Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Lost

The young adult class at Canal Heights has been studying from Leroy Brownlow's book, "Why I am a Member of the Church of Christ," and this week we've arrived at the topic of Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS). Over the past few years I've seen a trend in the belief of OSAS reversing from most people believing it is true, now going towards more people believing that a child of God can become lost again if they continue in sin. In my studies, I've concluded that a child can indeed sin and lose their salvation due to sin. This post will have my studies combines with the chapter in Brownlow's book on the issue.

Brownlow makes a great point of the fact that the Bible does indeed include someone teaching the doctrine of OSAS and that it is taught as early in the Bible as Genesis chapter 3. It isn't God that teaches such a thing, but the Serpent. Contrary to what God had already said concerning eating the fruit, the Serpent said, "You will not surely die" (Gen 3:4). The Serpent told these two people, who had relationship with God, and stood with Him without sin in their lives were told that they could transgress what God had commanded and not suffer the consequences God had promised.

There are also many places within the New Testament that inspired authors warn saved Christians that it is indeed possible for them to lose their salvation. II Peter 1:5-8 give qualities that Christians are supposed to have and improve as they grow, yet in V.10, Peter wrote, "brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." The obvious implication here is that if a Christian refuses to have these virtues, he will fall, and verse 11 makes it clear that he will fall from having entrance into heaven.

In his letter to the Hebrew Christians, the author of Hebrews wrote, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God" (Heb 3:12). It is made clear that a true Christian can regain an unbelieving heart that will lead him to fall away from God and keep him from entering the rest that is heaven.

To the Galatians Paul wrote, "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace." Law here refers to the Mosaic Law, and grace here refers to the system that is the New Covenant. They could not be saved by both, so to try and be justified by the Old Law resulted in a falling away from God's new system that could justify. Brownlow argues: 1) Man is saved by grace (Eph. 2:8); 2) A Christian may fall from grace (Gal 5:4) 3) Therefore, a Christian can be lost.

Finally, II Peter 2:20 paints an undeniable picture of one falling from salvation. "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first." The one in Peter's picture escaped the entanglement of the world, became entangled again and became worse off than when he first began. Now if this man was not ever really saved to begin with, how could he be any worse off?

The New Testament makes it clear that one indeed can lose their salvation. Some might claim that this makes God unfair, taking back something He has given us, but from the start God was clear that one's salvation in Him required faithfulness to Him. It has been this way since the beginning of time. Does this mean that God is just waiting to "cut the rope" as we hang over hell? Of course not. God is patient and understanding, but patience and understanding does not cover one who choses to live in rebellion against God, who chooses to turn his back on God's way. Can a child of God sin as to become eternally lost? Yes, he can.

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