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Introduction, Biblical Verses That Supposedly Teach Eternal Security, Warnings From The Old Testament, Warnings From The New Testament, Some Who Fell Away In The New Testament, Repenting and Returning to The Faith?
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Jesus' Warnings About Enduring to The End
There are some who claim that because Jesus and the apostles were speaking to groups of people comprised of both believers and unbelievers, the warnings were 'general' ones. (Or we can always assume they were talking through their hats).
Jesus' Parables About Persevering to The End
Many of the parables Jesus told were about the importance of being prepared and staying the course -those who persevere to the end will be saved, which implies that those who do not persevere to the end will not be saved and would suffer very unpleasant consequences.
What The Bible really Teaches.
Jesus' Warnings About Enduring to The End
There are some who claim that because Jesus and the apostles were speaking to groups of people comprised of both believers and unbelievers, the warnings were 'general' ones. (Or we can always assume they were talking through their hats). Even if the claimant is not himself using this 'general warning' bit as an excuse for 'easy' Christianity, many who hear or read their message will.
However, as you will see in many of the examples below, the warnings could only be applied to those who were already believers.
Both Jesus and Paul prophesied that people would abandon or fall away from the faith in the final days. Note that people cannot abandon or fall away from a faith they never really had.
At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. (Matthew 24:10-11 NASB)
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1 NASB)
Jesus' Many Messages About Perseverance to The End
Jesus frequently taught that those who do not persevere to the end will not be saved.
You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Matthew 10:22 NASB)
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Matthew 24:9-13 NASB)
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; (Revelation 2:26 NASB)
All of which bring up a very important question - If a person has to endure to the end to be saved, the question is what specific point in time is this "end" that Jesus referred to?
See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet - Part IV of The End of The Age
The Seventh Trumpet is, in a sense, the most eventful of all them all, since it literally ushers the old age out, and the new one in. In summary, this last and final Trumpet... a) Brings and end to the mystery of God, when the doors to the Kingdom close forever with no possibility of redemption for any that have not yet become a disciple of the Lamb. b) Marks the point when believers are caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (the rapture). The dead will rise first, followed by those still alive at this point. Note: "sons of the kingdom", as they are called, are physically moved off the earth for a very specific reason. c) Introduces the Seven Bowls that end all things.
The Lost Sheep
Pay close attention to the words of our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew.
"What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? "If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. (Matthew 18:12-13 NASB)
The word If clearly implies the possibility that the sheep will not be found and returned to the fold.
The Narrow Gate
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14)
According to Jesus' words above, only a relatively few people will enter life. One has to stay on the narrow road in order to enter through the narrow gate.
The people Jesus speak of in the following verses have prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles. Significantly, they even did these things in the name of Jesus whom they call "Lord" . Yet, all their impressive spiritual accomplishments count for absolutely nothing unless accompanied by obedience to the commandments of the Father.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.' (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)
Message To the Seven Churches:
Jesus' message to at least two of the seven churches warned them that they had serious problems which threatened their relationship with him and their salvation.
The church at Ephesus: 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp stand out of its place--unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5 NASB)
The church at Laodicea: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NASB)
Blotted From the Lamb's Book Of Life
Jesus told the church in Sardis that overcomers who have not soiled their garments would not have their names erased from the same book. The very word overcome implies hurdles and difficulties that a person has to succeed in dealing with... in other words, they have to persevere to the end.
'But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:4-5 NASB)
This brings up the obvious question of what happens to those whose names are not found in the book? According to Revelation 20:15...
... if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 NASB)
Also note this exchange between Moses and God..
Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, "Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. "But now, if You will, forgive their sin - and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!" The Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. (Exodus 32:31-33 NASB)
Words To The Wise - Jesus' Parables About Persevering to The End
Jesus frequently taught, often in parables, that those who persevere to the end will be saved, which implies that those who do not persevere to the end will not be saved.
Parable of The Unfaithful Steward
was a warning to be prepared at all times for the master's return, and the fate that will befall those who are not.
It centered around a steward who was put in charge of his master's servants - a position of responsibility. He could go one of two ways - be found faithfully discharging his duties when the master returned or seeing no sign of the master's return begin to indulge in excesses of eating and drinking (rather than providing food for the household) and abusing those he was supposed to watch over.
And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. "Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, (Luke 12:42-47 NASB)
This steward had some position of responsibility within the Kingdom which finds its parallel in the church leadership who's responsibility it is to give the household "food in due season." Sadly so many modern day church leaders seem to have completely lost sight of the Master and are busy creating their own little kingdoms.
As the parable clearly states they will be assigned a place with the unbelievers.
The Parable Of The King's Banquet:
This parable initially illustrates the invitation to the Kingdom - the Gospel. The king held a great banquet, but the guests first invited (the Jews) "paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them." (Matthew 22:2-10). The invitation then went out to the general public (the Gentiles), many of whom did accept and, as the parable goes on to say "the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests".
"But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. "Then he *said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. (Matthew 22:7-10 NASB)
But, when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a person not wearing wedding clothes, upon which he had the man thrown out into the darkness ...
"But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:11-14 NASB)
In other words, someone accepted the invitation to the banquet but failed to adequately prepare for the occasion and was cast out.
Parable of The Unforgiving Servant
According to Jesus, "the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves". However, one slave did not have the means to repay the debt. Fearing that his family and all he owned would have to be sold, he begged the king for time. The compassionate king went further than asked and completely forgave him his debt. However, the slave in question was not cut from the same cloth...
"But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
"Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:23-35 NASB)
The very fact that this servant had been forgiven his debt. However when he refused to forgive one of his debtors just as he had been forgiven, the king reinstated the debt he had formerly forgiven. Tell us something?
Does God expect us to forgive everyone who sins against us, even those who don't admit their sin and request forgiveness?
The Parable Of The Sower
And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. "Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. "Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. "And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. (Matthew 13:3-8 NASB)
Upon being questioned, Jesus explained this parable in very unambiguous terms. Of the four groups of people who heard the word, the first group never really absorbed the Word. The seed of the word actually began to germinate in the next two. However, because the second group had no root, the plant did not survive long. The word was literally choked out of the third group by worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. Only in the last group did the seed not only germinate but produced a bountiful crop. (Matthew 13:18-23).
Please note that there can not be no debate as to whether the second group were believers. In the parallel account in Luke 8, when Jesus was explaining the parable, He used the same Greek word (pisteuo) for those that heard the Word but did not believe and those that believed for a while.
"Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe (Gk. pisteuo) and be saved. "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe (Gk. pisteuo) for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. (Luke 8:12-13 NASB)
Additionally, Luke 8:6 says the plants of the second group withered away, because it had no moisture. Something has to have life before it can ever wither away.
The Parables Of The Vine, Branches And Vineyard
"A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" (Luke 13:6-9 NASB)
God, depicted as the owner of the vineyard, wants to cut down the non-productive fig tree. Jesus, who takes care of the vineyard intercedes wanting to try to get the tree to produce fruit. Note however that even Jesus agrees that the tree must be cut down if it does not produce fruit after being given another chance for one more year. He does not intercede for us forever.
Parable of the Ten Virgins
This parable tells of five foolish women who went out to meet the bridegroom with no oil in their lamps. And, to make matters worse, they had taken none with them. Note: the bridegroom is a type of the coming of the Messiah at the end of the age.
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. "Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. "For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' "Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. "The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' "But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 NASB)
People commonly believe that the five foolish virgins were never saved in the first place. However, the text is clear - In the beginning no distinction can be made between the two sets of women. All of them were invited to the wedding, and all of them accepted the invitation. The five foolish virgins even addressed the groom as "Lord" (V. 11). The major difference was that the foolish ones brought their lamps, but no oil. Also note that the lamps carried by the five foolish women did light for a while before going out. They, quite simply, did not ensure they had the the resources to stay the course.
The five wise virgins are sometimes perceived as selfish. However, the saved cannot share salvation with the unsaved. Each person has to make their own choices and preparation, bearing in mind that there will come a point in time,when the doors of salvation will be forever closed and one's rejection of Christ cannot be reversed. [When does this happen? See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet]
The fact that this parable was related by Jesus not to the crowds or the religious leaders,but to His disciples, should serve as a very serious warning to the church to be prepared for all eventualities until the coming of the bridegroom.
The idea of being permanently saved irrespective of how one conducts one's life goes against the very grain of the Gospel. See The Message of the Bible
Unfortunately, this unbiblical and dangerous doctrine has been passed down from generation to generation spread by the contaminated teachings in this or the other seminary or Bible school - the same old tired proof texts given and accepted.
I could not ask for anything more than this article impresses the fear of the Lord on someone who is breezing through life thinking they are saved but, in reality, has the arrow of God's justice aimed squarely at them.
But what about the false teachers who propagate this insidious doctrine?
Tragically, they usually seem to hold, with a tenacious grip, onto what they themselves were led to believe. They are right and that is the end of the matter. Considering that Jesus said that drowning would be better for anyone who causes a believer to stumble (Matthew 18:6), I do not hold any hope that they will escape judgment regardless of how 'orthodox' they appear to be.
What The Bible really Teaches.
In any case, what should really put the fear of God into us is that NO living Christian can claim to be finally saved.
What am I talking about?
It is commonly believed that Christ's death on the cross was the atonement for our sins. However, according to Scripture, this is not quite true. The New Testament sometimes says that salvation is an accomplished reality, and at other times says it is still in the future, a seeming contradiction that is not limited to salvation alone.
But to properly understand the concept requires a more complete understanding of the atonement, for which we have to turn to the very solemn Old Testament feast of Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. We have to remember that every detail of the Yom Kippur ritual was very specifically laid out by God, and that the author of Hebrews both compared and contrasted Yom Kippur with Christ's redeeming sacrifice on the cross. In other words, the imperfect observances on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) were but a type, or shadow, of the perfect to come.
In the Old Testament, the shedding of the animal's blood outside the tabernacle on Yom Kippur was not an end in itself. It had to be brought into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled on the Mercy Seat and offered to God as physical evidence that the price had been paid.
In exactly the same way, Christ's sacrifice on Calvary was not all that was required. It was the first half of the 'process' (for want of a better word), with the second half of the ritual yet to come. His blood has been shed, but because it has not yet been offered to the Father, the atonement is not yet complete. See The Two Phase Atonement