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Difficult Verses for Eternal Security

In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' questions are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.


>Hello,

>My real name is Shawn _____, I don't see a reason to hide that from you. My question is, in your ALT of Matthew 6:14-15 (and also the NIV), it says : 6:14 "For, if you* forgive the people their transgressions, your Father, the [One] in the heavens, will also forgive you,* 6:15 but if you* do not forgive the people their transgressions, neither will your* Father forgive your* transgressions.

Now, I'm a believer that your salvation cannot be taken from you, but an argument could be made: A person not forgiving someone and then dying (physically) shortly thereafter, while having sinned when about to die, would not have their recently committed sin paid for, because God would not forgive them, because they had not forgiven someone. But then in Hebrews 10:18 it says "And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin."

So Gary, I was wondering if you could explain Matthew 6:14-15 to me and it's correlation to other scriptures in the forgiveness of sins.

Thanks In Christ,
Shawn

P.S. I recently picked up a good book, LaHaye & Noebel's Mind Seige. Very interesting explanation of some secular humanistic topics and ideals.
5/4/2001<

To tell you the truth, I'm not really sure on this one. I've always struggled over this verse not in regards to eternal security but in regards to salvation. I just assumed it was referring to pre-salvation forgiveness. But that would mean that one would have to do the "work" of forgiving others in order to be forgiven yourself and thus be saved.

Actually, the same problem presents itself if you're taking it as post-salvation. Again, one would have to do the work of forgiving to remain saved. Of course, the same could be said for most any "requirement" an Arminian might make for one to stay saved.

So my best response would be that if one is truly saved, then they should have a "spirit of forgiveness," and thus would naturally forgive those who sin against them.

This would be the same attitude I have towards post-sins in general. A true Christian can sin, but eventually God would convict them and lead them to repentance. Similarly, a true Christian could hold a grudge against someone for a time, but eventually God would convict them and the would repent of holding the grudge and forgive the offender.


>Gary,

I am a Calvinist. I was listening to Rich Agozinos show and an Arminian brought up a Scripture - Revelation 22:18 - a warning about being removed from the book of life. How can someone be removed from something that they were never written in before the foundation of the world - i.e. Jesus does not lose any sheep. Can you explain it for me> Is this a type of hyperbole?

M.B.

5/15/01<

As with other warnings in Scripture, it does not necessarily mean a true Christian would ever engage in the act. It just shows how dire it is for one to do so.

Or, the words "take away" (as it's translated in the NKJV and in my ALT) do not necessarily mean the person was "in" the book of life to begin with. It just shows what actions an unbeliever is capable of.

Moreover, there are two textual variants in this verse. Note how it reads in the MT as seen in the ALT:

22:19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, the [things] having been written in this scroll.

Note the "may God take way." In this case, it's not a warning but a prayer of John. And prayers are not necessarily answered. Note also that it is the "tree of life" not book of life," which would also affect the interpretation.

The above are just possibilities. There might be a better way to deal with it that I'm not aware of.


<Gary - Bro!!!

Thanks sooooo much - I figured that obviously no true Christian would take any thing out of the book of Revelation but I did not know how to explain the part about "taking out." You explained it awesome!

Thanks again and God bless! <><

M.B.
5/19/01<

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above e-mail exchange was posted on this Web site in January 1998.

Calvinism - Eternal Security and Salvation
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