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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Friday, November 18, 2005
Perseverence of the Saints.
About a year ago I was looking for free sermons in MP3 Format. I found a website called Sermonindex.net which was basically a revival oriented ministry that allowed you to freely download audio sermons in mp3 format. Thousands of sermons are available from preachers such as Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, Jim Cymbala, Duncan Campbell, etc.

The site also provides a "message board" where believers from all over the world can share or discuss items related to their faith and their walk. It is moderated quite well so that most of the time disagreements do not become flame wars. I post on there from time to time under the moniker "dann" (Yeah, call me Mr. Creative...)

In that capacity I was reading some of the posts, when one caught my eye, thread entitled - "Once saved always saved."

If you have been reading my blog at all, you know that I just gave a study last Sunday morning on the perseverence of the Saints. So this one caught my eye. The original post asked for testimonies regarding people who formerly believed you could lose your salvation, and now believed in the perseverence of the saints. So I gave my testimony, which I thought would be fun to post here. I was going to clean it up a bit, but decided to just post it as I posted it there:


I used to believe that I could lose my salvation.

To be sure I prayed a prayer to Jesus Christ, asking him to save me, and my hopes rested on whether I had prayed that prayer faithfully enough. Had I said the right words? Did I really, really, really, mean it? etc.

I viewed my salvation, not in terms of the gospel as described in scripture, but in terms of whether or not I felt saved at that particular moment or not. To be certain – I rarely “felt” saved. Prior to coming to Christ my sins hardly bothered me at all – unless it meant I would get caught or humiliated on account of them. But once I saw myself as a sinner, and begged Christ to save me, my awareness of sin became overwhelmingly acute. Suddenly I saw that almost everything I thought, said, or did was sinful – and I began to repent with as much strength and power as a man can repent.

The trouble was that I couldn’t repent enough to be free from the feeling that I had plenty of room to go – and consequently, I never “felt” saved. I would have bouts of horrible doubt – was I really a child of God? Yes, God had delivered me from all manner of sinful living – yes my life had turned a complete 180 degrees – yes I was now in love with God, and reading scripture, and prayer – but still I was failing in some areas. I redoubled my efforts – lived for weeks in prayer – yet that didn’t stave off the doubts. I felt I was losing my salvation every time I left the throne of grace – and soon, I wasn’t even sure I was saved when I came to that throne.

None of this came from scripture mind you, I just felt that one who is saved ought to have some sort of salvation feeling – you know something esoteric, yet tangible, that one can inwardly check and instantaneously and unerringly determine whether or not they are a child of God or deceived: I overlooked some of the things in my own life:
  • the sudden sensitivity to sin
  • the radical shift away from wanting my own will accomplished and towards wanting God’s will accomplished
  • the sudden preference for goodie-two-shoes (Christians) who formerly made my
  • skin crawl
  • the sudden hunger to read the bible
  • the sudden desire to know God more
  • the peace found in prayer
  • the new found joy in seeing God glorified
I never would have considered that these things bore witness to the presence of God’s spirit in my life.

Now, I don’t want to confuse the issue – I didn’t feel assured of my salvation is all I am saying. But there is a difference between being assured and being secured. If you had the blood of the lamb on your lentil and doorpost in Egypt that first Passover – you were secure. You might not have felt assured, but your assurance or lack of it didn’t change the fact that you were secure. You could be resting comfortably sleeping like a baby trusting entirely in the blood of the lamb to save you, or you could be wide awake fretting about whether or not you applied the blood the right way to the lentil and the doorpost – and worrying about whether you had enough of it, or if you put it on thick enough or what have you. Your fretting doesn’t change your security – you are under the blood because of the blood, and not because you were particularly good at putting it on your doorpost.

In the same way, I don’t want to confuse assurance with security. One can be entirely secure and have absolutely no assurance whatsoever because they live their life in continuing sin, just as easily as one can be entirely lost – but presuming themselves saved, resting in a deluded form of false assurance.

My point is that I was not assured of my salvation – and in the strength of my doubt I felt that I was alternately saved or lost depending on how well my walk was going.

Most of my early faith therefore was not spent in pursuing Jesus, but rather in pursuing the feeling of being saved. The enemy kept me from growing very much spiritually in those days. My every thought was always and ever about whether or not I was a genuine believer, and so all my study and effort was focused on myself. I needed to stay saved, and as a result I wasn’t a very effective witness for Christ, being as I was, always and ever wrapped up in my own efforts to keep myself saved, or convince myself that I was saved in the first place.

Now, praise the Lord, in this time I did have a tremendous hunger for God’s word, and in the strength of this hunger, I devoured the bible. I read it cover to cover again and again – many times. Eventually what I understand now to be the truth began to sink in.

In the process of conception, not every sperm finds an egg to produce life, nor does every egg become fertilized. This might seem harsh and unfair to some – but most of us accept it without giving it much thought. Some believe it is all random anyway – but even these don’t weep for all the sperm and eggs that never produce a life. When life is conceived, it is fair to say that the life that is produced was not produced in any way of its own accord. That is, the child that is conceived had no say in the matter whatsoever – having not been a person until after conception.

Birth therefore is the perfect picture of our own inability. While everyone that lives today was born at some time – none of us can say that we had any part in the decision to actually be born. We were passively brought into this live by forces outside our existence. Just as the wind blows wherever it blows – we see its effect, but we have no control over it whatsoever. So too everyone who is born in the flesh is acted upon by outside forces, and life is breathed into them by God, not because of anything they have done – but because God has chosen to do so. Yes, the babe’s heart beats, and the baby breathes – and learns to eat and drink etc – but the life comes from God, and only from God.

Now even if we had no bible, creation itself demonstrates that life originates with God and not with man – that is what this pictures. Nicodemus was the teacher of Israel, but he missed that. Nevertheless, Christ himself uses the imagery of birth to picture the process by which God calls men to salvation.

If men actually saved themselves this sort of imagery would be inaccurate (at best). Christ used the imagery of being born however, because it is a perfect image of what is going on spiritually. We have as much a role in our being “born from above” as we have in our having been born physically – and that is to say, none whatsoever.

The wind blows wherever it wishes and though we hear the sound of it, we still cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going to – all we can do is sit and watch what it does. We have no active role in what the wind is going to do – we are spectators, and passive participants. So it is with those who are born of the Spirit, just as it was those who were born of the flesh – spectators, passive participants.

When I began to see that scripture teaches that God saves sinners, as opposed to sinners using God as a means to save themselves – then I began to appreciate how secure my salvation truly was.

You see, when I thought I was saving myself, I was working like crazy to stay saved – because my faith was in myself – that is, my hope rested on my own ability to keep myself saved. I wasn’t trusting God to save me – I was trying to save myself – and such a hope was sifting sand, as I was and ever will be, unable to keep the law perfectly as Christ kept it.

Then I realized the truth – my righteousness, according to the gospel, doesn’t save me.

I had to let that sink in. I knew it was true – it is the very gospel itself – but I began to let it really speak to me. I wasn’t saved in the first place by my own righteousness – in fact Jeremiah 19:9 tells me that all my “righteousnesses” are in fact unclean – that is, if I am relying on my own ability to be good to keep me saved – I am in fact relying on something that God Himself has openly declared unclean. What a mess I had made of it. Here I was trying to stay saved – how? By works of righteousness of course!

Why did I do anything righteous? To prove to myself that I was saved – of course all the righteousness I was doing was a filthy rag to God – but I felt that if I was doing the best I could – praying, studying the bible, going to church, being sincere, etc., that these things were going to keep me saved. But the reality is that I wasn’t trusting in God to save me anymore – I was trusting in my own arm to keep me saved – and it was all contrary to scripture.

Yes, I could find a dozen proof texts that seemed to say that I could lose my salvation – but I could also find in the rest of scripture a message that said loud and clear – God chose me and not vice versa. I was not saved by a faith that I generated but by a faith that was given to me as a gift - if my salvation was something I manufactured, then maybe I could unmanufactured it – but if God saved me, then I was saved indeed.

I could pull up all the proof texts to demonstrate that I am saved by God, and eternally so, but you asked for testimony.

If a man says a prayer in order to get into heaven, and having some assurance that no matter what he is going to go to heaven – if that same person embarks on a life of sinful liberty trusting his prayer to save him, and having no remorse continues to do so until he perishes – I do not doubt for a second that the man was a tare and not a wheat.

If a man says a prayer, and continues in the church for years, excelling only to one day plummet away from the church never to come again, and professing to no longer believe – I do not doubt that the man is a tare and not a wheat.

These have not lost their salvation – but have never been saved in the first place – their conversion was false, and whatever external evidence was given as witness to their salvation was not given in love of the Lord, but rather in love of self – to garner respect, or even to secure for themselves a certainty of their own salvation. Whatever the case – they went out from us because they were not of us – had they been of us they would not have gone out from us – but the fact that they did go out from us demonstrates that they were never really saved in the first place.

So the person that falls away and “no longer believes” – according to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints – as I understand it – and I think I have the common understanding – is not losing his salvation, nor is he keeping it – he was never saved to begin with.

“Once saved always saved” doesn’t mean that if you say some salvation prayer you are saved no matter what – it means that if you are genuinely born again you will persevere to the end because you are genuinely born again. The fact that you persevere demonstrates the genuine nature of your salvation. If you fall away – it demonstrates that you were not genuine.

Tares look like wheat – that is the problem.


I received a private message in response asking me how I handled some texts - I have included it here as well - and I apologize, I wrote it on the go this morning before leaving for work...

---"Joe"--- wrote:
Hello Dann,
Thanks for your response to my topic on OSAS. It was exactly the type of testimony that i was looking for.

I was wondering, however, how you would now view those 'proof texts' that you once thought said a person could lose their salvation. If you could, please be specific (such as explaining heb 6:4-6, heb 10, rom 11, col 3:20-23 and any others you may have used as proof texts)


Hi Joe,

I am sure you have heard all the typical exegesis for the various biblical snippets, but I will address them.

Hebrews 6:4-6. First and foremost my hermeneutical method requires that all scripture has to have the same message - that is, eternal security cannot be taught alongside eternal insecurity. That means that whatever is being said here, muat reflect what is being said elsewhere. Either scripture is teaching that I can lose my salvation, or that I can't -- not both.

The first question I ask typically myself is "whom" is the author writing to, and for what purpose. The title "to the Hebrews" should be a dead giveaway, but ever were it untitled we see in the first four verses of the epistle that the author is talking about God speaking to "our Fathers" - whose fathers? The Jewish fathers. The letter is written by a messianic (converted) Jew and it is written to other Jews as a "word of encouragement" (13:22). That term is used in Acts 13:15 to refer to a speech that is given in a synogog - which infers that this epistle is meant as a written "sermon" to these people.

As I look at Hebrews 6:4-6, I therefore keep in mind the overall context - a converted Jew exhorting other Jews. It is reasonable to conclude that some of these Jews would have been converted to Christianity, yet some would be convinced of Christianity, but afraid to commit to it because if they did they would be put out of the synogog (compare the blind man's parents in the gospels).

The immediate context begins in verse one of the sixth chapter - the author begins with a contrast - we who are saved should not stay immature, but become mature - that is, not dwelling upon the foundation of repentance, but moving on - then in verse four he refers to that same foundation again - it is impossible to lay the same foundation twice - you cannot repent "again" because if you repented the first time you are already in a state of repentance - and as a consequence of a genuine repentance you have become enlightened. Once Christ opens your eyes, they cannot be closed - you understand scripture because the Holy Spirit is your teacher - you taste the goodness of of the word of God, and have a sense of the power etc. Verse six continues to express the impossibility of "falling away" such that you would have to repent twice - how can Christ die for all your sins twice? If Christ died for all our sins in the first place, it is impossible for Him [to die] for all of them again. Likewise, the author is saying, if a man can renounce the work of Christ on the cross thus - he is implying that Christ was not the Messiah - a denial of God that demonstrates the impossibility of there ever having been a saving faith present in the person in the first place ... (God cannot deny Himself - if the Spirit of God is in you, you cannot deny the diety of Christ).

Hebrews 10:26 should be held against the gospel message - how are we saved - by works or by faith? If by works, then the verse is teaching that salvation is "maintained" by works - something Paul explicitly teaches against in Galatians ("having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect in the flesh?"). Since Paul explicitly teaches that we are not made perfect through works of the flesh, we know that the verse isn't saying that unless you instantly become sinless you are not saved. (John makes the same thing plain in 1 John as well, that when we (believers) sin we have an advocate, Jesus Christ. cf. Hebrews 4:16, and 1 John 2:1,2) Thus understanding what this verse is NOT saying is a good place to start.

Once again we must consider who the author is writing to - Jews. The Jews had a sacrificial system in place at the time - and if they left that system to try out Christianity they were put out of the synogog - that is, they were no longer allowed to bring their sacrifices to the Jewish altar. So when a Jew turned to Christ, they could not go back to their former practice of sinning all they wanted and sacrificing an animal to cover it later - that option was no longer open to them.

There is a difference of course between abandoning yourself to sin, and struggling against it. A believer never abandons themself to sin - but (because of the presence of Christ's Spirit) will always struggle against sin. Not always victoriously - and sometimes even quenching or even grieving the Spirit in order to satisfy the self will - yet always and ever this is not an abandonment - it isn't giving up and letting sin be the master forever - it is a loosened grip that allows you to slip back down the rope - but not an utter letting go and committing yourself to the fall as it were.

So when we talk about going on deliberately sinning - we are talking about giving ourselves over entirely to sin - not just giving into the flesh in a matter, but giving up forever. This cannot be done if God's Spirit is in you - God won't allow you, if you weak, you will be strengthened by God - he is able to make you stand, or so says the scriptures. So we are talking about a Jew who has come to a knowledge of the truth but instead of embracing Christ, rejects him and continues sinning. Once a Jew understands that Christ is the Messiah - once a Jew contemplates that Jesus Christ is the true sacrifice that every levitical sacrifice pictured - he cannot go back to the levitical system and expect a goat to pay for his sins - having rejected in full knowledge the actual sacrifice, he cannot expect to receive forgiveness of sins through the levitical shadow.

Romans 11:21 - Paul is writing primarily to Gentile believers at Rome - but starting in chapter nine - and running through to chapter 11 he expands his ministry to include the Jews at Rome as well. In the immediate context he is talking about national Israel and the Gentiles - and specifically with regards to the gospel (salvation). If God is not going to save the Jews who reject the gospel, how will he save the Gentiles if they reject God's merciful provision?

I think you mean Col 1:20-23?
In particular verse 23 "If indeed you continue in the faith stable and steadfast..." etc. ?

This is not unlike what John says in first John - they went out from us because they were not of us. It isn't saying that one can lose their salvation - it is describing what genuine salvation looks like. If you continue (that is, if you are genuine) and not shifting from the hope of the gospel (that is again, if you are genuine...) then...

The kind of faith that saves... perseveres - it is "strengthened with all power according to God's glorious might" for what purpose? "for all endurance and patience with joy" (see verse eleven earlier in the chapter) - Paul is not suddenly contradicting himself by saying you might not persevere - what he is saying is that those who persevere are genuine.


posted by Daniel @ 1:53 PM  
  • At 3:07 PM, November 18, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Sorry about the verbosity - I am trying to win a "most verbose" writer award, but it doesn't seem there is one.

    Perhaps I will have to start one...

  • At 3:21 PM, November 18, 2005, Blogger Frank Martens said…

    "Verse six continues to express the impossibility of "falling away" such that you would have to repent twice - how can Christ die for all your sins twice? If Christ died for all our sins in the first place, it is impossible for Him for all of them again. Likewise, the author is saying, if a man can renounce the work of Christ on the cross thus - he is implying that Christ was not the messiah - a denial of God that demonstrates the impossibility of there ever having been a saving faith present in the person (God cannot deny Himself - if the Spirit of God is in you, you cannot deny the diety of Christ)."

    No doubt yo, and I didn't even have to pick apart that verse to figure that one out. I don't think it takes much to figure it out, just carefull reading and consideration and keeping your mind open to "how does this fit into the context of OSAS?".

    Good words.

  • At 5:26 PM, November 18, 2005, Blogger David said…

    Excellent post. You deserve an award for that, too.

    This is the best I could find.

  • At 11:27 PM, November 18, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks David, now I can truly say I am an award winning writer...:-D

  • At 12:44 AM, November 19, 2005, Blogger marc said…

    The first sermon I ever heard John Piper preach in person was Hebrews 6:4-6. I was blown away. I have an mp3 of it if you want it. Anyway, great post and very Pastoral. You definately have gifts in that direction as well as a good sense of humor...

  • At 11:04 AM, November 19, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Marc - email me that sermon - I would love to hear it.

  • At 4:43 PM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks Sharon,

    David Kill Saul even after God's spirit had left him because David understood that Saul was chosen by God - as many as the Lord loves He chastens and rebukes - Saul was beloved of the Lord, and when the Spirit departed it wasn't that Saul was suddenly unsaved - it was that Saul was out of fellowship with God.

    Scripture teaches that in the new covenant the Spirit of God indwells the believer - this was not the case under the old covenant. When we talk about Saul therefore, we are not talking about him losing the indwelling Spirit - we are talking about him losing the annointing to be king, and along with it the presence (but not indwelling) of the Holy Spirit.

    What do you think?

  • At 5:58 PM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    That should read "David didn't kill Saul"

  • At 10:24 AM, November 23, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Ephraim - thank you for taking the time to comment - and more, to do so thoughtfully.

    I don't have a problem with the Spirit of God filling believers in the old covenant, and I apologize if I gave that impression.

    I differentiate between "indwelling" and being "Spirit filled." I take "Spirit filled" to mean being obedient to the pressure exerted by the Holy Spirit - the key word being "filled" - not as a glass of water is filled, but as a person is filled with joy or filled with grief, or anger - filled in the sense that one is "intoxicated" (to use the modern vernacular) with God. If a man filled with joy is inclined to laugh, smile, or act in a way consistent with that joy - so a man who is "filled" with the Spirit of God is going to act in accordance with God's Spirit. This certainly happened in the old testament - but I do not understand this to be the same as the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ that we see in the new testament.

    One can have the indwelling Spirit of God and not be filled with God's spirit - that is, one can be carnal (a la 1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

    In John 14:17 Christ, in describing the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit differentiates between the current ministry and the coming ministry thus, "For He dwells *with* you and *will be* --in-- you" (emphasis added of course).

    The idea is that the ministry of the Holy Spirit changed at Pentecost - such that the Holy Spirit would no longer work only "externally" via "filling" -but also internally via "indwelling"

    Let me know if that makes sense before I go on.

    Thanks again...

  • At 12:04 AM, November 24, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Ephraim - we know that Sha'ul said this in his letter to the Romans - "if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His" - the Spirit we have received (past tense) Sha'ul explains, is from God (1 Cor 2:12) - this is the promise God gave in Ezekiel 36:26-27 - "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. " - that wouldn't make much sense if God was already putting his Spirit --in-- people.

    In John 7:39 we read, "But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified." This identifies to us "when" the Spirit would begin to indwell men. Yet the apostles were already casting out demons and healing people while Yeshua was still walking the earth as a man - clearly the Spirit was working with "the seventy" prior to Christ's glorification.

    There is room for conjecture I suppose about when the spirit officially began to indwell believers. Christ told the Apostles not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father - the baptism of the Holy Spirit that John the Baptist had spoken of previously. That baptism (Shavuot) was prophesied by both John the baptist and the prophet Yoel.

    If we compare Ephesians 5:18 to Colossians 3:16 we see that the outcome is nigh identical - but the instructions vary a bit - in Ephesians the instruction is to be being kept filled with the Holy Spirit - in Colossians it is to let the message of Christ dwell in you richly. There --is-- something to do, it is a command (an imperative in the Greek), Continue to allow the Holy Spirit to move you, don't grieve or quench the Spirit - submit to God - being filled with the spirit is the same as setting your mind on the things of the spirit - or even keeping your mind on the things of the spirit - keeping your focus on the message of Christ so that it profits you spiritually - it is all the same thing. Not a weird and other-worldly hocus pocus - we see now through "dim glass" - but we desire perfect revelation.

    I believe therefore that the indwelling began at pentecost - but the "attendant phenomenon" was a mighty, inaugural annointing by God to punctuate the fact that prophesy was being fulfilled. The Spirit came to indwell them - AND fill them at the same time. Normally it doesn't happen that way.

    I don't want to get too deep too fast - let me know if that makes sense so far?

  • At 4:27 PM, November 25, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Ephraim - I look forward to it.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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