In my last post, we wrapped-up our series on the Christian Torah. However, in What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 11, we left one topic hanging ~ Can Salvation Be Lost? We were looking at the Parable of the Talents. I stated that:
This is a topic I hope to cover in more depth in future posts. But suffice it to say that this parable, seems to imply that a servant on the inside is thrown outside when judgment falls. Christian churches are divided on whether a person saved by faith in Yeshua can lose his or her salvation.
Here’s what we can know from the Bible:
- There is no security apart from Yeshua. He saves us, keeps us, and promises heavenly happiness after a life of faith and service. Only Yeshua can do that. Rest only on him.
- The security we enjoy in God’s promises should not make us presumptuous. Don’t become cocky with God. Don’t assume that God must let you in, that you can demand entrance, that you have a right!
- Live each day in faith, believing in God’s great promises, dedicating your time and talent to God’s work, loving your Messianic brothers and sisters, being generous with the weak and poor. Your life is secure in Yeshua, but what you do with your day is often your own choice. Make choices that please God.
In this new series, I want to answer the question for myself … Can Salvation Be Lost?
You may be wondering why this question is important to me. Do I doubt my salvation? I can categorically respond: “NO!” Do I have some sick need to start a debate between the followers of this blog? Again, the answer is: “NO!” Am I afraid that I might have committed an unpardonable sin? “NO!” So why am I writing about this? The simple answer is because elephant’s have flat feet. Oh, wait a minute, that’s what I used to tell my kids when they asked a “why” question. Sorry about that, old habits die hard.
The reason I want to tackle this topic is simply because I want to know in my knower and heart what it is I really believe about eternal security.
To me, I have traveled an interesting path in my walk with Yeshua. I was raised in the Episcopal Church with all its creeds, catechisms and traditions. All I knew from what I was taught was that if I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He was crucified and rose on the third day, my sins were forgiven and I would go to heaven. I thought that was easy enough, so I bought into that belief. I became quite religious as a result. The problem was that I didn’t even know that I could have a personal relationship with the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings. I don’t recall one sermon or Sunday School class on the issue of eternal security. It wasn’t until I went through my own mid-life crisis at the age of 32 that I learned from some fellow lay Episcopalians that I could have such a personal relationship. (See my About the Author page for more details.)
As I began to grow in my faith, I was exposed to the topic of the unpardonable sin. It was at this time that I was exposed to the teachings of Jacobus Arminius who maintained that salvation could be lost. It made sense to me given my understanding of man’s free will to accept or reject the teachings of the Bible.
While working at the City of Jacksonville, Florida, I began attending a Men’s Morning Bible Study hosted by First Baptist Church of Jacksonville on my way into the office. “First B” was huge! It covered seven (7) blocks in downtown Jacksonville. When I went to work for the City I was told that the best parking available was in one of their three multi-story parking garages. The study was held in one of their buildings between my parking garage and City Hall. Needless to say, I was exposed to some of the teachings of John Calvin ~ “once saved, always saved.” I wasn’t buying it, but it wasn’t an issue that I felt strong enough over to break fellowship. After all, we were just doing a Bible study, the issue only came up infrequently and they readily accepted this kippah wearing Messianic Believer.
Fast forward several years to 2014 when I was asked to assist my present church develop the curriculum for a basic discipleship training program. Rather than using some of the material readily available on the market, we wanted to develop our own to reflect the culture of our congregants. At the time there were three of us writing on various topics. One of mine was Assurance of Salvation. [I’ll be using that material in a latter post.] Big Valley Grace Community Church is currently non-denominational but has a rich history of evolving from a Brethren background and still have many Brethren in attendance.
I pointed out that getting into the topic of Assurance of Salvation would naturally lead to questions on the issue of Eternal Security, so I asked what the church’s position on that was. Apparently, it’s a mixed bag. So, I suggested that we present a brief description of the two main doctrinal positions on the subject and inserted the following note in the Leader Guide:
SPECIAL NOTE: Ensure they do not confuse assurance of salvation with eternal security. Although information is contained in the section on Eternal Security, it should only be discussed if the issue is raised by the student(s). Remember, the topic of Eternal Security has divided many believers over the years. As the students mature in their faith, they need to carefully meditate on God’s Word and come to their own conclusions on this issue.
I was then confronted with the issue in the Christian Torah series mentioned above. My good friend, Wally Fry, over at Truth in Palmyra wrote on the subject recently taking a position different than my thinking. And, just this last weekend my Pastor preached a message on Eternal Security as he was taking us through Romans. Ok, Lord, I get the picture. You want me to come to an understanding of what it is I personally believe on this topic. So here we are.
Over the course of the next several posts, we will be examining the topics of election, free-will, assurance, apostasy, eternal security, Calvinism, Arminianism, Universalism, grieving the Holy Spirit, unpardonable sin, backsliding, and any other topic that seems germane to what we are discussing. And, I hope that we will discuss this topic in the comments section.
I am not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just one beggar on the road of salvation willing to share a morsel of bread with my fellow travelers. My goal is not to convince you of any particular position of this topic, but to share with you my journey as I discover what I believe and why. I’m fortunate to have an extensive electronic library of commentaries and books on theology which I will be drawing from in addition to the most important resource, God’s Word.
May God richly bless us on our travel together.