Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Normally, late night conversation topics are pretty random and usually quite trite due to the fact that your brain starts to shutdown. Tonight's was an exception.

It started off with a mention of apostasy (basically renouncing one's beliefs) with respect to Christianity and then moved to a discussion of whether the preservation of salvation is conditional upon continued faith in Jesus Christ. In short: once you receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, can you do anything to lose it or is it a done deal? From a soteriological point of view, I discovered it was a conflict between tenets of Arminianism (salvation can be lost via apostasy) and Calvinism (salvation can't be lost and those who are lost were never really saved in the first place).

Reading passages like Hebrews 3:7-19 (NIV) and Hebrews 6:4-6 (NIV) confused us a bit because we both agreed more with the preservation of salvation being unconditional. If you truly come to know God and accept what He's done for all of us, how can you turn your back on that? We're saved by grace so that means that we've done no work to earn our salvation. So by this logic, we can't really do anything to "unearn" our salvation. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) states:

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So it seems that nothing can separate us from God. Also, Paul talks about a man who "will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" in 1 Cor 3:11-15 (NIV). This seems to suggest that on the day of judgment, some believers will basically just barely squeeze by God's purification process. The fruits of their labour in life will be burned up as meaningless pursuits but because they are covered by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ, they themselves won't be destroyed by the flames.

Although it was really cool to work through all of this regarding apostasy, the bottom line is that nobody knows whether a person is truly saved except that person and God. So really, trying to come to a clear winner on this whole apostasy topic is pretty pointless because we can't readily identify who's saved and who isn't. Because of this, we should "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." My friend made a really awesome point that really stood out in my mind by saying that it's not up to us to decide whether people are saved or not. It doesn't matter if Calvin or Arminius is right. We're called to make disciples and that means if someone falls away or is discouraged, we try to help them back up regardless. It's exactly like the military code of leaving no man behind. It doesn't matter if they happen to be dead or still barely alive out there on the spiritual battlefield. Our duty is to do whatever it takes to bring them out of harms way and back to safety.



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