A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 42
Perseverance and Security
Perseverance and Security
- In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
- Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
- This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
- Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
- Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
- This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
- In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
- In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
- This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
- This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
- This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
- This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
- Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
- You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
- This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
- The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
- Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
- Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
- This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
- This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
- Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
- This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
- Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
- Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
- This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
- Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
- This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
- This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
- In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
- You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
- This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
- In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
- This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
- You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
- From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
- By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
- This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
- Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
- Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
- This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
- From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
- This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
- Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
- Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.
Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.
A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Perseverance and Security
One of the places where there is a big difference among different tribes in evangelicalism is the issue of perseverance or security. And the question, can you lose your salvation is one of those deeply troubling questions. It is one where there isn't agreement on a number of points, but I would want to say that there is a beginning point that is a complete agreement. I really want to say this strongly. One of the things is that God will never ever reject the believer. I mean, that is a point of agreement. If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, if you're a part of the family, God will never kick you out of the family.
So in John 6:37, Jesus says, "We will no wise cast out the one who comes. The one who comes, he will never be cast away." So God will never reject the believer. That's a point of agreement. And there's also a really strong agreement that not even Satan can steal a believer from God. So a passage that's important would be like Romans 8. So the points of agreement, God will never reject you if you're a believer, and not even Satan can steal you away.
But the question is, can a true believer commit apostasy or slip away through apathy? And there is not agreement at that spot. So I've got three different positions here on your handout, and I think it's helpful to look at these together and just think about them. One is a tribe I've lived much of my life in. We just call it perseverance of the saints. And that typically is a Calvinistic view. God chose you in the first place, and therefore he's never going to let you go. So perseverance of the saints, God would never let his children go. So Philippians 1:6, "He who began a good work in you will continue until Jesus Christ." If God's the one who's... He laid his hand on you, he will not take it off. And so that's the perseverance of the saint. Once saved, always saved kind of thing. And that's a confidence that many people have and it's really critical. That's the more Calvinistic side of the house.
The more Arminian side of the house is the perseverance of the believer, and that is believers are kept by the power of God. And as long as I'm committed to Jesus that my sin is forgiven, I'm accepted, justification is reality for the believer. But, and here's the but, where in the Calvinistic view, God's will always wins the Calvinist emphasis on sovereignty. From the Arminian view God honors human choice. He honored a human choice at the beginning of salvation. He'll honor your choice in the continuance of salvation. So the idea here is that salvation, entrance into heaven, if you will, is conditioned upon continued faith. And if you decide not to continue the journey, he will reluctantly let you do that.
So a picture of this is we can't lose our salvation, but we can leave our salvation from this view. You can't lose your salvation keys. I don't know about you, but pretty much, "Where are my keys? I can't find my keys. I know they're around here somewhere, but where are my keys? Help me, pretty wife." She rolls her eyes. There you go again. See, that's not the truth. I will never lose my salvation as I can lose my keys because it's just not like that. It's a relationship.
But I can leave my salvation is the view from this perseverance of the believer. So I can commit apostasy. I can find a better savior in my estimation. I can become a Buddhist or I can become anything else, and I can leave my allegiance to Jesus or I can just lose interest. We call it deconstruction these days. People just, I mean they start looking at things and they just go, "I don't think this measures up. It doesn't fulfill my needs. I'm going to look for another God and do a better job." We can commit apostasy or slip away through apathy. And that's a very common view.
Part of this is how we look at the Christian life, and one of the pictures of the Christian life is it's a relationship picture. So I'm child of God. I receive salvation at conversion, justification, and I have it. I have salvation. And that's typically in the Western church we see as a relationship type thing. The Eastern Church, Eastern Orthodox Church sees it more as a journey. So you begin a journey with Jesus, and you need to stay on the journey to the end and he'll help you do it. He'll provide resources. You get food on the journey, but you need to stay on the journey, and you can fall off that path along the way.
And that's a different look at what the Christian life is about. Is it a relationship that I have? So I'm saved now because I'm a member of the family. It's a status that I have, or is it a pilgrimage that I join. In the Western church on the whole, we see it as a relationship that we have and I think that's true, but we journey on as a part of that. So that's the perseverance of the believer.
My view is this third one on here, and I say it's perseverance of the regenerate. I think that to use the old AA thing, the phrase from Alcoholics Anonymous, there's 12-step groups is, "once a pickle, never a cucumber again." So once you've pickled your brain on alcohol, you could never become a cucumber again. You're always going to have pickled brain kind of thing. Now, whether that's true or not, I won't get into that debate, but I think that once you've been born again, once the desires of my heart have been changed, once the [inaudible] Holy Spirit is there, that's not an undoable thing. So my view is believers will live out the deep desires of their regenerate hearts as empowered by the Holy Spirit, and they're aided by the encouragement and warnings to persevere in the community around us. So we're on a journey together, a journey of life together. We do it as children of God and members of the family. So that's where I come out on this as a regenerate.
Now the pastoral problem for all of these is the same. I don't know if somebody's really saved or not. Now, a lot of people, I do. I mean there's just no doubt about it. Although some of those people can really shock me by completely stepping out of the faith. Now that doesn't mean they're not going to heaven. People can leave the faith without... Anyway, a lot of stuff to unpack here a bit. But that idea of the pastoral problem is another problem. So let me unpack my view, perseverance of the regenerate. And then, we'll come back to the pastoral problem here in just a bit.
So I look at John, Chapter 10. It's one of these places where back when I was doing Greek, way back when in seminary, this is one of the places where learning Greek really made a difference for me. And just following through the point here, this John 10:27, following through the pattern and Jesus' talking here, "You don't believe because you're not my sheep." Then he says, "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them. They follow me. I give an eternal life. They shall never perish. No one should [inaudible] out of my hand. My father's given to me is greater than all. No one can snatch my father's hand. I and the Father are one." So the question I ask here is where's the condition in this statement? Where is the if? Where is the if in this statement, the one that you can make a choice to. As you look through this statement, where's the if? Then you'd stop and ponder do that. But that's a critical question. Where's the if here?
And the answer is there isn't one except the very first is, "Are you a sheep?" But once you're a sheep, there's a sequence that follows through. And some of this is behavioral. My sheep listen to my voice. So if you're a sheep, you listen. "I know them," he says. They follow. But the verse 28 is... I mean this is amazing. I give them eternal life. So that's a gift that we have now. And to be sure externality is the quality. But, "I give them eternal life," that's a duration as well. But then this next one is the place where the Greek really helped me. "They shall never perish," It says here in the NIV, and that's a good translation.
But when you look at the Greek construction there, it's an ou me construction. Well in English, a double negative makes it a positive. We ain't got no bananas today. Well, do you have bananas or not? It's not real clear. But in Greek, the ou me is a much stronger statement. So the ou me is a very, very strong statement. One of my guys said, "I know how to translate in English." I said, "Go for it." He said, "And you do not perish into eternity," was my clunky translation you not and capitalize the second not. He said, "No, no." Translate this. "You shall so not perish forever, dude."
But it's really an unconditional guarantee that says you will absolutely not perish into eternity into the [Greek]. So I got the protection, Jesus' hand, Father's hand, but then the middle of that 28B is this, "You will absolutely not perish if you're a sheep." That's a powerful statement.
Okay, so how would somebody from an Armenian perspective say that? Well, you're in the Father's hand. If you're in Jesus' hand, the Father's hand around it, you'll never get stolen away, but you can crawl out between the fingers. There's no guarantee you can't crawl out. And see, I look at that and that's where that middle phrase, "You'll not not perish into eternity." If you're a sheep, you will listen, you will follow. You will not crawl out. To me, the question is are you a sheep or not? And it's not because God won't let you crawl out so much as you won't want to crawl out, and you need that protection. So that's where I come out on that.
The other passage is Romans 8. And again, that's just such a powerful passage. Oh, if you start back at 29, for example, "Those whom God for knew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son." And we can talk about the relation foreknown and predestination, but we won't here. What it is saying is He has rendered it certain that will be conformed to the image of His son. That's a future thing for believers. They might be the first one of many brothers and sisters. So that's the unbreakable sequence, those who predestiny called justified, and justified glorified, that see the unbreakable sentence.
So verse 31, "What shall we say if God is forced, who can be against us?" And the answer is if God is forced, who can be against us? And the answer is all kinds of people can be against us. Satan himself is against us. There's a lot of people against us. The point is it won't do any good because they don't have the final word on anything. If God is for us, what difference does it make who's against us? Don't say there's nobody against us because that'd just be a lie. If He didn't spare his own son, gave him up for all, how are we going to also only think graciously give us all things? Who can bring a charge against God's chosen? Well, again, lots of people bring charges, but the judge has already rendered a favorable verdict that doesn't do any good. So that's that obvious conclusion, the irreversible verdict.
But then, he comes in as he brings us to a close, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? What trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" And then this ringing conclusion, "We are more than conquerors through them, for I'm convinced in neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present or future powers, neither height nor depth or anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord." It's a credible, credible, credible statement there. The invincible love, I said that. Now again, and I'm coming from a security of the regenerate. What would somebody believe if they come from the Arminian perspective? Again, they would say nothing can separate us, but that's all external stuff, not Satan himself can drag us away. But God will never force us to stay in against our will. And though I don't agree with it, it is a real position.
And of course, from the more Arminian side, they're going to take me to passage like Hebrews Chapter 6. Everybody's going to go to Hebrews 6. Actually the phrase begins back in 5:11, but let me go to 6 Chapter four." It's impossible for those who once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, taste the goodness of the word of God and the power of the coming age and have fallen away to be brought to repentance." So if I shorten this, it is impossible for those who had all this good stuff and who fall away to be brought back to repentance. So this says people can fall away. Well, but see another level that says too much. Because what it's saying, if you step out once, you're done.
From the Calvinist side many times as well, this is a hypothetical, if you could fall away, it'd be impossible, but nobody can fall away because God's going to protect you. Well, that's not what it says. And to say, well, this is hypothetical possibility kind of thing. No, no, this is a serious warning. This is a serious warning. You can't just dump it and say, well, hypothetical. But on the other side, if you take this as you can lose salvation, the heavenly gift and the shared and the Holy Spirit or spiritual realities, you need to take seriously. It's impossible to be brought back to repentance.
So you either get hypothetical or kind of negate what it's saying. No, take it seriously. And this is why I want to give you the take I have on this. Romans, for example, is a basically linear argument. A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Hebrews is cyclic, round and every time it goes a little deeper. So this is a of warning passages. And these warning passages have been back in Chapter 2. And in Chapter 2 it says, "Be careful attention so we don't drift away and don't neglect so great a salvation." So that's the first warning. The second warning in the cycle begins in Chapter 3 at verse 7. And this is the one that I think really helps you understand Chapter 6. So here He's saying, "Today, if you hear his voice, don't harden your heart. You did in rebellion during your time in the wilderness. When your ancestor tests me and tried me," what He's referring to here, and He goes on in this warning, "Do not harden your hearts." He's referring back to what happened at Kadesh Barnea. And that's, well, you want to turn there, look back at the Numbers Chapter 13. I won't go through the whole passing. You begin, verse 24 or something like that, 26. Well, I do need to summarize it here. This is where they come up to the edge of the land. They go from Sinai up to Kadesh Barnea, less than two weeks journey, up to the south end of the land. They're ready to go in, and they send in spies. Go through the negative, go up there and find out what's going on. Because nobody in that generation had been there. It'd been hundreds of years since they'd been up there, and they got to bring people. So go up and find the way for us to get up in there. It's summarized in Deuteronomy 1, as well.
So they come back and they've got the fruit of the land. And we went into this land and it's amazing milk and honey. But verse 28, these people are powerful, city was fortified. We saw the descendants of Enoch there, the Amalekites are there, the Hittites, Genocites. And if we go up in there, it's going to be really difficult. Caleb says, "Wait a minute. No, no, no, we should go up and take possession. We can certainly do it. We're God's children." [inaudible], but the men who had gone with him, said, "We can't attack these people. They're so strong." And what happened is the people come from an identity statement. We're like grasshoppers. We're slaves who make bricks. So Chapter 14, "They raise their voice. They grumble. Why does the Lord bring us out here, all of this die by the sword? We should have stayed back in Egypt." Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua fall down and say, "No, no, we're children of Lord, let's go in. God is with us. Yes, they're great. Yes, they're big. Cities are powerful, but God is our God. We'll be fine."
The people reject that. They reject that. Verse 10, 14:10, the whole assembly talked about stoning them. "The glory of Lord appeared at the tent meeting." Lord said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me despite all the signs I perform among them? I will strike now the plague and destroy them. I'll make of you a greater nation." Now that's a repeat of Exodus 32, the golden calf thing. Moses again intercedes for the people similar to Exodus 32 and says, he actually quotes Exodus 34:6 and 7 back to God. He quotes scripture back to God to make your case, a good idea. Verse 19, "In accordance with your great love. Forgive the sin of these people. Just you pardon them from Egypt till now." So here's the key Moses saying, "Lord, forgive these people again." This is the 10th time they've contempted God. Remember another guy that contempt God 10 times? Yeah, Pharaoh, what happened to him? He got killed. Israel condemns them 10 times. Are they going to get killed? That's what God says.
Moses says, "Please forgive them. Verse 20, crucial. "I have forgiven as you asked." They deserve to be killed. God said, "I have forgiven them." Nevertheless, as surely as I live, not one, not one of these people who disobeyed me and tested me 10 times, not one of them will go into the land. So he's forgiven them. He's not going to kill him, but they're not going into the land, and just not going to happen. Joshua and Caleb, they'll go in, but they will not.
If you follow through the rest of the story, he comes down to verse 35, "They will meet their end in this wilderness. Here they will die." And that's why instead of taking two weeks to get up to Israel, it takes them 40 years because God lets them wander around the wilderness until they die. So here's what happens. Verse 39, they repent. "Oh, no. What did we do? We will trust God. We'll go into the land." And Mo said, "No, no, no, don't do that. He's already told He's not going with you." "No, no, we repent. It'll be good. We believe God." They go in the land. Boom man, they're beaten up all over the place. I think that's the background of Hebrews 6.
What happened to the people? They lived at the edge of the land. They sent in the spies. The spies come back. Two of them say, "We're children of God. It's going to be great." 10 of them say, "We're going to get killed if we go up in there. The people say, "Ah, we should..." And they don't go. God says, "That's it. You'll never ever inherit the blessing of living land. You're done." They repent. But see, it's too late. It's too late. They've already lost the blessing. Irretrievably lost the blessing of living the land because of their disobedience and contempt in God. Did they lose their status as children of God? No. They're going to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. God does not kill them in the wilderness. They're in the wilderness until that whole generation dies. And during that time, God protects them from enemies. He supplies manna and water and quail, even their shoes don't wear out. God takes care of them. He's not casting out a salvation to use that term, but they've irretrievably lost the blessing. I think Hebrews 6 is not talking about losing salvation statuses, children of God. It's a serious warning against losing the blessing of God. And that's a pattern that goes back into the Old Testament.
Israel is children of God. Even the Babylonians are crushing them and taking them off into captivity. God goes with them to Babylon. They don't lose the status of being children of God. I think that's the same pattern that can happen to the believer today. We can lose irretrievably the blessing of God. That's the warning of Hebrew 6. It's not saying you lose salvation in a sense of being children of God. It's saying as children of God, you can lose this blessing. What does that look like? Well, it depends on what you do and those kinds of things. I think God wants to bless us richly. But all through scripture, many of those blessings are conditioned upon being obedient, responsive children.
And I think there are things we don't have intimacy with God, for example, because we're being too bratty, and God doesn't give his blessings to bratty kids. So one more Hebrews passage. It's actually the harder Hebrews passage is Hebrews Chapter 10. This is really scary. Hebrews 10:22. Verse 22, "Let us draw near to God with sincere heart." So that's talking about going into the holy place, Holy of Holies. Verse 24, "Let us consider how to spur one another toward love and good deeds. Don't give it up meeting to God. Encourage each other." But verse 26, there is a scary passage, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after you receive the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left. Only fearful expect to have judgment. Raging fire will consume the enemy's God. Anybody who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy. How much more severely do you think one who deserved to be punished and trampled the son of God under their foot," and so on. That is scary.
Now this is not talking about a mistake. This is not talking about trying to do well and not getting there. This is talking about if we deliberately keep on sinning. And that's a serious, serious, serious warning. And it's talking about now here's what I think is happening. Again, I don't think that's talking about losing your salvation. I think what it's talking about is we can come under God's deep punishment as children. And that's what happens to people of in the era of Babylon is because they have deliberately sinned for hundreds of years under the warnings of prophets. There finally comes a time when God said that's it, and He raises up the Babylonians to crush them, take them into captivity. I think that happens today. I think there are times when God is punishing people not for mistakes, not for being... But it's if we deliberately keep on sinning, I think we can be punished.
What about Romans 8:1? "There is no for now condemnation." That's true. There is no condemnation. I don't think you're sent out of the family, but there's absolutely punishment. God never punishes his children. I don't know what Bible you're reading. I think you're reading... In my era, not Mr. Spock. Dr. Spock, parents never punish their kids. The Bible's really clear. God does punish, but it's not irascible, slap the kid because I'm not feeling good. I think there is punishment for children of God. And I think Hebrews 10 is warning against it.
So my summary of this is neither Hebrews 6 nor 10 is talking about losing salvation in the sense of being in God's children. But it does talk about losing blessing, irretrievably, the Kadesh Barnea, pattern or being punished by God, the Babylon captivity thing. And I think those are serious warnings for children of God today. And the people are saying, "Oh God is unconditional love. He never punishes his kids." Again, I don't know what Bible you're reading. He does, and this is going on. Is this God punishing me or [inaudible]. No, no. God never... Well, let's check. Maybe it is. So that's where I come out on this.
So my take on this in the Hebrews passage is I don't think you lose our status as children of God. We can certainly lose the blessing, and we lose it irretrievably sometimes. And we can also be seriously punished for ongoing deliberate sin. So that's where I come out. I think the perseverance of the regenerate is correct. The problem is of course is just the pastoral problem. What do you do with somebody who, because of some disaster that's happened to them, they don't want to be a Christian anymore? What do you do with somebody that has questions about the goodness of God with the evil that's going on in the world?
We see people walking away from the faith regularly. I don't think this is necessarily walking away from status of child of God does. Children can certainly run away. They don't stop being children. So I think you can leave the faith without leaving status of children of God. But I do think that the reality that when people are not showing those longings for Word, not showing longing to be like Jesus, not showing longings for worship, not showing those longing to be the things that are in Colossians Chapter 3, that there's something seriously wrong. And it may be that they're not children of God. Maybe if they're not regenerate in the first place. That's a pastoral problem. So what I try to do is I try to hack into their lives and see what's going on behind the curtain, and I'm pretty good at that. And try to figure out is there life inside? Because the transformed life is because there's life inside. If the life is not transformed, it's possible there's no life inside.
How do you check that out? And a couple things I do is I want to explore how they deal with sin. And for a lot of people, they won't admit they have any sin. Okay, that's a big indicator. Or other people, I'm just erected sin. There's nothing good in me. Okay, maybe the life of God is not in you because you're not seeing his work and seeing good stuff happen in your life. Or maybe just been taught not to admit that it's there. What do you do about sin your life? Because what happens is if you've got the regenerate life of God in you, and you discovered the reality of forgiveness of sins, when somebody brings sin to you in a gracious context, you want to run to Abba and say, "Abba, help." Because you know his desire to forgive and heal.
If you don't have the life of God in you, you're afraid to go because you're afraid that he's going to zap you. And again, in the parable of talents, five talents, three talents, one talent. The five talent guy makes five more, well done, good faithful servant. Three talents, three talents, more willing and good faithful servant. One talent guy says, "I know you're harsh, and you reap where you do not sow and such, so I hid it," and, "to hell with you is the response." Well see, the reason is he's not worshiping Yahweh, he's worshiping Satan, the usurper who come to steal and kill and destroy. His description of God is not Yahweh. And the thing is, this is the lavish grace of God who gives this talent even to somebody who doesn't have the life of God in him.
So that's somebody who does not have the life of God. So that's what you do. So what do you do about sin? Is the life of God in me? I want to have his healing and forgiveness. Now I may take some work to get there passed the initial defensiveness. The other thing I want to do is help them pray. Do they say words because we all memorized patterned prayers or are they talking to Abba? So what I do in these kinds of cases, I say, "Could I just kind of mess with you a little bit? "Everybody knows me know I love to mess with people. Let's do some prayer time here, but just an experiment. What I want to do is I want you to pray, but I don't want you to use word Lord, just, or bless. And that kills most of the patterned prayers in the evangelical world because "Lord, just less us today."
That just makes you get out of the patterns. And see if you're talking to your Abba, that may be a little awkward, but you can get around that pretty easily because you're just sharing your heart with your heavenly Father, and you know He loves you and cares for you. He's compassion and gracious and slow to anger and forgiving and all those things. But see, if somebody's not had the life of God in them, they can't really pray. They can't because they don't have that relationship that makes prayer a possibility. So those are two things I do to try to hack into people's lives is to try to talk about sin in their lives. Do they run to Abba to get help? And prayer, do they share a love language with the Father? It's not foolproof, but that's what I try to do. So perseverance the regenerate is my view.
The first was back to your understanding of Hebrews 10.
And it talks about an expectation of judgment, a raging fire and consuming the enemies of God. I can see it was saying that sure doesn't sound like blessings to me.
It's true. Well, I'm not talking about blessing.
Okay, that'd be more Calvinist one. That sure sounds like it's an issue of salvation and not blessing.
Yeah. And that's where again, I put it against the Old Testament background of Babylon captivity. The people living in Jerusalem when the Babylonians came and were trashing the place, destroying it. That's the kind of picture I see happening here is it's a dreadful thing, and it is this judgment raging fire on Jerusalem. But they don't cease being God's children. God goes with them to Babylon. And I agree quickly the difficulty of the statement, but that's the way I come out is against the Old Testament background of the Babylonian captivity. And Hebrews is written to people who would have that memory in their lives, I think. But it's a good question. I mean it really is a real question.
That's why this is such a scary passage.
It's a scary passage. We can't just ignore it.
Yeah. The other thing I was following the logic in Romans 8:34, when you're reading it, "Who then is the one that condemns," and the NIV adds, "no one", which isn't in the Greek, but they added. They're pulling it forward from verses 38 and 39, "Whereas his death in their life angels, their demons," which I can see are external things. But then, "In the present or the future, no powers, no height, no depth or anything else will be able to separate us." I'm assuming that you would argue that that is over the top complete, which would include the person themselves.
Yeah. This does not rule out me committing apostacy here or falling into apathy. It does not rule it out. And again, that's a reality that I have to face from the Arminian side that says that I can become apathetic and leave my salvation.
But isn't Paul's point that there's absolutely nothing. I think it's just theoretical of present, future, height, or depth, anything else while I'm in creation can separate us from Christ Jesus. I mean, can't you follow that argument through from the Calvinist side.
I think so.
And just say that includes you.
I do. I think I've mentioned here in my arguments that Jack Cantrell, who's a thoroughgoing Arminian, good Arminian, a Bible teacher and just a magnificent human being arguing about some of these things. And his thing is, "He could have said no," because he has a fundamental conviction from Arminian side. God never rules out our free choice. Just like from a Calvinist side that all these passages don't mention about God's ordination. Well, it's still there, and they just can't get away from it. Don't you believe God is sovereign? So I do believe that the Romans 8 passage, that any created thing includes me. But I have to admit, I can't prove it from the text. The serious warning passages are serious. And that's where I think it's losing blessing or being punished. But this is the spot where there are days where gosh, there's an insecurity that comes in there. I'll be quick to say.
I'm not there yet and I'm old enough now. I think I'm going to make it through life still believing in security of the regenerate. But the warning passages are very, very real. But what I find from the Arminian perspective is they negate some of the passages and end up in a yo-yo kind of thing. Saved today, lost tomorrow, saved the day after lost. So it ends up being a yo-yo. It's an eternal insecurity instead of being kept by the power of God, which is more Wesleyan perspective that I'm kept by God unless I deliberately walk out. So these are real questions.