• RLIM, Japan


He said many things in his efforts to defend his stance against the doctrine of eternal security of salvation. In the part one of these series, we brought out his untold confessions and how he sees as unfair, the doctrine of eternal salvation. This part two examines his doctrinal blunders and confusion which was clear in his confessions.

After hearing his confessions in part one, I must say I admired his sincerity and his desire to uphold good moral behaviour as a believer. I could tell that the teaching of eternal security, instead of bringing assurance to him, rather produced a hanging fear in his mind. The fear that, that teaching will encourage people to sin more since they are made to believe their sins will not take them to hell. The fear that people may not see the need of living a life of self denial.

Unfortunately, his sincerity, fear and perceptions were all borne out of confused doctrinal persuasions. When a bible subject is not well understood by believers, they end up not being grounded in the truth of that subject. They end up not having the full picture of the truth and because they do not have the full picture, they are tempted to fill the missing parts with their personal persuasions.

I noticed that the root cause of his doctrinal confusion was his inability to differentiate between salvation and spiritual growth. The misconception people have is that if you grow spiritually or bear the fruit of the spirit, then your salvation is made secured but if you don't bear those fruits, then your salvation is deemed as shaky. This is not correct, it is a misconception.

Salvation is a gift from God whiles spiritual growth is the responsibility of the believer. Salvation is once and instantaneous and forever whiles spiritual growth is progressive. Salvation is received once, and it is by faith in the gospel of Christ but spiritual growth comes by renewing one's mind with the knowledge of God’s word. In salvation, works, good conduct and Christian consecration are not required but in spiritual growth, works, good conduct and Christian consecration are required.

I realized all the issues he raised about the wrong conduct of some believers are issues that have effect on spiritual growth but not on salvation. Clearly, he lacks the understanding of the basic doctrine of salvation. At salvation, what changes in a man is not a change of behaviour but a change of the corrupted spirit in man, a recreation of man's spirit. What a saved man receives is eternal life not moral perfection.

A believer can be in church for 20 years but might not have experienced any significant spiritual growth. The teaching of spiritual growth impacts on the conduct of the believer but not on his salvation. In order to discourage believers from leading a sinful lifestyle, what many resort to is threatening them that they will lose their salvation should they continue to live a sinful life. The motive is to encourage right living but the reason given is doctrinally wrong. It's a wrong approach to use.

The right approach is to teach spiritual growth, is to teach how one can yield to the spirit, is to teach them about falling in love with God by giving them knowledge about God's love to them and I believe that will achieve a better result. In all the teachings of good conduct and works in the epistles, it was taught as the fruit of the spirit, a fruit we ought to bear as a matter of our responsibility but not as a proof of our salvation.

The fear he expressed that the knowledge of eternal forgiveness of sin, will encourage sinful lifestyle has no scriptural or biblical justification. This fear is unfounded and is a reflection of a mind that cannot rest or be assured of one's salvation in Christ. There is no evidence that the increase in crime and immorality from the creation of the world up to now is as a result of people knowing the unconditional forgiveness or love of God.

Rather we have enough evidence that people who engage in drug addiction, crime and suicide mostly do so out of a feeling of condemnation, hopelessness and loneliness. Believers who get their mind renewed with the knowledge of who they are in Christ produce good fruit or good conduct.

Let’s consider 1 Corinthians 3: 1- 3, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

It is evident or clear from the above scripture that believers who live as though they were worldly or mere men are described as babies in Christ. Paul never taught that they had lost their salvation. Anytime you see a believer living anyhow, know that, that believer is yet to grow, he is a babe in Christ irrespective of his age in the faith.

All he needs to do is to get his mind renewed to conform to his true identity in Christ. What we do to such believers is teach them who they are in Christ but not threaten them that their salvation can be lost. When a man is saved, he remains in the saved state forever, it is an irreversible state. He is born once, and remains a child of God forever, he has God's spiritual DNA (the seed of Christ, 1Peter 1:23) and this is not obtained by conduct or behaviour but by being in Christ by faith.

Babies in Christ who refuse to grow in Christ will have something to lose but not their salvation. What they stand to lose is the reward Christ has for them, the reward he has for those who lived faithfully. Therefore, our efforts to grow in Christ shall not be in vain. Our growth in Christ will cause us to be responsible in serving the Lord and our service or work in Christ shall be rewarded at the judgement seat of Christ.

Therefore, believers shall be judged for the purpose of obtaining rewards. It is not going to be a judgement to determine whether to be sent to heaven or hell. So to reiterate, believers who live irresponsibly will suffer loss of reward but not their salvation.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3: 11- 15

No one losses salvation for not growing spiritually or rightly serving the Lord but it is possible to lose reward that Christ has for you. Salvation is therefore different from Rewards. Salvation is not a reward for our good conduct or spiritual growth, no. Salvation is God's gift to us whiles reward is God's prize or crowns to us for living rightly or faithfully.

There were several other doctrinal confusions he had which bordered on inaccurate bible interpretation. He had a wrong understanding of some bible verses he thought supports the losing of salvation by sinful believers. In the third part, we shall deal with the various scriptures he raised such as confession of sins, willful sinning, working out your own salvation and many others.

# Disseminating the truth

# Bringing freedom

# Perfecting the saints

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