Take the Whole of Scripture

James 1:1-8
We have been walking through this journey to discover the Truth about our Eternal Security.
Today I want to emphasize that we must take the whole of scripture in order to formulate our belief system.
Yes, this is a lot of work!
But it is the only way we can truly understand and balance all that God has revealed to us.
If we look at verse, and it appears to be saying one thing, but we look at another and it appears to be saying just the opposite, what we have is not a contradiction…but a balance.
We must find the truth in the balance of it all.
God is a God of balance!
He is Love, but He is also Justice
He is Mercy, but He is also Truth
So we must be sure to look at Scripture as a whole.
First, let’s look at a few verses that seem to be pointing us toward being able to lose our salvation.
By the way, as a side note…you cannot lose your salvation, but I do believe you can lose the assurance of your salvation!
There are some who backslide to the point where they begin to doubt whether they are saved to begin with!
But our Salvation is secure in Christ, and in our sealing of the Holy Spirit.
But first let’s look at:

I. Possible Unclear Statements

First, let’s look at John 3:14-16 which is a primary scripture used to support the view that you can lose your salvation.
John 3:14–16 KJV
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now when we understand our security, it seems clear to us, but those who believe you can lose their salvation they look at this verse and see that the word translated believe is in the present tense, so it must mean that you have to continue believing in order to have eternal life.
You must be able to lose your salvation.
They read John 3:16 as saying, “Whosoever keeps on believing in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Another passage that is used is James 1, our text verse for this morning.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James says that a person who doubts will not receive anything of the Lord.
Would this mean salvation?
The Question we have to ask ourselves is

A. How Present Is Present?

Yes, this when we speak of believing, or asking faith, it is in the present tense.
But the truth is we do not use the present tense how they are attempting to use it all the time.
Oh, we can, but most of the time we do not!
So to apply it to these verses is assuming some things.
For instance, if someone were to ask me, “Jeremy what are you doing with y our spare time these days”
I might say, “Well I’m studying for my sermons, and I’m getting ready for VBS, and I’m reading a great book by C.S. Lewis.”
In my response I have used the progressive forms of three present tense verbs, studying, getting, and reading.
But no one would ever think that I am in my spare time studying, getting ready for VBS, and reading a book all a the same time!
Likewise no one would think from this statement that I only do these things so that I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, I don’t talk to my wife, or children, I don’t answer the phone, etc. I am just continuously reading, getting ready and studying.
It could mean that… I am pretty ADD but I don’t think I could even do all that at once continually.
If a friend were to ask me where I am now, I would say, “I’m in Mayville, MI.”
But if you saw me in Saginaw you wouldn’t accuse me of lying.
Why? because my use of the present tense did not mean that I continually stay in Mayville every minute of my life.
And you wouldn’t assume that either.
Because simply stated, that is not the way the present tense is used in real life!
Let’s look at another passage to see another example...
In this we see...

B. How Continual Is Present

By the way you and I are not the only ones who use the present tense in a variety of ways.
Jesus did too!
When He talked to the woman at the well, He uses the present tense.
He was showing the woman the superiority of the living water over the water found in Jacob’s well.
John 4:13 KJV
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
The term drinks is a present tense verb.
If present tense always shows continuous action, Jesus is saying those people who continually drink from Jacob’s well will thirst again!
But that isn’t right, because...
No one who continually drinks gets thirsty!
It would be physically impossible to drink continuously from this well
He is talking about the normal usage of drinking until you are quenched, then after some time coming back and getting some more water.
It would be absurd to understand this present tense verb to be continuous, uninterrupted action.
Sure the verb could mean that, but in most cases it doesn’t!
So if we think back to John’s use of the present tense, believe as to mean continuous, uninterrupted believing is to assume more out of the present tense than is supposed to be assumed.
When you, at some point in time apply your faith to the truth of the gospel, at that moment you are given eternal life!
It is a gift, and cannot be returned or taken away!
If you have to do anything to receive a gift, it is not a gift!
Thirdly let’s recognize that the usage of the verb believe is...

C. Not Every Time in the Present

If this is what God’s plan…for us to see the present usage and continually believe in order to be saved....would He not use it in the present tense every time?
When the Samaritan woman brought the people of the city out to hear Jesus in John 4, what did the Bible say?
John 4:39–41 KJV
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word;
In English it is presented in the past tense.
In the Greek the word translated believed is in the aorist tense.
We do not have an aorist tense in English.
Unlike the present tense, the aorist tense is more indefinite…meaning it does not focus on the time of the event but the results of the action.
It is a simple a simple past action.
When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved, they didn’t tell him to keep believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
Acts 16:31 KJV
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Again, believe is in the aorist tense.
The focus in on the act of his believing, not the continual use of his faith.
If the jailer needed to keep believing, why would the Holy Spirit not lead him to explain this to the jailer, or any where else in scripture.
Or why didn’t they just continually use the present tense if we were to continually believe.
No, faith is not how we are saved, faith is the road to we travel to connect our sinful need with God’s saving grace.
Dr. Ryrie says, “The New Testament always says that salvation is through faith, not because of faith. Faith is the channel through which we receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.”
These verses are used to try to prove a point that the present tense are used to show that we must continue to believe in order to keep our salvation.
I hope now you will see that is not proof in and of itself.
But rather other uses of this word shows that it is not consistently used this way.
OK we looked at some Possible Unclear Statements, now lets look at some:

II. Positively Clear Statements

We have argued from a somewhat negative defense.
Stating what was not said, rather than what was.
But I think we can see a very clear statement from Paul that gives us a clear direct quote, but we will also see by use of illustration.
It is Clearly Stated

A. To Prevent Confusion

2 Timothy 2:11–13 KJV
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
The first part of these verses almost sounds like it is going to prove that you can loose your salvation.
And then Paul adds the last verse to prove you cannot.
More than likely these three verses are part of an early Christian hymn.
Just by how it is laid out.
Paul included them in his letter to Timothy much like a writer would quote a hymn to show a point, or a pastor would use a hymn to illustrate something.
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul used these lines to make a point.
The first line quotes from Romans 6, “if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.”
The second line speaks of the reward for those who remain faithful through persecution.
“if we suffer, we shall also reign with him:”
Truth seen throughout scripture, like Revelation 5:10
Revelation 5:10 KJV
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
The third couplet of this hymn echoes Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:33
Matthew 10:33 KJV
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Some have taken this third couplet to mean apostasy.
They have denied Christ and walked away from him.
However the context seems to suggest that it is a repetition of the previous statement, only in the negative.
Those who remain faithful, when they are judged will receive the recognition and approval of the Father.
Those who have not remained faithful will suffer loss by not receiving this recognition and approval.
But either way, the fourth couplet is still there - If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself.
Christ remains faithful to His forgiveness, his payment for all of our sins.
It is Clearly Stated

B. To Prove Commitment

That is God’s commitment to His promises.
The writer includes the reason that he will not take back his gift of eternal life, “For He cannot deny Himself.”
Once a person has believed and trusted in Christ’s death as the payment for sin, he or she immediately become a part of the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
If we are one body, how can we be denied our salvation…it would be to deny Himself.
This one passage highlights four basic doctrines:
1. All believers have the opportunity to experience the abundant life.
John 10:10 KJV
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
2. Faithful believers will be rewarded
2 Timothy 2:12 KJV
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
3. Unfaithful believers will be denied the recognition and rewards that they could have had.
1 Corinthians 3:12–15 KJV
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
4. The unfaithful will lose out, but will keep their salvation.
Because God is faithful!
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says it this way, “True children of God cannot become something other than children, even when disobedient and weak. Christ’s faithfulness to Christians is not contingent upon their faithfulness to Him.”
It is Clearly Stated

C. Through Powerful Cases

God not only says it, but he illustrates it in the Bible.
There are several individuals in Scripture who stopped believing for a time, and yet their salvation is never questioned.
In each case God remains faithful, even to the faithless.
1. Peter
Peter definitely believed!
When Christ asked the disciples who they thought He was...
Matthew 16:16 KJV
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus responded:
Matthew 16:17–18 KJV
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
When Jesus asked if the twelve would abandon him also, as the other followers did…Peter speaks up again.
John 6:68–69 KJV
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter definitely believed!
On the night of Christ’s betrayal Jesus said to him,
Luke 22:31 KJV
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
the Greek word translated desired to have you, is the Greek word meaning to subpoena for a trial.
Jesus continued
Luke 22:32 KJV
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Satan would attack Peter’s faith, but Jesus anticipated that and prayed for him.
Just as now He maketh intercession for us before the Father.
But even though Peter denied, there is nowhere that shows that Peter lost his salvation!
In the book Absolutely Free, author Zane Hodges points out another example of a believer who lost faith in Christ.
2. John the Baptist
There is no doubt of John’s faith it the Savior!
John 1:29–34 KJV
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John acknowledged Jesus as the Savior!
Yet there was a time when he wasn’t sure Christ was who he thought he was.
Luke 7:17–20 KJV
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. 18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
Charles Hodge wrote in his commentary, “It is hard to believe one’s eyes when this passage is first encountered. Here is the great prophet and forerunner of God’s Christ calling into question the very person to whom he had once given bold testimony…clearly then, this great servant of God is asking a question he presumably had settled decisively long ago. His inquiry is manifestly an expression of doubt about the very truth by which men and women are saved.”
John was having doubts, he no longer truly had faith that Jesus was the Christ.
But even with John’s faith in question, Christ was still able to say about him,
Luke 7:27–28 KJV
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Jesus never hinted to the idea that John was no longer saved.
Instead He praised him.
He honored him as a prophet.
We know the truth!
1 Peter 5:8 KJV
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
But what is the lion seeking to devour?
The next verse tells us
1 Peter 5:9 KJV
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
be steadfast in your faith!
Don’t let him attack it!
Once your faith is shaken, you are powerless.
You will not continue to serve God like you did before
Your drive to do right will be gone.
But regardless of the strength of your faith, your salvation is always intact!
yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself!
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