Tag: cross

Believing vs Following

Ruth D – My husband believes in Jesus, and he believes God raised Jesus from the dead, so it seems like Romans 10: 6-10 is saying he is saved, but he’s not in love with Jesus. So is he saved?

Dave – We can’t take one passage build an entire doctrine upon it. We need to take all verses in the Bible into consideration before drawing conclusions on questions and issues. Regarding this one, Jesus told people to not only believe in Him but to also follow Him. Many Americans will tell us that they believe in Jesus, meaning that He is the Messiah and died for our sins and rose from the dead. But many of these are not following Him. Jesus said we are to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. This means our “self” no longer rules and we live for Him (not that saved people do this perfectly all the time, but they DO do it). If a person shows no signs of repentance or salvation, then I would say they are not saved (but I am never with anyone 24-7 to know this for sure). James speaks about faith without works is dead and that a person would show their faith by their works. This means that if a person has real faith that saves, then there will be evidence flowing through their behavior that a change has taken place. In addition, Jesus told of a man who was “dressed in the wrong clothes” at “God’s Big Banquet in the sky.” Apparently he thought he was saved, but wasn’t.

Having said all that, I hasten to say that I cannot judge your husband by pronouncing him unsaved. It is just too deep for my spirit to do correctly. I would certainly encourage him to read the Word, attend church, and plug into other believers. If he refuses all of these options until his death, I doubt his salvation but I do not sit on God’s Throne. A good question to ask folks is not if they are a Christian, but rather are they following Jesus?


Pat T – I agree with everything Dave says and want to add something I recently read by Os Guinness who pointed out that some people have many obstacles in their life to overcome before becoming true believers, but as long as they are heading in the right direction we should never judge them but encourage them in their journey toward the faith. One’s mate can be such an encourager. Guinness also points out that some may never arrive to the faith but we can’t make that judgment, only God has the privilege to know another’s future.

Alona R – I think you answered Ruth well and your answer should be taken to heart by her husband and many others that we know. Thank you for that explanation – I think I’ll save this for future use!

Gary R – I think its a very slippery slope when people start questioning people’s salvation possibly because someone’s ideas about salvation do not conform to their beliefs or behaviors. Be careful.

Can a Christian Lose Salvation?

Solid Christians are on both sides of this issue. Historically, John Calvin (1509-1564), believed that you cannot lose it. Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) disagreed and believed that one can lose salvation. My opinion? Not sure, but if we can lose it, it must be rare because God does not let go of His kids easily (if at all). The upside of believing in eternal security is that blessed assurance (peace of mind). The downside is there may be a greater tendency to sin and/or to develop a lack of motivation to serve Jesus. The upside in believing in conditional salvation is developing an attitude of being careful how one lives, while the downside is perhaps drawing wrong conclusions about individual souls and giving up on them.

Scriptures that lead one to believe in eternal security:

Ephesians 1:13-14: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

John 10:28-29: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

Others include: 2 Corinthians 5:5; John 6:37,39; Romans 8:28-29; 2 Timothy 2:19.

Scriptures that lead one to believe salvation can be lost:

Hebrews 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”

Hebrews 10:26: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins….”*

Others include: Matthew 5:13; John 15:6; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Matthew 7:21-22; Matthew 12:31-32; 2 Peter 1:10.

*Comment on Heb. 10:26: Since we believers know the truth, we usually know full well what the sin is that we are about to commit. I know for a fact that every believer has sinned willingly. We knew before we did it that is was wrong, yet we still wanted to do it and we did it. This is sinning willfully. Therefore, taking Hebrews 10:6 at face value, all Christians have lost salvation, but we know that this is not true. So, we must look at this verse with a different perspective. Perhaps it simply means if we hear the truth and continue to reject it, there is no covering for the person’s sins. Or, that it refers to people who have heard the Truth but refused to admit that something is sinful, and they continue to do it without any remorse, regret, or regard for God and what He says. A third possibility is that a Christian can expect nothing but God’s judgment for that sin, since they haven’t brought it to the cross, in fact, have RESISTED the cross.

What about believers repeating the same sins? I think Paul covered this well in Romans 7:14-8:1.

In Summary: Those who believe the Bible teaches “once saved always saved” can assert that anyone who falls away was never saved to begin with. This, of course is something that can never be proved, but that does not eliminate it from the possibility that it is true. The important point that people may miss in this debate is that if/when a believer sins repeatedly or once in a while, that if they are repentant and still desire to follow Jesus, then they must be in good standing with God since it is He that GRANTS repentance (Romans 2:4, 2 Cor. 7:9, 2 Tim. 2:25). If a person has truly lost salvation, their lifestyle would most likely reflect that. The grace and mercy and longsuffering patience of God goes longer and deeper than most fallen humans think. Therefore, I think it would be a bit presumptuous to conclude that a certain believer has crossed some line with God and now has lost salvation. Though I have not answered this difficult question, perhaps the emphasis should be on not judging others and being content that as long as we care about being in His will, that we are in still the palm of His hand.

Another question I have is “Just what difference does knowing the answer to this question really make?” No matter which one is true, all believers need to love Him, tell others about Him, and live righteously. Anyone can do these things without knowing the truth about this issue. Furthermore, anyone from any viewpoint should and can also do these things. This issue seems to me to be more of a divisive issue among believers rather than something that inspires us to do right. If we know someone who claims to be a believer and is not living properly, all we can do is pray and help them change using Biblical guidelines. We will not know for a fact whether or not they have lost salvation, so whether we are a Calvinist or an Arminian, we should react the same…so what real difference do these doctrines make??


Anon #1: My husband and I have always disagreed about this issue–he believes in eternal security, I believe we have free will and can choose to turn our backs on God and throw His gift back in His face. Admittedly, it only matters if you fall away–which our daughter has now done. She ‘believes’ there is no God at all, and the times in her youth when she heard from Him were all in her head/psychological wishful thinking. So I am in agony wondering what will happen if anything happens to her before she repents and returns. It may be less emotionally painful to believe eternally secure, but I would have to KNOW, and I don’t. Honestly, it feels like she died and this nice young woman who I don’t really know well took her place. I still grieve her loss. It’s painful. God has given me some verses in Jeremiah that lead me to believe she will return, and I cling to them when I start to worry too much, but it’s not easy. My husband doesn’t see it quite the same, though I think he would agree that this “new daughter” is not our old one. A book that I am copying for our pastor at work (I’m the church secretary) teaches you can lose it, and I am a sobbing wreck by the time I finish a paragraph, as it describes our daughter to a T. Some things I wish we could really know before we die…

Dave: I know exactly what you are experiencing. But one thing I’ve had the Lord tell me recently is that Christian authors, though most mean well, are NOT the Word of God. The Word of God is not clear on this topic. Therefore, I conclude that we cannot know, and therefore our role is to trust Him. How can any human judge correctly that another human has just stepped over that invisible line (if it exists for believers) where God will not take them back? With all due respect to your pastor, do not let a book written by a fallible human plummet your faith in God’s mercy and faithfulness. I am convinced that His mercy goes farther and deeper than any human thinks.

Over the 44 years of knowing Christ, I have heard hundreds of testimonies of people falling completely away from the faith only to return later (and they went FAR away). In the meantime, praying and fasting for important outcomes always helps. If your faith wavers on this situation, just simply be honest with our Abba Father and tell Him about that, and ask Him to help you trust and believe. This is every believer’s battle. God has blessed you with a fantastic mother’s heart, so be encouraged in Him.

Anon #2: Whether or not a Christian can lose his salvation hits home at a very personal level regarding my wife’s sister whom you’ve known for years. She and her son moved from the Rochester area a few years ago and began attending my church. They were both baptized, became members and were active in the church. The son graduated from one of the finest Christian schools and began to attend a Christian college. Then he announced to the family he was gay and had been living a secret lifestyle for years. As you can imagine this was a shock to everyone and what happened later became even worse. After one of our pastors counseled his mom (our church regularly counsels gender confused teens), she left the church, walked out of her executive job, moved to another city and completely supports her son’s gay lifestyle. Worse, most of her family supports her and her son, and believe homosexuality is something he was born with and consider him still a Christian.

I had no other choice but to lovingly confront the family about the sin of homosexuality assuring them God loved him just as much as He loves me and wants the best for everyone, but also made it clear in Scripture that homosexuality is a sin and separates one from God just as any other sexual sin like adultery and sleeping around. I gave the best counsel I could drawing from a Christian book (Sex and the iWorld-Khune) regarding homosexuality. Since then the family has made distance from me and his mom refuses any more contact.

I have never seen so much turmoil in a family, but what bothered me the most was the compromise and abandonment of the Christian faith by those who call themselves Christian. Perhaps what I have written here can also lead to some more questions in your study. Any Biblical counsel would be most appreciated at this end.

Dave: Wow, sad news…but not beyond the reach of our heavenly Father. You did well to share truth in love with your wife’s sister. The best Christian ministry for gays is L.I.F.E. Ministry in NYC. You can find it on-line. I encourage you to contact them and they can help. It is run by ex-gay Joanne Highly who married ex-gay Ron Highly many years ago. Ron has died, but Joanne is still doing a great job at the helm. Their insights into homosexuality such as its causes and effects go beyond all other Christian info I’ve ever seen. LIFE = Living In Freedom Eternally.

That sudden abandonment of the “Christian faith” stems from them never bonding to God’s Word, and, perhaps, God is using this controversy to expose this (and hopefully repair it). At present, I cannot pronounce any of these people as “non-Christians” or ones who have lost salvation. They are in danger, however.

I can understand the mom’s reaction (note to readers: I know her personally). After experiencing a horrible dad (years of sexual abuse), then losing a husband to divorce, she seemed to pour all of her love into her son. Her son was her light and joy in her rough life. It was her and him against this cruel world and they survived. Her son probably gave her a sense of purpose and meaning to her life. Then to see him being “attacked and condemned” (from her perspective), she predictably ran to his defense and away from Christians. She needs counsel to unravel her past. At this point, I am not sure what role you can play other than praying and seeking help from LIFE since she won’t talk with you.

I reject any notion that someone is born gay. The media slants reports to convince people that science has proven this. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many gay men have had poor father figures in their life – neglect, abuse, lack of closeness. I’m not saying this is THE cause, but it probably contributes to it from the environmental category of thought (as opposed to the genetic theory). I would guess that the son was not close with his dad, and that his mom doted much on him. It is reasonable to assume that he has had a longing in his heart to be close to a male figure. All this, of course is speculation by me, a non-expert in this field. And I do not mean to blame the mom at all. Her love toward her son is most understandable, even commendable. Both of them may need special prayer to rid themselves of demonic oppressions – in God’s timing, however. Hope this will help in a most difficult and sad situation. I will pray as well.

Anon #2: Thanks for your good counsel Dave, I will visit the sites you mentioned. I believe you are right about her going through so much and in her relationship with her son. I do keep them in prayer and hope someday to make things right between us. Sometimes I wish I had not been so direct with her, but she was so fixed on his gay lifestyle as being OK she had really influenced the family to question their beliefs and side with her. God will have to take hold of this one for sure to make a difference.

Linda P (10/21/13) – I was introduced to Christ by Dave Scheer as a a sophomore in high school. I believed. I was the seed that fell on the rock. I grew quickly, then withered. It took me 40 years of being lost in the desert before I finally looked up again. I was baptized in July 2010. I am a disciple, a work in progress. I am learning, and praying, and living and sharing my faith. I sure hope that those of us that haven fallen away and come home aren’t lost to the Kingdom. I believe we are not. God used all the bad boys and girls to prove a point, as far as I’m concerned.

If we choose to sin rather than take the high road, we lose out in many ways, but can we still be saved? End up in the same heaven as one who is, say, heterosexual but cheats on their spouse? abuses their babysitter? secretly lusts for their sister-in-law? has been married and divorced 3 times? and on and on…

I know sexual sin is a bad one, but sin is sin. I believe God looks at our hearts more than our actions and measures out rewards accordingly.

Quite frankly, as long as I get there and can drag some with me, I don’t care where I land in the pecking order!

My daughter is 25 next month. She learned to live a secular life from me. I never gave her a solid foundation in Christianity. As least yours has been there and will most likely return. Take comfort in knowing that. I am at fault for my daughter’s lack of faith. You are not.

Dave to Linda – Thanks for the feedback and insights. About your daughter, while it would have been better that your life was a Christian example for your daughter’s formative years, it is not your fault if she never repents and gets saved. Many believers had non-Christian parents but still found the need to repent and believe. With or without you, your daughter needs to realize her spiritual need. So do not be too hard on yourself. And, don’t forget that she has seen that great change in you and I’m sure she knows your “sea shell” story! She must know that you are better today than during your backslidden years. You are a fantastic witness to her now.

We walk by faith not sight, and live by grace not human effort. Romans 8:1 is always a great reminder when we look down on ourselves.

Linda to Dave – And thank you for your feedback. I know it’s not my fault that my daughter is my clone, and we all have to come to our own realization of where we stand with God. I also know she does see a change, and she is a typical, 25 year-old, secular, materialistic female who looks at it like she has all kinds of time to be good, she’s going to be bad while she’s young and free.

As my elderly friend says, “Stop worrying about your daughter. You said she’s just like you, and YOU came around! She will, too!” Then she said, “And don’t preach to her or you’ll just alienate her! Pray and set a good example. That’s all you can do. Someone else will bring her to Christ. God hears praying mothers.”

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