The conditional preservation of the saints, or conditional perseverance of the saints, or commonly conditional security, is the Arminian Christian belief that believers are kept safe by God in their saving relationship with him upon the condition of a persevering faith in Christ.[1] Arminians find the Scriptures describing both the initial act of faith in Christ, "whereby the relationship is effected", and the persevering faith in him "whereby the relationship is sustained."[2] The relationship of "the believer to Christ is never a static relationship existing as the irrevocable consequence of a past decision, act, or experience."[3] Rather, it is a living union "proceeding upon a living faith in a living Savior."[4] This living union is captured in the simple command by Christ, "Remain in me, and I in you" (John 15:4).[5]

According to Arminians, biblical saving faith expresses itself in love and obedience to God (Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 5:8–9).[6][7] In the Remonstrant Confession of 1621, the first Remonstrants affirmed that true or living faith operates through love,[8] and that God chooses to give salvation and eternal life through his Son, "and to finally glorify all those and only those truly believing in his name, or obeying his gospel, and persevering in faith and obedience until death".[9]

Arminians believe that "It is abundantly evident from the Scriptures that the believer is secure."[10] Furthermore, believers have assurance in knowing there is no external power or circumstance that can separate them from the love of God they enjoy in union with Christ (Romans 8:35–39;[11] John 10:27–29).[12][13] Nevertheless, Arminians see numerous warnings in Scripture directed to genuine believers about the possibility of falling away in unbelief and thereby becoming severed from their saving union with God through Christ.[14] Arminians hold that if a believer becomes an unbeliever (commits apostasy), they necessarily cease to partake of the promises of salvation and eternal life made to believers who continue in faith and remain united to Christ.[15]

Therefore, Arminians seek to follow the biblical writers in warning believers about the real dangers of committing apostasy. A sure and Biblical way to avoid apostasy is to admonish believers to mature spiritually in their relationship with God in union with Christ and through the power of the Spirit.[16] Maturity takes place as Christ-followers keep on meeting with fellow believers for mutual encouragement and strength; exhorting each to love God and others;[17] to continue growing in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;[18] and to persevere in faith in prayerful dependence upon God through various trials and temptations.[19]

Historical background

Main article: History of the Calvinist–Arminian debate

The Synod of Dort

Free Will Baptist scholar Robert Picirilli states:

Appropriately last among the points of tension among Calvinism and Arminianism is the question whether those who have been regenerated must necessarily persevere (or be preserved) or may apostatize and be lost. ... Arminius himself and the original Remonstrants avoided a clear conclusion on this matter. But they raised the question. And the natural implications of the views at the heart of Arminianism, even in its early stages as a formal movement, tended to question whether Calvinism's assumptions of necessary perseverance was truly Biblical. Those tendencies indicated by the questions raised did not take long to reach fruition, and thus Calvinism and Arminianism have come to be traditionally divided on this issue.[20]

Prior to the time of the debate between Calvinists and the Arminians at the Synod of Dort (1618–1619), the view in the early church appears to be on the side of conditional security. From his research of the writings of the early church fathers (AD 90–313), patristic scholar David W. Bercot arrived at this conclusion: "Since the early Christians believed that our continued faith and obedience are necessary for salvation, it naturally follows that they believed that a 'saved' person could still end up being lost."[21]

Arminius in his study

Arminius and conditional security

Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) arrived at the same conclusion in his own readings of the early church fathers. In responding to Calvinist William Perkins arguments for the perseverance of the saints, he wrote: "In reference to the sentiments of the [early church] fathers, you doubtless know that almost all antiquity is of the opinion, that believers can fall away and perish."[22] On another occasion he notes that such a view was never "reckoned as a heretical opinion," but "has always had more supporters in the church of Christ, than that which denies its possibility."[23] Arminius' opinion on the subject is clearly communicated in this relatively brief statement:

My sentiments respecting the perseverance of the Saints are, that those persons who have been grafted into Christ by true faith, and have thus been made partakers of his life-giving Spirit, possess sufficient powers [or strength] to fight against Satan, sin, the world and their own flesh, and to gain the victory over these enemies—yet not without the assistance of the grace of the same Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ also by his Spirit assists them in all their temptations, and affords them the ready aid of his hand; and, provided they stand prepared for the battle, implore his help, and be not wanting to themselves, Christ preserves them from falling. So that it is not possible for them, by any of the cunning craftiness or power of Satan, to be either seduced or dragged out of the hands of Christ. But I think it is useful and will be quite necessary in our first convention, [or Synod] to institute a diligent inquiry from the Scriptures, whether it is not possible for some individuals through negligence to desert the commencement of their existence in Christ, to cleave again to the present evil world, to decline from the sound doctrine which was once delivered to them, to lose a good conscience, and to cause Divine grace to be ineffectual. Though I here openly and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either totally or finally fall away from the faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to see, are not of such a kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding. On the other hand, certain passages are produced for the contrary doctrine [of unconditional perseverance] which are worthy of much consideration.[24]

For Arminius the believer's security is conditional—"provided they stand prepared for the battle, implore his help, and be not wanting to themselves." This complements what Arminius says elsewhere in his writings: "God resolves to receive into favor those who repent and believe, and to save in Christ, on account of Christ, and through Christ, those who persevere [in faith], but to leave under sin and wrath those who are impenitent and unbelievers, and to condemn them as aliens from Christ."[25] In another place he writes: "[God] wills that they, who believe and persevere in faith, shall be saved, but that those, who are unbelieving and impenitent, shall remain under condemnation."[26]

Episcopius was the leader of the Remonstrants

The Remonstrants and conditional security

After the death of Arminius in 1609, the Remonstrants maintained their leader's view on conditional security and his uncertainty regarding the possibility of apostasy. This is evidenced in the fifth article drafted by its leaders in 1610:

That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory; it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by not craft or power of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ's hand, according to the Word of Christ, John 10:28: 'Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.' But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with full persuasion of our minds.[27]

Sometime between 1610, and the official proceeding of the Synod of Dort (1618), the Remonstrants became fully persuaded in their minds that the Scriptures taught that a true believer was capable of falling away from faith and perishing eternally as an unbeliever. They formalized their views in "The Opinion of the Remonstrants" (1618). Points three and four in the fifth article read:

True believers can fall from true faith and can fall into such sins as cannot be consistent with true and justifying faith; not only is it possible for this to happen, but it even happens frequently. True believers are able to fall through their own fault into shameful and atrocious deeds, to persevere and to die in them; and therefore finally to fall and to perish.[28]

Picirilli remarks: "Ever since that early period, then, when the issue was being examined again, Arminians have taught that those who are truly saved need to be warned against apostasy as a real and possible danger."[29]

Other Arminians who affirmed conditional security

Wesley opposed the doctrine of unconditional perseverance

John Goodwin (1593–1665) was a Puritan who "presented the Arminian position of falling away in Redemption Redeemed (1651)"[30] which drew a lot of attention from Calvinists.[31] In his book, English bishop Laurence Womock (1612–1685) provides numerous scriptural references to the fifth article concerning perseverance delivered by the later Remonstrants.[32] Philipp van Limborch (1633–1712) penned the first complete Remonstrant Systematic Theology in 1702 that included a section on apostasy.[33] In 1710, a minister in the Church of England, Daniel Whitby (1638–1726), published a major work criticizing the five points of Calvinism—which involves their doctrine of unconditional perseverance.[34]

John Wesley (1703–1791), the founder of Methodism, was an outspoken defender of conditional security and critic of unconditional security. In 1751, Wesley defended his position in a work titled, "Serious Thoughts Upon the Perseverance of the Saints." In it he argued that a believer remains in a saving relationship with God if he "continue in faith" or "endureth in faith unto the end."[35] Wesley affirmed that a child of God, "while he continues a true believer, cannot go to hell."[36] However, if he makes a "shipwreck of the faith, then a man that believes now may be an unbeliever some time hence" and become "a child of the devil."[36] He then adds, "God is the Father of them that believe, so long as they believe. But the devil is the father of them that believe not, whether they did once believe or no."[37] Like his Arminian predecessors, Wesley was convinced from the testimony of the Scriptures that a true believer may abandon faith and the way of righteousness and "fall from God as to perish everlastingly."[37]

From John Wesley onward, it looks as if every Methodist/Wesleyan pastor, scholar, or theologian in print has opposed unconditional perseverance: Thomas Olivers (1725–1799);[38] John William Fletcher (1729–1783);[39] Joseph Benson (1748–1821);[40] Leroy M. Lee (1758–1816);[41] Adam Clarke (1762–1832);[42] Nathan Bangs (1778–1862);[43] Richard Watson (1781–1833);[44] Thomas C. Thornton (1794–1860)[45] Samuel Wakefield (1799–1895);[46] Luther Lee (1800–1889);[47] Amos Binney (1802–1878);[48] William H. Browning (1805–1873);[49] Daniel D. Whedon (1805–1885);[50] Thomas N. Ralston (1806–1891);[51] Thomas O. Summers (1812–1882);[52] Albert Nash (1812–1900);[53] John Miley (1813–1895);[54] Philip Pugh (1817–1871);[55] Randolph Sinks Foster (1820–1903);[56] William Burt Pope (1822–1903);[57] B. T. Roberts (1823–1893);[58] Daniel Steele (1824–1914);[59] Benjamin Field (1827–1869);[60] John Shaw Banks (1835–1917);[61] and Joseph Agar Beet (1840–1924).[62]

Apostasy: definition and dangers

The definition of apostasy

Apostasy "means the deliberate disavowal of belief in Christ made by a formerly believing Christian."[63] "Cremer states that apostasia is used in the absolute sense of 'passing over to unbelief,' thus a dissolution of the 'union with God subsisting through faith in Christ'."[64] Arminian scholar Robert Shank writes,

The English word apostasy is derived from the Greek noun, apostasia. Thayer defines apostasia as 'a falling away, defection, apostasy; in the Bible sc. from the true religion.' The word appears twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Its meaning is well illustrated in its use in Acts 21:21, ... "you are teaching apostasy (defection) from Moses." ... A kindred word is the synonym apostasion. Thayer defines apostasion, as used in the Bible, as "divorce, repudiation." He cites Matthew 19:7 and Mark 10:4, ... "a bill of divorce [apostasion]." He also cites Matthew 5:31, ... "let him give her a bill of divorce [apostasion]." He cites the use of apostasion by Demosthenes as "defection, of a freedman from his patron." Moulton and Milligan cite the use of [apostasion] as a "bond of relinquishing (of property sold) ... a contract of renunciation ... the renunciation of rights of ownership." They also cite the use of apostasion "with reference to 'a deed of divorce.'" The meaning of the [related] verb aphistēmi ... is, of course, consonant with the meaning of the nouns. It is used transitively in Acts 5:37, ... "drew away people after him." Intransitively, it means to depart, go away, desert, withdraw, fall away, become faithless, etc.[65]

I. Howard Marshall notes that aphistemi "is used of giving up the faith in Luke 8:13; 1 Timothy 4:1 and Hebrews 3:12, and is used of departure from God in the LXX [i.e., Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament]."[66] Marshall also notes that "the failure to persist in faith is expressed by [other Greek] words which mean falling away, drifting and stumbling."[67] Of particular theological significance[68] are the verb skandalizō ("fall away from faith")[69] and the noun skandalon ("enticement to unbelief, cause of salvation's loss, seduction").[70]

Shank concluded: "An apostate, according to the New Testament definition, is one who has severed his union with Christ by withdrawing from an actual saving relationship with Him. Apostasy is impossible for men who have not entered into a saving relationship with God... The warnings against succumbing to the ugly peril of apostasy are directed ... to men who obviously are true believers."[71] J. Rodman Williams adds,

One of the mistakes made by those who affirm the invariable continuance of salvation is the viewing of salvation too much as a "state." From this perspective, to be saved is to enter into "a state of grace." However true it is that one moves into a new realm—whether it is called the kingdom of God, eternal life, or other like expression—the heart of the matter is the establishment of a new relationship with God. Prior to salvation, one was "without God" or "against God," cut off from His presence. Now through Jesus Christ reconciliation—"at-one-ment with God"—has occurred. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, who becomes present, is not merely some force or energy but God Himself in a new and intimate relationship. Hence, if a person begins to "drift away," it is not from some static condition or "state" but from a Person. It is a personal relationship that thereby is betrayed, broken, forfeited; this is the tragic meaning of apostasy. It is not so much giving up something, even so marvellous as salvation, but the forsaking of a Person. Surely through such an action salvation too is forfeited. But the critical matter is the severing of a relationship with the personal God.[72]

The dangers of apostasy

Marshall finds four biblical dangers that could serve as precursors to committing apostasy:[73]

1. Persecution by Unbelievers – "Believers ... are frequently tempted to give up their faith because of the difficulties of maintaining it amid fierce opposition."
2. Accepting False Doctrine – "Whatever form this presents itself ... the temptation is to blunt the edge of faith in Jesus Christ and ultimately to destroy it altogether."
3. Temptation to Sin – "The significance of this form of temptation is that it causes the believer to deny the power of God to preserve him from sinning, to return to the very things from which he was saved by belief in Christ (and which by their nature exclude a man from the kingdom of God), and to perform those acts which are expressly forbidden by the Lord ... In other words, sin is an act and attitude which is incompatible with the obedience of faith, and hence constitutes a denial of faith."
4. Weariness in Faith – This is where "the believer gradually drifts away from his faith and passes into a state of apostasy."

Marshall concludes: "The New Testament contains too many warnings about the danger of sin and apostasy for us to be complacent about these possibilities. ... These dangers are real and not 'hypothetical.'"[74] Methodist scholar Ben Witherington would add: "The New Testament suggests that one is not eternally secure until one is securely in eternity. Short of that, there is the possibility of apostasy or rebellion against God by one who has believed in Christ. Apostasy, however, is not to be confused with the notion of accidentally or unconsciously "falling away." Apostasy is a conscious, wilful rebellion against God ... Unless one commits such an act of apostasy or rebellion, one need not worry about one's salvation, for God has a firm grip on the believer."[75]

With apostasy being a real possibility for Christians, Arminians seek to follow the example that New Testament writer's provide in urging Christians to persevere.[16] Scot McKnight clarifies what perseverance means and doesn't mean for Arminians:

It doesn't mean sinlessness; it doesn't mean that we are on some steady and never-failing incline up into pure sanctification; it does not deny stumbling or messy spirituality; it doesn't deny doubt and problems. It simply means that the person continues to walk with Jesus and doesn't walk away from him in a resolute manner. ... What it means is continuing trust in God.[76]

Since Arminians view sin as "an act and attitude which ... constitutes a denial of faith",[77] believers who persist in acting like unbelievers will eventually become one of them and share in their same destiny and doom.[78] Therefore, "the only people who need perseverance are Christians," and "the only people who can commit apostasy are Christians. Non-Christians have nothing to persevere toward or apostatize from."[79] Thus, when Christians are appropriately warned about the dangers of committing apostasy, such warnings "can function as a moral injunction that strengthens commitment to holiness as well as the need to turn in complete trust to God in Christ through his Spirit."[80]

Biblical support

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Below are many key Scriptures that Arminians have used to defend conditional security and the possibility of apostasy.

Conditional security in the Old Testament

Joseph Benson comments that no one among the people of God are to "revolt" from the Lord "to serve other gods." The person who does so is an "apostate from the true God" who is "spreading his poison to infect others." This apostate flatters himself into thinking that he is safe from the judgment of God while he does not "follow God's command," but his own devices. Moses warns the Israelites that their hopes of peace and safety will not "avail them at all if they forsook the law of God, and apostatized from his worship and service."[81]

"This is the settled and eternal purpose of God; to them who seek him he will ever be found propitious, and them alone will he abandon who forsake him. In this verse the unconditional perseverance of the saints has no place."[82]

Can a man who was once holy and pure fall away so as to perish everlastingly? YES. For God says, "If he turn away from his righteousness;" . . . And he tells us, that a man may so "turn away from this," and so "commit iniquity," and "act as the wicked man," that his righteousness shall be no more mentioned to his account, than the sins of the penitent backslider should be mentioned to his condemnation; and "in the sin that he" this once righteous man, "hath sinned, and in the trespass that he hath trespassed, in them shall he die." . . . So then, God himself informs us that a righteous man may not only fall foully, but fall finally.[82]

Conditional security in the teachings of Jesus

The idea of gouging out [your right eye] and cutting off [your right hand], needless to say, demands a violent, decisive measure for removing the source of temptation. The reason is seen in "to fall away" [skandalizō], a strong term that does not simply indicate temptation to general sin but that which leads one virtually into apostasy. ... The seriousness of the sin is made even more so by the reference to "Gehenna" ... which implies the final judgment and eternal torment. Jesus wants to make certain that the disciples realize the importance of the issue. ... [I]t is far better to suffer in losing your most important appendage than to lose everything at the final judgment. ... [O]ne must violently throw away everything that causes the lust, lest their spiritual life and ultimately their eternal destiny be destroyed in the process.[83]

"[L]iving under the obedience to 'the will of [the] Father' (this is especially God's will as unfolded in the Sermon itself = the love commandments 22:37–40) is not an option but a necessity for entering the kingdom. A life of obedience ([note the] present tense [verb 'doing,' referring to] ... continuous action) to his will is, in fact, the definition of the 'greater righteousness' of 5:20."[84]

"[B]e not discouraged at the prospect of these trials, for he that perseveres in the faith and practice of the gospel, and who bears constantly and with invincible patience these persecutions, (which my grace is sufficient to enable you all to do,) shall be finally and eternally saved from all sin and misery, into the kingdom and glory of God."[85]

"The term 'confess' ... here has the idea of public proclamation of allegiance to Jesus. ... Here the Son of Man on the throne confesses or denies people before the heavenly court.... [v. 33] But whoever denies me before people, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. ... This is a strong warning, for 'to deny' ... here means to renounce Christ and is language of apostasy.[86] In this persecution passage, it means that people cave in to pressure and renounce Christ to avoid beating or death."[87]

On the basis of the present context . . . it appears that the "little ones" are particularly vulnerable to temptation and apostasy. . . . [These] "little ones" are believers who are in danger of being "scandalized," that is, fall away from Christ (skandalizō is so used in 13:21; 24:10).[88] Those responsible for causing little ones to fall away are threatened with eternal perdition. No hint is given concerning whether the skandalon (stumbling block) of verse 7 is laid before the humble believers by an outsider or an insider. Presumably both possibilities are in view; a vulnerable Christian can be drawn away by a non-Christian or driven away by a fellow believer. . . . Believers are here warned [in verses 8-9] to exercise proper self-discipline, since the end result of continually yielding to various temptations may well be turning away from Christ.[89]

Jesus delivers a parable about "believers . . . who can wander off into sin or false belief [cf. Matt. 18:6-9]."[90] Jesus's disciples are to seek out and find a lost sheep (believer) who have gone astray from the flock (God's people) because God the Father values them and does not want them to ultimately "be lost forever"[91] or perish.[92] Lost/Perish (apollymi) in this context refers to falling into "eternal perdition,"[93] or "eternal doom because of apostasy."[94] The wandering sheep needs to be "rescued before they commit apostasy" (i.e., become an unbeliever).[95] But, "If he should find it," (v. 14) is significant here. Calvinist Craig Blomberg says, "'If' in v. 13 introduces a [Greek] third-class condition, which allows for the possibility that the shepherd will not find the sheep."[96] "Verse 14 brings the parable to a conclusion with a dramatic theological assertion—the heavenly Father is not willing that any of these little ones be lost [eternally as unbelievers].[97] This shows God's concern that apostasy not happen to any of the followers of Jesus, but it also stresses that going astray is possible for the followers of Jesus."[98]

Jesus "predicts that many will fall away (... [skandalizō], 24:10a). ... Betrayals, hatred, deception, and failed love all characterize the ways believers will fall away from their faith."[99] The future "forecast is bleak: many Christians will be deceived and become apostate. They will turn away from Jesus' command to love God and love their neighbor as themselves; they will 'hate one another' instead. The followers of Jesus must therefore persevere in faith to the end of the age or the end of their physical life, whichever comes first. Failure to do so would constitute apostasy and loss of eternal salvation."[100]

Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24:45–51 illustrates how "a servant who is left in charge of the master's home" can become unprepared for the master's return.[101] Lutheran scholar Dale Bruner says:

Jesus is not talking about two kinds of servants in our parable – one faithful, another unfaithful. The word "that" in the phrase "that wicked servant" certifies that we are dealing with the same servant, the one who was good in the preceding verses . . . and is therefore a warning: "Watch out, 'good servant,' for you can turn bad very quickly" (cf. Davies and Allison, 3:386). Jesus is talking about two possibilities (faithfulness or unfaithfulness) open to one servant (Jeremias, Par., 55; Schweizer, 463). He is talking about every Christian![102]

"The faithful and wise servant who devotedly feeds the household spiritual bread" does not need to worry about the time of Jesus' return.[103] But that same servant may become "an apostate" by acting "in an unfaithful way, violating Jesus' love commandment by physically abusing fellow servants (cf. 22:37-41; 18:28-30) and getting drunk instead of staying alert (cf. Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thess 5:7; 1 Cor 6:10)."[104] That servant will not be ready for his master's return and will be assigned a place with the hypocrites "where there is 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matt 24:51b), a phrase in Matthew representing hell (Matt 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30; cf. Luke 13:28)."[105]

In this teaching Jesus warns against an apostasy that is tied to persecution.[106] He commands his disciples (and anyone who would want to be his disciple) to take up their cross in self-denial and to keep on following him (8:34).[107] Jesus expects his disciples to follow him "on his journey to Jerusalem, and that path will involve suffering and death, but it will eventually produce new life when Jesus is raised from the dead."[108] Jesus goes on to elaborate "on what cross-bearing entails: 'for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it' (Mark 8:35; cf. Matt 10:39; 16:25; Luke 9:24; 17:33; John 12:25). Here 'life' ... refers to the essential person that survives death. ...The saying in 8:35 encourages the disciples, especially when facing persecution and martyrdom, to look beyond the temporal life and receive eternal life, and conversely, it warns them against keeping their temporal life at the expense of losing eternal life. If a person should gain the entire world this would not be worth the value of his or her life in the age to come (8:36–37)."[109]

"Jesus pronounces an ominous warning against influencing a believing child . . . to commit apostasy (v. 42)."[110] Jesus does not specify "whether the person envisioned as causing this [skandalizō] is a believer or an unbeliever. ... [He] simply emphasize[s] that 'whoever' . . . causes a believer to ... lose his/her faith is in danger of being cast into hell"[111] Jesus moves from warning anyone who is involved with causing believers to fall away, to warning His disciples that if their hand, foot, or eyes causes them to fall away (skandalizō) they are to "sever the member from their body rather than be thrown into Gehenna."[112] This amputation of body parts "could hardly be more shocking . . . . Nothing less than eternal life and death are at stake" (entering into [eternal] life/the kingdom of God or being cast into hell).[113] "Jesus . . . deliberately chose harsh, scandalous imagery to alert disciples that their lives tremble in the balance. ... [And] a lackadaisical disregard for sin in one's own life imperils one's salvation."[114]

The seed is the word of God, and the first place it has fallen is along the path. The initial group hear, but get no real hold on the word of God. The Devil has no difficulty in extricating it from their hearts. In their case, no response of faith has bound the message to their hearts ... which could have brought them salvation (cf. Acts 15:11; 16:31). The second group have a different problem. They "receive the word"—a mode of expression that indicates a right believing response to the gospel (Acts 8:14; 11:1; etc.). ... The real potential of these newly germinated plants will only come to light when the pressures come on in some kind of trial. Just as the true deep loyalties of Jesus were put on trial in Luke 4:1–13, so will those of every respondent to the Christian gospel also be. If the rootedness is not there, the new life will wither away. Apostasy is the outcome.[115]

Some argue "that the unfaithful servant of verses 45, 46 was never a true disciple."[116] However, this argument rests upon a false assumption.[117] "First, it must be assumed that two different servants are in view in the parable, one of whom proves faithful, and the other of whom proves unfaithful. But Jesus did not speak of two servants. Rather, He spoke only of 'that servant' ho doulos ekeinos [in verses 43, 45, 46]. The demonstrative pronoun ekeinos ['that'] is emphatic. Language forbids any assumption that more than one servant is in view in the parable."[117] Therefore, "Jesus' parable . . . concerns only men who know Him and to whom He commits solemn responsibilities as His true disciples."[118]

An accurate analysis of the parable is as follows:[119] The Question (v. 42): "Who then is the faithful and wise manager" whom his Lord will reward for giving His servants "their food allowance at the proper time?" The Answer (v. 43): "that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns." The Reward (v. 44): "he will put him in charge of all his possessions." The Peril (v. 45): "That servant" may act unfaithfully during his master's long absence by beating other servants and getting drunk. The Penalty (v. 46): The master will come unexpectedly and "will cut him in two and assign him a place with the unbelievers" (or "unfaithful," ESV, NET, CSB).

The final destiny of the unbeliever/unfaithful is nothing other than "eternal damnation"[120] in "hell."[121] If a disciple of Jesus persists in acting like an unbeliever while their master is gone, they will eventually become an unbeliever and share in their same fate when the master returns.[122] This is a strong warning to the disciples of Jesus about the possibility of becoming "an apostate" through unfaithfulness manifested in selfish and sinful behavior.[123]

"After Jesus speaks about his upcoming death (12:23–24) he proclaims in 12:25, 'the one who loves his life loses it; the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for life eternal.'"[124] Like "in the Synoptic texts. . . the saying is relevant to persecution and martyrdom, and a true disciple of Jesus must be willing to 'hate' his/her life in the sense of be willing to lose it for the sake of Jesus."[125] Those "followers of Jesus who 'hate' their life keep it for eternal life."[125] Those followers who wind up loving their life more than following Jesus during times of persecution will "fall away" and forfeit "eternal life."[125] Thus, "Jesus warns his faithful followers against committing apostasy" in 12:25.[126]

"Jesus speaks of two categories of branches: fruitless and fruitful. ... The branches that cease to bear fruit are those who no longer have the life in them that comes from enduring faith in and love for Christ. These "branches" the Father severs from the vine [v. 2], i.e., he separates them from vital union with Christ. When they stop remaining in Christ, they cease having life; thus they are severed and thrown into the fire (v. 6).[127] "This verse shows ...there may therefore occur ... a real apostasy of such as have been really disciples of Jesus. ... He who apostatizes [i.e., becomes an unbeliever] is cast out, namely, out of the vineyard of the kingdom of God. The casting comes only after the apostasy, but it comes surely. But cut from the vine and thrown away, the branch has but for a short time the life-sap in itself; it will at once be said ... ('it is withered'). ... The rest, then, is the ... ('gathering,' 'throwing into the fire,' and 'burning'), that is, the final judgment."[128] Jesus "makes it unmistakably clear" that he "did not believe 'once in the vine, always in the vine.' Rather, ... Jesus gave his disciples a solemn but loving warning that it is indeed possible for true believers to ultimately abandon the faith, turn their backs on Jesus, fail to remain in him, and thus be thrown into the everlasting fire of hell."[129]

Conditional security in the book of Acts

Paul's follow-up care with new Christians involved warning them about necessity of enduring hardships.[130] "Hardship is a key ingredient of discipleship. Paul also teaches this in his letters (Philippians 1:28–30; 1 Thessalonians 3:3), and Jesus mentioned it in his basic call to discipleship (Luke 9:23–24)."[131] Paul asserts that enduring hardships "is a condition for entrance into the kingdom of God."[132] All the "strengthening" and "encouraging them to remain true to the faith" was for the purpose of enabling them to persevere in faith through the coming hardships that Jesus and Paul said was a normal part of being a follower of Jesus.[133]

Paul warns the elders in Ephesus to be on the alert and to watch out for yourselves and for God's flock, for there is coming a time when fierce wolves will come to prey upon God's people from without and from within.[134] These false teachers will pervert the truth of the gospel message in hopes of drawing away "Christian believers (from the faith)"—persuading them to "apostatize."[135] Shockingly, some of the elders "will become apostate" "false teachers" who "seduce their congregation members away from the Christian message."[136] Luke's "inclusion of the warning in Acts 20" would have put his readers on high alert regarding the "dangerous teachers situated within the Christian community that lead believers away from apostolic faith."[136]

Conditional security in the writings of the apostle Paul

"Paul here directs this warning specifically to his 'brothers' (v. 12). He is not speaking of an anonymous 'anyone' (v. 9) who is not a true Christian, but is speaking directly to these brothers in second person plural: 'If you live according to the flesh, you will die.' 'Die' cannot mean die physically, for that will happen regardless. Thus it means die spiritually by reverting to an unsaved condition; or die eternally in hell. Actually these cannot be separated."[137] "If the believer allow flesh's impulses to get the upper hand again, he faces the awful prospect of apostasy and eternal death (cf. 2 Peter 2:19–22)."[138]

verses 20—22 involve clearly an emphatic contradiction of the teaching, by Calvin and others, that all who have been justified will ultimately be saved. For Paul assumes throughout that his readers are already justified, are adopted as sons and heirs of God, and possess the Spirit of God as a firstfruit of their inheritance: see chapters 5:9-11; 6:18, 22; 8:2, 15, 16, 23. Yet he solemnly and emphatically warns them that unless they continue in the kindness of God they will be cut off. This last can be no less than the punishment already inflicted on the unbelieving Jews who have been broken off, and who are held up in verse 20, 21 as a warning to the believing Gentiles. For Paul's deep sorrow for the unbelieving Jews proves clearly that in his view they are on the way to the destruction (chapter 2:12) awaiting unrepentant sinners. His warning to Gentiles who now stand by faith implies clearly that unless they continue in faith they will experience a similar fate. We therefore accept the words before us in their simple and full meaning. Although salvation, from the earliest good desire to final victory, is entirely a work of God, a gift of His undeserved favor, and a realisation of His eternal purpose, it is nevertheless, both in its commencement and in its continuance, altogether conditional on man's faith.[139]

The strong Christian is warned not to place a stumbling block (. . . proskomma) or an obstacle (... skandalon) in a brother's path.... The stumbling in this verse is spiritual ... it refers to stumbling and falling into sin.... It refers to ... a true "spiritual downfall" (Moo, 851). The cause for such spiritual stumbling would be an act on the part of the strong brother that is not wrong in itself, but which is perceived as wrong by a weak brother. Such an act becomes a stumbling block when the weak brother observes it and is influenced there by to do the same thing, even though in his heart he believes it is wrong, which is sin (v. 23). In this way the strong brother has inadvertently influenced the weak brother to "fall into sin and potential spiritual ruin" (Moo, 852), just by exercising his Christian liberty. The point is that we must be sensitive to how our conduct is affecting others, and we must be willing to forgo perfectly legitimate behavior if it has the potential of causing someone to sin against his conscience.... In v. 13 Paul urges the strong Christian to not put a stumbling block in the way of the weak; here in v. 15 he gives one reason for this, i.e., it is not consistent with love. ... To the one who loves, a weak brother's spiritual well-being is always more important than indulging the right to eat whatever one likes.... [O]ne is not acting in love if his exercise of liberty influences a weak brother to follow his example and thus fall into sin by violating his own conscience. [Paul goes on to write:] Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. The Greek word for "destroy" is ... (apollymi), a very strong word .... Just how serious is this destruction? Is Paul referring to a loss of salvation, and condemnation to hell? ... I must conclude ... that this strong warning does imply that the careless and unloving exercise of Christian liberty can lead to actual loss of salvation for a weak brother. Apollymi is frequently used in the sense of eternal destruction in hell (e.g., Matt 10:28; Luke 13:3; John 3:16; Rom 2:12). The reference to the fact that Christ died for these weak brethren supports this meaning here. I.e., the destruction in view would negate the very purpose of Christ's death, which is to save them from eternal condemnation.... The verse cannot be reconciled with "once saved, always saved."[140]

Paul warns the Roman Christians about false teachers before they ever appear in the community. ... He commands them to watch out or maintain constant vigilance regarding the dangerous heretics who may come at any time. The first problem with these people is that they cause divisions or "dissension" in the community. ... Second they put obstacles or "stumbling blocks" before believers. ... these are forces [i.e., teachings] that destroy one's faith and can lead to apostasy. This is in fact a primary characteristic of heresy. It ... actually destroys the core doctrines of the Christian faith.[141]

Since this community building is the temple of God, where the Spirit of God dwells, Paul introduces a new, more serious threat. While some builders may do a lousy job of building on the foundation and their work will be consumed, some work moves beyond mere shoddiness and becomes destructive. Paul assumes that the community can be destroyed by insiders, not by outsiders... It is a severe warning. He has real destruction in mind, and those who destroy God's temple will also be destroyed.... Paul does not describe how the temple is destroyed, but it is undoubtedly relates in some way to their boastful arrogance, their eagerness to appraise others, and their competitive partisanship—all the things that divide Christ... Paul allows the readers to imagine that their petty jealousies (3:3), boasting (1:29; 3:21; 4:7), arrogance (4:6, 18, 19), and quarrels (1:11; 3:3) might qualify for this bleak judgment. The survival of the church and their salvation is at risk.[142]

The 'wicked' will not inherit the kingdom of God." This is of course refers to the eschatological [i.e., future and final] consummation of the kingdom.... Paul's point in all this it to warn "the saints," ... that if they persist in the same evils as the "wicked" they are in the same danger of not inheriting the kingdom. Some theologies have great difficulty with such warnings, implying that they are essentially hypothetical since God's children cannot be "disinherited." But such a theology fails to take seriously the genuine tension of texts like this one. The warning is real; the wicked will not inherit the kingdom.... Paul's concern is that the Corinthians must "stop deceiving themselves" or "allowing themselves to be deceived." By persisting in the same behavior as those already destined for judgment they are placing themselves in the very real danger of that same judgment. If it were not so, then the warning in no warning at all.[143]

Paul solemnly warns [Christians] of the danger of dabbling with idolatrous practices. Verse 10–12 offer a specific description of how Paul imagines the possible damage inflicted on the community by those who want to eat the idol meat. The weak will see the gnōsis [knowledge]-boasters eating in the temple of an idol and be influenced, contrary to their own consciences, to participate in the same practice (v. 10).... [Paul] is concerned ... about weaker believers ... being drawn ... back into idol worship.... In verse 11 Paul states the dire consequences of such cultural compromise: The weak will be "destroyed" [apollymi]. This language should not be watered down.[144]

David Garland states: "Paul always uses the verb [apollymi] to refer to eternal, final destruction ([So] Barrett 1968: 196; Conzelmann 1975: 149 n. 38; Fee 1987: 387-88; Schrage 1995: 265; Cheung 1999: 129). If salvation means that God has 'rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son' (Col. 1:13), then returning to idolatry and the regime of darkness means eternal ruin."[145] Robert Picirilli notes that "the verb [apollymi] is present tense ... 'Your brother is perishing.' (This use of the present is futuristic, of course, but it puts the future into the present time as something already in process.) Paul does not mean that this weak brother has perished yet; but he does mean that the outcome of his falling into sin, if the process is not reversed in some way, is certain to be his eternal ruin."[146] Picirilli concludes: "Sin persisted in, on the part of a Christian, can lead to a retraction of faith in Christ and thus to apostasy [i.e., becoming an unbeliever] and eternal destruction."[147]

Paul issues an imperative "Be running in such a way that you may win [the prize]" (9:24b, DLNT), which controls the whole paragraph.[148] The command ("be running") suggests that some believers are not running the Christian race in such a way to win the prize. Specifically, some are not "exercising proper self-control (the emphasis in vv. 25-27)" in their Christian walk.[149] Some Christians are demonstrating a lack of self-control in regards to knowingly eating food offered to idols in a pagan temple and influencing other Christians to engage in such idolatry as well (see 1 Cor. 8:7-13). This passage "serves as a clear warning if they fail to 'run' properly," and anticipates the warnings found in 10:1-22.[150] The goal of running with self-control for the believer is an imperishable prize which commentators and scholars identify as: "final salvation"[151] or "eternal life" with God,[152] or more specifically, "eternal life in an imperishable new body (15:42, 50, 53-54)."[153] Gregory Lockwood concludes:

Buy thus disciplining himself, Paul's faith was active in loving service to all. If he were to live a life of self-indulgence, he would endanger not only the salvation of others, but also his own. The danger of being disqualified is real. Disqualification would mean nothing less than missing out on the crown of [eternal] life, as the context makes clear (1 Cor 9:24–27). ... The implication for the Corinthians should be obvious: it would be a tragedy if they forfeited their salvation by ceasing to exercise self-control and thus relapsing into idolatry. Paul will now elaborate that message in 1 Corithians 10. Christians must constantly exercise self-discipline, restraining their sinful nature and putting it to death by the power of the Spirit, so that they may live for God—now and in eternity (Rom 8:13).[154]

The connecting word "For" is significant because it links "the argument of chapter 10 to chapter 9. The danger of being 'disqualified' from salvation (9:27) is real, as the history of Israel proves."[157] Both 1 Cor. 9:24–27 and 10:1–12 convey "the necessity for self-control and [warn of] the danger of apostasy," via idolatry.[158] Paul "appeals to ... the history of Israel as directly applicable to Christians in Corinth. The example of 'the fathers' horrifying end highlights the peril in which the Corinthians place themselves by consorting with idols."[159] "Paul's purpose in drawing the parallel is this: just as many Israelites were disqualified because of their unfaithfulness and false worship, Christians too face the danger of being disqualified from salvation if they engage in false worship and fail to remain in repentance and faith worked by the Holy Spirit."[160] "Paul uses the Israelite examples so that the Corinthians will repent and not perish" due to their idolatrous actions.[161] Paul gives a "climatic"[162] and "chilling warning"[163] to his readers in verse 12, "Therefore, the one who thinks that he stands must watch out lest he fall" (LEB). In Pauline usage "stand" (Greek: histēmi) refers to "the idea of one's standing in faith and grace or in the message of the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1f; 16:13; 2 Cor. 1:24; Rom. 5:2; 11:20; Phil. 4:1 cf. 1 Pet. 5:12)."[164] Here, in light of "the divine privileges found in 10:1–4" that the Christians in Corinth already partake of, histēmi conveys in v. 12 that they are presently "standing in a salvific relationship" with Christ and enjoy "the blessings of divine graces."[165] Unfortunately, some Christians are "forgetting that their standing is not indelible [i.e., permanent] but depends on a continuing faithfulness to God."[166] "If Paul thinks that he could fall (9:27), how much more, then, could the Corinthians fall. Their security rests on their continuing fidelity [i.e., faithfulness] to God and God alone (cf. Rom. 11:22)."[167] "When congregants have an overinflated view of salvific assurance . . . Paul is quick to deflate them by warning that they may not achieve final salvation if they persist in ways that displease God (e.g., 1 Cor 10:1–12)."[168] Indeed, "The sins specified by Paul are ... those peculiarly besetting the Church at Corinth. They are to be interpreted as sins through which apostasy and destruction were likely to result. Hence Paul warns them (verse 12) against a fall."[169] This "fall" is not merely "a falling ... into a state of sin" since some Christians in Corinth have already been committing the sins mentioned in 10:6-10, specifically, idolatry and sexual immorality.[170] Since "fall" is the opposite of standing in faith,[171] Paul is referring to a "catastrophic fall" from faith[172] whereby the believer commits apostasy (i.e., becomes an unbeliever).[173] Even Calvinist Thomas Schreiner acknowledges that "the verb 'fall' (piptō) often designates apostasy – falling away from the faith," but does not believe that this can happen to Christians.[174] Calvinist Andrew Wilson says, "Standing and falling, for Paul, appear to be common metaphors for perseverance and apostasy," and goes on to conclude: "Paul's use of the Israelites to warn the Corinthians about 'standing' and 'falling' suggests that he has this polarity in mind: perseverance [in faith] leading to eternal salvation, or idolatry resulting in eschatological [i.e., future and final] condemnation.[175] Paul holds that eating food known to have been offered to idols as nothing less than "idolatry," and he states emphatically that "no-one who makes a practice of committing idolatry will inherit God's kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:20–21; Eph. 5:5)."[176] Therefore, if a Christian persists in such idolatrous behavior they will eventually "fall" or commit apostasy (i.e., become an unbelieving idolater) and be prevented "from entering the kingdom of God,",[177] forfeiting eternal "salvation"[178] with God for "eternal destruction"[179] or "damnation"[180] from God. "Given the close connection between 9:27 and this passage [10:12], one might very well find in this entire section (9:24–10:14) one of the best N.T. passages warning about apostasy."[181]

The Corinthians are being saved by means of the gospel and can confidently expect final salvation if in fact ... they go on holding fast to such good news as Paul announced to them. ... Paul is confident that they are holding fast to the gospel ... even so, he feels it necessary to attach an exception clause. They are holding fast—except for the possibility that if they are not they placed their [original] faith (in Christ) in vain. ... There is really no reason to doubt that ... the reference to believing in vain reflects the real possibility of apostasy from faith. Apparently Paul regards their doubts about the resurrection of believers seriously enough that his usual confidence in his converts must be qualified at least this much.[182]

The Christians in Corinth are "being seduced and defiled by double agents of Satan (11:2–3)" proclaiming a "false gospel."[183] These false teachers "have snaked their way into the Corinthians' affection and captured their minds" by preaching "a different Jesus, Spirit, and gospel—that can only lead Christians away from Christ"[184] and into "spiritual apostasy."[185] These "false apostles" disguise themselves as servants of God but they are really servants of Satan.[186] "Their ... 'end,' in the sense of 'destiny,' or 'fate,' will correspond to what they have done, specifically in introducing alien [i.e., false] teaching (11:4) and seducing the congregation (11:3, 20). ... They have done Satan's work, to Satan's fate they will go. ... (v. 15; cf. Matt 25:41, 46)."[187] Therefore, "'To follow them is to risk damnation.' Such language may sound harsh, but Paul judges the situation to be perilous, calling for sharp warnings to jar the Corinthians awake."[188]

Paul writes to the churches in Galatia who have a large number of uncircumcised Gentiles already standing in a saving relationship with Christ, but are repeatedly warned by him that they are in danger of existing out of this relationship.[189] Simply put, "the Galatians are in danger of apostasy" (i.e., becoming unbelievers).[190] Rival teachers, whom Paul refers to "as 'agitators' or 'troublemakers' (1:7; 5:10b, 12),"[191] have infiltrated the churches and are "leading astray Gentile believers"[192] by "preaching a false gospel of circumcision (1:7; 4:17; 5:7; 6:12)."[193] "The Galatians Christians . . . appear to be giving them a careful and attentive hearing, even standing on the verge of being persuaded by them (1:6; 5:1)."[194] These rival teachers are "persuading gentile converts to receive circumcision . . . (explicitly in 5:2; 6:12-13; indirectly in 5:11-12), probably as a means of securing their place in the family of Abraham, the line of promise (3:6-29), and as a means of combating the power of the flesh (indirectly, 5:13–6:10) and thus experiencing freedom from its power over them so that they can make progress in their new life of godliness (3:3)."[194] These false teachers likely pushed other Torah-prescribed observances (see 4:10), but it was getting the Galatians to take "the final plunge of circumcision" which aligned oneself with the Torah commandments as "the surest path to aligning oneself with God's standards and thus being 'justified' before God ('being deemed to be righteous' or 'brought into line with God's righteous demands by means of the law,' 5:4)."[194] Paul views such teaching as a "different gospel" (1:6)—a perverting of the gospel of Christ (1:7) that he originally preached to them.[195] "He stands amazed at how quickly the Galatians are deserting God to follow a false gospel."[196] This desertion "was not just an intellectual one. Rather, it was a desertion of God as made known in Christ; it was abandoning of their personal relationship with God."[197] The verb for "deserting" (metatithēmi) is in the present tense and "indicates clearly that when the apostle wrote [this letter] the apostasy of the Galatians was as yet only in process."[198] The Gentile believers "were in danger of apostasy" or "a reverse conversion, although they had not yet 'become apostate.' But Paul considered this a real possibility (see 5:4)."[199] Paul passionately declares that if anyone (including himself) was to preach to others this different gospel, "let them be under God's curse!" (v. 8, 9, NIV).[200] Scot McKnight states: "This word ['curse' anathema] is used in the Old Testament for something consecrated to God for his destruction (cf. Deut. 7:26; Josh. 6:17-18). Paul is not talking here about church discipline; his language is far too strong for that. He is invoking God's final damnation and wrath on people who distort the gospel of grace in Christ."[200] Lyons states that "this conditional curse" would carry the meaning: "may he be condemned to hell!" (GNT [cf. NET]).[201] This shocking wish was occasioned by the seriousness of the Agitators' crime. They had perverted the gospel, preached a substitute nongospel, confused his converts, and led them to consider turning away from Christ .... He put those terrifying the Galatians on notice: Beware of divine judgment. And he warned the Galatians that surrender to the Agitators meant placing "themselves 'under the curse'" (Betz 1979, 250).[202] If the Christians in Galatia go on to fully embrace the false gospel of these false teachers they will "fall into apostasy [i.e., become unbelievers] and stop being a Christian."[203] As unbelievers, the false teachers and their followers can expect to receive "eternal punishment at the last judgment."[204]

"Paul warns the Galatians" that if they "turn back" again to the weak and elemental spirits "they are on the verge of deconverting."[205] "The looming threat of his convert's apostasy (4:8-10; 5:2-4) is now expressed in distress (4:11) .... This is not the only place where Paul warns his converts that if they pursue the wrong path their faith and his work will have been in vain (1 Cor. 15:2, 10, 14; 2 Cor. 6:1; cf. Phil. 2:16) or the only place where he fears the possibility (1 Thess. 3:5)."[206]

Paul warns[207] Gentile Christians that if they follow the demands of the false teachers in seeking to be justified by the law through circumcision then Christ will be of no saving benefit to them (v. 2).[208] Furthermore, they will become "severed from Christ" and will have "fallen from grace" (v. 4).[209] "No doubt the rival teachers had assured them that keeping the law was not abandoning their faith in Christ; it was the way to "attain your goal" (3:3)—perfection—in Christian life."[210] But

For Paul, Christ is everything or nothing. Either God has inaugurated the new, eschatological age of the Spirit through Christ, or not. Either justification, or life in the Spirit, is received by faith, or not. Either cruciform faith expressing itself through cruciform love is the essence of covenantal existence, or not. Either this is all of grace, or not. Whereas for the circumcisers Christ is necessary but not sufficient, for Paul Christ is either sufficient or else not necessary.... Circumcision is a gate into a way of life—obedience to the entire Law (5:3)—that has had its day but has ended with the coming of the Messiah and his Spirit (3:24). Now anyone—a Gentile or Jew—who is in Christ, by faith, shares in the hope of future righteousness (5:5) and expresses that faith, as Christ did (2:20), in love (5:6). Circumcision counts for nothing because 'having' it (or not) neither enables or prevents entry into the realm of Christ and the Spirit. Seeking it, however, betrays a lack of confidence in the power of grace and faith, the sufficiency of Christ and the Spirit.[211]

Therefore, submitting to circumcision would indicate "a cessation of faith in Christ," "an act of repudiation of God's grace manifested in Christ."[212] The circumcised end up "returning to their former state of slavery, (4:9; 5:1),"[213] having severed their saving union with Christ,[214] and fallen from grace.[215] Such persons necessarily "cease to be Christians" [216] and will not receive "a favorable verdict at the final judgment (5:5)."[217] "Paul could hardly have made any clearer that a person who chooses to submit to the Law," (specifically, circumcision as commanded in the Law), and "who seeks final justification" before God "by means of the Law, has in effect committed apostasy, has fallen from grace, has even severed themselves from relationship with Christ."[218] "The danger of apostasy, falling away from grace, must have been very real, or Paul would not have used such strong language."[219] "Paul certainly did not teach the popular doctrine today of 'once saved, always saved.'"[220]

Paul calls Christians in Galatians chapters 5–6 to be "living under the guidance of the Spirit and following the law of love."[221] Paul's opponents, who insist that Gentiles believers must keep the works of the Law (specifically, circumcision), are "condemning uncircumcised Christians," and using "the Law . . . to exclude faithful Gentiles from inheriting God's promises (1:6; 4:17; 5:10)."[222] "The works of the Law, then, when imposed on the Gentile Christ-followers," wind up causing "divisions" among those in the Christian community.[222] "It is not by coincidence that Paul includes vices of division in his list of 'works of the flesh' (5:19-21). For Paul the 'works of the flesh' are deeds associated with" unbelievers (i.e., "the pre-converted status of individuals void of God's Spirit and subject to the evil era").[222] "To indulge in these works is to commit vices and live in a manner incompatible with the leading of God's Spirit (5:16-18, 22-25)."[223] The "threat of apostasy"[224] "is a real danger"[225] in Paul's "warning in 5:21b,"[226] which is directed specifically "to the believers"[227] in Galatia. Paul's "emphasis here, as in 1 Cor 6:9-11 and Eph 5:5, is to warn believers not to live as unbelievers, those who are destined to experience the wrath of God (Col 3:6)."[228] If believers persist in living according to the flesh like unbelievers, they will eventually become an unbeliever (i.e., commit "apostasy")[229] and "be excluded" from "inheriting God's kingdom."[230] To not inherit (klēronomeō) the kingdom of the God means to fail to "partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah's kingdom"[231] when it becomes fully manifested in the new heaven and new earth described in Revelation 21-22 (cf. Rev. 21:7-8 with Gal. 5:19-21).[232]

Paul issues "a solemn warning based on an agricultural principle: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows (v. 7 [NIV]). When people think and act as if they will not reap what they have sown, or as if they will reap something different from what they have sown, they are deceiving themselves and mocking God."[233] In verse 8, Christians "are faced with a decision, a decision" that will determine their eternal destiny—"sowing to the flesh" or "sowing to the Spirit."[234] Sowing to the flesh would refer to practicing "the works of the flesh" already warned about in 5:19-21.[235] Sowing to the Spirit "is exactly the opposite in every respect and means doing things to or with one another that stem from the Spirit's impulses. And so here we come to 'the fruit of the Spirit' listed in 5:22, 23."[236] Paul spells out the contrasting harvests or destinies: sowing to the Spirit = "eternal life," while sowing to the flesh = "corruption." This warning in Galatians 6:8 is parallel "to the warning about the possibility of not inheriting the Kingdom of God set out in 5.21," for those practicing the works of the flesh.[237] Therefore, this "corruption" or "destruction" (NIV, CSB, NASB2020) can mean nothing less than "eternal destruction"[238] or "eternal death"[239] for sowing to the flesh since it is explicitly contrasted with "eternal life." For any believer overtaken by any sin related to the works of the flesh in 5:19-21, "there is a potential recovery in 6:1."[240] This trespass (paraptōma) "is considered by Paul as a sin or an immoral act (cf. Rom 4:25; 11:11-12; 2 Cor 5:19; Col 2:13; cf. Matt 6:15). Those who operate in the fruit of the Spirit . . . are to restore such individuals, being mindful that they themselves are susceptible to temptations."[240] If a believer were to continue practicing/sowing to the flesh, this would lead to their "apostasy" (i.e. becoming an unbeliever), with the outcome being "eternal destruction and exclusion from God's kingdom (Gal 5:21; 6:7-8)."[241] Hence, Paul holds that believers who are engaged in sowing to the flesh are "headed towards apostasy if not restored."[240] "A real danger exists that believers in Christ may apostatize, falling away from faith, and miss out on eternal life. ... For some Christians the doctrinal slogan is 'once saved, always saved.' Paul would not agree."[242]

Paul is "warning" believers in Ephesus[243] about "the danger to faith inherent in falling back into the pagan lifestyle."[244] The command, "Let no one deceive you with empty words" warns the Ephesians "against allowing themselves to be led astray by the specious arguments of antinomians" who "pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality" (Jude 4, NIV), and who promise those engaging in the same sins as the "sons of disobedience" (i.e., unbelievers) as still having an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and escaping the wrath of God on judgment day.[245] "The reason" believers "should not act like unbelievers is because unbelievers are not going to inherit the kingdom of Christ and God."[246] Paul could not be clearer, Christians must not be fellow-partakers in the sinful way of life of the "sons of disobedience," lest they become one of them and "participate with them in their destiny."[247] Believers "who take a cavalier attitude toward sin are playing games with their eternal destiny."[248]

In the first half of verse 23 Paul breaks with tradition to address his readers in a more intimate way. His exhortation to them expresses a condition of their reconciliation, which includes both a positive and a negative element. This exhortation has caused problems for those who think of Paul's idea of salvation in terms of God's unconditional grace. However, Paul's understanding of God's salvation is profoundly Jewish and therefore covenantal. The promise of the community's final justification is part of a covenant between God and the "true" Israel. Even the idea of God's faithfulness to a promise made is modified by the ideals of a covenantal relationship: God's fulfillment is conditioned upon a particular response. According to Paul's gospel, getting into the faith community, which has covenanted with God for salvation, requires the believer's confidence in the redemptive merit of Christ's death (as defined in vv. 21–22). And staying in that community requires the believer to keep the faith. Paul does not teach a "once saved, always saved" kind of religion; nor does he understand faith as a "once for all" decision for Christ. In fact, apostasy (loss of faith) imperils one's relationship with God and with the community that has covenanted with God for salvation. So he writes that the community's eschatological fitness holds if you continue in your faith... The negative ingredient of the passage envisions the very real possibility that the community may indeed [move] from the hope held out in the gospel, risking God's negative verdict at Christ's parousia.[249]

The possibility of apostasy is expressed in the final part of the verse: I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. ... Paul expresses apprehension, which was rooted in his knowledge of Satanic activity. Although the Thessalonians' contemporaries were driving the persecution forward, the power of the tempter orchestrated this battle for their souls (cf. Eph. 6:11–12). ... The temptation of the tempter was ... to commit the sin of apostasy (Luke 8:12; 1 Pet. 5:8), which is implied in this context by the references to their stability and continuance in the faith (3:3, 6, 8). The issue is not moral lapse but continuance in faith. What was at stake was the salvation of the Thessalonians. Paul knew the machination of Satan (2 Cor. 2:11), the tempter, but he was unsure whether he had met success in Thessalonica (and out efforts might have been useless). The temptation, while inevitable, was resistible. But the possibility of apostasy was clear a clear and present danger.[250]

"Central to this charge is the defense and preservation of the true faith, which is currently under attack" from false teachers.[251] Paul depicts Timothy's role "as a warrior in service to his or her king. This is wholly appropriate following a doxology to 'the eternal King' (1:17)."[252] "Timothy is to wage warfare, not by using violence, but by holding on to faith and a good conscience (v. 19)."[253] "Faith involves here the act of trusting in God"[254] "A good conscience is the state where one's own moral self-evaluation says that one has been obedient to God."[253] "The conscience functions as the Christian's moral compass"[255] and "is guided in its everyday life by faith, trust in the living God, to guide and to teach one."[256] Holding on to a good conscience would thus entail being committed to following the Christian faith proclaimed by Christ's apostles as the basis for godly living.[257] "Without a good conscience, Timothy could end up like Hymenaeus (cf. 2 Tim 2:17) and Alexander (cf. 2 Tim 4:14) who had shipwrecked their faith (1:19-20)."[258] Paul, "as a warning, cites two tragic examples of men whose moral laxity has led to their faith being ruined."[259] They have "rejected" (apōtheō) or better "'thrust away from themselves' a good conscience."[260] The verb expresses "a willful and violent act,"[261] "a conscious, deliberate rejection . . . not a passive, careless slipping away from faith."[262] By willfully thrusting away a good conscience they have made "shipwreck of their faith." "The metaphoric use of the word [shipwreck] conveys a complete loss of the ship,"[263] a "total disaster,"[264] and serves as a fitting "metaphor for apostasy"[265] since these men have "lost their faith altogether."[266] Thus, Hymenaeus and Alexander "were once true believers"[267] who "had personal faith comparable to Timothy's (1:18-19a), but that faith was destroyed,",[263] and thus they became "apostates" (i.e., unbelievers).[268]

The Spirit has given a clear "warning" [269] about "the sober" reality "of apostasy" that will take place within the church.[270] "The ultimate cause of this apostasy is that people pay attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons."[271] The verb aphistēmi means to "fall away, apostatize," in three theologically significant passages in the New Testament (Lk. 8:13; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:12),[272] and "often conveys apostasy" in the Old Testament and other literature.[273] In each of these NT references we find aphistēmi conveying "the serious situation of becoming separated from the living God after a previous turning towards him, by falling away from the faith. It is a movement of unbelief and sin."[274] Paul says in verse 1, "some of the faith will fall away or apostatize."[275] William Mounce's translation brings this out and is more accurate than other renderings.[276] When Mounce examined the NT occurrences of aphistēmi, he says "in the vast majority of cases if there is a recipient of the verb's action, it will most likely be indicated by a preposition and will immediately follow the verb."[277]

Hence, in 1 Tim 4:1, which has no preposition following [aphistēmi, fall away], "the faith" would seem to modify the indefinite pronoun "some" rather [than] the verb "fall away." If so, then the "some" who will fall away are identified as faithful church members.[278] These ones who apostatize are not fake believers but real Christians. The nature of their apostasy involves devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and demonic teachings. These teachings are no doubt promulgated by the false teachers (4:2-5). Satanic spiritual forces are viewed as being the inspiration of their false teachings, and these powers are mentioned as a way to vilify the teachers (1 Tim 5:15; 2 Tim 2:25-26). Some of the believers will fall away by following the opponents' teachings that have been influenced by anti-god powers (1 Tim 4:1-3). It is affirmed here that more apostasies of those who possessed faith will take place similar to the defections of Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:19; cf. 1:6). In the Pastoral Letters, then, final salvation is futuristic, with the real potential to have one's faith undermined, making it all the more important for these Christians to take seriously the need to endure through potential deception.[279]

In Paul's final exhortation to Timothy in v. 16, he gives "the reason why" he "is so persistent and concerned, because what is at stake is salvation for Timothy and his hearers."[280] Traditional Calvinist George Knight observes that some commentators take save (sōzō, v. 16) in the sense of to preserve or be kept safe from the doctrinal error of the false teachers "(Bengel, Gromacki, Vine, Wuest)," but most commentators understand save "soteriologically and eschatologically (Alford, Bernard, Brox Bürki, Calvin, Earle, Ellicott, Fairbairn, Gealy, Guthrie, Hendriksen, Hiebert, Huther, Kelly, Kent, Lenski, Moellering, Robertson, Scott, Simpson, van Oosterzee, and White; also J. Schneider, NIDNTT 3:215; W. Foerster, TDNT 7:995)."[281] Knight goes on to note: "The other occurrences of [sōzō, save] in the PE (1 Tim. 1:15; 2:4, 15; Tit. 3:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; 4:18) are clearly soteriological [i.e., salvation] in orientation. It is true that [didaskalia, teaching] does deliver from error and bring to truth, but that seems to be included in the ultimate goal expressed in [sōzō, save] (cf. 2:4; so also Oosterzee). The salvation of the hearers is elsewhere depicted by Paul as the central goal of the ministry (cf. especially 1 Cor. 15:1, 2; 9:22; 2 Ti. 2:10; 4:5), and it is that hope in the living God who is the Savior of all believers that Paul has presented as the centerpiece of encouragement for Timothy in this section."[282] Gordon Fee would agree, and thus writes: "Salvation involves perseverance; and Timothy's task in Ephesus is to model and teach the gospel in such a fashion that it will lead the church to perseverance in faith and love and hence to final . . . salvation."[283] Therefore, "Ultimate salvation is not automatic, even for Timothy. He must persevere in the faith to be saved eternally, and to be the instrument to save others."[284]

Paul suggests in 2 Timothy 2:10, that if he faithfully endures suffering and hardship to the end of life, this will provide "a good witness to others and is done for the sake of the chosen ones," in order that they, "will persevere and go on to receive eschatological [i.e., future and final] salvation."[285] "The implicit negative corollary is that if Paul" fails to persevere and apostatizes, then "surely that would have led to the . . . apostasy by others" in the church.[286] "The potential for apostasy" among believers in Ephesus "is clearly evident in the hymn found in 2 Tim 2:11–13."[287] This trustworthy saying has four "if" clauses that describe a believer's action that are followed by "then" clauses that describe Christ's action taken in response.[288] The "we" throughout this hymn applies first to Paul and Timothy, and then "equally to all believers."[289] The hymn begins with: "if we died with him (Christ), we will also live with him (2:11b)."[290] This line "portrays the entire scope of Christian existence, from conversion to glorification, in terms of 'dying and rising' with Christ."[291] The next clause says "enduring" leads to "reigning with" Christ. The word enduring (hupomenō) means "to persevere: absolutely and emphatically, under misfortunes and trial to hold fast to one's faith in Christ."[292] The present tense verb conveys the meaning "keep on enduring"[293] or "persevering."[294] Thus, a persevering faith "is to be a normal way of life" for Timothy and other Christ-followers.[295] Paul and Timothy "must endure in spite of every adversity, including suffering and/or imprisonment, so that others 'may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.'"[296] Believers who faithfully keep on enduring will "reign together with" (symbasileuō) Christ.[297] This means that they will "share in the 'kingdom of God' (basileia tou theou), the traditional symbol of God's eschatological [i.e., future and final] reign (see 4:1, 18), the focus of Jesus' own preaching of the good news (see Mark 1:15)."[298] "The causal connection between perseverance in the present age of suffering and the future attainment of salvation is expressly stated in 2 Tm. 2:12."[299] The third clause contains a definite "warning against apostasy."[300] "If we deny Him, He will also deny us" certainly recalls "Jesus' warning that if his followers deny him publicly before outsiders he will deny them before his Father at the eschatological [i.e., future and final] judgment (cf. Matt 10:33; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:36). This type of denial (ἀρνέομαι [arneomai]) refers to apostasy resulting from persecution, and this is almost certainly what it means here in 2 Tim 2:12."[290] To deny Jesus is the opposite of enduring/persevering (in faith) and "means the surrender of faith, 'to apostatize.'"[301] Such denial reverses conversion so that Christ disowns the person who denies him, and as with the Synoptic sayings this leads to eternal judgment.[302] This warning is definitely directed toward Timothy, "Paul and all believers."[303] "If it is not possible to disown faith in Christ, there is no need for these words. The possibility of Timothy and others disowning the faith is real."[304]

Conditional security in the book of Hebrews

"Hebrews contains what are perhaps the most severe warnings against apostasy in the entire New Testament."[305]

The expression "what we have heard" refers to God's revelation in his Son about salvation (cf. 2:3a). Here the danger of drifting away ... [is] a carelessness about the commitment to Christ that it requires. The verb prosecho (lit., "to give heed") means not only "pay attention" with the mind to what one hears, but also "to act upon what one perceives" (Morris, 1981, 21). This verb is analogous to katecho in 3:6, 14; 10:23, where the readers are admonished to "hold fast to their confession of faith, without which the goal of salvation cannot be reached" (Lane, 1991, 37). The Greek word translated "drift away" (pararreo) has nautical overtones, as when a ship drifts past a harbor to shipwreck.[306]

"The danger of drifting away is a potential one for his [the author's] audience, which, if not corrected, may lead to their being spiritually lost at sea or shipwrecked."[307] The danger of apostasy is also understood as ignoring the "great salvation" spoken through the Son.[308] The implied answer to "'How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?'—is obvious: No escape is possible. In Hebrews "salvation" (soteria) ... is fulfilled by Jesus in the present time (2:3, 10; 5:9), and will be consummated in his future coming (cf. 1:14; 6:9; 9:28; see TDNT, 7:989–1012). ... The emphasis here and elsewhere in Hebrews is on the inescapable, terrible, and eternal consequences for apostasy (cf. 6:4–6; 10:26–31)."[309] "Not escaping looks ahead to punishment in hellfire (6:8; 10:26-31; 12:29)" for believers who "apostatize"[310] by drifting away from Christ (2:1) and ignoring God's glorious salvation in his Son (2:3a).[309] "What Christian apostates stand to lose, then, is eternal salvation."[311] "The author identifies his readers as fellow believers by using the pronoun 'we' in 2:1, 3a and 'us' in 2:3. ... By using ... 'we,' our author ... includes himself and all other believers in the same warning (cf. 3:6, 14; 10:26–27; 12:25),"[309] and implies, "'I, too, am susceptible to these dangers of apostasy.'"[312]

The author of Hebrews holds out to his readers the choice of either persevering in faith or abandoning faith. Readers are directed to the rebellious Israelites who are an example of those who abandoned faith and were destroyed in the desert after experiencing a miraculous deliverance from Egypt (3:7–19). The author does not want his readers to develop an unbelieving heart like the people of God of old (Israel). Chapter 3, verse 6 ["And we are God's house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory"] provides a transition to the strong warning and exhortation found in 3:7–19. The author made a comparison between Moses and Jesus in 3:1–6, and now he makes a parallel between (1) the response of unbelief and disobedience by the people of God of old (Israel) who experienced redemption out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses (3:7–11), and (2) the possibility of the identical response by the people of God (believers) who have experienced redemption through Christ under the new covenant (3:12–19).[313] "Moses had been faithful to the end (3:2, 5), but most of those who left Egypt with him were unfaithful. They all shared by faith in the first great Passover deliverance but afterward because of unbelief hardened their hearts against God and perished in the desert (cf. Num. 13:26–14:38)."[314] Likewise, Jesus, whose superiority far exceeds Moses, is also faithful (Heb. 3:2, 6), but the author of Hebrews has deep concerns that some believers were moving dangerously toward hardening their hearts and committing apostasy (i.e., becoming unbelievers) through unbelief.[315] William Lane made this observation: "The warning against unbelief in vv. 12 and 19 provides a literary and theological frame for the admonition to maintain the basic position of faith, which is centrally placed in v. 14."[316] The warning of Hebrews 3:7–19 is a serious exhortation calling believers to maintain their faith commitment lest they relationally fall away from God. The author views his readers as genuine Christians when he identifies them as "brothers" (3:12, cf. 3:1). It is these believers who are in danger of developing an unbelieving heart that leads to departing/apostatizing from the living God and forfeiting God's promised rest.[317] Like the people of God of old (Israel)

mentioned in Psalm 95:7–11, God's people under the new covenant "sometimes turn away from God in apostasy.... This may be provoked by suffering or persecution or by the pressures of temptation, but the root cause is always unbelief" (Peterson, 1994, 1330). ... As with the desert generation, apostasy is not so much a decision of the moment as it is the culmination of a process of hardening the heart (3:8, 13, 15) in unbelief (3:12, 19; cf. 4:2), resulting in the end in rebellion against God (3:8, 15, 16), disobedience (3:18; cf. 4:6), and finally turning away from God (3:12; cf. 3:10). An important safeguard against apostasy is a loving, nurturing community of true believers, who "encourage one another daily" in the Lord (3:13).[318]

On the heels of describing the wilderness generations "dire consequences for apostasy" in 3:16-19, the author connects what he had just written to his forthcoming teaching in 4:1-11 with "an in inferential particle (oun, Therefore)."[319] "Therefore—In view of the fearful examples of apostasy in the last chapter. Let us fear" of being found to have fallen short of God's promised rest.[320] This implies "a belief in its practical possibility and an earnest desire to avoid it."[321] "By including himself in 'let us fear,' the author enlists the audience to share his concern that some of them might apostatize and thus not only fail to enter into God's rest but also influence others not to."[322] Both the wilderness generation and the believers the author is addressing "are part of the one people of God called by his word to the same kind of faith and obedience in anticipation of the same 'rest.'"[323] The "wilderness generation's apostasy"[324] and consequent exclusion from entering into God's promised rest "poses the sternest warning to contemporary believers. On the basis of this continuity the pastor urges his hearers to separate themselves from their predecessors by persevering in faithful obedience."[325] "The wilderness generation came all the way to the border of the Promised Land but 'fell short' of entrance through refusal to trust God. . . . The opposite of falling short is perseverance in the life of faith and obedience until final entrance into God's rest (cf. 11:1-38)."[326] God's people have the opportunity of entering into God's promised rest through a persevering faith, or of being found/judged by God on judgment day to have fallen short of it through unbelief and disobedience.[327] "God's 'rest' is available and its loss a true possibility."[328] Note how complementary warnings bracket verses 1–11.[329]

Therefore, let us fear, since a promise remains of entering his rest, lest any of you should be found to have fallen short. (v. 1)

Let us be diligent, then, to enter into this rest, lest anyone fall by the same example of disobedience. (v. 11)[330]

This promised rest (katapausis) which believers are to be diligent to enter requires "diligent faith" [331] and "is not the same as entering the Promised Land of Canaan. Joshua led them into that land, yet we are told here that Joshua did not lead them in the promised rest. If he had, the author claimed, the door to rest would still not be open (4:8)."[332] Thus, as J. Ramsey Michaels states, entering God's rest "is not an earthly rest . . . but a heavenly rest in the sense of eternal salvation or life with God after death."[333] Many commentators and scholars (Calvinist and Arminian) interpret God's rest in this manner,[334] as do several Greek reference works.[335] Furthermore, many commentators and scholars mention how

"Rest" correlates with other images of salvation described as future ("to come") or transcendent ("heavenly") in Hebrews. There are future realities such as "the world to come" (2:5), powers of the age to come (6:5), good things to come (10:1), and the city to come (13:14). Their transcendent character is expressed in references to the heavenly call (3:1), "heavenly gift" (6:4), heavenly sanctuary (8:5), "heavenly things" (9:23), heavenly homeland (11:16), and "heavenly Jerusalem" (12:22). The rest may be compared with "the promised eternal inheritance" (9:15; see 6:12; 10:36) or salvation (1:14; see 9:28). It is an entrance into glory (2:10) or into "the inner sanctuary behind the curtain" (6:19), where Jesus has already entered as our forerunner (6:20) and champion (2:9-10; 12:2). The rest fulfilled in the unshakable kingdom (12:28), that "enduring city" (13:14) with solid foundations, whose "architect and builder is God" (11:10). Rest, then, is one of the many images that display the multifaceted character of our eschatological [i.e., future and final] hope.[336]

God's rest is "the final goal of the Christian pilgrimage"[337] where believers who persevere in faith experience "final entrance into God's presence at Christ's return."[338] Since this heavenly rest can be forfeited through unbelief and disobedience, believers must diligently strive by faith to enter this rest,[331] "lest anyone fall by the same example of disobedience" [339] displayed by the wilderness generation.[340] This "fall" (piptō) means to "commit apostasy"[341] and corresponds to the use of "fall" (piptō) "in 1 Cor 10:12, another passage that uses the example of the wilderness generation's defection to warn believers."[342] In both passages "the audience is warned against committing apostasy and falling into eschatological [i.e., future and final] ruin."[343] Both "of these verses makes clear that the apostasy threatening the audience follows after the rebellion of Israel in the wilderness. The Christ-followers in Hebrews are identified as God's people in the last days, and they are in danger of rejecting God and failing to enter the promised eschatological rest. . . . They are in danger of abandoning God and the final salvation that comes at the end of their journey. Their potential rejection of God would happen through disobedience and unbelief.[344]

"This wonderful accomplishment of eternal salvation applies . . . literally 'to all those who keep on obeying him' (Greek present participle)."[346] This "eternal salvation" (aiōnios sōtēria) refers to "Messianic and spiritual salvation"[347] and includes "deliverance from punishment and misery as the consequence of sin, and admission to eternal life and happiness in the kingdom of Christ the Savior."[348] "The implication is clear. Those who do not continue to obey him . . . forfeit their eternal salvation."[349]

The coming one is Christ and the phrase "my righteous one" is "the person of faith."[352] "This supports the author's presupposition that his readers are all believers (and thus 'righteous'), but that some of them are in danger of shrinking back from the life of faith."[353] The person of faith is confronted with "two contrasting courses of action . . . living by faith or shrinking back" [354] "by unfaith."[355] Shrinking back involves "timidity or cowardice" and refers to "not keeping faith" and leads to "apostasy."[356] These contrasting actions lead to corresponding destinies: "living by faith" results in "the soul's salvation," while shrinking back in unbelief leads to "destruction." This destruction (apōleia) is "eternal destruction"[357] since it is the opposite of "the soul's salvation."[358] The writer in this passage is trying to "head off apostasy"[359] by warning believers "about the dire consequences of apostasy."[354]

"Since the believers have so many previous examples of faith who stand as a cluster of spectators or "cloud of witnesses," they are encouraged to run their metaphoric footrace of life with endurance (Heb 12:1; cf. ch. 11; 1 Cor 9:24–27)."[360] The footrace imagery is just one more example of the people of God on the move towards the goal of final salvation with God.[361] With this race metaphor, the author is concerned that all the participants "run until reaching the finish line. Once that has been achieved, the location is transformed from a stadium to the heavenly Jerusalem (12:22). Hence, the footrace concerns the participants' endurance, and apostasy would seem to be the outcome for those who do not finish the race. The runners are to mimic the attitude of the faithful champions who are now watching them in the stadium as the runners participate in the contest."[361] Running the race appropriately involves laying "aside every impediment and easily obstructing sin, similar to a runner who loses excess body weight and sets aside heavy clothes or anything else that would hinder the athlete's speed."[361] The sin which clings so closely is left unspecified.[361] Even though some commentators hold that "it is the sin of apostasy (cf. Heb 3:13; 10:26)," this is unlikely the case here.[361] "The closest prior mention of sin is in 11:25, which speaks of Moses choosing mistreatment with God's people over the temporary pleasures of sin."[362] Since this sin is connected with pleasure (apolausis) in a negative sense, this "often refers to enticements related to forbidden foods and sensual vices, and this comes close to the meaning of sin in 12:16. The imagery of laying aside excess impediments in 12:1 is something normally done before the race starts, which tend to make the "sin" relevant to pre-conversion impediments that would hinder the participants during their new course of life if they are not discarded. The sin in 12:1 therefore refers to pre-converted sins or sin in general (cf. 9:26).[363] Sin can "ensnare easily any runner (cf. 12:1, 14-16)," and therefore must be discarded.[363] As runners believers are to keep their eyes focused on Jesus who is "seated in the place of honor."[363] Jesus has completed the race by enduring hostility from sinners and "great suffering to the shedding of blood, something the believers have not yet experienced (12:2–4). Jesus is thus the ultimate exemplar of faithfulness as well as the object of faith for the runners."[363] By fixing their eyes on Jesus and what he did for them on the cross, believers will be inspired "not to grow fatigued and "give up" on the race."[363] As good athletes believers are to endure the Lord's discipline (paideia)—the stringent training that enables running a good race (12:5–11). This paideia is "a non-punitive discipline in Heb 12. The discipline and suffering the believer's experience, in other words, are not the result of divine punishment. Rather, the training and suffering fosters virtuous living with the special qualities of holiness and righteousness (12:10–11)."[364] "Submission to divine training requires confident, enduring faith."[365] If a believer endures and submits to divine discipline they will "receive life," (zaō, 12:9, NET), that is, they will "enjoy eternal life, and be admitted to . . . Christ's kingdom."[366] The racing "imagery turns to a fatigued or crippled runner who needs reviving so as to continue advancing: 'Therefore strengthen your drooping hands and your feeble knees and make straight paths for your feet so that what is crippled may not be dislocated [ektrepō] but rather be healed' (Heb 12:12–13/Prov 4:26)."[367] A dislocated joint would prevent the runner from finishing the race. "Thus committing apostasy is implied as a negative outcome of what might happen if the runner is not healed and strengthened once again.[368] The exhortation delivered by the author here is intended to strengthen and renew his readers who have become "spiritually fatigued and about to give up the metaphoric race" that leads to the eternal life in the presence of God in his heavenly kingdom.[369]

As holiness belongs to the essence of God and is his highest glory, so it is to characterize God's people. We were chosen in Christ to be holy (Eph. 1:4), and God disciplines us as his children so "that we may share in his holiness" (12:10). ... Lane observes that "in Hebrews 'pure' and 'holy' are interchangeable terms because those who have been made holy are those for whom Christ has made purification. ... Christians have within their reach the holiness that is indispensable for seeing God" (1991, 451). Holiness "is not an optional extra in the Christian life but something which belongs to its essence. It is the pure in heart, and none but they, who shall see God Matt. 5:8). Here [Heb. 12:14], as in v. 10, practical holiness of life is meant" (Bruce, 1990, 348). Thus 12:14 begins by exhorting believers to earnestly pursue peace and holiness as a way of life. "Make every effort" (dioko) conveys diligence in the pursuit of peace and holiness. ... Peace is viewed as an objective reality tied to Christ and his redemptive death on the cross, which makes possible harmony and solidarity in Christian community (cf. Col. 1:20). Similarly, "holiness" is essential to Christian community (cf. 12:15). Sin divides and defiles the body of Christ, just as cancer does a human body. To pursue holiness suggests a process of sanctification in which our life and manner of living are set apart for God as holy and God-honoring. Verse 14 concludes that "without holiness no one will see the Lord." To "see" the Lord and "know" him intimately are closely related. To see the Lord "is the highest and most glorious blessing mortals can enjoy, but the beatific vision is reserved for those who are holy in heart and life" (Bruce, 1990, 349). Things that are unholy effectively block seeing and knowing God and in the end keep the person from inheriting the kingdom of God (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9–10). Believers must be vigilantly watchful over the spiritual well-being of each member of the church. The verb translated "see to it" (episkopeo; 12:15a) conveys the idea of spiritual oversight and is related to the function of "overseers" or elders. This verb is a present active participle with the force of an imperative and carries the sense of "watching continually." Three subordinate clauses of warning follow this verb, each one introduced by the words "that no one" (me tis): Watch continually—"that no one misses the grace of God" (12:15a) "that no bitter root grows up ..." (12:15b) "that no one is sexually immoral or ... godless" (12:16a). This appeal to spiritual watchfulness is a call to the church as a whole. The exhortation "see to it that no one misses the grace of God" (12:15a) is a key statement. Remaining steadfast in faith (10:19–11:40), enduring discipline as children (12:1–13), and pursuing peace and holiness (12:14) are all related to the grace of God, as is everything involving our salvation. If entrance into the Christian life is by the grace of God, even so the continuance and completion of it is by the grace of God. The dreadful possibility of missing God's grace is not because his grace is inaccessible, but because some may choose not to avail themselves of it. For this reason it is possible for a person (though once a believer) not to reach the goal that is attainable only by his grace operating through faith (cf. 3:12; Bruce, 1990, 349). Marshall makes several observations concerning this warning passage (1969, 149–51). (1) It is possible for a believer to draw back from the grace of God (12:15a; cf. 2 Cor. 6:1; Gal. 5:4). The context of the warning here, as elsewhere in Hebrews (e.g., Heb. 2:1–4; 6:4–8; 10:26–31), indicates that a true believer is meant. (2) Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness will take root and potentially defile other members in the church (12:15b). The deadly sins of unbelief and a poisonous root of bitterness function like a fatally contagious disease that can "defile many" in the community. (3) No one should be "sexually immoral [pornos; lit., fornicator] or ... godless like Esau." Esau was a sensual man rather than a spiritual man—entirely earthly-minded rather than heavenly-minded—who traded away "his inheritance rights as the oldest son" (12:16b) for the momentary gratification of his physical senses. He represents those who would make the unthinkable exchange of long-range spiritual inheritance (i.e., things hoped for but not yet seen, 11:1) for present tangible and visible benefits, momentary though they be. Afterwards, when Esau realized the foolishness of his choice, he wanted to inherit his blessing but could not since "he was rejected" by God (12:17a). Attridge notes that the comment on Esau "conveys the sharpest warning" of this passage (1989, 369). Though some have understood verse 17b to mean that Esau could not change Isaac's mind, the more likely sense is that of rejection by God—that is, repentance was not granted by God. "God did not give Esau the opportunity of changing his mind and gaining what he had forfeited. The author intends his readers to apply this story to themselves and their salvation. Just as Esau was rejected by God, so can they be rejected if they spurn their spiritual birthright" (Marshall, 1969, 150). Bruce concurs that this example of Esau "is a reinforcement of the warning given at an earlier stage in the argument, that after apostasy no second repentance is possible" (1990, 352). Esau's "tears" represent regret for having lost his birthright, not repentance for having despised and shown contempt for God's gift of a birthright and for the covenant by which it was secured. This is all immediately applicable to the readers of this book, for Esau represents "apostate persons who are ready to turn their backs on God and the divine promises, in reckless disregard of the blessings secured by the sacrificial death of Jesus" (Lane, 1991, 455). In other words, a person may miss the grace of God and the spiritual inheritance of eternal life that he or she might have received. In such cases "God may not permit ... an opportunity of repentance. Not all sinners go this far; but an apostate may well find that he has stretched the mercy of God to its limit, so that he cannot return" (Marshall, 1969, 150–51).[370]

The author issues a warning here "that if the fearful presence and voice of God from the heavenly city is greater than the theophany at Sinai, then how much greater and terrifying will be the judgment of God on those who reject God's voice in the new covenant era?"[371] The author "masterfully recapitulates previous warnings" regarding the dangers of apostasy in the letter (2:1–4; 3:7–4:13; 10:26–31).[372] The readers are to "watch out" (blepō) that they do not "refuse God who now speaks from heaven. The author and the community to whom he writes ("we") will not be able to escape the final judgment if they turn away [apostrephō] from the one who warns from heaven (12:25, 29). God is viewed as a consuming fire, a thought that alludes to his judgment against enemies and those who violate his covenant (cf. Deut 4:23–24; 9:3; Isa 33:14). Our author has in mind a burning judgment and picture of final destruction akin with early apocalyptic traditions (Isa 66:16, 24; Zeph 1:18; 1 En. 91.9; 4 Ezra 7.38; 2 Bar. 44.15). Put differently, if the malaise Christian community that suffers from dullness of hearing commit apostasy by rejecting God's message, then God will consume them with a fiery punishment at the eschaton."[373] Since the believing community is "in the process of inheriting an unshakable kingdom, the appropriate way to worship God, then, is for all believers to show gratitude (Heb 12:28)," and render service that is pleasing to God with "godly fear" and "reverence/awe".[374] "Again the author uses fear as a strategy in his warning (4:1; 10:27, 31; 12:21; cf. 11:7). The believers are exhorted to worship God acceptably and not commit apostasy" so they can finally enter into God's presence in his future heavenly kingdom.[374]

Conditional security in the book of James

"[T]he word "blessed" has both present and future connotations."[375] "[T]hose who have persevered in trusting and loving" the Lord "in the face of trials"[376] are "qualified to be called 'blessed'."[375] For the Lord has promised to give them "the crown of life," which means "'the crown that consists in eternal life'"—[377] "the life of the age to come" which is equivalent to inheriting the kingdom of God in James 2:5.[378] "Their love for God is the outcome of their faith in him which produces willing endurance for him (1:2-4). Love is the essence of true faith"[379] and trials have a way of testing a Christians "love as well as faith."[380]

It was customary to end such a letter with a summary (James 5:7–11), an oath (James 5:12), a health wish (James 5:13–18) and a purpose statement (James 5:19–20). This verse, then, should be part of the statement of the purpose of the whole letter. That in itself is reason enough to assign it great importance. The condition this verse speaks to is described in James 5:19. A Christian ("one of you") has erred. James gives us plenty of illustrations of this in the letter. The errors he addresses are those of partiality and greed, of anger and jealousy. All of them are found within the church. Such error calls for another Christian ("someone") to point it out so that the person can repent and be restored ("bring him back"). That, of course, is what the entire letter is about, bringing the Christians he addresses back to proper Christian behavior. This is indeed the purpose statement of James. Therefore, the sinner in this verse is a Christian who has fallen into sin, such as greed or criticism of others. This Christian brother or sister has erred or gone the wrong way—the text is not talking about an individual sin, however "serious" we may consider it, from which the believer quickly repents. As Jesus points out in Matthew 7:13–14 . . . there are two ways. The way that leads to life is narrow and difficult, while the one leading to death is broad and easy. Unfortunately there are many ways to get from the narrow to the broad way. This Christian (the sinner) has taken one of them and is observed by another, whom we shall call the rescuer. The question is, Who is saved from death—the sinner or the rescuer? . . . It seems to me that James's message is that the sinner is the one rescued from death by the rescuer's efforts. There are four reasons for this. First, the fact that sins are covered (an adaptation of Proverbs 10:12: "Love covers all wrongs") seems to refer to the sinner's sins, not the potential sin of the rescuer. Only the sinner has erred in the context. Second, the word order in the Greek text makes it more likely that it is the sinner who is delivered from death. Third, the very picture of turning a person from his wandering way . . . suggests that it is the error that is putting the individual in danger of death. . . . What, then, is the death that the person is saved from?[381]

A few commentators suggest that this death refers to "physical death,"[382] But most commentators see death in James 5:20 as referring to spiritual or eternal death.[383]

Both testaments view death as the end result of sin, usually referring to death in terms of eternal death or condemnation at the last judgment (Deut. 30:19; Job 8:13; Psalm 1:6; Psalm 2:12; Jeremiah 23:12; Jude 23; Rev. 20:14). James has already mentioned this in James 1:15: desire gives birth to sin, which results in death. That death is contrasted with the life that God gives (James 1:18). Since death and life are parallel ideas, it is likely that they are not physical but eternal . . . . This parallel, plus the seriousness of the tone in James 5, indicates that it is this sort of death, the ultimate death that sin brings about, which is in view. What James is saying, then, is that a Christian may err from the way of life. When another Christian attempts to rescue him or her, it is not a hopeless action. Such a rescue effort, if successful, will deliver [i.e., save, sōzō] that erring person from eternal death.[384] That is because the sins will be covered (the language is that of the Old Testament sacrifice; when atonement was made the sin was said to be covered as if literally covered by the blood). It may be one simple action of rescue, but it can lead to the covering of "a multitude of sins." In stating this, James shows his own pastor's heart and encourages all Christians to follow in his footsteps, turning their erring brothers and sisters back from the way of death.[385]

Conditional security in the books of 2 Peter and Jude

"In 2 Peter 1:5–7 we discover a chain of virtues that Christians are strongly encouraged ... to develop" (i.e., "make every effort," CSB, NET, NIV).[386] This encouragement to moral effort is not surprising since the false teachers in 2 Peter are false precisely because they are not making any effort to live morally, and are setting "a wrong moral example" that encourages Christians to follow in their footsteps.[387] Of significance in this list of virtues is that faith is first. "Trusting God is the root from which all the other virtues spring."[388] Peter's theology here agrees "with Paul's, who said that faith expresses itself in love (Gal. 5:6). All the godly virtues find their source in faith" and culminate in love.[389] If Christians "keep on doing" (v. 10, ISV) these godly virtues, they "will never fall [ptaiō]" (v. 10, ESV) or "fall away" (NLT, GOD'S WORD), 'that is, they will never forsake God, abandon him, and commit apostasy."[390] Notice that v. 10 is connected to v. 11 by "For in this way." "The 'way,' of course, is the pathway of virtue, the keeping of the qualities in vv. 5–7, which were mentioned again in v. 10."[391] By living godly lives through God's power Christ "will provide entrance into the kingdom for believers."[392] For Peter, "the ethical fruits of Christian faith are objectively necessary for the attainment of final salvation."[393] This teaching on the importance of moral living was needed since "His readers were in danger of moral apostasy, under the influence of [false] teachers who evidently held that immorality incurred no danger of [eternal] judgment."[394] Peter believes "that without moral living one will not enter the kingdom which is precisely what Paul also believed (1 Cor 6:9–10; Gal 5:21)."[395] Thus, according to Peter, "A person cannot sit around ... after conversion ... and assume 'once saved, always saved' regardless of one's postconversion conduct."[396] "Peter assumes the possibility of their apostasy" with the consequent "forfeiture of eternal life" that is experienced in the kingdom ruled by the Lord Jesus. "But the apostle insists that such apostasy ... does not have to happen to any Christian. And it will never happen if we live each day by an abiding faith in Christ." A "faith that is demonstrated by growth in the Christian" virtues mentioned here.[397]

This passage follows "a relatively simple outline: verses 18, 19 [deals with] the attempts of the false teachers to lure believers astray; verses 20, 21 [deals with] the apostasy which they [the false teachers] exemplify; verse 22 [is] an illustrative analogy."[398] "Peter warns" that these false teachers "will lure those who are still weak in faith back into sin. These Christians ... had begun to put lives that were mired in sin behind them," but now they are being "seduced by these teachers" to "go right back to the filth from which they had so recently been cleansed."[399] Notice, the false teachers "promise the new converts freedom in a lustful life, but they themselves were slaves of the very moral corruption they were enticing others to embrace."[400] How deceitful it is to tell Christians "'You can believe in Jesus and be free to live an immoral life.'"[401] "The key verses to consider, in discussing apostasy ... are verses 20, 21. ... That these whom Peter regards as apostates had a genuine Christian experience is seen in at least three ways."[402] First, they "escaped [apopheugō] the defilements of the world," which recalls 2 Peter 1:4 ("having escaped [apopheugō] the corruption that is in the world").[403] David Kuske notes that "they escaped" (apopheugō) with "The preposition [apo] used as a prefix makes [pheugō] a perfective verb, that is, it stresses not only that people escaped but that they made a complete, total escape. As Christians, they turned their back completely on the sinful actions of their former way of life."[404] at "the time of their conversion."[405] Second, this escape was accomplished "by the knowledge [epignōsis] of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."[406] Peter's use of epignōsis here and in 2 Peter 1:2, 3, leave us in no doubt about whether they were once saved, for "he uses this compound [word] for knowledge consciously as a way of representing the saving knowledge of Christ one gains at conversion."[407] "Third, they 'have come to know the way of righteousness'"[408] ("meaning a righteous lifestyle").[409] "The verb [epiginōskō] 'have come to know' is cognate to the noun epignōsis just referred to."[410] It "refers to saving knowledge, to the experience of coming to know this 'way.' The tense of the verb (Greek perfect) indicates a continuing state that is a result of a prior act. They entered into this knowledge at conversion and continue to possess that knowledge afterward."[411] With all these in mind, "it would be hard to find a better description of what it means to become a Christian."[412] Indeed, "There can be little doubt that the false teachers had once been orthodox Christians;"[413] "true followers of Jesus Christ."[414] "The 'way of righteousness' [which the false teachers had at one time fully embraced] is obviously the same as 'the way of truth' in verse 2 and 'the straight way' in verse 15."[415] Furthermore, it is equivalent to "the holy commandment" passed on to them.[416] Unfortunately, these once orthodox Christians have "turned away" (hupostrephō) from following the way of righteousness or holy commandments delivered to them. This "implies that they have returned to their former way of life and thus committed ... apostasy" (i.e. become unbelievers).[417] This is an "ethical apostasy,"[418] which is an act of "deconversion."[419] Finally, Peter illustrates what has happened to these former Christians with two proverbs that convey the same point.[420] "Like a dog that comes back to lick up the spoiled vomit that sickened him in the first place, like a sow that gets a bath and goes back to the mud from which she had been cleansed, these apostates return to the enslaving, polluting wickedness from which they had been delivered."[421] Calvinists try to get around Peter's teaching here "by suggesting that the real nature of the sow or the dog had not been changed, and that this implies that these apostate false teachers were never regenerated" or saved to begin with.[422] But this is simply "pressing the illustration beyond what they are intended to convey. Indeed, the proverbs must be interpreted by the clearer words that precede them and not the other way around. The previous paragraph [i.e., verses 20–21] expresses precisely what the proverbs are intended to convey. ... Peter is describing a real apostasy from genuine Christianity."[423] "If all we had of the New Testament was 2 Peter, then there would be no question about the possibility of true believers abandoning the faith. The author of 2 Peter seems to leave no doubt about the initial conversion of the false-teachers (v. 20—they came to the saving knowledge—epignosis) who have now, according to his estimation, left the faith and are in danger of eternal damnation."[424] Indeed, "Peter has already told us of their end: 'Blackest darkness is reserved for them' (2 Pet 2:17)."[425] Based on this passage, "Our author does not believe in eternal security."[426]

"Instead of being faithful to Paul and his presentation of the gospel, the false teachers have distorted his message."[427] "They twist his teaching ... as even the other Scriptures,"[428] and they do this to their own "eternal destruction" (Greek: apōleia),[429] which entails "the loss of eternal life"[430] and "the final loss of salvation."[431] "The problem of the false teachers is not that they have poorly understood portions of divine revelation but that they use their twisted interpretation to justify their immorality (e.g., 2:19; 3:3-4). Twisted teaching and twisted practice go hand in hand."[432] Peter's "dear friends" have been forewarned in advance—they are to continually be on guard against being "carried away" (Greek: synapagō) by the error and deception of the false teachers who are already "seducing the unstable" in the congregation.[433] David Kuske says the verb synapagō "means 'to drag away together with others," and the passive voice indicates that this action would be done to Peter's readers" by the false teachers.[434] If a believer winds up embracing the heretical beliefs and practices of these false teachers, they will "apostatize,"[435] or "fall" (Greek: ekpiptō) from their secure position. Jörg Frey says the word fall (ekpiptō) is likely used here because piptō, fall, "and other composites are conventionally used for apostasy and ethical decline (cf. Rom 11:11, 22; 1 Cor 10:12; Gal 5:4; Heb 4:11; Rev 2:5; 1 Clem. 59:4; 2 Clem. 2.6; 5.7)."[436] Peter is issuing a "severe warning." His readers have been "informed in advance about the nature of the false teachers and the danger they pose, and should therefore be on guard against the temptation to apostasy from the true faith and the ethical way of life, because this would inevitably entail the loss of salvation and destruction."[437] He "has clarified in the entire letter that those who fall away" (or commit apostasy, like the false teachers have done), "are destined for eternal destruction. Believers maintain their secure position ... by heeding warnings, not by ignoring them."[438] "The apostle recognizes that the best antidote against apostasy is a Christian life that is growing."[439] Therefore, Peter urges them in his final exhortation to "continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Messiah."[440] This growth in grace and knowledge "is the strongest antidote against the destructive lures of the false teachers."[441]

Conditional security in the epistles of John

The addresses are explicitly commanded and "warned not to love the world" because "everything in it [i.e., the desire of the flesh, desire of the eyes, and the boastful-pride of life ] is dangerous" and "can lead a person to fall away from God."[443] A believer cannot love the world and love God the Father at the same time. "Loving the world leads to falling away from God, the most serious thing that can happen to a believer."[444] The young believers are identified by the writer as "victors over the evil one" in 2:13-14. They are victors because they are "holding fast to God's word" (2:14) and "their faith in Jesus as the messiah, the son of God (4:4)."[445] However, if they allow themselves to be seduced by the allurements of the world, they will "fall away from this faith, [and] they will go lost [eternally]. The world is passing away (v. 17)" but "eternal life belongs to those who do God's will, to those who love the Father and follow his commandments (v. 17)."[446]

Conditional security in the book of Revelation

A major theme in the book of Revelation concerns the Greek word nikaō[449] which means "to ... conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory."[450] Its meaning is reflected in modern translations of Rev. 2:7,

"To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." (NASB 2020)

"To the one who conquers ...." (NET, ESV, CSB)

"To the one who is victorious ...." (NIV; EHV)

The Greek verb nikaō appears eight times (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7) as a present participle which is translated "literally [as] the one overcoming or conquering."[451] "The present participle implies continuous victory, 'keeps on overcoming' or 'continues to be victorious.'"[452] Thus, Christians are "in the process of conquering"[453] and will receive the promises only if they "carry out the process to its completion."[454] Overcoming/conquering in these verses refers to "Christians that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and their temptations and persecutions."[455] Overcoming/Conquering simply "means persevering in faith,"[456] which entails an "active trust in God that leads to faithfulness in the difficult situations of life lived for Christ."[457] Each of the seven churches are given a promise on the condition of overcoming/conquering that differs from one another, but "each contains in some form the anticipation of eternal life"[458] or "final salvation [with God] in the time of the new Jerusalem."[459] This is confirmed by the final promise found in Revelation 21:7,[460] "The one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be God to him and he will be a son to Me" (DLNT). "The pronoun . . . 'these things,' refers to the blessings of eschatological [i.e., future and final] salvation enumerated in v. 4 (i.e., no sorrow, death, mourning, tears, or pain)."[461] Alexander Stewart states, "Each of the seven initial promises [proclaimed to the seven churches] point forward to the visions of final salvation at the end of the Apocalypse (Revelation 20–22). Altogether they illustrate one of John's primary motivational strategies: hearers should strive to overcome in order to gain final salvation. Final salvation is dependent upon a human response of overcoming."[462] Christians must be conquering/overcoming, that is, "remaining faithful [to Jesus], even to death, in order to experience glorious, everlasting life with God, the Lamb, and all the redeemed in God's new heaven and earth."[463] Of course, the "Failure to overcome necessarily entails failure to receive the promises and the resultant exclusion from God's new creation."[464]

"The persecution would be a time for testing of the church's faith. The time of affliction would be brief ("ten days," that is, an indeterminate, short period) but may result in death for some of the faithful. They were not to fear,"[465] but "Keep on being faithful"[466] in the midst of the devils efforts "to lead the faithful into apostasy."[467] If they "Keep on proving faithful unto death"[468] Christ will give them "the 'crown' which consists in eternal life,"[469] "eternal life ... in the coming Kingdom."[470] Jesus calls "all [Christians] to faithfulness, which is what it means to conquer" in the book of Revelation.[471] Therefore, those who "Continue to be faithful" to Jesus until death[472] consist of those who are presently "conquering"[473] "all the godless and antichristian powers" waring against them.[474] Christians who are conquering (i.e., "persevering in faith")[475] are promised to never experience "the second death" (2:11) which entails "exclusion from participation in God's final kingdom"[476] and "eternal damnation in hell" (cf. 20:6, 14; 21:8).[474]

The Philadelphian Christians are praised by Jesus: they "did not deny my name" (3:9), but "kept my word" (3:8), and "kept the word of my patient endurance" or perseverance (3:10). "This passage assumes that those who identify with Jesus' 'name' are being pressured to deny their faith"[478] "Despite Jesus' praises for the Philadelphian Christians' perseverance to this point, however, 'it's not over till it's over.' They must continue to hold fast what they have (3:11), that is, to continue to keep the message that demands their perseverance (3:10), lest their persecutors seize from them their crown (3:11; cf. 2:25)."[479] "[T]he crown of life in Revelation 2:10 is ... eternal life itself" which Christ gives to those who remain faithful to Jesus until death.[480] In 3:11, this "crown" also represents "eternal life,"[481] as a present possession that Christians must "be holding-on-to" (Disciples Literal New Testament) in light of Jesus's second coming.[482] They must "'hold fast' to their present faith [in Christ] . . . in the face of coming difficulties"[483] or else they will have their crown "taken away." This "is a metaphor for being disqualified in a contest."[484] "The athletic metaphor is appropriate in this letter, since Philadelphia was noted for its [athletic] games and festivals (Mounce 104; Hemer, Letters 165)."[485] The Christian athlete can become disqualified from keeping possession of the crown "of eternal life"[486] through a variety of ways in the book of Revelation. Gwyn Pugh explains,

Jesus alerts believers [throughout the seven letters to the churches] to spiritual enemies that are aggressive, militant, and opportunistic. Believers must be on guard against any temptation, whether imperial pressure to deny Christ, social pressure to compromise with the pagan and idolatrous environment around them, or persecution from unbelieving Jews—not to mention false doctrine, indifference, and spiritual inertia within the churches. Any of these might overcome the believer and have the effect of taking one's crown. (The Book of Revelation, 196)

Christians are warned,[487] they must be holding fast to one's faith in Christ despite present opposition or else they will find the crown of eternal life they currently possess being "forfeited."[488] "Through unfaithfulness this crown, which includes the blessing of everlasting life, is lost,"[489] and one is excluded from entering the kingdom of God[490] along with all the rest who are "unfaithful" (Rev. 21:8, ISV). The doctrine of once saved, always saved "is here clearly denied."[491]

Revelation 21:8 concludes this section (vv. 1–8) with a "warning" to Christians about succumbing to temptations that could keep them from being faithful to Jesus until the end as overcomers/conquers.[492] Since "cowardly" is the opposite of the "conqueror,"[493] Christians must "decide whether to be a 'conqueror' (21:7) or a 'coward' (21:8)" and share in each of their corresponding destines.[494] In this context, "cowards" are Christians who lack the "courage to offer faithful witness in following the Lamb wherever he might go, specifically to death," [495] and who ultimately relinquish "one's faith in the battle against evil,"[496] and become "apostates" (i.e., unbelievers)[497] "The term unfaithful ... stands with the" term coward.[498] Unfaithful [Greek: apistos] "is the opposite of faith [Greek: pistos], which includes loyalty to God and Christ (Rev 2:10; 17:14). If Jesus (1:5; 3:14; 19:11) and Antipas (2:13) were faithful and resist evil," the unfaithful "are the opposite" (cf. Luke 12:46).[499] The book of Revelation calls "all [Christians] to faithfulness, which is what it means to conquer" (see Rev. 2:10-11).[500] Therefore, for a Christian to become unfaithful to Jesus means that they have "turned their backs on him"[501] and failed "to offer the faithful witness that reflects their Lord and his followers."[502] Thus, "When Rev. 21:8 places" the cowardly and the unfaithful "in the lake of fire, it has in view Christians during times of persecution who, out of a fear of suffering, renounce their faith"[503] and become "apostates" (i.e., unbelievers)[504] Since "John's audience is Christians under pressure and threat of persecution, cowardice and faithlessness to the Lord, either spiritually or ethically," must be condemned in the strongest possible manner.[505] "The intended rhetorical effect of this verse was ... to warn the faithful of the dangers of spiritual and moral apostasy."[506]

Whether it is Jesus or the author John who is speaking authoritatively as a prophet on behalf of God (commentators differ here), we have in these verses a "severe warning"[507] against distorting or "falsifying the message of Revelation through one's teaching and manner of life."[508] These warnings are meant for "everyone" who "hears" the message of Revelation and "especially ... for the seven churches" who were its original recipients.[509] Craig Koester says,

Hearers have already been told to "keep" what is written in the book and that they are blessed through faithfulness to God and Christ (1:3; 22:7, 9). Since "keeping" means obeying the message, then "adding and taking away" are the opposite and connote disobedience.[510]

The words adding/taking away "echoes Moses' teaching in Deuteronomy" (4:2; 12:32), which in context, contain commands against committing idolatry and warn of false prophets who would encourage Israel to worship other gods (Deut. 13:1-5).[511] Since false teachers/prophets are already active in at least two of these churches, enticing God's people to participate in idolatry and immorality (2:14-15, 20), Revelation 22:18-19 also serves as a "warning [to them] that God will punish interpretations of the Christian faith that allow the idolatry, immorality, and compromise with evil that Revelation condemns."[512] Since the warning is addressed to "everyone who hears," it would therefore discourage both Christians and non-Christians "from attempting to tamper with the book's contents."[513] Nevertheless, it must be remembered that this warning was originally given to believers, and thus, if a believer adds/takes away, that is, "change[s] the message God has communicated in the book or prophecy of Revelation" to allow themselves or others to disobey God, they will commit "apostasy" (i.e., "the believer will become an unbeliever")[514] and "will have the plagues of the book added to them; that is, they will be treated as unbelievers and suffer the punishments to be inflicted on the wicked."[515] "Even more severe is the warning that they will lose their share in the tree of life" and the holy city which are references to final salvation with God and His people in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21–22).[516] "Clearly, failure to keep the prophecy ... disqualifies one from the eternal life that awaits in New Jerusalem."[517] In light of these verses, "It is hard to deny ... that the author believed that a person could commit apostasy ... and so have the privilege of eternal salvation taken away from him. John was not an advocate of 'once saved, always saved' theology."[518]

New Testament Greek in support of conditional security

Arminians find further support for conditional security from numerous Scriptures where the verb "believes" occurs in the Greek present tense.[519] Greek scholars and commentators (both Calvinist and non-Calvinist) have noted that Greek present tense verbs generally refer to continuous action, especially present participles.[520] For example, In his textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, Calvinist William D. Mounce writes: "The present participle is built on the present tense stem of the verb. It describes a continuous action. It will often be difficult to carry this 'on-going' nuance into your translation, but this must be the foremost consideration in your mind."[521] Calvinist Daniel Wallace brings out this "on-going" nuance for the present participle "believes" in John 3:16, "Everyone who [continually] believes in him should not perish. ... In this Gospel, there seems to be a qualitative distinction between the ongoing act of believing and the simple fact of believing."[522] He argues for this understanding not simply because believes is in the present tense, "but to the use of the present participle of πιστεύων [pisteuōn, believing], especially in soteriological [i.e., salvation] contexts in the NT."[523] Wallace goes on to elaborate,

The aspectual force of the present [participle] ὁ πιστεύων [the one believing] seems to be in contrast with [the aorist participle] ὁ πιστεύσας [the one having believed]. ... The present [participle for the one believing] occurs six times as often (43 times) [in comparison to the aorist], most often in soteriological contexts (cf. John 1:12; 3:15, 16, 18; 3:36; 6:35, 47, 64; 7:38; 11:25; 12:46; Acts 2:44; 10:43; 13:39; Rom 1:16; 3:22; 4:11, 24; 9:33; 10:4, 11; 1 Cor 1:21; 1 Cor 14:22 [bis]; Gal 3:22; Eph 1:19; 1 Thess 1:7; 2:10, 13; 1 Pet 2:6, 7; 1 John 5:1, 5, 10, 13). Thus, it seems that since the aorist participle was a live option to describe a "believer," it is unlikely that when the present was used, it was aspectually flat. The present was the tense of choice most likely because the New Testament writers by and large saw continual belief as a necessary condition of salvation. Along these lines, it seems significant that the promise of salvation is almost always given to ὁ πιστεύων [the one believing] (cf. several of the above cited texts), almost never to ὁ πιστεύσας [the one having believed] (apart from Mark 16:16, John 7:39 and Heb 4:3 come the closest . . .).[524]

Arminian Greek scholar J. Harold Greenlee supplies the following literal translation of several verses where the Greek word translated "believes" (in our modern translations) occurs in the tense of continuous action.[525]

John 3:15, " order that everyone believing may have eternal life in him."
John 3:16, " order that everyone believing in him should not perish but should have eternal life."
John 3:36, "The one believing on the Son has eternal life."
John 5:24, "The one hearing my word and believing him who sent me has eternal life."
John 6:35, "the one believing in me shall never thirst."
John 6:40, "...that everyone beholding the Son and believing in him should have eternal life."
John 6:47, "The one believing has eternal life."
John 11:25, 26, "The one believing in me, even though he dies he shall live; and everyone living and believing in me shall never die."
John 20:31, " order that by means of believing you may have life in his name."
Romans 1:16, "it is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing."
1 Corinthians 1:21, "it pleased God ... to save the one believing."

Of further significance is that "In many cases the results of the believing are also given in a continuous tense. As we keep believing, we keep on having eternal life (John 3:15, 16, 36; 20:31)."[526] It is this type of evidence which leads Arminians to conclude that "eternal security is firmly promised to 'the one believing'—the person who continues to believe in Christ—but not to "the one having believed,"—the person who has merely exercised one single act of faith some time in the past."[527] Indeed, "Just as becoming saved is conditioned upon faith, staying saved is conditioned upon continuing to believe."[528]

Scriptures that appear to contradict conditional security

Those who hold to perseverance of the saints cite a number of verses to support their view. The following are some of the most commonly cited:

Arminians would argue that they have adequately provided explanations for how these verses and others can be easily reconciled with conditional security.[529]

Agreements and disagreements with opposing views

A major difference between traditional Calvinists and Arminians is how they define apostasy (see Perseverance of the saints for the definition as it is referred to here).

Traditional Calvinist view

Traditional Calvinists say apostasy refers to people who fall away (apostatize) from a profession of faith, but who have never actually entered into a saving relationship with God through Christ.[530] As noted earlier, Arminians understand that apostasy refers to a believer who has departed from a genuine saving relationship with God by developing "an evil, unbelieving heart." (Hebrews 3:12)

In traditional Calvinism the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints "does not stand alone but is a necessary part of the Calvinistic system of theology."[531] The Calvinist doctrines of Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace "logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings."[531] If God has eternally and unconditionally elected (chosen) some men to eternal life, and if His Spirit irresistibly applies to them the benefits of salvation, then the inescapable conclusion is that these persons will be saved forever.[531] Arminians acknowledge that the Calvinistic system is logically consistent if certain presuppositions are true, but they do not agree with these presuppositions, which include the Calvinist doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace.[532]

Traditional Calvinists agree with Arminians on the need for persevering in faith

Baptist scholar James Leo Garrett says it is important for people recognize that traditional Calvinist and Arminians "do not differ as to whether continuing faith in Jesus Christ will be necessary for final or eschatological salvation. Both agree that it is so. Rather, they differ as to whether all Christians or all true believers will continue in faith to the end."[533] For example, Anthony Hoekema, longtime Professor of Calvin Theological Seminary, stated: "Peter puts it vividly: We are kept by the power of God through faith [1 Peter 1:5]—a living faith, which expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:6). In other words, we may never simply rest on the comfort of God's preservation apart from the continuing exercise of faith."[534] Hoekema even writes that he agrees with Arminian writer Robert Shank when he says,

There is no warrant in the New Testament for that strange at-ease-in-Zion definition of perseverance which assures Christians that perseverance is inevitable and relieves them of the necessity of deliberately persevering in faith, encouraging them to place confidence in some past act or experience.[535]

Reformed Presbyterian James Denney stated:

And there is nothing superficial in what the New Testament calls faith . . . it is [man's] absolute committal of himself for ever to the sin-bearing love of God for salvation. It is not simply the act of an instant, it is the attitude of a life; it is the one right thing at the moment when a man abandons himself to Christ, and it is the one thing which keeps him right with God for ever. . . . Grace is the attitude of God to man which is revealed and made sure in Christ, and the only way in which it becomes effective in us for new life is when it wins [from] us the response of faith. And just as grace is the whole attitude of God in Christ to sinful men, so faith is the whole attitude of the sinful soul as it surrenders itself to that grace. Whether we call it the life of the justified, or the life of the reconciled, or the life of the regenerate, or the life of grace or of love, the new life is the life of faith and nothing else. To maintain the original attitude of welcoming God's love as it is revealed in Christ bearing our sins—not only to trust it, but to go on trusting—not merely to believe in it as a mode of transition from the old to the new, but to keep on believing—to say with every breath we draw, "Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find"—is not a part of the Christian life, but the whole of it.[536]

Free Grace or non-traditional Calvinist view

The non-traditional Calvinist or Free Grace view disagrees with Traditional Calvinists and Arminians in holding that saving faith in Christ must continue in order for a person to remain in their saving relationship with God. For example, Zane Hodges says: "... We miss the point to insist that true saving faith must necessarily continue. Of course, our faith in Christ should continue. But the claim that it absolutely must ... has no support at all in the Bible"[537] Joseph Dillow writes:

Even though Robert Shank would not agree, it is definitely true that saving faith is "the act of a single moment whereby all the benefits of Christ's life, death, and resurrection suddenly become the irrevocable possession of the individual, per se, despite any and all eventualities."[538]

Any and all eventualities would include apostasy—falling away or walking away from the Christian faith and to "cease believing."[539] What a Christian forfeits when he falls away is not his saving relationship with God but the opportunity to reign with Christ in his coming kingdom.[540]

Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his book Salvation, provides a concise summary of the Free Grace position: "Saving faith is an act: not an attitude. Its work is accomplished when its object has been gained."[541]

Traditional Calvinists agree with Arminians against the Free Grace view

Traditional Calvinists and Arminians disagree with the Free Grace view on biblical and theological grounds.[542] For example, Calvinist Tony Lane writes:

The two historic views discussed so far [Traditional Calvinism and Arminianism] are agreed that salvation requires perseverance [in faith]. More recently, however, a third view has emerged [i.e., non-traditional Calvinist or Free Grace], according to which all who are converted will be saved regardless of how they then live. They will be saved even if they immediately renounce their faith and lead a life of debauched atheism. Many people today find this view attractive, but it is blatantly unbiblical. There is much in the New Testament that makes it clear that discipleship is not an optional extra and that remaining faithful is a condition of salvation. The whole letter to the Hebrews focuses on warning Jewish believers not to forsake Christ and so lose their salvation. Also, much of the teaching of Jesus warns against thinking that a profession of faith is of use if it is not backed up by our lives. Apart from being unbiblical, this approach is dangerous, for a number of reasons. It encourages a false complacency, the idea that there can be salvation without discipleship. ... Also it encourages a 'tip and run' approach to evangelism which is concerned only to lead people to make a 'decision', with scant concern about how these 'converts' will subsequently live. This is in marked contrast to the attitude of the apostle Paul, who was deeply concerned about his converts' lifestyle and discipleship. One only needs to read Galatians or 1 Corinthians to see that he did not hold to this recent view. The author of Hebrews was desperately concerned that his readers might lose their salvation by abandoning Christ. ... These three letters make no sense if salvation is guaranteed by one single 'decision for Christ'. This view is pastorally disastrous.[543]

Scot McKnight and J. Rodman Williams represent the opinion of Arminians on this view:

"Christians of all sorts tend to agree on this point: to be finally saved, to enter eternally into the presence of God, the new heavens and the new earth, and into the [final eternal] 'rest,' a person needs to persevere. The oddest thing has happened in evangelicalism though. It [i.e., non-traditional Calvinism] has taught ... the idea of 'once saved, always saved' as if perseverance were not needed. This is neither Calvinism nor Arminianism but a strange and unbiblical hybrid of both. ... [Non-traditional Calvinists] have taught that if a person has crossed the threshold by receiving Christ, but then decides to abandon living for him, that person is eternally secure. This is rubbish theology because the New Testament does not hold such cavalier notions of security."[544]

"Any claim to security by virtue of the great salvation we have in Christ without regard to the need for continuing in faith is totally mistaken and possibly tragic in its results. ... A doctrine of 'perseverance of the saints' that does not affirm its occurrence through faith is foreign to Scripture, a serious theological misunderstanding, and a liability to Christian existence."[545]

Harry Jessop succinctly states the Arminian position: "Salvation, while in its initial stages made real in the soul through an act of faith, is maintained within the soul by a life of faith, manifested in faithfulness."[546]

Christian denominations that affirm the possibility of apostasy

The following Christian denominations affirm their belief in the possibility of apostasy in either their articles or statements of faith, or by way of a position paper.

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ James Arminius, The Works of Arminius, 2:465, 466; 3:412, 413. Mark A. Ellis, The Arminian Confession of 1621, 77–78; 112–13. The Confession was primarily composed by Arminius' protégé Simon Episcopius (1583–1643), and approved by the Remonstrant Pastors in 1620. The first Dutch edition was published in 1621 and the Latin edition in 1622. For more background on the Confession see the "Introduction" by Ellis, v-xiii). French L. Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth?, 63, 180. Stephen M. Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," Four Views on Eternal Security, 163–166. Frederick W. Claybrook, Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 216–218. I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away, 210. David Pawson, Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance, 18–21. Robert Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will. Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism and Arminianism, 192. W. T. Purkiser, Security: The False and the True, 27–33. Robert Shank, Life in the Son: A Study of the Doctrine of Perseverance, 51–71. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 10:284–298. J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, 2:119–127. Dale M Yocum, Creeds in Contrast: A Study in Calvinism and Arminianism, 128–129.
  2. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 92; cf. Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 182. Marshall writes: "The Christian life is a life which is continually sustained by the power of God. It does not merely depend upon a once-for-all gift of God received in the moment of conversion, but is a continual relationship to God in which His gracious gifts are received by faith" (Kept by the Power, 22).
  3. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 116. cf. Williams, Renewal Theology 2:127, 134–135. Brenda Colijn writes: "Salvation is not a transaction but an ongoing relationship between the Rescuer and the rescued, between the Healer and the healed. The best way to ensure faithfulness is to nurture that relationship. Final salvation, like initial salvation, is appropriated by grace through faith(fulness) (Ephesians 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:5)... Salvation is not a one-time event completed at conversion. It involves a growth in relationship ... that is not optional or secondary but is essential to what salvation means" (Images of Salvation in the New Testament, 140–141).
  4. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 116. In another place Shank writes: "The faith on which our union with Christ depends is not the act of some past moment. It is a present living faith in a living Savior" (Life in the Son, 66).
  5. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 43, 116.
  6. ^ Hebrews 5:8–9
  7. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 7, 197, 218–219; Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 182; Claybrook, Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 24–25. Brenda Colign writes: "The New Testament nowhere supports an understanding of saving faith as mere intellectual assent divorced from obedience. Saving faith entails faithfulness. Believers are saved by grace through faith for works (Ephesians 2:8–10). According to Hebrews, Jesus is 'the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him' (Heb 5:9). The 'things that belong to salvation' include faithfulness, patience and loving service (Hebrews 6:9–12). As James points out, the faith necessary for salvation is a faith that expresses itself in works (James 2:14–17)" (Images of Salvation in the New Testament, 140). Scot McKnight writes: "Perseverance ... is both belief and believing, trusting and obeying. ... Perseverance is an indicator of what faith is all about, not a specialized version of faith for the most advanced. True and saving faith, the kind Jesus taught, and that James talks about in James 2, and that Paul talks about in all his letters, is a relationship that continues. ... True faith is marked by steady love ..." (A Long Faithfulness: The Case for Christian Perseverance, 49).
  8. ^ The Arminian Confession of 1621, 76, 111.
  9. ^ The Arminian Confession of 1621, 74; see also 78–80. John Wesley wrote: "But he [Christ] has done all which was necessary for the conditional salvation of all mankind; that is, if they believe; for through his merits all that believe to the end, with the faith that worketh by love, shall be saved (The Works of John Wesley, "An Extract from 'A Short View of the Differences Between the Moravian Brethren,'" 10:202).
  10. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 55 fn. 3; cf. Marshall, Kept by the Power of God, 199–200; Williams, Renewal Theology, 2:120–122, 130–135.
  11. ^ Romans 8:39
  12. ^ John 10:27–29
  13. ^ Shank, Life in the Son, 59, 211; Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," 123, 163. George A. Turner and Julius R. Mantey write: "It is comforting to know that 'final perseverance' is a glorious possibility and that no combination of external circumstances can sever the believer from Christ (cf. Rom. 8:35–39; John 10:28)" (The Evangelical Commentary: The Gospel According to John, 304). Ben Witherington says: "Verses 28–29 [in John 10] say not only that Jesus' sheep are granted eternal life, and so will never perish, but also that 'no one will snatch them out of ... the Father's hand.' This speaks to the matter of being 'stolen' by outside forces or false shepherds. ... Both John 10:28 and Rom. 8:38–39 are texts meant to reassure [followers of Christ] that no outside forces or being can snatch one out of the firm grasp of God" (John's Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, 190–91, 389 fn. 72)
  14. ^ Marshall, Kept by the Power of God, 157; Shank, Life in the Son, 158–164, 262; Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 180.
  15. ^ Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, 201; Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," 123–125, 167; Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 62; The Works of John Wesley, 10:297–298.
  16. ^ a b Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, 207; Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 184–185.
  17. ^ B. J. Oropeza, Church Under Siege of Persecution and Assimilation: The General Epistles and Revelation, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3 [Oregon: Cascade Books, 2012], 30–33; 47–48.
  18. ^ Gene L. Green, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Jude and Peter [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008], 339–343.
  19. ^ B. J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors: the Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3 [Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011]: 129–130.
  20. ^ Grace, Faith, Free Will, 183.
  21. ^ Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 65. For quotes that appear to support his conclusions see "Salvation," in A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, edited by David Bercot, 574–585, 586–591. See also the article in the External Links by Calvinist John Jefferson Davis titled: "The Perseverance of the Saints: A History of the Doctrine," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34:2 (June 1991), 213–228. He covers the key people and groups that have discussed this topic from Augustine (354–430) to 1981. For a helpful overview see B. J. Oropeza's "Apostasy and Perseverance in Church History" in Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation, 1–33. From his research Oropeza makes three observations concerning apostasy and perseverance in Pre-Reformation Church History. First, there were three basic venues which could lead a Christian to apostatize: theological heresies; vices (i.e., temptations to fall back into pre-conversion practices like idolatry, immorality, etc.); and persecution. Second, those who apostatized were excommunicated from the church. Third, "the notion of perseverance involved patient endurance through persecutions and temptations" (Paul and Apostasy, 12).
  22. ^ Works of Arminius, 3:438.
  23. ^ Works of Arminius, 2:472–473.
  24. ^ Works of Arminius, 2:219–220. William Nichols notes: "Arminius spoke nearly the same modest words when interrogated on this subject in the last Conference which he had with Gomarus [a Calvinist], before the states of Holland, on the 12th of Aug. 1609, only two months prior to his decease" (Works of Arminius, 1:665). Oropeza says, "Although Arminius denied having taught final apostasy in his Declaration of Sentiments, in the Examination of the Treatise of Perkins on the Order and Mode of Predestination he writes that a person who is being 'built' into the church of Christ may resist the continuation of this process. Concerning the believers, 'It may suffice to encourage them, if they know that no power or prudence can dislodge them from the rock, unless they of their own will forsake their position.' [Works of Arminius, 3:455, cf. 1:667] A believing member of Christ may become slothful, give place to sin, and gradually die altogether, ceasing to be a member. [Works of Arminius, 3:458] The covenant of God (Jeremiah 23) 'does not contain in itself an impossibility of defection from God, but a promise of the gift of fear, whereby they shall be hindered from going away from God so long as that shall flourish in their hearts.' If there is any consistency in Arminius' position, he did not seem to deny the possibility of falling away" (Paul and Apostasy, 16).
  25. ^ Works of Arminius, 2:465; cf. 2:466.
  26. ^ Works of Arminius, 3:412; cf. 3:413. For a more in-depth look at how Arminius responded to the issue of the believer's security, see External Link: "James Arminius: The Security of the Believer and the Possibility of Apostasy."
  27. ^ Philip Schaff, editor. The Creeds of Christendom Volume III: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, "The Articles of the Remonstrants," 3:548–549.
  28. ^ Peter Y. De Jong, Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dordt, 1618–1619, 220ff. See External Link for full treatment.
  29. ^ Grace, Faith, Free Will, 198.
  30. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 17.
  31. ^ Goodwin's work was primarily dedicated to refuting the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement, but he digresses from his main topic and spends 300 pages attempting to disprove the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional perseverance. See Redemption Redeemed, 226–527. Several Calvinist's responded to Goodwin's book, and he provides a lengthy rejoinder in Triumviri (1658). See also Goodwin's Christian Theology (1836): "Apostasy," 394–428.
  32. ^ The Examination of Tilenus Before the Triers, in Order to His Intended Settlement in the Office of a Public Preacher, in the Commonwealth of Utupia: Whereupon Are Annexed The Tenets of the Remonstrants, Touching Those Five Articles Voted, Stated, and Emposed, but Not Disputed, at the Synod of Dort. Together with a Short Essay, by Way of Annotations, Upon the Fundamental Theses of Mr. Thomas Parker (1638): see "The Fifth Article Touching Perseverance," 138–150; see also The Calvinists Cabinet Unlock'd (1659): 436–519.
  33. ^ A Complete System, or Body of Divinity, both Speculative and Practical: Founded on Scripture and Reason: 799–820.
  34. ^ See A Discourse on the Five Points: 330–397.
  35. ^ The Works of John Wesley, 10:288. In his Sermon: "The Repentance of Believers," Wesley proclaimed, "For, by that faith in his life, death, and intercession for us, renewed from moment to moment, we are every whit clean, and there is ... now no condemnation for us ... By the same faith we feel the power of Christ every moment resting upon us ... whereby we are enabled to continue in spiritual life ... As long as we retain our faith in him, we 'draw water out of the wells of salvation'" (The Works of John Wesley, 5:167).
  36. ^ a b The Works of John Wesley, 10:297.
  37. ^ a b The Works of John Wesley, 10:298.
  38. ^ A Full Refutation of the Doctrine of Unconditional Perseverance: In a Discourse on Hebrews 2:3 (1790).
  39. ^ The Works of the Reverend John Fletcher (1851): 2:129–260.
  40. ^ See notes in Hebrews 10:26–27, 38–39, in Joseph Benson's commentary The New Testament of our Lord and Savior, Volume 2: Romans to Revelation (1847).
  41. ^ Objections to the Calvinistic Doctrine of Final Perseverance (18??).
  42. ^ Christian Theology (1835): 413–420.
  43. ^ The Errors of Hopkinsianism Detected and Refuted. Six Letters to the Rev. S. Williston, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Durham, N.Y. (1815): 215–255; The Reformer Reformed or a Second Part of the Errors of Hopkinsianism Detected and Refuted: Being an Examination of Mr. Seth Williston's "Vindication of Some of the Most Essential Doctrines of the Reformation" (1818): 168–206.
  44. ^ Theological Institutes (1851): Volume 2, Chapter 25.
  45. ^ Theological Colloquies (1837): 650–663.
  46. ^ A Complete System of Christian Theology: or a Concise, Comprehensive, and Systematic View of the Evidences, Doctrines, Morals, and Institutions of Christianity (1869): 455–466.
  47. ^ Elements of Theology: or an Exposition of the Divine Origin, Doctrines, Morals and Institutions of Christianity (1856): 163–169; 319–320.
  48. ^ Binney's Theological Compend: Improved co-authored with Daniel Steele (1875): 134-135. See also John 15:2, 6; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12; Romans 11:22; Hebrews 6:4–6; 10:26–29; 2 Peter 1:8–11; Revelation 3:5 in The People's Commentary (1878), co-authored with Daniel Steele.
  49. ^ An Examination of the Doctrine of the Unconditional Final Perseverance of the Saints as Taught by Calvinists (1860).
  50. ^ see notes on John 15:1–6 in A Popular Commentary on the New Testament Volume 2: Luke-John (1874).
  51. ^ Elements of Divinity: or, A Course of Lectures, Comprising a Clear and Concise View of the System of Theology as Taught in the Holy Scriptures; with Appropriate Questions Appended to Each Lecture (1851): 369–381.
  52. ^ Systematic Theology: A Complete Body of Wesleyan Arminian Divinity Consisting of Lectures on the Twenty-Five Articles of Religion (1888): 2:173–210.
  53. ^ Perseverance and Apostasy: Being an Argument in Proof of the Arminian Doctrine on that Subject (1871).
  54. ^ Systematic Theology (1894), 2:268–270.
  55. ^ Arminianism v. Hyper-Calvinism, 45, 70, 74–75, 180–187.
  56. ^ Calvinism As It Is: in a Series of Letters Addressed to Rev. N. L. Rice D.D. by Rev. R. S. Foster (1854): 179–194.
  57. ^ A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical (1879), 3:131–147; A Higher Catechism of Theology (1883): 276–291.
  58. ^ The Earnest Christian, "To Perdition," Vol. 43 (Feb 1882) No. 2, 37–39; The Earnest Christian, "Kept from Falling," Vol. 50 (Dec 1885) No. 6, 165–168; Holiness Teachings: The Life and Works of B.T. Roberts (1893), Chapter 21, 35.
  59. ^ Antinomianism Revived or the Theology of the So-Called Plymouth Brethren Examined and Refuted (1887): 157–158; Steele's Answers (1912): 73, 142.
  60. ^ The Student's Handbook of Christian Theology (1870): 220–224.
  61. ^ A Manuel of Christian Doctrine (1902): 225–226.
  62. ^ A Manuel of Theology (1906): 293–295; see also his notes on Romans 11:11–24 in A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (1877).
  63. ^ The Dictionary of Christian Theology (edited by Alan Richardson), "Apostasy," R.P.C. Hanson [The Westminster Press, 1969], 12. Scot McKnight says: "Apostasy is a theological category describing those who have voluntarily and consciously abandoned their faith in the God of the covenant, who manifests himself most completely in Jesus Christ" (Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible, "Apostasy," 58).
  64. ^ Baker's Dictionary of Theology (editor in chief Everett F. Harrison) "Apostasy," Robert Winston Ross [Baker Book House, 1976], 57.
  65. ^ Life in the Son, 157-158. Richard A. Muller offers this definition of apostasy (Greek apostasia): "a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christian truth. Apostasy is the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian ..." (Dictionary of Greek and Latin Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, 41). In The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Wolfgang Bauder had this to say on aphistēmi (Fall, Fall Away): "Of theological importance is falling away in the religious sense... 1 Timothy 4:1 describes 'falling away from the faith' in the last days in terms of falling into false, heretical beliefs. Luke 8:13 probably refers to apostasy as a result of eschatological temptation. Here are people who have come to believe, who have received the gospel 'with joy.' But under the pressure of persecution and tribulation arising because of the faith, they break off the relationship with God into which they have entered. According to Hebrews 3:12, apostasy consists in an unbelieving and self-willed movement away from God (in contrast to Hebrews 3:14), which must be prevented at all costs. aphistēmi thus connotes in the passages just mentioned the serious situation of becoming separated from the living God after a previous turning towards him, by falling away from the faith. It is a movement of unbelief and sin, which can also be expressed by other words (cf. the par. to Luke 8:13 in Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17; [see] Offence, art. skandalon). Expressions equivalent in meaning to the warning in 1 Timothy 4:1 include nauageō, suffer shipwreck, 1:19; astocheō miss the mark, 1:6; 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18; cf. also aperchomai, go away, John 6:66; apostrephō, turn away; arneomai, deny; metatithēmi, change, alter; mē menein, do not abide, John 15:6; [see] art. piptō; Lead Astray, art. planaō; and the pictures of defection in Matthew 24:9-12, and Revelation 13." (3:607–608)
  66. ^ Kept by the Power, 217, note 5; cf. Williams, Renewal Theology, 2:131–135.
  67. ^ Kept by the Power, 23; These are the other Greek words connected to apostasy: "[piptō], 'to fall' (Romans 11:11, 22; 14:4; 1 Corinthians 10:12; 13:8; Hebrews 4:11; Revelation 2:5); [parapiptō], 'to fall away, transgress' (Hebrews 6:6), [pararrheō], 'to drift away' (Hebrews 2:1); the root [skandal-], 'to stumble, offend' is also important" (Marshall, Kept by the Power, 217, note 4).
  68. ^ I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away, 217.
  69. ^ Heinz Giesen, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:248.
  70. ^ Heinz Giesen, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:249. Heinz Giesen writes: In the passive voice σκανδαλίζω [skandalizō] more often means ... "fall away from faith." In the interpretation of the parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20 par. Matt 13:18–23) those identified with the seeds sown on rocky ground, i.e., those "with no root in themselves," the inconstant ones, go astray to their own ruin when persecuted on account of the word, i.e., they fall away from faith (Mark 4:17 par. Matt 13:21). The Lukan parallel reads appropriately ἀφίστημι [aphistēmi, fall away] (8:13). In Matt 24:10 Jesus predicts that in the end time many will fall away [skandalizō]. The result is that they will hate one another, wickedness will be multiplied, and love will grow cold. Yet whoever endures in love until the end will be saved (vv. 11, 13). ... In the Johannine farewell address (John 16:1) σκανδαλίζω [skandalizō] does not only imply an "endangering of faith" ... but rather "falling away from faith" entirely, from which the disciples and Christians are to be kept. ... In the active voice σκανδαλίζω [skandalizō] means "cause someone to fall away from (or reject) faith," as in the saying of Jesus about the person who "causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin [stumble]" (Mark 9:42 par. Matt 18:6/Luke 17:2). The Christian is enjoined to reject anything that might be an obstacle to faith, as emphasized in Mark 9:43, 45, 47 in metaphorical, hyperbolic language: Hand, foot, and eye—in Jewish understanding the loci of lust or sinful desires—must be given up if they threaten to become the cause of loss of faith and thus of salvation. This ... underscores the seriousness of conviction within which one must persevere if one wishes to enter (eternal) life or the kingdom of God. ... Matt 5:29, 30 also issues an exhortation to decisive action [cf. Matt 18:8, 9]. ... According to 1 Cor 8:9 a Christian's freedom regarding eating food offered to idols reaches its limit when it becomes a stumbling block to one's brother (πρόσκομμα [proskomma]). Hence Paul emphasizes that he will never again eat meat if by doing so he causes his brother to fall and thus to lose salvation (σκανδαλίζω [skandalizō], v. 13a, b), since otherwise that weaker brother is destroyed by the knowledge of the "stronger" (v. 11). Whoever sins against his brothers sins also against Christ (v. 12). ... Within the context of the protection of the "little ones" in the Church, i.e., probably the "weak ones" ([Matthew] 18:6–10), Jesus utters an eschatological threat ("woe!") against the world (alienated from God) because of temptations to sin (v. 7a); though he allows that such temptations must come (v. 7b), he finally hurls an eschatological "woe!" against the person by whom the temptation comes (v. 7c). σκάνδαλον [skandalon] used here of the temptation to fall away from faith. The parallel, Luke 17:1, like Matt 18:7b, also underscores that such temptations are unavoidable; nonetheless, the person by whom they come receives the eschatological "woe!" that already places him under divine judgment. ... In Rom 14:13 Paul admonishes the "strong," whose position he fundamentally shares (v. 14), not to cause the "weak" any stumbling block to faith through eating habits . ... In Rom 16:17 the σκάνδαλον [skandalon] are the various satanic activities of the false teachers who endanger the salvation of Church members, who are being seduced into falling away from correct teaching; such teachers also threaten both the unity and very existence of the Church. Similarly, in Rev 2:14 σκάνδαλον [skandalon] refers to a stumbling block to faith in the context of false teaching. According to 1 John 2:10 there is no cause for stumbling or sin in a believer who loves his brother ... i.e., no cause for unbelief and thus a loss of salvation. (Heinz Giesen, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:248-250)
  71. ^ Life in the Son, 158. William Lane comes to identical conclusions in his short commentary on the book of Hebrews. He writes: "The sin [in Hebrews 6] that the preacher warns his friends to avoid is commonly called 'apostasy.' It is a sin that only a Christian can commit. Apostasy consists in a deliberate, planned, intelligent decision to renounce publicly association with Jesus Christ. It signifies a choice not to believe God, not to listen to God, not to obey God. It is the decision to be disobedient and to deny all that Christ has done for you" (Hebrews: A Call to Commitment [Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1985], 94).
  72. ^ Renewal Theology, 2:135.
  73. ^ Kept by the Power, 197; see also Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 178–179.
  74. ^ Kept by the Power, 198–199; cf. Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 179.
  75. ^ John's Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, 386, fn. 28).
  76. ^ A Long Faithfulness: A Case for Christian Perseverance, 50-51.
  77. ^ Kept by the Power, 197; Robert Picirilli says, "Sin persisted in, on the part of a Christian, can lead to a retraction of faith in Christ and thus to apostasy and eternal destruction" (1, 2 Corinthians, Randall House Bible Commentary, 120). Frederick Claybrook, Jr., writes: "Practicing sin is an act of unbelief" (Once Saved, Always Salved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 20). Johannes Bauer says, "Sin is directly opposed to perseverance (10:36; 12:1f, 7). ... The gravity of sin consists in the fact that it constitutes mistrust and unbelief in God ([Heb] 3:12, 19; 12:25)" ("Sin," in Bauer Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology, 862). See also Arrington, Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? 178–179.
  78. ^ Marshall, Kept by the Power, 76; Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors, The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, 1:88–90; J. Wesley Adams with Donald C. Stamps, Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary: Ephesians, 1071–1072; Robert Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary: Ephesians, 219–220).
  79. ^ Scot McKnight, A Long Faithfulness: The Case for Christian Perseverance, 56. So William L. Lane: "It [apostasy] is a sin only a Christian can commit" (A Call to Commitment, 94).
  80. ^ McKnight, "Apostasy" in Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible, 60. Owen Crouch appropriately states that it is "Trust in Christ" which "starves off apostasy" (Expository Preaching and Teaching: Hebrews [College Press Publishing Company, 1983], 88).
  81. ^ The Old Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Obtained from the Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD [Rio: Ages Software Inc., 2002]. Benson goes on to write: "Let us all take warning by this, and neither as a nation nor as individuals dare to promise ourselves security and peace while we 'walk in the imagination of our own hearts', and live in sin and forgetfulness of God."
  82. ^ a b Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes on the Holy Bible Old and New Testaments, Obtained from the Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD [Rio: Ages Software Inc., 2002].
  83. ^ Grant Osborne, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010], 196–197. So R. T. France: To "cause to stumble" (skandalizō) is a recurrent metaphor in Matthew; ... [O]ften it denotes ... a stumbling which deflects a person from the path of God's will and salvation (13:21; 18:6; 24:10; 26:31–33), and a "stumbling block" is a person or thing which gets in the way of God's saving purpose (13:41; 16:23; 18:7). In the case of the disciples' stumbling in Gethsemane (26:31–33) the effect was not terminal, but here and in 18:8–9 (and by implication in 13:21) the stumbling involves the final loss of salvation [Gehenna/Hell]. (The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007], 205–206)
  84. ^ Grant Osborne, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010], 273.
  85. ^ Joseph Benson, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Obtained from the Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD [Rio: Ages Software Inc., 2002].
  86. ^ So Dorathy Weaver: "[The word deny] points not to the mere failure to witness, but rather to the straightforward rejection of one's relationship to Jesus, that is, to open apostasy" (Missionary Discourse, 207 n183).
  87. ^ Grant Osborne, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010], 402-403)
  88. ^ So William Davies and Dale Allison: "in view of the consequent punishment . . . [skandalizō] must signify causing others to lose their faith and fall away from God" (Matthew: A Shorter Commentary [London: T & T Clark International, 2004], 297). Ulrich Luz says skandalizō means to commit "apostasy ([as in Matthew] 13:21; 24:10)" (Matthew: 8-20 [Augsburg Fortress, 2001], 432). So Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 79.
  89. ^ Douglas Hare, Matthew, [Westminster John Knox Press, 2009], 210-211.
  90. ^ Jeffrey Crabtree, Matthew, 308)
  91. ^ Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 78.
  92. ^ Jeffrey Crabtree, Matthew, 307-308)
  93. ^ Heinrich Meyer, commentary on Matthew 18, obtained at
  94. ^ Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 78. Ulrich Luz says apollymi "refers to the ultimate loss of salvation" (Matthew 8-20, 443).
  95. ^ Crabtree, Matthew, 308. So Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 78.
  96. ^ Craig Blomberg, Matthew, 277. David Garland says, "Matthew's parable also hints that the stray sheep may not be recovered ('if he finds it,' . . .), and the teaching that follows (18:15–17) reveals that erring members may not always accept correction" (Reading Matthew, 193).
  97. ^ So B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in New Testament Communities Volume 1: 71.
  98. ^ Ben Witherington, Matthew, 349).
  99. ^ B.J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors, The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, 1:81.
  100. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 1:81–82.
  101. ^ Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities Volume 1: 88.
  102. ^ Bruner, Matthew 13-28, 539.
  103. ^ David Garland, Reading Matthew, 241.
  104. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 88, 89.
  105. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 89. So Ben Witherington, Matthew, 457. "The 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' shows that Matthew is thinking of final exclusion from the Kingdom, indeed of sentencing to hell" (Francis Beare, Matthew, 479).
  106. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 1, 38.
  107. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 38. "To be following Jesus (the present tense of the Greek imperative implies a way of life) involves denying oneself and taking up the cross" (Robert Picirilli, Mark, 233).
  108. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 38
  109. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 38-39.
  110. ^ Sharyn Dowd, Reading Mark, 97.
  111. ^ Robert Stein, Mark, 447, fn. 9.
  112. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities Volume 1, 42. "The parts of the body mentioned here are really symbols for various types of activity, for example, the hand that grasps for things it should not, the foot that goes where it out not, or the eye that desires what it ought not" (Larry Hurtado, Mark, 156).
  113. ^ R.T. France, Mark, 383.
  114. ^ David Garland, Mark, 374.
  115. ^ John Nolland, Word Biblical Commentary: Luke 1–9:20 [Dallas: Word Publishers, 1989], 388. See also Frederick Claybrook, Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 279-283.
  116. ^ Robert Shank, Life in the Son, 41.
  117. ^ a b Shank, Ibid., 41.
  118. ^ Shank, Ibid., 42. "The parable is about a Christian ('slave' . . . ) who is also a 'steward' . . . appointed to serve other slaves" (Arthur Just Jr. Luke: 9:51–24:52, [Concordia Publishing House, 1997], 517.
  119. ^ Following Shank, Ibid., 42, who uses the KJV translation of this passage, whereas the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) is being followed here instead.
  120. ^ Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary of the Bible [Concordia Publishing House, 1921], 1:337; Amy-Jill Levin & Ben Witherington have "damnation" (The Gospel of Luke [Cambridge University Press, 2018], 355).
  121. ^ Frederick Claybrook Jr., Once Saved, Always Saved? (University Press of America, 2003), 265. Richard Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel 12-24, 710.
  122. ^ B.J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors: The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 1 [Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011], 138. I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power, 76.
  123. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 138.
  124. ^ B.J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors: The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 1 [Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011], 206).
  125. ^ a b c Oropeza, Ibid., 207.
  126. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 208.
  127. ^ Donald Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible [Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1992, 2003], 1635.
  128. ^ Christoph Ernest Luthardt, St. John's Gospel [Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1878], 3:145-146)
  129. ^ Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible [Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1992, 2003], 1635. So Paul Butler: "Jesus is warning these disciples who are now 'in Him' not to sever that relationship lest they wither and die and be cast into the ... fire. Being cast into the fire undoubtedly means being cast into hell (cf. Matt. 3:8-12, 7:19, 13:42, 25:41)" (The Gospel of John [Missouri: College Press, 1965], 274-275.
  130. ^ Ajith Fernando, NIV Application Commentary: Acts [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998], 403.
  131. ^ Fernando, Ibid., 403.
  132. ^ Fernando, Ibid., 403. "We must endure through them [hardships] if we would hope to enter the kingdom of God, experience the full enjoyment of salvation blessings either at death (2 Timothy 4:18) or at Christ's return. (William Larkin, IVP New Testament Commentary: Acts [Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1995], 216).
  133. ^ Larkin, Ibid., 215-216; and Fernando, Ibid., 403.
  134. ^ G. W. H. Lampe, "'Grievous wolves' (Acts 20:29)," in Christ and Spirit in the New Testament, 255; B.J. Oropeza, In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors: The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 1 [Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011], 141.
  135. ^ Lampe, Ibid., 255
  136. ^ a b Oropeza, Ibid., 143.
  137. ^ Jack Cottrell, The College Press NIV Commentary: Romans, 1:474–77. Cottrell goes on to rightly note: "But the warning is balanced by a glorious promise: ... but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. ... We must note here again the Christian's personal responsibility for this discipline: "if ... you put to death." ... The key to victory lies in these three words: "by the Spirit"! The Spirit's power alone ensures victory in our battle against sin; this is why he lives within us. He gives us the power to put sin to death... The promise to those who succeed, by the Spirit, is eternal life: "You will live." (Ibid.)
  138. ^ Robert Picirilli, Romans [Randall House Publications, 1975], 146. See also Grant Osborne, Romans [Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004], 202–204.
  139. ^ Joseph Agar Beet, Obtained from the Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD [Rio: Ages Software Inc., 2002].
  140. ^ Jack Cottrell, The College Press NIV Commentary: Romans, 2:406–408. Cottrell says: "Stott is correct to point out that a weak Christian's single sin against his conscience does not in itself bring him under eternal punishment (365–366), but here Paul is not referring to a single act of stumbling. He has in mind the ultimate outcome to which a single act of this kind could potentially lead. By violating his conscience the weak brother is weakened even further and could ultimately give up his faith altogether" (Ibid, 408).
  141. ^ Grant Osborne, Romans, 411–412. So Heinz Giesen: "In Rom 16:17 the σκάνδαλον [skandalon] are the various satanic activities of the false teachers who endanger the salvation of Church members, who are being seduced into falling away from correct teaching; such teachers also threaten both the unity and very existence of the Church" (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:249).
  142. ^ David Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003], 120–121.
  143. ^ Gordon Fee, 1 Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmens Publishing Company, 1987], 242, 245. Fee notes that Paul goes on in v. 11 to invite "them to change their behavior by reminding them that they do indeed belong to God through the gracious work of Christ and the Spirit.... 'But you were washed, you were sanctified, your were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.'... Paul's concern is singular: 'Your conversion, effected by God through the work of Christ and the Spirit, is what has removed you from being among the wicked, who will not inherit the kingdom.'... 'Therefore, live out this new life in Christ and stop being like the wicked'" (Ibid.).
  144. ^ Richard Hays, First Corinthians [Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997], 141–142. This "watering down" is sometimes done by Calvinists who state that apollymi simply refers to a "stunting," "damaging," or "ruining" of the Christian's spiritual life (see commentaries by F.F. Bruce, Craig Blomberg, and John MacArthur).
  145. ^ 1 Corinthians, [Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, 2003], 389.
  146. ^ Randall House Bible Commentary: 1 & 2 Corinthian [Nashville: Randall House Publishers, 1987], 119–120).
  147. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 120.
  148. ^ Gordon Fee, 1 Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmens Publishing Company, 1987], 434.
  149. ^ Fee, Ibid., 434.
  150. ^ Fee, Ibid., 435.
  151. ^ Ben Witherington, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 214; Stephen Travis, Christ and the Judgment of God, 161-62; Michael Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord, 2nd Edition, 311; James Moffatt, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, 127. Others imply "final salvation" but simply use "salvation": David Garland, 1 Corinthians, 443-445; Kent Yinger, Paul, Judaism, and Judgment According to Deeds, 249, 252; Bruce Fisk, 1 Corinthians, 60-61. Fee, Ibid., 459, calls the prize an "eschatological prize" that refers to "eternal salvation."
  152. ^ Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, 2nd Edition, 479; Gregory Lockwood, 1 Corinthians, 319; William Baker, 1 Corinthians, 137; Marion Soards, 1 Corinthians, 197; Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 659; Robert Picirilli, 1 Corinthians, 134-35; Heinrich Kraft, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:274.
  153. ^ Eckhard Schnabel, NIV Zondervan Study Bible, 2343. Thomas Schreiner & Ardel Caneday, The Race Set Before Us, 114; Roman Garrison, "Paul's use of the athlete metaphor in 1 Corinthians 9," Studies in Religion 22 [1993]: 217; Clarence Craig, 1 Corinthians, 105-106. Stephen Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 214.
  154. ^ Lockwood, Concordia Commentary: 1 Corinthians [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2000], 319–320.
  155. ^ Or "cravers," David Garland, 1 Corinthians, 447.
  156. ^ Or "craved," Garland, 1 Corinthians, 447.
  157. ^ Gregory Lockwood, 1 Corinthians, 321.
  158. ^ J.W McGarvey & Philip Pendleton, The Standard Bible Commentary: Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans, 97. "Underlying both the OT texts and the discussion of 1 Corinthians 8–10 is the charge of idolatry and thus of apostasy" (Ben Witherington, Conflict & Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 218).
  159. ^ Garland, 1 Corinthians, 446.
  160. ^ Lockwood, 1 Corinthians, 326. "The Fathers were rejected because of their sins, idolatry, laziness, lust, unbelief, etc. We must therefore be on guard lest the same sins cheat us of salvation" (Philipp Melanchthon, Annotations on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Introduced, Translated, and Edited by John Patrick Donnelly, Marquette University Press, 1995: 109).
  161. ^ Witherington, Ibid., 217.
  162. ^ B.J. Oropeza, 1 Corinthians, 126.
  163. ^ William Baker, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: 1 Corinthians, 145.
  164. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 195. Cf. Garland, 1 Corinthians, 446.
  165. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 195–196.
  166. ^ Wendell Willis, Idol Meat in Corinth, 156.
  167. ^ Garland, 1 Corinthians, 467.
  168. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in New Testament Communities, Volume 3: 277–278.
  169. ^ Daniel Whedon, at
  170. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 196.
  171. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 204.
  172. ^ Wolfgang Bauder, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1:611. "[Fall] is also a figure of speech for loss of faith and separation from grace in 1 C. 10:12" (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 6:164).
  173. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 203; James Coffman, 1 and Corinthians, 154–155.
  174. ^ Schreiner, 1 Corinthians, 206.
  175. ^ Wilson, The Warning-Assurance Relationship in 1 Corinthians, 110–111. It should be noted, Wilson, like Schreiner, denies that this falling (apostasy) is possible for Christians.
  176. ^ Schreiner, 1 Corinthians, 177. So Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 197.
  177. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 196, 197.
  178. ^ Bauder, NIDNTT 1:611; Willis, Ibid., 141, 157; Gordon Fee, 1 Corinthians, 462; Liong Seng Richard Phua, Idolatry and Authority: A Study of 1 Corintians 8.1–11.1 in the Light of the Jewish Diaspora, 204.
  179. ^ Oropeza, Paul and Apostasy, 203.
  180. ^ Khiok-Khng Yeo, Rhetorical interaction in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, 172.
  181. ^ Robert Picirilli, 1, 2 Corinthians, 143.
  182. ^ Robert Picirilli, Randall House Bible Commentary: 1 & 2 Corinthians, 214. "Salvation through the gospel is conditional on continuing to hold firmly to the message that he [Paul] proclaimed" Dan Nighswander, 1 Corinthians, 321).
  183. ^ David Garland, 2 Corinthians, The New American Commentary, 460.
  184. ^ Garland, Ibid., 462, 463.
  185. ^ Robert Picirilli, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 391; Murray Harris, 2 Corinthians, 520. B. J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 120: "[T]he Corinthians are ... in danger of committing apostasy ... by following false apostles." "Paul perceived that the principle danger confronting the readers was ... a deception that could lead to apostasy. It was their flirtation with a false gospel (v. 4) and their toleration of a different Jesus and a different Spirit that constituted the main hazard" (Don Garlington, 2 Corinthians, 330).
  186. ^ Garland, Ibid., 484, 486.
  187. ^ Ralph Martin, 2 Corinthians (Word Publishing: 1986), 353, 356.
  188. ^ Garland, Ibid., 486.
  189. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 9-10.
  190. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 17; So Don Garlington, Galatians, 10; George Lyons, Galatians: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 60.
  191. ^ David deSilva, Galatians, 9.
  192. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 15.
  193. ^ Garlington, Ibid., 17. So Grant Osborne, Galatians, 27.
  194. ^ a b c deSilva, Ibid., 8.
  195. ^ Osborne, Ibid., 26-27.
  196. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 17.
  197. ^ Scot McKnight, Galatians, 51; So Andrew Das, Galatians, 102; George Brunk, Galatians, 31.
  198. ^ Ernest de Witt Burton, Galatians, 18-19. Martinus de Boer: "Paul ... presents the Galatians' process of turning to that different gospel as a form of apostasy (cf. 5:4)" (Galatians, 39).
  199. ^ George Lyons, Galatians, 60. George Findlay says, "They have been tempted to the verge of apostasy; but they are not yet over the edge" (Galatians, 302).
  200. ^ a b McKnight, Ibid., 51.
  201. ^ Similarly, Craig Keener says this curse carries the meaning: "Damn them" or "To hell with them" (Galatians, 65).
  202. ^ Lyons, Ibid., 65. So Oropeza, Ibid., 19.
  203. ^ Osborne, Ibid., 6. So Oropeza, Ibid., 16-17.
  204. ^ Osborne, Ibid., 28
  205. ^ Craig Keener, Galatians [Baker Academic: 2019], 357. Don Garlington notes: "The verb 'turn back' ... is an OT term for apostasy from Yahweh (e.g., Num 14:43; 1 Sam 15:11; 1 Kgs 9:6; Ps 78:41; Jer 3:19)," and Paul uses the verb here in this sense (Galatians, 247). Keener suggests that the weak and elemental spirits are in fact "the elements of created nature and cosmic lights . . . the non-gods that the Galatians formerly venerated as deities" (Ibid., 359).
  206. ^ Keener, Ibid., 364. So George Lyons: "They were in danger of falling from grace and being alienated from Christ (5:4). The apostle cherished no doctrine of the [unconditional] eternal security of believers. . . . The Galatians' plans to abandon Christian freedom and return to slavery caused him fear that they might forfeit their final salvation (see Gal 4:9, 11; 5:1–5, 13; see 1 Thess 3:5)" (Galatians: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 259-260.
  207. ^ Craig Keener's translation reads "Watch out! I myself, Paul, am warning you" (Galatians, 443).
  208. ^ Robert Keith Papa, Galatians, 621. So B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 30. This "warning is an attempt to stave off an action that would bind the Galatians to the false teachers and their message" (Rapa, Ibid., 621).
  209. ^ G. Walter Hanson, Galatians, 156; I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power of God, 110.
  210. ^ Hanson, Ibid., 156.
  211. ^ Michael Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters, Second Edition, 261.
  212. ^ Marshall, Ibid, 110. "If you start to trust in circumcision" as a means to being justified or in a right standing with God, "then you have stopped trusting in Christ" (Hanson, Ibid., 155).
  213. ^ Gorman, Ibid., 261.
  214. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 30; Peter Oakes, Galatians, 161; Daniel Arichea and Eugene Nida, Translators Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Galatians, 122; Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary on the Bible: New Testament, Vol. 2, 251.
  215. ^ Grace here is understood as "'the entire process of salvation in Christ.' [quoting Betz, Galatians, 126] The works of the Law nullify grace because such works remain bound up with traditions that have already found their full realization in God's salvific plan through Christ. Grace also focuses on Christ's substitutionary death (Gal 2:20-21) ... where righteousness/justification comes by faith(fulness) instead of by the works of the Law (2:16-21). Falling from grace, then, would be the reversal of justification by faith(fulness); it involves a complete nullifying of the atoning work of Christ in a believer's life and the righteousness this brings" (Oropeza, Ibid., 30-31).
  216. ^ George Findlay, Galatians, 309.
  217. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 30.
  218. ^ Ben Witherington, Galatians, 369. So Grant Osborne, Galatians, 163-164; Oropeza, Ibid., 30-31.
  219. ^ Hanson, Ibid., 156. So Craig Keener: "it would seem special pleading to take Paul's warnings of apostasy [in Galatians] as something less than a real possibility" (Galatians, 454).
  220. ^ Keener, Ibid., 455-456.
  221. ^ I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power, 111.
  222. ^ a b c B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 24.
  223. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 24-25.
  224. ^ Marshall, Ibid., 112, quoting E. Schweizer in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 6:429.
  225. ^ Marshall, Ibid., 112.
  226. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 25. So Ben Witherington, Grace in Galatia, 406, 407.
  227. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 25. So Ben Witherington: "Paul is warning Christians about the consequences of persisting in serious sin" (The Living Word of God, 203).
  228. ^ Gordon Fee, Galatians, 216. So Oropeza, Ibid., 32.
  229. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 32. So Ben Witherington, Biblical Theology, 434; Indelible Image, Vol. 2, 620.
  230. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 25, 32, 33. So Marshall, Ibid., 112; Witherington, Galatia, 407; James Hester, Paul's Concept of Inheritance, 86; see also 92-93, 99-101.
  231. ^ A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 349. So A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Third Ed., Revised and edited by Frederick William Danker, 547.
  232. ^ Paul's warning about not inheriting the kingdom of God "means exactly what we generally interpret it to mean: The person who lives in such sins will not live with God's children in eternity" (Robert Picirilli, Galatians, 92).
  233. ^ G. Walter Hanson, Galatians, 194.
  234. ^ Hanson, Ibid., 194.
  235. ^ Robert Picirilli, Galatians, 101.
  236. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 101.
  237. ^ Philip Esler, Galatians, 233. So I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power, 112.
  238. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 33; Harder, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 9:104. Paul Kretzmann sees "eternal damnation" (Popular Commentary on the Bible: New Testament, Vol. 2, 257.
  239. ^ Frank Matera, Galatians, 216. S.T. Bloomfield: "Fig. of spiritual death, the ruin consequent on sin, everlasting destruction, Gal. 6:8" (A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, 460).
  240. ^ a b c B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 31.
  241. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 31-33.
  242. ^ Andrew Das, Galatians, 622.
  243. ^ Robert Shank, Life in the Son, 144-145. John Stott (Ephesians, 198) says that Paul is addressing Christians with "this warning about the danger of forfeiting our inheritance in God's kingdom. . . . The apostle gives us a solemn warning; we shall be wise to heed it."
  244. ^ Thomas Winger, Ephesians, 556. He goes on to say that engaging in the same kinds of sins of pagan unbelievers "cannot coexist with saving faith" (Ibid., 557).
  245. ^ Shank, Ibid., 145.
  246. ^ Harold Hoehner, Epheians, 659.
  247. ^ Robert Picirilli, Ephesians, 220. So Wesley Adams: "The danger of forfeiting our inheritance in God's kingdom is a real one for 'those who are disobedient,' that is, those who know God's moral law and willfully disobey it. 'Therefore, do not be partners with them' (5:7), lest you share in their doom" (Ephesians, 1072). Frederick Claybrook: "If a believer reverts to a life dedicated to sin, he, too, is a 'son of disobedience' (Eph. 5:6, lit.). He has become a 'partner' or 'partaker' with all the other sons of disobedience, and they [as unbelievers] will jointly partake of God's wrath in hell" (Once Saved, Always Saved: A New Testament Study of Apostasy), 165.
  248. ^ Grant Osborne, Ephesians, 165.
  249. ^ Robert W. Wall, IVP New Testament Commentaries: Colossians [Downer's Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994], 81–82.
  250. ^ Gene Green, The Letter to the Thessalonians, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002], 164–165)
  251. ^ Paul Trebilco & Simon Rae, 1 Timothy, 27.
  252. ^ Linda Belleville, 1 Timothy, 39.
  253. ^ a b Trebilco & Rae, Ibid., 28.
  254. ^ Trebilco & Rae, Ibid., 28. So I. Howard Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, 411; Philip Towner, Pastoral Epistles, 157.
  255. ^ Belleville, Ibid., 39-40.
  256. ^ Aída Besançon Spencer, 1 Timothy, 45.
  257. ^ So Oropeza, Ibid., 268, who is following Towner, Ibid., 119.
  258. ^ Belleville, Ibid., 40. Holding on to faith and a good conscience "will prevent Timothy himself being endangered, when he opposes the false teachers" (Trebilco & Rae, Ibid., 28).
  259. ^ J. N. D. Kelly, Pastoral Epistles, 58.
  260. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 266. Oropeza notes that the verb is in the "middle" voice which "conveys 'thrust away from oneself'; cf. Arichea and Hatton, Handbook, 41" (Ibid., 266, fn. 28). Thayer Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: "to thrust away from one's self, to drive away from one's self, i.e. to repudiate, reject, refuse (70).
  261. ^ John Henry Bernard, Pastoral Epistles, 35.
  262. ^ William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 67.
  263. ^ a b Oropeza, Ibid., 268.
  264. ^ Marshall, Ibid., 412.
  265. ^ Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Vol. 1, 209, fn. 133. Marshall says v. 19 is a "description of apostasy" (Ibid., 411).
  266. ^ Richard Lenski, 1 Timothy, 533. So Jerome Quinn and William Wacker, The First and Second Letters to Timothy, 154, 155.
  267. ^ Joseph Benson, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Vol. II—Romans to the Revelation, 424. "Indeed, none can make shipwreck of faith who never had faith" (Benson, Ibid., 424).
  268. ^ Quinn & Wacker, Ibid., 155; Benjamin Fiore, Pastoral Epistles, 49, 53.
  269. ^ Graham Simpson, Pastoral Epistles, 70; Jouette Bassler, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 78-79.
  270. ^ Bassler, Ibid., 78.
  271. ^ Paul Trebilco & Simon Rae, 1 Timothy, 101.
  272. ^ So Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, William D. Mounce, General Editor, 1103; G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 71; Edward Robinson, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 113.
  273. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 283, fn. 89: "Deut 13:10, 13; 32:15; Josh 22:18; Jer 3:14; Wis 3:10; 1 Macc 11:43; 1 En. 5.4; Josephus, Life 158; ... Herm. Vis 6.2.3."
  274. ^ Wolfgang Bauder, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1:608.
  275. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 283.
  276. ^ ESV, HCSB: "some will depart from the faith." NASB: "some will fall away from the faith." NET: "some will desert the faith." NIV: "some will abandon the faith."
  277. ^ William Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 235.
  278. ^ Other commentators note that the "some" people who apostatize are none other than the "members of God's household" mentioned in 3:15 (So Trebilco & Rae, Ibid., 100-101; Gordon Fee, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, 97).
  279. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 283-284.
  280. ^ George Knight, Pastoral Epistles, 210.
  281. ^ Knight, Ibid., 211.
  282. ^ Knight, Ibid., 211-212. Other reference works support Knight's understanding of save in v. 16. For example, in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Third Ed., Revised and edited by Frederick William Danker, page 982, reads: "to save or preserve from transcendent danger or destruction, save/preserve from eternal death from judgment, and from all that might lead to such death, e.g., sin, also in a positive sense bring Messianic salvation, bring to salvation." On page 982 of this same Lexicon, under heading #2 a, β, we read: "of persons who are mediators of divine salvation: apostles Ro 11:14; 1 Cor 9:22; 1 Ti 4:16b. The believing partner in a mixed marriage 1 Cor 7:16ab . . . One Christian of another . . . Js 5:20. Cp. Jd 23." See also, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 610-611; A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Edward Robinson, 704; Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament Greek, by Hermann Cremer, translated from the German Second Edition by William Urwick, 534; Expanded Edition Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance, James Strong, and Editor of this edition, Warren Baker, 2161.
  283. ^ Gordon Fee, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, 109 . So I. Howard Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, 571; Paul Trebilco & Simon Rae, 1 Timothy, 129.
  284. ^ Frederick Claybrook, Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 120-121. George Knight observes: "That a human being, here Timothy, is the subject of [sōzō, save] is a phenomenon found elsewhere in Paul (Rom. 11:14; 1 Cor. 9:22; 7:16a, b), in James (5:20), in Jude (23), and with Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels (Mk. 8:35b par. Lk. 9:24b). Thus we see that the NT speaks of human agents in addition to the ultimate and absolute source, God himself. . . . [Richard] Lenski summarizes well when he says that God alone saves (v. 10), yet he saves by means, 'and it is thus that one who uses and applies these means can very properly be said to save both himself and others'" (Knight, Ibid., 212).
  285. ^ Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Vol. 1, 334.
  286. ^ Witherington, Ibid., 334.
  287. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul, 278.
  288. ^ William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 502; Witherington, Ibid., 333.
  289. ^ John Stott, 2 Timothy, 63. So Richard Lenski, 2 Timothy, 794.
  290. ^ a b Oropeza, Ibid., 279.
  291. ^ Philip Towner, Pastoral Epistles, 510.
  292. ^ A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 644.
  293. ^ Towner, Ibid., 510. George Knight, Pastoral Epistles, 404, has "continual enduring."
  294. ^ Aída Besançon Spencer, 1 Timothy, 64.
  295. ^ Towner, Ibid., 510.
  296. ^ W. Hulitt Gloer, 1 & 2 Timothy-Titus, 251.
  297. ^ "This is an endurance of faith in the face of all that opposes it" (Jon Laansma, 2 Timothy, Titus, 165).
  298. ^ Raymond Collins, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 227. So Arland J. Hultgren, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, 122-123. Calvinist George Knight connects the promised reigning/ruling of believers found in Rev. 22:5 with 2 Tim. 2:11, and says, "the promised ruling with Christ in view of 2 Timothy 2:12 is a ruling of Christians together with him in his eschatological [i.e., future and final] consummation kingdom which shall never end" (The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters, 122).
  299. ^ Hauck, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 4:587.
  300. ^ I. Howard Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, 732, 733. So Oropeza, Ibid., 279; Hultgren, Ibid., 123; Towner, Ibid., 512; Witherington, Ibid., 205, 334; Gordon Fee, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, 253; Robert Bratcher, A Translator's Guide to Paul's Letters to Timothy and Titus, 80. Jerome Quinn and William Wacker, The First and Second Letters to Timothy, 652; Harold Riesenfeld, "The Meaning of the verb ἀρνεῖυσθαι." Coniectanea neotestamentica 11 (1947) 214-215.
  301. ^ Riesenfeld, Ibid., 215.
  302. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 280. George Knight says this denial of Christ is of the "permanent" kind here, for the resultant "denial by Christ . . . is that future final evaluation which he will make to his Father (Mt. 10:33) in the presence of God's angels (Lk. 12:9) when he returns in glory (cf. Lk. 9:26; Mk. 8:38; cf. also Mt. 7:23). The finality of his denial of those who have denied him will be as permanent as decisive as theirs has been of him, and will thus not be as in Peter's case, where forgiveness was sought and received" (Pastoral Epistles, 406).
  303. ^ Mounce, Ibid., 517.
  304. ^ Paul Zehr, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, 181.
  305. ^ Scott Mackie, "Early Christian Eschatological Experience in the Warnings and Exhortations of the Epistle to the Hebrews," Tyndale Bulletin 63.1 (2012): 95.
  306. ^ J. Wesley Adams, "Hebrews," Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary, 1312.
  307. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 14.
  308. ^ Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 14.
  309. ^ a b c Adams, "Hebrews," 1313.
  310. ^ Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 874.
  311. ^ Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 16.
  312. ^ Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 13. See also Scot McKnight's article "A Synthetic Look at the Warning Passages in Hebrews" in External Link.
  313. ^ J. Wesley Adams, "Hebrews," Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary, 1320.
  314. ^ Adams, Ibid., 1320.
  315. ^ Adams, Ibid., 1320, 1321.
  316. ^ Word Biblical Commentary: Hebrews 1–8, 83.
  317. ^ Adams, Ibid., 1320, 1321. God's promised rest is identified as "a heavenly rest in the sense of eternal salvation or life with God after death" (J. Ramsey Michaels, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Hebrews, 360. See below on Hebrews 4:1–11 for more on God's rest.
  318. ^ Adams, Ibid., 1321-1322. See also R. T. France, "Hebrews," Revised Expositor's Bible Commentary, 61-65.
  319. ^ Kevin Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 132.
  320. ^ Daniel Whedon, Commentary on the New Testament, 5:67.
  321. ^ Whedon, Ibid., 5:67.
  322. ^ Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 880.
  323. ^ Gareth Lee Cockerill, Hebrews, 154-155.
  324. ^ Anderson, Ibid., 132.
  325. ^ Cockerill, Ibid., 155.
  326. ^ Cockerill, Ibid., 202.
  327. ^ So Cockerill, Ibid., 155; Anderson, Ibid., 135; Whedon, Ibid., 5:67; B. J. Oropeza, Churches Under Siege of Persecution and Assimilation: The General Epistles and Revelation, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3:21, and fn. 87.
  328. ^ Cockerill, Ibid., 201.
  329. ^ So Anderson, Ibid., 128.
  330. ^ Using translation from Cockerill, Ibid., 195.
  331. ^ a b So Lenski, Ibid., 139.
  332. ^ J. Ramsey Michaels, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Hebrews, 360.
  333. ^ Michaels, Ibid., 360.
  334. ^ Other scholars/commentators described this rest as "Heaven": John Calvin, Hebrews, 97; Albert Barnes, Hebrews, 94, 103; Arthur Pink, Hebrews, 196; Stanley Outlaw, Hebrews, 73; Kenneth Schenck, Understanding the Book of Hebrews, 62; Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary on the Bible: New Testament, 2:449, 450; Frederick Claybrook, Jr., Once Saved, Always Salved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 20. A "heavenly rest": Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews, 143; Robert Gundry, Ibid., 881; Richard France, Hebrews, 61, 62; Neil Lightfoot, Hebrews, 58; Robert Milligan, Hebrews, 159; Daniel Whedon, Ibid., 5:67; Richard Lenski, Hebrews, 127, 130. A "heavenly reality": Harold Attridge, Hebrews, 123; but he goes on to explain: "It is the process of entry into God's presence, the heavenly homeland (11:16), the unshakable kingdom (12:28)" (Ibid., 128). A "heavenly/eternal home" (Gareth Lee Cockerill, Ibid., 198, 199, 201, 537, 670; John Thompson, Hebrews, 96; Henry Alford, Hebrews, 637; F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, 111). The "Kingdom of Heaven": John Chrysostom, "On the Epistle to the Hebrews 6.1," and Oecumenius, "Fragment on the Epistle to the Hebrews 4.9-10," both found in the Ancient Christian Commentary: Hebrews, 60, 61.
  335. ^ "Metaphorically . . . the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended" (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 335; cf. Otfried Hofius, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 2:266). "[T]he quiet abode of those who will dwell with God in heaven, in allusion to the Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:1, 3, 10, 11)" (Expanded Edition Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance, James Strong, and Editor of this edition, Warren Baker, 2097). So Edward Robinson, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 386; and S. T. Bloomfield, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 207. Stephen Renn says "in context [entering God's rest] clearly denotes eternal rest with God and Christ in heaven," and this "'rest' for believers is to be understood in terms of their eternal inheritance in heavenly glory—the heavenly city of Jerusalem in the context of the new heavens and the new earth. Admission to this new dimension of 'rest' is solely determined by one's saving faith in Christ, who is depicted in the New Testament as the sole vehicle by which ultimate, spiritual rest is granted to the believer by God. This perspective emerges most clearly in the book of Hebrews, and also in John's Revelation" (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 335, 817).
  336. ^ Anderson, Ibid., 131-132. See also Cockerill, Ibid., 198, 199, 201, 536-537, 670; Thompson, Ibid., 96; Schreiner, Ibid., 134; Schenck, Ibid., 63; David deSilva, Hebrews, 163.
  337. ^ Schenck, Ibid., 61; cf. Thompson, Ibid., 96; deSilva, Ibid., 163; Cockerill, Ibid., 65-70.
  338. ^ Cockerill, Ibid., 65, cf. Oropeza, Ibid., 29.
  339. ^ Translation by Cockerill, Ibid., 195.
  340. ^ "They must avoid both the concrete 'disobedience' (4:11; cf. 4:6) of the wilderness generation and the 'unbelief' (3:19) from which it sprang. The pastor would leave this dire warning against Kadesh Barnea-type 'disobedience' ringing in their ears. With this final caution the pastor draws his discussion of the wilderness generation's failed pilgrimage to a close" (Cockerill, Ibid., 213).
  341. ^ Renn, Ibid., 363. "In Heb. 4:11 falling is the result of disobedience, and means apostasy" (Wolfgang Bauder, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1:611). Paul Barnett ("Apostasy," in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, 75) views "fall away" (aphistēmi, Heb. 3:12) and "fall" (piptō, 4:11) as "the vocabulary of apostasy" in the book of Hebrews.
  342. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 21.
  343. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 21-22.
  344. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 22-23.
  345. ^ The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Translators: Robert K. Brown and Philip W. Comfort. Editor: J. D. Douglas.
  346. ^ Stanley Outlaw, Hebrews, [Randall House Publishers, 2005], 102). So Richard Lenski, Hebrews, 167.
  347. ^ G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 437-438; A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 612.
  348. ^ Edward Robinson, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 706; Expanded Edition Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance, James Strong, and Editor of this edition, Warren Baker, 2161.
  349. ^ Frederick Claybrook, Jr., Once Saved, Always Salved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy, 25.
  350. ^ For a detailed discussion of this passage see "Christian Apostasy and Hebrews 6" by Methodist Scholar Ben Witherington, and "Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Possibility of Apostasy" by Free Will Baptist Scholar Robert Picirilli in the External Links.
  351. ^ For a detailed and thorough discussion of this passage see "Perseverance of the Saints" Part 6, 7, and 8, by Ben Henshaw in the External Links.
  352. ^ Kevin Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 289.
  353. ^ Paul Ellingworth, Hebrews, 555.
  354. ^ a b Anderson, Hebrews, 289.
  355. ^ Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 904.
  356. ^ Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Volume 2: 201.
  357. ^ Edward Robinson, Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 90. Stephen Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 279.
  358. ^ Gene Green, writing on the meaning of destruction as found in 2 Peter 2:1b, 3; 3:7, 16, says: "[Destruction, apōleia] refers to final and ultimate destruction of those who oppose God and his purposes (Matt 7:13; Rom 9:22; Phil 1:28; 3:19; Heb 10:39; 2 Peter 3:7; Rev 17:8, 11; BDAG 127; A. Oepke, TDNT 1:396–397; H. C. Hahn NIDNTT 1:462–66). It is, therefore, the opposite of salvation (Phil 1:28; Heb 10:39) and is the result of the execution of God's wrath (Rom 9:22)" (The Letter of 2 Peter and Jude, 240).
  359. ^ Ben Witherington, Letter and Homilies for Jewish Christians, 291.
  360. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3:57.
  361. ^ a b c d e Oropeza, Ibid., 3:57.
  362. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 3:57-58.
  363. ^ a b c d e Oropeza, Ibid., 3:58.
  364. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 60.
  365. ^ Kevin Anderson, Hebrews, 321.
  366. ^ S.T. Bloomfield, A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, 168. So Edward Robinson, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 317; A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 270.
  367. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 60.
  368. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 60.
  369. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 60.
  370. ^ J. Wesley Adams, "Hebrews," Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary, 1382–1384.
  371. ^ B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 66.
  372. ^ Kevin Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 340.
  373. ^ Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 66–67. So Anderson, Hebrews, 341.
  374. ^ a b Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities. Volume 3: 67.
  375. ^ a b David Nystrom, The NIV Application Commentary: James [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997], 71.
  376. ^ Ruth Muller, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments, 1039.
  377. ^ Patrick Hartin, James, 90. Others scholars who see the "crown of life" being "a metaphorical expression for eternal life" (David Scaer, James the Apostle of Faith, 53) are the following: David Nystrom, James, 72; James Adamson, The Epistle of James, 67-68; Henry Alford, The New Testament for English Readers, 1594; Peter Davids, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 288; Hermann Haarbeck, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3:809; Ruth Muller, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments, 1039.
  378. ^ Sophie Laws, The Epistle of James, 68.
  379. ^ D. Edmond Hiebert, James, 100.
  380. ^ Richard Lenski, James, 539.
  381. ^ Peter Davids, in Hard Sayings of the Bible, 706-707.
  382. ^ So Zane Hodges, James, 1142, in The Grace New Testament Commentary, Volume 2.
  383. ^ So Douglas Moo, James, 250; Scot McKnight, James, 458; Grant Osborne, James, 173; Ralph Martin, James, 220; David Nystrom, James, 320; Dan McCartney, James, 264; Peter Davids, James, 126; Paul Harrison, James, 80; Richard Lenski, James, 672; C. Jeanne Orjala Serrão, James, 187; James Adamson, James: The Man & His Message, 341; Paul Kretzmann, James, in Popular Commentary of the Bible, New Testament, Vol. 2, 672; Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament, 935; Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Hebrews, James and Jude, 548.
  384. ^ Reference works consistently see "save" (sōzō) here in James 5:20 as referring to being saved from eternal death. For example, on page 982 in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Third Ed., Revised and edited by Frederick William Danker, reads: "to save or preserve from transcendent danger or destruction, save/preserve from eternal death from judgment, and from all that might lead to such death, e.g., sin, also in a positive sense bring Messianic salvation, bring to salvation." Under BDAG 982, #2 a, β: "of persons who are mediators of divine salvation: apostles Ro 11:14; 1 Cor 9:22; 1 Ti 4:16b. The believing partner in a mixed marriage 1 Cor 7:16ab . . . One Christian of another . . . Js 5:20. Cp. Jd 23." See also A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 610-611; A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Edward Robinson, 706; Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament Greek, by Hermann Cremer, translated from the German Second Edition by William Urwick, 534; Expanded Edition Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance, James Strong, and Editor of this edition, Warren Baker, 2161; A Manuel Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, by G. Abbott-Smith, 436; Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, by Stephen Renn, 852; A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, by S. T. Bloomfield, 429.
  385. ^ Davids, Ibid., 707-708.
  386. ^ Peter Davids, Hard Sayings of the Bible, 725.
  387. ^ Davids, Ibid., 725.
  388. ^ Thomas Schreiner, New American Commentary: 1, 2, Peter, Jude, 299. "Faith is the root from which all virtues and good works proceed as the rich fruits of spirituality" (Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary on the New Testament, Volume 2: 545).
  389. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 299.
  390. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 305. Schreiner is a Calvinist that does not believe that Christians can actually commit apostasy. Nevertheless, he interprets the word "fall" here as referring to apostasy which is in agreement with other commentators who are not Calvinist in theology, but who believe it is possible for Christians to commit apostasy (So Grant Osborne, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: James, 1–2 Peter, Jude, 297; Robert Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary: James, 1, 2 Peter, and Jude, 244; David Kuske, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, 293.
  391. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 306.
  392. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 306.
  393. ^ Richard Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary: Jude, 2 Peter, 190. So Jörg Frey, The Letter of Jude and the Second Letter of Peter: A Theological Commentary, 282; Ben Witherington, The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought World of the New Testament, Volume 1, 783–784.
  394. ^ Bauckham, Ibid., 190.
  395. ^ Davids, Ibid., 725. So Schreiner, Ibid., 301–302.
  396. ^ Witherington, Ibid, 783.
  397. ^ James Tolle, The Christian Graces, 78.
  398. ^ Robert Picirilli, Grace Faith Free Will, 230.
  399. ^ David Kuske, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, 359.
  400. ^ James Tolle, Notes on 1 and 2 Peter, 74. The false teachers, "keep on chattering about liberty when all the time they themselves have been (and still are) in the prison-house of lust" (Michael Green, 2 Peter & Jude, 129).
  401. ^ Kuske, Ibid., 368.
  402. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  403. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  404. ^ Kuske, Ibid., 361.
  405. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  406. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  407. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  408. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  409. ^ Peter Davids, Hard Sayings of the Bible, 729. "The way of righteousness is the moral life demanded of those who belong to God" (Thomas Schreiner, New American Commentary: 1, 2, Peter, Jude, 362).
  410. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  411. ^ Robert Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary: James, 1, 2 Peter, and Jude, 288.
  412. ^ Picirilli, Grace Faith Free Will, 231. "The clear implication is that the defectors [i.e., false teachers] were once as much believing Christians as are the present recipients of the letter" (B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3: 144).
  413. ^ M. Green, Ibid., 129.
  414. ^ Peter Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, 248. So Grant Osborne, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: James, 1–2 Peter, Jude, 329.
  415. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 230.
  416. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 362; and Richard Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary: Jude, 2 Peter, 278.
  417. ^ Gene L. Green, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Jude and Peter, 305.
  418. ^ Davids, Ibid., 251.
  419. ^ Paul Barnett, "Apostasy," in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments, 73.
  420. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 232.
  421. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 232.
  422. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 232.
  423. ^ Picirilli, Ibid., 232.
  424. ^ Andrew Mbuvi, Jude and 2 Peter, 133.
  425. ^ Davids, Hard Sayings, 730.
  426. ^ Peter Davids, A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude, 240.
  427. ^ Gene Green, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Jude and Peter, 340.
  428. ^ Green, Ibid., 340
  429. ^ Edward Robinson, Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, 90.
  430. ^ G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 56–57; A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 71.
  431. ^ Green, Ibid., 241; "exclusion from salvation" (Hermann Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament Greek, translated from the German Second Edition by William Urwick, 453).
  432. ^ Green, Ibid., 341.
  433. ^ Green, Ibid., 341–342.
  434. ^ David Kuske, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, 361.
  435. ^ Vic Reasoner, A Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on 1–2 Peter, 307. So B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3: 150, 152.
  436. ^ Jörg Frey, The Letter of Jude and the Second Letter of Peter: A Theological Commentary, 430, fn. 915. "The term is used figuratively in Gal. 5:4 and 2 Peter. 3:17 to convey the sense 'to lose' one's salvation or 'to fall away' from grace" (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, William D. Mounce, General Editor, 235). S.T. Bloomfield has "fall away from, namely, by apostasy" for ekpiptō in Gal. 5:4 and 2 Peter 3:17. (A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, 115). Even Calvinist Thomas Schreiner says "fall" here "refers to apostasy (cf. Rom 11:11, 22; 14:4; 1 Cor 10:12; Heb 4:11; Rev 2:5)," but denies that it is possible for Christians to commit apostasy (New American Commentary: 1, 2, Peter, Jude, 400).
  437. ^ Frey, Ibid., 430-431.
  438. ^ Schreiner, Ibid., 400.
  439. ^ Green, Ibid., 343.
  440. ^ Green, Ibid., 343.
  441. ^ Green, Ibid., 343.
  442. ^ Gene L. Green: As in verse 17, the emphatic "but you" places the believers in sharp contrast with the heretics whom Jude has denounced in verse 19. These infiltrators are devoid of the Spirit and are trying to cause a division in the church by their teaching. Jude exhorts the beloved members of the Christian family not to be swayed by their teaching but to build themselves up on the foundation of the faith (v. 20a); pray in the Spirit, which they have as the true people of God (v. 20b); and keep themselves in the love of God (v. 21)... One of the issues that Jude has consistently raised in this epistle is the way the heretics, like their ancient prototypes, did not keep their proper place but crossed the line to participate in things outside their allotted domain. Certain angels did not remain in their proper domain but engaged in illicit relations (v. 6). These violated God's order, as had the exodus generation (v. 5) and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 7). The heretics were trying to divert the church down a similar path (v. 4a) by altering the gospel (v. 4b) and persuading members of the congregation to follow their lifestyle (vv. 22–23). Jude therefore calls the church both to "contend for the faith" (v. 3) and to hold on securely to what they have received (v. 21). Jude previously affirmed that they, as the elect of God, were "kept" for Jesus Christ and his return (v. 1 ...). But in the present verse he turns the indicative of their existence into an imperative as he calls them to "keep" themselves "in the love of God." ... In the face of the persuasive tactics of the heretics, Jude calls the church to keep themselves "in the Love of God." They should not move away from God but remain faithful. Keeping themselves "in the love of God" echoes the thought of verse 1, where Jude identifies the Christians as those who are the beloved of God and kept for Jesus Christ. God's love was the cause of their election, and now Jude exhorts them to stay within this state of grace. This principle imperative is a powerful call to flee from apostasy... Jude adds one final (participial) imperative: ... eagerly await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life... Jude exhorts the church not only to maintain their faith but also to anxiously await the coming of "the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ" (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9–10). The vivid hope of the parousia ... is linked with Christian ethics. Jude remains the church of the end so that they may live godly lives in the present... The mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, shown to them upon his coming, will bring eternal life... The hope of eternal life was linked with the expectation of the coming kingdom of God... While John is able to speak about eternal life as a present possession of the believer (John 3:15–16, 36; 5:24; 6:47, 54), this life anticipates the final day with the righteous will be raised (John 6:40, 54). Much of the discussion of eternal life in the New Testament understands it as the future hope of the resurrection (Matt. 19:29; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Rom. 2:7; Titus 1:2; 3:7). This the final act of salvation and, as such, is in contrast with the final judgment and condemnation of the unrighteous (Matt. 25:46; John 3:36; 10:28; 1 John 3:15 ...)... Jude's concern is not simply to inform them about a bright future. His call to await this event also implies that in the hope of eternal life, they should continue to avoid the way of the heretics. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Jude and Peter, 119–120, 122–124)
  443. ^ Birger Olsson, A Commentary on the Letters of John, 2013, 136.
  444. ^ Olsson, Ibid., 137.
  445. ^ Olsson, Ibid., 138.
  446. ^ Olsson, Ibid., 138.
  447. ^ Daniel R. Streett: The "leavers" [i.e., "Jewish-Christian Apostates"] of 1 John 2:19 were individuals who participated in the community and confessed that Jesus was the messianic redeemer foretold in the Scriptures. At some point, for reasons unstated in the text, they turned back on their confession of Jesus and on the community, leaving both behind to (most likely) return to the Jewish communities they had been part of prior to their confession of Jesus. ... The readers all know about the nature of the antichrists' apostasy and they are able to discern between those who are "of us" and those who are not. The readers' ability to discern friend from foe comes from their knowledge of the truth, which they already possess (v. 21). The "truth" here is nothing other than the basic message (ἀγγελία) disputed by the ἀντίχριστοι [antichrists'], namely that Ἰησοῦς ἔστιν ὁ Χριστός [Jesus is the Messiah]. The author emphasizes that the audience knows this, has confessed it, has received God's testimony to it, and therefore has no need to be taught it again by the author or by anyone else (see v. 27). The truth, in the form of the message and confession, forms the foundation of the community's existence as well as the line which divides the community from the world in the eschatological struggle. ... The readers' knowledge of the truth and ability to discern between the truth and a lie comes from their "anointing," which they have "from the Holy One" (χρῖσμα ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου). ... From the context, the following characteristics of the χρῖσμα [anointing] may be noted: 1) Its reception was a past event that has continuing effects (v. 27). 2) It is pictured as teaching the readers the knowledge of the truth and eliminating the need for teaching (vv. 20–21, 27). 3) It is probably to be associated with the message the readers "heard from the beginning," and would therefore have been received at the readers' initiation into the community (v. 24). 4) It unites the audience with Jesus, the "anointed one" (ὁ Χριστός, v. 22) in a relationship likely characterized as κοινωνία [fellowship] (1:3). 5) It sets the audience in opposition to the ἀντίχριστοι, or "anti-anointed-ones." 6) The function of the χρῖσμα is similar to the activity of the Spirit in the rest of the letter. Both prompt confession of Jesus, provide saving knowledge, and unite the recipient to God and his Son (3:24; 4:2, 6, 13; 5:6). While v. 21 establishes a strong antithesis between the Truth, known and confessed by the audience, and the Lie, vv. 22–23 specify what these terms are referring to. Both have to do with the central confession of the community that Jesus is the Messiah. In v. 22, the author identifies the "liar" (ψεύστης) with the "antichrist" and specifies his defining mark: the lie or falsehood (ψεῦδος) of the liar is his denial that Jesus is the Messiah. . . . In 2:22b the author elaborates upon the antichrists' denial. The liars and antichrists deny both the Father and the Son. From 2:23 it is clear that this claim is disputed; the author must argue for it. The antichrists themselves almost certainly would not have admitted to denying the Father. In their mind, they denied only that Jesus is the Christ, God's Son. The author reasons that the opponents' denial of the Son logically entails their denial of the Father, since in Johannine theology, it is the Father who has declared Jesus to be the Son and has set his seal upon Jesus, signifying this very fact (John 3:33; cf. 6:27). To deny that Jesus is the Son is therefore to declare the Father a liar (1 John 5:10), and even to "hate" the Father (John 15:24). Verse 23 continues this logic: if someone denies the Son, he does not "have" the Father either, and vice versa. The language of "having" (ἔχειν) has been shown by E. Malatesta to derive from Jewish covenantal thinking. The author is thus saying that a proper covenantal relationship with God depends upon acceptance and acknowledgement of his messenger. Verses 22–23 provide numerous reasons for believing that the central issue in the antichrist secession was Jesus' messiahship. If this is the case, then the Johannine Epistles address substantially the same context and set of issues as the Fourth Gospel. The following points are especially significant: First, the confession in 1 John 2:22 that serves as the dividing line between the antichrist secessionists and the anointed believers contains exactly the same wording as the confession in John 20:31. There the author of the Fourth Gospel announces that his purpose in writing is to convince his readers that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. . . . Thus, the phrase "to confess/deny the Son" in 22b–23 is a shorthand summary of the lengthier form in 22a: "to confess/deny that Jesus is the Christ." Likewise, the child of God's most basic confession may be stated in terms of believing that "Jesus is the Messiah" (1 John 5:1), and only a few verses later restated in terms of believing that "Jesus is the Son of God" (5:5). By shifting from one title to the other the author emphasizes the filial relationship between God and the Messiah and thereby demonstrates that confessing Jesus as the Messiah is a sine qua non for a relationship with God. . . . The dramatic way the confession is presented in 1 John 2:18–27 as the crucial issue in the apocalyptic-eschatological struggle between truth and falsehood, believers and antichrists, shows that what is at stake is the community's most central belief, not a peripheral issue dealing with the details of the hypostatic union. At the heart of the controversy is the very confession that has created and presently defines the community. The very fact that our passage uses the language of confessing and denying (ὁμολογέω/ἀρνέομαι) suggests that it preserves a fixed traditional formula, a succinct summary of the faith, which one might be required to affirm publicly for membership in the community, or be asked to deny in the context of persecution. In short, the confession is the boundary marker of the Johannine community and its litmus test for teachers. As such, it is unlikely that it would take on a meaning in 1 John different from that which it carried in the Fourth Gospel. ... The argument of 1 John 2:22b–23 implies that the "antichrists" who deny that Jesus is the Messiah would claim to "have the Father." This would suggest that such "antichrists" are Jews who understand themselves to be in a proper relationship with God, despite their rejection of Jesus as Messiah. The same argument is used by Jesus in his dispute with Jews who claim to "have God" as their Father (John 8:41). Jesus replies that if they had God as their Father, they would love the one sent by God, namely Jesus (John 8:42; cf. 15:23). By virtue of their rejection of Jesus, they are shown to be "liars" (ψεῦσται, cf. John 8:44, 55) who have believed the "lie" of the Devil. These are the same terms (ψεύστης/ψεῦδος) 1 John 2:21–22 uses to describe the "antichrists" and their denial of Jesus' messiahship. The same type of logic is used frequently throughout the Fourth Gospel to show that the Jewish claim of faithfulness to God is disproved by rejection of Jesus, God's Son. Thus, Jesus tells the Jews that because they do not acknowledge him, they do not know the Father (John 8:19). Because they do not honor him, they do not honor the Father (5:23). He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). ... In v. 24, the author urges the audience to do the opposite of the antichrist secessionists. While the antichrists renounced their initial confession and departed from the community, the audience must ensure that the message they heard from the beginning continues to be at the center of its communal existence. [fn. 128 reads here: The third person imperative μενέτω [be remaining] is to be taken as an instruction to the audience to hold onto the message and not to forsake it.] ... If believers maintain their participation in the community, and correlatively maintain the presence of and obedience to the original message in/among themselves, it will ensure their relationship with the Son and the Father, which will in turn ensure that they will remain, or live, forever and not be ashamed at Jesus' coming. (Streett, They Went Out From Us: The Identity of the Opponents in First John, 142–167)
  448. ^ Daniel R. Streett: The material in 2 John that addresses the problem of the secessionists is limited to verses 7–11. Much of the material repeats the themes and language of the key passages in 1 John. For example, the apocalyptic rhetoric of "antichrists" and "deceivers" who have "gone out into the world" echoes the warnings of 1 John 2:18–27 and 1 John 4:1–6, as does the emphasis on the confession of Jesus as the dividing line between friend and foe. ... Verse 7 provides the reason (ὅτι) the author feels it necessary and helpful to reiterate the centrality of obedient love. Obeying the commandments, loving God, and loving the brothers—all of these take on heightened importance in light of the eschatological events unfolding around the community. If possible, even greater vigilance is needed if the community is going to survive the onslaught of the eschatological deception. ... The "many deceivers" are said to "have gone out into the world" (ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον). This is the same language used of the false prophets in 1 John 4:1. While it is possible that ἐξέρχομαι is being used to describe secession or apostasy, as it was in 1 John 2:19, there is no clear indication in 2 John that the "deceivers" have come from the Johannine community. The better parallel, then, is 1 John 4:1, which, as I argued above in Chapter 4, has in view an itinerant ministry. ... This passage, then, is less a warning about enemies within than about predators without. It is stock apocalyptic paraenesis of the type found throughout the NT. As in 1 John 4:2, the defining quality of the deceivers, or "antichrists" as they are called at the end of the verse, is their failure to confess "Jesus Christ coming in the flesh."16 Here it will suffice to reiterate briefly what was argued above in Chapter 4: the confession of 2 John 7, like that of 1 John 4:2, has as its focus the messiahship of Jesus who has come "into the world," or come "in flesh," as these passages put it. The focus is not on the mode of Jesus' coming, but on the identity of Jesus as the Messiah. This is suggested both by the grammar of the confession, as well as by the numerous similar early Christian confessions which speak of Jesus or the Messiah coming in flesh without any hint of anti-docetic intent. ... The description of the eschatological opponents in v. 7 flows naturally into the warning in v. 8. In view of the many antichrists and deceivers who have embarked on their Satanically-inspired mission, the audience must "be on guard." If they fall prey to the deception of the antichrists, all previous labor will be for naught. If, however, they are vigilant and repel the antichrists' offensive, they can expect to receive a "full reward," presumably on the eschatological day of reckoning. [In fn. 45, Streett asks: What is "the nature of the μισθός [reward]? Does the author have in mind different levels or degrees of reward, so that one's unfaithfulness would result in a decreased reward? Or, does μισθὸς πλήρης [full reward] simply refer to salvation itself, conceived of as an "abundant" reward? In favor of the latter is the parallel in Ruth 2:12, where the phrase does not appear to carry any connotation of degrees of reward.] This thought is amplified in v. 9, as the author further explains the necessity of holding on to the confession. The first half of the verse describes the person who falls prey to the antichrists' deception. The antichrists' message is fundamentally opposed to the basic beliefs of the community, so that to accept their message is by necessity not to remain in the "teaching of Christ," and therefore not to "have God." Conversely, the second half of the verse states, to remain in the teaching of Christ is to "have" both the Father and the Son. The same language of "having" God and the Son also appeared in 1 John 2:23, where, as I argued, it speaks of being in a proper covenantal relationship with God. There, "having" God was conditioned upon confessing the Son. Here, the condition is remaining in the "teaching of Christ." ... The flow of the author's argument in 2 John 8–9 makes it clear that ὁ προάγων [the one going forth or departing] refers not to the antichrists and deceivers of v. 7, as most exegetes assume, but rather to members of the audience who might fall under the spell of the deceivers and be led to leave the community. While v. 8 warns the audience against forfeiting their reward, v. 9 provides the reason that following the "deceivers" would result in forfeiture: such an action would sever the individual from God and his Son. In these verses, then, the same kind of situation is envisioned as in 1 John 2:18–27 and 4:1–6. The audience is told of antichrists and false prophets who are on the move, and they are warned not to give heed to them because to do so is to join the eschatological rebellion and to be cut off from the only source of eternal life. The term προάγω [going forth or departing], then must denote a course of action that the author wishes to prevent his audience from taking, much like ἀρνέομαι in 1 John 2:23. . . . The author warns that everyone who does not remain ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ [in the teachings of Christ] does not have God. The phrase may be taken either a) as a subjective genitive, referring to the teaching that Christ himself propagated during his earthly ministry, or b) as an objective genitive, referring to the teaching about Christ. ... The context of 2 John 9 also favors the objective reading. Only two verses before, the author has spoken of the confession of Jesus as Messiah as the dividing line between truth and deception. This, then, is the teaching about the Messiah that the author refers to in v. 9. To "remain" in the teaching is to maintain one's confession that the expected Messiah is indeed Jesus. Verse 10 confirms this by warning the audience not to welcome anyone who does not bring this "teaching"—an injunction that makes perfect sense in light of the way v. 7 declares anyone who does not confess Jesus' messiahship to be a "deceiver" and "antichrist." Similarly in 1 John 4:2–3, the confession of Jesus as Messiah is what distinguishes the true visiting prophet from the false. ... The parallel in 1 John 2:22–23 is also illuminating. That passage states that the one who denies that Jesus is the messianic Son, does not "have" the Father. In 2 John 9, the condition for "having" the Father is remaining in ἡ διδαχὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ [remaining in the teaching of Christ/Messiah]. Proper confession is thus functionally equivalent to remaining in the teaching. This suggests that the content of the "teaching" is the identification of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. ... Having announced the existence of the antichrists' mission of deception in v. 7, and having warned his audience in vv. 8–9 not to give up their promised reward but to maintain faithfulness to the basic teaching of Jesus' messiahship, the author now instructs his audience how to deal with visitors to the congregation. Specifically, these visitors appear to be itinerant teachers or prophets, since v. 10 refers to the teaching they carry. In the synagogue setting, visiting rabbis were often invited to provide a "word of exhortation," and there is no reason to think that the Johannine house churches would not have held to the same custom. The author, however, wants to make sure that his audience does not fall prey to the "antichrists," so he warns his audience to apply the key Christological criterion: does the visitor carry the teaching that Jesus is the Messiah? If so, then he may be welcomed and heeded, but if not he must be spurned and the right hand of fellowship must not be extended to him. In a first-century setting, to welcome him (λέγων αὐτῷ χαίρειν) would be to provide him hospitality and support, and thus to participate in his rebellion and to take part in the propagation of the lie. A situation involving visiting teachers is probably also envisioned in 1 John 4:1–3, which provides the same criterion for discerning true prophets from false. It is easy to imagine that in a situation where normal Jewish synagogues were not outwardly or visibly differentiated from Jewish-Christian synagogues or ἐκκλησίαι, 2 John's Jewish-Christian audience might not hesitate to welcome an esteemed scribe or rabbi who was able to teach the Scriptures but did not hold to Jesus' messiahship. Perhaps, the "elder" writes to head off such openness, which could conceivably lead to some of the members abandoning their faith. In good Johannine fashion he holds that the coming of the Messiah has introduced a rift in the Jewish nation, and that those who do not accept Jesus as Messiah are not to be received as brothers and sisters, since they have rejected the Son and therefore the Father. (Streett, They Went Out From Us: The Identity of the Opponents in First John, 338–357). So Gerard S. Sloyan: The usual phrase, "having" God, both the Father and the Son (v. 9), has already occurred in 1 John 2:23 with respect to the Father and 5:12 as regards the Son. It is a stark way of saying that denial of the community's traditional position on Christology will mean loss of the intimate relation with the two that adhering to the tradition ensured. All in all, v. 9 closely resembles 1 John 2:22–23 in saying that apostasy from a once held faith stance means loss of the abiding divine presence. (Walking in the Truth: Perseveres and Deserters, The First, Second, and Third Letter of John, 65–66)
  449. ^ See J. Scott Duvall, The Heart of Revelation: Understanding the 10 Essential Themes of the Bible's Final Book, (Baker Books, 2016), 177-195. Mark Wilson, The Victor Sayings in the Book of Revelation (Wipf & Stock, 2007).
  450. ^ Expanded Edition Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance, James Strong, and Editor of this edition, Warren Baker, 2118.
  451. ^ Vic Reasoner, A Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on Revelation, 147. "The present participle" for nikaō is "lit. 'the one who is conquering'" which "suggests the timeless demand for victory on the part of the believer" (Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 64). The Disciples Literal New Testament translation and The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (Translators: Robert K. Brown and Philip W. Comfort), read: "To the one overcoming" in these verses.
  452. ^ Ranko Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the Book of Revelation, 112. "The promises of the Lord are available only for ... the one (individual) who continually overcomes ..." (James Strauss, The Seer, The Savior, and The Saved. A New Commentary, Workbook, Teaching Manual, 63).
  453. ^ David Aune, "St John's Portrait of the Church in the Apocalypse," The Evangelical Quarterly 38.3 (July-Sept. 1966): 135, 136. "The verb nikaō is always used in the present tense when the subject is a saint who has not yet completed his course" (Aune, Ibid., 139).
  454. ^ Fred Layman, "Salvation in the Book of Revelation," in An Inquiry into Soteriology From a Biblical Theological Perspective, 235.
  455. ^ A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, Translated, Revised and Enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, 426. It is common for nikaō to mean "'overcome' in the spiritual sense of 'to win a victory.'" In the context of Revelation, believers are exhorted to "persevere in their relationship with him [Jesus] to the end" (Stephen Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 705).
  456. ^ Craig Koester, Revelation, 800.
  457. ^ Grant Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Revelation, 721.
  458. ^ Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 64.
  459. ^ Layman, Ibid., 237. Calvinist Gregory Beale sees all the promises in chapters 2–3 finding fulfillment in chapters 21–22: "the tree of life which is in the paradise of God" (2:7; 22:2), inclusion in the new temple (3:12; 21:22ff.), participation in "the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from God" (3:12; 21:2, 10), the name of God on one's person (3:12; 22:4), one's "name written in the book of life" (3:5; 21:27), bright garments (3:5; 21:2, 9ff.; cf. 19:7–8), a bright stone and a luminary (2:17, 28; 21:11, 18–21, 23; 22:5, 16), consummate reigning with Christ (2:26–27; 3:21; 22:5), and exclusion from the "second death" (2:11; 21:7–8). (Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, 472)
  460. ^ So Gregory Beale, Ibid., 59.
  461. ^ David Aune, Revelation, 3:1129.
  462. ^ Stewart, Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John, 134. "But 'conquering' is not represented in Revelation as something to which only some Christians are called. The promises to the conquerors at the end of each of the seven messages to the churches present conquering as the only way for Christians to reach their eschatological [i.e., future and final] destiny" (Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, 92).
  463. ^ Michael Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 117. So G. R. Beasley-Murray, "Revelation, Book of," in Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments, 1035.
  464. ^ Stewart, Ibid., 138, fn. 36.
  465. ^ Mitchell Reddish, Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary: Revelation, 57)
  466. ^ Translation by Richard Lenski, Revelation, 98.
  467. ^ Johannes Bauer, Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology, 905.
  468. ^ A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:303.
  469. ^ Maximillian Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 17. So Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 67; Vic Reasoner, Revelation, 179, 181.
  470. ^ Robert Bratcher & Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, 49.
  471. ^ Craig Koester, Revelation, 281.
  472. ^ John Thomas & Frank Macchia, Revelation, 97.
  473. ^ "The present participle νικῶντι (nikōnti, lit. 'the one who is conquering'), suggests the timeless demand for victory on the part of the believer" (Smalley, Ibid., 64).
  474. ^ a b Friedrich Düsterdieck, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Handbook to the Revelation of John, obtained at
  475. ^ Koester, Ibid., 800.
  476. ^ Reddish, Ibid., 57.
  477. ^ See detailed discussion of this passage in the article by Vic Reasoner: "Does God Have An Eraser," obtained at
  478. ^ Craig Koester, Revelation, 324.
  479. ^ Craig Keener, The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation, 151.
  480. ^ Thomas Schreiner & Ardel Caneday, The Race Set Before Us, 84.
  481. ^ Thomas Schreiner, ESV Expository Commentary: Revelation, 592; Robert Wall, Revelation, 85; Homer Hailey, Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary, 153. "The crown . . . symbolizes the attainment or assurance of resurrection life in God's new creation (Rev 2:10; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4; 1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 4:8; 2 Baruch 15:8; 4 Macc 17:12–18; Martyrdom of Polycarp 17:1; 19:2" (Alexander Stewart, Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John, 141).
  482. ^ "One should note that the wording implies that Christians already possess the crown, even through the use of this favor is conditional, requiring faithfulness without fail" (Pierre Prigent, Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John, 206, emphasis added).
  483. ^ Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 92.
  484. ^ David Aune, Revelation, 1:241.
  485. ^ Smalley, Ibid., 92.
  486. ^ Wall, Ibid., 85.
  487. ^ So Grant Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Revelation, 194. Keener, Ibid., 151.
  488. ^ Hailey, Ibid., 153.
  489. ^ Paul Kretzmann, Revelation, 602. Cf. Hailey: "To forfeit the crown is to lose eternal life" (Ibid., 153).
  490. ^ Keener, Ibid., 151 and Vic Reasoner, A Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on Revelation, 188. Richard Lenski says, "To lose the crown is to lose 'the life' (2:10), eternal salvation, our share in the Kingdom" (Revelation, 150). "The crown that Christ gives to his followers as the prize for their faithfulness must be kept safe from all who would, by some means, take it from them. What is meant is that they are to remain faithful so as not to lose ... life with Christ in the Messianic kingdom" (Robert Bratcher and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, 76).
  491. ^ Hailey, Ibid., 153.
  492. ^ John Christopher Thomas & Frank Macchia, Revelation, 370.
  493. ^ David Aune, Revelation, 3:1131. Thomas & Macchia, Ibid., 370; Grant Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Revelation, 741.
  494. ^ Osborne, 739, 740.
  495. ^ Thomas & Macchia, Ibid., 370.
  496. ^ Craig Koester, Revelation, 800. Cf. Osborne, Ibid., 739, 741–742.
  497. ^ Louis Brighton, Concordia Commentary: Revelation, 605. So Lawrence Farley, The Apocalypse of St. John, 213.
  498. ^ Thomas & Macchia, Ibid., 370.
  499. ^ Koester, Ibid., 800–801.
  500. ^ Koester, Ibid., 282.
  501. ^ Robert Bratcher & Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, 301.
  502. ^ Thomas & Macchia, Ibid., 370.
  503. ^ Spicq, TLNT 1:301.
  504. ^ Bratcher & Hatton 1984: 301; So Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 543; Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation, 386.
  505. ^ Ben Witherington, Revelation, New Cambridge Bible Commentary, 256.
  506. ^ Witherington, Ibid., 256.
  507. ^ Stephen Smalley, The Revelation to John, 583. Grant Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Revelation, 796. Other commentators see these verses as a warning. G. K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, 524; Gwyn Pugh, The Book of Revelation, 495; Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation, 409; John Christopher Thomas & Frank Macchia, Revelation, 401; Peter Williamson, Revelation, 367; Eric Spano, Erasure and Endurance: Aspects of Soteriology in Revelation, 142; B.J. Oropeza, Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3: 229.
  508. ^ Craig Koester, Revelation, 844, 858. So Osborne, Ibid., 795–796; Mounce, Ibid., 410; Oropeza, Ibid., 229; Friedrich Düsterdieck, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Handbook to the Revelation of John, obtained at
  509. ^ Osborne, Ibid., 795. "The final warning would be read and heard by audiences of Christian communities wherever this book was publicly circulated, beginning in Asia Minor" (Oropeza, Ibid., 229).
  510. ^ Koester, Ibid., 858.
  511. ^ Williamson, Ibid., 367-368. So Beale, Ibid., 524-525; Koester, Ibid., 845.
  512. ^ Williamson, Ibid., 367-368. "In a context in which John's opponents [i.e., false teachers/prophets] accommodate idolatry (Rev 2:2, 14, 20), this passage warns against deviating from Revelation's call for teaching and a manner of life that are faithful to God (Beale; Prigent; Smalley; R. Thomas, "Spiritual," 208; Tilly, "Textsicherung," 232-47)" (Koester, Ibid., 845).
  513. ^ Oropeza, Ibid., 230.
  514. ^ Spano, Ibid., 143. "Thus, the reader is warned here that distorting God's message in these prophecies is tantamount to apostasy, and the person guilty of it will become an apostate unbeliever in God's eyes" (Osborne, Ibid., 797). So Oropeza, Ibid., 230, 232.
  515. ^ Grant Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, 371. So Spano, Ibid., 143.
  516. ^ Spano, Ibid., 143.
  517. ^ Thomas & Macchia, Ibid., 402. So Osborne, Ibid., 371.
  518. ^ Ben Witherington, Revelation, 283.
  519. ^ Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," 164–65. Purkiser, Security: The False and the True, 27–33. J. Harold, Greenlee, J. Harold. Words from the Word: 52 Word Studies from the Original New Testament Greek, 49–52. Daniel Steele, Mile-Stone Papers: Doctrinal, Ethical, and Experimental on Christian Progress, 53–65.
  520. ^ For extensive documentation of Greek Scholars and commentators (Calvinist and non-Calvinist) who note the significance of the Greek present tense verb "believes" in salvation contexts, please see the following External Links: "Saving Faith: Is it Simply the Act of a Moment or the Attitude of a Life?" "Saving Faith is the Attitude of a Life—the Scholarly Evidence;" and "Saving Faith in the Greek New Testament."
  521. ^ William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, 246.
  522. ^ Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 522, brackets are from Wallace.
  523. ^ Wallace, Greek Grammar, 620–621.
  524. ^ Wallace, Greek Grammar, 621, fn. 22.
  525. ^ Words from the Word, 50–51.
  526. ^ Stanley Horton, Pentecostal Evangel, Another Word Study From the Greek: "Keep on Believing," [October 29, 1972]: 21, emphasis added. On John 3:16, Greenlee writes: "the verb for have [ἔχῃ] is the form which emphasizes continual 'having.' . . . [Thus, the one believing shall] keep on having life" (Words from the Word, "John 3:16," 70).
  527. ^ Greenlee, Words from the Word, 52. Similarly, Purkiser says, "True security rests in the fact that saving faith is not a single historical act, but a present-tense, up-to-date, continuing process" (Security: The False and the True, 32–33).
  528. ^ Cottrell (The College Press NIV Commentary: Romans, 2:260).
  529. ^ See the external link article: "Arminian Responses to Key Passages Used to Support Perseverance of the Saints," for explanations given by Arminian scholars and theologians.
  530. ^ Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 104. An accurate example of a Calvinist definition of apostasy is provided by Bruce Demarest and Keith Matthews: "Apostasy constitutes a serious turning away and repudiation of core Christian beliefs and practices. The Greek verb, aphistēmi (Luke 8:13; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12) means 'to fall away' or 'become apostate.' An apostate [i.e., an unbeliever] is a professing Christian who renounces Christian faith previously held [in profession only] and who often opposes and assaults the faith. Someone [i.e., an unbeliever] who professes Christianity but who then turns aside from the faith [he or she professed but never actually embraced by faith] commits apostasy, or in the words of Jesus, commits 'blasphemy against the Spirit' (Matthew 12:31). An apostate (unbeliever) can't be said to fall from grace because he never was truly in a state of grace [i.e., they were never saved to begin with]." (Demarest and Matthews, The Dictionary of Everyday Theology and Culture, [NavPress, 2010], 15).
  531. ^ a b c Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 104.
  532. ^ Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," 155–156.
  533. ^ Garrett, Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Theological, Volume 2, 430.
  534. ^ Saved by Grace, 244. Hoekema goes on to write: "As we have noted, the Bible teaches that God does not preserve us apart from our watchfulness, prayer, and persevering faith" (Saved by Grace, 245). Traditional Calvinist John Murray said: "Let us appreciate the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and recognize that we may entertain the faith of our security in Christ only as we persevere in faith and holiness to the end" (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 155).
  535. ^ Saved by Grace, 245.
  536. ^ The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation, 291, 301-302, emphasis added.
  537. ^ Hodges, Absolutely Free! A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation, 63. So Norman Geisler believes that "Continued belief is not a condition for keeping one's salvation" ("Moderate Calvinism," Four Views on Eternal Security, 109).
  538. ^ The Reign of the Servant Kings: A Study of Eternal Security and the Final Significance of Man, 202.
  539. ^ Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, 199. Charles Stanley writes: "The Bible clearly teaches that God's love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand" (Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?, 74). Stanley also writes, "To say that our salvation can be taken from us for any reason, whether it be sin or disbelief, is to ignore the plain meaning of this text [Ephesians 2:8–9]" (Eternal Security, 81).
  540. ^ Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, 202. Based on 2 Timothy 2:11–13, Stanley holds that "The unfaithful believer will not receive a special place in the kingdom of Christ like those who are fortunate enough to be allowed to reign with him. But the unfaithful believer will not lose his salvation. The apostle's meaning is evident. Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy" (Eternal Security, 93).
  541. ^ Chafer, Salvation, 112.
  542. ^ For a Traditional Calvinist critique of Moderate Calvinism as presented by Zane Hodges, see Kim Riddlebarger, "What is Faith?" in Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, editor Michael Horton (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 81–105. See also John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988, 2008). For an Arminian critique see Ashby, "Reformed Arminianism," 156–167; and Robert E. Picirilli, Discipleship: The Expression of Saving Faith (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 2013).
  543. ^ Exploring Christian Doctrine: A Guide to What Christians Believe,(Downer's Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 216.
  544. ^ McKnight, A Long Faithfulness: A Case for Christian Perseverance, 49.
  545. ^ Williams, Renewal Theology, 2:133–34. Baptist scholar Dale Moody wrote: "we dare not teach that believers can lose their . . . [confident faith, Heb 3:14], even become atheists and unbelievers and live like reprobates, and still be eternally secure in their salvation . . ." (Apostasy: A Study in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in Baptist History, 28).
  546. ^ That Burning Question of Final Perseverance, 56. Kenneth Schenck writes: "All the gifts bestowed on humanity by God entail an obligation to 'keep faith' with the giver. Faith thus involves not only a trust and belief in God as the giver but also faithfulness to him. It is thus possible to 'break faith' with God, which would nullify the relationship" (Understanding the Book of Hebrews, 65).
  547. ^ See J. C. Wenger, Introduction to Theology: A Brief Introduction to the Doctrinal Content of Scripture Written in the Anabaptist-Mennonite Tradition (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1954), 306–309, obtained at
  548. ^ See Christian Fundamentals (Mennonite Church, 1921) Articles of Faith VIII and XIV at,_1921)
  549. ^ The Eternal Security Teaching by J. L. Stauffer (1888-1959), who served as a faculty member of Eastern Mennonite School for 17 years, see
  550. ^ See Position Paper "The Assurance of the Believer," available at
  551. ^ Witzki 2010. While the Orthodox Church has no statement of faith or position paper on the possibility of apostasy, two Orthodox resources support the conditional security of the believer and the possibility of apostasy.
  552. ^ See Article 113 "Of Apostasy" at
  553. ^ "We believe that those who abide in Christ have the assurance of salvation. However, we believe that the Christian retains his freedom of choice; therefore, it is possible for him to turn away from God and be finally lost. (A) Assurance: Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 5:9. (B) Endurance: Matthew 10:22; Luke 9:62; Colossians 1:23; Revelation 2:10–11; 3:3–5. (C) Warnings: John 15:6; Romans 11:20–23; Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 3:12; 10:26–29; 2 Peter 2:20–21. (D) Finally Lost: John 15:6; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Hebrews 6:4–6." "Statements of Faith," obtained at Archived 2022-12-10 at the Wayback Machine
  554. ^ "There are strong grounds to hope that the truly regenerate will persevere unto the end, and be saved, through the power of divine grace which is pledged for their support; but their future obedience and final salvation are neither determined nor certain, since through infirmity and manifold temptations they are in danger of falling; and they ought, therefore, to watch and pray lest they make shipwreck of their faith and be lost" (A Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc., "Chapter XII: Perseverance of the Saints," 12). See also "Appendix to Chapter XIII," 17-18. Can obtain Treastise at
  555. ^ "The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord" reads: "Thus many receive the Word with joy, but afterwards fall away again, Luke 8:13. But the cause is not as though God were unwilling to grant grace for perseverance to those in whom He has begun the good work, for that is contrary to St. Paul, Philippians 1:6; but the cause is that they wilfully turn away again from the holy commandment [of God], grieve and embitter the Holy Ghost, implicate themselves again in the filth of the world, and garnish again the habitation of the heart for the devil. With them the last state is worse than the first, 2 Peter 2:10, 20; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:26; Luke 11:25" (XI. Election, #42, Obtained at Also, "The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord" reads: "Above all, therefore, the false Epicurean delusion is to be earnestly censured and rejected, namely, that some imagine that faith and the righteousness and salvation which they have received can be lost through no sins or wicked deeds, not even through willful and intentional ones, but that a Christian although he indulges his wicked lusts without fear and shame, resists the Holy Ghost, and purposely engages in sins against conscience, yet none the less retains faith, God's grace, righteousness, and salvation. Against this pernicious delusion the following true, immutable, divine threats and severe punishments and admonitions should be often repeated and impressed upon Christians who are justified by faith: 1 Cor. 6:9: Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, etc., shall inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5: They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Rom. 8:13: If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. Col. 3:6: For which thing's sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience" (IV. Good Works, #31–32, obtained at
  556. ^ The Discipline of the Evangelical Wesleyan Church. Evangelical Wesleyan Church. 2015.
  557. ^ Cyclopaedia of Methodism (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1882): "Arminian churches . . . do not believe that those who are converted will necessarily be [finally] saved. They ground their belief further on the warnings which are given by our Savior and his apostles, in teaching the necessity of watchfulness and prayer, in the warnings against falling away contained in many passages of Scripture, and the express declaration that some had been made 'shipwreck of faith' and had fallen away. . . . The Methodist Churches, being Arminian in theology, totally reject the doctrine of the necessary perseverance of the saints, while at the same time they teach that the prayerful and obedient, while they remain in that condition, can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. They believe it, however, to be necessary to use all diligence to make their 'calling and election sure'" ("Perseverance, Final," 708–709). Leland Scott, in Encyclopedia of World Methodism, (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1974): [John Wesley says] "Arminians hold, that a true believer may 'make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience;' that he may fall, not only foully, but finally, so as to perish forever." (The Question, "What is an Arminian?" Answered. 1770). ... [According to Wesley] "a man may forfeit the free gift of God, either by sins of omission or commission." ("What is an Arminian?" question 11) How important, therefore, for every believer to beware, "lest his heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin;' ... lest he should sink lower and lower, till he wholly fall away, till he become as salt that hath lost its savor: for if he thus sin willfully, after we have received the experimental 'knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins' ..." (Sermon on the Mount, IV, i, 8, 1747). ... Perseverance in grace, therefore, was conditioned upon the believer's persevering! Although the believer continued dependent upon atoning, redeeming grace throughout the course of his salvation, nevertheless—for Wesley—such grace (as seen through Scripture) must be considered finally resistible, the Spirit could finally be quenched. Thus the believer is "saved from the fear, though not from the possibility, of falling away from the grace of God" (Sermon 1. ii. 4.) ("Perseverance, Final," 1888–1889). Mark B. Stokes says: "Other people say, 'once in grace always in grace.' ... But we United Methodist believe that we are still free to turn away from Christ even while we are Christians. ... The Bible is filled with examples of people who started out well and ended up tragically. ... We experience no state of grace which is beyond the possibility of falling" (Major United Methodist Beliefs, Revised and Enlarged [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990], 117–118). Article XII—Of Sin After Justification: "Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent. (The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church, obtained at "The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church IX-XV". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-05-02.) Charles Yrigoyen writes: "Article XII addresses the problem of our disobedience and sin after we have been prepared by grace and have accepted God's offer of pardon and forgiveness (justifying grace) by faith. ... After justification, any of us 'may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives.' In this Article there is a plain denial of what some call 'eternal security' or 'once saved, always saved,' which claims that once people have received the saving grace of God, they cannot lose their salvation" (Belief Matters: United Methodism's Doctrinal Standards [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001], 85).
  558. ^ See "Does Doctrine Matter?" By Donald N. Bastian available at
  559. ^ The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine [2010], says, "Continual and unrepentant disobedience can result in loss of faith, and loss of our status in Christ" (183-184). It also states, "Assurance does not mean that our salvation is guaranteed to us against our free will. It is possible to cease to obey Christ and so forfeit our hope of eternal life. This is consistent with our understanding of the grace of God, who always leaves us open to respond freely to him. Freedom to live by grace includes freedom to turn away. . . . When we live a life of continued obedient faith in Christ we will not fall from grace and be eternally lost. . . . [This] obedient faith is dependent upon the empowerment of God (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20, 21)" (180-181, 184). The 2010 Handbook can be downloaded as a PDF here
  560. ^ "We believe that all persons, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless they repent of their sins, be hopelessly and eternally lost." "Articles of Faith," under the heading "Repentance," obtained at
  561. ^ See Dr. Gregory Robertson (Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Anderson University School of Theology) article "Eternal Security: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal," obtained at
  562. ^ "In view of the biblical teaching that the security of the believer depends on a living relationship with Christ (John 15:6); in view of the Bible's call to a life of holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:16); in view of the clear teaching that a man may have his part taken out of the Book of Life (Revelation 22:19); and in view of the fact that one who believes for a while can fall away (Luke 8:13); The General Council of the Assemblies of God disapproves of the unconditional security position which holds that it is impossible for a person once saved to be lost. (Bylaws, Article IX.B.1)." Obtained at, Position Paper, "Assurance of Salvation."
  563. ^ "We further believe that the fullness of the Holy Spirit does not make believers incapable of choosing to sin, nor even from completely falling away from God, yet it so cleanses and empowers them as to enable them to have victory over sin, to endeavor fully to love God and people, and to witness to the living Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 2:20–22; Acts 1:8)" (Faith and Practice 2018, 13). "Security of the Believer: Evangelical Friends believe that the security of the believer, even for eternity, is indicated in God's Word and witnessed to by the Holy Spirit to the individual, but we do not hold this security to be unconditional. As repentance and faith are the human conditions of acceptance of God's free offer of salvation, so faith manifested by obedience is necessary to continuance in that salvation (Hebrews 5:9; 1 John 2:4)" (Faith and Practice 2018, 30). Obtained at Evangelical Friends Church—Eastern Region is associated with Evangelical Friends International.
  564. ^ Churches of Christ do not consider themselves a denomination, and have no "headquarters" that could issue official positions on the movement as a whole, there is no official "statement of faith" or position paper which can be referenced. Nevertheless, secondary sources from recognized Church of Christ scholars clearly affirm conditional security and the possibility of apostasy. For example see James Thompson's Paideia Commentary on the New Testament: Hebrews (chapters 2, 3, 6, 10, 12); Jack Cottrell's College Press NIV Commentary on Romans (Romans 8:12–13; 11:19–21; 14:13–23; 16:17–20); The Faith Once for All (pages 375–382). See also The College Press NIV Commentary Series which is done by Church of Christ commentators.
  565. ^ The Catholic teaching on apostasy is found in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (first published in the United States in 1994, and the Second Edition in 2003). According to Pope John Paul II it is "presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine" (Catechism, "Apostolic Letter"). See sections 161–162; and 1849–1861, obtained at


Further reading


  • Arminius, James. The Works of Arminius, translated by James and William Nichols (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986).
  • Arrington, French L. Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? (Tennessee: Pathway Press, 2005).
  • Ashby, Stephen M. "Reformed Arminianism," Four Views on Eternal Security, editor J. Matthew Pinson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002).
  • Atwood, Craig D., Hill, Samuel S., and Mead, Frank S. Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 12th Edition (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005).
  • Bercot, David W, editor. A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More Than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998).
  • Bercot, David W. Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity (Amberson: Scroll Publishing Company, 1989).
  • Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing House, 1932).
  • Brown, Colin, editor, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Volumes (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library/Zondervan, 1975–1978).
  • Claybrook, Frederick W. Jr. Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy (Lanham: University Press of American, 2003).
  • Davis, John Jefferson. "The Perseverance of the Saints: A History of the Doctrine," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34:2 (June 1991), 213–228.
  • DeJong, Peter Y. Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dordt, 1618–1619 (Grand Rapids: Reformed Fellowship, Inc., 1968).
  • Dillow, Joseph. The Reign of the Servant Kings: A Study of Eternal Security and the Final Significance of Man (Hayesville: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1992).
  • Ellis, Mark A, translator and editor. The Arminian Confession of 1621 (Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2005).
  • Greenlee, J. Harold. Words from the Word: 52 Word Studies from the Original New Testament Greek (Salem: Schmul Publishing, 2000).
  • Hoekema, Anthony. Saved by Grace (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
  • Jessop, Harry E. That Burning Question of Final Perseverance (Indiana: Light and Life Press, 1942).
  • Marshall, I. Howard. Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1969).
  • Muller, Richard A. Dictionary of Greek and Latin Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985).
  • Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955).
  • Oropeza, B. J. Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000).
  • Pawson, David. Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996).
  • Picirilli, Robert. Grace, Faith, Free Will. Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism and Arminianism (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 2002).
  • Purkiser, W. T. Security: The False and the True (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1956).
  • Schaff, Philip, editor. The Creeds of Christendom Volume III: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984).
  • Shank, Robert. Life in the Son: A Study of the Doctrine of Perseverance (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1960, 1961, 1989).
  • Stanley, Charles. Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? (Nashville: Oliver-Nelson Books, 1990).
  • Steele, Daniel. Mile-Stone Papers: Doctrinal, Ethical, and Experimental on Christian Progress (New York: Nelson and Phillips, 1878).
  • Wesley, John. The Works of John Wesley, Third Edition Complete and Unabridged, 14 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2001).
  • Williams, J. Rodman. Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, 3 Vols. in One (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996).
  • Witherington, Ben. John's Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995).
  • Yocum, Dale. Creeds in Contrast: A Study in Calvinism and Arminianism (Salem: Schmul Publishing Co., 1986).

Multiple views

  • J. Matthew Pinson, ed. (2002). Four Views on Eternal Security. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-23439-5
  • Herbert W. Bateman IV, ed. (2007). Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews. Kregel Publications. ISBN 978-0-8254-2132-7

Arminian view

  • Anderson, David (1985). Conditional Security. Nicholasville: Schmul Publishing Co. ISBN 0880191716.
  • W. T. Purkiser (1956, 1974 2nd ed.). Security: The False and the True. Beacon Hill Press. ISBN 0-8341-0048-7
  • Robert Shank (1960). Life in the Son: A Study of the Doctrine of Perseverance. Bethany House Publishers. ISBN 1-55661-091-2
  • I. Howard Marshall (1969, 1995 Rev. ed.). Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away. Paternoster Press. ISBN 0-85364-642-2
  • Dale M Yocum (1986). Creeds in Contrast: A Study in Calvinism and Arminianism. Schmul Publishing Co. ISBN 0-88019-183-X
  • David Pawson (1996). Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-61066-2
  • B. J. Oropeza (2000, 2007). Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation. Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55635-333-8
  • B. J. Oropeza (2011). In the Footsteps of Judas and Other Defectors: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 1: The Gospels, Acts, and Johannine Letters. Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1610972895
  • B. J. Oropeza (2012). Jews, Gentiles, and the Opponents of Paul: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 2: The Pauline Letters. Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1610972901
  • B. J. Oropeza (2012). Churches under Siege of Persecution and Assimilation: Apostasy in the New Testament Communities, Volume 3: The General Epistles and Revelation. Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1610972918
  • Scot McKnight (2013). A Long Faithfulness: The Case for Christian Perseverance, Patheos Press. ISBN 978-1-62921-469-6.
  • Robert E. Picirilli (2002). Grace, Faith, Free Will. Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism and Arminianism. Randall House Publications. ISBN 0-89265-648-4
  • Frederick W. Claybrook Jr. (2003) Once Saved, Always Saved? A New Testament Study of Apostasy. University Press of America. ISBN 0-7618-2642-4
  • French L. Arrington (2005). Unconditional Eternal Security: Myth or Truth? Pathway Press. ISBN 1-59684-070-6

Traditional Calvinist view

Non-traditional Calvinist or free grace view