is impossible without the aid of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12).

      Though I am no Greek scholar, what research I have conducted does acknowledge that “life” and “soul” are both reasonable and accurate translations of “psuche” (G5590) which occurs in James 5:20. However, I will point out that context always influences the choices of translators. For instance, in John 10:15 Jesus says, “…and I lay down My life (Gr. “psuchen”) for the sheep,” but in Acts 2:31 Peter says of the post-crucifixion/pre-resurrection Christ, “that His soul (Gr. “psuche”) was not left in Hades,”. In other words, Jesus laid down His “psuche” at the cross, but His “psuche” dwelt in Hades after the cross and could not remain. The Bible’s definition I believe is clear: Soul and life are essentially synonymous terms, but are translated differently depending on context. Though Jesus sacrificed His life at Calvary, His life did not end at the cross but endured through the intermittent stage of Hades.
      As the aforementioned example of Jesus alludes, the “soul” or “life” does not cease in physical death but is removed from the body:

      • Acts 20:10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life (G5590 — “psuche” translated “soul” in James 5:20) is in him.”
      • Genesis 35:18 And so it was, as her soul (Septuagint – “psuchen”) was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
      • God says to the covetous rich man who trusted in the accumulation of wealth by building barns to horde his goods, “’Fool! This night your soul will be required of you…” (Luke 12:20) He condemned this rich man by removing his soul from his body (physical death) as a consequence for his greed.

      The connection between soul and spirit and their joint animation of the human body is further acknowledged in these passages:

      • James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
      • The body of Jairus’s daughter was quickened when, “her spirit returned”. (Luke 8:55)

      Physical death is the removal of the two elements which animate the body: spirit and soul.

      Though “psuche” is translated “life” throughout the New Testament, I have been unable to discover any passage which informs me that “psuche” represents the sum of one’s words and deeds. The sense I get from the 94 verses in which this Greek word occurs is that “psuche” is not the representation of life’s cumulative record, but of life itself, the gift of life which comes from our Creator. In your previous response, you cited Matthew 16:24-28 which I think might have some bearing on this particular point. After examining it and other related passages (e.g. Luke 9:23-27), I am a little fuzzy on your interpretation and its relevance to the subject at hand. Perhaps you could elaborate.

      This once again returns us to the question, how does one’s soul die? We agree that James is not talking about spiritual death. I conclude that the death of James 5 cannot be physical death since that involves the separation of soul/spirit from the body, with the body ceasing to exist but the soul/spirit enduring. If James said they were, “saved from death”, I could see how the physical death angle could be argued under the auspices of passages such as 1 Corinthians 11. But he explicitly says the death of the soul. This leaves me with two options: either the second death where soul and body are destroyed in the fires of Gehenna or that James is speaking figuratively, thus introducing a fourth death. The simplest answer is generally the correct one in scripture, and the one I accept in this case.

      To what conclusion does this lead me? If James says a soul is saved from death by turning a Christian from the error of their ways, and if God alone has the power to destroy the soul in Gehenna, would it not be reasonable to conclude that by turning back a wayward Christian that their soul would be saved from the destruction of Gehenna? And if this is a reasonable conclusion, does it not call into question the integrity and validity of “eternal security”, “once saved, always saved”, or “the perseverance of the saints”?

      “The saving of the soul for the believer is about how we walk, which will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ. And Paul says, that the believer can “suffer loss” at the judgment seat of Christ and yet still be saved….When I show that inheritance, rewards, or crowns, represent the saving of the soul, the opposite has to be shown that the loss of these things is the loss of the soul or life the believer lived, that has been judged worthless. Do you understand this?”

      Once again, our points of view hinge on how the term “soul” is defined. Admittedly, this is where the flow of your thinking becomes extremely fuzzy for me. Though we are not saved by works (your own statement), the saving of a Christian’s soul (their inheritance) depends on how he or she walks? If their walk is not satisfactory, they can still be saved though their soul is lost? Is not salvation in Jesus Christ the salvation of the soul? How can a Christian believe to the saving of their soul (Hebrews 10:39) but their “soul dies” at the judgment seat of Christ (due to impenitence) yet they are saved? In short, how can an impenitent Christian be saved when the portion of their life which is saved by the blood of Jesus – their soul – is lost? Are we saved apart from the soul? If so, which part(s) of us (that is of our tripartite construction consisting of body, soul, and spirit) is/are saved and endure(s) eternally thanks to the grace of Jesus?

      I have one final question on your inheritance interpretation. If a Christian’s inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and does not fade away, how can they lose it? That sounds like an inheritance that can fade away.

  8. Since my point of view is concerning the believer’s walk and our accountability for this walk to the Lord, at the judgment seat of Christ, death is part of what it will mean to “suffer loss.” The Lord tells the believer that one who is an overcomer, “shall not be hurt of the second death.” Rev. 2:11 This promise begs the other side of the issue. It means a believer who isn’t classified as an overcomer in their walk, will be hurt “of the second death.”

    What does this mean? Well, it looks like the believer could experience serious losses that will never be reversed, even though saved. Again, I’m speaking within the context of family matters. For instance, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. For Pottage! Why? Because he did not respect “what profit shall this birthright do to me.” Gen. 25:32 He lightly esteemed his inherited right as a first born. Actually, the scripture says he “despised his birthright.” Gen. 25:34

    Esau is the perfect example of the carnal minded believer. What does a carnal minded believer do? They “walk as men.” 1 Cor.3:3 In fact, these believers willfully walk as carnal men. Peter reminds the believer of “what manner of persons [ ought ye to be ] in all holy conversation and godliness.” 2 Peter 3:11 The point being, many, many believers who ought to love the Lord, ought to walk godly lives, don’t and despise their inheritance, just like Esau.

    So, there could be death to inherited rights, that some up what joy and fellowship a believer could have with the Lord in the next age to come and into eternity. Rights to rule and reign will be lost. Just to say that does not seem to affect many believers, just because they are satisfied with being saved from eternity in hell. But, the Lord has said that these believers will be “hurt of the second death.” The word hurt means to be “injured.” Fire is involved. Seeing the life one lived burned up will be experienced. Outer darkness is potentially part of this picture for the believer, at least through the 1000 year rule and reign of the Lord on this earth, when he comes back. The believer could shed tears, gnash their teeth, and may not even be able to see the kingdom age. Scripture tells use some who teach false doctrine will experience the “mist of darkness” forever. 2Pet.2:17

    Revelation 21:7-8 I believe is including the believer as those who could have “part in” the lake which burneth with fire. This could be what is meant in Hebrews 10:29 when it says the believer who willfully sins after receiving the knowledge of the truth, will be punished. Heb.10:27 says this believer will experience judgment and fiery indignation that shall devour the adversaries. The Lord is not opposed to righteous judgment of his own. In Jeremiah 20:4 the Lord judges ‘Pashur , the chief governor of the house of the Lord for the way he treated Jeremiah. Pashur was told that the Lord would “make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends”. And the Lord was going to make Pashur see his friends fall by the sword of their enemies.

    In studying the judgment of the believer, believer’s must understand that the principles of judgment don’t change whether the Lord is judging his own or the world. Somewhere in the past, bible teachers have not seen this, or have ignored it. But this is the mindset of God toward his own that do not love him, that walk like men, who have made shipwreck in their faith. Scripture says, “perfect love casteth out fear.” 1John.4:18 The believer who loves the Lord, who is growing in grace and knowledge of him will know the good things the Lord has yet to give us after we are judged. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the [things] which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9

    Why is this believer who could experience these things still saved? Because the word says one could suffer loss, yet they will be saved “so as by fire.” 1 Cor.3:15 Saved from eternity separated from God, in hell. Another thing to understand is that the Lord judges us in love. And, Paul says nothing “shall be able to seoarate us from the love of God, which is in Christ jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 There’s a reason this could last for 1000 years. Because, this is the rest promised to those that are faithfull to the Lord. He’s not going to share this with all believers, especially if they despised their inheritance in Christ, proved by the way they walked.

    After the great white throne judgment is done, after the 1000 year reign of the Lord, God shall wipe away all tears, there will be “no more death” no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain. Rev.21:4 The believer who goes through this time in outer darkness, outside of the kingdom age, who experiences death to their soul, will be glad the suffering is over. These are things I’ve seen. It’s not a pretty picture, but I believe it does offer an answer to the differences between doctrinal positions on salvation. Studying the judgment seat and related issues, will open up much. Maybe too much for some believers. Jesus once told his own disciples he would tell them more, but “they could not bear it.”John 16:12

    1. The words “death”, “dead”, and “die” occur in 301 New Testament verses in the NKJV. After a cursory examination, I find no other usage of these three words that supports your position (that the death warned against in James 5:20 is not the death of one’s soul but the revocation of one’s inherited blessings in eternity). While death is used figuratively in other contexts (e.g. Romans 4:19), none of those representations allude to the revocation of one’s inherited blessings in the kingdom of God. Though a handful of figurative exceptions exist, death, dead, and die are overwhelmingly used to describe three categories: the spiritual condition of one living outside of Jesus, the physical death of the body, and the second death which must be the fires of eternal condemnation (Revelation 20:14, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”). Furthermore, the only comparable warning to James 5:19-20 in the entire NT is Matthew 10:28:

      And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Hell – the second death – is the destruction of one’s soul. Jesus inferentially equates the death of one’s soul with its destruction. The death of one’s soul means it no longer exists. Why would James be warning against the revocation of one’s inherited blessings in language that plainly signifies – in all other relevant contexts – eternal condemnation? Is God the author of confusion?

    2. After noticing your repeated references to 1 Corinthians 3:15, I would like to draw your attention to a few essential points. What work is consumed by fire in this verse? As I understand your interpretation, the “work” represents the shortcomings in a believer’s walk, those areas of impenitent activity which result in a less glorious inheritance. Contextually speaking, the work in this passage represents the souls converted through the preaching of Christian evangelists (in this case Paul and Apollos, verses 5-8). Paul says in verse 9, “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” The members of the church themselves are the materials used in its construction and ultimately form the edifice (verses 12 and 16, Ephesians 2:20-22, 1 Peter 2:5). Paul laid the foundation for the congregation by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but the continued building and growth of the congregation was continued by another upon his departure (verse 10). Paul warns those who have taken up the spiritual construction: Take great care in how you go about this work. For those who build on this foundation well, there awaits a reward (verse 14). What is the reward? It must be the salvation of those souls who received the preaching of the aforementioned Christian evangelists and remained steadfast. This is overwhelmingly confirmed in four New Testament passages:

      For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

      Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. (Philippians 4:1)

      ….(as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:14)

      …holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Philippians 2:16)

      As you rightly point out, we will all be tested “by fire” before the judgment seat of Christ – a fire which reveals the quality of the one tested (a la 1 Peter 1:7). The church will be tested by the fire of Christ. The members of the church are the materials out of which it is built. Some materials (members) will endure the test. Those who do so (gold, silver, precious stones) will not only be saved, their salvation will reward the laborer who preached the gospel to them. However, there will be souls who will not endure the test (wood, hay, straw), who are of such quality that they will be “burned” (verse 15) in judgment. Note the Greek word (Strong’s G2618) means burned up completely. Not purified or refined, but consumed.

      Thayer Definition: G2618
      Κατακαίω katakaiō
      1) to burn up, consume by fire

      Vine’s New Testament Words:

      2. katakaio (G2618), from kata, “down” (intensive), and No. 1, signifies “to burn up, burn utterly,” as of chaff, Mat_3:12; Luk_3:17; tares, Mat_13:30, Mat_13:40; the earth and its works, 2Pe_3:10; trees and grass, Rev_8:7. This form should be noted in Act_19:19; 1Co_3:15; Heb_13:11, Rev_17:16. In each piace the full rendering “burn utterly” might be used, as in Rev_18:8.

      Robertson’s Word Pictures 1Co 3:15

      Shall be burned (katakaēsetai). First-class condition again, assumed as true. Second future (late form) passive indicative of katakaiō, to burn down, old verb. Note perfective use of preposition kata, shall be burned down. We usually say “burned up,” and that is true also, burned up in smoke.

      Does the failure of these combustible materials affect the salvation of the one who declared the gospel to them (in this case Paul or Apollos)? No, the one who built on the foundation, “will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” This is why John says, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.” (2 John 1:8) The full reward for the Christian evangelist is the salvation of souls.

      Furthermore, note Paul’s quotation from Philippians 2:16 – if the Philippians’ salvation was eternally secure, why would Paul fear running or laboring IN VAIN? Why would Paul see his efforts as futile if their souls were saved but their inherited blessings either lessened or revoked by the testing of Christ’s ? Though articulated in somewhat different terms, does this not express the same kernel of thought contained in 1 Corinthians 3:14-15? The one who labors in the proclamation of Christ’s gospel has great reason to rejoice before the throne of Christ when a soul has held fast the word of life and endures the test of Christ’s judgment. But to watch another soul fail the test would be great loss for the Christian laborer, leaving them with a very real sense of futility.

      In summary, the New Testament teaches that the Christian evangelist is rewarded by the salvation of souls who respond to the gospel through that evangelist’s preaching and remained faithful. The work consumed by Christ’s judgment is a soul who is lost in spite of the efforts of Christian evangelists. While they experience a grievous hurt as a result of this loss, their own soul is saved if they endure the testing of fire.

  9. If we can agree to distinguish the difference between inheritance and salvation is necessary, only if one believes salvation is undoubtedly secure, then it will make my points doctrinally more understood. This is where I am coming from. I just did a video this morning on a comparison of Hebrews 10:39 and what the Lord says in Matthew 16:24-28. The salvation of the soul needs to also be distinguished from spiritual birth into the family of God. Why all these needs to distinguish things doctrinally? I believe it clears up issues within the family of God. It keeps the believer focused on our own judgment before the world is judged.

    Even here. judgment is an issue. Is there only one overall judgment of everybody at the great white throne, or is there a separate judgment first for the believer? I’m bent toward judgment that begins first with the house of God. Peter mentions this in 1 Peter 4:17. Not only does Peter say this, but Paul tells us we have a judgment time before the Lord. He focuses on this in Romans, 1 Cor. and 2 Cor. James writes about the family of God being judged. “The judge standeth before the door.’ James 5:9 Hebrews points to judgment of the Lord’s own. Heb.10:30

    With our own judgment first, we should want to know what could or is going to happen. Kind of obvious at the great white throne judgment, the lost, unsaved person, not born again spiritually, will be lost. Yet, very interesting there, is that, the lost will be judged for their works. Has to imply, that even the lost being judged for their works, which cannot save, are judged to determine their place in hell for all eternity. Although works cannot save, they are used to justify judgment of each individual judgment in hell. I believe this is the case. Because of what is happening at the great white throne, we can take notice that it also happened first with the house of God. The principles of judgment do not change with the Lord, whether one is saved or lost.

    Having said this, I’ll give what i see the scripture saying in James 5:19-20, and 2 Peter 2:20-22 Starting with James , I’ll need to make references to things James has already said to tie things together for the believer. James, up front provides the issue for the believer. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James is speaking about perserverence or stedfastness of the believer’s walk. This is not a question of whether they are saved, in the family of God, but of our walk. The crown of life is not salvation by birth into the family of God. It is a crown given for enduring. For, enduring temptation. And the basis or motive for the endurance is “that the believer “loves him.”

    Do all believers love the Lord? They should, but proved by the way they walk, they don’t. That’s why I did the video comparing Mt.16:24-28 with Heb 10:39. The issues for the believer revolve around discipleship, not our birth. If I may be personal. Your new son, will always be your son, born into your family. Won’t change, no matter what. But, as our children grow up, the issues of life become important. And we would like our children to represent the best upbringing to those around him. James is strong to help the brethren, the family of God, to represent the Lord in love and with honor. The plus side to this is that crown of life.

    In the first chapter, James ties the crown of life to the saving of the soul. James 1:21 We know that the life we live is compared by the Lord to the soul. He uses the word life and soul interchangeably Mt.16:24-28, Luke 9:24-26 And Jesus tell the disciple, if we lose our life for his sake, we will receive reward for that. So, in James 5:19 James is clear to whom he is speaking to. “Brethren” if any of “you” err or wander “from” the truth” and one “convert him” or turns him about, is about family matters. Paul speaks about this in 2 Tim.2:20-26. Vessels in a great house who are dishonorable, who oppose themselves need to repent to the acknowledging of the truth. What truth? Truth concerning how and why we receive the judgment we do or will, as a believer. In 2 Tim.2:12 Paul says if we deny him he will deny us. Deny what? Birth into the family of God. No. That’s a given. just like the life our children receive is given. So, the denial has to be concerning things like the crown of life.

    The rest of James 5:19-20 would then be self explaned. We help a brother, in the family, turn from error, sin, walking in the flesh, and we have part in the salvation of their soul, [ the life they lived ] and help that believer stop sinning in their walk. Who is the sinner being converted? Jude explains, it is the brother who has spotted the garment with the flesh. We are to help pull that brother “out of the fire.” vs 23 What fire? The fire at judgment seat of Christ, which could be terrible, punishing, and cause the believer to suffer loss.
    1 Cor.3:15, 2 Cor.5:10-11, Hebrews 10:27-29 Note in James 5:20 that this is saving a brother from the error of “his way.” This is a brother, not following the Lord in their walk.

    Jumping from this to 2 Peter 2:20-22 is not as far a stretch from what James has just said in James 5:19-20. Peter is speaking about a believer. These brethren escaped the pollutions of the world. through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We know they are saved because the word “knowledge: means ‘full discernment.” And that only is given to one spiritually born again. Yet, these brethren are “entangled” again with and in the world. They are totally going for all that the world could offer them. Remember, the Lord said we could gain the whole world and lose our own souls. And this was in relation to discipleship, not salvation or birth into the family of God.

    In his letter to the churches in Revelation, the Lord spoke about being displeased with lukewarm believers. He will “spew thee out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16 Not out of heaven. Not eternally to be lost. Why? Because the issue is discipleship and what we could receive for fellow shipping with the Lord. Jesus says he will rebuke and chasten who he loves. We know the Lord does this now in our own lives. How is it, that believers think it will be otherwise at the judgment seat of Christ? How is it, that believers, who have become entangled again with the world, think just because they are saved, the Lord is only going to slap them on the wrist, and after that, all will be well? The lost will be judged according to their works. That will determine for eternity their place in hell. Well, the standard is set by the judgment of the house of God. Some believers suffer loss. Some will be punished with “sorer punishment. Some will be reward with tremendous joy and allowed to rule and reign with the lord in the next coming age and on into eternity.

    It will be worse for these believers to have known what they could have had, what they should have had, when it is exposed for them at the judgment seat of Christ. Hard to explain that moment for believers. It simply put is agony to know what was precious was lost and not to be found again.

    1. @Terry8150
      I appreciate your response and how you search the scriptures for answers. Allow me to offer my “take” on James 5:19-20.

      Clearly, James is talking to Christians. He addresses them as “brethren” and talks of those who are “among you” which contextually refers to fellow Christians (verses 14ff). James acknowledges that it is possible to depart from the truth, “if anyone among you wanders from the truth”. The truth is Christ Himself (“I am the way the truth and the life”). So James first teaches that apostasy is possible and that fellow Christians should reach out to those who have wandered from the truth — wandered as it were from Jesus. James further states that if a fellow Christian assists in the errant one’s return to the truth, the one who aids saves, “a soul from death“.

      So far as I know, there are only three deaths addressed in the New Testament. The spiritual death inflicted by sin (Ephesians 2:1), the physical death of the body, and what John in Revelation calls the “second death”, the destruction of hell (the final two are juxtaposed in Matthew 10:28). One is regenerated from spiritual death in their conversion to Christ (Ephesians 2:1). All of us will face physical death unless the Lord returns. The unrighteous face the second death. To which of these three deaths would an errant Christian be in danger? An errant Christian has already conquered spiritual death in their conversion to Christ, quickened by the Holy Spirit and raised to walk in newness of life. No man can interminably help another avoid physical death. Thus, the only reasonable option is that an errant Christian — one who has wandered from the truth — is in danger of the second death, the destruction of hell. You well referenced Jude, but would not the fire in Jude also coincide with the death of James? This is a consistent pairing in scripture: fire and death. Is this pairing not exclusively used in warnings concerning the awaiting destruction of hell?

      I believe there are two critical questions in our discussion:

      1. From what does the blood of Jesus ultimately save the Christian?
      2. Which death endangers the soul of an errant Christian?

  10. @Wade
    Terry, I think we both can agree that distinguishing between inheritance and salvation is only necessary if one believes that salvation is undoubtedly secure. We can debate the inheritance-salvation side issue to little end in my estimation. The fundamental question that must be answered is, “Does the Bible teach that a Christian can forfeit their salvation?” That is the primary issue we must address.

    How would you respond to the following passages which clearly illustrate that forfeiting one’s salvation is indeed possible?

    James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A DOG RETURNS TO HIS OWN VOMIT,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

    Thanks for considering these passages.

  11. In late April, I began a conversation on our YouTube channel with Terry, a fellow user and believer in God. Terry engaged me in a conversation on eternal security which turned into a pretty lengthy discussion. Due to YouTube’s comment constraints, I suggested moving our conversation to this site. If the beginning kernels of this conversation interest you, I suggest consulting our YouTube channel, 1OneTrueChurch under the video “Eternal Security 2/2”.

    To sum up the conversation thusfar, Terry believes using Hebrews as a proof text for the loss of one’s salvation takes the book’s message out of context. If I understand Terry’s position accurately, salvation cannot be loss, but impenitent believers can lose their inheritance within said salvation. In other words, though I am a Christian, my continued failure to repent does not jeopardize my entrance into God’s eternal kingdom, but the rewards I might receive within that kingdom. Thus, my impenitence will yield a lesser degree of glory, but my salvation remains intact. In response, I have contended that our inheritance is salvation, that the two terms are used interchangeably, and to forfeit one’s inheritance is to forfeit salvation. Here is Terry’s final comment:

    My first thought is that Mt.25:31-34 is the judgment of nations, not individuals. Second, note that these nations “inherit the kingdom.” This is not heaven but the millennial reign of the Lord back here on the earth after his second coming. The kingdom of heaven is a term that refers to the millennial reign of the Lord. Here, nations are destroyed and the wicked individuals of these nations will perish and be eternally lost. Note here, there are no books opened.

    I hope you can follow my transition here to the believer’s part in this that also inherits the kingdom.Remember. Rev.21:7 says the overcoming saint, will inherit “all things.” In this verse, the word “son” classifies the overcoming saint. It’s the first time in scripture that a believer is called “son” as the Father had strictly used for the Lord Jesus Christ. The overcoming saint will be with the Lord ruling and reigning at the judgment of the nations.

    Paul tells believers that “the saints shall judge the world.” 1 Cor.6:2 But, he goes on further to say the “unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” 1Cor.6:9-10. Other scripture to check this out is Gal.5:19-21, Eph.5:3-5 The subject is inheritance, not salvation. There will be believers who will not judge the world/nations. Grace saves but does not allow sinning saints to judge or rule and reign with the Lord. That is conditioned upon our own judgment which happened first.

    Hebrews 1:14 is a good verse to show that not all believers will inherit all things. The phrase “heirs of salvation” is not a generic term. An heir is one who earns the rights/privelege of salvation. Chapter 2 goes on to warn the believer not to “neglect their so great salvation.” “How shall we escape” a just recompense of reward. Only the believer can neglect their “so great salvation.” The lost unsaved person is a rejector of the gospel.

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