Salvation

 

 

4. In my judgement the Scripture teaches that a believer was chosen by God according to God’s purpose in election, for in the Book of the Acts of the apostles it is written: “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48 – NKJV), and Jesus said: “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep” (John 10:26 – NKJV). However, I wonder why some Christians, who appear really converted, walk with the Lord for several years, they are blessed with the gifts of the Spirit, but at a certain point of their life they fall away. Since they have denied the Lord, are they lost in spite of their election?

 

 

First of all, let me say to you that when I began to study the purpose of God according to election, I asked myself the same question. Here is my answer, which I have given to all those who have put this question to me.

There are some who have believed, just like you and me, but they believe only for a time. These people are the ones – according to the parable of the sower – sown on stony ground, as it is written: “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13 – NKJV). Notice carefully that Jesus said that they also believed, therefore we must conclude that they too received remission of sins and eternal life, they too were born of God, but when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, they draw back. And as you know, God says about the just: “If he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him” (Hebrews 10:38 – NIV). So we cannot say about those persons that they looked like believers or that they seemed to be converted, but we must say that one day they also believed and were saved from their sins.

What will happen to those who draw back? They will go to perdition, as it is written: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition” (Hebrews 10:39 – NKJV). As far as this subject is concerned, things are very clear.

At this point this question arises, which torments the mind of many: ‘How can such a thing happen, since they also had believed in the Lord by the will of God?’ Well, I tell you that it has not been granted to me to know why such a thing happens, all I know is that it happens.

However, the fact that a believer will lose his salvation if he draws back (that is to say, if he denies the Lord or if he commits the sin unto death) is confirmed by the Scriptures of the New Testament in several other places. Follow me:

Paul says to Timothy: “If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12 – NKJV), and to the Romans: “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:19-22 – NKJV). Notice carefully that Paul here is speaking to someone who has believed, for he says that he stands by faith (verse 20), and not to someone who has not believed. What does Paul say to him? He says that if he does not endure to the end, he also will be rejected. And in the words he wrote to Timothy, he says, that if we deny the Lord (Paul includes himself among those who may deny the Lord), He also will deny us. It must be said, therefore, that if a believer does not continue in the faith to the end, but he draws back, he will be denied by the Lord. Notice the ‘ifs’ and the ‘otherwises’ and keep them in mind.

Listen, I often meditate on predestination, and whenever I think about these passages I must accept them, even though they seem to contradict the purpose of God according to election. Why do I say that they seem to contradict it? Because actually they don’t contradict it, because the Word of God does not contradict itself. Of course, as far as the perseverance of the saints is concerned, there are some secret things we don’t know yet, however we must recognize that if on the one hand we were predestined to believe, on the other hand IF we draw back the Lord will deny us. I advise you, when you meditate on the purpose of God according to election, to read not only those passages which state that God chose us, foreknew us and predestined us, etc., but also those passages which state one way or another that if we deny the Lord, He also will deny us.

There are some other passages of the Scriptures which affirm that a believer can fall away; they are written in the epistle to the Hebrews.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:4-8 – NKJV). Notice that the writer is speaking of persons who really believed, for he says the following things: they have been enlightened (that is, they saw the light after they came out of darkness); they have tasted the heavenly gift (that is, eternal life); they have become partakers of the Holy Spirit (therefore they received the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance); they have tasted the good word of God (therefore they took pleasure in the Word of God); they have tasted the powers of the age to come (that is, the gifts of the Holy Spirit). Do not be deceived by those who teach that the persons about whom the writer of this epistle is speaking here are not true believers or persons who were really converted, because what they say is untrue. It is sufficient to know the English language in order to understand that the writer here is speaking of the saints, that is, of those who have been born again. What does the writer say? He says that if they fall away – and their fall is not any fall because Wisdom says that a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again (Proverbs 24:16), but the fall from which it is impossible to rise again and which consists in denying and forsaking the Lord – then they can’t be brought back to repentance. This is why this fall is called sin unto death (1 John 5:16), because those who commit this sin go to perdition.

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:26-31). First of all notice that the words “if we sin wilfully” refer to the sin unto death, of which a believer can’t repent because he crucifies again for himself the Son of God and puts Him to an open shame; and secondly that he who commits this sin is deserving of a much worse punishment than he who rejects Moses’ law because he has trampled the Son of God underfoot and has counted the blood of the covenant, by which he was sanctified, a common thing (notice that one day he was sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and afterward he insulted the Spirit of grace).

Therefore, brother, as you can see, the Bible contains also several passages which warn believers against casting away their faith (for these passages say that if they cast away their faith, they will go to eternal perdition). I say it again, I accept also this part of the counsel of God, even though it seems to contradict the purpose of God according to election.

Furthermore, what the Bible says is confirmed by the fact that many believers (some of them had made miracles and spoken in other tongues), after they walked with the Lord for many years, cast away their faith.

 

 

 

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