Once Saved in Eternity,
Always Saved in time
by Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Ministry
Can believers lose their salvation? This question has plagued many of God’s elect for over two millennia and remains a very focal point of debate because of its many impressibilities and implications. On the one hand, when believers are under the impression that they can lose their salvation, it evokes unrealistic pressure for them to walk the “straight and narrow path,” even though such is an impossible feat. On the other hand, when believers are knowledgeable that they are eternally secured and can never fall away, it engenders tremendous freedom from anxiety of self-failure, even though it can also be a source of tepidness for those that have not internalized the full impact of Christ eternal working in their lives. God’s people must seek the correct scriptural application for determining the truth of assurance in the Doctrine of Eternal Security. In this sense, we should allow the scriptures to speak and set the agenda of correlating our eternal position as it guides and impacts our faith and obedience.
One of the main concerns that skew the understanding of Eternal Security is how some view those who have claimed to be saved but are apparently not living in testimony to it. This is referred to by some as having “completely fallen away from the faith.” The concept of “losing” salvation through some deed or misdeed is a simple and somewhat attractive one in some circles. The overwhelming problem with this is that no one can ever be absolutely sure whether anyone is, or ever was, saved. Such an assessment or accounting forms the basis of mass confusion that is so prevalent in the various church systems (denominations, cults, etc.) that have strong views on this issue. Denominations and systems that are more action-oriented tend to side with the position that God’s people can lose their salvation. Doctrines that are more faith-based tend to assert that salvation cannot be lost but they also distort the issue by co-mingling the works of God with mankind, which indeed foists the synergistic approach to it. Unfortunately, this also throws many shadows of doubt on the security of ones status in Christ because of the unreliable input of mankind.
It is scripturally correct to teach that no child of God can ever lose their salvation. This is primarily based on the fact that all the workings of salvation were produced by God in the sphere of eternity, before time began. In light of this, no contribution of mankind whatsoever figures into the salvation process in the sphere of time. The tendency of various factions to be persuaded one way or the other on this issue is secondary to scriptural documentations. An accurate assessment of Eternal Security is only attainable through prayerful consideration in rightly dividing all verses of scriptures that apply to this question. The doctrinal position adopted herein is that salvation is a gift of God that was granted to His elect in the sphere of eternity and cannot possibly be lost in the sphere of time. In this view, all believers that have been positioned in the Body of Christ are unconditionally saved regardless of what occurs in this life. Even though such ones may struggle with identifying this benefit and their conduct does not conform to the irreversible decrees of God in His sovereign choice of them, they are eternally secured in Christ. Here the pro and con positions of this issue are scrutinized for the purpose of authenticating the fact that God’s people can never lose their salvation.
Position 1: Salvation Can Be Lost. Two of the most cited passages of scripture that are alleged to support and foisted in teaching ones conditional tenure of salvation are addressed in the epistle of Hebrews. Before considering these passages, it is very important to understand that the general theme of this missive is the unreliable performance of humans, thus documenting the need for Christ to exclusively act in their behalf. The context of Hebrews is not the question of whether or not these Jews had or even could lose their salvation but its application of the purpose of Jesus as their primarily and practical representative. Here the Apostle Paul is addressing a specific problem that had and was continuing to confront many of the early Kingdom Church converts, which had drifted into the transition to the Grace Church. More specifically, the problem was that certain of the Jewish converts were continuing to rely upon their cultural Judaic Laws and customs as conferment of their acceptance to God. Undoubtedly they were yet ignorant of the insufficiency of the flesh to abide in and/or fulfill the dictates of the Mosaic Law as well as the reason why they had been required to repent from their reliance upon it for salvation. To this end, there are plethora of warnings (including the two that are addressed herein) to encourage them to press forward in their commitment to Christ and not shrink back to the failed works of cultural Judaism. A careful analysis of the scriptures categorically refutes the idea that believers can lose their salvation. The word of God is very concise whether it is conveyed from the vantage-point of eternity or time that the finished works of Christ are both irreversible and irrevocable (Romans 8:1-2; 38-39).
Through the erroneous interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-9, some have actively militated against the teachings of the security of those who have been placed in the Body of Christ. Aside from the fact that such was accomplished in the eternal realm and therefore is not conducive to any occurrences in time, the context of these scriptures are conveyed in testimony against the security of ones position and standing before God. A close exegetical analysis and the resulting correct reading of Hebrews 6:4-9 are as follows:
4 For (it is) impossible for those once having
been enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift and having been made
partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5 and having tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the coming age,
6 and having fallen away, to renew (them) again unto repentance, while they crucify again to themselves, the Son of God and are exposing Him to open shame.
7. For the earth drinks the rain coming upon it
often and brings forth plants useful for those on account of whom it is
cultivated, receiving a blessing from God.
8 But producing thorns and thistles, (it is) worthless and near being a curse, whose end (is) for burning.
9 And we have been (and are) persuaded concerning you beloved, even of better things and accompanying salvation, even though we thus speak.
Even those examining the correct translation of this passage often misconstrue it to be straightforward and clear in stating that the child of God can fall away from ones relationship with Christ and reach a point of no return. Exegetical problems encountered in taking this position underscore the failure to contextualize the entire purpose and intent of Paul’s epistle to the “Hebrews.” The first thing that must be considered is who is addressed as “those once having been enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift and having been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and having tasted the good word of God and the power of the coming age and having fallen away?” Historically speaking, the only plausible answer is the believing Jews who were originally placed in Christ under the auspice of the Kingdom Gospel, including even the Apostle Paul himself. This unique group, later identified in the transitional Grace Church (Romans 16:7), had the sole distinction of this experience in their relations-in-Christ resume. The key to this perceived enigma is the Greek aorist tense of “enlightened,” “tasted,” “made” and “fallen.” In the proper usage of the grammar, this obviously refers to those who were recipients of all these blessings prior to the ushering end of the Dispensation of Grace with its wholesale inclusion of God’s salvation to Gentiles (Act 13:48). Each functional component of salvation operates in the eternal sphere. In this sense, nothing that is perceived to be activated and/or transpires in the sphere of time has any effectuation upon what has been actualized in eternity.
The descriptive conveyances of Hebrews 6:4-6 obviously references terms and conditions of the New Covenant’s conferment to those who had been caused to respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom and its Messiah to Israel. These are the only possible ones who were “once having been enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift and having been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and having tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the coming age;” for these are all Kingdom promises for the future Millennial and subsequent eternal Kingdom on Earth. It is only in the sense of the stipulations of this covenant to those who reject the Messiah and turn away from Christ that it will be impossible to be renewed again.
What this passage conveys is a continuation of all the instructions preceding it in other passages of the epistle. Again, in order for one to comprehend Paul’s theme of directives in his epistle to these believing Jews, who had transitioned into the Grace Church along with himself and were now obviously members of the Body of Christ; one must perceive his purpose and goal in addressing the “Hebrews.” Also in addition to this, one must be cognizant that one of the first rules of Scriptural interpretation is that any particular verse or verses should be linked in connection to the context in which they are structured. Of course the safety net for avoiding confusion is asserted when the text fully expresses itself through the three avenues of scrutiny (grammatically historically and contextually).
In this epistle, the Apostle Paul fully exhibits this same line of cogitation in other passages, wherein he pursues similar subjects of thing he desired them to be weaned from. No one should ever build a doctrinal position upon “stand alone” verses or passages. In fact, the only stand alone verses and passages are those that the interpreter stands alone. A common rule is to allow the verses that are less clear to be explained by the preceding or succeeding verses that are clearer. Further, the clearer verse may not necessarily be found in the immediate context, as it may be found somewhere else in the general theme. The Word of God is actually the mind and will of God in its totality, thus it can be fully relied upon to accommodate those searching for truth. The Word of God consistently propagates the Doctrine of Eternal Security in every Dispensation and it is unequivocally expressed in all the writings of the gospel of Grace, as they are for the most part always conveyed from the eternal-Heavenly vantage-point. In this sense, one should be very weary of any semblance of expression that purports to place a condition on the tenure of salvation.
The correct exegeses (spiritual analytical interpretation) of these misrepresented Scriptures conclusively document the security of God’s eternal workings in Christ on behalf of His elect. In this regard, the reading of Hebrews 6:4 is, “For (it is) impossible for those once having been enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift and having been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.” The word order authenticates this translation in the Greek text. The Greek noun adu,naton (ahth•ee•nah•ton) rendered “impossible,” denotes what is against the nature of God, as reference is made to the holiness and righteousness of His ways and workings regarding the establishment of His decree in positioning His elect. Note that the primary theme in the context is the “elementary (beginning) word of Christ” or the original but limited volume of knowledge that that they had initially received under Messianic Gospel teachings. In this sense, the implications are the impossibility of the functioning of those elementary principles in their Kingdom earthly workings, as being sufficient to confirm their comprehension in light of the superior knowledge of God’s eternal accomplishments in the heavenly sphere. As previously stated, the addressees are not reprobates but “those” once having been enlightened and “those” having tasted of the heavenly gift and “those” having been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, thus this is the obvious description of believing Jews that were so predominant in this transitional Grace assembly.
Note the usage of the aorist tense and passive voice of the Greek participles: 1). fwtisqe,ntaj (pho•tees•thehn•dahs) rendered “having been enlightened” denotes that they had been taught the elementary principles of the messages of Christ in the past, i.e., His Messiah-ship, which was shined upon them and illuminated their minds. 2). geusame,nouj (yehv•sah•mehn•oos) rendered “tasted,” of which conveyance is of one who has been caused to have sensed the taste and perceived the heavenly gift of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15; I Corinthians 15:49; II Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 1:22). 3). genhqe,ntaj (yehn•ee•thehn•dahs) rendered “having been made,” referencing those that God had in the past made partakers of the Holy Spirit. The Greek noun meto,couj (meht•okh•oos) rendered “partakers,” literally means “to hold with,” “share” or “have a partner relation.” Thus the language used in this verse indicates that in the past, God had related via the Holy Spirit to these particular ones and caused them to accept Jesus as their Messiah but they apparently had not comprehended that Christ had died for their sins because they were yet practitioners of the Law. Spiritually informed mindsets are cognizant of the complete gamut of God’s eternal workings and are never swayed from the conviction that the salvation of His elect is unalterable. In this regard, one must be diligent in certifying the consistency of scriptures in the gospel of Grace authenticating such.
The language used in Hebrews 6:4 indicates that in the past, God had related via His Spirit to the Hebrews being addressed, i.e., those having tasted the heavenly gifts. In Hebrews 6:5, there is a continuation of their litany of blessings, i.e., “and having tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the coming age.” Note in this verse, similar characteristics as they had: been introduced to, acquainted with and sampled the good Word of God. In analyzing the contextual conveyance of verses 4-6, it is important to again acknowledge that the array of their four participles is structurally sequenced and preceded by the adverb a[pax (ahp•ahx) rendered “once.” This applies to all the participles; i.e., they had once: (in verse 4) been enlightened, tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Sprit and (in verse 5) tasted of the good word of God and power of the coming age.
In noting the contents of the prior verses in chapter 6, the elementary principles of the relevant teachings of the Kingdom Gospel entail the acknowledgement of Jesus as the messiah to Israel. It is of note that there was no direct stipulations banning the keeping of the Mosaic Law other than its sacrifices of the Levitical offerings in lieu of Christ’s death having fulfilled all the requirements of atoning for sins (Acts 21:20; Galatians 4:25) but apparently even this fact was not clearly comprehended by them. Hence the elementary Word of Christ encompassed the truths related to the Kingdom but not The Body of Christ, the Church, of which these believing were apparently now members of. Here one must be absolutely cognizant of the fact that both the Kingdom and Grace Doctrines convey identical salvation messages, i.e., the forgiveness of sins based on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and their identification by faith (I Corinthians 15:3-4; I Peter 1:18-21).
Thus the statement (having tasted of) “the powers of the coming age,” also specifically aligns with the Kingdom prophesied message. Here note that the Greek word duna,meij (thee•nah•mees) rendered “powers,” is in this sense commonly used with reference to miracles, as the conveyance is that they had tasted God’s Kingdom message with both its then present and future miracles, which are inseparable (Matthew 10:7-8). Ones experience in Christ is always in alignment with ones spiritual relationship with Christ. In this view, the Scriptures specifically identify the placement status of God’s elect through dispensational and covenant arrangement proceedings. Unfortunately there are those who adamantly foist the premise that the context of Hebrews 6:4-8 warn about the perils of experiencing genuine in-Christ fellowship and then turning away from Him. Here the assertion is, it is impossible for such ones to be brought back to repentance, in that in the end they are: like land that produces thistles, are in danger of being cursed and will ultimately be burned (eternally lost and separated form God). Note, the pertinent issue is whether the context is referencing “temporary believers,” who: enter into the context of Christian fellowship, experience the work of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the scriptures but never actually accept Christ. In other words, is this referencing so-called “Cultural Christians;" having not made without any actual commitment to Christ or is it possible for someone to believe and then be denied acceptance by God because of their actions or inactions?
As already demonstrated, the experiences depicted are all sufficiently descriptive to identify the addressees as the elect of God. Thus what is IMPOSSIBLE is for such ones to fall away from CHRIST! ……… and this is NOT what the conveyance of Hebrews 6:6 explicates when it is properly exegeted. The description of: “having fallen away, to renew (them) again unto repentance, while they crucify again to themselves the Son of God and expose Him to open shame” is not depicting the fall of these elected ones from Christ because no one could ever experience: "enlightenment of the workings of God, tasting of the heavenly gift and sharing in the Holy Spirit nor anything else that is conferred upon God’s designated ones having been fully immersed in fellowship through the revelations of the Holy Spirit. The key to comprehending the correct conveyance of the context is the acknowledgement that these believers were apparently the recipients of blessings from both the kingdom and Grace Economies, as this would eliminate all erroneously preconceived notions of Law and Law-Kingdom Covenants requirements. The answer to this seemingly enigmatic question is gleaned from understanding the first phrase of verse six, i.e., “and having fallen away.” Here the assumption by many who read it is that it depicts falling away from Christ in the sense of being loosed from Him. Here one must be convinced that no such condition is even remotely possible concerning the believer’s relationship in Christ, as this is antithetical to every promise in both the New and Grace Covenants.
As one progresses into the context of Hebrews 6:4-9, it must be understood that this passage as a whole is conveyed for the benefit of those commensurate with the experience of the enlightened elect, as these are not those “having fallen away” because this is a description of the non-elect. Thus it should be pointed out that the term used in verse six, kai. parapeso,ntaj (keh pahr•ahp•ehs•on•dahs) rendered “and having fallen away,” may also be translated “and having fallen besides” or “and having defected from.” Note that this participle (having fallen away) is in the aorist tense identifying those who it is “impossible” to renew or restore again unto repentance, which would be exemplified by their change of mind from dead works (Hebrews 6:1). What may be confusing is the translation of pa,lin avnakaini,zein (pahl•een ahn•ahk•eh•nee•zeen) rendered “renew again” which in effect references the actualization of the initial redemption of God’s elect. These are the ones who are not God’s elect and who were never ordained to be enlightened. Here these “unenlightened ones” are those who “(while they) crucify again to themselves the Son of God and are exposing Him to open shame” through their unyielding reliance upon their own works. This descriptive status is of those so depicted as determinant non-believers who were never the recipients of what had been made available and possessed by God’s people doing the initial Kingdom experience.
This is further explicated by the conveyances of Hebrews 6:7-8 in portraying the differences of blessings graciously bestowed upon the elect as contrasted with the curses justly assigned to the non-elect. Note the depicted distinctions of the groups: 1). Believing Jews having been given the knowledge of and caused to embrace Jesus Christ as Messiah and 2). Those eternally excluded from Christ who were never chosen by God and from the beginning “having fallen away.” The basic denominator utilized for manifestation and illustration of God’s process and methodology in dealing with His elect/non-elect is the earth, soil or ground. Verse 7 depicts God’s conveyance to the elect as analogous to good soil, which when watered by rain produces plants and vegetation thus describing the fruitful cultivation, growth and development of His blessings of grace. In stark contrast, verse 8 depicts God’s conveyance to the non-elect as analogous to soil, which produces thorns and thistles in describing unfruitful vegetation whose end is being burned or destroyed because of the curse of condemnation. The Kingdom and Grace Gospels conclusively and unconditionally guarantee irrevocable provisions that accomplish salvation. Hebrews 6:4, 5& 7 are descriptions of the chosen recipients of salvation relating their experiences through Christ while those identified in Hebrews 6:6&8 as “having fallen away,” are indicative of what is commensurate with the un-chosen and unenlightened non-elect.
Hebrews 6:9 conclusively demonstrates that those spoken of in verses 4,5&7 are indeed the elect when it is properly exegeted. Note verse 9’s literal conveyance is, “and we have been (and are) persuaded concerning you, beloved, the better and accompanying (situated with) salvation, even though we thus speak.” In other words, the things so stated in regards to those addressed as the “beloved” (verses 4,5&7) are indeed things that are concomitant to recipients of salvation. These are ta. krei,ssona (tah krees•son•ah) rendered “the better (things),” as the indicative mood and perfect tense connotation of the Greek verb pepei,smeqa (peh•pees•meh•thah) rendered “we have been (and are) persuaded” certifies what was decreed by God in eternity, whereas the opposite designation is those “having fallen away.” Thus it was the Holy Spirit who had and continued to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of those so addressed by the Apostle Paul. The inference of this verse is that the things that these Jewish believers had and continued to experience were good or “better,” which were the superior or more excellent things that are evco,mena (ehkh•om•eh•nah) rendered “accompanying” or concomitant with salvation.
In this sense, the testimony of salvation depends 100% on ones identification with the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:4-11). Here it must be clearly understood that the descriptive status of those “having fallen away” is by no means a depiction of or a challenge to those “having once been enlightened” ……… no, not even the worst of them conduct-wise ………… for those described as publicly disgracing Jesus Christ are those legalistic Judaizers that had been consigned to rejecting Him in favor of seeking to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10:3). In this context, the statement “even though we thus speak,” is expressive of the distinctive contrast between the avgaphtoi, (ahg•ahp•ee•tee) rendered “beloved,” i.e., the object of God’s love and affection and those continually crucifying Jesus Christ again and publicly disgracing Him, as those for which repentance and for such to experience a change of thinking from dependence upon the Mosaic Law for salvation is impossible. Note the line of demarcation is between those who were caused to believe that Jesus is their Messiah vs. those committed to living up to God’s standard on their own. A true evaluation of ones salvation status is totally dependant upon what God actualized by decree in eternity rather than what ones actions are in time, as ones actions or inactions are always manifested according to what God’s pre-determination of them were in the eternal sphere.
Numerous other passages of Scripture are purported by some and often quoted in support of the view that believers can lose their salvation. Such occurs with Hebrews 10:26-29 yet when correctly exegeted, the conveyances are in stark contrast to what is alleged, as it reads as follows:
we sinning willfully after having receiving the full knowledge of the truth, no
longer there remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and the zeal of fire about to devour the adversaries.
28 Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses dies without mercy upon the basis of two or three witnesses.
29 how much worse punishment will he be counted worthy who did trample under foot the Son of God, and did count the blood of the covenant a common thing, by which he was sanctified, and did insult the Spirit of the grace?
Once again, crossing dispensational messages results in erroneous doctrine as that which is contextually utilized for corroboration is misinterpreted and misapplied. This passage is clearly not referring to believers who are “practicing” sin but it contrasts those drawn to the truth of the Kingdom Gospel from those condemned by their subsequent rejection by the Mosaic Law. The reference to "the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified" in verse 29 is referring to the Mosaic Covenant’s benefit to those who were submissive to its stipulations. Here h`gia,sqh (ee•yee•ahs•thee) translated "sanctified," is the verb form of the Greek adjective a[gio,j (ah•yee•os) rendered "holy," which simply means “set apart" and doesn't necessarily refer to salvation at all. In I Corinthians 7:14, the Apostle Paul uses it several times to specifically refer to non-believers who are "sanctified" or "made holy" by their believing spouse, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they are saved! Hence non-believers can be “set apart” from other non-believers without them experiencing salvation. So there is nothing in this passage that references the condemnation of believers. In fact, verse 27 is referring to the non-elect since the elect are never permanently manifested "enemies of God" (Romans 5:10). True conveyances of Scriptures are ascertainable when they are viewed in their proper context. Hence the verses in chapter 10 (as in chapter 6) all contrast the behavior of the elect as distinguishable from the non-elect.
The key to ascertaining Hebrews 10:26-29 rests in linking their conveyances to the contiguous context of the antecedent verses Hebrews 10:22-25. Note that verse 26’s subordinate conjunction ga.r (gahr) rendered “for,” amply and demonstratively authenticates its flow of progressive cogitation, as its expression is not “if we are sinning willfully” but “for we sinning willfully.” This statement is made in further support of the litany of exhortations in prior verses, e.g., 22. “may we draw near with a true heart,” 23. “may we hold fast the unwavering profession of the hope,” 24. “may we consider one another to provoke to love and to good works,” and 25. “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ………. but exhorting and so much the more ………..” in noting that these verbs are all subjunctive-aorist-passive implying their possible reception of past completed probabilities.
Note the phrase, “having received the full knowledge of the truth,” references the enlightenment of these believing ones and their corresponding prior experiences (Hebrews 6:4). Again, the addressees were Jewish believers who had previously been under the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law, wherein the conditions of its covenant mandated them to bring sacrifices to cover sins when they willfully and knowing committed them. Here the Apostle Paul pointedly states to them that under the seceding auspices of the New and subsequent Grace Covenants, “no longer there remains a sacrifice for sins,” in that the many sacrifices of the Law were permanently replaced by the ONE supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The crux of this conveyance goes to the heart of the difference between the demands of the Law and the commands of Grace.
The stipulations of the Law induced rigid demands incurring repercussions of stiff penalties for disobedience, thus these typified sacrifices were the only available adduce for rectification of sins in that system and the rejection of such conclusively subjected offenders to automatic condemnation, as there were no other remedies to ward off imminent destruction and annihilation. Contrariwise, Christ is revealed as the ONLY acceptable sacrifice to God for the expiation of sins. Hence these characteristics of exhortation are void of the conditional and punitive demands of the Law because the non-conditional aspects of Jesus Christ’s accomplishments obliterated every possibility of the condemnation of God’s elect. Thus all directives and ordinances conveyed to the Grace Church are exhortative goals containing no punitive consequences but characteristics of the Holy Spirit’s infusion of the love of God motivating and inspiring designated ones in response to His illuminations.
Hebrews 10:27-28 verify the dilemma that imposed continuous impending perils upon those subjected by the demands and conditions of the Law. Here verse 27’s Greek phrases fobera. de, tij evkdoch. kri,sewj (phov•ehr•ah theh tees ehk•thokh•ee krees•eh•os) rendered “but a certain fearful expectation of judgment,” depicts the anticipation of judgment that constantly awaited those in violation of the Law’s stipulations. The Greek phrase kai. pu•ro.j zh/loj evsqi,ein me,llontoj tou.j u`penanti,ouj (keh peer•os zee•los ehs•thee•een mehl•lon•dos tees eep•ehn•ahn•tee•oos) rendered “and the zeal of fire about to devour the adversaries,” is figurative language, depicting God’s fierce punishment against those whose sins are not ultimately covered under any provision of the blood of Christ. Verse 28’s conveyance is regarding the sentence of death meted out to those who avqeth,saj (ahth•eht•ees•ahs) rendered “rejected, set aside or annulled” the Law of Moses. Under the auspices of that previous system, two or three witnesses were all that were necessary to condemn one to the fate of death (Deuteronomy 17:1-6).
Hebrews 10:29’s conveyance documents the comparison of the Mosaic Law, which put to death the ones in rebellion to its control; with those who were currently consigned in rejection and rebellion to the provisions in Jesus Christ. Here the statement is po,sw| dokei/te cei,ronoj (pos•o thok•ee•teh khee•ron•os) rendered “how mush worse” or “how much more severe, do you suppose” or imagine it avxiwqh,setai timwri,aj o (ahx•ee•o•thee•seh•teh tee•mo•ree•ahs o) rendered “will be counted worthy or deserving punishment” the one who to.n ui`o.n tou/ qeou/ katapath,saj (ton yee•on too Theh•on kahtah•pah•tee•sahs) rendered “has trampled underfoot the Son of God.” Note the phrase “the blood of the covenant,” as addressed to these believing Jews, could also refer to the blood of the New Covenant, which is in essence the only efficacious expiation and also the blood of the Grace covenant. Thus such one (the non-elect) consigned to non-belief, has h`ghsa,menoj (eey•ees•ahm•eh•nos) rendered “regarded,” (middle voice) considered or esteemed the blood as koino.n (kee•non) rendered “unclean, common or unholy desecration and unacceptable as God’s own offering for the sins of His elect. In the phrase “by which he was sanctified,” the Greek verb h`gia,sqh (eey•ee•ahs•thee) rendered “he was sanctified,” references the blood of Christ that is in fact the only entity that can and did separate designated ones from that which is common and unclean. The aorist tense and passive voice indicates that this all occurred at a given point of time in the past (eternity). The phrase “and has insulted the Spirit of grace,” is not attributive to God’s elect but in respect to negative characteristics, as it describes what unbelievers rather than believers do to the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers have and continues to resist, insult and outrage the spirit of grace (Acts 7:51) whereas believers grieve the Holy Spirit when they are not caused to identify with Christ (Ephesians 4:24-30).
Hebrews 10:30 conveys further description of those limited to the provisions of the Mosaic Law, in that all the judgments of its covenant inevitably lead unto condemnation. This is because no one could be spared due to the inability of depraved flesh to accommodate its stringent conditions. Here God’s justice demanded that “the Lord will judge His people,” which translates into severe retributions to all who fail to meet the standard of righteousness therein imposed. Verse 31’s conveyance, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” is used to portray the fearfulness and terribleness of the expectation of God’s judgment but this is not applicable in any sense to the elect of God. Verses 32-34 document the unique experience of these believing Jews and what they endured as a result of having receiving Jesus as their Messiah. In verses 35-36, the Apostle Paul exhorts them, “therefore, you may not cast away your boldness, which has great reward (benefit). For you have need of endurance that having done the will of will, you may (having) received the promise (of salvation). Verses 37-38 express the benefits and assurances of this salvation in stating, “for yet, a very little while, the one coming will come and will not tarry and the righteous one shall live by faith and if he may draw back, my soul has not pleasure in him.”
Hebrews 10:39’s conveyance “and we are not of those drawing back to destruction but of those believing to a preserving of soul,” conclusively draws the distinction between what is ascribed to the elect as juxtaposed to the non-elect. The reason this verse settles the questions of what descriptions are ascribable is because of the contrasting between destruction and salvation, as belief is placed on the side of salvation alone. In other words, Paul was not talking about those who believe but draw back. The elect who have been caused to believe will not draw back and those drawing (having been drawn) back; have not been caused to believe, as distinguishing portions of the passage are describing those in Christ while others are identifying those having fallen away or those who were never drawn to Christ. As originally pointed out, the context is not addressing the question of whether someone can lose their salvation. Thus, the Jewish believers being addressed are not ceasing or giving up unto destruction but they have been caused to believe in regards to the preserving and saving of the soul. It is utterly impossible for the term avpw,leian ahp•o•lee•ahn rendered “destruction,” or annihilation to ever be consigned to any of God’s elect in any sense whatsoever. In essence, believers are caused to believe and are thus never allowed to “draw back unto destruction, perdition and ruin.” Thus, no references in the Scriptures depicting separation or elimination from God are ever attributed to the elect.
Accordingly, it can be conclusively stated that none of the passages of scripture in the epistle of Hebrews are addressing the possibility of losing salvation. The single point in those contexts is the diversity between that which is assignable to the elect covered by the provisions of Christ, in contrast to those meritoriously attempting to provide their own righteousness unto justification before God. The context’s conveyance therein is not whether the offenders of the Mosaic Law are truly saved or in danger of being lost for such is a foregone concession; in that salvation was impossible under the stringent conditions of its covenant. The only practical adduce to salvation lies in those anchored by commitment in Christ, who can never be faced with condemnation. Clearly, this could not be applicable to those “who think they are saved but really aren't or who are saved but stand in danger of losing their salvation,” as there are no such inferences. So these passages are erroneously used on both sides of the debate and don't actually address nor solve the issue in the mode of which the question is posed.
To truly answer such questions, it is necessary to leave these passages and look at other scriptures that more specifically than Hebrews, address this question. In Hebrews 10:39, the conveyance of the phrase, avlla. pi,stewj eivj peripoi,hsin yuch/j (ahl•lah pees•tehos ees pehr•ee•pee•ee•seen psee•khees) rendered “but of those believing unto the preserving (saving) of soul,” is not depicting the action of believing in the pursuance nor the accomplishment of ones salvation. The noun peripoi,hsin (pehr•ee•pee•ee•seen) is definitively conveyed in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians with the passive meaning of “obtaining and acquiring.” In I Thessalonians 5:9, the conveyance is, “God did not appoint us unto wrath but unto obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In II Thessalonians 2:14, the conveyance is, “unto which He called you through our Gospel unto the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus the preserving of their souls is testimonial manifestation of the results of the fact that these believing Jews were caused to do so. Note in Hebrews 10:39, the Greek noun yuch/j (psee•khees) rendered “soul,” is commonly translated “life” and pi,stewj (pees•tehos) rendered “those believing,” is a noun. In this sense, the intended cogitation is, “they were believing” (caused to believe) or “the believing” was unto the obtaining or acquiring life (eternal life). Thus, this verse is not conveying that the Jewish believers to whom the Apostle Paul is addressing were withdrawing unto destruction, which is exclusively assigned to the non-elect (those not given salvation nor the gift of faith). All those so designated in this category were never chosen by God in eternity and thus are not nor never will depend upon the death of Christ for their salvation. Rather such are foreordained to trust in other remedies to effectuate their eternal state and status with God.
Position 2: Salvation Cannot Be Lost
1). Since salvation is not acquired through compliancy, neither can it be lost through non-compliancy.
One of the most cited of all passages of scripture that demonstratively adorns the spiritually intellectual and productive teaching of ones unconditional tenure of salvation is addressed in Ephesians 2:8-9. The literal Greek rendering of these verses is “for the gift of God and this (is) not out of you, you are, having been saved by the grace through faithfulness, not out of works that no one may boast, for we are His doings, having been created in Christ Jesus on the basis of good works, which God previously prepared that we should walk in them. This should register as a very simple yet intuitive point that if salvation is earned through ones efforts, then it implies that though such efforts (or perhaps lack of continued efforts) one might also be able to lose that salvation. But if it is bought and paid for by the blood of Christ, then it is solely His obedience (faithfulness) that exudes relevancy to its possession.
These Scriptures document that salvation is conditioned only on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and no matter how one views that faith, it stands that salvation is never accomplished through the exercise of ones faith but rather by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in eternity (Romans 5:10). In the manifested sphere of time, the act of exercising faith depicts identifying with the faithfulness of Christ, who is the object of ones faith. Believing in Him only identifies one with the application of His blood to ones sins, which were previously washed away. No actions in time, whether past, present or future, have any determinable effect on things that were completely actualized before time. Thus it is impossible for the curse and penalty of sins to condemn in time that which were eradicated in eternity. In reality, nothing could ever cause the elect to lose their salvation, in that their actions (even to the point of faithlessness) are irrelevant because they never had any part in the salvation process in the first place.
Ephesians 2:8-9 document that all the confirmation works associated with salvation, are solely attributable to Christ in His initiation, implementation and culmination of them in eternity. Thus, no actions of the believer in time, even including the exercise of ones faith, constitute the effectuation of the elect’s status in Christ; as such action can only be consigned to the manifestation or testimony of God’s eternal workings. This is tersely authenticated by verse 9’s statement, “not out of works that no one may boast!” Note that some have mistakenly asserted that Ephesians 3:10 connects faith to good works somehow in the process of justification and is akin to the writings in James 2:14-26. The only adduce to this mistaken notion is that the good works in Ephesians 2:10 are what God has created for His elect in Christ Jesus, which strongly conveys that ones obedience follows as a result of salvation; rather than a condition for achieving salvation or even for keeping it for that matter, as God’s people do good deeds solely because He has ordained it. Thus all of salvation’s workings are God’s preference and the exclusive operations of His sovereign plan.
2. Salvation is a gift that is based on God's love and is undeserved; since grace is the motivation, God's love will never cease, thus there are no actions nor inactions by which believers can lose their salvation.
Romans 5:6-10 states, “For while we were infirm, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one dare to die; for on behalf of a good man perhaps one might even dare to die; but God commended His own love unto us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died on behalf of us. Much more then having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him. These verses (as well as many, many others) demonstrate that God's gift of salvation is primarily an expression of His love. Here questions are induced: Can one do something to lose God's love? And is it possible that one can through ones own action(s) be separated from God’s love? To these types of inquiries one must plead the first phrase of Galatians 4:30: “but what says the Scriptures?”
Romans 8:38-39 convincingly states, “For I have been fully persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things coming, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Correctly stated, this verse doesn't allow for the possibility of anything separating the elect from God's love and aligns with all Paul's revelations of foreordination. The reason that this passage is so important is that it addresses the very point in contention: Should the recipient of grace ever be afraid of missing out on God's salvation? Even in the midst of failures, one should never have any concern that God has abandoned His beloved for any conceivable reason. The Gospel of Grace is unequivocally consistent in all its documentations that salvation can’t ever be lost because nothing can ever separate the elect from God's love in Christ Jesus!
3. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of salvation to God’s elect.
Ephesians 1:13-14 states, “in whom also you having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the praise of His glory.” Here the question is: what is the value of a guarantee that doesn't in fact guarantee something? In essence, if there is a way to lose one's salvation then the Holy Spirit does not truly guarantee it. Those who contest the Doctrine of Eternal Security sub-conscientiously suggest that God's commitment can’t be trusted. Such contend that ones performance is the only reliable factor and that God's promises must be validated by ones own faithfulness (Romans 3:3-4; Hebrews 6:17-18). Note that the passage in Ephesians uses terminology such as: guarantee, inheritance, sealed and marked, which certifies that salvation is something done to its recipients solely based on God's action(s). It is not possible nor does it make scriptural sense to construe that one can reverse God's workings, thus removing the Holy Spirit's seal. This would imply that God's actions of marking and sealing were ineffectual, as a seal implies the idea of binding something that is secured up to and including an appointed period (Ephesians 4:30).
4. Salvation is a process which proceeds exclusively from God's plan (foreordination); entailing completed redemption and resurrection of the elect, as salvation is a reflection of His will, which can never be subverted.
It is scripturally documented that the manifestations of God’s gifts and callings in time are irrevocable because they were all actualized in eternity (Romans 8:28-30; 11:29). These scriptures are all very important, not only because they relate the elect’s salvation as an act of God's sovereign plan but it would undermine that sovereignty if He predestined designated ones to salvation and then such later subsequently ………… somehow became unsaved. Contrariwise, those that God predestinated were also concomitantly glorified in eternity. This process admits of no exceptions: that those whom God foreknew; He simultaneously foreordained and those whom He foreordained; He simultaneously called and those whom He called; He simultaneously justified and those whom He justified; were also simultaneously glorified. In other words, when God chose His elect as an act of His sovereign will, they were in effect at that point glorified as His design doesn't allow for anyone to slip outside the realm of His plan. Though the elect will experience problems and failures; this does not imply that one has somehow fallen outside the scope of God's plan. What is evident from God’s word is that He has worked all things (including ones recessive circumstances) together for the good, as the ultimate good can only be seen in light of eternity. These words are calculated to arrest any doubt that designated ones could ever be expelled out of God's salvation.
5. The Scriptures specifically state that those who have been caused to believe in Him can’t possibly ever be lost.
It is certainly documented that those believing in God have been caused to do so based upon the fact that they were pre-ordained in eternity to do so (Acts 13:48). This in itself should certify that no believer in Him will ever be lost. There are a plethora of verses cited in the gospels that most compellingly authenticate that salvation cannot be lost. For example, in a kingdom passage Jesus stated, “All that the Father does give to Me will come unto Me; and him who is coming unto Me, I may in no wise cast without. . . And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that all that He has given to me I may not lose of it, but may raise it up in the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me that every one which sees the Son and believes on him, may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37, 39-40). This passage answers the precise question under consideration and explains why it does not matter even if some may have the notion of abandoning Him. Such documentation gives theological insight into the eternal aspect of when the determination of salvation was made; thus mitigating the inquiry as to whether it is possible that saved ones can reject Jesus.
Jesus is explaining in John 6:37, 39-40 that He cannot truly drive anyone away because those that the Father "gives" to him (verse 37), He will lose "none of all" but will raise them up on the last day (verse 39). Verse 40 even more clearly elaborates that everyone who believes; already has eternal life and will manifest resurrection. This eliminates every implication that the elect can lose their salvation, as obviously God’s people can never be classified as unsaved because Neither human nor spiritual agency can cause the loss of one’s salvation. If anyone were to lose their salvation through some action or unbelief, it would imply that such were sufficient enough to invalidate God's eternal workings. Since the will of God was actualized in His decree in eternity, it is impossible for anything contrary to it to be manifested in time. In the scriptural sense of interpreting the order of God’s workings, all things including the stability of His character, depends upon the exact enactment of His purpose according to His eternal design.
The afore-analysis outlaid in this brief dissertation does not really begin to touch on the essence of Scriptural doctrinal teaching on the elect’s secured position as children of God. The Doctrines of Salvation are all rooted in the nature of God reinforced by the efficacy of Jesus’ eternal death, which was manifested on the cross. All of the Grace teachings guarantee that none of what God freely gave through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ could ever be lost or revoked. Jesus' death in eternity cleansed the elect from all their sins and nothing that transpires in time can undermine the effect of His blood on believers’ lives; even including their bouts of unbelief or any other action that may occur during their journey in time.
In conclusion, consideration is focused on two other misrepresented scriptures where some purport that it is possible for one to frustrate and even fall from the grace of God. Here the correct reading of Galatians 2:21 is "I do not reject the grace of God; for if righteousness is through the Law; then Christ died without purpose.” Here the context of the passage fully authenticates that the usage of the Greek phrase ouvk avqetw/ (ook ahtheh·to) rendered “I do not reject,” is in fact conveying that as the result of what Christ accomplished in eternity, e.g., 1). the elect died to (was separated from) the Law so that they might live to God (Galatians 2:19), 2).The elect have been crucified with (in) Christ and no longer live but Christ lives in them, in that they live (exist) by the faithfulness of the Son of God (Christ) who eternally loved and gave (sacrificed) Himself for His beloved (Galatians 2:20); thus Paul is not nor is it possible for him to reject, refuse ignore, make invalid, set aside or break away from the grace of God.
Now the correct reading of Galatians 5:4 is “You who are justified by the Law have been severed from Christ, you have fallen from grace.” Here again the context of the passage fully authenticates that the usage of the Greek phrase th/j ca,ritoj evxepe,sate (tees khahr·ee·tos) ehx·eh·pehs·ah·teh rendered “you have fallen from grace,” is quarantined from the elect in deference to who is actually being identified, by the antecedent phrase, namely kathrgh,qhte avpo. Cristou/( oi[tinej evn no,mw| dikaiou/sqe (kaht·eer·yee·thee·teh ah·po Khrees·too ee·tee·nehs ehn no·mo theek·eh·oos·theh), which is more accurately rendered “you who are justified by the law have been severed from Christ.” Here note very closely that the Greek verb kathrgh,qhte (kaht·eer·yee·thee·teh) rendered “severed,” is in the indicative mood, aorist tense and passive voice denoting it as a past completed fact that was imposed upon its recipients and literally means to be made idle or ineffectual. This is descriptive of those who were eternally assigned the status of not having a vital nor effective relationship with Christ.
Accordingly, the elect of God were positioned in Christ all at once in eternity. This effectively completed the entire transaction of salvation in the eternal realm before creation, as all components of it were actualized in God’s Decree. Hence, no actions nor inactions of mankind in the sphere of time are relevant in the establishment or sustenance of ones status and standing with God, as every aspect of it was predetermined in eternity. Thus the truth of the matter is: all who were once saved in eternity are always saved in time.