Since the 1500's, there have been two competing philosophies concerning salvation. One was proposed by Jacob Arminius (1560-1609). The second was a response to Arminius, by the followers of John Calvin, and is typically called the Five Points Of Calvinism.
According to the teachings of Arminius, salvation was provided by the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah, and is achieved by the expressions of the free will of an individual. According to those who accept this teaching, a person can lose his salvation.
The followers of John Calvin responded to the teaching of Arminius, with five doctrinal points which are usually abbreviated T-U-L-I-P.
T = the total depravity of man
U = unlimited election
L = limited atonement
I = irresistible grace
P = perseverance of the saints
As I see it, there is a major problem present in the American evangelical churches, that is a result of blending the two teachings. Many will tell you that they were " saved " on such and such a date, and occasion. An inquiry into the circumstances reveals that what people are calling their saving experience, is really the end result of something, which they did. They walked the aisle of a church. They were greeted by the pastor, or one of his assistants. They said a sinner's prayer. They submitted to baptism by immersion. And quite probably, they joined the church.
This is basically a reflection of the teachings of Arminius, that salvation is the result of an act of a person's free will.
The problem occurs, when the person is then told that they are eternally secure,- that they cannot lose this salvation, which for all practical purposes, they initiated. This is in conflict with the teaching of Arminius, and is in reality, one of the five points of Calvinism! The P of the 5 points of Calvinism represents the " Perseverance of the Saints ".
The " whosoever will " argument of Arminius evaporates quickly when one considers the actual meaning of a few Greek words.
πιστευων, the Greek word translated " believe " actually means " trust " in 21st century modern English.
ανωθεν, the Greek word translated " again " in John 3:3,7, actually means " from above " ( meaning born of God! ).
John 3:36 actually says," He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who DOES NOT OBEY the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." The Greek word, απειθων usually translated " does not believe " actually means " does not obey "!
A man is not born from above, or " saved " by an act of his will. Consider this:
" But as many as received Him, to them HE GAVE THE RIGHT to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: WHO WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD. "
( John 1:12,13 ) It is the " born of God " that comes first, then comes the repentance and believing.
It is even God who grants repentance ! " When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, " Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."
( Acts 11:18 )
"...a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth." ( 2 Timothy 2:24-25 )
Scripture contains many statements of truth, concerning salvation, or being saved. None of these statements are instructions on how to attain salvation, or how to be born from above, because it is God who does this work.
" not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." ( Titus 3:5 )
"For by grace you are saved through faith, AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." ( Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV )
There are a number of writers, who have detailed the five points of Calvinism. Some use terminology, with which, I cannot agree. There are others, which come close to Biblical truth. While I don't call myself a Calvinist, I believe that there is more truth in the Calvinist view, than in the Arminian view. This is largely due to the failure, on the part of the Arminians, to recognize that a real Christian is one, who has been born by an act of God, rather than by a human act.
When one looks into scripture, especially into the Greek scriptures, it quickly becomes obvious that a person must be born of God ( John 1:12-13 ) or as Jesus put it, be born from above. ( John 3:3,7 )
This is similar to the " Which came first, the chicken or the egg dispute ". However when one looks at the scriptures in totality, the born of God experience comes before repentance
( which God must grant ) and the believing ( which God also grants ) and leads to eternal life.
For a more detailed coverage, and many scripture references, go to this page:
Will you be Saved at Judgment ?
In summary: When we discuss the issue of eternal security, we are not talking about the one who said a sinner's prayer ONCE, or one who invited Jesus into his heart, or who accepted Christ as his savior, or was baptized in water, or who " believed ", or who performed any other religious act, or ceremony. We are talking about one who was chosen by God, and GRANTED BY GOD to be born from above. And, there is nothing in scripture that would justify people taking it for granted, that they personally, are eternally secure. There are plenty of warnings against doing so!
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Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
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