Keith Hunt - Falling Away? - Page Twohundred- fortysix   Restitution of All Things

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Falling Away?

The very Elect!


FALLING AWAY?


I fully agree with the answer from the Church of God, 7th Day,
Denver, CO. USA - Keith


Q What is the Church's position on falling from grace? Some say
that backsliders were never saved in the first place.


ANSWER:

The Church of God (Seventh Day) does not promote the doctrine of
eternal security. This teaching affirms that those who enjoy true
forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life through faith
in Jesus Christ can never lose this favored status before God.
In its classical form, this doctrine equates with the last of the
five points of Calvinism, a system emphasizing God's choice
(before the world began) of certain persons to be saved through
Christ (see p.7 of the May-June BA). For Calvinists, the divine
selection is confirmed by Christ's limited atonement on the
cross, by the Spirit's irresistible call to the elect, and
finally, by the perseverance of those elect saints in their faith
to the end.

Perseverance in faith and holiness (i.e., eternal security) is
the logical conclusion to Calvinism's first four points. It
supports the second sentence of our question above: Those who
abandon faith merely show that their profession was always
counterfeit, that they were never among the truly elect. If God
predestined them to eternal salvation at the start and His grace
toward them is ultimately irresistible, how could they ever
finally lose it?

CoG7, however, has never embraced the model of predestination
attributed to John Calvin. Rather than atonement being limited to
the elect, we understand that Christ died for every man (1 Tim.
2:6; Heb.2:9b; 1 John 2:2), that salvation is had by anyone who
trusts Him and follows on via repentance to obedience. All gospel
hearers are free to choose their response, as the "whosoever"
verses of the New Testament suggest (Luke 12:8; John 4:14; Acts
10:43; 1 John 5:1; Rev.22:17). We also understand that those who
once freely chose Christ remain free to choose whether they will,
or will not, continue to trust and obey Him, and that God honors
their choice.

Our answer thus far has been mostly related to the theoretical
issues of Calvinistic thought and human freedom. Now we turn to a
more directly biblical answer. The most compelling arguments
against the doctrine of eternal security are the several
scripture texts that warn against the loss of right standing with
God.

Each of the following texts states or strongly implies the
possibility of persons dropping out somewhere along the way from
initial saving faith to final redemption:

* Matthew 24:13; Luke 9:62: Final salvation involves endurance
unto the end.
* John 15:2, 6: Some who are "in the Vine" will be removed,
burned.
* 1 Corinthians 9:27: Even Paul might have become a castaway.
* 2 Corinthians 6:1: God's grace may be received
in vain.
* Galatians 5:1-4: Entanglement with legalism (the attempt to
become or remain justified by the law) separates from Christ and
grace.
* Colossians 1:22, 23: Final salvation comes to those who keep
the faith by not being moved away from the gospel.
* James 5:19, 20; 1 John 5:16: Even a brother can wander from
truth and sin unto death.
* 2 Peter 2:20-22; 3:17: Knowing Christ, then returning to the
world, is worse than never knowing Him at all.

These warnings are unnecessary and would be misleading if a fall
from grace were impossible.
The strongest New Testament alarms against departure from the
faith are in the epistle to the Hebrews.
That writer's main purpose is to plead with Jewish Christians not
to turn back from following the Savior in whom they had come to
trust - even Jesus. Note the ways that the writer urgently
expresses this caution so these Christians might avoid the
disaster of unbelief:

* Give ... earnest heed ... Lest we drift away (2:1-3).
Beware ... an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living
God (3:7-19).
Be diligent ... Lest anyone fall according to the same example of
disobedience (4:11).
* Falling away and willful sin mean no sin sacrifice remains
(6:4-6; 10:26).
Don't cast away your confidence or draw back to perdition
(10:35-39).
* Look carefully ... Lest anyone fall short of the grace of God
(12:15-17).

These warnings are addressed to those whose walk with the Lord
Jesus has been deep enough to arouse bitter opposition from their
foes (10:32,34; 12:1-13). The writer of Hebrews assumes that His
readers are genuine believers, that they are in danger of
retreating from their faith in Christ and from the eternal
salvation that such faith affirms. If the readers were not true
believers or if there was no bona fide possibility of their
departure from Christian faith, then the message of Hebrews makes
little sense.

The possibility of once having, then losing, the forgiveness and
eternal life promised to those who trust God's grace through
Jesus Christ, is authentic. The Scriptures report persons whose
faith once flowered, then faded and fell. Kings Saul and Solomon
are prime ancient examples, though we are not told either's
eternal fate. In the New Testament, Hymenaeus and Alexander both
suffered the shipwreck of their faith (1 Tim.1:19,20), and Demas
also was a dropout(2 Tim.4:10). The case of Judas Iscariot is
also relevant.

Still, the loss of salvation is probably not as common as many
think. Those who are "in Christ" by faith do have considerable
security there. What they have in Him - forgiveness of sins, the
gift of the Spirit, the promise of eternal life - is not easily
lost, certainly not as easily as a wicked thought or even a long
struggle with besetting sin.

How may it be lost? If salvation is gained only by personal faith
in the Word of His grace, then it is lost only by reversing that
freely chosen personal faith - that is, by willful disbelief in
the Word that offers salvation through Christ alone (Heb.
3:6-4:11).
Saying it another way, salvation is maintained in the same manner
it was first received: by continued, trustful leaning on Jesus,
not by the merit of our obedience or good works.
If it were true that salvation is lost by a failure in good works
or by falling short of perfect obedience (i.e. by personal sins),
then we would need to admit that salvation is not by grace alone,
through faith in Christ alone. It would be necessary to add
"human achievement" to the list of salvation credits, alongside
what God has done for us.
If salvation can be gained only by grace through faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ, then it can be lost only by a denial of what
we once believed: God's grace in Christ. The true test of being
God's elect is not a onetime profession of faith but perseverance
and patient continuance in that faith.
......

Elder Calvin Burrell
Readers are invited to submit questions for this page. Mail them
to Editor, P.O. Box 33677, Denver, CO 80233, e-mail  or share
them on Facebook.
July-August 2010 

NOTE:

With all this we do need to note that the VERY ELECT, those
called and chosen, Jesus in the Gospel of John said that NONE
that the Father had given Him would be lost, see John 17; 10:22-
29; 6:37-40.
So we can see that there is within the whole of today an elect
that are called and chosen, which no man can turn away. No
outside influence, no demonic power, no part of their mind will
turn away - they will no matter what comes, stay faithful to the
end, and they are the ones in the first resurrection at the
coming of Christ in power and glory, to establish the Kingdom of
God on earth - Keith Hunt.


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