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====Saved and Then Lost?====

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (Jude 1:5)

Dear Brother,

Thank you for your clear, pointed question: "Do you mean that once you are saved by the grace of Jesus you can lose your salvation?"

My response is, "Yes."

Since this question has been asked before I am going to elaborate a bit and may put the elaboration in our data base so it will appear later as an essay. So don't be surprised if you see familiar text at some time in the future.

I believe God has pressed me that He wants His commandments kept by the Christians in America. I think one principal reason Christians do not keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles is the belief there can be no dreadful consequences of not keeping the commandments found in the New Testament. People will not jump frantically off the track unless a train is just behind them.

The concept of "once saved always saved" does not come from the New Testament. In both Jude and Hebrews the writers employ the analogy of the people having left Egypt and then dying in the wilderness. The Holy Spirit would not have permitted this analogy were it impossible for Christians to begin their journey toward God and then perish.

Many passages in the New Testament are exhortations to abide in Christ and live a holy life. These exhortations are accompanied by dire warnings concerning the consequences of not abiding in Christ and living a holy life (being cut off from the Vine; losing our inheritance in the Kingdom; and so forth).

The reason the actual words of the New Testament are not perceived by the intelligent, devout believer is that the concept of an abstract, sovereignly imposed, unconditional amnesty, operating independently of our behavior, has been advanced by theologians. It is a bubble of the hardest steel, split off from reality, not easily penetrated by the text of the New Testament. This mental fortress, which is not at all scriptural, serves to prevent the believer from seeing what is written.

The words of Christ and His Apostles are simple, clear, direct exhortations to godly living. Either we abide in Christ or we are cut off. Either we carry extra oil or the door is shut. Either we use our talent or find ourselves in the outer darkness. Either we endure to the end or we are lost. Either we put to death the deeds of our flesh or we die spiritually. Either we bring forth the fruit of righteousness or we are near to cursing and the flames. Either we work diligently at our salvation or we do not escape. Either we hold our confidence to the end or we do not partake of Christ. Either we refrain from willful sin or we become the enemy of God. Either we overcome or we stand in danger of being harmed by the second death and having our name blotted from the Book of Life.

God is willing that all persons repent and be saved. God has elected some to be conformed to the image of His Son. An individual can choose to purge himself of sin and become a vessel unto honor. There is a balance that must be maintained between God's sovereign intention and our response. It is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. We cannot do it alone. God will not do it alone. God calls us out of the world and then we must choose whom we will serve. We can choose to be the slave of righteousness and live or the slave of sin and die.

When the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices righteousness he shall live, his wickedness shall not be mentioned to him. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and practices wickedness his righteousness shall not be mentioned to him. He shall die. This is an eternal principle.

Grace enables us to change what we are sowing, not what we are reaping. Men and angels reap what they sow.

God will forgive us through Christ and cast our sins behind His back. His intention is that we then avail ourselves of His grace and begin to serve Him. If we, having been forgiven, having experienced eternal life and the joy of the Lord, should then turn back into the filth of the world, we destroy our fellowship with God. Not only is this scriptural, I have seen it happen in practice. It is a sobering experience to come in contact with someone who had known the Lord and now has lost His Presence—absolutely terrifying when we remember what the Scripture declares.

Having had some small experience with the terror of the Lord I am trying to persuade men.

Hope this helps.

Your friend,

Bob T.