Friday, November 16, 2007

What do you mean – “fall”?

There is a debate among Christians regarding the issue of eternal security. Some say that we have no security while others believe “once saved – always saved”. I was reminded of this long-time debate while reading Peter’s letter (the 2nd one). Let’s begin at the end of his letter.

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this (that false teachers are coming), be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men (false teachers) and fall from your secure position. But, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. - 2 Peter 3:17-18

Did Peter just say that we can fall from our secure position? What secure position is Peter talking about? Is it our position in society? No, he is talking in terms of the Kingdom. Does that mean he is saying that we can lose our salvation?

Well, let’s look at the beginning of his letter to get a better understanding of where he is coming from. In chapter 1 verses 10 & 11 Peter says the following:

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things (the things mentioned in verses 5-7), you will never fall and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I don’t want to get into the whole debate of predestination. Let’s stay focused on the topic at hand: falling. So, we see in these passages that Peter is in fact talking about falling from our position in the Kingdom of God. Additionally, he is not talking about a temporal situation or momentary stumble that makes life a little tougher here on earth. Rather, he clearly underscores the eternal ramifications.

With this in mind, I think we should seriously analyze our lives and honestly take inventory based on the characteristics and qualities Peter presents in verses 5 through 7:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.


Shane Vander Hart said...

I can't really seperate eternal security without predestination - I don't think you can have one without the other.

Ephesians 1:4 I think is a helpful verse - "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."

If holiness is not a desire? Can you really say you are not predestined?

Just a thought, what do you think?

Eric Jones said...

I agree that if we do not have a desire to be holy and are not in the process of becoming blameless and pure (sanctification), then we are most likely not in Christ and therefore not eternally secure.

However, there are possible layers to the predestination question. Such as, in this Ephesians passage is Paul talking about the individual or the corporate church when he said “he chose us”.

Ron Ballew said...

Definitely agree, it is a difficult topic that we don't completely understand. I am becoming more convinced that predestination and freewill both do not adequately answer the questions.