Conditional Security – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

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1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone,

2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,

3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.

5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you–

7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.

8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.

Oh how he loved them Thessalonians!

Paul proves his love when he speaks of going without, of sacrificing his brother Timothy and to be left alone in Athens due to his concern over the Thessalonians.

But what was Paul’s concern?

Though he had warned the young believers of distress, pain and suffering to enter into their lives, he was concerned that these forewarned trials might still nullify his work in the believers.

You see, Paul’s concern was their faith. For these believers to be “moved” by afflictions is a threat that Paul could not endure. Would the believers maintain faith in the midst of trials?

It seems Paul’s faith in the Thessalonians faith was a bit weak – but fully understandable, since the Thessalonians faith was being tested, and their faith seemingly hadn’t been tested prior to this. Beyond all this, Jesus is the only One we really can trust to be fully faithful!

Wagging Tail

But what else was Paul trying to infer/imply? It is interesting that the term “moved” in the Greek, generally refers to a dog waggin his tail.

Strongs Concordance

Moved – σαίνω saínō, sah’-ee-no; akin to G4579; to wag (as a dog its tail fawningly), i.e. (generally) to shake (figuratively, disturb):—move.

Isn’t that interesting, that Paul uses such a word. Somewhere else in his writings he refers to troubles as being not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.

Paul is referring to trials “moving” the believer. Is he implying the trials have the potential to control the believer? Like a dog controls his tail? Am I making too much of this?

Maybe.

But if trials have the potential to control a believers life, and if the believer being controlled by these trials would nullify the work of the apostle….

But alas, Paul had no reason to fear that his work in the believers would be in vain. They were standing strong in their faith, exhibiting love to each other and desire for the apostle.

Which implies that apostles work being in vain (empty) would be that they did not stand strong in their faith.

Strongs Concordance

Vain, κενός kenós, ken-os’; apparently a primary word; empty (literally or figuratively):—empty, (in) vain.

Hang on Carl – according to some great Bible teachers, if these Christians were not strong in their faith, they would still be Christians. The work of the apostle would still be evident, just a bit dimmed and blunt.

But not nullified Paul!

Come on – they gotta still be Christians!


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Conditional Security – Jude 5

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Jude 1:5

5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Can Jude be any less blunt?

Wow – these Israelites, whom Jesus saved out of Israel, were destroyed by Jesus later, due to absence of faith.
Did I read that right?
OK, so Jude may be talking of the people, the family of Israel, the tribes, the entire gaggle of people that were delivered from Egypt. I get that.
But those that Jesus destroyed? No that is not what I think it means!
Jesus destroyed those who did not believe.
Those without individual faith are destroyed by Jesus.
Let that sink in. Can it get any more disturbing to the modern Christian to hear a statement such as this!
OK, lets get back to the point. Could the first deliverance refer to simply being delivered from the tyrants of Israel? I’m thinking the first deliverance was a type, a foreshadowing of a greater deliverance, of a greater salvation, of a greater redemption intended for all who saw the acts of God, heard the words from Moses and internally exercised faith in the God of Israel.
What was the difference between one who was destroyed and one who wasn’t, even though both had been delivered? The duration of their faith separated these two groups of folk – all believed once, some believed continuously.
Only one condition, and that condition is the individuals duration of faith in the Savior, and Jude is preaching this story to believers.
one condition
Seems kinda obvious as to the intent of the author. One condition to avoid destruction in the Christian experience.
And that condition is continuous faith. Dang the people above made the one decision to join the deliverance from Egypt. And were destroyed. By none other that the One who initially delivered them.
Remember Jesus did not say “You must become born again” (referring to a point in time!)
Nope – He didn’t say it that way, and that wasn’t His message.
You must

Be

born again (a state of being!)

Consider!

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Conditional Security – Hebrews 11:13-16

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Hebrews 11:13-16

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.

16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

They desire a better country!

Because of this desire, that is the desire that the Old Testament saints had, that is their witness of being strangers and exiles on the earth.
Therefore…  Therefore 2
Because these saints did not think of their previous land, (because if they did they would have returned), God is not ashamed to be called their God.
What?
Something is missing here.  The Old Testament saints decided to think and speak of a better country, a better place to be, a better homeland.  This decision to think and speak this certain way impacted God’s attitude towards them. 
God’s attitude was determined by these Old Testament saints decision to think correctly.  And the result of God not being ashamed? He has prepared for them a City
Oh, to have right thoughts, to be aligned with His thoughts in the midst of a busy day, full of distractions,  concerns and problems.   Desire a better country, brother and sister! Desire the heavenly one, where the Heavenly One is.  May He not be ashamed to be called our God.

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Conditional Security – 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

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1 Corinthians 1:4-9

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–

6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–

7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I would look at verses that seem to support the eternal security teaching and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these passages.

Today’s passage is found in 1 Corinthians 1:8, but I would like to consider the passage from verses 4 through 9.

Is Paul seeking to instruct the believers in Corinth about eternal security? Or is he breaching upon their lack of stability?

Security and Confirmation

Verse 8 clearly states that Jesus Christ shall confirm them unto the end, which must surely mean that once a person becomes a true believer, Jesus Christ is responsible to independently supply the believers security and deliver that person to God at their death. At least that is how I read it in the past and suppose it is the common understanding among those who lean toward the eternal security teaching.

But I do have a few concerns.

I would like to start with Paul’s description of the Corinthians confirmation in verse 6. The passage is telling me that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians. This is the very same word that Paul uses two verses later in verse 8.

So lets consider what is going on in these verses.

Testimony

In verse 7, Paul states the purpose of the confirmation described in verse 6. The testimony of Christ – that is the witness/proof of Christ, was confirmed in the Corinthians via the gifts they received, the knowledge and utterance they experienced. The confirmation had a purpose. The confirmation had two participants, that is, God supplied the gifts, but the Corinthians exercised these gifts of knowledge and utterance. This is important to consider.

In verse 8, Jesus Christ is confirming the believers for the purpose of presenting them as blameless in the day of Christ.

Lets think about this.

Security Synonym?

confirmation 1

Is confirmation a synonym (a word that means the same) for security?

As I read this passage in my earlier belief of eternal security, I would have to say yes! But the question begs to be answered honestly. Please remember that security has synonyms such as safety, defended, protected, sheltered, unharmed and shielded. Confirmation does not relate to these concepts.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Additional Questions

confirmation

Is this confirmation something that is performed only in heaven? Or is this confirmation something that is being accomplished within the believer’s life?

Of course, if it is some type of mystical confirmation in heaven that is a completely independent activity of Jesus Christ alone without the participation of the believer, then adherents to the eternal security may have a valid argument with this verse.

But if the believer participates in this confirmation by obeying the direction (however imperfectly ) of the Master, following His teaching and seeking His direction, then somehow verse 8 includes a human component, a willingness and desire to conform to a blameless life, under the power and enabling of the Lord.

The greek word used in both verse six and eight has the the root meaning of “to be firm”.

When used of persons, it signifies someone who is trustworthy, someone who inspires confidence. In verse eight, the verb is in the future tense and active voice. The active voice represents Jesus Christ (the subject) as the doer or performer of the action.

Let me ask this simple question. As Jesus is confirming these believers to be blameless, would it not be obvious to all? Remember that to confirm someone is to produce someone who is firm, trustworthy, and one in whom you can trust and depend on.

Would not this fruit be evident in the believer’s life? A life that is becoming more like Jesus. He is certainly firm, trustworthy and One in whom we can place our confidence!

This is most interesting since many in the eternal security camp may speak of those who have no outward witness of Christ living in them as still being believers that are eternally secure and guaranteed entry into heaven, simply due to some statement of belief in the past.

break covenant

Of course this is a difficult statement to say in these days of sensitivity, where we must not offend any. But I wonder what engenders God’s trust in a believer who breaks covenant without concern and who claims a vital relationship with Him in the midst of obvious sin and rebellion.

Consider.

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Conditional Security – 1 Timothy 5:11-15

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Straying after Satan?

1 Timothy 5:11-15

11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry

12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.

13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

15 For some have already strayed after Satan.

The security of the believer pops up often in the Word, under various topics. The general topic in this post is the widows list.

Widows in the early church commanded a large part of the concerns of the apostles writing when discussing church issues with Timothy. Not only did Paul direct Timothy about the support of deserving widows, but the danger the young widows fell into if included.

Paul actually commanded Timothy to refuse to “honor” (or assist) the young widows!

If I understand the situation, the churches would aid widows by supplying the widows needs. The list would contain the names of the widows being assisted and Paul is trying to define the character of a widow that is deserving of inclusion on the list.

Security Problems

widow

Some may imagine that the description above is simply Paul’s way of keeping young widows free from being on the “widow list”, locking into some benefit from the church, but not able to maintain their faithfulness to the Lord. Since the young widows have not been tested (like deacons – see 1 Timothy 3:10 – “proved”) they may slip from a faithful lifestyle to that of being idle, tattlers and gossips.

What shocks me when I read a passage like this is that of these Christian widows, some have turned aside after Satan. That can’t be good no matter how you slice it. (Verse 12 actually states the widows had “abandoned their former faith”.)

Unless, of course, the doctrine of eternal security is true, where a Christians security is based on a single act of saving faith, and lifestyle, character and conduct have no bearing on a relationship with Jesus.

As a matter of fact, when the Lord called His disciples, He did so using the same terminology Paul uses of the widows turning aside after Satan.

A very interesting pasZxsage reflectingzz this is found i2n Matthew 16.

Matthew 16:23 – 24 2 am is a w1q

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.b. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

When Jesus states “If any man will come after me….” it is the same term Paul uses of the widows actions toward Satan. Those who follow Jesus are commonly considered Christians.

If a Christian follows Satan, is that person still a Christian?

If I am thinking properly, and a Christian maintains their identity as a Christian while following Satan, it empties the power of the original call on the disciples. When Jesus said to follow, idHe meant to follow HIM, not simply follow anything or anyone!

But what I find even more interesting is the previous verse, where Jesus tells Peter to get behind Him. When Paul tells of the widows turning aside after (or behind) Satan, some word studies explain that the term is identical to Jesus telling Satan to get behind Him.

So let’s get this picture clear – widows who once followed Jesus are beginning to follow after (behind) Satan.

throne of david

Jesus commands Satan behind Him.

You see – Jesus is in charge of all – He has all authority – He is the only One risen from the dead, never to die again.

Following anyone else is foolhardy, and in the end, life threatening. He is the only One placed on King Davids throne, reigning over the Church and all creation. Security is found in the person of Jesus, and following Him is the key.


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Conditional Security – 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

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2 Corinthians 11:2-4

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Security

vacuum
Not this type of vacuum – Oh never mind….

You know it has been a few years now since it “clicked” that the New Testament didn’t arise out of a vacuum.

The New Testament is the flower that grew out of the Old Testament, and as such, is supported by the law and the prophets.

With this “revelation” I have finally took time to notice when the New Testament authors use the Old Testament writings.

Such is the case in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, where Paul the apostle uses an Old Testament passage about Adam and Eve to warn the believers of the dangers inherent in listening to a false teacher.

What does this have to do with Security?

First off, lets consider the goal of Paul’s warning.  He is seeking to strengthen the believers thoughts of sincerity about the Christ. Could Paul have been worried (fearful) of the slippery slope of these believers falling away from the Master?

Singleness of mind towards the Lord is the topic here, and the context supports this. Within the very verses we are looking at, Paul introduces other spirit’s, other gospels, other Jesus’s and other teachers.

These teachers were introducing alternatives to the people of God, alternatives that competed with the truth. We must remember that security is based on truth, not on how we feel about something or what we want the truth to be.  True security is independent of our feelings.  But our feelings and fears sometimes desire to be placated, which makes us susceptible to those who are willing give us teaching simply to make us feel better.

Eve and the snake

This is exactly what happened in the Garden with Eve, which makes Paul’s reference to the deception so applicable. The alternatives that were being introduced to the Corinthians were such that they could not exist in harmony with the truth.

So where does a believer find security?

The people of God had to make decisions between two different types of messages, and the text is stating that they were “open-minded” enough to allow these teachers to guide them.

Accepting alternatives to the truth, as believers, was of great concern to Paul. Why did he use the Garden of Eden as a picture of what was going on?

Could he have implied the same results? You see – accepting the alternative message condemned Eve.  Although she continued to exist, her security vanished the moment she sinned.

jesus-christ-on-the-cross

For those who seek to defend the “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching, it may have been better if Paul used a different Old Testament example!

Security can only be found in a Person, and the faithfulness of that Person creates the security.  Will we listen to Him above all others, and in the process, find the security we so desperately want?


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Conditional Security – 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

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2 Chronicles 15:1-2

1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,

2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

Asa the king was a good king.

He understood where his security lay.

The history of the following passage is the battle between the children of Israel (specifically the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and Zerah the Ethiopian.  Turns out that Asa had an army of 580,000 men, while Zerah had close to double the men, coming in at one thousand thousand men (1,000,000 men), with 300 chariots! In the midst of this threat, Asa sought out God and God gave a tremendous victory!

After the victory and the mop up operations, that brought in much booty for the children of Israel, the prophet Azariah comes out to meet the king and his troops.  His message to Asa is found in 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Asa was informed of his conditional security in the following three phrases.

  • The Lord is with you while ye be with Him – Security!
  • If ye seek Him, He will be found of you – Security!
  • If ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. – Not so much!

Seems simple enough.  Not much to debate on this passage, or so it seems.

Of course, the direct application of security is for the king and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, during their lives, but this promise given is instructive for us to consider.

The children of Israel could claim a status before the Lord that no other nation could lay hold of.  They had incredible promises and privileges.

Rom 9:4

4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

And with all these privileges, the children of Israel, as the Old Testament Theocracy, is no more. Brought to extinction close to 2000 years ago, the children of Israel had the kingdom taken from them…

Matt 21:43

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

I suppose the loss of the Kingdom itself speaks of the conditional security before the Lord and Master of the Covenant.  Continual rebellion (see an earlier post on Leviticus 26) brought about many, many efforts by the Lord to bring them back to the faith, with the final judgment falling upon the nation that showed their hatred of God by the crucifixion of His Son.

Conditional security of the believer is pictured often in the history of the nation of Israel. I think of Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:11 when reading the Old Testament and the history of the nation as a warning for myself.  So often I can place myself in the shoes of the men in the stories I read.

Rom 15:4

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Corinthians 10:11

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

And yet I have hope.  In the midst of rebellion, I can choose to cling to the One who rescues, Who is the Deliverer.

But I digress…

A Good King, with Good Fruit, Reminded of his Conditional Security

king ASAAs a recap, let’s remember that Asa, as a good king, had called out to the Lord at a time of need, had experienced God’s security (a great deliverance), and, as the following passages teaches, was following God’s leading.

1 Kings 15:11,13-14

11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. …

13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days.

Even the book of Chronicles gives high marks to King Asa, and the author of the Chronicles seems to be reluctant to give praise in comparison to the author of the book of Kings.  (Check it out.)  It seems the book of Kings generally grades in the political arena, where Chronicles grades in the religious area of a king’s life.

2 Chronicles 14:2-7

2 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.

3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim

4 and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment.

5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.

6 He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace.

7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.

So Asa had a great victory after calling on the Lord, had a great track record up till this point in his life, and then, it seems out of the blue, comes along the prophet Azariah, to give the assurance of God’s presence. That is IF Asa sought Him and did not forsake Him.

Fruit of the Conditional Security Teaching

Is it not usually claimed that the conditional security teaching is a teaching of fear and threats? It seems the opposite is happening here, where a godly man is reminded that he is with the Lord and that he needs to continue to seek Him out.  And Asa’s track record bears witness that the message was fruitful.

It is important to understand that a teachings veracity is not to be based on its fruitfulness but on its truthfulness.  Nevertheless, a true message, delivered and understood correctly, will produce fruit (eventually).

A true message understood correctly by a soft heart that seeks to follow the Master will respond with an admission of weakness and a desire to follow.

A true message understood correctly by a hardened heart will respond with argument, denial, blameshifting, name calling and such.

But brothers, we have not so learned Christ.


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Conditional Security – Acts 14:21-23

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Acts 14:21-23

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

It was Paul’s first missionary trip so we can forgive him for not understanding all the missiology that modern Christians now know and practice.

He must have returned to the Lystrians, Iconiumians and Antiochians to help them understand their eternal security I suppose he hadn’t yet written the letters that clearly teach the eternal security doctrine.

ContinueYet his message was “Continue in the Faith”. But Paul, once saved, you automatically continue in the faith, right?

Something must be wrong – Paul is wasting time with believers since the entire world needed to hear the gospel.  Why didn’t he simply keep going into new territory to reach more and more of the lost?  If those who truly believe are eternally secure, Paul seemed to waste his time visiting and encouraging the saints to remain faithful.

It is great that as modern believers we have finally come to the knowledge and wisdom to efficiently evangelize! 

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Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 4

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A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have 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.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at our final clause in this post.

 

Faithless2 Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated as If, as is the case we are faithless, he remains faithful

This portion of the passage, for both the OSAS follower and those of the other persuasion, may be used to justify thier position in the following way

An OSAS follower might argue…

If you are truly saved years back, but have slipped on slid away somewhat, God remains faithful.  He cannot deny Himself and will keep the promise of takiing you home based on your initial faith.

Those other believers might argue…

This phrase is a description of the faithfulness of the Master to His own nature.  If the servant abandons the Master, the Master will not change His nature to allow a denier to be in fellowship with Him.

No matter the perspective you take in looking at this final clause, it is comforting to know that He remains faithful, or true to His own nature.

Our faithlessness cannot affect His faithfulness.  He is God and we are not.  He is true to His own nature in the present, has been true to His own nature prior to creation, and will continue to be true to His own nature after the consummation of all things.

God is FaithfulHe is faithful.

How ’bout us?

Let us be faithful to the Only One who deserves our trust.


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Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 3

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A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have 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.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at our third clause in this post.

 

deny word on concrette wall2 Timothy 2:12 b

If we deny him, he also will deny us.

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated, If, as is the case we deny him, he also will deny us.

Wow Paul – are you saying that some believers have, in reality denied Him?  How can that be?  You need to read John 10:28, Paul.

John 10:28- 29

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John perfectly describes that believers are eternally secure, and that God will not allow anyone one to snatch them out of Jesus’ or the Father’s hand.

But this isn’t about someone snatching me, as if a believer is being kidnapped from the kingdom!  It is about free-will, about the freedom to love God more than “these” (as Jesus once asked a disciple), it is about being willing to stay with the Master due of love instead of being required to stay with Him due to some initial faith contract.

Back to 2 Timothy 2:12.  If, as is the case we deny him.

Since Paul is stating a fact of reality, who is “we”?  It cannot be representing all believers – that makes no sense.  Obviously, at least in my mind, Paul is referring to those who were in the fellowship, and yet have departed from the faith.

Some have turned away!  This seems to me to be on Paul’s’ mind as he writes this letter to the young Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:15

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

2 Timothy 2:17-18

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2 Timothy 3:8

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.

Interesting that the three examples of those who had turned away from the faith, who had denied Him, were team tagging for heresy.

2 Timothy 3:5

5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Finally, Paul gives Timothy (and us) some guidance on how to relate with those who deny the faith. Within the context of 2 Timothy, Paul describes people who are full of denial (is that possible?).

These folk have the appearance of godliness, having the skin of faith, but no heart/mind/soul of faith.

Paul says to avoid such people, turn away from them!

Wow – kinda overly harsh there Paul!  Are we not to win them back, try to understand thier point of view, enter into discussions to convince them of thier errors?

Brothers & sisters – faith is to be nurtured not nuked!  These deniers will poison your well of faith, drag you down and destroy your faith.  Stay away!  There are many in the institutional church that are of this ilk!

As an aside, Paul is not telling believers to avoid those outside of the church.  Those who are outside of the church are to be entered into with irenic debate and honest open discussion.

Not so with deniers, those who were in faith and have rejected and denied – it is our responsibility to “avoid such people”.

Our final post on this short passage will consider “If we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself”  I hope to see you there.

As always, if you have any comments , or wish to correct something I am missing, I look forward to the interaction.

Until then, be blessed and practice good discernment regarding those to avoid.  Don’t fall into the trap of applying this restriction to those that it is not to be applied to!  That just be a cop out.

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Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 2

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashA brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have 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.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at the second clause in this post.

 

endure2 Timothy 2:12 a

If we endure, we will also reign with him

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated, “If, as is the case we endure, we will also reign with him”

Again, Paul is stating a case of reality.  These believers have endured, and Paul is encouraging them to continue.  This verse, if considered alone, would be a great proof text for the perseverance of the saint teaching.  I tend to see an Old Testament occurrence filling out this phrase.

Do you remember when David was being hunted by King Saul?  He had a rag tag group of followers that wandered the countryside with him, believing that David was their hope, thier leader, thier rightful king.  Is it not so with us?  We are certainly a rag tag group of followers, following a King who has been anointed as King, but rejected and persecuted by the current power structure.  And yet, as we endure like those following David, we shall reign with our Master.

But is there a present reality also included in this promise?  A cursory search for instruction on this comes up without any clear direction.

Nevertheless, let us not seek for authority other than the authority to serve and love one another.  This is the path to walk, the life to live.

I hope to see y’all in our next post where we shall consider “If we deny him, he also will deny us.”  

 


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Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 1

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have 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.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at our first clause in this post.

2 Timothy 2:11

If we have died with him, we will also live with him.

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated as “If, as is the case we have died with him”.   Paul is stating a case of reality, that these folk receiving the letter, along with Timothy, actually have died with Christ.  Upon trusting in the death of Christ and his vicarious death for our sins, Paul teaches in various New Testament passages,  that believers also died.

You see, this is taught in many passages, of which the following is representative.

Romans 6:3-5

3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

2 Timothy 2:11 seems straightforward, but as I dwell on this phrase, I’m reminded that I have considered our death in the Messiah to be an academic truth.  Something that I “believe” but not understand how to practice in my daily life.  I have not considered it to be a truth that is “practical”. 

I am not so sure about this way of thinking!  

Galations 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Paul seems to tie my death with Christ to a practical outworking in this life, this life I now live in the flesh. 

Theoretical-Practical TheologyWow – Romans 6 always seemed so theoretical, so academic as I studied it years back.   I just never caught the practical application of the truth.  And I’m not sure I have a specific application right now. 

Paul goes on to say that “If we have died with him, we will also live with him” 

So if my understanding of Paul is correct, and that this verse is in the present condition, do I have the correct understanding that the living with Him refers to gaining heaven and living with Him after my death?

I just can’t limit this verse to eternity. The Messiah’s death and resurrection are for us to experience today.  As believers, we have the privilege of living with Him now. He has supplied the life and the power, and the desire.

Will we enter and enjoy the goodness of the Lord?

The answer is for each of us to decide as we walk this walk of faith.

Please join me in our next post to consider “If we endure, we will also reign with him”

Hope to see you there.


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Conditional Security – 1 Peter 1:5-9

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

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.

Kept

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.

Guarded

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?
      • The believer
    • What is the intent of the preservation?
      • Future salvation.
  • Passive?
    • 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)

OSAS 1

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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The Lord’s Enemy

Don’t be the Lord’s Enemyenemy - red


Exodus 23:20-22

20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 
21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him 
22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.

adversaryAs I was reading Exodus this morning I came across the verse above and it stopped me in my reading for a couple of reasons. God will be an enemy?

An Enemy Does Not Obey

Many times I have heard or thought to myself of how the Lord is on the side of a certain people group.  Take for instance in the Old Testament.  It was commonly thought (correctly at times) that the people of Israel had God on their side.  I suppose that is how it appears, (I hope I am not splitting hairs here) but it seems that is not exactly what is going on here.

The initial condition that has to be met is that the people “obey his voice”, “indeed obey his voice” and “do all that I speak”.

THEN

opponentThen God will be an enemy to thine enemies, an adversary to thine adversaries.  Note that obedience to the voice of the Lord brings the people into the will and desire of the LORD Himself.  The “enemy” here does not gain an adversary in God if the people obey Him.  God’s enemy does not change unless of course they change into His friends.  (The enemy of God is such, not because of God’s desire, but the enemies desire – God wants no enemies)  The people simply join God in having the same enemy.  Is our motivation in obeying God simply to earn a big brother to beat up an enemy who may have hurt our feelings or made us cry?

An Enemy is not Pardoned

What is tarnation is going on with verse 21?  “he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him” I don’t know about you but whenever I hear “my name is in him” I automatically think of a theophany.  Also the fact that the one referred to is “an angel”, I want to think it is a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Himself, especially when the angel’s prerogative to forgive sins comes up.  Usually the Old Testament mentions “the Angel of the Lord” as what is commonly accepted as a theophany – I don’t know.  If it is the Lord Himself or a representative (angel), the message is the same.

I fear that sometimes modern nations fall into a wrong-headed thinking.  They give lip service to God and call on Him to fight for their nation.  This gives me pause.  Why would God do this when His Nation (the body of Christ), is a holy nation of saints that is pulled from each nation on earth.

I suppose judgement must fall on nations who do evil, (and maybe that is the idea of verse 21?), but to think that God is pleased when innocents die in war, or enlisted men are killed simply due to an imaginary line in the sand, this is beyond my understanding.  I admit my past desire to see justice after 9/11, but looking back on those days, I feel my concept of God’s will for this planet was incorrect.

My Confusion

If someone can explain verse 21 to me, I sho nuff would appreciate it.  How could it be said that he (God or God’s messenger) would not pardon their transgressions, when many times the Old Testament clearly states that the Lord Himself is plenteous in mercy

Psalm 86:5

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Ps 86:15

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Psalm 103:8

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Difficulties with the WORD

Like I said, this is difficult for me to understand.

But that is ok – as a matter of fact, that is great!  If I understood everything, if the mystery completely evaporated, how poor we would be as Christians?

So, if I may be so bold to exhort you, revel in the mysteries, do not be satisfied with some pablum that another man spoon feeds you.  Ask the Word questions, converse with the Living One and struggle with the text.

A Conclusion

So what is the conclusion?

  1. Obey what you know.
  2. Struggle to understand more.
  3. Be happy!

He is the LORD!


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Conditional Security – Sealed – New Testament Teaching

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Sealing of the Spirit.  What does that mean?

This type of study (a simple word study) is my favorite type.

As discussed in the previous post, when I was a youngin’  and found out about Strong’s concordance, I well near flipped with the possibilities.  Computers were not available to me at the time, and the hard cover Strong’s I had given to me was a treasure trove of data!

This second part of the study, we will review all the New Testament verses that include the greek word translated as “sealed”

New  Testament References

Roman SealIn the previous post, we reviewed each Old Testament passage describing the concept of sealing.  Now that we will venture into the New Testament to discover how the Lord Himself, and His apostles understood the concept of sealing, I feel it is only correct to compare similar concepts of sealing.

Therefore I used the Septuagint to find the greek word used in the New Old Testament translation of the Hebrew text , (which Jesus and His disciples used during their lifetime).

In this case, when the translators of the Septuagint came to Daniel 12:9 and saw the Hebrew term châtham, they used the greek word sphragizo.  

Therefore I am going to continue with the study of “sealing” with the greek work sphragizo.  The following verses use ether the verb or noun of the simple word, and one strengthened verb (prefix of kata)

Σφραγίζω sphragizō – (Verb form of the greek word)

Matt 27:66

So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

The intention of the seal was to ensure that no one disturbed the body. But we all know the seal was broken!

John 3:33

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

Setting a seal is certifying something, or affirming something/someone to be correct or true. The metaphor of sealing is a common one for giving attestation (Robertson’s Word Studies).

John 6:27

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed .

It is interesting that in the previous verse, men affirm the Messiah’s testimony, and in this verse, the Messiah is affirmed by the Father.

As an aside, the verse could literally be read … for this one the Father sealed, God.

Rom 15:28

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

Paul went to Rome with the intent of imposing fruit (delivering cash!) to the believers in Jerusalem.

2Cor 1:22

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

F.F. Bruce, in his commentary on Ephesians, gives us a good insight into Paul’s usage here when he states, “An owner seals his property with his signet to mark it as his; if at a later time he comes to claim it and his right to it is questioned, his seal is sufficient evidence and puts an end to such questioning. So, the fact that believers are endowed with the Spirit is the token that they belong in a special sense to God…Other seals, literal or figurative (like circumcision, the seal of the covenant with Abraham), were affixed externally; the seal of the New Covenant is imprinted in the believing heart.

2Cor 11:10

As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Paul is speaking of the inability of man to keep him from boasting of the churches in Achaia.

Eph 1:13

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Note the past tense of the sealing. Also that the sealing happened after the believing. Very interesting! Can you tell what type of soteriology I tend to?

Eph 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

The sealing is for the purpose of redemption. Those sealed have the mark of ownership on their lives, and that mark is the Holy Spirit of promise. The mark is easily seen by others, (or at least should be).

What is to be said about the Christian who shows no “mark of holiness” in their life?

Rev 7:3

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

The angel had to wait until the believers were identified. The “mark” is referred to often in the book of revelation and many times it is referring to believers! See below

Rev 7:4 – 8

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

No comment

Rev 10:4

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

John was instructed to keep from writing the message of the thunders. He was to “keep it” from us.

Rev 20:3

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

The one who had a seal set upon him, was loosed for a little season.

Rev 22:10

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

Consider Daniels message in previous post, where he was told to seal up the prophecy till the time of the end. Here John is told to seal not the prophecy since the time is at hand. Jesus is the seal breaker – He is worthy!

Σφραγίς sphragís

(Noun form of the greek word)

Rom 4:11

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Circumcision is a mark on the body signifying Abrahams faith.

1Co 9:2

If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

The Corinthian church was the mark of Paul’s apostleship. Amazing that they would commit mutiny as they did, questioning the apostles authority.

2Ti 2:19

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

A mark of identity seen by all in the believer’s life, is one who is departing from iniquity.

Rev 5:1 – 2

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

No comment

Rev 5:5

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

No comment

Rev 5:9

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

No comment

Rev 6:1

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

No comment

Rev 6:3

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

No comment

Rev 6:5

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

No comment

Rev 6:7

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

No comment

Rev 6:9

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

No comment

Rev 6:12

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

No comment

Rev 7:2

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

No comment

Rev 8:1

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

No comment

Rev 9:4

And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

Κατασφραγίζω katasphragizō

Rev 5:1

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

No comment

Additional resources below are provided for your convenience.

Strong’s

σφραγίζω

sphragizō

sfrag-id’-zo

From G4973; to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation (literally or figuratively); by implication to keep secret, to attest: – (set a, set to) seal up, stop.

Thayer

σφραγίζω

sphragizō

Thayer Definition:

1) to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal

1a) for security: from Satan

1b) since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret

1c) in order to mark a person or a thing

1c1) to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp

1c2) angels are said to be sealed by God

1d) in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing

1d1) to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt

1d1a) of a written document

1d1b) to prove one’s testimony to a person that he is what he professes to be

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G4973

Citing in TDNT: 7:939, 1127

The Complete Word Study Dictionary

σφραγίζω

sphragízō; fut. sphragísō, from sphragís (G4973), seal. To seal, trans.:

(I) To seal, close up and make fast with a seal signet such as letters or books so that they may not be read (Sept.: 1Ki_21:8; Isa_29:11; Dan_12:4). Hence, figuratively of lips, to keep in silence, not to make known, with the acc. (Rev_10:4; Rev_22:10; Sept.: Dan_8:26). Generally, to seal or set a seal for the sake of security upon a sepulcher, prison, with the acc. (Mat_27:66; Rev_20:3; Sept.: Son_4:12). Figuratively, to secure to someone, make sure, deliver over safely, in the mid. with the acc. and dat. (Rom_15:28 [cf. Deu_32:34; 2Ki_22:4]).

(II) Generally, to set a seal or mark upon a thing as a token of its authenticity or approvedness; used of persons, with the acc. (Rev_7:3); pass. (Rev_7:4-8). More often of decrees or documents, to attest by a seal (Sept.: Est_8:8, Est_8:10; Job_14:17). Hence figuratively, to attest, confirm, establish, with the acc. (Joh_6:27 [cf. Joh_5:36]), followed by hóti (G3754), that (Joh_3:33). So also of Christians whom God attests and confirms by the gift of the Holy Spirit as the earnest, pledge, or seal of their election to salvation. Mid. with the acc. (2Co_1:22); pass. (Eph_1:13; Eph_4:30).

Deriv.: katasphragízō (G2696), to seal closely.

Syn.: kleíō (G2808), to shut, close; asphalízō (G805), to render secure; sugkleíō (G4788), to enclose, shut up.

Ant.: anoígō (G455), to open; dianoígō (G1272), to open up completely; lúō (G3089), to loose.

Strong’s

κατασφραγίζω

katasphragizō

kat-as-frag-id’-zo

From G2596 and G4972; to seal closely: – seal.

Thayer

κατασφραγίζω

katasphragizō

Thayer Definition:

1) to cover with a seal, to close up, close with a seal

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G2596 and G4972

Citing in TDNT: 7:939, 1127

The Complete Word Study Dictionary

κατασφραγίζω

katasphragízō; fut. katasphragísō, from katá (G2596), an intens., and sphragízō (G4972), to seal. To seal up. Referring to a book or scroll (Rev_5:1; Sept.: Job_9:7).

Syn.: kleíō (G2808), to shut up; katakleíō (G2623), to shut down, incarcerate; asphalízō (G805), to render secure.

Ant.: anoígō (G455), to open; dianoígō (G1272), to open up thoroughly; apokalúptō (G601), to reveal.

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Conditional Security – Sealed – Old Testament Basis

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashSealing of the Spirit.

What does that mean?

This type of study (a simple word study) is my favorite type.

When I was a youngin’ (that is a Christian youngin’), and found out about Strong’s concordance, I well near flipped with the possibilities.  Computers were not available to me at the time, and the hard cover Strong’s I had given to me was a treasure trove of data!

Jewish SealThis first part of the study, we will review all the Old Testament verses that include the hebrew word translated as “sealed”  חָתַםchatham (khaw-tham’)

For this study in sealing, using old Testament occurrences will help me establish the apostles/first century believers understanding of the concept.  Therefore the first portion of the study will look at all of the Old Testament verses that include the concept of sealing, found in the Hebrew word defined above.

Old  Testament References

Lev 15:3

And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it ishis uncleanness.

No comment

Deu 32:34

Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?

This is the Song of Moses and up till this verse, Moses is writing about the faithfulness of God and the chastisement required upon His people. At verse 34, Moses declares Gods compassion on His people, in that “this” that is laid up in store is the need for the chastisement the people of God need to experience. This judgment that is sealed up among God’s treasures is described many times in the Pentateuch, and many believe it refers to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. If so, this sealing was not permanent. But it was secure!

1Ki 21:8

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles thatwere in his city, dwelling with Naboth.

Jezebel sealed the letters with the seal of the King. 1 Kings 21:11 tells us that he seal was broken in order to read the letter and condemn Naboth to death.

Neh 9:38

And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.

No comment

Neh 10:1

Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah,

No comment

Est 3:12

Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.

Similar idea as 1 Kings 21:8. The seal was broken in order to read the pronouncement. As a matter of fact, it needed to be broken in order to effect its purpose.

Est 8:8

Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.

Similar to above

Est 8:10

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:

Similar to above

Job 9:7

Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

A poetic expression of darkness – when the heavens are completely dark, it is as if God sealed all the stars up in a bag. But thankfully the sealing is not eternal.

Job 14:17

My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

Similar concept as above.

Job 24:16

In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.

No comment

Job 33:16

Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

No comment

Job 37:7

He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

No comment

Son 4:12

A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

No comment

Isa 8:16

Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

Isaiah speaks of the prophecy as being complete and that it should be stored away, sealed up among his disciples.

Isa 29:11

And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:

The prophecies were sealed until the One who is worthy to break open the seals revealed the truth of the prophecies.

Jer 32:10

And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.

No comment

Jer 32:11

So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:

Jer 32:14

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.

Jer 32:44

Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.

Some background to these verses

Just before the destruction of Jerusalem, in the days of Jeremiah, God told Jeremiah to buy some land and to take the sealed purchase papers and the accompanying letter (open evidence) and to bury it in the ground. Verse 44 tells us that the day will come, when the captivity is accomplished, that men will again purchase property in the land of Israel. This occurred some 70 years later after the return of the Israelites.

Does this verse teach the unbreakableness of a seal or imply something else?

Eze 28:12

Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

Ezekiel is speaking of the King of Tyre and of his opinion of himself. He was full of himself! Ezekiel is a master of sarcasm!

Dan 9:24

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

A very difficult verse in many respects but the concept of sealing occurs twice, once with the idea of “completion” or “finishing”. A tremendous prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work of finishing of sins and completing/fulfilling prophecy

Dan 12:4

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Dan 12:9

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

In verse 8, Daniel asked when the prophecy would be fulfilled. God told him to seal the prophecy, since it would not be revealed until the time of the end. The prophecy would be sealed until revealed! (Hey – I’m a poet and didn’t know it!)

In order to compare similar concepts of sealing, I used the Septuagint, (the greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which Jesus and His disciples used during their lifetime). For example, when the translators came to Daniel 12:9 and saw châtham, they used the greek word sphragizo.  

Therefore I am going to continue in our next post in the study of “sealing” with the greek work sphragizo.

The following verses use ether the verb or noun of the simple word, and one strengthened verb (prefix of kata)   חָתַםchatham (khaw-tham’) Strong’s 1. to close up 2. especially to seal [a primitive root] KJV: make an end, mark, seal (up), stop.   Brown Driver Biggs 1) to seal, seal up, affix a seal 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to seal, affix one’s seal 1a2) to seal up, fasten up by sealing 1b) (Niphal) to seal 1c) (Piel) to lock up 1d) (Hiphil) to be stopped Part of Speech: verb   The Complete Word Study Dictionary

A verb meaning to set a seal on, to seal up. It indicates the act of affixing an impression to serve as a seal on something, then sealing it up as well. It could be done to any clay object: a letter (1Ki_21:8); a bill of sale, such as the one used by Jeremiah (Jer_32:10-11, Jer_32:14, Jer_32:44); a house could be sealed up (Job_24:16); something could be sealed up or stopped up (Lev_15:3). It is used often figuratively: Daniel’s vision of seventy weeks when fulfilled will seal up the prophetic vision (Dan_9:24); Israel’s testimony or law is “sealed” among his followers for future reference (Isa_8:16). It is used in Son_4:12 to describe the bride of the bridegroom as a spring sealed up with promise of delights in marriage. It indicates sealing something so it can be opened only by the one who has the key that will open the seal (Isa_29:11).

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Conditional Security – Colossians 1:21-23

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashYears ago, when I was merely beginning to consider verses that may hint at the possibility of a chance that conditional security could have a tiny opportunity of gaining credibility in my understanding, this particular verse may have been the culprit that started my “descent into heresy”.

The circumstances, combined with my studying this verse in Colossians, seemed to be completely unrelated. It came about because I was meeting with a bunch of word of faith “believers”. I had been visiting with them, trying to understand their thinking, (instead of just taking someones word on their thinking.)

Anyhow, they were looking at the temptation of the Lord, and specifically the “if” statements the devil was throwing out at Him. I can’t recall the specific clause they landed on, but their conclusion followed the Arian heresy*. Two minutes after I asked some pertinent questions, and understood their settled stand on this matter, I spoke of my conviction, thanked them for their hospitality and quietly excused myself from thier home.

But the talk haunted me and set me on a bit of a study on the word “IF”. (Carl – you need to git a life!)

Anyway, I found a table (see end of post) that seemed helpful in explaining the different conditions in the Greek manuscripts that the English word “IF” was trying to communicate to us.

Colossians 1:23 uses the first class condition. But I am getting way ahead of myself.

Lets consider the passage first.

Colossians 1:21-23

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Like I said, Colossians 1:23 uses a first class conditional “IF”, and some teachers state that this term can be translated as “since”. This would definitely take any “conditionality” out of this passage, since Paul would be stating a settled fact, as in …. Since you will continue in the faith….

Boy, that would be devastating for the conditional position.

But wait! Lets try that same translation for other instances where the first class conditional “IF” is used in the New Testament.

How bout this one.

Matthew 5:29

Since your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell

This verse actually instructs believers to pluck their eye out, since their eye offends them!

OK – Lets try this verse

Ephesians 4:21

assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

Ephesians 4:21 seems to allow using “assuming” instead of “if”, but this seeming exception should not make the rule. Paul may be questioning these believers if they really heard “Him” to make a point.

OK Carl, how can you say it is the exception to the rule. Check out these verses to consider if translating this word as “since” makes sense.

Matthew 12:27

Since I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.

Matthew 17:4

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. Since you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Luke 11:18 

SINCE Satan is also divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

Luke 22:42

Father, SINCE you are willing, remove this cup from me . . .

John 10:37

SINCE I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me . . .

Acts 25:11

Now SINCE I am wrong and have committed a deed worthy of death, I am not refusing to die . . .

Romans 4:2

For SINCE Abraham was justified by works, he has a basis for boasting . . .

Romans 4:14

For SINCE those who follow the law are heirs, faith is canceled out and the promise is voided

1 Corinthians 7:9

But SINCE they are not exercising self-control, they should get married.

1 Corinthians 8:13

SINCE food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat . . .

1 Corinthians 9:17

For SINCE I do this willingly, I have a reward; but since I do it unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a stewardship

1 Corinthians 11:6

For SINCE a woman will not veil herself, she should cut off her hair . . .

1 Corinthians 15:13

Now SINCE there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised

1 Corinthians 15:19

SINCE in this life we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most miserable

1 Corinthians 15:32

SINCE the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.”

Galations 2:21

For SINCE justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Galations 3:18

For SINCE the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise.

Galations 5:11

Now brothers, SINCE I am still preaching circumcision, why am still being persecuted?

Hebrews 9:13

For SINCE the blood of goats and bulls . . . sanctifies those who have been defiled

Hebrews 12:8

SINCE you are without the discipline which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not sons

James 2:11

Now SINCE you do not commit adultery, but SINCE you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

OK – I think I made my point. A simple reading of the passage communicates the conditionality intended by the author. So it seems Paul is informing the Colossians of their conditional status before their Master.

Story Time

As an aside, a few months after my study on this passage was complete, I was attending a newly formed Bible study and coincidentally looking at the first chapter of Colossians. The spirit of the meeting was very cordial and I sensed an openness to ask questions. Since I had just learned of this passage, I thought I would bring it up.

NO DISCUSSION ALLOWED.

The leader actually stood up from his chair, and approached me in front of the rest of the group. “The preacher said those verses should be read differently.” Therefore that was all the discussion that was needed. I am sure he was seeking to maintain the purity of the faith, protect the weak, or enforce his leadership, but that night sticks with me.

A couple of practical applications come to my mind from this experience

If I feel threatened by a believer’s differing views, ask yourself…

  • Are you depending/trusting in a man’s interpretation of a verse, passage or theology? Professional Christians may have oodles of learning, but NOTHING replaces self study and prayer in seeking to understand the Word.

  • Have I “finished” searching out the Scriptures? They – the Scriptures – tend to speak of Him, and with that hope, the Word is worthy of trying to understand.

  • Do I discuss opposing views with respect and an honest effort to understand the position? The Word of Faith folks, in my opinion, were wringing the Scriptures of truth, but any mockery, dismissal, anger or intimidation would accomplish absolutely nothing positive. Trust me – I have personal experience of this!

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.


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  • According to Wikipeadia – The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

Conditional Security – Passage List

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashConditional Security – Passage List

I thought I would supply the listing of conditional security passages I will attempt to study as I blog. Note that this post is simply a list of Bible references that teach the conditional security doctrine (I think).

When I first saw all the potential verses (potential, since I haven’t come to any settled conclusions on many of them!), I was a bit dumbfounded. I thought a couple passages in Hebrews would be the extent of my study.

Conditional Security - Bible 2000x700

Of course, as you review and consider some of these passages, you may want to add, or question one of the passages. Let me know via the contact form at the bottom.

Now, without further ado, I present to you a working list of New Testament conditional security passages. As I study each passage I will link the post to the verse references below.

Old Testament

Exodus 23:20-22

Leviticus 26:14-45

Joshua 1:9

1 Kings 15:5

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 

Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:13

Matthew 6:23

Matthew 7:16-19

Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 24:11-13

Matthew 24:23

Matthew 25:1

Gospel of Mark

 

Gospel of Luke

Luke 8:11-15

Luke 11:24-28

Luke 12:42-46

Gospel of John

John 3:16

John 6:66-71

John 8:31,32, 51

John 10:28-29

John 13:8

John 15:1-6

John 15:11-17

Acts of the Apostles

Acts 5:23

Acts 11:21-23

Acts 13:43

Acts 14:21-23

Romans

Romans 6:11-23

Romans 8:12-14

Romans 8:17

Romans 11:20-22

Romans 11:29

Romans 14:15-23

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

1 Corinthians 9:23-10:21;

1 Corinthians 11:29-32

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 1:24

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

2 Corinthians 12:21;

2 Corinthians 13:1-5

Galations

Galatians 5:1-4

Galatians 6:7-9

Ephesians

Ephesians 3:17

Philippians

Philippians 1:3-11

 Colossians

Colossians 1:21-23

Colossians 2:4-8

Colossians 2:18-19

Colossians 3:4-25; Colossians 4:1

1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

1 Timothy

1 Timothy 1:3-7

1 Timothy 1:5-11

1 Timothy 1:18-20

1 Timothy 2:11-15

1 Timothy 4:1-5

1 Timothy 5:5-8

1 Timothy 5:11-15

1 Timothy 6:9-12

1 Timothy 6:17-21

2 Timothy

2 Timothy 2:11-14

2 Timothy 2:22-26

2 Timothy 3:13-15

Hebrews

Hebrews 2:1-3

Hebrews 3:6-19

Hebrews 4:13

Hebrews 5:8-9

Hebrews 6:4-20

Hebrews 7:25

Hebrews 10:19-39

Hebrews 11:13-16

Hebrews 12

Hebrews 13:7

Hebrews 13:9-14

James

James 1:12

James 1:13-16

James 1:21-22

James 2:14-26

James 4:4-10

James 5:19-20

1 Peter

1 Peter 1:5-9

1 Peter 1:13

2 Peter

2 Peter 1:5-11

2 Peter 2

2 Peter 3:16-17

1 John

1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-11

1 John 2:15-29; 1 John 3:1-10

1 John 5:4-5

1 John 5:16

2 John

2 John 1:6

2 John 1:9

3 John

 

Jude

Jude 1:5

Jude 1:12

Revelation

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:10-11

Revelation 2:17-26

Revelation 3:4-5

Revelation 3:8-12

Revelation 3:14-22

Revelation 12:11

Revelation 17:14

Revelation 21:7-8

Revelation 22:18-19

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Conditional Security – Introduction

Conditional Security of Christian Believersif-150x150

SECURITY: the quality or state of being secure: freedom from danger, fear or anxiety

I have been a believer for over 35 years, having been saved at the ripe ol’ age of 21. One of the first teachings I received was the eternal security, “once saved always saved” (OSAS) doctrine. This doctrine teaches that once a person has placed faith in Christ (asked Jesus into his/her heart?), that person is eternally and irrevocably destined to heaven. It was, in my thinking, a contract I signed with God, a business transaction. Please understand, I am in no way reducing the covenantal promise He has provided to all who will trust in Him, but I suppose I question the duration of trust required.

Although I was never explicitly taught that sin could not break the contract I “signed” with God through faith, there was no fear to indulge in some peripheral sin. I was secure – I was going to be just fine! For close to 25 years I belonged to an eternal security denomination. I would only read eternal security books, eternal security pamphlets, and listen to teachers who taught eternal security. Every few sermons seemed to emphasize the eternal security of the believer, sometimes even using certain Scriptures to support the teaching. I vowed to never entertain that heresy of the “dark side”.

I just couldn’t risk the conflict in my mind.

I thought the OSAS logic was air tight. Certain Scriptures seemed to only teach the eternal security position. I would simply avoid the odd “bothersome” passages, (which began to pile up after a while), or find some way to explain the passage away.

It was a very comfortable place to be.

A Loss of Security

Then the church I was (heavily) involved in found sin in us and told us to leave. We were shocked and disoriented.

Just a few days previously, I had lost my job. We were living in a small Texas town with no possibility for work.

The security we found in our local church and our cushy job fell down around us.

I eventually found a position approx. 3 hours away. During my 3 hour commutes Monday morning and Friday afternoon, I began to listen to a Bible teacher who held different views than I. Initially I was drawn to this teacher’s eschatology, since my faith in dispensational teachings was slipping. He is a methodical and thorough Bible teacher who is not afraid to consider alternate viable interpretations of the Scriptural text.

I found him to be very challenging. Only one weakness – he had a “dark” side – he didn’t teach OSAS!

Another Security

As I listened to his teaching on Israel, the church and the end times, I would occasionally catch a reference to his “dark” side teaching and at first easily rebuffed his argument in my mind. That is until the passages became too numerous. It seemed that all I was doing was excusing, avoiding or rearranging Bible passages.

I started to study the passages and other authors from the dark side, until I found a book by Robert Shank, called “Life in the Son”. If you desire to continue in the OSAS camp, do not read this book. The exposition of numerous passages became too much for me.

So what is true security?

So far, I think true security is found in a consistent, direct relationship with the Savior. A desire to please Him and to do as He directs.

Although I have learned much since I began to consider conditional security, two thoughts come to mind.

  • The new covenant is an agreement between two parties.
    • He is faithful in all His activities and promises.
    • I am asking for help to become like Him.
  • If the nation of Israel, God’s covenant nation, was cut off and destroyed, how could I be so proud to think my relationship with the Living God could be ignored and not suffer?

No matter which camp you may fall into, we need to be motivated to please Him in all our ways.

Bible 2000x700As I publish on this blog, I will occasionally write on this topic, based on a Bible passage or topic.  I look forward to all comments and remarks.

I hope you will join me in “Considering the Bible”

2 Timothy 2:19

Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.

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