CAN SALVATION BE LOST? (PART III)
By Akin Ojumu
Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is without error or fault in all its teachings. On the other hand, Biblical infallibility is the belief that what the Bible says regarding matters of faith and Christian practice is wholly useful and true. The Bible is completely trustworthy as a guide to salvation and the life of faith and will not fail to accomplish its purpose.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Whenever doctrinal or theological disputes arise, it’s crucial for all disputing parties to remember the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. Debates about doctrines arise not because of inconsistency or conflicting texts in the Bible. The reason there are theological disagreements is simply because our knowledge is limited, and our understanding is incomplete.
“Let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4).
When it comes to Christian orthodoxy and theology, there is only one truth. As far as Biblical truths are concerned, there are no multiple sides or school of thoughts. The truth is not hidden from us. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the truth of God needed to live righteously in this world has been handed to us in the Word of God and available to all. Anyone who seeks it, finds it.
In the previous commentaries, John 10:27-30 was the focus of the discussion on the subject of eternal security. This passage of Scripture reveals that God is the one who calls His sheep and presents them as love gifts to His only begotten Son. In turn, the Son knows the sheep who are called and drawn to Him.
“The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”” (2 Timothy 2:19)
God’s foundation is firm and unshakeable. It’s securely sealed by these two irrevocable truths. God knows His sheep. And His sheep abstain from iniquity. Those who bear God’s mark of ownership have two characteristics. They were known of Him before the beginning to time and they relentlessly pursue God’s holiness.
The sheep of God follow and obey the Son of God by totally surrendering their lives to Him. No longer do they live to fulfill the desires of the flesh, but they live to please the one who has called them. As a result, the Lord keeps them safe, and no one is able to snatch them away from Him. He preserves every single one of them until the last day, giving them eternal life.
Some have struggled to reconcile the promises and assurances contained in John 10:27-30 with other Biblical passages such as Hebrews 6:4-6. In this commentary and, perhaps, the next, we’ll attempt to bring some clarity to this confusion. Knowing that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, we’ll show that these two Bible passages are in total synergy.
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” (Hebrew 6:4-7).
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the context of the Book of Hebrews particularly with regards to the unique characteristics of the congregation to whom the letter was written. While the identity of the writer of the letter remains up for debate, it’s universally agreed that it was written to a Christian assembly composed of mostly Jews.
A careful reading of Hebrews reveals three distinct groups of people within the congregation. They are as follows:
(1) Believers who were completely surrendered to Christ and who lived to please Him
(2) Unbelievers who had an intellectual conviction about the Gospel and had a head knowledge of Christ but had not yet taken the crucial step to commit their lives to Christ
(3) Unbelievers who, for one reason or the other, were attracted to the Church but were still far from being convinced about the Gospel at all. They enjoyed the social gathering, music, food, and fellowship, but the message of the Cross had not really registered in their soul.
In order to understand the Book of Hebrews, we must recognize that it was to these three categories of people that the letter was written. Throughout the Book, you’d find specific passages that address these distinct groups. Studying the Book of Hebrews without this as a backdrop, often results in faulty interpretation.
Stay tuned. More to come.