IPS-Eye-White
001orange

Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Predestination

 

003white  Section A Question of Salvation       >      Index To Predestination       >      DOC Part VI... Perseverance of Saints

IPS-Header
Predestination
 

Calvinism Part VI...
Perseverance of The Saints

and Death Before Sin

Carol Brooks.

Index To All Sections

Section 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace
Section 2: Total Inability... The Cornerstone
Section 3: Unconditional Election
Section 4: Limited Atonement
Section 5: Irresistible Grace
You Are Here 001orange Section 6: Perseverance of The Saints and Death Before Sin
Section 7: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie and Assurance of Salvation...
How Can Any Calvinist KNOW He is Saved?
Section 8: God.. God’s Sovereignty and Omnipotence. Hypocrisy Unlimited
Section 9: Conclusion
Section 10: Calvinism and The First 1500 Years. The Sins of Augustine
 

Bible1-Bar 

On This Page

Introduction

Warning Passages For The Elect Who Cannot do Other Than Persevere In Faith

"Proof Texts"
Ephesians 1:13-14 .. Doesn't Say "Guarantee" Of Our Inheritance
John 4:14 And 6:35 ..What Happened To Continuous Bubbling And Believing?
John 10:27-29 ..What Defines Jesus' Sheep?
Philippians 1:6 .. "He Who Began A Good Work In You".. What Good Work?
1 John 2:19 .. Who Were "They" And Why Did They Leave?

Three Additional 'Proof Texts'


Isolated Verses Or An Integrated Whole
..
The Conditions Just Aren't In The Same Verse
Colossians 1:22-23 .. He will present you holy and without blemish if ye continue in the faith
Acts 20:32.. Those Grievous Wolves
Colossians 4:12..Why Was Epaphras Agonizing?
Romans 12:1-2 .. Paul's Exhortation

Confused Teachings
If "No One Is Lost From This Group", Then ...?

Force?

Death Before Sin


Perseverance of The Saints
is represented by the fifth letter of the acronym TULIP.

Introduction
The doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is the belief that everyone truly regenerated by God's grace will never fall away and perish. Although it is similar to the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved, inasmuch as both views have the final result of eternal security in salvation in common, they take dissimilar paths to get there.

Proponents of Once Saved Always Saved believe that, once a person has made the once and for all decision to "accept" Christ as savior, they are in the enviable position of being eternally secure in their salvation since there is not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand. Some carry this doctrine to ridiculous lengths even teaching that since the potential for being 'unforgiven' has been done away with, a believer can proceed to live the rest of their lives just as they please, and still remain saved. There will be no repercussions other than possibly losing a reward or two.
 

[See Eternal Life: Promise or Possession?   and
The Bema or Judgment Seat Of Christ and Rewards in Heaven]


In contrast Perseverance of the Saints emphasizes that truly regenerated believers will persevere, or keep on going in faith throughout their lives, since it is God who, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer. As explained by John Murray who was once professor of Systematic Theology at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. [Emphasis in Original]

    The doctrine of perseverance is the doctrine that believers persevere; it cannot be too strongly stressed that it is the perseverance of the saints. And that means that the saints, those united to Christ by the effectual call of the Father and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, will persevere unto the end. .. It is not at all that they will be saved irrespective of the their perseverance or their continuance, but that they will assuredly persevere. Consequently the security that is theirs is inseparable from their perseverance. Is this not what Jesus said? "He than endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." [50]

J.I. Packer stresses the difference between the two doctrines

    Let it first be said that in declaring the eternal security of God's people it is clearer to speak of their preservation than, as is commonly done, of their perseverance. Perseverance means persistence under discouragement and contrary pressure. The assertion that believers persevere in faith and obedience despite everything is true, but the reason is that Jesus Christ through the Spirit persists in preserving them. [51]

So, according to Calvinism, if the believer falls away it is a given that they were never truly saved in the first place.


Warning Passages For The Elect Who Cannot do Other Than Persevere In Faith
Which bring us to the question of the literally innumerable Bible passages that warn about not wandering away from the faith and falling from a secure position. Some teach that there is "very little scriptural basis that can be used to argue against the eternal security of the believer" [52], but this is not true... the warnings are liberally sprinkled throughout both books of the Bible. Perhaps the most straightforward one in the Old Testament about the consequences of falling away from faith is found in the book of Ezekiel.

    But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live...But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. [Ezekiel 18: 21-22, 24]

Not only did Jesus frequently teach, often in parables, about the need to persist in purity and holiness to the end, which implies that those who do not persevere to the end will not be saved, but there are verses that show the elect that Christ died for, can be destroyed. Paul urges the Romans to not do anything that would result in their brother perishing

    For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:15).

[For Countless Other Warning verses See Eternal Life: Personal Possession or Promise?]

About these passages John MacArthur says

    The warning passages do not negate the many promises that believers will persevere: [53]

Which does not make an ounce of sense. On the one hand the threats are real and have to be taken seriously. On the other hand they are 'hypothetical' since they never come to pass for the "saved" person. If God unconditionally elects a person to salvation and bestows His Irresistible Grace on that person certainly it stands to reason that He will preserve the believer to the end. In other words the Calvinist view of redemption would make destruction impossible for the elect.

If believers cannot fall away what exactly is the point of not only warning them, but doing so repeatedly and emphatically. Bearing in mind that analogies are rarely perfect, this is similar to warning people to board up their windows when they do not live anywhere near a hurricane zone, or warning someone to boil their drinking water when their only source of water is completely pure.

    Logic dictates that if people are saved due to God's unconditional election and irresistible grace, there is no sound reason for Scripture to warn anyone to persevere in faith. Those who are genuinely saved will persevere in faith and cannot do otherwise. They need no encouragement, because their salvation has been guaranteed since the foundation of the world. [2]

However, in Romans 11:17-24 Paul likens God's plan of salvation to a tree. He says [Emphasis Added]

    But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree; [18] glory not over the branches: but if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee. [19] Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. [20] Well; by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not highminded, but fear: [21] for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee. [22] Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. [23] And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. [24] For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Calvinism says a person who is "cut off" was never "grafted in" in the first place. But Paul is very clearly stating that even though a person is grafted in, if he does not persist in the faith he will be cut off and he will forfeit his salvation.


Proof Texts

Ephesians 1:13-14: Some Christians go as far as to say that God "guarantees" that the true believer will not lose their salvation as noted in the following excerpt from Got Questions Ministries. [All Emphasis Added

    This wonderful truth is seen in Ephesians 1:13-14 where we see that believers are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchase possession, to the praise of His glory.” When we are born again, we receive the promised indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that is God's guarantee that He who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). In order for us to lose our salvation after receiving the promised Holy Spirit, God would have to break His promise or renege on His “guarantee,” which He cannot do. Therefore the believer is eternally secure because God is eternally faithful. [52]

Sadly, the Calvinistic bent, and clear bias, of the NIV and several other popular translations is nowhere more clear than in their rendering of three verses in which the Hebrew arrhabon has been translated deposit or guarantee when it actually means earnest. This obviously done to convey their interpretation of the text that the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer and a believer can never be lost. However, what is even worse is that, in some cases, they translated arrhabon into the English deposit, then added the word guarantee. Unknowingly, countless people have relied on these translations, believing that Scripture actually speaks of a guarantee when, in fact, it does no such thing. There is a world of difference between guarantee and earnest. [For Details See A “Deposit” “Guaranteeing” Our Inheritance?]

However there are some Scriptural verses that seem to support the idea that believers will persevere to the end.


John 4:14 and 6:35: In the above mentioned article, John MacArthur cites John 4:14 and 6:35. (Comments below each verse are ours)

    Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14).

This verse, like most other Bible verses, requires a little more than a cursory reading. Note the words.. "the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life". Jesus is clearly saying that the water He gives is not just a one time cup full, but it becomes a constant supply that bubbles up from the ground.

    I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (John 6:35).

The parallel structure of the two parts of the verse indicate that coming to Jesus and believing on Him are the same thing. However note how Young's Literal Translation renders the verse.. "And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of the life; he who is coming unto me may not hunger, and he who is believing in me may not thirst--at any time". In other words this verse is not speaking if a one time event, but a continual state of believing. Salvation is not determined once and for all at the time of confession of faith but, as per our Lord’s very disturbing words in Matthew 7:21-23, limits it to those who do the will of the heavenly Father. In short if you stay believing, you will never hunger or thirst. Similarly


John 10:27-29:
Calvinists and other believers in "eternal security" argue that the final apostasy of a born-again person is an impossibility because Christ said that his sheep "shall never perish."

    "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out 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" (John 10:27-29).

But what Jesus says is that His sheep listen to his voice and follow Him. It is those sheep that will be given eternal life. As Paul later did in Romans 8:38-39, Jesus endeavors to give the believer confidence that they can not be snatched out of the Father's hand... that no outside power can separate them from the love of God and they can overcome any assault of the enemy. However, if a person gets to the point where they can not, or do not, hear His voice, they certainly are not His sheep and these assurances do not apply to them. They cannot claim to have any blessing of God, much less eternal life.

One other verse that John Piper quotes [48] is... 


Philippians 1:6, which has long been one of the staple texts used to undergird both the doctrine of OSAS and Perseverance of the Saints. It says [Emphasis Added]

    being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in (Greek en) you (Greek humin) will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ:

While there is no question that, in studying the Scriptures, it would be huge advantage to be fluent in the original languages that they were written in... unfortunately a complete impossibility for most people. However, with the tools we have at our disposal we, in our day and age, have one huge advantage... It is at least possible to 1) do some digging into the root of the original word, and 2) investigate how the word has been used in other verses.

In the case of Philippians 1:6, some research indicates that there are two factors to be taken into consideration...

1) In English we use the word "you" regardless of whether we are speaking to one person or a hundred. However this is not so with the Greek which has both singular and plural forms of the personal pronoun "you". Strong's numbers in brackets.

    The singular forms are se (G4571), soi (G4671), and sou (G4675) . These are translated thee, thou, thine own, thou, thy etc.

    The plural forms are humeis (G5210), humas (G5209),  humin ( G5213) and humoon (G5216). These are translated ye, you, your etc.

In Philippians 1:6 Paul uses the plural form (humin) which indicates he is not referring to any one individual, but to the Philippians as a corporate body.. the church. [Also See Philippians 2:12-13 In Section Irresistible Grace]
 

2) As it has been in Philippians 1:6, the Greek word en (a preposition denoting {fixed} position) has often translated into the English in. However, according to Strong's Greek lexicon, en can actually be used in various ways including in, at, (up-) on, by etc. 

So the verse could be read as "he who began a good work by you' or "he who began a good work among (all of) you'.

Which actually makes a lot of sense considering the context.

In the verse immediately preceding this one Paul (verse 5) praised the Philippians for the great kindness and caring they had shown Epaphroditus and him [See Philippians 4:10, 15-19]. Indeed, when Paul was in Thessalonica, he was supported partly by working with his hands, and partly by the contributions sent him from Philippi [1Thessalonians 2:9].

Read the two verses together and see how verse 6 naturally flows from verse 5

    (5) I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship (Greek koinonia) in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; (6) being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: [Philippians 1:5-6]

      (Note: The word translated into the English fellowship means sympathetic cooperation, but can also include almsgiving and contributions. See Romans 15:26; Hebrews 13:16).

In other words

    The community of believers is the sphere where God is at work, and it is the sphere where his good work will be brought to eschatological fulfillment at the day of Christ. This is a different matter than whether or not the good work is brought to completion in the life of an individual, a matter that Philippians 1:6 simply is not addressing. Paul's confidence that God is at work in the Philippian church and will complete that work is grounded in that church's participation in the ministry of the gospel. Even if some individuals fall away from the work, it does not mean that God's purposes for the church as a whole corporate community will not be brought to perfection. [54]

One other verse often used as a proof text for Perseverance of the Saints is....


1 John 2:19: They went out (Greek exerchomai) from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.

This verse speaks of secessionists who, of their own free will, left the church that John was associated with. While their departure conclusively demonstrates to John that they never really belonged to that community, there is absolutely no indication that this was because they were not of the elect, which has to be read into the text. All this verse says is "they were not really of us".

So is there any indication as to what it was that made these people not part of that particular Christian community? Actually there is.

Antichrists: Even around the middle of the 1st century by which time most of the New Testament books were written [See Dating The New Testament ] Christian truth had already come under severe attack and heresies had crept into the church. In the verse just prior to this one John makes specific reference to antichrists. So if we read the two verses together it becomes readily apparent that the people who seceded from the church were antichrists...

    Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour. They went out (Greek exerchomai) from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. [1 John 2:18-19]

The word antichrist, only used by John in four separate verses in his epistles, comes from the Greek antichristos. Anti in Greek means in place of. For example

    even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for (Greek anti) many. [Matthew 20:28]

    And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for (Greek anti) a fish give him a serpent? [Luke 11:11] 

    Render to no man evil for (Greek anti) evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all men. [Romans 12:17] 

    Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for (Greek anti) one mess of meat sold his own birthright. [Hebrews 12:16]

As said by Ray Stedman

    We often take the term to mean someone who is against Christ, much like the attitude we see in Communism, where there is a blatant denial of God and Christ. But that is not the thought here. It is true that the eventual outcome of any antichrist is that he is against Christ, but the word really means "instead of Christ." It is someone who comes in Christ's name, someone who declares that he is a Christian and is declaring the truth of Christianity. Yet, as we analyze his teaching it is contrary to what God, in Christ, has said. This is antichrist. [55]

A summary of all John's teachings on the subject show that antichrists deny that Jesus is the Christ [1 John 2:22], do not acknowledge that Jesus is of God [1 John 4:3] or that Jesus Christ came in the flesh [2 John 1:7]. 

But there is more...


False Prophets: In 1John 4:1, he calls them "false prophets" that had gone out into the world, and urges the believers to not believe every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God.

That this verse is related to chapter 2 is made clear by the fact that in both chapters John warns about being led astray by people who have departed from their community or church. [These things have I written unto you concerning them that would lead you astray. 2:26]

The Biblical prophet did not only predict or foretell future events but also, as messengers of God, they instructed and exhorted, communicated God's will by a variety of methods including warnings. The word prophet in the New Testament is commonly connected with teachers [See Acts 13:1 and 15:32], who were distinct from the apostles, but next to them in authority and rank [See 1 Corinthians 12:28-29]. They were leaders in the fledgling church.

Summary: The people who departed from the church can in no way be proved to be those who had not been elected to salvation. They had a far more sinister side... While disguising themselves as religious leaders their teachings were contrary to the truth. Believers were in danger of being seduced by these false prophets who seemed to be very active in what they taught.

    They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world heareth them. [1 John 4:5]

As an aside, why would John warn about false teachers that could lead believers astray [2:26, 3:7] if the possibility did not exist?


Three Additional 'Proof Texts'
The following three verses are referred to by both John MacArthur in Perseverance of The Saints [53], and John Piper in his article What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism [48] In both cases, all three verses are used as proof texts to make the point that Jesus unfailingly keeps believers from falling, preserves them without blame, and finally present them faultless to God.

    * You are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you in the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:7-9).

    * May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely: and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

      (Paul's prayer that the believer be preserved blamelessly, or without fault, indicates that there was a chance that they would not be).

    * Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen (Jude 24-25)

However, if these verses teach that a person once saved, can never lose his salvation but will be enabled by God's grace to persevere to the end, the question has to be repeated... What was the point of the literally innumerable passages that warn about not wandering away from the faith and falling from a secure position.

Which brings up the issue of whether the Bible is a series of ...


Isolated Verses Or An Integrated Whole
Doctrine can not be derived from isolated verses, but Scripture as an integrated whole. It would be impossible for the Bible to cram all it's teachings on a particular subject into one verse or paragraph, therefore all passages that speak of, or have any bearing on, the subject in question have to be carefully considered.

Not all the passages in the Scriptures that speak of God's promises expressly mention the conditions that have to be met in order for Him to keep those promises. This does not mean that the conditions do not exist and have not been made very clear... they just aren't in the same verse. The three verses above certainly say that Jesus presents believers faultless to God, but this is qualified by other verses such as...

Colossians 1:22-23: which very clearly states that Jesus will present the believer as holy, without blemish and blameless if the believer continues in the faith and does not move away from the hope of the Gospel

    yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister. [Colossians 1:22-23]

[See John 6:33 in Section Limited Atonement for God's gifts to man which are free, but often conditional]


Acts 20:32:
Similarly, in Acts 20 Paul warned the elders of the church of Ephesus of "grievous wolves" that would enter in among them not sparing the flock, and that men would arise from among them to speak "perverse things" and "draw away the disciples after them" (Vs.20-21). Paul then goes on to say that he had warned the Ephesians about this, night and day, for three years, but now that he was about to leave them, with the strong possibility that he would never see them again (V.38), he committed them to the faithful care and keeping of God. Note the use of the word able..

    And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified. [Acts 20:32]

If it were certain God would cause the believers in Ephesus to persevere to the end, then there was no reason for Paul to have spent the previous three years warning them with tears about false teachers who could, and would, lead them astray.


Colossians 4:12:
Paul also told the Colossians

    Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving (Greek agonizomai) for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect (Greek teleios) and fully assured in all the will of God. [Colossians 4:12]

The Greek Agonizomai is the source of our English "agonizing", which accurately portrays the depth of Epaphras' fervent, earnest pleading that the saints in Colossae (V.1:2) become mature, fully grown Christians. As well known commentator Adam Clarke put it... that they might be "fully persuaded of the truth of those doctrines" which had been taught them as the revealed will of God.

However this has to be tied in with Ephesians 4:13-14 in which mature or perfect Christians are contrasted with children, who are credulous, easily influenced and easily led astray..

    till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown (Greek teleios) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; [Ephesians 4:13-14] 

Certainly Epaphras was fervently praying that the members of the church in Colossae would become mature. But he was doing so because he know the high stakes involved.  It is only the mature believer that becomes so convinced of the truth of their faith that they can withstand every wile of man or devil that would lead less mature believers astray. The immature ones would be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.


Romans 12:1-2:
And, while Epaphras was praying that the church in Colossae would attain to the perfection or maturity needed to keep them steady in the faith, Paul was urging his Roman readers to do the same thing.

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your reasonable service (or worship). Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect (Greek teleios) will.

Everything that Paul exhorts these Christians to do is accomplished by them making a specific decision and commitment. They have to actively choose to present or offer their bodies as a living sacrifice (a metaphor taken from the Old Testament sacrifices offered on the altar), choose not to conform to the pattern of the world, and be transformed by the renewing of their minds. If God were the one renewing the minds of believers, they would automatically be transformed and would need to take no action whatsoever. [See More on This verse in Section Irresistible Grace]


Confused Teachings
John Piper's teaching on the 'warning verses' is extremely confused. He refers to the "many warnings in Scripture that those who do not hold fast to Christ can be lost in the end", but winds up contradicting himself in two consecutive statements. [Emphasis has been added to the quote to show the contradiction].

    It follows from what was just said that the people of God WILL persevere to the end and not be lost. The foreknown are predestined, the predestined are called, the called are justified, and the justified are glorified. No one is lost from this group. To belong to this people is to be eternally secure.

    But we mean more than this by the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. We mean that the saints will and must persevere in the obedience which comes from faith. Election is unconditional, but glorification is not. There are many warnings in Scripture that those who do not hold fast to Christ can be lost in the end. [48]

 Piper then quotes 2 Peter 1:10, adding that we should

    "be zealous to make our calling and election sure".

This brings up a number of questions...

    If no one is lost from the group that are foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified, then how can "glorification be conditional"?

    If "election is unconditional" surely there is absolutely nothing we can do to ensure that God's election stands firm, or isn't He capable of doing that?

    If "No one is lost from this group" why do we even have to bother to make our election sure?

    If "No one is lost from this group", why does Peter say "if you do this you will never fall".

      "Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." [2 Peter 1:10]

    Doesn't "No one is lost from this group" contradict "those who do not hold fast to Christ can be lost in the end"

For more on 2 Peter 1:10, and others like it, see Exhorting Believers to Make Their Election Sure
in Section Irresistible Grace.

 

Force?
Perhaps you remember that the word force came up in connection with God's Irresistible Grace, since the very definition of the word is that the person concerned has absolutely no choice in the matter.

Understandably it is argued that God doesn't force people to do anything. But consider that according to Calvinism, since faith is not something man chooses to do, but rather a work that God performs in him, it cannot be walked away from. A page on the Old School Baptist site shows that both the 1646 Westminster Presbyterian Confession and the 1689 London Baptist Confession say

    This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; [56]

Logic determines that a Christian that wishes to walk away from the faith and wishes NOT to be saved can not do so... He is being forced into something that he no longer desires.

But, once more, that is as it may be. There is one more point to be considered.


Death Before Sin
John Calvin would have us believe that the fall of Adam along with the rest of his posterity was "arranged" by God at "His own pleasure".

    God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand... [19]

And, since God only planned to elect some to salvation, the rest of humanity was doomed to eternal death before Adam sinned. Yet, the Bible tells us that God warned Adam that death would come into existence if he disobeyed.

    but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [Genesis 2:17] 

And, as Paul taught, that was exactly what happened. Sin and death initially entered the world because of the sin of one man.

    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

    For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [1Corinthians 15:21]

Besides which, Genesis 1:31 tells us that God called His creation "good", which seems strangely at odds with the fact that even as God was speaking, He was fully aware of the death sentence that hung over a large part of humanity and knew full well that the world would soon be filled with human being many of whom would be completely and permanently without hope. In light of this, His one word pronouncement ("good") on the world He created comes across as completely insensitive, even bizarre.

Or is it that John Calvin creating, as we said before, a god in his own image was completely off the mark, and it was the appointed prophet Ezekiel who knew a whole lot more about the God of the Universe than Calvin did. Flatly stating more than once that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel quoted God as saying...

    Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? saith the Lord Jehovah; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live? [Ezekiel 18:23] 

    For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves, and live. [Ezekiel 18:32] 

    Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? [Ezekiel 33:11] 

I would however like to consider one more aspect of Calvinism, and that how a Calvinist can, without crossing their fingers behind their backs, point to the cross and tell a non-believer that God loves them enough to sacrifice His one and only Son for their sins.

Part 7... When the Gospel Becomes a Lie  and Assurance of Salvation... How Can Any Calvinist KNOW He is Saved?

 

End Notes
[50] John Murray. Redemption Accomplished and Applied.  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, June 1984. Pgs 154-155

[51] J.I. Packer. Perseverance - God Keeps His People Safe. Christian Publication Resource Foundation. Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs. http://www.cpr-foundation.org/resources/essays/213

[52] Got Questions Ministries. Perseverance of the Saints - is it Biblical? http://www.gotquestions.org/perseverance-saints.html

[53] John F. MacArthur. Perseverance of The Saints. http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/J93-41-1.htm

[54] Matt O'Reilly. "In You" or "Among You All": Philippians 1:6 and the Perseverance of the Saints. May 29, 2009.
http://evangelicalarminian.blogspot.com/2009/05/in-you-or-among-you-all-philippians-16.html

[55] Ray C. Stedman. The Nature of Heresy.
http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/1-john/the-nature-of-heresy

[56] Comparison of 1644 Chapter 23 With 1689 Chapter 17 Of The Perseverance of the Saints

London Baptist Confessions of Faith.
http://www.oldschoolbaptist.org/Articles/Comparison1644and1689PerseveranceOfTheSaints.htm

Predestination-Back

Index To Calvinism

www.inplainsite.org