The Quest For Salvation!

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Matthew 7:13-14)

“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” 

(Luke 13:24)

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word

The Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ

We must be born again spiritually to enter the kingdom of Heaven (John 3:1-20).  We have all sinned (Psalm 53:2-3 & Romans 3:10-12), and our soul, being contaminated with sin, is separated from our Holy Creator (Isaiah 59:2 & Romans 3:23).  Thus, our sins has earned us a place in the eternal lake of fire (Hell), which is the second death (Romans 6:23a & Revelation 14:9-11; 20:11-15).  That’s the bad news.

 But the good news is that God did not want to leave us stuck in our impossible situation, so He sent His Son to come to earth, take on human flesh and give Himself has a payment for our sin (John 1:1; 14, Romans 5:6-8 & Hebrews 10:1-31).  The choice for every human being is to believe in the reality of this, by repenting of our sins and turning to Jesus Christ, making Him our Lord and Savior, which allows our soul to be reconnected to the Creator, or reject His gracious sacrifice and finished work on our behalf.  The perfect and innocent blood of Jesus Christ is the only solution God has provided to cleanse a sin-infested soul (John 8:24; 14:6).  Those who seek to justify their soul some other way will be significantly disappointed, for God will quarantine sin in Hell forever.  Those who love their sin more than their Creator will be placed with their sin.  To get our name in the book of life, our soul must be redeemed by the blood of Jesus (see the final judgment – Revelation 20:11-15).

Real Christianity Vs. The Fake Christian Religion


Watch this short video about the Thief on the cross 

and his last day on earth! 

               God’s love and forgiveness are available, even to the worst of us.


How is a soul saved and
given entrance into Heaven?


Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from
whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for
them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing
before the throne, and books were opened; 
and another book was opened, which is the book of life;  and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the
second death, the lake of fire.  
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15)

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like filthy (diseased and putrid) rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

Sin pollutes all our best deeds before a Holy Creator.
So how does a person get their name in the book of Life?

The Quest to Fully Understand Biblical Salvation

Have you ever questioned if salvation can be understood to the point where it is a known certainty? Most believe it can’t be, but their assumption is not based on God’s word.

How Do You Know You Are Truly Saved (right with God)?  

(Phase One)

ALLOW ME TO BE RIGHT UP FRONT WITH YOU AND SPELL OUT THE COLD, HARD TRUTH – If God has not told you that you are His child (that your soul is saved by Him forever, right in the here and now), THEN YOU SIMPLY ARE NOT (see Romans 8:16 & 1 John 5:10-13), and you should definitely question your position before God at this point very seriously (2 Corinthians 13:5). The fact is that most people don’t truly know about the supernatural, divine assurance of salvation. Most do not believe it is even possible for a person to hear from God and know that they can have absolute 100% certainty in an eternal salvation, i.e. Heaven guaranteed for one’s soul by God.  Nevertheless, it is true that salvation is available, so do not fear or despair, for every human being who is truly willing can know they have it.  Why? Because, those who honestly and earnestly seek for God will find Him.

Actually, most people will tell you that you can never know the reality of a secured position with God and many would even become rather indignant about it, because they are aware that they don’t have such knowledge.  Therefore, they conclude and firmly believe no one else could know either, which is quite arrogant, because essentially, they are saying that they are smarter and wiser than all other humans on the planet, concluding that no one else could have found such an answer, since they haven’t.  In other words, they believe their perception of life and God is infallible, even though God soundly refutes their lack of understanding.  Woe unto any mere human who thinks they are wiser than God Almighty, by claiming their own authority and knowledge is higher than their Creator’s.

On the other side of this are those who firmly believe they do have eternal salvation, but for many of them, it is based purely on ignorance and/or arrogance as well.  These are actually the individuals whose souls are in the greatest danger, because a false certainty is usually much harder to deprogram and correct than any possible flawed uncertainty.

First, let us deal with the greater deception of false assurance, which is rampant in much of Christianity, along with some false religions and cults.  Most religions teach that that being a “good person” and doing “good works” is all that is necessary to win God’s favor and mercy to gain entrance into Heaven. Most people who consider themselves religious or spiritual would confirm this concept, as it seems to fit in well to the way humans perceive God assesses mankind.  Yet, this thinking is completely opposed to what God has spelled out to humanity in the Bible.  In fact, God tells us that the only thing we are really “good” at – is sinning (Romans 3:10-23). 

This immediately offends the self-righteous, who have a very distorted idea of what righteousness actually is, which they have religiously attempted to keep to, in vain.  The offense runs deep in these people, because it tells them that all their hard work and self-restrictions have been wasted, gaining nothing for their efforts, which is like feeling that you have worked hard all day long in the hot sun and now you find out that you are not going to be paid for it.  No wonder they are so angry when they hear this.

But, the Bible tells us that God is Holy (pure and righteous), so much so that He cannot even look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13).  The Prophet Isaiah said we are all unclean and all of our righteous works are like filthy, contaminated rags before our Holy Creator (Isaiah 64:6).

We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy standard (Romans 3:23 & 1 John 1:8) and every sin we have committed earns us the death penalty (Romans 6:23).  All sin is very serious, because of its powerful influence and extremely destructive nature. God has no intention of allowing anyone still contaminated with sin into to His pure, unblemished home, in Heaven.

Good works do not have the power cleanse sin off of our soul; this is why God rejects this flawed man-made concept.  Unfortunately, most people reject God’s position on this reality to their own eternal harm.  They act as if that can set aside God’s chief characteristic, holiness (Isaiah 6:1-3 & Revelation 4:8), and only consider His grace, mercy and forgiveness, which they believe should be blindly joined to their good works for a ticket into paradise.  Thus, they feel fairly good about their chances of making it into Heaven.

But God has already said that He rejects our good works in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  God says He offers grace to us, but that He absolutely disregards our works as meaningless.   Therefore, all of humanity who are hoping in their good deeds are in real trouble and headed for extreme disappointment, as we are all enveloped in sin. This is confirmed in the passage written about the final judgment of the entire human race before the throne of God in Revelation 20:11-15.

In this small set of just five verses we are told that all the deeds of everyone (including the good and the bad deeds together) are written in a volume of books up in Heaven and everyone who was trusting in their deeds to earn them a spot in Heaven is thrown into the lake of fire (Hell).  Yet, it goes on to say that only those who have their name written in the book of life will be allowed to go into Heaven, with all the rest being tossed into Hell forever.

Most will not listen to this truth or believe it when they are told, but the thinking person here is asking, “How do I acquire God’s favor/grace and get my name in the book of life, especially if it has nothing to do with my works or deeds?”  This is where it is very important to learn how God’s economy is different from man’s economy.

God knows that sin’s ultimate penalty must be paid for by death, through the shedding of blood.  But unfortunately, those who sin (which is all of us) are already guilty and have multiple death sentences against us, because we have all sinned, a lot.  Just take a peek at the Ten Commandments if you really don’t think you are that bad.  In Exodus 20:1-17 we see God’s basic, minimum standards for righteousness.  God shows us that if we did not put Him first in everything, all the time, keep His name Holy and never use it in vain, honor our parents all the time, not lust, not steal anything, not lie and not want anything our neighbor has, etc., then we are in big trouble, because sin is all over us like a big, thick, black blob of tar, and it’s spreading and growing heavier on and in us every day we live, like a malignant cancer.

God knew we could never solve our sin problem and get cleaned up enough to make it into Heaven, so He came Himself, taking on human flesh. Jesus Christ lived out His purity before us for 33 years, then offered Himself up for us as a substitutionary sacrifice, paying the death penalty for us, so that we could be free from our sin.  The Blood of Jesus Christ has now become the one and only solvent for humanity’s sin. God’s grace and mercy are completely contingent upon His pure and holy sacrifice for us.  Either we will repent (desire to turn away) from our sin, accepting Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice to become free (forgiven of ALL our sin), or we will reject it, and pay for our sins ourselves.

Sadly, even Jesus predicted that the vast majority of mankind would reject His sacrifice for them (Matthew 7:13-14).  Yet, even though He knew this, He chose to die for everyone anyway, taking all our sin punishment upon Himself at the cross, demonstrating just how much He loves us all (Romans 5:6-8).


For those who come to understand the reality of this great act of God’s love that He has done for them personally, then all they need to do is cry out to God, the Lord Jesus Christ, with a sorrowful and repentant heart and ask Him to forgive them of their many sins and come into their life to be their Lord and Savior.  If a person does this sincerely, He will hear them and come to them and they will know that they are forgiven.

How Do You Know You Are Truly Saved (right with God)? 

(Phase Two)

The second phase is much more difficult to address, because this group of individuals believes that they have prayed the prayer for forgiveness and they have been told that God’s grace is assured to them and it can never be questioned.  This is a most powerful deception, because they believe they are exercising faith to continue to believe they have the grace and forgiveness God offers.  Additionally, they know God cannot break His promise, so they are convinced their soul is secure in God.

However, the problem exists not with what God has promised, but with our understanding of how we actually obtain genuine grace.  A false grace has been taught and freely disseminated throughout much of the protestant side of the Church.  Many have been told to recognize that they are a sinner (something that most people easily admit, knowing they are not perfect) and ask God for forgiveness, because Jesus died for them.  So, they usually repeat the words of some canned prayer that acknowledges these things, with the person who led them in the prayer telling them that they are now saved and not to ever doubt it, because God is faithful.

But, if it was really all that simple why did Jesus give so many serious warnings in His parables about the kingdom of God concerning those who were not really a genuine part of it, though they confidently thought they were?

One place Jesus solemnly forewarned us about this type of deception was in Matthew 7:21-23 where He said, “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 (the final judgment), ‘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.’”

Have you done such religious, supernatural works as these people, prophesying, casting out demons and performing many miracles?  This is the kind of amazing spiritual works that even the early Church and the apostles were renowned for doing!  Can your walk with God compare to this?  If not, how do you have such confidence in the security of your salvation?  If so, then how do you really know with absolute certainty that this verse is not speaking of you? 

Be patient and bear with me, for there are solid biblical answers to these questions, but the misleading confidence and arrogant false assurance of the “many” who are deceived must be strongly challenged, if they are to have a hope of escaping the snare of the devil. 

If Jesus had only left us with this one example, it would have been disconcerting enough.  Yet, we need to look a little further to understand just how deep and pervasive the deception of false grace goes.  In Matthew 25:1-12, Jesus gives us a snap shot of the kingdom of God (the earthy part anyway that is the Christian Church) at the time of the Rapture when He comes for His saints.  The results are shocking, especially when the timing of this special event is truly understood.  Let’s walk through this together.

First let’s look at the passage itself,1Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 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.’ 10 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. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’”

Here we see ten virgins (representing the Church) and the bridegroom (representing Jesus).  Half (50%) of the virgins do not have any oil (representing the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer).  The five prudent virgins (believers) made sure that they had the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:5, Romans 8:16 and 1 John 5:10-13). The five foolish virgins (believers) just had their lamps with a wick in it (their Bibles & they had prayed the prayer of salvation).  When the bridegroom came to take them to the wedding feast the five foolish believers were left behind.  When they acknowledged the Lord and asked Him to open up the door for them, He told them that He did not know them.  Ouch!

They thought they knew Him and they were expectantly waiting for Him.  So, they were certain that they were Christians or true followers of Christ. Yet, there is even more to it than that. Yet, to understand just how profound their deception is we need to look a little deeper at some correlating passages in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 and Matthew 24:9-12.

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (the Rapture), 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Although half of the Christians represented by the virgins are taken with the bridegroom (Christ at the Rapture), 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 tells us that this moment happens after the apostasy has already happened and seriously thinned out the ranks of those willing to call themselves true followers of Christ, because of an all out global persecution that will have forced the true believers underground by this time (Matthew 24:9-12). 

Jesus gives us the details of the apostasy in this passage. Please, read it thoughtfully.

9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”

Here we see that Christians are harshly hated and persecuted by the world, which leads to the apostasy and bitter betrayal within the Church, from the counterfeits against the true believers.  Of those who don’t fall away (perhaps joining the great harlot, or accepted/legal, false religious system), many will be led astray by false prophets.  Only a minority will survive and make it into the underground Church were truth is still upheld and believers faithfully wait for the Lord’s return (the ten virgins).

Here, in this example alone, is the proof for why it is not just a need of “better discipleship” within the Church today.  The largest part of the problem in the Church is actually an over confidence in conversions that are not real.  For it is a fair assessment that those “faithful” ten virgins, representing the remaining underground Church in the world at the time of the Rapture, will be well discipled in biblical righteousness and they all will profess that the blood of Christ has saved them, for they all will call Him Lord.  The fifty percent who get left behind will likely be nearly indistinguishable from the other fifty percent of true Christians who are taken up in the Rapture.  In other words, those who are Raptured will likely be very surprised by the large number of their close “Christian” friends who are not up in Heaven with them. 

This is why 2 Corinthians 13:5 must be preached relentlessly, so that everyone will test themselves to see if he or she is truly in the faith.  For it would be far better to error on the side of convincing people to make sure of their salvation, than to error on the side of offering any unholy and worthless confidence in a counterfeit faith. This is why the sound doctrine of the witness of the Holy Spirit to the believer is so reassuring and important to understand (Romans 8:16 & 1 John 5:10-13).

Finally, let’s look at Matthew 13:4-23 and Jesus parable of the seed and the sower.  This is one of the parables that Jesus actually explains to His disciples, in which He tells them what is meant by each of the four places the seed (representing the word or truth of God) falls.

  • The seed that fall along the road side represents the hard ground (or a resistant heart).  The seed never has a chance to take root and the devil comes and steals it away.
  • Some of the seed falls on rocky places with little soil where a good firm root cannot be established.  Jesus said this is like the person who hears the word and immediately receives it (the Greek indicates it to be intellectually only) with joy, but as soon as hardship or persecution comes this individual immediately falls away.
  • Some of the seed falls on ground covered with thorny plants that choke it out after it springs up.  Jesus said this individual receives the word intellectually as well.  Yet, they are ensnared by the worries of this world or the deceitfulness of riches and they become unfruitful.  Jesus told several other parables about unfruitful plants that were burned and unfruitful servants who were cast into hell.  So, unfruitful here is the equivalent to the one who fell away, neither were true believers.
  • Yet, some seed fell on good soil.  Jesus said this is the one who hears the word and understands it (or receives it in his heart and mind).  This is the one that becomes fruitful and is real.

A true believer has understood that they are giving their very life to God at the point of conversion. Salvation, mercy, grace and forgiveness are offered, but at the costly price of the death of the Son of God on their behalf.  Therefore, they are being bought and their soul is sold the Master of creation. Ownership (Lordship) is not just a word or a concept, it is a very real transaction that a person makes with their soul, giving themselves to God as His possession to do with as He pleases.

This is why the way is narrow that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14), because few are able to find it within their heart to make this kind of great surrender of their very being over to God, to give Him complete permission to run their life as He sees fit to do so (for their best interests and His).Th

How Do You Know You Are Truly Saved (right with God)? 

(Phase Three)

The third phase often involves those who have essentially misunderstood grace and believe that works must be added to salvation in order for it to be maintained.  This position can sometimes be a reaction to the false grace mentioned in phase two that is so pompously pushed in some circles of Christianity.

They do correctly understand that works will follow saving grace, but then they only see grace hanging around for them if they keep doing good works.  This group of individuals is either ignorant of God’s unbreakable promises concerning the work He did and His promise to fulfill it or they refuse to believe God, the latter being the worst case, as this becomes a rejection of genuine grace and reduces salvation back to a works-based system from which to be justified before God (or phase one all over again with a little dash of false grace put in for good measure).

Scriptures like John 5:24, Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:13-14 and 1 John 5:10-13 utterly refute this thinking, but they love to pull other verses out of context and stand in their works anyway (addressed below). Yet, all they get for their stubbornness is misery and fear, because they never can be certain how many works they must do to “maintain” their salvation. What if they should sin and not confess it before they died?  What if there was some hidden sin they forgot to confess?  On and on it can go, because they have taken their theology outside of the Bible’s clear boundaries and choose to believe another gospel, which is not the gospel at all.

For those who desire to break free from this bondage they must chose to understand the whole of God’s word together and reconcile the fact that God cannot break His word, and once He tells you that you are His child, believe Him and never look back. And they should not worry, because God will lead His children into many good works for His kingdom and glory, only it is in complete freedom and joy, not the bondage associated with fear or loss.



Going Deeper:  For those who really wish to explore the depths of biblical salvation, the following study has been posted for you to learn from and enjoy.  May God bless you in your desire to know Him better, TJ.


Do We Truly Understand Biblical Salvation?


It may be a surprise to some, but the vast majority of people within the “believing” (and most certainly “professing”) Church do not have a solid grasp on what genuine salvation actually is, and although most think they are in good standing with God (or saved), the Bible describes the majority as deceived and lost.  In fact, the New Testament offers many illustrations of counterfeit conversions (caused by false belief) when it describes those of “the faith” who say they follow Christ.  This is why a careful examination of true, biblical salvation should be greatly desired by anyone who is sincere about wanting to live with God in Heaven. 

Kingdom of God has a dual position currently, as it represents in one part the Church on earth and in another part, the perfected, which is in heaven.  The earthly part of the kingdom will be transformed and perfected up in heaven during the Rapture (Revelation 11:15).  Yet, those who were not genuinely, spiritually connected to the kingdom of God (or truly in Christ) will be left out of the kingdom. 


Jesus spoke forth many pointed parables teaching this (i.e., Matthew 12:1-12, Matthew 13:1-43 and John 15:1-6).  I personally believe this misunderstanding about how the kingdom now operates may well be the number one reason why there is so much confusion and debate concerning the issue of the loss of salvation, which this study will give a thorough examination, by spending the majority of its content scrutinizing the Scriptural details on this matter. 

This inquiry should prove interesting for the earnest seeker of God, as well as the seasoned Christian.  It is meant to be a thoughtful evaluation with deep probing insight into the doctrine of salvation, with regard to a more prudent investigation concerning the whole counsel of Scripture, because of the enormous problem of misconceptions that exist within the Church today.  The objective of this analysis is to bring a full and well-rounded comprehension to all that the Bible has to say on this particular subject and reconcile all Scripture together into one complete understanding, hopefully without committing errors of omission, improper exegesis, personal bias, etc., in an effort to help the Church more fully understand the true meaning of biblical salvation.

      Most denominations have statements of their faith.  However, in no case should a denominational statement be allowed a higher place of authority than the Holy Bible itself. And most denominations would agree with this assertion and be open to the recognition that the Bible is the final authority on all matters of faith and doctrine.  Any group that attempts to usurp biblical authority by elevating their own dogmas, doctrine and/or authoritarian leadership above the Bible (God’s word to us) is denying “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”– Jude v. 3. The simple rule is this; if there is any conflict or contradiction between the Bible and any other statement made by mere mortals, the Bible is right, period.  Those who would deny this or seek to alter the Bible’s clear context, from the clear intent of the meaning that has been passed on from the original text, through means of a “more enlightened or professional interpretation” from a selected category of their favorite choice of humans, have strayed into the error of a subjective faith, which has no power to save the soul, and indeed is foreign to the gospel, for the Bible is objectively clear about the way of salvation.  Additionally, it is the Holy Spirit who instructs all believers (1 John 2:27), which silences the argument for the need of enlightened understanding from a select few.

So, with this in mind let us examine the subject of salvation more closely from the biblical standpoint.  I would like to start with putting forth a basic definition of justification and sanctification; to terms that are intimately involved with salvation and very often confused.  Then, it might be best to inspect the biblical analysis and debate that has taken place between Calvinism and Arminianism for the last four centuries, and probe more deeply from these opposing positions of interpretation, since this is likely the most widely understood and rigorously deliberated biblical study on the subject, at least within protestant circles where the Holy Scripture is recognized as truly authoritative.

Justification of an individual’s salvation by faith is the equivalent of a legal transaction between God and that individual, with God being the guarantor of the contract.  Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that when an individual actually acquires salvation, the deal is made with God’s promise and seal.  This will be explained fully within the body of this study.

Sanctification is a bit more complex, as it actually has three different aspects or phases to it, and this is where a large portion of the confusion enters into the overall debate. The first aspect of sanctification involves the main definition of the word.  It means to be set apart.  When an individual actually acquires salvation, they are set apart to and for God, seated in heaven (spiritually) and sealed by God.  The second aspect involves a working out of the salvation that is now in that individual, in word and deed, as that individual is being continually transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  The third and final aspect of sanctification entails the perfection of the entirety of the individual’s whole being, body, soul and spirit once they have been taken up to Heaven and are brought into the presence of Christ. This is the work that God has promised to complete in Philippians 1:6. The various aspects of sanctification will be described within this study and it will be important for the reader to consider which phase of sanctification is being addressed and how it does, or does not, relate to justification in the big overall picture of salvation.

Within this assessment, we will take a brief look at the history of the debate, analyze the believer’s position with God, which will involve relationship (oneness with God) versus knowledge (about God), and the definitions of “belief”, “knowing” and “eternal life”. Finally, this review will demonstrate a reconciliation of the often avoided, difficult passages about salvation within the whole of Scripture, which will bring a well-rounded cohesive understanding, as well as, actually unveil a further issue that is often avoided; the startling extent of false faith within the Church. 

 Calvinism Versus Arminianism


The interesting truth in this debate is that both side are usually looking at the same coin, but from opposite sides. Although this is true, while discussing salvation in this study I tried to help the individual understand their own personal responsibility from a biblical standpoint.  For some in this debate have decided that it is entirely up to God, and from this position they attempt to dismiss anything they do (as if it’s just all up to fate), which is a foolish gambit in living this life, for God promises to reward everything, whether good or bad. 

There has been an intense discussion concerning salvation within the protestant Church for around four hundred years between followers of John Calvin of Geneva, Switzerland (1509-1564) and those of Jacob Hermann (lat. “Arminius”) of Amsterdam, Holland (1560-1609). Calvin’s thinking had dominated the protestant Church world until Arminius voiced his doctrinal disagreements.  The questions raised were over such topics as the depravity of mankind, the degree of God’s sovereignty in relation to human responsibility (free will and accountability), election and predestination, the character and scope of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and finally, the issue of eternal security.

After Arminius’ death in 1609, his followers developed the Remonstrance (protest) of 1610, which outlined the “Five Points of Arminianism”. This document was an objection against the doctrines of the Calvinists, and was submitted to the State of Holland. In 1618, a National Synod of the Church was convened in Dort to examine the teachings of Arminius. After over one hundred and fifty sessions, lasting seven months, the Five Points of Arminianism were declared to be heretical by the Calvinists, which was an unfortunate stance that led to intolerable persecution and violence against those who maintained Arminius’ position. Many well-known scholars, denominational founders and other leaders took up the positions of Calvin or Arminius over the centuries, and the debate still remains unsettled to this very day.  Yet, perhaps the Lord will allow some resolution to this issue in this closing hour prior to His return.  We can only hope.

To give a solution a good chance for acceptance, the Church needs only to properly plumb the depths of Scripture and put all the various pieces together concerning what salvation is, and what it is not.  This debate has been largely examined in too narrow of a one-sided, restricted focus to “prove” a particular party right, which has only served to hinder the proper biblical understanding on the matter.  Additionally, to the Church in general, the scope of salvation has been reduced to something akin to the description of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, when it is actually something closer to the size of the Pacific Ocean.  Calvin gave his view of the “pool” and the Arminians countered with their own version of the “pool”.  Both contained some truth, yet both fell short of the Bible’s complete description of salvation. 

It’s time for the Church to look further and allow the depths of Scripture to speak, with the inclusion of all the difficult passages, and thus, bring harmony and reconciliation to the salvation doctrine, once and for all. Nevertheless, as a point of reference, perhaps it would be best to start with the basics of the two opposing views and expand from there.  It should be noted that the first four point of the debate all correlate together strongly. Thus, making a mistake with one of these points could easily affect the perception of all four of the points.

Calvinism’s first point speaks to the total depravity of man. Arminianism counters:  although we are born as sinners, mankind is given “a divine spark” that enables us to respond positively to God.  The Bible clearly teaches that mankind is not basically good, but rather in bondage to sin (Romans 6:6-20) and therefore we are all wretched sinners who truly don’t seek after God, making us worthy of both physical and spiritual death (Romans 3:10-12, 23 and Romans 6:23).  There is no doubt that humans are fallen creatures, separated from God by our sin (Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis chapter 3, and Isaiah 59:2).  But does this mean we are so depraved to the point of being unable to respond to God at all?

Calvin’s definition of total depravity was in regard to mankind’s relationship toward a Holy God and not to be considered the same on a human level. His view states that mankind is not totally evil, because we can temporarily do good on a human level, “that everything which is in man, from the intellect to the will, from the soul even to the flesh, is defiled and pervaded with this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that the whole man is in himself nothing else than concupiscence” (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 8).  Concupiscence means a bent or desire toward the forbidden, most specifically in the area of lust. 

Calvin’s definition was just another way of expressing “original sin” (Psalm 51:5 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).  Although, we do not inherit anyone’s sin (Ezekiel 18:20), we do sin after being tempted and then we are carried away by it, enticed by our own lusts (James 1:13-15).  We are all born into this world with this sin nature that was passed on to us through Adam and this is why we are bent toward sinning.  It is also why knowledge and education will never solve our problems, because the more we know about the right and wrong of how things work on a moral basis, the more we will do the wrong thing, because we have the sinful desire within us driving us toward the wrong.  This is precisely why all human efforts to accomplish good will ultimately fail when given enough time to test the real fruit of the matter.  The unwillingness of the humanist in mankind to acknowledge our fallen sin nature and its destructive consequences is why people most readily blame God for bad things when they happen.  Only the one who accepts their responsibility for their sin under the conviction of the Holy Spirit has the hope of repenting to receive God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.

However, Calvin extended the Bible’s definition of our corrupt nature beyond the context, making the claim that we have no ability to respond at all to God of our own free will.  Romans 1:18-32 is often used as the proof text for Calvin’s claim of total depravity.  Yet, neither this passage, nor any other passage in the Bible, ever actually defines a human inability to respond to GodRomans chapter one is speaking about human accountability of the knowledge of God through His creation, to point out that all humanity is without an excuse when God’s judgment comes.  The idea that humans have no ability to freely choose means that God would have to force Himself upon us, which would bring His righteousness seriously into question, as it would be selective and absolutely deny any true free will.  Also, human accountability and judgment of sin for those condemned to an eternity in Hell would add to the case for questioning God’s righteousness, if indeed we never really had a choice to decide our future, because we had been created without the ability to choose to respond.  Thus, the obvious problem here with Calvin’s analysis is that God would have coldly and cruelly created certain people to be condemned to eternal torment, with them never having even a remote chance of any hope.  But moreover, Calvin’s interpretation directly contradicts several other Scriptures.

The true fallen human condition of our not seeking after God and being separated from Him (Romans 3:10-12 and Isaiah 59:2) should not be confused with and our ability “to respond to God via free will choice”, as if they were one and the same. 

This is a point where Calvin erred in his thinking and it is further dispelled when we look at other verses that point this out. 

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1).  “Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time’.” – Genesis 7:1.   “7and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” – 2 Peter 2:7-9


Able chose to bring the proper offering before God and Cain did not (Genesis 4:2).  Joshua chose to serve God and called upon Israel to do the same (Joshua 24:15).  Unlike his son, Solomon, King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Kings 11:4).  Total depravity cannot be supported, and is actually refuted, by the whole of Scripture. This is why it is important to carefully study God’s authoritative word, allowing it to speak for itself, and be extremely cautious about being influenced by human opinions that often use partial Scripture to “tell us about what God really meant”, instead of what He plainly stated.

Calvin described the human response to “God’s irresistible grace” (a term not found in the Bible) as a mystery, because he planted his thinking incorrectly in the foundational idea that humans are unable to respond to God. Calvin mistakenly thought that a human response would mean that we could take credit, or partial glory, for the act of receiving God’s gift of grace.  However, the following should dispel Calvinist’s confusion about this and demonstrate that there is no mystery involved because God’s word tells us precisely how it all works. 

Most assuredly, God will receive all the glory for those who are saved, but it will be on account of the fact that we never really deserved to be offered such amazing grace to be forgiven by such a Holy Being in the first place. Choosing to receive (or respond to) His gift of grace is our choice and privilege, but never something we could realistically take any credit for. 

It would be like a murderer on death row, about to be executed, taking credit for an undeserved, last minute pardon from the Governor; it’s a logical absurdity.  Just as the prisoner accepts the pardon, so do all the elect accept the convicting work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11), which is entirely to God’s credit.  For the elect are urged by the conviction of the Holy Spirit to ask for and receive Christ’s pardoning gift for their sin.  God seeks us out and God does all the “work” (the transforming miracle) of saving (or the spiritual rebirthing – John 3:3) of the human soul (John 1:12-13) from death (eternal separation) into a new spiritual creature of life connected back with the Creator (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).  No honest human being could ever take credit for such a miraculous, supernatural transformation brought about by God’s wondrous grace.

Furthermore, it is to God’s glory, because God wrote both His Law (Romans 2:15) and eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11) on the human heart, implanting within us the necessary understanding to respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  In other words, deep down we know right from wrong and that we will live forever.  This dual fact of God’s implanted revelation makes all human beings fully accountable as well.  Also, added understanding from God has been imparted to mankind through His creation.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to themFor since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuseFor even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged (a choice) the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures…” – Roman 1:18-32.  (This speaks to the fact that mankind is either going to choose to worship some form of His creation in place of the Almighty God.) to worship the Creator or

       To God will be all the glory, indeed, but not on the basis of the narrowly perceived concept of “the total   Now, if this implanted understanding were what the Arminians meant by the vaguely defined term “a divine spark”, then they would have been correct.  So, God seeks out the human race and attempts to draw us to Himself through the conviction of His Spirit, at which point we choose to respond to, or reject, His calling. depravity of mankind”.

Even though we have seen that the Scriptures are not fully reconcilable to the Calvinistic position, in an effort to be fair one of Calvin’s better arguments should mention here.  Much of what Calvin taught was good, yet the balance of the whole of Scripture is lacking within certain parts of his doctrinal message on salvation.  This is where we must take great care to be as the Bereans in Acts 17, and examine statements made to see if they fully match the whole of the context of God’s precious word.

A major point made by the Calvinists would be that God “gives faith” and “grants repentance” to an individual, or no one would be saved, because none seeks after God and apart from divine enlightenment, we would all remain in darkness.  It is true that no one seeks after God on his or her own (Romans 3:10-12). It is true that God gives faith (Romans 12:3). It is also true that God grants sinners repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).  Thus, Calvin further concluded that it is God alone who saves us, because God alone will receive all the glory, which also is completely true (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But then the Calvin erred in extending this to nullify the free will choice of the individual, which the Scriptures do not do. It is God who awakens the individuals to their need of Him through His Holy Spirit (John 16:8), concerning His Son whom He gave (John 3:16).  Notice the key word used in these two verses in the Gospel of John, God loves and convicts the “world”, not just the “elect”!  The Holy Spirit simply quickens or pricks what God already planted within us concerning His holy law and the afterlife (Romans 2:15 and Eccl. 3:11), which again, this is what we generally refer to as our conscience.

Additionally, the Bible tells us of people who refuse to repent (Revelation 9:20-21 & 16:9-11).  How can anyone refuse to repent of that which they are unaware?  And if they had not been made aware of God and His impending judgment, why do they both fear Him (Revelation 6:15-17) and blaspheme Him (Revelation 16:9-11)? Additionally, why would mankind have to endure the mark of the beast in a future great hour of testing, if choice were not truly involved for each individual? In Acts 26:18, it indicates that choice is involved with the word “may”, as it states “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me”.

Once the Holy Spirit has brought conviction (first), which He does to the whole world, not just the elect (John 16:8), then each person makes their choice to either allow God to do, and to be glorified in, His saving work (which includes Him giving the faith and understanding necessary for genuine repentance), or refuse it in which God is glorified through His righteous punishment for the person’s rejection of His extremely gracious and generous offer of salvation, which means the guilt of the rebels sin, along with sin’s penalty of death, are still upon them.

The Calvinistic alternative to this is to believe that God did indeed create the vast majority of mankind, just for the purpose of sending them to burn in Hell “as vessels of wrath”.   In order that “God would be glorified” because they were sinful and deserved it, causing those whom He spared to be so grateful, as it was not them, who God chose to forever torture in the lake of fire. Yet, this would be utterly contrary to

God loving the whole world and not wishing for any to perish (John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9). God will be glorified in His just punishment of the wicked, because they refused to repent and receive His very loving and sacrificially gracious pardon, which was purchased at great cost by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of their sins, and not just because they were merely created ignorant and/or depraved.

Finally, how could Jesus Christ have offered up Himself “once for all”, as the great high priest, for the sins of the people, if He did not die for everyone’s sins (Hebrews 2:17 & 7:26-27)?  Did everyone in Israel repent and receive Jesus even though it was “granted” to them (Acts 5:31)?

The whole of Scripture just doesn’t support Calvin’s thinking of mankind having no choice concerning repentance (which sustains a rather fatalistic idea that the Bible does not condone).  And our choice is no more credited as a “work” for our salvation than agreeing to accept a free gift from a friend would be. And a free gift (Romans 6:23) is something we choose to accept or reject, is it not?

          The second point of Calvinism declares that God sovereignly chooses who is unconditionally elected and who will be lost.  This is based upon a misunderstanding of the biblical principle of divine predestination, because, when we read Ephesians 1:1-14, we see predestination mentioned in the context of God’s foreknowledge, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (v.4).  God’s choosing of the elect before mankind’s creation is altogether dependent upon His divine foreknowledge.  A foreknowledge that would intrinsically include the information of who would respond to the conviction from the Holy Spirit and who would not.  With the understanding of who His elect would be, He said in essence you are Mine, or I choose you, even before the process was worked out through the dimension of time.  This comprehension allows for the scriptural reconciliation of human free will to still operate, and it simply demonstrates God’s unfathomable, divine understanding of how it would play out in each human heart. 

Apparently, Calvin had trouble fully understanding the wondrous character of God, and over-emphasized (or perhaps was “over-protective” of) God’s sovereignty to the point of missing the balancing influence of God’s righteousness.  For how could God be righteous and just, to create humans “totally depraved”, with no hope at all (no real choice in the matter), and then select out only a small minority of them (Matthew 7:13-14).  Although the elect would be very grateful, there would always be the nagging questions of why me, why so few, how is it right for me to be in heaven and my mother to be in Hell, for example, if no real human choice was involved?  But much worse than all this, it would make God out to be untrue, because it would directly contradict the statement by the Apostle Peter, to be saved, while condemning the rest to an unspeakable eternal torment in Hell?

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). 

An attempt to interpret the actual meaning of “all” in this verse, to be only “a reference to the elect” utterly fails, because a sovereign God choosing for us would beg the question: then for whom does God need to be patient, if He is the only one making the actual decision?  So, if it is God who makes the sovereign choice who is saved for Heaven, and who is going to Hell, then again, we would have no real choice in the matter.  If Calvin’s view were correct on this point we would be faced with an irreconcilable contradiction.  For by God saying that He does not wish for any to perish, while creating people with no true choice, who would automatically perish in an eternal lake of fire, then the apostle Peter’ statement would put God on the level of a twisted, psychotic liar.  Additionally, the very definition of repentance means to change one’s mind and turn away from evil.  Why are we repeatedly called upon to repent in the Bible, if we truly have no power to choose in the first place?  It’s a logical contradiction that Calvinists have no genuine scriptural answer to resolve. Therefore, understanding predestination and election from the standpoint of divine foreknowledge is the only thing that makes any reasonable sense to bring about reconciliation, with all the Scripture that speaks to this topic. 

So, this point leans more in favor of the Arminian side of the coin as well. For they correctly stated that God does not arbitrarily consign some people to eternal damnation; it is their willful rejection of God’s salvation makes them responsible, which explains why God actually is patient toward humans and truly doesn’t wish for any to perish.  Additionally, this makes God’s final judgment indisputably just and fair.

Calvin’s third point is that Christ died only for the elect, not for every person.  Again, the position Calvin takes here is one of over-zealously protecting God’s sovereignty and he fails to properly assess or represent God’s righteousness in doing so, as was stated above.  Yet, there is even further conflict between the Scripture and Calvin’s assumption on this third point.  For God so loved the “world” (not just the “elect”) that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).  Again, “…but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Also, we are told that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14), which further speaks to Jesus’ atoning death for all human sin and the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin to call mankind back to a right relationship with God, since God endeavors to reach all humanity, so that we would be saved.  Although, Romans chapter nine appears to support Calvin’s positions on God’s total sovereignty, it does not take into account the balance of the whole council of God’s Word, particularly concerning God’s righteousness and love.  For even at the end of the Bible, some of Jesus last words were,  

“And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17 – KJV). (Also, see John 6:40; 7:37-38.)

A closer look at Romans 9:6-23 reveals several things to us, but nothing that actually supports Calvin’s mistaken concept concerning the exercise of God’s sovereignty.  In Romans chapter nine, Paul speaks to God’s foreknowledge of Jacob’s and Esau’s heart toward God, and God’s response with regard to each of them. It was not a willful, sovereign choice by God to arbitrarily hate and condemn Esau, while subjectively showing grace and mercy toward Jacob. 

Further, when Paul mentions that God has said He will have mercy and compassion on whom He chooses and it does not depend on man’s efforts, Paul was simply instructing the reader to understand that we cannot earn God’s mercy and compassion, because it only comes by His gracious choice to give it. Yet, from the context, God’s mercy and compassion is given, or is withheld, based upon His foreknowledge of our heart attitude toward Him.  Pharaoh’s heart was extremely hard against God, so God used Pharaoh as a pawn representing opposition, causing his heart to harden by pouring out multiple and severe judgments upon his kingdom of Egypt.  God knows that judgment brings two responses, either repentance or expanded rebellion.  God knew what Pharaoh’s response would be and as the judgment increased, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened all the more.  Pharaoh was not senselessly selected out for condemnation and made a vessel of wrath, just so God could simply prove how special He is to those He doesn’t chose to zap. That sounds more like the methodology of a perverse dictator, or the whimsical gods of Greek mythology, instead of a God that defines Himself as love (1 John 4:8).

        A remaining deliberation here would be to realize that God demonstrates His patience against the vessels of His wrath (the wicked, like Satan, Hitler, Stalin, etc.), in order to allow time for all His chosen elect to come into His kingdom. If God destroyed evil every time it appeared, He would only establish who was the most powerful, He would not have proved, with tangible evidence, who was right and who was wrong.  God’s wisdom usually transcends far beyond our human understanding and He certainly does know what he is doing, even when we don’t have a clue.

        So, to get back on track, point three favors the Arminian viewpoint, based on the full context of Scripture.  For they correctly stated that Jesus Christ died for everyone, even though most will refuse to accept His provision (the full payment/pardon) for their sins and reject the salvation He so generously and freely offers to all.

Calvin’s fourth point claims that God’s saving grace toward the elect cannot be “resisted”, which follows the misunderstandings within his first three points.  Of course, at the point in time when the Holy Spirit convicts and draws the elect to God (the Father), through Jesus Christ (the Son), the elect do come into the kingdom.  But again, they choose to accept the pardon offered and it’s not to their credit that they choose to receive God’s immeasurable gift of grace, even though others forfeit the same privilege.  For the acceptance of an undeserved pardon, can in no way be credited to a guilty person.

So, the Arminian position agrees with Scripture on point four as well, for it states that no person is forced or persuaded against his or her will to become a Christian and accept salvation.  Conversely, we are not lost because we have no opportunity for salvation; rather a person is condemned because they make a choice not to believe, just as they are saved if they choose to believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:18).  Unmistakably, God’s grace can either be resisted or received by the exercise of human free will.  Again, we read, “and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:40). (Also see Acts 7:51 and Hebrews 10:26-29 for further examples and warning against human resistance).  By definition, the saving grace of God is a free gift of His unmerited favor. 

If God would indeed force all decisions upon man, it would violate human free will, and for that matter, any resulting honest accountability toward GodAnd it was certainly not a forced decision that we see recorded in Genesis chapters two and three, where Adam and Eve freely chose to sin against God.  The “God” of Calvin’s first four points could not be considered truly righteous or loving, but rather on the level of a sovereign tyrant, who could never be questioned about his decisions.  People with such a view of God could easily apply their misconceptions in a very dangerous manner, as history has repeated shown us that men actually do, to justify all sorts of evil in the name of God.

Could the wrong thinking that Calvin concluded regarding salvation; that God must force people into the kingdom, also be a partial reason for what was behind the horrible “Christian” inquisitions of the past? Could this yet be the very ideology that will help fuel the prophesied unjust persecution against believers “in the name of God” in the future (John 15:17 through 16:3, Matthew 24:9-13 and Revelation 17:6)

However, this position is certainly not the way that Jesus Christ taught us to walk in.  For it is the devil that comes to kill, steal and destroy, while Jesus came to give abundant life to His true followers (John 10:10).

The Issue of the Security of the Believer

Now, this is where the examination becomes really interesting and somewhat deep, as we examine what has been called the fifth point in the Calvinism versus Arminianism debate.  The question of the eternal security of the believer is where the end of the swimming pool really drops off into a vast ocean trench and, as such, it’s where few have ever dared to go, in plumbing the depths of Scripture. But it is long past due for the Church to enter into the necessary exploration to understand what God has most certainly told us about what salvation is, and what it is not. 

The argument of Calvin is that once a person receives salvation, they remain saved.  The Arminians’ counter is that willful disobedience could cause a person to lose their salvation.  The interest and intensity of the debate is extremely ratcheted up here because many convincing verses are used to support each side.  Yet, there usually ends up being only superficial examination of these arguments, which often leaves the average inquirer very confused.  This level of difficulty has resulted in most folks just choosing the side that suits their own upbringing or emotional makeup the best, leaving the issue truly unresolved for many concerning an honest and complete scriptural understanding.  So, here is where the reader must earnestly seek God’s spiritual direction in His Word to be able to discern the biblical truth of sound doctrine for this area of salvation.  The definition and use of terms will be very important in determining accurate guidelines for this fifth point of contention. 

This part of the debate is extremely important, as it will define what salvation really is and who actually has it, demonstrating that many people are deceived, having a false understanding concerning their own personal salvation.

 What Salvation Is (Oneness With God) And What Salvation Is Not (Knowledge About God)

 A good place to start might be to examine an encounter that Jesus had with and one of Israel’s leading religious scholars. 

 “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’  Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’  Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’  ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’” – John 3:1-6 & 16-18

Jesus, in His conversation with Nicodemus, basically spelled out what salvation is: the belief that God sent Jesus, His only Son, into the world to save those who would believe on Him as the promised Messiah (or Savior – from sin). Those who would believe would not be judged and have eternal life with God.  Those who would not believe in Jesus are judged already, according to their sin (Romans 6:23 and Revelation 20:11-15).

Much of the rest of the New Testament clarifies and defines for us this basic message of salvation.  But, before we dive down to the depths of what salvation is, we need to explain some terms that Jesus spoke about here.  Jesus said that a person must believe in Him to be saved.  Unfortunately, the English language sometimes has a distinct problem in expressing the clear connotation of certain words, because it can be very vague or imprecise in its meaning.  The Greek language, on the other hand, is usually extremely precise in its meaning.  So, what does it mean to believe in Jesus?  For even the demons believe in God, yet it does nothing to help them (James 2:19).

 Believe and Know

The word believe in the English language can mean anything from subjective sincerity (like sincerely believing that rocks, trees, stars and the sun are gods that can help you when you pray to them), to an intellectual assent to some fact of history, science or common knowledge; or it can mean a form of sincere objective faith in something that may not be wholly provable, yet is strongly supported in its existence by the verifiable facts of history and science.

The latter, objective belief or “faith” in Jesus, is what the Bible is referring to (i.e. love the Lord your God with all your HEART, SOUL, MIND and STRENGTH – Mark 12:30), and the Greek defines this type of genuine biblical belief even more precisely, as it means to “rely upon, cleave to and completely trust in” the object of that belief or faith.

I think that the lack of a proper definition of the term “believe” has been one of the greatest stumbling blocks with the entire issue of understanding what genuine biblical salvation actually is, both inside and outside the Church, particularly in the current post-modern era where the term “believe” can mean anything and everything in a totally subjective, relativistic manner.  So then, biblical belief involves a rational commitment of decision in giving over one’s self relationally to the real person of Jesus, as Lord (the Boss) and Savior.  Jesus has proven His ability to have an impact on the believer’s soul for salvation, by His resurrection power over death.  Yet, because it is a relational form of belief, and because Jesus is God, it means surrendering the authority of one’s own life over to Jesus as well.

“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” (Luke 9:23).

 In the often-misunderstood parable that Jesus talked about the Sower and the Seeds, two of these different types of belief are expressed.  The “road” people in the parable never understand it and Satan easily comes and robs them of any truth they heard.  But, the “rocky places” people hear the word, and immediately receive it with joy (however, it is important to understand that the Greek word here means receiving the good news in an intellectual manner only), as it has no firm root in them, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises against the word of God, immediately they fall away.  And the people on whom seed was sown “among the thorns”, these are those who hear the word (the same way as the “rocky places” people “hear” it – intellectually), and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke (cut off) the word of God understood by them, and it becomes unfruitful. BUT, the “good soil” people on whom seed was sown, these are the ones who hear the word and understand it (the Greek here indicates a heart understanding deep in the inner man); who indeed bear fruit, and bring forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty (Matthew 13:19-23).   Thus, it is important to understand the different depths to which the seed was sown; for many it stayed near the surface, going no more than “an inch deep” into the mind, but for a few others it penetrated all the way down into their heart.

Some have improperly used this parable to attempt to support the loss of salvation, but it is really defining and separating true belief, or faith, from a false “intellectual belief” or false conversion.  Unfortunately, the latter may well be the kind of “belief” the majority in the Church today actually possess, which puts them in one of the most dangerous scenarios possible, believing you are right with God and forgiven through Christ, when you actually are not.  In this parable of the Sower and the Seed and in the following parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew chapter 13), Jesus is explaining that much false belief will exist in the Church and He will judge it (vv. 41-43).

This false belief is akin to claiming that we “know” (intellectually) the President of the United States, but for most of us, it is an absolute fact that he does not “know” us (personally, or even intellectually for that matter).  This is as perilous as a pilot “believing” his gas tanks are full and never checking with the ground crew or the airplane’s gauges before takeoff, and worse, never looking at the gauges during the flight, and worse still, doing this as a routine practice for each flight.  Yet, this is precisely how most in the Church believe and act today. But, the Scripture says,

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5

 True salvation is speaking of a very personal and relational knowledge of God. 

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him…” (John 14:15-27).

Here we see Jesus teach believers about oneness with the entire trinity of the Godhead!

We have to realize that Jesus told us THE WAY is narrow that leads to life and FEW are those who will find it.  We have to confront the fact (and not be shy about openly revealing) that many in the Church are not the Lord’s and their souls are in grave jeopardy.  In the gospel of Matthew, we read of two diverse accounts of people who called Jesus “Lord” and they were very certain Jesus (personally) knew them, yet they found out otherwise (Matthew 7:13-23 & Matthew 25:1-12).  It must be repeated, we have to echo the words of the apostle Paul often,

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you— unless indeed you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5. 

Additionally, we need to let people know there is a way to be sure that they have the true salvation the Scriptures promise, through the witness of the Holy Spirit that we are God’s child, which is completely a separate issue from what some practice called “the baptism of the Spirit”. In Romans 8:15-17 & 1 John 5:10-13 we are provided with the spiritual litmus tests of true salvation. The most important test is the internal witness, where God tells us we are His children through the witness of the Holy Spirit.  It is by this that the apostle John told us we could KNOW that we truly have eternal life with God.  This is not some warm fuzzy feeling or a burning in the bosom, which is merely a counterfeit of occult religion.  No!  It is the very essence and presence of the Almighty Creator speaking clearly and unmistakably to your soul that you are His child!  So beware! If the Holy Spirit has never testified to your spirit that you are God’s blood-bought child, then you are not, for the Scripture does not lie!  Also, take caution against those in Christian leadership who mock this truth, for there are ravenous wolves among us (Matthew 7:15 and Acts 20:29)!

Many a learned Christian or biblical scholar, along with countless, seasoned pew warmers will likely balk at this proclamation, because they probably do not believe in or accept this mysterious work of God in the believer’s life. They may reject oneness with God, self-righteously defining it as demonic or New Age doctrine, even though the Bible is clear about this concept (John 14:20).  And further,

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:17-20).  {Also see 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; 5:17, Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:5-6; 4:24, 2 Peter 1:3-4 and 1 John 3:2; 4:13-16 for more on the true oneness real believers have with God.}

Yet, to the strongly religious modern “Pharisees” of today, the words of Jesus still ring true:

 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

 Here we see described the difference in “knowing” about God and walking in an intimate personal relationship with God.  Again, it’s like we may feel we “know” much about a particular political leader, but is that identical to him knowing us personally? 

This is the tragic state of many professing Christians in the Church today and it should cause pastors, preachers and teachers all over the world to sound the alarm from every pulpit. Unfortunately, though, bad doctrine, unbelief and/or the love of money will likely keep most pulpits very quiet on this issue, as no offense is desired to be given to the many pretenders and deceived who fill the seats and give their money.

Eternal Life and Security

 Jesus said that those who believe in Him would have eternal life.  If “eternal” does not mean “forever”, then what does it mean?  And if “life” does not mean living with the One who proclaimed that He is life itself (John 14:6), then what other definition shall we attach to it?  Therefore, “eternal life” by direct, biblical self-definition is everlasting existence with God in Heaven.  Not only is eternal life promised by Jesus in John 3:16, we are also told,

“He who believes in Him is not judged” in John 3:18, and again in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (Notice the tense of the verbs for “judgment” and “eternal life” in these verses is past tense.) 

 Jesus and the apostle Paul further cemented this position, as can be seen when we combine the meaning of two correlating passages. 

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).  (Also see 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5)

This speaks to God’s ownership of the believer and His promise to redeem them. 

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (the Holy Spirit v.26), that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16)

Here we see that upon truly receiving salvation, a believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a pledge from God for our eternal inheritance.  This is God’s seal, His doing, not something we even have the power to undo.  In other words, once the choice has been truly made, it is a done deal, because God owns the believer and He has made Himself one with them (John 14:20 & 1 Corinthians 6:17-20)Additionally, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be with the believer forever. So, to lose such a salvation would require the Holy Spirit literally to go to Hell with the “fallen – former believer”, or God has lied.  This is entirely contrary to the Scripture!  For the Bible states,

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).  In other words, if you are God’s child, you are His work to perfect and He will get the job done because His name is on the line.

            “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2).

 Furthermore, the apostle Paul told us how our sin debt was completely paid for at the cross, our salvation was made absolutely complete in Christ and all the religious works and ceremony that men would try to add to the meaning of salvation were of no value. For in Colossians 2:8-23, Paul stated, 8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  9For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority…13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross 16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day…20If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)–in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

Yet, good works and good fruit will naturally follow genuine salvation (James 2:17-18 and Matthew 7:13-21).  But they are not religious requirements to maintain salvation, and this point is where many seem to be confused and stumble.

In Genesis 6:3, which is often quoted out of context, it says, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever”.  This passage speaks to God’s judgment through the flood of Noah to the eventual final judgment at the Great White Throne (in Revelation chapter twenty), as it says actually nothing about removing His Holy Spirit from believers. This has been used inappropriately, along with King David’s plea in Psalm 51 (“And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me”), to say that God’s Holy Spirit can definitely be taken away from a believer.  This type of thinking truly does not understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  The mystery of God that Paul taught about in Ephesians chapter three and Colossians chapters one and two, speaks to Christ being in us,

“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27). 

In 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; 5:17, Ephesians 1:13-14 and John 14:16-20 we see that God has done something entirely new, by implanting Himself within the New Covenant believer and sealing us with His Holy Spirit of promise for our future redemption, telling us He will always be with us.  This is true assurance of salvation, because God cannot lie, for His transforming power and promises were not made conditional in any way to our behavior in these passages.  He now lives within His saints; our bodies are His temples, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who will be with us forever!  The part-time visitations for the believer are completely in the past, praise God!  And the under supplied theology is truly gone with it, at least for those who understand the New Covenant’s spectacular difference from the Old Covenant.

To say one can lose their “salvation” is really the exact equivalent of saying that they can lose their “eternal life”, which they were promised by God.  At this point then, one must come up with another definition for “eternal life”, as well as invent a way to break God’s promises, which just does not rationally work, even if one tries to employ human choice into the mix. 

So, to conclude this section from the position of this powerful scriptural evidence, there must be another way of looking at (and reconciling) the difficult passages that seem to indicate that one might lose their salvation.  Also, it is truly impossible to reconcile the above verses adequately, within their context, to “the loss of salvation” position of the Arminians.  Therefore, it would be best to consider the alternate position that salvation is secure once it is truly obtained, as well as the fact that far less people have genuine biblical salvation than most in the Church would even dare to believe or acknowledge.

 Jesus even describes this problem for us in Matthew 7:21-23, telling us that MANY will say to Him on the day of judgment “Lord, Lord”, we did numerous and powerful things in Your name.  Yet, Jesus will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (for they had no real relationship with Jesus, ever)

 Please notice that it does not say He knew them once (twice, or several times) and they just didn’t maintain their faith and backslid.  No, not at all, for Jesus clearly says He never knew them!  So, Calvin definitely got it right on point five, but there is still very much left to deal with or hash through on this issue.

How Do We Reconcile The Passages In The Bible That Seem To Indicate A Christian “Could” Or Might Lose Their Salvation?

           First, it is a wrong statement to say we are saved by faith, and therefore we must maintain our faith, to retain salvation.  The reason for this is because this belief must be concluded from an inaccurate premise that is followed up by a misleading assumption. But we’ll need to go through this one step at a time.

The inaccurate premise is that we are saved “by faith”.  However, the Scripture defines that WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH the vehicle of FAITH, not by faith itself, or works of faith (Ephesians 2:5, 8)Salvation is a gift of grace, not something we earn by faith or maintain through our works of faith.  Otherwise, we could take credit for it, at least in some fashion, and God said that is not how it works (Ephesians 2:1-10). God will receive all the Glory, period

Once we enter into thinking we must “do” something and attach it to salvation, even if it is only in the “maintenance” part of it, we have just committed the cardinal error of adding to salvation, and then it is no longer grace by which we are saved, but rather grace, plus some works of faith. If that were true, how many works would be required to save us, or maintain our salvation? Where is this standard written? 

Such a quota of works is not written anywhere in the Bible, because then grace would no longer be grace and Christ would have died needlessly, if works could fix our sin problem (Galatians 2:21).   The lack of a quota for works to be able to gain entrance into heaven is also the reason why works-based religions can never absolutely guarantee a person’s salvation.

The misleading assumption is that we must somehow maintain our faith.  But the truth is that after salvation, faith becomes the vehicle of fruitfulness, demonstrating that the salvation was indeed REAL.  Works of faith are simply outward proofs that the grace gift was truly transferred, and this faith is what God works through us to accomplish His kingdom purposes (Ephesians 2:10 & Titus 2:11-14), which we will receive rewards for by obeying, or loss of rewards for non-compliance.  But not the loss of our salvation, for this is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15,

Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire”.  

This speaks to the Bema Seat judgment (the judgment of the works of believers for rewards).  Every work a believer does, in following the Holy Spirit’s direction, to build up the kingdom of God will be rewarded.  Every work initiated by the individual, even if they were doing it “for God”, will burn up, because God alone will be glorified in every actual good work, which according to God’s holiness must be untainted by human sin and self-merit (Numbers 20:10-12 Exodus 22:20, Psalm 148:13 & Mark 10:18).

The fact that there are rewards for the faith works (or fruit) of those made righteous by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, overwhelmingly demonstrates that works of faith are not the item that saves a person or even the mechanism by which they must “maintain” their salvation.  In other words, the Scripture tells us that even our best works of faith will only go toward rewards, not salvation “advantage points”. This is a powerful confirmation that salvation is unrelated to works of faith.  Yet, we are told that works are a positive sign that salvation has occurred, because they should follow after real faith. 

Additionally, we would be able to claim partial credit for our salvation if it were up to us to maintain it.  Also, if we must maintain our faith for salvation, then again what is the standard? How much maintenance is necessary and who decides what that shall be? 

How could we ever truly KNOW for certain that we had attained eternal life with God in heaven (or true salvation) as the Scripture declares to us (1 John 5:13)? This quickly degrades back to doing works to be saved, which nullifies the grace of God and then “grace is no longer grace” at all (Romans 11:6).  And no matter how much we mask our “works” with the word “faith”, this is still the unscriptural outcome of this way of thinking.  Jesus both authors and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2); our part is to choose to follow His lead through the Holy Spirit and either enjoy the blessing or miss out on it.

Thus far, I believe it has been established that the gift of grace given to us by God through Jesus Christ for eternal salvation could not be considered grace at all, if we had to do good works or deeds to earn and/or maintain our salvation.  However, there is another aspect to this issue as well; an internal transformation of character change, away from self and toward God.

For it is at this point in the debate that the protest is often raised, if this is true about grace, then it just gives people “license to sin”.  Yet, this protest fails for two major reasons. The first is that sin has consequences, as in suffering in this life and loss of reward in the future life. But, the second and more powerful reason is that God chastises His own.  As it plainly states in Hebrews 12:5-8,

and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’  It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons

If someone professes Christ and lives an evil lifestyle and no discipline comes from God to humble them and return them to the ways of God’s righteousness, then it is obvious that they are not a true child of God, because God does discipline His own.  Additionally, such an individual will not be truly convicted by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, when their sin is confronted, they will just make an excuse or dismiss it.  1 John 3:7-10 speaks to this as well,

Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of GodBy this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 

Also, we see this comparison and contrast in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, which states,

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”  (Also, see Galatians 5:19-26 and Ephesians 5:1-21.)  

Additionally, this would apply for forgiveness, as a true believer is required to forgive (Matthew 6:12-15Matthew 18:21-35).  If someone refuses to ever forgive someone else, they are practicing unrighteousness as a lifestyle and any claim they made toward God’s grace and forgiveness would be utterly meaningless and empty. and

In 1 John, the apostle is speaking to “little children” or baby believers.  So, these particular types of lifestyles are something that is readily discernible as wrong. 

However,Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment (John 7:24).

 Nevertheless, a realistic and outwardly visible part of the salvation package is the pursuit of God’s holiness within the Christian’s life (or the practicing of righteousness as we are sanctified by God, in a authentic and ongoing relationship with Him), as the book of 1 John teaches. 

Here are some questions to consider concerning this:  Do we hate sin?  Do we confess our sin to God directly and seek the forgiveness He freely offers through the blood of Jesus?  Do we strive for obedience?  Do we have a holy reverence for his written word?  Are the qualities of God’s holy character becoming ours and increasing (2 Peter 1:3-11)?  Or do we carry the popular take it or leave it (pick and choose) attitude concerning the Bible?  Do we do our own thing and go our own way?  When pressure comes against the faith, we say we believe, do we then become more “flexible” in our thinking and behavior toward compromise and sin?  When we act to preserve our own self-interests, are we rewarded for it, or disciplined? 

God’s active discipline in His Church is demonstrated rather dramatically in Acts 5:1-11 when Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, lied to the leaders of the Church (and more importantly, lied to the Holy Spirit), and God took their lives.  Another recorded example of God’s discipline took place in the Church at Corinth, where some were sick and others had died, because they had defiled the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:16-32).  And the last verse of this passage confirms even further all that has been said up to this point and why God’s discipline can be so severe at times for His own children.  Verse thirty-two reads, “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world”. 

If a person is truly the Lord’s and they think they can live a disobedient lifestyle anyway, then their physical life may well be cut short by God, so that His promise of saving their soul (Ephesians 1:13-14) will not be thwarted.  We don’t like to think about it, but this could be an answer for some of the difficult questions, as to why some Christians seem to have their life cut off so abruptly (i.e. a rebellious teenager dying from slamming his car into a tree while driving intoxicated at 100 mph – and then we hear people lament, why did God allow this?).  The severity of the penalty that God may allow or bring for our sin may be the ultimate warning concerning God’s discipline to the believer.  Therefore, there really is no “license to sin”, as far as the believer is concerned.  And yet, we must exercise discernment here and not judge unrighteously, if someone suddenly dies (John 7:24).  For what we in our limited understanding may see as an “untimely” tragedy, could be serving a much greater purpose for His Kingdom that we might only come to realize once we are in heaven.

Now, let’s look at some of the other verses which are used to attempt to support the contradictory idea that one can lose salvation and see if the context will truly substantiate such thinking.

 Philippians 3:9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith

The statement about faith here in no way contradicts Ephesians 2:5-9. Faith is still the vehicle through.  The righteousness (in a lifestyle), which comes from God, is by grace through faith in Christ as well.  The problem comes when works are wrongly equated with faith and wrongly believed to be needed for obtaining or maintaining righteousness (a right standing with God).  This generally comes from a misunderstanding of passage out of the book of James. which God’s saving grace is freely given to us for salvation.

James 2:14-24 – “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  But someone may well say, You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,’ and he was called the friend of God.  You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”

In this portion of Scripture, James is rebuking the hypocrites who merely hold an intellectual belief in Christ, whose “faith” is void of works because it is worthless (it can’t save their soul and it hasn’t transformed their lives).  Remember what Jesus said would happen to those in the Church who had no fruit in their lives?  These are the pretenders within the Church (not the true Christians) and they will be cut off from God (John 15:6).

Another “faith equals works” passage that is used to wrongly insert works into the salvation issue is found in the book of Hebrews.

 Hebrews 10:38BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. This verse is simply quoted out of context. One quick look at Hebrews 10:39 proves this point.  “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” 

Once again, this speaks of the comparison and contrast of false belief versus genuine faith. God is the one who preserves the soul (Ephesians 1:13-14), not us, because no human will boast before Him (Ephesians. 2:8-10).

1 Peter 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

We see the term “through faith” one more time.  The repetition of this interpretive error, used by those who say salvation can be lost, shows the lack of understanding that we are “saved BY grace THROUGH faith” (Ephesians 2:5, 8), and not the other way around.  Additionally, the preceding context says a great deal in this regard as well. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Galatians 2:20-21I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. 

Paul is making a defense of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH versus JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS OF THE LAWThe whole basic context of the first five chapters of Galatians is about this issue.  The Galatians had fallen under the deception of the Judaizers, which taught merit-salvation and self-sanctification through works of the Law of MosesPaul was making it abundantly clear that salvation’s justification (by grace) comes by (or though) the vehicle of faith and not by the vehicle of works.  This is proven by Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:21, I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  When the letter to the Galatians is read in context, it soundly invalidates all theologies that teach salvation by faith with the human effort of works attached.

Romans 3:28 – “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Once more, when we view the whole context of Romans chapter three, and in particular Romans 3:19-31, we see that Paul is simply pointing out the same thing he did in Galatians, which is that salvation’s justification (by grace – v. 24) comes by (the vehicle of) faith and not by (the vehicle of) works of the Law.

Another problem is the further assumption thatcontinued sin will adversely affect the believer’s (saving) faith”, which follows on the heels of the erroneous assumption of “salvation maintenance”.  This is only true in respect to the believer’s health, possible lifespan and for their works pertaining to eternal rewards.  Out of the Scripture often used to support the loss of salvation position for this area (1 John 1:8; 3:8; Romans 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 3:12-14; 12:1), only the passage in Hebrews 3:12-14 appears to need a response, as the other verses don’t truly have appropriate application to the debate, for they are simply exhortations for truthful and righteous living.  A superficial look at Hebrews 3:12-14 could easily mislead the uninformed or careless Bible student, for it says,

Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away (in the Greek = departing) from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’, lest anyone of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end”.

Although it appears as if a believer could fall away from God by being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, these first two difficult verses are clarified by the following third verse in this passage, once again separating out the true believer from the pretender.  For verse fourteen qualifies a genuine believer as one who is able to hold fast (by God’s grace) to the assurance (of salvation) until the end (of their physical life).  God accomplishes this because He does assure believers through the witness of His Holy Spirit that they are indeed His children (Romans 8:16 & 1 John 5:10-13)

Additionally, God promises that He will keep the believer in their salvation and that their soul will not come into judgment (John 3:18; 5:24; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14 & John 14:16).  It is the grace of God that sees the true believer through to the end, because God will receive all the glory and no man will boast before God concerning salvation or works.

One might wish to argue from the basis of free will, saying we could change our choice about salvation.  But as it was stated earlier, God says that once a person has genuinely received Christ, He makes them a new creature becomes one with them, He puts His seal upon them, and He promises to always be with themThis is action taken by God that He can’t renege on and still be true!  Therefore, human choice past the point of genuine salvation is concentrated down to obedience for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  Yet, the other side of this is that God will discipline His children and take them home early if necessary.  and

Chapters three and four of Hebrews largely address the believer, with the exhortation to enter into God’s spiritual rest, by believing in and relying upon His divine promises for salvation and sanctification.  The majority of Israel was disobedient in the wilderness and did not enter into God’s rest and they died in the wilderness.   They did not believe God and thus, not only were unable to enter into His rest and abide through the difficulty, like Joshua and Caleb, they could not endure and perished.

Colossians 1:22-23 states, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach — if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. 

This is like Matthew 24:13, which states, “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”  The true believer makes it through to the end, because God preserves him or her by divine grace, or once again, it would become the work of that individual believer, for which they could take credit, but Ephesians 2:8-10, Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Jude 24 tell us otherwiseThe difficult verses are generally a confirmation of who the true believers actually are and who they are not, by verifying who remains in the faith and who doesn’t.  They do not speak to the loss of salvation, but to the understanding and discernment between true and false believers.

What About The Scriptures That Seem To Speak Directly To The Believer’s Salvation Being Forfeited By Rejecting Christ?

Although at first look some of these passages may appear to be a contradiction for the assurance of a believer’s salvation, all of these verses can be reconciled to the position of the security of a believer’s eternal salvation, once the believer has been genuinely born again and made one with God.  However, the same cannot be said of the opposing position. For it becomes completely contradictory and impossible to reconcile the previously mentioned verses that demonstrate security into the loss of salvation position, without making God out to be a liar, because His Word would prove false.  Therefore, the rational conclusion tells us that there must be an answer for these difficult passages, and indeed there is.

John 17:12While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

This is a verse about Judas perishing, even though Jesus kept and guarded His disciples in the Father’s name.  (The assumption here is that Judas “chose” to abandon his faith in Christ, therefore we could too).  The problem with using this verse to support the loss of salvation is found in the first and the last part of the verse itself, “while I was with them” and “that the Scripture might be fulfilled”.  This is a verse about Jesus’ earthly ministry, prior to the resurrection and the imparting of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  Judas was with Jesus purely for his own self-centered interest for the position he might gain when Christ set up His Kingdom.  When Judas realized that Jesus was not going to overthrow the Roman occupation, he revealed his true heart, which Jesus foreknew and predicted, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  Judas was never committed to Christ and he is actually a better example of those who follow along in the pews and the pulpits for the benefits they get from intermingling with the saints of God.  This is not an example demonstrating that free will trumps God’s protection or His keeping of those who are truly His own (John 10:28-29); rather, it fails on the two main points, the Holy Spirit (which had not been given to the Church yet), and Judas Iscariot, who was from the beginning, merely a greedy and selfish pretender, who never fooled Jesus (John 13:10-30)

1 Corinthians 8:11For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.

The “ruin” here is wrongly applied to the soul, by the “lose your salvation” camp.  This verse, in the context of first Corinthians chapter eight, is speaking to the avoidance of causing a weaker brother to stumble with our mature liberty, in this case, the eating of meat that had been sacrificed to idols.  In 1 Corinthians 8:8“but food will not condemn us to God, which proves that verse eleven sighted here is referring to seriously harming a weaker brother’s spiritual walk and likely destroying his opportunity for eternal rewards, but not the condemning of his soul (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  As we shall see, with almost all of the passages sighted for the assumed loss of salvation, the actual context exposes the misapplication of the verse.  we are told,

Luke 8:13 And those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 

This is a parallel passage to Matthew chapter thirteen, which was expounded upon earlier.  The Greek describes the type of reception of the truth or belief that these people have, and it is intellectual only.  Therefore, by definition from the original Greek text they were never actually saved to begin with.

1 Timothy 4:1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons

Here, the Greek term for “fall away” means, “to depart from”, which relates to the true faith being forsaken for the pursuit of false doctrines.  This is speaking to the growing apostasy of the last days before Christ’s return, when deceptive influences will come to an intensified peak in the world.  The context is speaking to a choice to move away from the absolute truth and authority of God’s word, the Bible, and straying into legalism, renunciation and/or “religious” self-denial.  In other words, it speaks to legalists who will depart from the understanding of salvation by grace through faith to a self-denying, works-based faith, which cannot save

How could a true believer do this?  For would not the Holy Spirit convict them for doing so and draw them back to God? Would not God, the Father, discipline them?  There are many with subjective and/or intellectual “belief” within the Church walls today that have, and will continue to, depart from the teaching of sound doctrine to fulfill this prophecy.  Unfortunately, they are easy targets for such deception, but Jesus’ sheep hear His voice (John 10:3-4, 27).  It is important to note here that deception will be so extremely powerful and pervasive just prior to Jesus Christ’s return that if God did not supernaturally protect His elect, they would be deceived by it as well. But fortunately, God will not allow this to become a possibility (Matthew 24:24).

Continuing with the “we can choose to walk away from God” idea:

1 Timothy 5:12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. 

The context of this verse is referring to “human” condemnation from the widow’s peers, because she might break her commitment of giving herself solely to God in not remarrying and then later changing her mind.  This is something akin to a nun who might renounce her vow, because she changed her mind and wanted to be married.  The peers of the widow might condemn her for doing this, but she would not receive condemnation from God (Romans 8:1).  So again, this is simply a misapplication of a verse taken out of the context. 

1 Timothy 5:15for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. 

Again, attending a Church or being “in the Church” does not save a person or mean that they are in the true faith, any more than walking into a barn makes you a horse.  Jesus defined it for us in the parable about “the wheat and the tares” in Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43, where the enemy (Satan) sows tares (or mixes in liars, hypocrites and phony believers) among the wheat (true believers). Paul’s description of this particular group of widows in this passage should be an instructive warning for any self-righteous, obnoxious and legalistic “church lady”, who fails to realize that she is just as much a broken sinner as everyone else. 

And at the same time, they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Timothy 5:13)

Therefore, those widows among the saints that turn away and “follow Satan” were simply false believers or the tares/pretenders.

1 John 5:16-17 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. 

This passage correlates well with Acts 5, 1 Corinthians 11, and Hebrews 12 mentioned earlier, concerning God’s discipline of His children’s sin, which sometimes leads to their being removed out of this life.  It really doesn’t support the idea of the loss of salvation, as it is speaking of physical death of the body.

2 Peter 2:20For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 

This is speaking about an unbeliever who has come into the Church, hung around for a while, and gained a significant amount of intellectual knowledge about Christ and righteous living, but they did not enter into His saving grace.  They went along with the truth and were benefited by it, but then choose to leave, going back to the world, and live out what was really in their worldly, selfish heart all along.  Their last state is worse than the first, because previously they were largely clueless to truth, but now they are without excuse and their punishment in Hell will be even worse.

Does this mean that there are degrees of punishment in Hell?

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, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:46-48).

Although it is very difficult to understand how someone could draw so near to the truth (like Judas) and then turn their back on it, Jesus did repeatedly warn us in His parables that this would be commonplace among those who say they believe.

Hebrews 10:26, 27For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.  (1 John 3:4-10 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Again, this is only intellectual “knowledge” or “belief” of the truth, apart from a grace relationship and true oneness with God.  So here too, the explanation is the same as it was for 2 Peter 2:20, for their last state is worse than the first, because before they were largely clueless to truth, but now they are without excuse and their punishment in Hell will be even worse (Luke 12:46-48).

Hebrews 6:4-6For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers (Greek = sharers) of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. 

This is the most difficult passage of all, yet it cuts both ways. Again, considering the whole of everything that has been covered, this must be speaking to a type of “belief” that is intellectual.  Yet, more than that occurs here, for these people have tasted of (and shared in) some form of experience involving the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. But then, they have fallen away and they can never repent again.  This passage demonstrates that the theory of “getting saved multiple times”, or turning away from the faith and then coming back to faith again, is not a spiritual reality.  Faith is either genuine or false, and “ping-pong” faith or back-and-forth Christianity, which goes in and out of salvation is not a valid understanding.  When a person actually enters into true salvation, God seals them in it (Ephesians 1:13-14) and confirms it to them (Romans 8:16).

Therefore, those repeatedly coming back to the alter to repent and “re-receive salvation”, over and over again, are either immature true believers who just haven’t understood God’s redemptive word to them yet, or they are those of false faith who realize that they aren’t right with God and are exhibiting a worldly “religious” sorrow with the hope of appeasing God’s wrath. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Real repentance involves giving the very essence of our life to God.  He gets to be the boss of us and we no longer choose to remain in control of our behavior and our life’s future on this earth.  We become His possession, which He purchased at a very high price (1 Corinthians 6:17-20).

The people referred to in Hebrews 6:4-6 are most likely those who have entered into close companionship with an association of truly Spirit-filled believers.  As a result, they have seen God’s grace in action, toward themselves through others (tasting of it, but not swallowing it).  They have witnessed and felt the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit operating in the midst of the saints (thus, sharing in it, but never entering into a real relationship with God). Although, they have temporarily turned from their sinful lifestyle, they have never honestly given their heart to God, even though God’s power, presence and truth was revealed to them in a magnificent way. 

It’s no small wonder then that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to warn us to test ourselves and see if we are really in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)!  To know truth on this level and turn away from it is the exact same thing as openly and aggressively rejecting Jesus Christ, because no second repentance (turning away from sin again) will be possible for them, due to rejecting the light that they had so richly received.  In other words, they made up their mind (their eternal choice) when they saw the fullness of the truth and chose to turn their back on God (not unlike Judas).

We must ask ourselves, who is really “calling the shots” or making the decisions for our life?  Or more simply put, who’s the boss of our life, God or us?  If it is not truly God, it would be a very wise decision to change bosses immediately!  Yet, some even miss the simplicity of this determining question by alternatively trying to do things for God.  They choose to be religious and “serve” God, but it is of their own accord in an attempt to prove their self-worthiness to God (the way Cain did in Genesis 4). Yet, all our righteous works are worthless before a holy God, because they are contaminated with our sin (Isaiah 64:6).  Our hope and faith must be in Christ alone and He must truly be the God, Master and the Lord of our lives, or we are only pretending to be one with Him (and that won’t get us into heaven).

Yet still, even after all this has been said, some would obstinately contend that a believer obtains his salvation “by faith”, so he can lose it by unbelief or the lack of faith.  If this were the case, then each sin a Christian committed would cause the loss of salvation, because for the believer to sin is actually an act of unbelief, concerning the position God has placed us in and power He has freely granted to us to overcome sin, and therefore, no human being would be going to heaven, because no one can honestly keep up with all the sin they commit every day (in word, deeds and thought) before a holy God.  Our “eternal life” would be incredibly unstable, with it becoming like a light switch that could be flicked off with every sin we committed throughout each day and only turned on again if we managed to successfully confess each sin. What a nightmare to live believing such a misrepresentation of God’s grace (Romans 5:20).

 Additionally, the admonition to encourage believers in Romans 8:1 would not be true, as it states, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

This wrong thinking has caused some people to become walking basket-cases, constantly worrying and repenting a thousand times a day for fear that if they died with an unconfessed sin they would go to Hell.  Moreover, this was refuted previously, we do not obtain salvation “by faith”; we are saved by grace through the vehicle of faith.

This concept of being saved “by faith” comes from poor exegesis, usually by way of half quotes or even whole verses taken out of their direct context. An example of this would be the claim that believers must be on guard constantly, “looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).  Yet, this is an exhortation for believers to walk righteously in the grace that God has provided for them.  A believer fails God’s provision of grace for them when they choose to sin, instead of doing what is right, because we have been give the power to resist sin.  Even the apostle Paul struggled with this (Romans 7:15 through Romans 8:1), as do all believers, because perfection will not come until we see Christ face to face (1 John 3:2).  The half quote of Hebrews 12:15 misses the fact that Christ died for every one of our sins on the cross and either His blood covers us or it does not.  However, the powerful truth is that Christ’s sacrificial blood envelops the true believer completely and eternally at the initial point of salvation.  Close fellowship with God in this earthly walk, potential loss of rewards, along with the number of our days shortened are the only things those of true faith can suffer loss of, not our salvation, which has been promised to us by God (1 Corinthians 3:12-15 & Ephesians 1:13-14).

 Galatians 5:4  – You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 

This is one of the foremost verses that are quoted out of context.  In its framework, this is simply saying that if you wish to be justified by the law, you have rejected the way of salvation by grace.  Again, the letter to the Galatians was chiefly written to refute justification through the works of the Law, showing instead that justification by grace through faith is way.

Matthew 10:33But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  However, it also states in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 that, It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself”. 

The true believer is one with God (1 Corinthians 6:17) and God will preserve the souls of His own (2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13-14), even with physical death when necessary.  Also, remember that any address that is made to the New Testament Church, unless specifically stated otherwise in the context, is addressing both the wheat and the tares, the true and false believers.  This understanding is the key that opens up the difficult meaning of the comparison and contrast in so many of Jesus’ parables, as well as the difficult passages that show people departing from the faith.  Those of true belief are preserved by God and can be rewarded, and those of false conversion, who professed Christ and followed along in the Church, will be punished.  

Philippians 2:12 – So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. 

This verse is used to try to justify salvation by works of faith.  Once again, if this were the actual meaning, then how many works would be required? What is the criterionAnd with our righteous deeds being discounted by the holiness of God (Isaiah 64:6), what good would even a million of them do us?  This verse is an exhortation to walk within the sanctifying grace that God has imparted to the true believer, to emulate the divine nature He created in the new inner man, and to be holy, as He is holy, in our lives.  Salvation does not involve any kind of human work; it is the gracious gift of God (Romans 6:23)How terribly arrogant it indeed is to presume that any human effort could be added to the majestic and awesome blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ!  This truly is one of the highest insults against God (Hebrews 10:29).

 Revelation 3:5 – “He who overcomes shall 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. Also, Revelation 22:19 – “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” 

These verses are used to suggest that a true believer’s name could be taken out of the book of life, and thus they could lose their salvation.  Again, if this is true, then the Bible irreversibly contradicts itself.  When one looks deeply into the prophetic parts of Scripture and understands them in the light of everything discussed thus far, they can determine that Jesus died for everybody’s sin and at that point, their names were written in the book of life.  When a person rejects Christ, then their name is blotted, or erased, out of the book. The only exception to this is found in Revelation 13:8 & 17:8 where it mentions those “whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”.  These references are to the antichrist (the beast) and his followers, who took the mark and worshipped Satan as their god (Revelation chapter 13).  This speaks to the serious nature of the mark of the beast and how offensive it is to God for those who take it.  Apparently, even though Christ bore their sins on the cross, just as He did all the other sins of those who would reject Him, God refused to even waste the ink for those who would commit such a grievous insult against His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, by openly taking the mark of Satan (Lucifer) and wholly worshiping the devil as God instead (Revelation 12:9 & 13:4).

All these warnings of false belief (or false conversion) should truly alarm many!  For many who think they are just fine with God are really not!  True grace through authentic belief has often been badly misrepresented in many of the modern pulpits in the Church today, with salvation being degraded into an intellectual assent of historical facts, or even a subjective (superstitious) belief.  Just look at the parable of the seed and the sower, one group in four flatly reject the message of Christ.  While three of the four groups accepted the gospel, two of those three groups accepting it (with joy) are actually false believers! 

Even more shocking is the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-12. Although half of the people represented are taken with the bridegroom in this story (representing the Church being taken by Christ at the Rapture), this moment happens after the apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) has already seriously thinned out the ranks of those willing to call themselves true followers of Christ, because of an all-out global persecution that will have forced the true believers underground by this time (Matthew 24:8-12)Yet, half of those people “faithfully” waiting will still fail the test (2 Corinthians 13:5), even though they don’t fall away from persecution and difficulty during the coming great apostasy! This means that half of those who will loyally maintain their allegiance to Jesus Christ through intense persecution, expectantly wait for His return and calling Him “Lord” at a very high cost, will still get left behind, nonethelessJesus will simply say to them, I do not know you (personally, intimately or relationally).  How astoundingly tragic! 

Here, in this example alone, is the proof for why it is not just a need of “better discipleship” within the Church today.  The largest part of the problem in the Church is actually an over confidence in conversions that are not real.  For it is a fair assessment that those “faithful” ten virgins, representing the remaining underground Church in the world at the time of the Rapture, will be well discipled in biblical righteousness and they all will profess that the blood of Christ has saved them, for they call Him Lord. The fifty percent who get left behind will likely be highly indistinguishable from the other fifty percent of true Christians who are taken up in the Rapture.  In other words, those who are Raptured will likely be very surprised by the large number of their close “Christian” friends who are not up in Heaven with them.  This is why we must preach 2 Corinthians 13:5, to test ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith, relentlessly.  For it would be far better to error on the side of convincing people to make sure of their salvation, than to error on the side of offering an unholy and worthless confidence in those with counterfeit faith.

This is why the sound doctrine of the witness of the Holy Spirit to the believer is so reassuring and important to understand (Romans 8:16 & 1 John 5:10-13).  When God Himself tells the believer that they are His child and they are practicing righteousness according to the whole good council of His word, then the believer can firmly don the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:10-17) that they were meant to confidently wear, as they enter into the battle of the ages for the souls of men.  If one does not have the assurance of their own salvation, then who are they to preach God’s salvation to others? 

In other words, how can we teach what we truly don’t understand or that which we ourselves are never really sure about?  Besides, Satan can easily take out a person sporting uncertain or self-merited faith, which he does on occasion in an attempt to mock Jesus Christ before the world, touting the Christian religion as a failure and nothing but hypocrisy.   Yet, Satan generally likes to leave most of his tares (pretenders) in the Church, as they can be used to aid him in seeding more tares in the Church, especially when they are in leadership or other positions of authority.  We see much of this already, with the broad preaching of the “seeker friendly” – “God just wants to make you feel good and have a better life” so-called gospel, instead of preaching the true good news, involving the genuine repentance from our sin, which will save one’s soul from a horrible eternal Hell.

The time has come, for those who will follow God, to take hold of these truths and proclaim them from the housetops, pulpits and lecterns everywhere. Unfortunately, not many may do so, because the difficult things are costly and rarely taught.  Many modern preachers and teachers are more concerned about filling seats and making or exceeding their budgets, than they are about revealing scriptural truths that could possibly “offend” those attending and tithing (or at least giving something).  Simply put, for many in the modern Church money has become more valued than the truth that can save lost souls (Revelation 3:14-20).  If biblical truth in any way clashes with attendance numbers, and the cash flow that goes with it, then it is often sufficiently watered down, suppressed, or completely censored.

The Apostle Paul’s prediction has come true in our generation. 

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate (heap up) for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

 This used to be associated with the more liberal Churches, but unfortunately, it now fits very well within all of Christendom and to an alarming extent.

The modern westernized gospel, which is now largely being preached globally, is one of telling the world that God wants to bless them and give them a wonderful life (with this present life here on earth being the main focus). Several verses are quoted to support this view, like Jeremiah 29:11.  Yet, this view ignores a greater portion of Scripture (and verifiable history) that speaks to the very opposite about those who would truly emulate Christ to the world, as all these passages indicate: Matthew 6:19-21, John 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 11:18-27; Hebrews 11:32-38; & 1 Timothy 6:3-11. Persecution, slander, suffering, ostracism, hardship, and death are all to be the expected lot of a willing, content and joyous follower of Jesus Christ.  This was bore out in the lives of the past believers who are now watching us to see how we will do (Hebrews 12:1-3).

The Church has been seduced into telling people that they can be blessed by God and have His “wonderful plan” for their life (strongly implying an automatic physical and material blessing in this world), because it’s easier to “sell” the gospel this way and it avoids any offense that might lead to persecution (even if that persecution is nothing more than hurt feelings, strained relationships or some measure of unpopularity).  We tell them they can have God’s blessings if they will just do a few of the right things, like tithing and participating in feeding the poor, evangelism, etc.  How foolish! Even the worldly heathens live by, and understand, a system of doing certain things to earn rewards.  And then we act shocked, perplexed and feel sad when a “Christian” who has been “faithful” for years in participating with the work of the kingdom, all of a sudden “falls away from the faith”, because they don’t quite get all the “blessings” they think they should have obtained.  So, they get tired of “trying to be good”, along with doing all of the religious works and they leave.

And even though we do tell them about the blood of Jesus that forgives their sins, it is usually in a very general and non-personal way of easy belief, which merely introduces them to a mental assent of the historical fact of Jesus’ death for their sins, so they can feel liberated from their guilty conscience and continue on with their self-directed lifestyles apart from true grace.

The question boils down to what kind of soil do we want in the Church? Should we not desire to break up the fallow ground, using the law of God to teach people about our horribly sinful position before a Holy God, demonstrating our need for God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ alone, preparing the soil of human hearts to receive the good seed that Christ intended?  This will not be accomplished by attempting to attach physical prosperity or God’s wonderful earthy plan for a person’s life to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we “salt the oats” with the law of God (i.e., the Ten Commandments) and the realization of our failure to keep them, it will create a thirst in those who truly long for righteousness and it will lead them to a true repentance through the only One, Jesus Christ, who can make them righteous before a Holy God, by His sinless, substitutionary sacrifice for all our sins, if they will receive His divine pardon for them by making Jesus Lord over their heart and life. 

Therefore, both the truth about SIN and SALVATION must be properly preached and taught, along with the real the cost of following Christ, by taking up our cross daily.  This is indeed offensive to those who do not wish to let go of their sin or be challenged with sound doctrine.  But so what? Let them be offended, for they are not sincere anyway, and now their true position has been exposed.   Only preachers who believe their church budgets and their ministries are bigger and more important than God and His kingdom need fear preaching the true biblical gospel.

 Listen to The Teacher (The Holy Spirit) – 1 John 2:27

                                         Make Your Salvation Sure!

Perhaps you are an individual who has gone through this material and you realize that you are uncertain about your salvation, but you would like to become certain and make absolutely sure that you will spend eternity in Heaven with your Creator, the Lord God Almighty.  Then pray the following prayer and sincerely mean it with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength

Dear Jesus, I agree with Your word, the Bible, that I am a hopeless sinner, worthy of only death and Hell, eternally separated from you.  I confess that I have sinned against you, the Almighty Creator of the universe, for I have violated Your Holy Law (Your standard of righteousness) many times through things like lying, taking your name in vain, not allowing You first place in my life or lusting.  And although I am completely undeserving of it, I ask Your forgiveness for my sins.  Not because of anything I have done or anything I ever will do, but because of Your blood that You shed for me on the cross to pay for my sins, please forgive me dear Lord.  I acknowledge You as my Savior and I acknowledge You as my Lord.  Now, take my life Lord Jesus, and do with it what You will, I am completely Yours.  Thank You for forgiving me and forever washing me clean by Your precious blood! Praise You, Lord Jesus!  Thank You!  (See Exodus chapter 20 for the Ten Commandments).

If you prayed this prayer and meant it sincerely from your heart, then Jesus Christ has heard you and forgiven you completely of all your sin (past, present and future) and you’ve been born again as a new spiritual creature and made one with God.  The Holy Spirit will verify this to you and confirm that you are indeed His child. Get a Bible and start reading it; Genesis combined with the Gospel of John is a great place to start.  Find a fellowship of believers that live by the total authority of God’s word, meaning that they believe every part of it is valid and true.  Pray and talk to God often, this is a true relationship after all, and He really wants to hear from you!  Welcome to the true family of God!

                                                         The Question Of Baptism

I wish to preface this issue by pointing out something very important.  Asking whether baptism is necessary for salvation is the wrong question, because baptism, like so many other fruits or acts of the Christian life can be duplicated by pretenders, and thus it cannot grant or guarantee salvation.  The only guarantee for salvation is found in the previously discussed verses of Romans 8:16 and 1 John 5:10-13, where God’s Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are indeed His child.  This transcends arguments over such things like baptism. Yet, since some persist to make arguments from their carnal understanding, I will address this issue of baptism here.

While there has been much argued to support the idea that baptism must be a part of the salvation experience, there are actually many more passages on this subject in the Bible to refute this concept rather soundly.  When studying water baptism, as it relates to salvation, one must examine the whole of the Scriptures and not just a minority of selected verses, like those that Church of Christ favor, while ignoring the majority of the contrary passages.

It is always a great rule of thumb to not interpret doctrine from the minority position, but since there are some who would do this, it must be addressed. Let’s look at some of the passages that speak about salvation apart from water baptism.

John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

John 3:15-18, “that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (Note:  “has” and “have” are past tense verbs, meaning that once someone believes, salvation is already theirs.)

John 6:28-29, “They said therefore to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’”

John 6:35,  “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”

John 6:40,  “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:47,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

John 8:24,  “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” 

John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

 John 12:36, “While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.”

 Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”  Peter did not preach baptism and belief together here, yet in v. 44, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message”, because the people believed, they got the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

 Acts 13:39, “and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.”

 Acts 15:11,  “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

 Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

 Romans 3:22, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;”

 Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”


 Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

 Romans 10:9-11, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’”

 1 Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.”

 1 Corinthians 1:21, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

 Galatians 3:22, “But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

Ephesians 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvationbelieved, you were seal in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view (looking ahead) to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  

Ephesians 1:18-19, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”

Philippines 1:28-29, “in no way alarmed by your opponents– which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.  For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”

1 Thessalonians 2:13, “And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

 1 Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”

 1 Timothy 1:16, “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

 Titus 1:6, “namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”

 Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

 1 Peter 1:7, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,’”


 1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”

 1 John 5:5, “And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

 1 John 5:10-13, “The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son.  And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

 1 Peter 3:21, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience– through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:42-43, And he (the thief on the cross) was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”  There was no Baptism here was there? What do we do with the thief on the cross next to Jesus, the death bed confessions or the soldiers on the battlefield who profess faith in Christ, but die without the ability to get to water?  If we do this, are we not adding an extra ingredient (water) to the all-sufficient blood of Christ and then condemning souls who would be made righteous by faith just because they did not make it to the water?


A simple fact is that when you study this topic out and do the math, it can be observed that over four times as many verses (the above was only a partial listing) saying that it is all about genuine faith in God, as being the sole requirement.  Many of these verses in the Bible are stated in the past tense, meaning that true faith has already been accomplished without water baptism.  Why would the vast weight of the evidence fall to faith, if water baptism was an absolute  requirement for salvation? It seems that the inspired writers of the Word of God would have
made a consistent emphasis for water baptism, repeatedly and throughout the New Testament, so that it would be found in the majority of the verses dealing with salvation. But that is not even close to what we see.  By the way, the same can be said for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (claimed to be different from being sealed in the Holy Spirit), which some wrongly teach is
also necessary for salvation.

Now, I do not think it is in anyway right to belittle water baptism, because Scripture clearly demonstrates that it is an important step of obedience to acknowledge and declare one’s faith in Christ to the world.  And in many places in the world, doing so openly will cost you your life.  So, baptism is no small or inconsequential thing.


                                    Some points of clarification:


Ephesians 4:4-6 – “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” 

Passages like this one are quoted, with the emphasis to always consider it as only meaning “water” baptism.  Yet, when we include the preceding three verses for context, we see a better meaning.  Ephesians 4:1-3, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  This directly indicates the baptism of the Spirit we have when we come to Christ, which Paul explained to the Ephesians three chapters earlier in Ephesians 1:13-14, telling us that we were sealed in the Holy Spirit upon belief. Why?  Well, much is said concerning the Spirit in the context of this passage, but water is not mentioned at all. When interpreting passages in the Bible I think it is of grave importance to not insert meaning into a context that is not there, or worse insert meaning that is contrary to what is there, as we could get ourselves in a lot of trouble with God.

This passage in Ephesians correlates very well with 1 Corinthians 12:11-13 which states, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.  For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  The only “fluid” in this passage is the Spirit, as again, water is not mentioned.

Thus, those who teach water baptism is part of salvation say that Galatians 3:27 (“It is at our baptism that we put on Christ”), is referring to the water. Yet, they are mistaken, because Galatians 3:28 clarifies it as being that we are one in spirit. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Again, always seeking to equate the word baptism with physical water can be an improper interpretive method.

John 3:5-7 confirms this: Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You
must be born again.'”

This passage does not support “water baptism” for it is clearly speaking to a second, spiritual rebirth (that which is born of the Spirit is spirit) upon believing in Christ.  The first birth is talking about the natural physical process of the breaking of the water upon our mother’s labor in the birthing process (that which is born of the flesh is flesh). This is further confirmed by simply looking at the preceding question that Jesus was responding to in this passage. 

“Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?'” – John 3:4. Those who are willing to use these kinds of passages in an attempt to support a pet doctrine, only demonstrate their ignorance of scriptural understanding or their willingness to twist words out of their intended meaning to convince others – something Satan did when he tempted Eve in the garden of Eden and Jesus in the wilderness.

 To state that water baptism involves purification and it is required for the forgiveness of sin, as it had the power to cleanse us of sin, is not biblically accurate.  For only the blood of Jesus Christ is given that powerful and sole distinction in the Bible.  Therefore, whether intended or not, adding in water only serves to dilute the real authority of the blood of Christ, which is generally what we see cults attempting to do and it ought to be a huge red flag (warning) to any thinking Christian.  Although it is easy to see the confusion, if only a few verses are considered, outside of the contextual consideration of the whole of the Bible, because such a narrow study could easily cause a person to error.  So, let’s look at the Scripture references often cited for this errant thought and analyze them a bit more closely.

Mark 16:16 – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”  Here, it is claimed, that water baptism has been directly linked to salvation and it cannot be disputed.  However, the word “water” has been added into this verse’s interpretation, just as water baptism has been added into salvation as a necessary requirement (lest we forget the thief on the cross – Luke 23:42-43).

When taken with the whole of the New Testament teaching, this passage clearly
speaks to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). 

Acts 2:38 – “Repent and let each of you be baptized”. Again, if water baptism were the clarion call for absolute salvation, why did the vast majority of the Bible verses not include it?  This call was most likely given at this moment because of the people (Jewish in faith), place (Jerusalem, the seat of the Jewish religion) and time during the birth of the Church (shortly after the resurrection, at Pentecost).  Often times the immediate call for water baptism is about seeing who will stand for the faith they claim they have just received, in a situation where persecution will come quickly and the credibility of those claiming Christ will be strongly challenged.  This was a discressionary decision made by the Holy Spirit, as many times in the book of Acts, it was not done.

 Acts 22:16 – “And now why do you delay? Arise and be baptized and was away your sins”.  This verse concerning Saul/Paul is cut from the same cloth as Acts 2:38.  Ananias was calling Saul/Paul out, to seal the deal with Christ and do so openly, likely because of Saul’s past deeds, as a fierce Jewish persecutor of believers in Christ. Again, the vast majority of the Bible verses do not include baptism and part of the “salvation formula”.

 Titus 3:5 – “He saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”.  The key word here is “regeneration”, which is the same thing as being “born again” (Refer back to John 3:4-7).  Washing here is not speaking of literal water, but the blood of Christ and the spiritual rebirth.  Saying otherwise is just another attempt to “water” down the true  meaning of the Word of God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 – “ye were washed”.  Again, the full context indicates sins washed by the blood of Christ through a Spirit (not water) baptism.

 Hebrews 10:22 – “let us draw near with a sincere heart…having our hearts sprinkled clean…and our bodies washes with pure water”.  If we take this in a literal fashion, meaning “water baptism”, as has been suggested, then PURE water must be used!  Do you know how hard, expensive, and not to mention difficult to maintain, it is to actually manufacture and store PURE water?  How many people have been baptized in PURE water? And once they used it, no one could come in after them, because it would not be PURE anymore.  I do not know of a single baptistery that has ever had PURE water in it.  This is the problem with looking at the Word of God without carefully seeking to discern the spiritual meaning, because natural human understanding blinds us to the true meaning, believer or not.

Ephesians 5:25-26 – “by the washing of the water”. The context here is speaking to husbands imitating Christ’s sacrificial life in a continual manner toward his wife.  The sanctifying process is ongoing in a believer’s life, until we go home. Thus, to incorrectly take this passage to literally mean justification through water baptism, it would then mean Christians would have to continually be “re-baptized” on a regular basis to stay “sanctified enough” to end up justified, which reverts to salvation by works (an idea that is soundly refuted earlier in Ephesians 2:8-9).  Have you had your re-baptism with PURE water today?  What about yesterday and the day before?  See the problem?

 Some have even made the claim that “one can look at every example of conversion in the book of Acts and not find a soul eating a bite, drinking a drink, hitting a lick, or sleeping a wink between his hearing of the gospel and his being baptized”.  However, these people really need to do their research a lot better before making such a claim, because there are many examples to refute this is false nonsense.  [See Acts 4:4, 5:14, 9:42, 10:43-46 (believed in Christ and received the Holy Spirit even before water baptism), 11:16-17 (ditto), 11:2, 13:12, 13:38-39, 13:48, 14:1, 15:7-11 (ditto), 17:11-12, 17:34 and 28:24.]

Although I believe baptism is an important follow-up step of obedience to genuine conversion in Jesus Christ, and that complete submersion is the proper way to do it, as it represents the old man being buried and the new man being resurrected in Christ (Romans 6:1-11), there is far too much in the Word of God, which refutes the idea that it could be an absolute requirement of salvation. 

Matthew 28:19 states, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  Baptism is a general principal of the “great commission”, but as a follow up in establishing the Church, because teaching people the truth was first, then baptism.  Again, it is the whole of Scripture that must be considered here.  Baptism is an important fruit of genuine salvation, one of several conditions following salvation that says salvation might be real for that person, but getting wet is not a guarantee, because it can be done by a counterfeit Christian as well.

Ephesians 1:13-14 – “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
who was given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory”.  The book of Ephesians was written in 61 A.D., after the book of Mark and after the events recorded in Acts had transpired. Therefore, it takes precedence for any interpretation.  This passage plainly tells us that salvation comes through hearing and then believing. And once the person has believed they are sealed with the Holy Spirit as God’s promise of the redemption of that person’s soul.  No water is mentioned here and God makes a promise that salvation is sure to the believer, as no conditions were listed with this promise from God, meaning it is a done deal, as God cannot lie.  This verse also refutes the idea that you must undergo a special ritual of “being baptized in the Holy Spirit” (with the evidence of speaking in tongues, which contradicts 1 Corinthians 12:30) to supposedly be a real Christian.

The false doctrine of water baptism being an absolute requirement for salvation, not only seeks to dilute the blood of Christ, but it also attempts to make God out to be a liar, by saying humans can trump His divine authoritative promise by some exercise of their own free will.  It is not a matter of choosing to lose your salvation, it is clearly a matter of choosing to never really make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life through genuine repentance and submission in the first place! 

This is the primary question of absolute importance that the Church should be actually be addressing today, well beyond things like where does water baptism fit in, because all but one thing can be counterfeited in the Christian experience, like straightening up your life, going to church, memorizing scripture, singing Christian songs, getting the T-shirt and other
paraphernalia, going out and evangelizing, or even being dunked in water.

As previously discussed, that one thing is the witness of the Holy Spirit, to our spirit, where God Himself confirms to us that we are His child (Romans 8:16 & 1 John 5:10-13), and by this witness we KNOW that we are His. 

Have you experienced this witness of the Holy Spirit?  If you have you know it, or “you know, that you know, that you know, because God Himself has told you so”, and there is no doubt at all. If this understanding is a mystery to you then you are not saved, whether you’ve been water baptized or not. Thus, you need to examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5), repent and genuinely submit to Jesus Christ, that you too would have God’s assurance that you are indeed His child. 

But finally, let me say this, if you have prayed to make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, then you should obey His command to be baptized (Matthew 28:19-20), if you have not already done so, because He is your Lord and those who love Him will keep His commandments (John 14:15).