October 2015

Do the Cut off Olive Branches of Romans 11 Definitively Prove that Salvation Can be Lost?

Recently a visitor was telling me that the Romans 11 discussion of "branches being cut off" was definitive proof that a person could lose their salvation. That no amount of exegesis could prove otherwise. But if one looks at the context, the passage itself may, at first glance, even appear to be contradictory. For how could the apostle Paul write of branches being cut off (v.22), and then in the same breath turn around and say that the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable? (v.29) Which is it? Is Paul telling us that a Christian can lose his salvation, or is he saying that regenerate Christians are guaranteed an eternal inheritance? Or something else altogether?

Take a closer look at Romans 11. It speaks of Israel, who was hardened in part, and was a branch that was "cut-off" because of widespread unbelief (vs. 20). Paul then admonishes the Gentiles to "continue in his kindness. Otherwise {they] too will be cut off."(v. 22)

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 16:33 -- john_hendryx

Christ Preserves us to the End

Legalism overthrows the gospel, since it trusts, at least partly, in one's own self-righteousness and not Christ alone for salvation. It erroneously believes that God is somehow satisfied with our pathetic attempts to maintain our right standing with Him by being moral. (Gal 3:3; Phil 3:3) But this is to usurp Christ's office as Savior. Perhaps the worst offenders of this within the visible church are those who believe we can lose our salvation, thinking that Christ's work is incomplete or insufficient and that we must somehow make up for it with our own enduring faith or merits or else risk losing our status as His adopted children. But Christ "is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25) "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Heb 10:14)

Those persons in the visible church who say that a regenerate believer can lose their salvation (or forfeit their faith) may indeed affirm that Jesus' atonement paid for past sins, but since they believe our post-regeneration sin can disqualify us, it would mean that their future justification is dependent, in whole or in part, in their own ability to persevere to the end. As such they are not trusting in Jesus Christ alone for their redemption but partly in their own efforts and ability. The Bible indeed teaches that we must persevere to the end but it also teaches that those who are born again will not, indeed CANNOT life a lifestyle of sin because God's seed dwells in them ... and since Jesus always lives to intercede for believers, He will preserve them to the end (1 John 3:9; John 6:37-39).

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 17:34 -- john_hendryx

This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off

In my devotions this morning, I was reading from Deuteronomy 30, and was startled by words in verses 11 and 14 that sounded almost like a Pelagian declaration of human ability:

"This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off...."The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."

Can you comment on a proper understanding of that passage?


Mon, 10/19/2015 - 16:56 -- john_hendryx

How Do I Know I am Saved?

If you claim Christ is your king and you His subject, how is it that He came to occupy the highest place of your affections, that throne atop your heart?

Prior to your redemption, the flesh and Satan quietly possessed your greatest affections, and like the rest, you were Satan's slave, his vassal.. And since he thus reigned over your heart (and was much stronger than you) how did this transformation to Christ take place? There is no doubt that Satan would have never willingly relinquished his reign of power over you. And you, being under the bondage of your own corrupt nature and Satan's dominion over you, would not have been willing to simply renounce, nor able to resist the flesh or the Devil's binding power, since he had taken you captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). For the flesh, the world and the Devil were enemies too powerful for you to disarm and had vast superiority in strength over your base affections. You were their plaything, and that, most willingly. You could not untangle yourself nor did you want to, for you loved darkness (John 3:19 ) and most willingly suppressed the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18 ). Mere exterior persuasion did not scratch the surface of your heart.

Mon, 10/12/2015 - 13:37 -- john_hendryx

Media Distortion & Disinformation

While trust in network media has previously been pretty low, in the last few years, the news media has simply lost all credibility. They have become nothing more than propaganda outlets to shape public opinion ... brazenly suppressing news they don't like and mostly over-promoting ideas they agree with. From all appearances they now feel it is their job to re-educate the masses to think along the lines of their own elite ideology.  The depravity of man is on full display in the press as powerful and wicked people now openly suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).

The examples of this are too many to count but you can witness it most recently in the way the press has mishandled the entire Planned Parenthood drama. First by not showing the inhuman criminal behavior in the videos that they knew would impact public opinion and next by promoting the argument that they were fabricated and then when demonstrated to be genuine, utter silence (crickets). But the problem is hardly limited to this. Other grossly distorted stories abound and it is alarming. The pervasive use of the words bigotry, hate and ___phobia directed against Christians and other people of faith is not an argument but a tactic and one based on uneducated prejudice and ignorance. The press, being derelict in their duty, perhaps more than anyone else, are doing the greatest harm to our democratic republic and are shaping the public to believe a distorted Manichean picture of the world.

Moral: Things are not always as they seem in the world. Do not believe every piece of (dis)information you hear. Let it sit for a while before making a judgment or drawing a conclusion. Or we could easily fall into promoting the same kind of distortion. Truth is all important here.

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 14:57 -- john_hendryx

Can a Regenerate Christian Fall Away from the Faith?: Biblical Reflections on Hebrews 6

by John Hendryx

There are those who teach that Hebrews chapter six is a clear statement that Christians can fall away from the faith and thereby lose their salvation. The purpose of this short reflection is not only to show this to be a erroneous interpretation, but also that the persons making such assertions are in danger of making the very error which the passage is warning about. Lets take a look at the passage together:

"....it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.: - Hebrews 6: 4-8

Perhaps this is one of the most terrifying passages in Scripture, but, as is usually the case, when a passage is read in isolation and without regard to the context of the surrounding passage, theological error is bound to creep in.

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 17:41 -- john_hendryx

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