What is the requirement for eternal life?

What is the requirement for eternal life?

According to Christ, the requirement for eternal life is perfect righteousness (Mt 19:16-26; Mk 10:17-27). However, no one is able to meet this requirement (Romans 3:23). So failing that perfect righteousness, we need the perfect righteousness of Christ through faith in the Christ Jesus (John 3; Romans 4).

Anyone who truly trusts in the saving work of Christ has eternal life. This does not mean we understand fully or correctly every other doctrine of Christ. This does not mean we “go” to the “right” church. This does not mean the “right” church has every doctrine correct. It means we have faith in God and what HE has done. No church saves us, faith in Christ saves us. No church is perfect.

Notice the churches of Revelation. Not all of them were in danger of loosing the lamp of Christ (Rev 2-3). And even of those who were in danger of it, people could still persevere and prove their faith. In fact, everyone in those churches were told to persevere in faith.

The church can make it easier or harder for its members to persevere in faith. But it is the individual who will have to do the persevering, and ultimately it is in the individual who will be saved or not.

Some churches have doctrines that make it harder to trust in Christ because of distractions or false teachings that lead one to look elsewhere. Other churches make it harder to trust in Christ because of false teachings that lead one to believe that a statement is all that is necessary to have faith, which leads to licentiousness instead of faith. Some chruches focus on legalism instead of faith in Christ, and so make it hard to trust God. All churches have their problems. It is not the church that saves us, it is faith in Christ.

The church SHOULD help us become more holy through teaching truth and calling people on where they need growth. Sometimes a church does not do that. Sometimes a church makes it harder to be growing in personal righteousness.

However, it is faith in Christ that gives us positional sanctification (setting us apart for God when we are justified through faith in Christ), and it is that same faith in Christ (combined with the work of the the Holy Spirit and our personal surrender to God) that helps us grow in personal sanctification by helping us grow more holy in our persons and daily lives.

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18 Responses

  1. I’m curious as to your understanding of the letters to the churches in Revelation. Based upon your other posts, I’d imagine you aren’t claiming that the churches were in danger of losing their salvation. But, the only other alternative would seem to be that you’re arguing they were in danger of proving they were never saved to begin with. I don’t see how this is consistent with the content of the letters. Jesus seems to make it pretty clear that they are believers because He speaks about their good works and how it pleases Him.

    Is it not more natural to take these letters as warnings to persevere in obedience or risk forfeiture of eternal rewards? How else can we understand a statement like “To the one that overcomes and keeps my deeds until the end…” (Rev. 2:26)? It strains credulity to imagine that Jesus is telling people that, unless they persevere in obedience, they have no place in the kingdom. If that were the case, then who could be saved?

    • I do not think an individual church is saved. I think individuals within a local congregation are saved. I think a church looses its ability to be considered part of the Universal Church when it looses its last member who trusts in Christ in such a way as it engenders external evidence of said faith. I think a congregation can slowly walk away from the Holy Spirit and when it does, it looses its lamp. However, just because God interacts with people does not mean they are saved – it may be He is doing so in order to save some. Have you ever walked into a church and felt it was spiritually dead? If so, then you know that of which I am speaking.

      When a church’s leaders and members begin to walk a path of disobedience, unforgiveness and lack of love, those individuals are in danger of showing they never were saved to begin with. Indeed, many people can do good things but not walk with Christ. Also, Christ was speaking to the entire church at those locations, so it is likely that there HAD been people who trusted in Christ and lived lives that pleased Him, but these people may have died or left and the congregants who were left did not live lives that showed they have salvation. To me, it is a point of confusion to believe that because someone shows evidence of salvation that automatically means they are saved. In fact, it may be they are of the seed which fall away when things get difficult (see Luke 8:1-15). It is only those who persevere who truly have faith that saves them.

      I doubt this particular passage is speaking of loosing rewards. I think Revelation IS a letter intended to warn church members to persevere. But those who do not persevere were never saved to begin with. Those who DO persevere may actually have begun the fight with no true faith but the difficulties caused them to turn to God in true faith.

      As for how to understand Revelation 2:26, I submit it is the to be understood the same way as everywhere else God says something similar: those who persevere are those who are truly saved, while those who do not persevere are not and were never saved. If you read the book of Martyrs, you will see many examples of people who persevered to the end – indeed it happens today in many places where the Church is persecuted. People who truly trust Christ will persevere and live lives that show their faith. People who are under difficulty will have a choice to make: trust God or not. If they continue to live a pattern of unbelief, then I would say they are not truly saved – but have what I have heard called a “saying” faith rather than a “saving” faith.

  2. The concepts of ‘praying a prayer’ or ‘saying faith’ are straw men. I’ve never argued that mouthing words or checking a card constitutes saving faith. Faith is simply conviction. Saving faith is conviction about Christ.

    Your view that the warning passages in Revelation are referring to professing believers is not uncommon. But what exegetical evidence from the text should lead us to conclude this? Why does the bulk of the NT call believers to perseverance if all believers will persevere anyway?

    Your last post on Jacob’s blog was largely a collection of proof texts – citing 25 different verses from all over the New Testament is no replacement for exegesis.

    For example, I would argue that, based upon Lk. 8:13-15, the last three soils in the parable of the sower had eternal life, since Jesus states that the second soil believed. By the Lord’s own admission in 8:12, he would have had eternal life.

    I’m not going to take the enormous amount of time it would take to address each of the verses you quoted there, primarily because I doubt you would be open to my explanation. It seems that your theological tradition is what governs your exposition of Scripture.

    If the Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is correct, then it’s impossible for a regenerate person to ever die in an unrepentant state. It should be impossible to find an occasion where a person known to be regenerate fails to persevere in faith.

    How then do we explain Saul? He was clearly regenerate, the Spirit had come upon him mightily (1 Sam 10:6) and he prophesied (19:23-24). But, he refused to repent from his sin during his life, even going to a spirit medium after Samuel’s death. Ultimately, he died in that state, failing to persevere.

    What about Solomon? He was clearly regenerate, yet he abandoned God, worshiped idols, was consumed with immorality and idolatry and also died in an unrepentant state.

    As I said, if the Calvinist view of perseverance is correct, then these two men were never regenerate, even though Scripture clearly tells us that they were. I’d say that falsifies your doctrine. Undoubtedly, you will not agree with this and come up with some sort of secondary argument to get around it. But, resorting to secondary arguments to avoid the evidence demonstrates that our theory isn’t founded upon Scripture.

    I’d ask you the same question I asked Jacob (which he has yet to answer). As your site demonstrates, you’ve obviously had a great deal of exposure to the Reformed and Calvinist traditions. Have you honestly examined the opposing view? Are you willing to consider the possibility that your Calvinist tradition might be hindering you in understanding Scripture? Are you open to setting aside your framework if it can be shown to be unbiblical?

    • I agree with you that saving faith is conviction about Christ.

      As for proof texting, you’re right. Its difficult to not proof text when you are doing topical studies. Its why I don’t tend to do topical sermons, but prefer to teach through the Bible one book at a time.

      The text can often be explained with little difficulty in ways that both the Arminian and the Calvinist positions can be supported. I think the BIble teaches a tension between man’s free will (although that term is never used, the principle can be derived from various passages) and God’s sovereignty. This is why I don’t really think its that big a deal. To me what matters is where are you when you die.

      You have basically two choices when you look at whether one is always saved if saved or whether one can loose your salvation, from what I can tell. Either you come at the text with a view that man’s free will is more important than God’s sovereignty. or vice versa. Both positions lead one to look at the text with presuppositions. Having come to Christ at 31, and not having been previously exposed to Christianity or the BIble in any meaningful way, I did not begin with too many preconceptions on theological doctrines, or even who God is. I try to not allow any preconceptions to influence me when I begin a study (be it of passage, a book, or a topic), but after reading the Bible for so long and having been to Bible college and seminary, I doubt I am able to do so all the time.

      I started out as Arminian even though when I became a Christian, I had no idea what that was. But as I studied, I slowly moved towards Calvinist position concerning whether one can loose salvation. I think the Calvinist position takes the text into account better, but I can see the Arminian position as well.

      I think we CAN have an assurance of our salvation, but I hate the idea of cheap grace and easy believism, as I’ve seen people be innoculated that way fro the Gospel. This is why I balance the fact that all we need to do is have faith with the idea that this has to engender evidence, should we tarry long enough.

      You’ve heard these argumets before. But for the sake of the reader, I will address some of your points.

      We are told in various ways to persevere as an encouragement and as a way to help us move towards God. you are correct, the Calviinist position would state the explanation for Saul and Solomon is that you are mistaken – there was no regeneration with either of them. First, it was not until after the death of Jesus that He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and dwell in us as we have become temples of God. Second, God could work through a donkey, but this does not mean said donkey was regenerated. The same is true for Saul and Solomon. The difference is how do you understand the fact that God worked through these men. However, the Arminian position would hold that these men ARE regenerated and lost salvation. Which scripture would you use to support this position?

      My wife’s family is Church of Christ (which holds to an Arminian position), with at least eight men having been elders and pastors and missionaries and seminary professors. I got the opportunity to discuss this matter with a few of them more than a few times before they began dying off. These men loved God greatly and were well read and well educated. However, they were unable to adequately address my concerns with Arminianism. At this point, I can’t recall what those were. :) However, I HAVE examined Arminianism. Its been such a long time that I would have to study it again to provide a full explanation of the concerns I had which were not addressed by it.

      But really, to me, I think I can see both sides of the argument I think fairly well, I just think the preconceptions going into Arminianism puts man above God, where as those going into Calvinism put God above man. I think the latter is how it should be.

      I can only tell you that I am willing to try to set aside preconceptions concerning this. I try to do so when I study the Bible. But do date, I have not been convinced that Arminianism fits the text better than Calvinism. Perhaps I am not being successful? Truly, I think they both fit the text almost equally well.

      If you can direct me to a study concerning this that handles all the text concerning this issue, I’m more than willing to read it. Ideally, they will handle all the text and do so in a complete manner.

  3. I’m not arguing the Arminian position on loss of salvation. I accept the Calvinist view that a person cannot lose their justification and that salvation comes entirely through simple faith in Christ. However, I don’t see the NT teaching that perseverance in faith and good works are inevitable for all that have been justified (for biblical examples, I would point to the aforementioned Saul, Solomon, et. al.) The Arminian correctly interprets the warning passages in Hebrews as being directed towards believers but incorrectly assumes that the writer of Hebrews is speaking about a loss of eternal life. The loss that is in view there and in the warnings to the churches in Revelation (as well as numerous other places) is a loss of eternal rewards. Major failure is possible in the Christian life. And the stakes for doing so are enormous, but it’s not our justification that is on the line – it is our participation in Christ’s future rule upon the earth.

    Let me summarize a bit here. The Calvinist is absolutely correct on the issue of eternal security. Anyone that puts their faith in Christ has everlasting life. But, in order to avoid being charged with antinomianism, the notion of perseverance was established so as to refute the existence of the carnal Christian. On the flip-side, the Arminian is on quite solid exegetical ground when identifying Christians as the recipients of the warning passages so prevalent in the New Testament. However, they error when assuming that the issue at hand is eternal life, rather than eternal reward.

    Both sides typically fail to recognize a third view, the grace view, which has no problem reconciling the difficult passages in the New Testament without having to resort to exegetical contortions or making illegitimate appeals to the analogy of faith. The difficulty in articulating the grace view is that the vast majority of people, particularly those that have been to seminary, immediately brand it as ‘easy believism’ or ‘cheap grace’. The knee-jerk reaction to the idea that salvation is free but discipleship is costly, is to retreat to the Calvinist / Arminian tradition, so as to avoid the charge of preaching antinomianism.

    Several books have been written in the past twenty years that make a clear and lucid case for the idea of eternal rewards as the prime motivator for fellowship with Christ. If you would like a book that handles all of the problem texts in an exegetically sound manner, the obvious choice to me would be Jody Dillow’s book The Reign of the Servant Kings. As someone that once held to the Calvinist viewpoint (although, his book wasn’t what convinced me to change my position), I can tell you that anyone that hasn’t read his book cannot be said to have an open mind. What ultimately required me to abandon Calvinism was the fact that, logically speaking, one could never be absolutely certain they had eternal life unless they had persevered until the end in good works.

    Having set aside the theological tradition, I see more and more how the New Testament is drenched in the doctrine of eternal rewards. So many of Jesus’ parables are about it. Paul’s writings are covered in at as well, as when he tells Timothy that “if we endure with Him, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11-13). Rather than giving way to licentious living, the idea that we can know for certain immediately that we have eternal life is powerful motivation to live in service to the Lord.

    I should warn you though, if you truly approach the subject of free grace and eternal rewards with an open mind, you will likely find yourself at odds with most every believer you meet. The vast majority of Christendom has accepted a view of salvation that isn’t in line with Jesus’ words to “let the one thirsting come, and let him drink of the water of life without cost”. My prayers with you, friend.

    ~ George

    • So then your position on why we are told to persevere is to gain more eternal rewards?

      I have no problem with the idea of a carnal Christian, as I know I’m a sinner. I know addicts who claim Christ and I believe are saved. I know homosexuals I believe are saved. I know we have periods where we walk with God closer than other times. I know God’s grace is not based upon anything we do – it i merely God’s love and choice by which we are given faith and salvation. It is most definitely free for us (though costly for our Savior). However, it seems to me that if we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and God works within us, then we will continue to grow in love and obedience, with periods of time where we slide backwards.

      And to me, there’s no question that many places in the New Testament speak of gain or loss of eternal rewards. But I am not convinced that all places that speak of perseverance speak of eternal rewards, but at least some of them seem to speak to salvation.

      :) I was kind of hoping for something online, but I’ll see if I can find a copy. Thank you for the title.

      I think one can have assurance of salvation and still be a sinner. But I still believe there will be evidence of faith in some area of their life.

      It’s interesting you chose to allude to Christ’s words concerning salvation.
      John 7:37-38 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

      Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

      Both verses seem to reflect what was written in Isaiah 55:1-3 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

      I don’t have a point there, I just think those are beautiful verses.

      Question: Picture someone who claims Christ as savior, becomes a pastor, preached for thirty years, leads many to Christ, and walks away, ending up claiming there IS no God. Now, upon death, is this person saved with a loss of reward in heaven, or was he never saved?

  4. My answer to your question would depend on whether that person was persuaded that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, just as Martha was in Jn. 11. If that’s the case, then I would say that person had eternal life, but had forfeited his opportunity for an inheritance in the kingdom. Now, it’s entirely possible that the man had claimed he believed but in fact didn’t (as Judas did), but the presence or absence of good works in his life can’t tell you that.

    • I agree the presence or absence of works do not necessarily indicate salvation.

      What do you mean by, “person had eternal life, but had forfeited his opportunity for an inheritance in the kingdom”?

      Would you say Judas the betrayer was saved?

  5. By ‘inheritance in the kingdom’ I mean the potential to serve as a co-heir with Christ in His kingdom. Jesus seems to draw a distinction between entering the kingdom as a citizen and having an inheritance there as one of His metachoi.

    To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever critically examined the question of Judas. My instinctive response was to say no, but I couldn’t think of a Biblical answer one way or the other. Peter believed that Jesus was the Christ. Martha believed that Jesus was Christ. It’s possible that Judas didn’t, even though he might have claimed to. If that’s true, then he would be a Biblical example of a real false professor – someone that claimed to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but didn’t. On the other hand, if Judas did believe, then I would argue he still had eternal life, even though he betrayed the Lord.

    I find the discussion in Matt. 26 rather significant. In it, Jesus says that one of them would betray Him. Judas says “Not I” and Jesus says “You will betray Me”. Jesus also says that they would all fall away, whence Peter says “Not I”. Jesus, of course, tells him “You will deny me three times”. If we conclude Judas’ impending betrayal as proof that he was unsaved, it seems we would be forced to conclude the same of Peter.

    An additional thought that I had regarding the issue of Judas was the remorse that he had about his betrayal of Jesus (Matt. 27:3) and recognition that he had turned over innocent blood to death. If Judas had not believed that Jesus was the Christ, it seems unlikely that he would regard Him as ‘innocent blood’. Execution would have been the required penalty for false Messianic claims.

    As I said, I’ve never taken a critical look at the question and I think that I will. My response here is an off-the-cuff argument. If there is a passage in the New Testament (or a prophetic passage in the OT) that states that Judas was not a believer, then that I would obviously repent. But, determining Judas’ status as a believer based upon his works is pretty illicit.

    It would not bother me at all to find to conclude that Judas was regenerate. If God’s grace isn’t large enough to cover his kind of betrayal, then it isn’t large enough to cover mine. Who among us has never betrayed the Lord? Who among us has not thrown Him under the bus in order to save face before men? Who among us has not failed Him and failed Him large? I find it encouraging that even if I am unfaithful or unbelieving, He remains faithful because He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13).

    • hmm. It seems to me that our heavenly inheritance is eternal life. Perhaps it is rewards, but those seem something we earn, while eternal life and an inheritance are not earned.

      The kids and I are reading through Mt 26 this week together. It is not clear to me if Judas or Peter were saved in Mt 26. It appears they are both in the same condition at that time. I also noticed the remorse Judas had concerning his betrayal. It may be Judas realized it, but too late or realized it and realized it but did not trust Him. Additionally, it may be he DID come to believe and hold the conviction that Jesus was his savior as well. I have not found any passage that relates the state of his salvation. It may be Peter did not believe until after his denial, or it may be he believed before it. I note that demons believe Christ is the savior and Lord yet are not considered to be saved. No telling about Judas, I don’t think. But we know Peter came to believe with conviction,

      I think there can be a difference between belief and conviction, trust, and faith. I think the four can be synonymous, but I think normal usage would indicate one can hold a belief but it not be a conviction, or one can hold a belief and it can be a conviction. The question comes to mind what did Christ mean when he said believe in Jn 3:16-21? I think He means belief which is a conviction. It is this belief that causes one to move into the light.

      16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

      This becomes important because of the explanation of the parable of the seeds we see in Mt 13:19-23, Mk 4:15-20, and Luke 8:11-15. It seems obvious to me the ones along the path do not believe and are not saved. The last is definitely saved. The ones on the rock and the ones among the thorns are more difficult to ascertain. Does falling away mean loosing salvation? Only in Lk 8:13 is belief mentioned. Does belief in the case of the rocks indicate conviction? Does the fact that one believed a little while indicate a lost of salvation or a lack of conviction? If it indicates a lack of conviction, does it indicate a lack of salvation? Does belief in the case of the thorns indicate conviction? What does a lack of maturity mean? What does an unfruitful plant mean? It would seem to me that if it is easy to get into the kingdom of God, then we can assume that the seed among the rocks and thorn are saved. But Jesus said its not easy. In fact, he said its real hard. He also said there would be weeds and tares among the plants (Mt 13:36-43).

      Mt 13:19-23

      19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

      Mk 4:15-20

      15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

      Luke 8:11-15

      11 This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

      I dunno. It seems to me the seed among the rocks is not saved while the seed among the thorns may be or may not be.

      I would not bother me if everyone was saved, regardless of what they’ve done. But it aint gonna happen. God’s word is clear on that. It is hard to enter the kingdom of God. Even those who have done miracles in Christ’s name and some of those in the churches will be NOT of God’s family.

  6. If you agree that faith is simply conviction, then we’re in 100% agreement. My confusion with your argument is why you would so quickly change the definition when discussing the second soil – if he believed (and he did) then he had conviction and eternal life along with it. But, he failed to persevere! Faith either perseveres until the end or it doesn’t. Which is it?

    Addressing your question about Matt. 26, it should be pretty obvious that Peter was regenerate at that point in time, since his confession of Christ was recorded in Matt. 16. If faith is conviction, as you stated, then Peter either had eternal life in Matt. 16 or it takes more than faith to save a person.

    Why do you think that gaining eternal life is hard?

  7. I think FAITH is conviction, but I dont think belief is necessarily faith. I think it CAN be, but not always. I say this because of what Jesus, James and Paul wrote.

    Jesus in the case of Jn 3:16-21 (above) belief is conviction. But in James 2, it is not.

    James 2:19-20
    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

    Paul taught the same thing, as we see in Acts 26.
    Acts 26:20
    20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

    I mentioned that belief can include conviction or not. The reason is that belief was only mentioned once in the text itself. If Jesus was using it to indicate having an idea, rather than a conviction, then it would make sense that the second soil would believe for little while and then fall away. If it was an idea instead of a conviction, then the second soil was never saved. It is certainly possible to use belief in two different ways. I think this is what Jesus has done, using it as a a conviction in Jn 3:16-21 and using it as an idea in discussing the second soil in Luke 8:11-15.

    I think that its hard to gain eternal life because of what Christ and James said.
    Matthew 7:13-14
    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    Matthew 19:23-24
    23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

    Mark 10:23-27
    23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

    Luke 13:23-24
    23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

    Luke 18:24-27
    24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

    James 2:19-20 (above)

  8. Concerning it being difficult to be saved, I would add what Peter wrote,
    1 Peter 4:17-19
    17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

  9. Pasting a dozen verses is not sound exegesis. That’s proof texting. It’s easy to defend a system – simply cite all of the standard Scriptures. It’s much more difficult to step outside the paradigm and examine your system and see the holes.

    Here’s an example. The Arminian view that a person can lose their salvation is patently false to us, but he is unable to see it. The reason for this is a blind commitment to ideology. The Arminian has no choice but to interpret the warning passages in Hebrews as referring to loss of salvation. To conclude otherwise would require abandoning his theological framework. He resorts to all sorts of exegetical contortions in order to hold fast to his system. You and I can clearly see this because we see his system from the outside, rather than inside it.

    The Calvinist system requires similar kinds of exegetical handwaving. The Arminian and myself are able to identify the same kind of theological maneuvering, like the gross disregard for authorial intent you demonstrate when you proof text 15 verses and then state your position, as if it were obvious from the verses. From the outside looking in, it is completely and totally obvious to us that the last three soils were saved, that Saul and Solomon were regenerate, and that not all of the believers in Rev. 2-3 are overcomers. You cannot see it because you are on the inside of your system looking out. Unless you make an effort to step outside your system, you will never be able to see anything other than your framework and be blinded to the possibility to the possibility that you might be wrong.

    I’d encourage you to set your framework aside and consider the possibility that it’s wrong. If you’re unwilling to do that, then I don’t really suppose there is anything that I or Scripture can say that might change your mind.

    • You are free to ignore scripture should you so choose. I prefer to use all of it. I first look at the passage, then the context, then what the same author has said concerning the same topic (or word, if I’m doing a word study). I’m not simply trying to exegete a passage. I’m teaching a doctrinal truth here. To adequately exegete a passage would entail dissecting much more than simply the passage itself, but the chapters around it as well. We are really doing word studies. The word belief is used differently in different places. I showed this by showing different authors using the same term differently.

      It sounds like you’re making up your own system of belief, rather than using the Bible to study the Bible.

      I recognize I might be wrong when I see it in scripture. As I said, I started out Arminian, I’m not quite a full TULIP believer, but I’m pretty close. But you will have to show me that what you state concerning one area of the Bible is not in disagreement with what is stated in another area of the Bible.

    • BTW, Jesus said perseverance is necessary for one to be a true disciple.
      John 8:30-31

      30Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

  10. gmcastil,

    “If there is a passage in the New Testament (or a prophetic passage in the OT) that states that Judas was not a believer, then that I would obviously repent. ”

    There is apparently one verse that says Judas was not clean.
    Jn 13:10-11
    10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

  11. […] However, since Christ said we need only to believe to have eternal life, I must take Him at His word and say we only need belief. Therefore, I think if a man dies before putting that belief into action, they were saved if they had the belief spoken of by Christ, and so have eternal life. Some posts I’ve written regarding faith: Abraham had faith What is work in relation to faith? Is there any difference in what James, Paul and John taught concerning a living faith? The Need for Belief, Love, and Obedience Saving faith versus saying faith What is the requirement for eternal life? […]

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