No Security for the Believer in 'Once Saved, Always Saved'
By Al Diestelkamp
There is a belief in many Protestant churches, and especially popular
among those who would describe themselves as
“evangelicals,” known as the doctrine of “The
Security of the Believer.” In Calvinism’s TULIP acronym, it
is represented by the “P” for “Perseverance of the
Saints.” Other terms used to promote this doctrine include
“Eternal Security,” and “Impossibility of
Apostasy.” Their claim is that one cannot fall from God’s
grace, and thus it is commonly known as the doctrine of “once
saved, always saved.”
of this doctrine have a great deal of difficulty dealing with the
numerous scriptures that contradict, but somehow manage to put their
own “spin” on them to mean other than what they say or
having to deal with the scriptural arguments, they also have to come to
grips with the fact that some of their “believers” have
left the faith, or have again become “entangled” and
“overcome” in the “pollutions of the world.”
Peter said it “would have been better for them not to have know
the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy
commandment delivered to them” (see 2 Pet. 2:18-22).
fact poses a dilemma for the believer in “once saved, always
saved.” They cannot deny that some who had been among them (even
in leadership roles) are like that dog that “returns to his own
vomit,” but they refuse to say that he has fallen from grace.
the false doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is built
on a false concept of the sovereignty of God. Their view of God’s
sovereignty is that every thing that happens in this world is by
God’s decision, and therefore, man cannot choose to do anything.
Therefore, if one is saved, he has no part in that decision. They then
conclude that if God chooses to save a person, it would be impossible
for him to be lost.
how do these people explain their way out of this dilemma? A hardcore
Calvinist might say that despite apparent apostasy, or moral
degradation, God will save them anyway. Most, however inevitably grab
hold of the only other possible explanation, and claim that such
persons were never really saved in the first place. In offering that
explanation they are forced to admit that they cannot know whether a
person is really saved until after they have died. Then the advocate of
“once saved, always saved,” not having completed his life
on earth, is left to wonder whether his own salvation is real. Thus,
for them, their version of “the security of the believer”
is really a doctrine of “the insecurity of the believer.”
hard to read very much in the New Testament without being faced with
statements that clearly contradict the “once saved, always
saved” doctrine. In fact, I maintain that every inspired New
Testament writer included one or more statement or warning about
followers of Jesus jeopardizing their salvation. Let me prove it:
Mark and Luke record the parable of the soils in which Jesus refers to
some who receive the word, but “fall away” at the
onset of tribulation or persecution (Lk. 8:13). After believing, Simon,
a former sorcerer, found himself in danger of perishing unless he
repented of trying to purchase the gift of God (Ac. 8:9-25). The
apostle Paul wrote about two brothers he “delivered to
Satan” after their faith had “suffered shipwreck” (1
Tim. 1:19-20). The Hebrew writer wrote of the possibility of some
falling away though they had “tasted the heavenly gift,”
and had “become partakers of the Holy Spirit” (Heb. 6:4-6).
James urged that if one “wanders from the truth,” that if
he is turned back to the truth his soul will be saved from death (Jas.
5:19-20). Peter warned the elect to be vigilant because the devil
“walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may
devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Jude felt it was necessary to write about
an apostasy that was underway. Jesus commissioned the apostle John to
warn the Christians in Pergamos to repent, or else He would
“fight against them” (Rev. 2:16).
doubt, there are a few passages in the New Testament which, if isolated
from all other scriptures might lead one to believe that a child of God
cannot fall from grace (i.e., Jn. 6:37-40). But we can’t be
guilty of pitting one set of scriptures against another. If there
appears to be a conflict between two statements in the scriptures, we
must realize that it is our understanding that is the problem. An
important rule for us in understanding scripture is to examine all the
passages on the subject and then interpret them in a way that they
agree. When there are two possible meanings we must choose the meaning
which coincides with the other scriptures. The obvious must explain the
rejecting the false conclusions, we must take care to acknowledge that
God is sovereign—that is, He is the Supreme Authority. In His
sovereignty He chose to give men free will to choose some things in
life, including whether to believe, obey and remain faithful to His
must agree that there is security for the believer. God keeps His
promises to man. The apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question,
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). He
goes on to say that believers are “more than conquerors,”
promising that no outside force would be able to “separate us
from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:35-39).
That’s real security!
P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
By Nathan Combs
is easily discernible that living things naturally mature into
fully-developed organisms. Our physical bodies,
assuming we live long enough, inevitably grow from miniscule fertilized
eggs into functional adults. Likewise, under normal conditions, all
kinds of animals, insects, and vegetation automatically grow up. From
the mustard seed to the aardvark, countless living things are
purposefully designed by God to naturally reach maturity.
contrast to physical life, spiritual maturity is by no means a foregone
conclusion! Many Christians, however, mistakenly assume that maturity
in years equates to maturity in spiritual things. In reality, the
scriptures point out that developing spiritually is a conscious choice
that one makes, not the inescapable result of living in the world for a
number of years.
Elihu’s words when he shrewdly remarked, “it is the spirit
in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is
not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is
right” (Job 32:8-9, ESV). Although the three friends of Job were
advanced in years and had plenty of advice for their comrade, they were
certainly lacking in wisdom! In my own life, I have noted with surprise
that some young men I know are far more spiritually mature than some of
their older, more experienced brothers in Christ, despite a huge gap in
considering what spiritual maturity is and how it may be obtained,
Hebrews 5:11-14 offers great insight. According to the writer of the
book, mature people are “those who have their powers of
discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from
evil.” In context, the writer abruptly halts in his discussion of
the Melckizedek priesthood to bluntly rebuke the readers for being
“dull of hearing” and still requiring “milk”
instead of “solid food.” Apparently, the original
recipients of Hebrews lacked many spiritual abilities, including the
wherewithal to teach and discern between righteousness and vice.
Interestingly, the textual solution for being dull of hearing, unable
to handle meat, unfit for teaching, unlearned in the scriptures, and
incapable of discernment is the same thing: “constant
practice.” Spiritual discernment can only come when we
persistently polish ourselves and our character.
well as not automatically accompanying age, spiritual maturity also
does not necessarily come with trials and temptations. Although the
attitude of “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”
is often haphazardly applied to spiritual trials, the scriptures teach
that ordeals only produce strength if a person chooses to let
James admonished his readers to have joy in their trials, he told them
to “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas. 1:4). In other
words, trials must be allowed to make us stronger, more mature people.
Those who bemoan their situation and focus on how miserable they are
during hard times are going to have great difficulty using their trials
to become more mature. Although trials prime us for becoming more
spiritually discerning, it is our own choice to gain wisdom from those
consider the necessity of spiritual maturity in several different
God-given roles. For a man, there are few jobs more important than
being an elder in a local church. The oversight, wisdom, and maturity
that they should exercise in guiding other Christians is such an
invaluable asset to any congregation. What kind of man is prepared to
handle such profound responsibility and leadership? What man is
qualified? Is it the man who’s merely kind, aged, and who’s
been a Christian for 40 or more years? God requires much more from a
man who desires to lead His people!
Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus to assist them in appointing elders in
various congregations, he provided general guidelines which can
essentially be summed up in two words: proven character. An elder must
be a man who has actively demonstrated that he is spiritually mature by
“constant practice”—by raising his children to seek
the Lord, teaching others about Christ, and zealously practicing
godliness his whole life. Considering the fact that many of the
qualities Paul mentions are life-long goals that are not easily grasped
(self-control, not quarrelsome, etc.), It would seem that a man must
prepare for the eldership early in life if he is to prove his character
in such demonstrable ways. In an age where biblical authority and
objective truth is increasingly rejected by the world, there has never
been more need in the church for ardent, mature leaders to provide
clear direction and guidance. The urgent call for Christian men to
stand up and lead is strong and only continues to grow stronger.
Although they are not given specific roles of leadership within the
church, women are also charged with great responsibility from God,
requiring much spiritual maturity. The honored role of caretaker for
her husband and family has been her position ever since Eve was given
to Adam as a helper.
When Paul told Titus in Titus 2:3-5 how to teach people in different
ages and genders of his congregation, it is instructive that he makes
mention of the need for older women to train younger ones to properly
carry out their roles as homemakers and husband-helpers. But how can an
elderly woman instruct others if she has not dedicated her life to
gaining spiritual maturity in sobriety, dignity, and the other areas
Paul mentions? How can she give helpful guidance unless she has
purposefully learned from her mistakes and triumphs in life, unless she
has diligently examined the scriptures, unless she has constantly
practiced the attributes described in those verses?
the office of an elder, this important role also requires early
dedication. If a woman decided to spend her lifetime throwing herself
wholeheartedly into her role by developing her character, helping her
husband, and molding her children, she could potentially influence
generations of aspiring wives and mothers with her carefully-cultivated
wisdom and rich life experience. Once again, we see the vital necessity
of obtaining spiritual maturity.
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though many physical things naturally grow up to a level of maturity
without much effort, spiritual growth is certainly not inescapable. In
order to lead others, teach others, and assist others in wisdom, we
must consciously (and constantly) practice godliness. Wisdom is not a
natural attribute of older people like wrinkles or poor eyesight; it is
the result of choosing to live every day with a purpose.
our gender, age, or role in the Lord’s kingdom, God has given us
all great responsibility to use our opportunities and resources to grow
as we should. Spiritual maturity may not be as easy as physical growth,
but it is the most vital and essential development in our lives. Are
you pressing on towards spiritual maturity?
270 N. Tanzanite Trail, #2, Fayetteville, AR 72701
Something We Give Voluntarily
By Rick Liggin
It is interesting to me to see the way the New American Standard Bible
(NASB) translates 1 Corinthians 13:34. This, of course, is that text in
which Paul instructs women to be silent in the worship assemblies. He
says that “women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are
not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves,
just as the Law also says” (1 Cor. 14:34—NASB). I checked
into it, and it seems that “subject themselves” is just as
accurate a translation as may be found in any of the other popular
versions…and I like it. I like it, because (in my mind) it
really shows where the responsibility lies in this command.
about it for a minute. We husbands sometimes think that it is our
responsibility to “keep our wives in
subjection”—which often leads us to act like tyrannical
dictators over our women. But this text shows (and the NASB really
brings it out) that it is the responsibility of women to “subject
themselves.” Subjection that is acceptable to God cannot be
forced on a woman…or on anyone else for that matter. Subjection
that pleases God is something that a person voluntarily gives out of
respect for Him.
brings us to other passages that demand subjection: if you men were
starting to get comfortable with this article, thinking it was only
aimed at our women, think again! The New Testament teaches us about
sub-jection in a variety of areas: we are to “be in subjection to
the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1-7); children are to be
subject to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3); church members must be
submissive to their elders (Heb. 13:17); and all of us must “be
subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21).
texts make it clear that subjection is not something only women have to
be concerned about. Subjection to others is something every Christian
(men included) is obligated to offer. And that subjection—just
like the subjection required of women—is something that we must
do ourselves…we must subject ourselves.
No one, other than me, can “keep me in subjection”! I must
voluntarily submit myself to others out of respect for Christ. Any
subjection I give to others (to my parents, my elders, my government,
etc.) that is thrust upon me or forced on me—any submitting that
I do that is based solely on coercion or intimidation—is not
going to be subjection that pleases my Lord. The only kind of
subjection that pleases Christ is subjection that I voluntarily
offer—I must submit myself…and so must you! Just like
women in the church who must “subject themselves,” we too
must subject ourselves.
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may be wondering why we are emphasizing this point so strongly. Well,
here’s why: we must stop trying to “lord it over” or
“exercise authority over” one another! That is an
unacceptable “Gentile” concept that must not be so “among” us (Mk. 10:43-45). Instead, we must learn to serve one another; we must learn to subject ourselves
to one another out of a respect for Christ. Any Christian that has a
problem submitting himself to whomever the Lord requires his
submission, has a problem! And his problem is not with men, but with
Christ. It’s not about others “bossing me around” or
“keeping me in line.” It’s about me respecting Christ
and respecting my brothers…and subjecting myself!
315 Almond Drive, Washington, Illinois 61571
'Male and Female He Created Them'
By Andy Diestelkamp
In the beginning God created the heav-ens and the earth...Then God said...And it was so...And God saw that it was good.”
pretty well summarizes the pattern of words for the six days of
Creation. At the end of day six we’re told, “Then God saw
everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen.
as we read the elaboration on the work of God on day six (in chapter
two) there is a notable difference in the divine observation. Having
created man and the garden in which he was placed, Jehovah God said,
“It is not good that man should be alone...” (2:18). Of
course, this is not indicative of any failure on God’s part to
anticipate this. Rather, we are being given insight to the specific
rationale for God’s creation.
had already created life in the form of plants and animals with their
various abilities to produce after their own kind (1:11,12,21,24,25).
The parade of some of those animals before Adam was not a trial and
error search on God’s part but an education for the man.
“There was not found a helper comparable to him” (2:20).
Despite our animal loving tendencies, neither dog nor horse is
man’s best friend.
God had formed man and beast from the dust of the ground (2:19; 3:19),
He created the ultimate companion for man from man (2:21-23). “So
God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them” (1:27). The woman was created by
God to be a helper comparable to man (2:18). It is noteworthy that the
Scriptures (which are so reviled by modern skeptics who decry its
“sexism”) virtually begin by affirming that both man and
woman were created in the image of God and are comparable to one
a physiological perspective, it is clear that man and woman were
created by God to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (1:28).
However, the more detailed account of the creation of man reveals that
the primary function of the marriage relationship was/is to provide an
intimate “one flesh” companionship that is far more than a
mere physical union (2:24). Jesus confirmed that this is true when He
observed in commenting on this text, “So then, they are no longer
two but one flesh” (Matt. 19:6). The physical oneness of the
sexual relationship symbolizes a deeper emotional and spiritual
companionship/partnership/fellowship that God intended to be ongoing
and permanent in this life.
God’s design and intent for marriage helps us to understand the
sanctity of the sexual relationship and, hence, the numerous warnings
and prohibitions relative to uncleanness, fornication, and adultery. To
act on physical impulses outside the commitment of marriage is to
behave as mere animals and profane what God has intended from the
beginning for the intimate companionship of beings created in His image.
323 E. Indiana Avenue, Pontiac, Illinois 61764
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By Leslie Diestelkamp (1911-1995)
METHODS OF GROWTH
The denominational world uses many methods to bring about growth of a congregation. Here are some such worldly methods:
“Come as you are” method.
This means that you won’t have to give up sin and sinfulness. You
can continue in adultery, still drink and swear, and you can keep your
own moral standards.
“Have fun” method.
This includes involving the church in every conceivable program of
recreation and social activities. Youth parties and games comprise a
great deal of the total work of the congregation. Gymnasiums, social
halls, kitchens and other such facilities are built. Banquet tables,
sports equipment and uniforms, etc., are major church expenditures.
“Believe as you please” method.
This requires no conviction. It allows you to take your choice: Was
Jesus God’s Son, or just an exceptionally good man? Is baptism
immersion, or sprinkling? Is Jesus coming again, or not? Is there
really a heaven and hell? Take your choice—believe as you please.
Naturally, by such a process many unlearned people (those who
don’t know what the Bible actually teaches) and many unstable
ones (those who don’t care what the Bible teaches) are led into
such churches. Rapid growth is seen.
On the other hand, notice some scriptural methods that are designed to make a congregation grow numerically:
“Practice what you preach” method.
Preach the truth, the whole and unadulterated truth, and then live it
out in the lives of the people who make up the congregation (see Rom.
“Let your light shine” method.
The power of influence from lives of devoted Christians will attract
others. Doing good to all men (Gal. 6:10) and keeping oneself unspotted
from the world (Jas. 1:27) makes a Christian useful and fruitful in
bringing others to Christ.
“Be awake” method.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Some people have just enough religion to make
them miserable. The real Christian will be zealous and devoted (Rev.
3:19). His life will radiate with love for God and man. His influence
will bring others to Christ through the gospel.
This article first appeared in
the West Side Aurora, Illinois Bulletin, March, 1965
'No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for
your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities'
By Al Diestelkamp
passage (1 Tim. 5:23) is used by some who want to justify social
drink-ing of alcoholic beverages. However, this was never intended by
the Holy Spirit to be the favorite passage of brewers and distillers.
Notice what the passage says, and what it doesn’t say:
1. It says, in effect, “don’t drink the water” which was believed to be the source of Timothy’s trouble.
2. It says “use” wine—not imbibe in it.
3. It says use “a little” wine—not a lot of wine.
4. It says to use a little “wine,” not beer, whiskey or a number of other intoxicating drinks that many think this verse justifies.
5. It says use it “for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities,” not for social recreation.
the way, though Paul was not a doctor, Luke, who was with Paul during
this time, was. This advice was like unto a prescription for one
man’s particular illness. Need I remind you that it’s not
advisable to use other people’s prescriptions? Besides, we have
other remedies for stomach ailments that were not available to Timothy.
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This text also implies that this was not a usual beverage for
Christians in that Paul had to instruct him, because of his problem, to
use this as a remedy.
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