It’s been a while since I have blogged on the topic of “Conditional Security”. Probably too long.
I admit, I struggle with the topic, and yearn for the days when I was convinced of the “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS) belief.
But I have considered what “those other believers” teach (as if there is such a group as “those other believers”!), and have found their argument to have some strength.
How do you handle other opinions and teachings within the church? Are they a threat? Do you automatically consider the source heretical?
Generally, when a believer teaches something your denomination avoids or condemns, do you assume your group is right, or do you test the teaching by studying the Word? Simply refusing it since you may not have been taught it seems shortsighted, and kinda arrogant.
I fell into that religious swamp for far too many years, and I thank God that He gave me the willingness to consider opposing teachings. I was in a religious ghetto, an echo chamber that was creating a spirit of deadness in me.
Don’t live in da ghetto brudder!
Consider some opposing view that good Christian men and women believe. Be challenged by it and do not avoid it. Search the Scripture to see if it be so.
Okay, enough of my rant. Back to conditional security.
This particular set of verses may seem to argue against conditional security, and if that be, that be good. We all need to be corrected by the Word, to be humble enough to admit that our knowledge base is tiny, somewhat full of hot air, and shot through with bias’s and wrong motivations.
If the Bible teaches something that we are to rely on, it needs to be clearly taught and without contradictions. The rest is potential fodder for destructive argument and distractive red herrings. But I digress (again).
Let’s consider the passage.
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I suppose a point of strength for the OSAS folks in this verse is the reference to God’s power that is guarding us.
What a promise that the imperishable undefiled inheritance is being kept in heaven while we are being guarded.
Notice that “kept” and “guarded” seem to have the same thought. Let’s chase this idea a bit and consider any difference between these two words.
The word “kept” in 1 Peter 1:4 is sometimes translated as reserved.
Thayers Greek says this term is this verse refers to something “to be used some day for some purpose” The idea of something that is not being used right now, but is stored, kept, maintained and secured until it is needed.
Ok I think I get that idea.
The word “guarded” in 1 Peter 1:5, per Thayers Greek is a term that refers to “watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something (R. V. guarded unto etc.), passive.”
Interesting. Two things catch my eyes in that definition.
- To preserve one for the attainment of something.
- This definitely relates to salvation, future salvation, per the verse.
- What is being preserved?
- What is the intent of the preservation?
- Why is the word passive included in this definition?
- Does the word passive describe the activity of the participant in the sentence? Like, the guarding is being done to (or for) the believer, not by the believer.
- This is a general call out to any NT Greek student – I am not schooled in Greek and am open to be corrected. Please let me know.
Let’s dig a bit more and consider Vines Dictionary.
Vines refers to “guarded,” in verse 5 stating it to define “that security that is his when he puts all his matters into the hand of God” (Italics mine)
I think that is the issue that I missed (avoided?) as an OSAS fella!
If the verse had a period after “guarded”, the message would be completely different. We would be the passive recipients of God’s guarding. Who wouldn’t want that?
But Peter did’t stop there – he seems to have something else in mind. Something called faith, the faith of the believers he is talking to.
But isn’t the initial faith when we first believed sufficient? Peter mentions “through faith”. Note that the power of God is guarding us through faith.
Would Peter accept the notion that the guarding of God would continue if we renounced our faith?
Faith is a decision to believe the known character of God, to act on His promises. The believers in Peter’s letter were undergoing persecution and needed to exercise thier faith in the guarding power of God.
Peter wanted them to understand thier faith would be tested for genuineness, and that would result in praise to the Lord Jesus. Being tested requires an active faith in the Lord Jesus.
Praise God we are being guarded by the mighty hand of God, that His loving protection and guidance is available for believers through faith unto salvation.
Let’s not presume upon the grace of God, but continue to learn of His ways through the Word.
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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.
6 thoughts on “Conditional Security – 1 Peter 1:5-9”
How I enjoy our correspondence and always with our common faith in mind!
The insurpassible greatness of the free gift of salvation is true. None can take it from us. I think free will makes it at least theoretically possible to deny i.e., reject after acceptance
What do you make of Timothy letter: 2 Tim 2: 11. For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Supercede: what I meant is this… Grace deliberately subordinates itself to the gift of free will knowing that the greatest freedom is to enliven our nature to respond rightly to God.
Those are tough verses in timothy.
For me too 🙂
Sometimes I believe in “once saved always saved”. Then I come to an old joke about living like the devil on Saturday night, like a saint on Sunday.
So, there is the conundrum. For some the OSAS is a licence to sin.
Just a thought, without a clear answer.
Always enjoy your posts. You are a talented writer and sincere.
May I ask a question that challenges both of us?
Do you believe free will exists after conversion? If so, is it limited in any way? If not, what gift supercedes free will?
I do believe free will exists after conversion, hence all the commands/pleadings in the NT.
I think my free will is limited by my circumstances.
Let’s say I choose to learn to fly, but due to a nationwide pandemic, all planes are grounded. This may not be good example, but I occured to me given our situation.
Regarding a gift that supercedes free will, that is a stumper. Not sure what you mean.