The past month, I have really had the doctrine of eternal security on my mind. Growing up in a Baptist church, I was always told "once saved, always saved" and that if a person did something or didn't go to heaven or whatever then they were never saved in the first place. (Who are we to judge?) This idea is primarily supported by 1 John 2:19: "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." I have been working in a methodist church for three months now and (from what I have gathered) they believe that salvation can possibly, in extreme cases, be lost. One verse that supports this view is 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." I do believe that many Methodist churches may not even share these same beliefs, but that the "common knowledge" belief of methodists goes against eternal security.
Needless to say, I've really been challenged to look to Scripture and really strive to discover for myself my own beliefs and conclusion about eternal security. Simply put, another step toward making my faith my own. So, here is a brief look at what I have concluded so far, I am still doing plenty of seeking and questioning; but my "view" really makes sense to me right now. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about it and told her my perspective. I was told that it was a very unique view that they had never heard before, but it really makes sense.
The biggest verse that caused me to question my belief in "once saved, always saved" is Hebrews 6:4-6: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."
"who have been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age." In my opinion, these people have been saved. I think it eliminates the argument "well they were never saved in the first place." They have clearly "shared in the Holy Spirit." It's saying that it is impossible for these people, who have been saved, if they fall away to be brought back to repentance. The key word here for me is repentance rather than say salvation. I don't see them as losing their salvation, but rather putting an end to their repentance and turning their back on their salvation.
I believe that when we are saved, we are saved and God will not let us go because of our sins. John 10:26-30: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." When we are saved and continue to follow Christ, "my sheep listen to my voice" "and they follow me," God will not let them go. But God does allow free will. No one can snatch us out of His hand, but we do have the opportunity to "stop listening and following" and basically ask/force God to let us go. I think the only way we can do this is by turning our back on the Holy Spirit, "the unpardonable sin." Matthew 12:31-32: "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Before coming to salvation, somebody can speak against Jesus and still later find salvation (think Saul/Paul), but after salvation, if they blaspheme the Holy Spirit, they "will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." I know people who once called themselves Christians (again their salvation is not for me to judge) but after a tragedy or realizing historical truths that "prove" Christianity wrong have abandoned their faith and spoke against the Holy Spirit.
I think of Judas. The man followed Jesus daily, how could he have not been a "Christian?" But he later abandoned Christ and was filled with Satan.
I simply can't believe a complete doctrine of "Once saved, always saved" because I believe that a person who has experienced salvation can fall away, blaspheme the Holy Spirit and completely abandon God. God allows it because he is a God of free will. Nothing can snatch us out his hand. But just as he allows us to freely come to him (rather than forcing us), he just as much allows us to freely get out of His hand and walk away. If you do blaspheme the Holy Spirit, then you have walked away and abandoned God. However, comfort can be found in knowing that as long as I am following Christ and haven't abandoned my faith, then eternal security can be found no matter what sin I commit.
There ya go, deep... at least for me. And definitely different, but its whats been on my mind, so I thought I'd see if any of you had any input or personal beliefs to chime in with. And if you haven't challenged yourself to challenge doctrinal beliefs that you've been spoonfed your whole life, then I encourage you to do so in order to make your faith your own.