The Block Island Times
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Part 11 "Can a believer lose their salvation?"

By Block Island Christian Fellowship | Oct 16, 2012

The Qualifications Of A Widow “Having Damnation” 1 Tim 5:3-16 

We Have Died With Christ  “if we deny him, he also will deny us” 2 Tim 2:11-14 

Harden Not Your Hearts  “in departing from the living God” Heb 3:1-19 

For It Is Impossible For Those Who Were Once Enlightened   “whose end is to be burned” Heb 6:1-9

Not Forsaking The Assembling Of Ourselves Together  “looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” Heb 10:21-31

 

   Can you believe that there are more scriptures to look at? It’s hard to imagine that there are more verses to look at. However, the verses that we have looked at already and those that follow are used to formulate two different views on this topic “Can a believer lose their salvation?”.

   Either our continual sins, which when not repented of, causes us to lose our salvation (infers the departure of the indwelling Holy Spirit) and thus at physical death go we to hell or our continual sins, which when not repented of, causes the believer to lose the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit, who produces his fruit (spiritual qualities) in our life. Being void of the Spirit’s empowerment, we are left to operate in our own power. God’s desire is for us to be restored to fellowship with him. He will chasten (discipline) us for this purpose. At physical death this believer will go to heaven, but at the judgment their works will not receive any rewards.

   How are you doing? We probably will have one more part to this series after this one. Can you follow this study through to the end? When this paper is finished hopefully you will have an appreciation not only for the amount of study that was involved to bring forth this series, but also an awareness that this is the kind of study, which should be done for the many biblical topics that remain.

   Read the content for each section which follows, the suggested reading, and the reasons to support each of the two views, which are presented.

   Enjoy.   

* The Qualifications Of A Widow “Having Damnation”

   The verses that follow refer to the qualifications for placing a widow on a church list in order for her to receive financial support. Christians are admonished to provide for not only their widowed mother, but also for the widows who are relatives that have no children or grandchildren alive.

   If a believer chooses not to provide support, then they will be regarded as those who have disowned their faith.

   If a widow (Christian) has no children or grandchildren, and needs financial support from the church, then there are guidelines to follow that would allow her to be put on a church list.

   These guidelines are that she:

  1. Is at least 60 years of age.
  2. Has no opportunity to earn wages.
  3. Has no children or relatives remaining alive.
  4. Has placed her hope and keeps it on God.
  5. Directs her hope in God by continuing in petition and prayer on a daily basis.
  6. Is not involved in a sensual lifestyle.
  7. Is not open to censure (e.g. to find fault with; to criticize harshly).
  8. Is not living in pleasure, which is connected with luxurious living.
  9. Is a one man wife, faithful and good. This meets the same conditions as a person, who seeks the office of a pastor.                                                                                                                                          MARITAL CONDITIONS ALLOWED                                                                                                     Validly divorced people who remarried were considered married to one spouse.                                                                                                                                                     If the believing Christian is married to an unbeliever, and the unbeliever chooses to leave the marriage, then the believer is allowed to divorce and remarry. 1 Cor 7:15                                                               If the believing Christian is married to either a believer or unbeliever, who decides to engage in an extra marital affair, then the Christian is allowed to divorce and remarry. Matt 19:9                                 If the husband or wife dies, then he/she is allowed to remarry. Rom 7:2                                                    If the believing Christian is married to a believer, and the believer chooses to leave the marriage, then the believer is to remain unmarried or be reconciled. 1 Cor 7:10,11
  10. Has a good reputation by others, who speak well of her and regard her favorably: in child rearing; in lodging strangers; in washing the saint’s feet; and in relieving the afflicted.

   Some infer that these widows, who are enrolled on this list, pledged themselves to remain a widow and serve the Lord in the church. Whether this is true or not I don’t know.

   Those widows, who are under 60 years of age are not to be enrolled in the body of widows who are to receive church support. They should consider remarrying, bearing children, and guiding the house.

   If widows under 60 years of age were allowed to be placed on the widow’s list, then this could present problems, because there might be some of those widows, who might be experiencing strong physical desires particularly of a sexual nature that are determined to marry. There is nothing wrong with desiring to get married, however if this is a widow’s chief preoccupation, then the result will be that they could withdraw from serving Christ, thus having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

   Because of their over occupation with a mindset that solely serves their own needs to the exclusion of continuing on in the faith, they could develop a habit of becoming idle (refusing to engage in any meaningful activity); wandering from house to house (this could relate to house visitation); being engaged in tattling (talking nonsense about other people’s affairs); and also being engaged as busybodies ((prying into the affairs of others); and speaking things that they ought not (disclosing secrets; revealing the concerns of their neighbors).

Suggested Reading: 1 Tim 5:3-16

 

9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

                                                        Can A Believer In Christ Lose Their Salvation?

Yes

No

   These younger widows, who have a preoccupation with getting married to the exclusion of continuing on in their first faith, will wholly, fall away, thus receiving the damnation of eternal death.

 

12 “Having damnation” the damnation of eternal death; that they would lose their souls. 

12 “cast off” wholly fall away.

12 “first faith” their first pledge; covenant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   These younger widows, who have a preoccupation with getting married to the exclusion of continuing on in their first faith, will incur judgment (e.g. misery of soul and discipline from God) for their unholy thoughts, words, and deeds. This judgment is ultimately for restoration to their first faith.

 

12 “Having damnation” they incur condemnation; they incur judgment;

12 “cast off” to act toward something as if it were annulled.

12 “first faith” their first pledge; covenant.

 

Gal 6:7-8

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

Heb 12:5-6,11

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 

 

* We have died with Christ  “if we deny him, he also will deny us”

   In view of the fact that we have died with Christ, we shall also live by means of him. If we remain faithful in the midst of suffering, then we will reign (a measure of reigning with Him now, by His enthroning Himself in our hearts) with him. If we deny him, then he will deny us. If we believe not, then he cannot deny himself. Suggested Reading: 2 Tim 2:11-14

 

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

                                                        Can A Believer In Christ Lose Their Salvation?

Yes

No

   If we deny (not remain faithful in the midst of suffering; to dissociate oneself with; to repudiate) Christ, then he will deny (denying that one is his follower; will not acknowledge us as his own; will disown us) us. This idea of Christ denying us has to do with our relationship with him and the resulting lose of eternal life.  

 

12 “if we deny him” the act of repudiating or disowning Christ in the midst of persecution and suffering; is used of followers of Jesus who, for fear of death or persecution, deny that Jesus is their master, and desert his cause (to disown).

12 “he also will deny us” will not acknowledge us as his own; of Jesus, denying that one is his follower.

 

Matt 10:32-33

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

 

   If we deny (not remain faithful in the midst of suffering), then he will deny us. This idea of Christ denying us has to do with our fellowship with him and nothing to do with losing eternal life.  

   Similar verses of scripture which convey this idea of physical suffering for Christ’s sake, are found in 2 Cor 4:5-10. Paul and Timothy always carried around the death of Jesus, meaning that they suffered intensely (in their body) for him, amidst great perils. Their bodies bore the marks of being exposed to the same treatment as the Lord, so that the power of the resurrection life might be seen in their bodies.

   The idea of Christ denying us has to do with his resurrection life remaining operative in our life. If we operate in the flesh, then we will be operating in our own power and in this sense Christ has denied us.

   The idea of relationship or losing eternal life is found in verse 13 of 2 Tim 2. If we believe not (are unfaithful; untrue in our Christian life), then he cannot deny himself (cannot disown himself; not deny unprofitable members of his body).

 

13 “believe not” unfaithfulness.

"If we are untrue to the Lord Jesus in our Christian lives," is the idea

13 “he cannot deny himself” he remains faithful; Christ's faithfulness to Christians is not contingent on their faithfulness to Him

 

2 Cor 4:5-10

  

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

 

 

* Harden Not Your Hearts  “in departing from the living God”

   Paul is instructing the believers to not harden (to refuse to listen to what someone is saying) their hearts. He reminds them of the example of the Israelites, who murmured against Moses during the wilderness wanderings, when they were at Rephidim, because of a lack of fresh water. Instead of asking Moses to seek God’s assistance in this matter, they offered up a question to him, which indicated that God might no longer be with them.

 

Ex 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

 

   This refusal to trust and obey God continued throughout their 40 year wandering in the wilderness. When the 12 spies were sent to search out the promised land of Canaan only two them gave a favorable report. Most of the initial generation that came out of Egypt were not allowed to enter the land of Canaan. Only Joshua, Caleb, and the new generation were allowed to enter in.

   Whether we are in the wilderness or in the land of Canaan, entering into God’s rest is determined by seeking and relying upon him no matter what. This doesn’t mean that there will no longer be any more testings or temptations, but what it does mean is that we can see God work in these areas on our behalf as we learn to think with him and follow his promptings.

   Beware (keep a watchful eye ever open) lest you operate in a rebellious heart like the Israelites that results in you departing from the living God.

   Keep your own faith in Christ and encourage one another so that you do not renounce your faith in Him in favor of some other belief system. Suggested Reading: Heb 3:1-19

 

12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

                                                        Can A Believer In Christ Lose Their Salvation?

Yes

No

   Any believer, who renounces their faith in Christ and subscribes to a belief system that is diametrically opposed to it, can lose their salvation and become an unbeliever.

 

12 “departing from the living God” a brother can change and become an unbeliever. (Patrick Donohue’s   )

Apostasy is defined as the act of someone who has previously subscribed to a certain belief, and who now renounces his former professed belief in favor of some other which is diametrically opposed to what he believed before.

(from Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, Copyright 1940-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Copyrights © renewed 1968-73 by Jeannette I. Wuest. All rights reserved.)

 

 

 

   Any believer, who renounces their faith in Christ and subscribes to a belief system that is diametrically opposed to it, has become an apostate. Their thoughts are no longer occupied with the mind of Christ and their power is no longer derived from the Holy Spirit.

   Their minds, speech, and actions evidence a different belief system, which is dependent on self effort, self satisfaction, and self accomplishment. They are still a believer in Christ, but have no witness of Him in their life.

 

12 “departing from the living God”

Apostasy is defined as the act of someone who has previously subscribed to a certain belief, and who now renounces his former professed belief in favor of some other which is diametrically opposed to what he believed before.

(from Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, Copyright 1940-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Copyrights © renewed 1968-73 by Jeannette I. Wuest. All rights reserved.)

1. Consenting to sin, being deceived by its solicitations.

2. Hardness of heart, through giving way to sin.

3. Unbelief in consequence of this hardness which leads them to call even the truth of the Gospel in question.

4. This unbelief causing them to speak evil of the Gospel, and the provision God has made for the salvation of their souls.

5. Apostasy itself, or falling off from the living God; and thus extinguishing all the light that was in them, and finally grieving the Spirit of God, so that he takes his flight, and leaves them to a seared conscience and reprobate mind.

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

 

* For It Is Impossible For Those Who Were Once Enlightened   “whose end is to be burned”

   These verses are some of the most controversial concerning this topic of “Can a believer lose their salvation?”

   In my opinion, these verses are addressed to believers, and not to unbelievers, who some believe are in the church periphery, but are not saved.

   The context talks about these believers leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ and going on to perfection (maturity). Some, who have been enlightened (in their minds and hearts by the Holy Spirit in order to understand the Gospel), and have tasted (become sharers) of the heavenly gift (the Holy Spirit), and were made partakers (partakers of the influences) of the Spirit, if having fallen away, are impossible to be renewed again to repentance. Suggested Reading: Heb 6:1-9

 

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

                                                        Can A Believer In Christ Lose Their Salvation?

Yes

No

   These believers did not to go on to maturity, because they totally abandoned their faith. They have lost their salvation and God will not allow them to come back.

   They are like the farmer’s land, which after the rains brings forth thorns and briers, is rejected, because it has no value, and is to be destroyed by fire (analogous to going to hell at physical death).

 

4 “impossible” God will not allow them to come back in.

6 “fall away” a total defection; of losing one’s salvation; to become disqualified for further service.

6 “to renew them again unto repentance” to save them again.

8 “rejected” has no value.

8 “cursing” devoted to destruction.

8 “burned” destroyed by fire.

 

   These believers did not to go on to maturity, because they totally abandoned their faith. Because they operated in a depraved mind it is impossible for them to repent (change their minds and ways) and be renewed (sanctified by the Holy Spirit).

   They are like the farmer’s land, which after the rains brings forth thorns and briers, is rejected, because it has no value, and is to be destroyed by fire (punishment). The purpose of setting a field on fire was not only to destroy the unwanted produce, but to destroy the seeds of the weeds so that the field could be used again for farming.

   If it were left up to those, who are in this apostate state, they would never return to their faith. However, God will chastise them with the hope that they will acknowledge their ungodly works and repent and be renewed bringing forth fruit for God’s glory. 

 

4 “impossible” because of their apostate state, nothing can deter them from the retribution toward which they are headed. 

6 “fall away” to deviate from the right path;

6  “to renew them again unto repentance” they could not be brought to repentance while they were treating Jesus Christ in such a shameful way. Once they stop disgracing Jesus Christ in this way, they can be brought to repentance and renew their fellowship with God.

6 “seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”

If you could lose your salvation, it would be impossible to get it back again; and this would disgrace Jesus Christ. He would have to be crucified again for you, and this could never happen.

8 “rejected” the crops of the land are abandoned as worthless.

8 “cursing” the land is abandoned as useless.

8 “burned” refers to the destruction of the unwanted produce (analogous to a believer’s works), but the field is not destroyed.

"It is often useful to set fire to barren lands, and burn the light stubble in crackling flames." The PURPOSE of burning land in this way was to render it available for useful purposes; or to destroy noxious weeds, and thorns, and underbrush.

(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

“renewing”

"This is the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the divine image" (Trench). This is the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.

(from Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, Copyright 1940-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Copyrights © renewed 1968-73 by Jeannette I. Wuest. All rights reserved.)

 

 

* Not Forsaking The Assembling Of Ourselves Together  “looking for of judgment and fiery indignation”

   Let us enter the presence of God with a right and genuine attitude toward Him with unwavering confidence by the blood of Christ and purification of the soul by the grace and Spirit of Christ.

   Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith without being shaken by trials or by the arguments of our enemies.

   Let us take careful note of each other’s spiritual welfare, provoking (stirring up each others religious affections and ministries), in order that love and good works (assistance) may be shown toward fellow Christians and others.

   We are not to forsake the habit of meeting together for reading, exhortation, and worship. It is interesting to note that the emphasis here is not on what a believer gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the assembly. Encourage each other to go.

   If we repeatedly commit the deliberate and willful sin of renouncing our Christian faith, after having received a living believing knowledge of the truth, by returning to the temple sacrifices, then there is no longer a sacrifice left by which we can deal with our sins by means of repentance.

   What therefore remains is a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall destroy those, who oppose God. Like those Jews under Moses, who committed willful sins, and received judgment and not atonement and forgiveness, of how much more severe punishment is there for these Jewish believers, who have trodden under foot (considered as rubbish) the Son of God by deliberately and contemptuously rejecting his sacrificial death on the cross, considering it to be of no value. Suggested Reading: Heb 10:21-31

 

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 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?

                                                        Can A Believer In Christ Lose Their Salvation?

Yes

No

   These Jewish believers, who at one time heard the gospel, having it made clear to them by the Holy Spirit, and responded to it, are now treating the blood of covenant (the Messianic sacrifice of the son of God) as an unholy thing renouncing its efficacy.

   This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for a much worse punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic setup. This punishment is the loss of salvation to eternal damnation.

 

26 “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” implies the loss of salvation.

27 “fiery indignation” the fire being instinct with divine wrath; a reference to hell.

29 “sorer punishment” There is this likeness between apostates under the Law and under the Gospel, that both perish without mercy; but the kind of death is different; for the Apostle denounces on the despisers of Christ not only the deaths of the body, but eternal perdition.

   These Jewish believers, who at one time heard the gospel, having it made clear to them by the Holy Spirit, and responded to it, are now treating the blood of covenant (the Messianic sacrifice of the son of God) as an unholy thing renouncing its efficacy.

   This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for a much worse punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic setup. This punishment could involve a form of divine retribution (e.g. mental and emotional turmoil) that can be worse than immediate physical death.

 

26 “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” there is no longer a sacrifice left which can deal with our sin.

27 “fiery indignation” severe discipline; not a reference to hell.

29 “sorer punishment” diving retribution; severer punishment.

 

 

   We have one part left in this series. Next week there will be a guest speaker. So in two weeks Part 12 will be posted. Thanks.

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