16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Recently I have blogged about conditional security.
During these posts, I have not addressed verses that I used when I defended the “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS) teaching.
I suppose it is easy to pick the low hanging fruit of the common conditional security verses to defend this position, but sooner or later I will have to discuss OSAS verses, at least to be honest with myself.
Therefore, I will occasionally post to the blog a verse or passage that seems to support the OSAS position. I say “seems” since I am in the midst of the study of the OSAS passages. I consider it wise to seek to understand the opposing side’s argument without prejudging. I suppose that is why I have had so many adjustments in my thinking in the last 5-10 years. Come to think of it, adjustments are another way of describing repentance – a changing of the mind.
This verse is pregnant with meaning and offers much to discuss, but I will restrain myself to the topic at hand. A key to this verse I believe, in relation to the topic of security, is the word believe. As far as I can tell, believe is a present tense participle which might be translated as – “the continually believing ones” If this is so, then the idea of entering a salvation contract by signing on the dotted line with single past belief seems to be weak.
Initially Considering Conditional Security
One of the verses that made me initially consider the conditional security topic was also in John 3, where the Master states – You must be born again”
I think I understood Him to say “You must become born again”, but that isn’t what He said. You see, to be something is a present condition. To be an engineer is not to simply begin on a career based on a momentary decision, but a lifetime of decisions based on that first decision. To be born again, although dependent on the initial decision to repent and trust, must be maintained on a lifetime of decisions stemming from the initial commitment.
Security in the Person of Christ
Earlier I mentioned that the tense of believing is a key to the verse in understanding the impact on conditional security. Another item of interest in the verse is the concept of eternal life.
Is eternal life dependent on time? (Remember that God created time and He existed prior to the creation, therefore eternality is outside of the realm of time.)
Why all this metaphysical junk?
Sometimes when I would teach on OSAS, I would make the argument that since eternal life was a gift, and by definition it was eternal/forever, it could not be returned.
But I think I missed the bigger picture. Eternal life is in the person of Christ. (1 John 5:11) If I am in Christ, I enjoy the benefits (and responsibilities) of eternal life. If I intentionally depart from the Living One, I remove myself from the eternal life that is in the Son.
Nowadays I consider eternal life to be the quality of life (in the Son) instead of simply a quantity of life (from the Son).
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