the need for careful Bible study
an "ed"-itorial written by "Ed" Thomason

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Basic Study Principles
Using these study principles in a discussion of salvation by grace
Using these study principles in a discussion of "Once saved always saved."
Continuation of Lesson 3a
The apostle Paul used these same study principles
Putting our beliefs to the test

Please feel free to copy this and use it in your private study or files.
Using these study principles in a discussion of
"Once saved always saved"

This lesson continues to build and apply the principles of Bible study mentioned in the previous lesson. Let us remember to:
Always study "all" that the Bible says about a topic before drawing final conclusions.
Study the context of each passage.
Remember the importance of direct statements and commands.
Search to see if there are any examples of the application of the text?
Ask "what does the text imply" as well as state directly?

This doctrine states that once one is saved, there is nothing that person can do in rebellion and sin against God to ever be lost. No matter how wicked the sin and how hardened one's heart is against God, even if one no longer believes in God. Because that person once believed and once was saved he is forever under the grace of God.
  It is very comforting to think that once one has become a child of God that he or she can never fall from grace no matter how rebellious or wicked one might become.
But this too is a doctrine that comes about as a result of taking only a few verses of scripture which present part of the truth but not the whole truth on the subject.
In the previous lesson we discussed the importance of looking at the "WHOLE" picture when studying a topic. We mishandle the word of God when we look at only one text and ignore others. We used Ephesians 2:5 as an example of just this thing. Just as some wish to only look at Ephesians 2:5 and conclude we are saved by grace only, or at John 3:16 and conclude we are saved by faith only and ignore other scriptures on the topic, some look only at a few isolated texts and close their eyes to all others on this topic also.
I Peter 1:5 says that Christians "are kept by the power of God..."
This passage teaches that we are "kept" (or guarded) by God's power... (No one should deny this.) Satan cannot attack and over power us because God is with us. And if God be for us... who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). If we closed our Bibles here we might convince some that once we are saved... God will keep us saved. But the whole passage says, Christians "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation..."
Once again we see that Man has a part in his continued salvation. Just as we are saved by grace through faith, we are kept by the power of God through faith. And as we noticed in the previous lesson, Biblical "Faith" is an obedient faith. We must then be "faithful."
This verse teaches that our own "fidelity or faithfulness" is as important to our salvation as God's power. Both are essential. We do not have to worry about God's part... but we are warned throughout scripture to be concerned about "our" part.
Ephesians 1:13-14, teaches that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13, teaches that the Gentile converts at Ephesus had: Heard the word and trusted (believed). That after they believed, when they were "in Christ," they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. (This was the ordinary non-miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit that follows baptism. Cf., Acts 2:38,39.) The argument is sometimes made that Christians are "sealed" like one would seal a jar. But what Paul really had in mind is the kind of seal that a King would put upon a document. A wax seal imprinted with his signature or signet ring to verify that this document was his.
As we continue to look at the context of this text, Ephesians 1:14 adds, "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." The term "earnest" refers to a partial down payment, pledge or promise, which is forfeited if the agreement is not completed. For the Christian, the Holy Spirit and the benefits of the Christian life "now" are only a part of what can be expected after reaching that heavenly home. But is the seal unbreakable? Is the earnest once given irrevocable by the recipient? If I give someone earnest money in my pledge to buy their property, I intend to keep my pledge. But this does not mean that the seller could not change his mind and return my earnest money.
Once more we must be willing to look at all the Bible says on this topic. There are many other texts, much clearer and simpler texts that lead to a better understanding than these more difficult texts that can easily be wrested or misunderstood. (Cf., 2 Peter 3:15-17.)

go to Lesson 3b

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