Creatures of Choice
by W. J. Parks (1884)
Allow me to make a few comments on this subject and then read Parks excellent treatment of Eternal Security. This doctrine is a doctrine that can be taught convincingly that salvation is unconditional and can be strongly supported by many Scriptures but there are as many scriptures that teach the balance to the true meaning of election that salvation is conditional. But the proponents conspicuously avoid any explanation of those Scriptures that teach that salvation is conditional or that it also entails good works. I heard both David Breese and Dr. Curtis Hudson deliver excellent messages on How I know I have Eternal Life. These are two of the finest apologists for Evangelical Christian doctrine and they both have my highest respect as men of God. But as I listened to their inspiring messages teaching the Eternal Security doctrine hoping they would address more than a select few Scriptures, they both stopped short of doing that. Dr. Breese, who is now deceased, treated the subject for more than two hours on tapes basing his study on Ephesians 2:8 and 9 but never went on to include verse 10 which mentions good works.
One day, while visiting Randy Sheridan he opened his library of old books and some of the greatest writings of Bible expositors from the past. He even allowed me to borrow a couple of the books to my delight. In one of his books I read the greatest and most simple approaches to Arminianism I have ever read or heard, by W. J. Parks, 1884, who lived more than a century ago but whose words are full of unique treatment of truth in God’s Word. I felt I must share this great man’s message with all of you. It first appeared in my Hagios (Holy) Letter which I sent out over two years and now here it is on my web site for your spiritual pleasure. Let me say a few words about this position paper on Eternal Security.
I want to repeat that the part of Scripture is interpreted by the whole of Scripture and never does a part of Scripture interpret the whole of Scripture. When you attempt to isolate a Scripture or several Scriptures from other Scriptures that treat the same subject you will always end up with wrong doctrine and leave a wrong impression that a half truth or part truth always leaves on the mind. Brother Parks approaches this doctrine from a very correct assumption that eternal security assumes that once you are saved you will neither backslide or return to your sin and that if you do, you were never saved in the first place. According to the predestination people, it means you were never saved if you fall away from the lord. They teach that you cannot be saved and then be lost and then be saved again. Brother Parks proves clearly from the Word of God that this is error! Predestination is covering it’s backsides by asserting that when you get saved it’s once and forever with no second chance once you backslide – because if you backslide then you were never saved in the first place. This is the premise that brother parks shatters into bits and pieces. here are here words solid as the rock on which we stand!
This study on the subject of conditional salvation is taken from an essay entitled Apostasy by Reverend W. J. Parks and edited by Thomas O. Sumners, D.D., Southern Methodist Publishing Company, 1884. Here is a voice from the past speaking again to the church a century later. The author uses the term apostasy where perhaps today we would use the word backslidden.
In this article W.J. Parks proves from the Bible that there is a conditional aspect to salvation. Election is certainly a sovereign thing with God as to the conditions of salvation, and his calling after a person has accepted Christ. But the idea that Sovereign Election is without the individuals consent and choice is to fly in the face of scores of Scriptures throughout the Bible. Let us be wise and humble about it and reconcile the part the sovereignty of God plays in man’s achieving heaven with the part free moral agency plays in determining the destiny of man.
Little did W.J. Parks know when he penned this study on conditional salvation that his words would be put on cyber space reaching around the world to the edification of believers the world over. Here is the truth about salvation and eternal Security teaching.
The doctrine of predestination, if proven to be wrong, would be one of the most dangerous departures from Scriptural truth ever perpetrated upon the church. Predestination, or “Calvinism,” as it is called, has many variations, but there is one basic dogma which it holds that makes it defenseless if Scripture disproves it. That one tenet or dogma is the base upon which the whole superstructure of this doctrine is built. In simple words it is just this: That once a person has come into saving grace, he or she cannot fall from grace if they were genuinely saved in the first place. This teaching insists that if someone is saved and then backslides that they were not saved in the beginning. This is called, in the language of their doctrine,”the perseverance of the saints.”
If it can be proven by Scripture that one can indeed be saved and then backslide then the doctrine of five point Calvinism is proven to be unscriptural.
Let us consider from the Scriptures whether it is possible for a person to become genuinely saved and used of God and then fall from grace and become lost again by his own choosing. It is this one particular fact we now take under consideration.
The following observations on the subject of conditional salvation are taken from an essay entitled Apostasy by W. J. Parks, 1884.
Brother Parks lays the Sword to the predestination doctrine
The original study was entitled, Apostasy
By W. J. Parks
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF MAN CHOOSING TO FALL FROM GRACE
Case1: KING SAUL
In proof that Saul was saved and favored of God, we refer to 1 Samuel 10. It says, God gave him another heart. I wish to ask, was that a good heart or a bad one which God gave him? He had a bad heart before, and needed not another heart like it; nor was it consistent with God’s nature or design to give him a bad heart, for the purpose of qualifying him to govern Israel.
It is also said, the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied; from which it appears the word of God was fulfilled, (1 Samuel 10:6,) for he was turned into another man. Here I would again pause to ask, Did a holy God turn him into a bad man? If so then God turned a bad man into a bad man. God directed Samuel to anoint Saul, that he might be captain over his people Israel, and to save them out of the hand of the Philistines!
It was said to Saul by Samuel, ‘God is with thee.’ Let us look at the king as he now stands before us. Here he is, ‘turned into another man.‘ The Spirit of God is with him: God has given him another heart, and he is prophesying amongst God’s prophets. It does seem that no one could believe other than that Saul was then a good man, made so by God’s power and grace.
Let us now inquire, Did he fall? He did, and died a wretched apostate, by a voluntary act of his own. In 1 Samuel 16:14, it is said, The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and that an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. In chapter 18, we learn that this evil spirit came upon Saul.
In chapter 28, he sought out, went to, and consulted a witch; a woman that had a familiar spirit. This he did, it seems, because the Lord answered him not.
He repeatedly made efforts to murder David by his own hands.
In chapter 31:4 and 6, we read, Saul took a sword, and fell upon it: . . . so Saul died. His final act was self murder, suicide.
Samuel charged him with breaking God’s commandments. He had turned back from following God: the Spirit of God departed from him: . . . an evil spirit came upon him . . . the Lord departed from him. He was a murderer – he tried to kill David, and did kill himself. No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him: hence, it is written of him, (1 Chronicles 10:13-14,) So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it, and inquire not of the Lord.
Here was a good man: he fell- he died a wretched apostate. Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12.
CASE 2. JUDAS ISCARIOT IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE.
Was Judas A Devil? – I am aware that it has been often alleged that Judas was a devil from the beginning. Of this, however, there is not the least intimation in the Bible.
Let us now calmly inquire into the history of Judas, and see whether or not the fact is clearly established that he was ever a good man, a Christian.
I offer in proof of this the following facts and arguments:
THAT JUDAS WAS CHOSEN
Judas and eleven others were chosen by Jesus Christ as his apostles, (John 15:19,) and sent out by him to “preach, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils,” etc. Matthew 10:7-8. What! a devil sent out by the Lord Jesus Christ to cast out devils! Impossible! Did Jesus Christ choose a devil to do his work? Strange choice, this! Jesus, addressing his twelve disciples, Judas being one of that number, said, “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:28. In proof that Judas was present, and the promise made to him as directly as it was to the others, I refer the reader to chapter 20:17, where the twelve are addressed as having been all present. This sitting upon a “throne” was a strange promotion promised by Jesus Christ to the devil, if indeed Judas were such. The very idea is ridiculous, not to say blasphemous. Judas was Christ’s “own familiar friend, in whom he trusted.”
Compare Psalm 41:9 with John 13:18 and Acts 1:16.
I ask, is it possible that any one can be so blinded by a creed as to believe that Jesus Christ ever was the “familiar friend” of the devil, and, what is yet worse, “trusted” in the devil? If this were so, how foolish were the disciples, when, to fill his place, they were so careful to select a good man, Matthias, that he might fill the place of a devil, who “had obtained part of this ministry.” Acts 1:17-27.
Jesus Christ knew the hearts of all men, and came into the world expressly for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. To accomplish that work, He chose a devil, a child of the devil, and ordained him, made a “familiar friend” of him, and sent him out in His name to preach his gospel, cast out devils, raise the dead, promising him a seat on one of the twelve thrones of judgment! This can only be true if none apostatize, unless Judas was indeed saved in the beginning.
Let us now examine the possibility of Judas becoming lost after being a chosen friend of Jesus.
We read (Acts 1:25) that “Judas, by transgression, fell.” He went to “his own place.” Christ himself said, “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” John 17:12. Judas “went and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:5. Like Saul, his last act was self murder, and we quote John again, “No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him?” Christ said, “Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed: it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” Matthew 27:24. This, however, could not be said in truth, if Judas was saved.
We learn that “Satan entered into him.” John 13:27. He had become “a thief,” (John 12:6;) and with his money, the price of his Master, he “purchased a field, the reward of his iniquity.” Acts 1.18. Judas himself said, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” Matthew 27:4. True, he “repented,” and “wept bitterly,” but his was the repentance of despair, and his tears did not fall in the sight of mercy. The picture of this wretched apostate is a dark and gloomy one; hence we ought to “take heed, lest we fall.”
CASE 3: HYMENEUS AND ALEXANDER
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: (20) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:19-20.
“Although the history given of these persons is a short one, it is conclusive proof of the possibility of apostasy. They are said to have put away faith and a good conscience. They not only put these away, but, concerning faith, they had made shipwreck. By this form of expression, I understand a total wreck, a total apostasy, so that they had by the apostle been delivered over to Satan. How are the mighty fallen!
CASE 4: THE YOUNG WIDOWS
Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
1 Timothy 5:12.
In 1 Timothy 5:12 Paul speaks thus: Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. If this were good faith, saving faith, which they once had, and if they were now damned because they cast it off, then were they truly ruined apostates. If we suppose theirs was a spurious faith, then are we involved in the absurdity of admitting, and Paul of teaching, that people are damned ‘because’ they cast away that which is worthless; so, then, we would be damned ‘because’ we did not cast it away, and damned ‘because’ we did cast it away. Fine theology, this!
CASE 5: THE APOSTASY OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
This is the use the apostle makes of their fall in various places. The reader is referred especially to1Corinthians 10, and Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, for the history of their overthrow, and the account to which the apostle turns it.
A few words of comment will serve our purpose in presenting them as examples. They were all baptized (was this believers’ baptism?) unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. Yet of these very people it is said they tempted Christ, murmured, committed idolatry, believed not, etc.; and we are cautioned by these things written of them – written for our admonition – to take heed, lest we fall; . . . to labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief; and, seeing they could not enter in because of unbelief, to take heed, lest there be in any of you (Hebrew Christians) an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.
Christ provides . . . Man decides
We now consider a few of the many Scriptures that teach of man’s being saved and then being damned. These passages from the Bible would have to be wrested and explained by a forced construction, to make them mean anything but the Biblical truth that man’s eternal salvation is based on the condition of obedience.
2 CHRONICLES 15
God said to King Asa, (2 Chronicles 15:2,) The Lord is with you while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. This is plain language, and perfectly accords with David’s words to Solomon: If thou forsake him, (God,) he will cast thee off forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9. Precisely the same doctrine is taught in
God says here by his prophet, When I shall say to the righteous that he shall surely live, if he trust to his own righteousness and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Ezekiel 33:13. The very same views are presented at large in this chapter, and in the third and eighteenth chapters of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
It has been said the righteous here spoken of are the self-righteous. If that is so, it would mean God is telling the self-righteous man that he should surely live, when the self righteous (his own righteousness) [God says] shall die.
A Temporal Death? – It has been said that the death here spoken of is a temporal death. This is too absurd to need refutation; for if this were true, then would the promise be good to every righteous man who did not turn away from his righteousness, that he should never die a temporal death; whereas, we must needs die, for in Adam all die.
This passage in Ezekiel I have above quoted, and others of similar import, throw much light on many portions of God’s word, especially on such portions as treat of the safety and security of God’s people, where no mention is made of any condition upon which such blessings shall be conferred.
Does God, in any place, say to his people, No good thing shall be withheld from them – no weapon formed against thee shall prosper – etc., so let it be.
Yet we are always to remember that we are kept by the power of God, through faith, (1 Peter 1:5,) and that, whenever or wherever God says to the righteous, he shall surely live, whether the condition is there named or not, it is implied.
ALL PROMISES CONDITIONAL – MENTIONED OR NOT
He said to the Jews, (Jeremiah 18:9-10,). At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. Jesus Christ promised Judas a throne to sit upon, as we have before shown; yet he never sat upon it, because he, by transgression, fell. He did not comply with the conditions implied, although not there expressed. There are hundreds of promises in the Bible of like character: they are made to us on the conditions elsewhere and often repeated. In 1 Samuel 23:11-13, we learn that David inquired of the Lord thus: Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his (Saul’s) hand? Will Saul come down? Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?
“The Lord told him, He will come down. They will deliver thee up. And yet Saul for bare to go forth. He never went to Keilah nor did the men of Keilah deliver David or his men up to Saul. Pray why? There was no condition named, and yet, as in thousands of cases, it was implied. David left Keilah; so Saul never went there.
“When I say to the righteous, he shall surely live, At what instant I speak to a nation, is God’s declared method of dealing with man, and presents the whole truth, and reconciles all portions of Scripture.
But to return to our direct proof. Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount, says to his disciples, Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13. This passage conveys no meaning whatever, unless it is this, that the salt may lose its virtue, and thereby become good for nothing; the moral of which, and what I suppose to be the Savior’s meaning, is beautifully set forth in the words of the poet:
‘Ah, Lord, with trembling I confess
A gracious soul may fall from grace:
The salt may lose its seasoning power,
And never, never find it more.’
We refer you, in further proof, to the parable of the unclean spirit, Matthew 12:43-45. Surely when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he must be a good man. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted. Luke 11:21-22. From which I learn that the devil – the strong man – does not leave of his own accord for political reasons, as one said, but he keepeth his palace until Jesus Christ – the stronger than he shall overcome him, and cast him out. Yet we learn that this very same unclean spirit, and seven other spirits more wicked than himself, enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Can any one believe he was a bad man with an unclean spirit in him, and then a bad man without an unclean spirit, and then a bad man with eight demons in him? Is this the lesson taught? Nay, reader: he had a bad heart. Christ cast the demon out; but he was permitted to return and reenter with seven others. He apostatized. Hence the truth and propriety of the declaration, his last state was worse than the first.
In Matthew 18, we have a parable in which is set forth this fact: a king, in reckoning with his servants, found one that owed him ten thousand talents, whom, out of compassion, he loosed, and forgave him the debt; yet, in consequence of the wickedness of that servant subsequent to this, in refusing to have compassion on a fellow- servant, he revoked the pardon, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. Christ applies this, by saying, So, likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Do also – in like manner. How? Revoke the pardon, and hold us to account for all our sins – All his righteousness shall not be remembered. Universalists of the old school, usually called ‘Hell-redemptionists,’ might claim that such are saved, after paying all that was due. I judge it is a bad chance to rescue a backslider when he is turned over to the tormentors to pay all that is due, and he insolvent [Has nothing to pay the debt].
In Matthew 25, we have the parable of the ten virgins, in which the same doctrine is taught as to the possibility of a decline in religion, such a decline, too, as proves fatal. All were virgins; all went forth on the same errand; all had lamps; and it would seem all had these lit- as the foolish said, Our lamps are gone out. The Margin has it, going out. They all alike slumbered and slept. They all alike awake at the cry, Behold, the bridegroom cometh! yet five of these were shut out. Why? Because, foolish – improvident, they took no oil in their vessels to replenish their lamps. Had the bridegroom come early, at the usual time, they had doubtless all been ready; but they suffered their light to go out, as thousands do. They were apostates.
In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel by St. John, we have upon record the Savior’s parable of the vine and the branches. Christ represents himself as the Vine, and believers as branches. He affirms such are clean, and then exhorts them to abide in him, assuring them that, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. In verse 6, he says, If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Here, again, the only chance to save such as are cast forth out of him, is by hell-redemption, which rescues from the fire of hell such as have, by being tormented therein, paid the debt.
Paul, by a similar figure of speech, teaches the same doctrine, in Romans 11. He there shows the Gentiles why and how the Jews fell; and sets forth the relation of believing Gentiles to God and his true Church under the figure of an olive tree, the natural branches of which – the Jews – had been broken off because of unbelief; which fact he uses to caution them, i.e., the Gentiles who believed in these words: Be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. He tells them of God’s goodness toward them, but says, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shall be cut off. Comment is needless: in fact, no comment on such plain language can make it any plainer to an unsophisticated mind.
1 Corinthians 9
Paul, in speaking of himself, said, (1 Corinthians 9:27) I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway – literally, a reprobate. No language can be any plainer. Paul was stating what he, as a Christian and Christian minister, did, and why he did it. He had acted the part and character of preacher or herald to others. To them he had held out a crown of life: it was, therefore, essential to him that, on his part, he complied with the rules of the race, lest the Great Judge should reject him in the final day of distributing crowns.
In another place he said, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14. Having done all this, no wonder when finishing his ‘course,’ he could write to Timothy, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
From the above, it is easy to comprehend the apostle’s meaning when he says, (Romans 8:38-39,) For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God. For as he had said, (verse 28,) All things work together for good to them that love God. He kept under his body, and they were walking, not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
“Of all such, it is true, nothing shall, nay nothing can separate them from the love of God.
In Hebrews 6:4-6, we read, 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. Certainly, those who were enlightened, and had tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and had tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, were Christians. If not, I should like to know how we are to settle that question with any one.
What does the word ‘again’ in this place mean? Does it not clearly prove that they had before repented? It does: hence, the word ‘again’ is used. Whatever else is taught in this place, it is certainly taught beyond a doubt that apostasy is possible.
Again, in Hebrews 10:26-29, we read, If we sin willfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’s law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace? Here we have the doctrine of the possibility of apostasy set forth as strong as language can make it. Two facts strike our mind forcibly: First, the height from which such fall; Second, the depths into which they fall, hence the sorer punishment spoken of. Yes, a punishment awfully more severe than befell the rebellious Jew.
2 Peter 1:9
In 2 Peter 1:9 we read: He that lacketh these things (the things above enumerated, such as adding to his faith, virtue, etc.) is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. Such language needs no comment. (a) The wretched state of such as lack these things, and (b) the way to avoid it, are both clearly pointed out.
2 Peter 2:14
In the second chapter of the same Epistle, verses 14,15, Peter speaks of some whom he calls cursed children, and charges that they had forsaken the right way, and had gone astray, following the way of Balaam. Surely, if such had forsaken the right way, they had once been in it. He says, in speaking of them, (verse 17,) that, for them, the midst of darkness is reserved for ever.
2 Peter 2 (Verse 20)
Again, verse 20 of the same chapter, he speaks of such as had escaped the pollution’s of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and alleges that they, being again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; and declares that it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. Nothing can be plainer than these words of Peter in proof of our position. These persons had escaped the pollution’s of the world, and that, too, by the evangelical method it was through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They had known the way of righteousness, and yet, if such be again entangled in the pollution’s of the world, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; and it had been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness; yet this could not be said in truth of such, if their final salvation is sure.
“The apostle closes the chapter by informing his brethren that it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.
“The comment made on this by a minister in the pulpit was rather singular. He said, ‘The sow was a hog all the time, both before she was washed and afterward:’ therefore [the preacher concludes], from this passage there was no proof of the possibility of falling from grace. I will just remind the reader that the relapse is the very thing Peter is here discoursing about. The sow had been washed: she was then a hog, that is true, but a clean hog; but when she returned to her wallowing in the mire, she relapsed into her former filthy state; just as apostates do, in a moral sense, when they return to the pollution’s of the world, from which they had clean escaped. (Editor’s note: You don’t stop being human when your saved, you are made ‘clean’ by the blood. Transformation effects the natural man but he does not cease being human or physical. John 15:3; 1 John 1:7,9.)
John says, (2 John 9,) Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God; and surely he that hath not God, cannot be saved eternally.
Jude, in his Epistle, verse 12, forcibly describes the state of apostates, whom he calls trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Once such were dead in trespasses and sins; but they had been quickened together with Christ. Now they had so relapsed into sinful desires and habits, that they were dead again – twice dead; and to show the utter hopelessness of the restoration of such, Jude adds, plucked up by the roots. In verse 13, he makes their destiny clear, beyond all dispute, by saying that to such is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
The Epistles to the seven Churches in Asia abound with proofs of the possibility of apostasy. We select only a few examples.
In Revelation 2:4-5, these words are addressed to the Church at Ephesus: I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove they candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. To say that such would certainly escape the curse by obeying the instructions, is begging the question. They are addressed as moral agents, who might not repent, and escape these calamities.
Christ also complains of a portion of the Church at Pergamos, and says, (Revelation 2:16) Repent or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
The Laodicean Church (Revelation 3:15-16) were complained of, because they were neither cold nor hot; hence, Christ said to them, Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Terrible threat, this; yet it was a threat made not to tantalize, but to be executed, if they did not reform.
In Revelation 22:19: we have these remarkable words: If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Here, to ‘take away our part out of the book of life,’ on certain conditions, is a thing spoken of as possible. More than that, it comes as a caution, as a threat.
“It is worthy of remark, that, at the very beginning of the revelation of God to man in his holy book, we have the history of the fall of our first parents, who, although made in the image of God, (see Gen.1:27,) yet, by sin, they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. (Presbyterian Confession of Faith.) So, at the close, yes, almost in the closing words of the Book of Revelation we have the admonitory words above quoted, clearly setting forth the danger and possibility of apostasy.
Scriptural exhortations of warning
This class consists of the threats, promises, and exhortations so frequently found in the Bible, which are made with reference to this very fact. To each of these separately we now invite the earnest attention of the reader, giving only a few specimens of each.
If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. 1 Chronicles 29:9.
“If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” Hebrews 2:3.
“I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5. God threatens, unless they repent, to “fight against them with the sword of his mouth.” Revelation 2:16.
“Christ threatens his Church at Sardis to “come on them as a thief,” unless they “watch.” Revelation 3:3.
“God threatens the righteous man, that if he “turn from his righteousness, he shall die in his sin.” Ezekiel 3:20.
Let us now give a few specimens of promises, made with direct reference to this subject. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10.
“Again, in the same chapter, (verses 26-28,) we have the promise of power over the nations; and Christ adds, “I will give him the morning star . . . that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end.”
“In Revelation 3:5, Christ says, He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. At verse 10, we have these remarkable words: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee,” Peter says, (2 Peter 1:10,) “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
“The above will suffice as specimens, out of hundreds of promises to those who watch and overcome.
“Exhortations abound cautioning us against apostasy; such as, “Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12.
“Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25
While works cannot secure salvation, for that is all in the legal power of the blood, the no works teaching cannot be carried past the cross. While it is true that no works of our own can secure heaven, it is also true that after I have been washed in the blood, I am transformed and will be full of good works which is the evidence that Christ is in me.
(Matthew 5:6,16,20; Luke 1:75; John 10:32; Acts 9:36; 10:35; Romans 6:13,16; 8:4; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 1 Timothy 2:10; 5:10,25; 6:18; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 2:7,14; 3:8,14; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 2:12
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness:
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” – Romans 11:22
[Taken from The Hagios Letter No. 81090]
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
Angels and Adam created saved, and fell:
Angels: Psalm 148:2-5; Isaiah 12:12-15;14:12; Ezekiel 28:14;
Matthew 25:41; Luke 10:18; 20:36; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation
12:7-17. Man: Genesis 1:31; 2:17; 3:8; 3:9; 3:22-24; Job 31:33;
Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Saul, God’s Spirit upon him, fell: 1 Samuel 10:6,9.
Will be cast off if you forsake Him: 1 Chronicles 29:9.
Hymeneus and Alexander: 1 Timothy 1:19-20.
The young widows: 1 Timothy 5:12.
The Israelites: 1 Corinthians 10:1-12.
King Asa: 2 Chronicles 15:2.
God speaks to Ezekiel: Ezekiel 33:13.
Salt can lose it’s savor: Matthew 5:13.
Unclean spirit leaves then returns: Matthew 12:43-45.
Ten virgins called, five entered: Matthew 25:1-13.
Fruitless believers cast into fire: John 15:1-6.
Israel “broken off” because of unbelief: Romans 11:20.
Paul warns of becoming a “castaway”: 1 Corinthians 9:27.
Partakers of the Holy Ghost fall away: Hebrews 6:4-6.
Wilful sin judged more severely: Hebrews 10:26-29.
Calling and election can be “unsure:” 2 Peter 1:9.
“Cursed,” they had been in “the right way:” 2 Peter 2:14-15.
“The latter end” of those “again entangled:” 2 Peter 2:20.
They lose God who do not abide in Him: 2 John 9
Twice dead and uprooted, cut off from life: Jude 12
Candlestick of Ephesus removed: Revelation 2:4-5
Will smite Pergamos with sword of His mouth: Revelation 2:16.
Will spew Laodicea out of His mouth: Revelation 3:15-16.
Removed from the book of life: Revelation 22:19.
Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25