Stumper 3: Can You Lose Your Salvation?

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Today’s Million Dollar Question

Can you lose your salvation?

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. …Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. Heb. 4:1,11

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28

Food for Thought:

I’d like to share a few thoughts I’ve learned along the way this year that fit into the big picture quite well for me.

First of all, I learned this year that the word “saved” (Greek: sozo) means “make whole” or “heal.” This is one of those words that I think we have made a doctrine out of that may have different implications than we have been taught. For instance, when the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched Jesus’ hem and her bleeding stopped immediately, Jesus said to her:

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well (sozo); go in peace.”  Luke 8:48

Here are a couple websites that talk more about this concept of being saved as being made whole:

Resources for Christians

Sozo

As to whether we can lose our “wholeness” or salvation once we have truly put our faith in Jesus and His work on the cross, I don’t believe so either. However, one thing that has sorely been missing in Church education is the consequences of sin for believers. Just because you have put your faith in Jesus does not mean that you will not be accountable for your actions. Some of the areas I can think of where believers will encounter consequences of judgment for certain behaviors (not all inclusive):

  • Oppressing others (Matt 24:45-51)
  • Hoarding Wealth (James 5)
  • Failing to do the work assigned (Matt. 25:14-30)
  • Being unprepared for His return (Matt. 22:1-14 — goes with my definition of “chosen” yesterday); 25:1-13)

All of these passages are speaking to believers, servants of the Master. You will notice that their punishment is in “outer darkness” or “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Contrary to popular teaching, if you study carefully the place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” from a Hebrew perspective, I believe this is not hell or eternal torment, but Jesus was stating to the Jews that they would wind up outside the city (Gentiles too), away from His presence for a time of judgment and correction/restoration for their evil behavior. Outer darkness is outside the light of the city, away from the presence of the Lamb.  Consider Matt. 8:11-12:

“I say to you that many will come from east and west (a reference to non-Jews), and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I like how Bible teacher, Chuck Missler puts it (I don’t follow Chuck but I liked his description online which is exactly what I believe):

The controversy seems to revolve around the passages in Matthew (which speak about the coming “kingdom of heaven”) that use the term “outer darkness.”  Briefly, the “outer darkness” is defined by several prominent theologians, including Kenneth Wuest, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Erwin Lutzer and Charles Stanley (page 89 KPG), not as “hell,” but as “the darkness outside.” As Stanley puts it: “The outer darkness refers to being thrown outside a building into the dark.” He goes on to say that the point of the three parables in Matthew that use the term “outer darkness,” is that “in God’s future kingdom, those who were faithful in this life (those who produced “fruit” for the kingdom) will be given more privileges than those who were not.”

Consequently, the “outer darkness” is not a description of hell or a place of punishment, like the Catholic’s use of the term “purgatory,” but a place of restoration, renewal and re-instruction in the ways of the Lord. God does not punish His own; His desire is that all His children be reestablished in holiness. The Bible does not say how long an individual might be in this “outer darkness” to be restored, but the concept certainly does encourage us to be wise and heed our accountability here and now. “Fruit” does matter to the Lord.

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