Questions to Consider:
a. Who is being addressed?
b. What is the context?
c. Falling from what?
d. Falling into what?
- II Peter 3:17
- Believers (called “beloved” – used 53 times – of Christ & believers only)
- Scoffers of the last day (3:3); false teachers (2:1-2) who lead many astray.
- Steadfastness – not salvation. Salvation is unchangeable; the steadiness of our walk & doctrine is not. Our condition can falter. We can fall (Cf. Prov. 24:16)
- The error of the wicked (lawless ones). Yes, believers CAN fall into doctrinal error, but NOT into Hell! (Similar to the warning in James 5:19-20)
* led away into error = same word as carried away in Gal. 2:13 – Barnabas
- I Cor. 10:12
- Believers – especially, the proud, self sufficient ones. Many of them were carnal, but they were believers – in Christ (Cf. I Cor. 3:1-3)
- A warning not to abuse liberty – as Israeldid and fell! (vs.8-11). Some lawful things can bring us under their power & cause us to fall! (I Cor. 6:12) They didn’t handle liberty very well… and fell into lusting.
- FROM the safe, wise use of liberty…
- INTO pride & sin… which is often the result of abusing liberty. (I can handle this!) As a result of their sin, they were severely chastened – and 23,000 FELL and were chastened of the Lord. (Pride is a trap that causes men to fall – cf. I Tim. 3:6-7) Because of his pride, Satan was demoted… lost his position… pride brought Satan down… that is the only point Paul makes with this. (Cf. Prov.16:18 – pride goes before destruction)
- Galatians 5:4
- Believers who had been “made free” (vs.1) & justified by faith (2:16). These folks had already been made free in Christ and were challenged to stand fast in that liberty & not to become entangled in legalistic living.
- Judaizers: these false teachers were trying to convince believers in Christ that they were required to put themselves under the Law of Moses. (justification 1:6; 3:11 & sanctification – 2:4; 3:1-3)
- Acts 15:1-2; 5-11 – the apostles dealt with this issue at Jerusalem– but these Judaizers kept the controversy alive
- FROM grace as a rule of life… they were to walk by grace as a rule of life; in doing so, the fruit of the Spirit and the indwelling life of Christ would be manifested (Gal. 4:19; 5:22-23; 6:15)
- For a born again believer to reject grace and return to law in hopes of earning his salvation or keeping it – would be a fall.
- But note Paul does not say they fall from salvation– but rather from grace… used here as the method of their walk or rule of life.
- Adding Law (works; flesh) to Grace (faith; Spirit) = leaven. Vs.9
- INTO bondage to the law… (the believers were being told by the Judaizers that they needed to submit to circumcision – vs.3. That was tantamount to putting themselves under the Mosaic Law. Saved by grace – and then trying to live under the law! (Cf. Gal.3:1-3) Under the law, the fruit of the flesh would be manifested. Once you place yourself under law, you are obligated to keep the ENTIRE law…
- Col. 1:21-23
- The word “if” here is not ean (ἑαν), an unfulfilled, hypothetical condition used with the subjunctive mode, presenting the possibility of a future realization,
- But it is ei (εἰ) with the indicative, having here the idea of “assuming that you continue in the faith.” (first class condition)
- Some chose to translate it as “since”… but that might be too strong. However, “if” is equally misleading.
- Paul is not questioning, but assuming that the Colossians will continue in the faith. That’s what believers do… they continue.
- Continuing in the faith is EVIDENCE of life…
- A believer can stumble and not walk with God for a while… BUT God will eventually step in… conviction; chastening; wooing; lifting up;
- Heb. 3:6, 14
- Who is addressed? Believers!
- Holy brethren; partakers of the heavenly calling(3:1) “Whose house ARE we.” (This is the church – in contrast to the house of Israel… Christ’s house as opposed to that of Moses)
- They ARE MADE (become; perfect tense) (not hope to become; or shall continue to be) partakers of Christ(partakers: participate with; a partner; fellows; (vs.14)
- IF we hold fast… if we hold… our confidence steadfast unto the end…
- Both “ifs” here are (3rdclass cond.) different than the one in Col. 1:23
- It IS possible for a true believer to become discouraged and to lose his confidence… for a while. (Heb. 10:35)
- By holding fast to their confidence to the end, they DEMONSTRATE that they are true believers. It is not a requirement for salvation so much as it is an EVIDENCE of it… PROOF of it.
- That’s how you can tell a true believer. He continues. (John 8:31)
- The one who does NOT continue does not lose his salvation. Rather, he demonstrates that he never had it.
- What a warning to young people brought up in a Christian home. Sometimes parents don’t know for sure if their kids are saved or not UNTIL they move out on their own… and see if their faith continues… OR does it cease… because it was really just an extension of their parent’s faith… and not their own?
- Of course, there ARE folks who appear to be Christians… but have never experienced the new birth. They are not genuine… and they will NOT hold fast to the end!
- II Pet. 2:20-22 –
- Here are folks who SEEM to be saved: They escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of Christ.
- Yet, they end up worse than before… like dog returning to its own vomit.
- These folks did NOT lose their salvation. They never had it.
- The message they heard: words of vanity! (vs.18)
- The life they led: corruption disguised as liberty (vs.19)
- Who were they following: false teachers! (vs.1)
- False teachers & their followers aren’t saved unto the end, because they were never saved at the beginning!
- I John 2:19– Some aligned themselves with the believers, but they went out from them – for one cause or another. This was proof to John that they were NEVER really with them! This happens all often in our age… especially when there is not such a heavy price to pay to name the name of Christ.
- It is not that these folks lost their salvation. Rather, the fact that they withered up in time of trouble indicates that they never HAD salvationin the first place!
- The fact that they did not continue was evidence that their profession of faith was not genuine.
- II Pet. 2:20-22 –
- Who is addressed? Believers!
- I Cor. 15:2
- Paul addresses them as brethren. (vs.1)
- They were saved by the gospel. (vs.2)
- (εἰ κατεχετε). Condition of first class. Paul assumes that they are holding fast.
- The point of bringing it up was that there were false teachers opposing the doctrine of resurrection.
- Paul states that IF there is no resurrection, THEN they are not saved. (vs.13-14)
- Paul’s gospel INCLUDED the resurrection. That gospel saves!
- To reject that gospel and cling to one that rejected resurrection would be to believe in vain.
- However, there may have been some professing believers in their midst. Those who held on to Christian beliefs and were not saved, could easily let go of them – especially in a time of persecution.
- For those professing believers who did not hold fast to the Word – their actions proved that they were not genuinely saved. Their faith was VAIN (empty).
- Col. 1:21-23
- I Cor. 11:28-30
- Here Paul speaks of a believer bringing damnation upon himself. Can that be?
- Damnation: it is judgment, but what kind? The context indicates that it is chastening… (whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth)
- Vs. 32 – defines it as such. We are chastened (κρίμα – krima) so that we are not condemned (κατακρίνω – katakrino) with the world.
- Play on words:
- vs. 29 – not discerning the Lord’s Body (διακρίνω – diakrino)
- vs. 29 – Bring damnation to himself (κρίμα – krima)
- vs. 31 – if we judge ourselves (διακκρίμα – diakrima)
- vs. 31 – we should not be judged (κρίνω – krino — in the sense of chastened)
- vs. 32 – condemned with the world (κατακρίνω – katakrino)
- I Tim. 5:11-12 – younger widows “have damnation.”
- Younger widows were not to be taken “into the number” of those helped by the church financially. They were to get married. (vs.9-10)
- If a young widow’s bad behavior would bring a “censure” kind of judgment.
* Cf. usage in Jas. 3:1 – teachers receive greater condemnation – scrutiny…
- The Greek term: κρίμα – krima (judgment; chastening; censure) It CAN refer to judgment on earth (chastening; censure) or eternal judgment. The context must determine.
- Consider Romans 8:1 & John 5:24 – there is NO condemnation (in the sense of being cast into Hell) for the believer.
- I Cor. 11:28-30
- Believers Who Perish?
- Acts 8:12-23 – Simon
- Simon believed and was baptized. (vs.13)
- Simon sought to purchase the gift of God. He obviously did not understand the doctrine of grace. (vs.17-19) He didn’t understand salvation by grace.
- Peter recognized that this man was perishing (vs.20) and needed to repent (vs.22)
- Simon believed but was perishing. What kind of faith did he have?
- He possessed an intellectual faith but did not receive Christ by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9)
- Intellectual faith did not save him. Neither did his baptism.
- Simon’s faith was not genuine.
- Genuine faith includes the following:
¨ Intellect (understanding the correct facts of the gospel)
¨ Emotion (assent to the truth of the facts of the gospel)
¨ Will (choose/receive Christ to be one’s personal Savior – John 1:12)
- Luke 8:13 – Rocky soil “believers”
- These folks “for a while believe” and then fall away.
- Their faith did not continue.
- John 3:16 – whosoever BELIEVETH in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- Believeth = present tense; this indicates CONTINUOUS action.
- A true believer cannot stop believing.
- His faith may become weak and FRAIL, but it can never FAIL. (Luke 22:32)
- If a man’s faith does not continue, it indicates that it was not genuine, saving faith.
- It was either intellectual or emotional consentto the truth, but not saving faith.
- If it doesn’t continue, it isn’t real. (Col. 1:21-23)
- The rocky soil folks fell away and were lost because they were never saved!
If a believer could lose his salvation, then we must conclude the following:
¨ Eternal life is not eternal (John 3:16).
¨ Those who heard God’s Word and believed on Christ DID come to condemnation. (John 5:24)
¨ Christ cast out the one He said He would never cast out (John 6:37)
¨ Jesus was mistaken when He said we would never perish. (John 10:28)
¨ Someone (Satan? Self?) was, in fact, able to pluck us out of the Father’s hands. (John 10:28-29)
¨ Some who come to Christ WILL be cast out. (John 6:37)
¨ The Father will refuse to answer the High Priestly prayer of His Son when He prays for our future glorification. (John 17:24)
¨ Because He lives, we might perish. (John 14:19)
¨ Someone overpowered God and He was not able to keep us (I Pet. 1:5)
¨ God repented (changed His mind) concerning His gift of life (Eph. 2:8-9) and His calling us to Himself (Rom. 11:29)
¨ He will confirm us only until we sin. (I Cor. 1:8-9)
¨ The Body of Christ would be dismembered.
¨ God is not faithful to His promises.
¨ Our citizenship in heaven will be revoked. (Phil. 3:20)
¨ God forsook those He claimed He would never forsake. (Heb.13:5)
¨ The promise of appearing with Christ in glory will not be kept. (Col. 3:4)
¨ Salvation is dependent upon our works (Eph. 2:8-9)
¨ God’s everlasting love for His chosen people did not last forever. (Jer. 31:1)
¨ Christ was not able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him. (Heb. 7:25)
¨ Those justified by His blood shall NOT be saved from wrath through Him. (Rom. 5:9)
¨ Much more, being reconciled, we might be saved by His life. (Rom. 5:10)
¨ God who was for us, turned against us. (Rom. 8:31)
¨ In the final analysis, salvation is based upon human merit and works. (Eph. 2:8-9)
¨ Christ died and rose again for us, and is presently interceding for us, but someone laid something to our charge that was not covered by Christ’s work and we were condemned. (Rom. 8:33-34)
¨ Something separated us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38-39)
¨ Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall NOT be saved. (Rom. 10:13)
¨ We shall be sealed only until the day of a big sin. (Eph. 4:30)
¨ We can NOT be confident that He that hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)
¨ Eternal redemption is not eternal (Heb. 9:12)
¨ We cannot have assurance of salvation and must live in fear of losing it daily. There is no rest for our souls.
¨ God’s Word is not reliable, for it made many promises that were not kept.
¨ Our inheritance in heaven may become corruptible, may be defiled, may fade away, and the reservation may be broken. (I Pet. 1:4)
¨ The Father is not entirely satisfied with the work of His Son on the cross. (I John 2:2)
[Some of the illustrations used in this lesson were gleaned from Chafer’s Systematic Theology and from the excellent book by Harold Barker entitled Secure Forever, published by Loizeaux Brothers.]
- Acts 8:12-23 – Simon