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Eternal Security & Hebrews - Response & Reply - #3
The following e-mail exchanges are additional follow up to my article Eternal Security and Hebrews. The e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
I ended up spending a whole day on your web page. Wow! Very informative. I will try to keeps this short since I know you have a lot to read and do.<
Thank you for the kind comments and consideration.
> I have been dealing with eternal salvation (once saved always saved) or not eternal salvation (you can loose you salvation).<
A subject many people struggle with!
> The question is....is he talking about saved people or those who know Jesus and his plan but have not been made complete (heart change....new creation). I see the many references you have and they can support your line of reasoning. Bare with me please. I am looking at the whole picture. First he say lets move on to maturity not laying again the foundation of repentance....so on.... Then he points out a specific type of person. Why so much detail? I thought he did this to prove a point...someone who is saved, not "kind of" saved but really a child of God.<
In Hebrews 6:4-6, I look at it from the opposite perspective: if the writer had meant to say, "it is impossible for a person who has been saved and looses his salvation, to regain it" then he would have said it.
In other words, to me, the long description could have been avoided and made "clearer" simply by using the word "saved" in the text. But the writer did not do so for a reason. To me, that "reason" is he is not talking about genuinely saved people.
So why the long description? I would say the author is trying to show how very close someone can come to being saved without actually being so. It is a warning to the hypocrite to quit playing "religious games" and get serious with God. If he doesn't, then eventually he will leave his religious "act" and will be too hardened to return to faith and be genuinely saved.
> Next, he points out that if that person should fall away there cannot be a second repentance(of sin right?).<
Correct here, and a point Arminians generally miss. IF the text is talking about a genuinely saved person loosing his salvation, then it is also saying "once, saved, once lost, forever lost." But this is not what most Arminians teach.
Generally, Arminians will teach a "daisy" theology: He loves me; He loves me not; He loves me; He loves me not, etc. (I don't mean this in a sarcastic manner, but just to illustrate the point).
The point being, Arminians usually teach a person can be saved, loose his salvation, and then be resaved. It is for this reason I have actually seen Arminian writings on this subject that do not refer to Hebrews 6 as a "proof-text." They know that if it proves what they want it to prove, it proves too much.
> OK. Given the context it looks as if he is taking to a group who have claimed to have lost their salvation and gained it back and relayed the foundation of Jesus and his gospel twice. The writer points out that this is absurd... and if this did happen you would be lost forever.<
A think a warning against such an attempt is more likely.
> Reading on he points out two sets of people....land that produces (saved?) and land that is barren (not saved? or non productive Christian?). This is followed by... we are confident of better things in your case - things that accompany salvation.<
The last point proves my point. The writer is assuming his readers are or will be saved. So he is expecting them to produce fruits worthy of repentance.
The illustration is similar to Jesus' "parable" of the sower. The barren ground is the same as the seed which was thrown on stone. It quickly grew; but since it had no "root" it also quickly died. And, as I indicate elsewhere, someone without "root" was never genuinely saved.
But the land that produces is the same as the seed thrown on good soil which produces a hundredfold, or the things that accompany salvation as here, indicating genuine salvation.
> He admonished them but kept their attention by assuring there salvation. From this the group is considered saved....?<
Or the writer assumes they will eventually be saved.
> I am human and still have flesh.......help me determine (along with the direction of the Spirit) what is wrong or right with the before said.<
I hope the above is helpful.
> P.S. Two versus that trip me up are Jude 12 (twice dead) and 2 Peter 2:21 (not so much on this one. Could be a knowledge of the truth without a heart acceptance of the true or salvation).
Just looking at the verses quickly, "twice dead" because they are lost ("spiritually dead") and "dead" because they had the chance to be saved (like the warning in Hebrews) but rejected it.
"known the way of the truth" as worded in the NKJV simply indicates they heard of, were taught, the true Gospel, associated with Christians for a while, even lived a Christian lifestyle; but, again, as with the warning above, despite these "privileges" they eventually turned from the truth without ever having really accepted it. So they had been washed on the outside but were never truly changed on the inside.
All of these verses have a similar thread, it is possible to be very near salvation, even appear to be saved outwardly, without ever truly being saved. Hence Paul's injunction:
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?" (2Cor 13:5).
> Thanks for the reply.<
> I have some comments and questions. I need someone more versed to discuss things with. I will keep this brief. I cannot imagine the amount of e-mails you get.<
Yes, the e-mails are coming rather fast lately. I'm thankful more people are finding my site, and more importantly, finding it helpful enough to want more info from me. But it is getting increasingly hard to keep up.
> Yes.... if you can repent without being saved you can be right. Otherwise these people would be saved. <
That would depend by what is meant by "repent." Judas had remorse while Peter repented. It can be a fine line; but a very important one.
> Too hardened??? Was that not the state I was in before he opened my eyes? or was I just blind and not hardened? Is any heart too hardened...look at Paul. He was a Jews Jew but yet God dealt with him. Again was this just a blind problem?<
You are correct. God can soften any hardened heart if He should so choose. But, from a human perspective, people are warned not to put themselves into the position of where they will be hardened. And God will "give people up" to their sins if they persist in them (Rom 1). And religious hypocrisy is a sin (Matt 25).
> Yes I agree. I have seen this and thought on it. But one question...what about the plant who grows and is strangled by weeds(the law or things of this world that have not been weeded out). Is he saved? If it has a root then yes.<
A more difficult question. I will say this, if the "things of this world" are still more important to someone than God is, then their salvation would definitely be in doubt.
> One last thing....I know you get this kind of stuff all the time...."just one more thing." There are several churches in the area that have "things" going on. Oil from peoples hands....gold on the floor(like glitter)....fillings turning to gold...healings. I do not see how most of these things edify God...except healings I do not want to call these things not of God if they are. But I do not want to be lead away to false teachings either.
I would be uncomfortable with such things myself. Except for the (supposed) healings, none of the other points are Biblical. You are very correct, how would a (supposed) changing of a filling to gold honor God. If it doesn't then its genuineness is in doubt.
Miracles in the Bible always have a purpose. God does not do miracles "just for show." Either they are designed to glorifying God, show He is the one true God, and / or there is usually a "practical" reason for them (Like feeding the hungry). I don't see how the things you mention "fit" any of the categories.
Moreover, always watch claims of such phenomena. I say "supposed" above as I've been to too many "miracle" services" where people were claiming there were miracles occurring but I saw nothing extraordinary. Sometimes people see what they want to see.
>Good day Gary!
I'm not sure if this email will reach you as I haven't as clue how to send as text only!<
Your e-mail came through fine so you probably are already doing so. There should be an option somewhere in your e-mail program to send plain text, HTML, or rich text messages.
> I've just read your Hebrews notes & replies & have found them to be quite interesting, especially the degree of exegetical skill revealed.
I wonder if you've noticed that in the warning passages you've quoted that the writer of Hebrews includes himself in the warnings, i.e. he uses the term "we must give....we have heard... lest we drift...... how will we escape....if we neglect" from Heb 2:1-3. That is the writer applies the warnings as applicable to himself as well as to the church he's writing to.
Because the writer is a Christian what does this mean when he clearly applies the warnings as relevant not only to the church but to himself?<
I would say the writer is being diplomatic in including himself in the warnings. It's much less confrontation to say "we need to repent" that to say "you need to repent."
>f we accept the conclusion that you have reached regarding who these passages are addressed to eg. "So in this passage, the writer is addressing those who have "heard" the Gospel but have not responded appropriately to the message. The warning is for possible hypocrites in the Christian community." From your Heb 2:1-3 comments then I would have to conclude that the writer of Hebrews was also not a Christian but merely a professor because he applied the warning to himself as well as to his readers.
Also have you noticed that the salvation issue in Hebrews is always encouraging the Christians to persevere to the end of salvation. The writer is concerned with the various ways by which the Christians could end up ultimately losing their salvation, e.g. in the Heb 3 warning there's the danger of not lasting to the end of our salvation, "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end"…<
As I say in the exegesis, this verse is telling us the sing of a true believer, not what we must do to be saved. Compare the following verse:
[1Jn 2:19] They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
A true believe will "continue" a false believer will not.
> Any way that's enough for now. I look forward to your reply & am quite happy for any of this to turn up on your web site.
I very busy right now and haven't been posting much to my site. So it might be a while as I'm concentrating my time on finishing my translation and another book that I will publish along with it (see my publisher, AuthorHouse).
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