SALVATION IN CHRIST AND THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER [PREFACE & INTRODUCTION].

Filed under BALTATZIS - ENGLISH, ENGLISH

“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)

An Email Ministry for the Glory of God

 

A series of Bible studies on

SALVATION IN CHRIST

AND

THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

(The Bible version used is the AKJV. Exceptionally the Darby, NIV and NET versions)

ΜΠΑΛΤΑΤΖΗΣ-Σειρά Βιβλικών μελετών (4).Movie_Snapshot

 

PREFACE #001

Aim of the composition of this new series of spiritual studies

The church of Christ that the Holy Spirit has created the day of Pentecost has been, over the years, divided because of schisms, creation of new doctrines, new churches, etc. Today, the Churches which prevail are three: Catholics, Orthodox, and those of Protestantism. Within these large churches have been created various separations and denominations! In some large churches, we have a few denominations and in other many, while in all these Christian churches, their members use the same BIBLE! And it has proved what the apostle Peter wrote of Paul: “As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction” (2Pie.3:16). Consequently, there were and there are still people that are unlearned and unstable who wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.

I put the question: Of which denomination was Christ?  Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant or which denomination did He create?  What does the Bible say? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  He was and He is the only begotten Son of God, the Savior of any person who believes in Him (1Tim.4:10).  Yes, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). When and who has created the schisms? Why were the major Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant denominations established? What denomination saves? None! Only Christ saves! And He saves only those who have believed in His Word, have given Him their heart (their will), and who have done Him the Lord of their lives.

There are very often discussions among believers of various churches on the security of our salvation, one more subject which divides the Church of God. Some say, “Once saved, always saved” and others say, Even a true believer can lose his salvation, if, if, if…”, or in other words, we can accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we can, after having accepted Him, reject Him when we want!

Surprising! These “conflicting interpretations” have prompted me to make a very intense research based exclusively on the Bible and not on theological books concerning this subject: “Which believer is saved and which believer is not saved”, or better – according to the Bible – what kind of “believer” will be finally saved?

I have to say that I was profoundly edified by this research! I wholeheartedly wish the same thing to the recipients of my spiritual studies of this new series, which I share with them with great joy. Not only for them but for every Christian because this controversial subject has divided Christ’s Church! I would be very happy if I could contribute to rightly dividing the word of the truth and to the unity of the Church. I am not a theologian and have never read theological books on these controversial positions. All I know on these positions come from discussions that I have had with both parties. Whatever I expose in this series comes from a simple Christian who loves God and His Book, the Bible, and after having committed this problem, from the depths of my heart, to God’s wisdom and guidance.

 

John BALTATZIS

baltatzis@skynet.be

 

**********************************************

“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)

An Email Ministry for the Glory of God

 

A series of Bible studies on

SALVATION IN CHRIST

AND

THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

(The Bible version used is the AKJV. Exceptionally the Darby, NIV and NET versions)

 

INTRODUCTION #002

ΜΠΑΛΤΑΤΖΗΣ-Σειρά Βιβλικών μελετών (4).Movie_SnapshotIt is legitimate to ask ourselves where do these diametrically positions come from! Are they not based on the same Bible that both they and I use? Is it not from the same Bible that so many different interpretations, schisms, denominations, etc., have been created? It is true that there are certain words or phrases of the Word of God which can have different interpretations but not refuting each other! The Spirit of God does not contradict itself! I have been profoundly edified by certain “yes but” which give to a truth greater and multidimensional dimensions, and complete its message and meaning!

The Word of God says,If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1Pet.4:11).

I always try to express my conclusions just like mathematical equations, something that deprives them from literary elegance. Since this is a series of interdependent studies, there are repetitions and sometimes excerpts from my previous studies.

Two remarks:

a)      In each case that I examine (which ‘believer’ risks losing or does not risk losing his salvation) I IDENTIFY myself with those who take one or the other position! The reader is requested to wait and not to draw his conclusions before the end of the reading of this series of studies. In other words, it is necessary to see “the other side of the coin”!

b)      This series looks more like a treatise than as a simple series of messages. It is a comparison of spiritual things with spiritual things (2Cor.2:13).

My intention is to do my duty and contribute:

1.      To the encouragement of the orderly walking Christians to hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope to the end, which has great recompense of reward (Heb.3:6 and 10:35). Also, to exhort them to imitate the apostle Paul and to press toward” (run” – in GR) the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Php.3:14). Thus, they will avoid being complacent and fall into a spiritual sleep. In addition, they will be “saved” from any eventual flaws or weaknesses according to God’s precious promises. They would cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2Cor.7:1). The Lord has promised to “save” us completely! Yes, to “save” us to the uttermost (Heb.7:25). What condescendence and what grace! The Bible’s exhortation is: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still (Rev.22:11);

2.       To the understanding that God, our heavenly Father, wants that the Bible be used as a revolving mirror, so that as it rotates, each and every one of us can discern himself, myself included!

Some are comforted and edified and others are rebuked when they see “spiritual stains on their robes”. The apostles – in all their epistles – did not stop encouraging, consoling but also warning and reproving the recipients of their epistles. They wanted to indicate that God is not only love but also justice and severity! God ‘avenges’ and gets angry (Nah.1:2). All the prophets spoke about judgments because of sin! They also wanted to help their readers understand that God’s grace cannot be activated and reign but only by justice, in the context of which the main element is repentance (Rom.5:21). What would have happened if the prodigal son had not decided to repent and return to his Father’s home?

The apostles knew very well that in every church there were and there are Christians and Christians; true Christians and nominal or false Christians as well as strong Christians and weak Christians. The apostles had to do with different spiritual levels of believers: Weak, strong, unstable, apostates, fallen away (out), slothful, believers of wicked heart, Christians “ready to die”, etc. And even with some who had ‘seen…’ Jesus and believed not (John 6:36)!

3.      To the spiritual awakening of certain weak or disorderly walking believers so as to avoid losing the salvation that God has offered through Jesus Christ. Τo be spiritually revived for a better and productive Christian life! This is the will of God! God desires that all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Tim.2:4).

I noticed how dangerous it is to become obsessed on this controversial issue of the security of salvation of the believer, without having examined the Holy Scriptures in a diligent and global way, with an open mind, but above all with veneration. I repeat what I wrote in the PREFACE: Peter wrote about the apostle Paul, “As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction (2Pet.3:16). Consequently, there were and there are such people to their own destruction.

Let us then pay attention to the following word of the Bible: “And if any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him” (1Cor.8:2-3). Thus, in order to be on the safe side, I decided to treat this subject in an objective and impartial way by using exclusively Scriptural arguments accompanied by some rudimentary explanations, remarks or comments.

Here are some points that one should have in mind while reading this series: The methodology applied for this new series:

Blessings and Cursings

  • In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 27, we see something strange but very important: Moses charged certain people to stand on mount Gerizim to bless the people and certain other people to stand on mount Ebal to curse the people. That was done on purpose: The people had to know that both the curses and the blessings depended on their choices and diligent obedience! The people had to pay attention to keep God’s precepts diligently (Ps.119:4; Deut.6:14, 11:13, 22), “which if a man do, he shall live in them…” (Lev.18:5). This is true for those who live under the Law. Application of this method we also see in Josh.8:34: “And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.”
  • During the New Dispensation, what counts is our faith in Christ, Who kept with His life, His redemptory death and His resurrection the LAW for our account. Unbelievable but true! This is the reason why Jesus Christ said: “[…]. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine” (2Tim.4:2). No man was to be justified by the Law in the sight of God! It is clear, because it is written in Gal.3:11 and elsewhere: “The just shall live by faith”. Our sincere repentance and our unfeigned faith are the true “works” in order to be saved!  Conclusion: One must demolish before one builds (Jer.1:10)!
  • It is not important if certain people think I am judging or I am in favor of one or the other position. I am not in favor of a certain position! I am in favor of what the Bible says! What interests me is to be spiritually useful! I have no right to judge anyone, because only God knows man’s heart. I am simply obliged to point out the risks to which the Word of God calls our attention. It is obvious that many are those who have taken ‘the pillow of salvation’ or ‘have fallen asleep at the wheel’… Also, because there are those who soothe the crowds and exploit them or, desiring to be teachers of the law understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm (1Tim.1:7).
  • True Christians, however, have the obligation to judge those that are within… not those who are without (1Cor.5:12)! It has to do in this case with discernment and discipline in the context of the Church. In addition, they have the right and the duty to proclaim God’s precious promises by which those who believe can become partakers of the divine nature!

At this point, I would like to add the following considerations: In the Holy Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testament, we encounter very often the exhortation or warning: “Do not be deceived” or “he deceives himself” or other similar ones addressed to believers! Example: “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal.6:3). Is this written in vain? By no means! Many people think much of themselves but their real situation is different. The measure of comparison, the touchstone is the Word of God! My aim is all of us, if possible, to be sensitized and very careful in our spiritual walk! Why? Because all those who believe in Jesus-Christ have not necessarily given all their heart (their will) to Him, entrusted their life in HIM, live for HIM and have made HIM the LORD of their life! In other words, you may be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Savior of the world and not want to entrust your life to Him… To sincerely believe in Christ’s work, this does not mean that one is sincere in his life. To believe in Christ does not mean that you are and remain faithful in the sense of faithfulness… They know that Jesus-Christ has done everything for them but they do not keep the basic conditions that Christ requires of them: To believe in Him sincerely, repent sincerely and to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul, and with all their mind, and with all their strength (Mark 12:30).

In their epistles they did not teach only spiritual principles but they also referred even to cases of concrete sins and they exhorted them to abandon them. Worthy of our attention is the way in which the apostle John addresses himself to certain churches and in particular to certain sins and flaws of the churches in the book of Revelation! He does according to the English language “case studies” for each of the Revelation churches! Did you also pay attention to the instructions Paul gave to Timothy on how to behave and to treat the members of the church? How to control them…? A characteristic example is what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “As I sought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine (1Tim.1:3).

Did you also notice that during the first century and in newly planted churches cruel wolves appeared… dominating over the church people, teaching false doctrines and working for a dishonest profit? What a painful thing for the apostles! Also, the Bible refers to cases of people who began well but after a while or later went back to their sins for many different reasons: The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things entering in choked the word and it became unfruitful (Mark 4:19).

In all families and particularly in Christian families, parents give, as a rule, the same upbringing. They raise them up with the same spiritual food and the same spiritual drink (1Cor.10:3-6). They give exhortations and warnings to all their children. All children are not, of course, in need of the same admonitions. Some need them more and some less. Parents do not give warnings or threats to obedient and diligent children, but they do give them to disorderly or lazy and/or disobedient children. The same principles hold good also for believers of the same church! This is the reason why the apostles included in their epistles approbations, reproofs, warnings, exhortations, etc. They knew that among them there were some believers who thought that they were doing well but were mistaken and there were others who were deprived of their spiritual fruit and did not know how they should take care to make their “calling and election sure” (2Pet.1:10)!

However, God’s exhortation, “Why let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1Cor.10:12) is of general application. All of us should be vigilantly careful of what we think and do. We should let, with reverence and godly fear (Heb.12:28) the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1Pet.2:25) check every detail of our life!

God willing, we will examine this controversial subject in three parts:

a) How man is saved;

b) Which believer risks losing his salvation; and

c) Which believer does not risk losing his salvation!

The last Chapter constitutes the EPILOGUE – CONCLUSIONS.

The discussion of this subject will probably create certain reactions, both positive and negative! The Christians who use their mind and love the truth will be blessed both from the positive and the negative reactions… I do also know that it will not be of any use to all those who are “stuck” in the knowledge that they have acquired in certain cases in their theological seminaries or in the doctrines and constitutions of their Church, etc.! Each one has to decide how to deal with this study.

There is an axiom which is valid and which will be eternally valid: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9). Consequently, if we do not confess our known personal sins, God CANNOT forgive us! Then, watch out!

 

John BALTATZIS

baltatzis@skynet.be

 

 

ΔΙΑΔΩΣΤΕ ΤΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ ΣΕ ΦΙΛΟΥΣ ΣΑΣ