to Arguments Against
by Jamie Hardy
This document refutes Mr. Daniel Corner's arguments against eternal security and at the same time answers the verses most commonly sited against the doctrine in question. I first saw this article on the "Rapture Index" web page and was appalled to see so many being led astray by works-based salvation as the e-mail section of the page revealed at the time.
The discussion is presented in the following manner:
1) The "Objection" refers to common arguments for eternal security.
2) The "Answer" refers to Mr. Dan Corner's rebuttal to the "Objection".
3) The "My response" refers to my rebuttal of Mr. Corner's explanation.
Chapter 7 of the book, The Believer's Security: Conditional or Unconditional? copyright 1994 by Daniel D. Corner, ISBN #0-9639076- 5-4
This refutation to unconditional eternal security (UES) would be incomplete if the primary proof texts and objections offered by the UES proponents were not dealt with and explained from Scripture. The following are additional objections that were not yet dealt with in this controversy. (Already explained were John 6:64; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Timothy 2:13 and 1 John 2:19. Therefore, they will not be dealt with here.)
OBJECTION #1. Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand," John 10:28. Therefore, if, having received eternal life, we could lose it and perish, it would make Christ a liar.
"Notice a triple promise here concerning the security of God's sheep. First, Christ gives them 'eternal' life. Second, they shall 'never' perish, and third, neither shall any pluck them out of Christ's hand." (1)
ANSWER: John 10:28 is a wonderful and true promise, but only as Jesus meant it to be understood! We must examine John10:27 carefully to understand who "them" and "they" are in verse 28 and what the Lord was saying. It reads, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they FOLLOW me." This is the only type of person, the one that meets these conditions, that will "NEVER PERISH," according to the next verse!
Did you notice the words, "they follow me"? The word translated "follow" is a PRESENT INDICATIVE ACTIVE in the Greek, which asserts something which is occurring while the speaker is making the statement. In other words, as long as were main faithful and CONTINUE to follow Jesus, He will, indeed, assure us that we will "never perish," v. 28.
No such promise, however, is given here (or anywhere in the Bible) to one that would turn and start "to follow Satan" as Paul knew could and did happen (1 Timothy 5:15)! It clearly does NOT cover such. Some read into John 10:28 the words, "under any circumstance" after the words "never perish," but they are NOT there! Jesus did NOT include them in his promise and neither should we!
1) Mr. Corner tries to draw a distinction between Christians who continue to follow Jesus and those who eventually turn back. Jesus however, shows he was making a distinction simply between the Pharisees who did not turn to Christ and the those who did as stated in verses 24-26 of Chapter 10. Furthermore, the verses plainly put the security of eternal life in the strong right arm of God. When the verse says no man may pluck them out, the phrase "no one" is all inclusive which would mean we can not jump out of God's hand even if we wanted to for some strange reason. The good shepherd recovering his lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14 and the Father disciplining his children Hebrews 12:5-12 are excellent examples of God securing our salvation. If Christians never stumbled as Mr. Corner contends, there would be no need for Christ reassuring us in the first place.
2) 1 Timothy 5:11-15 -- These verses should give stern warning to women to root their salvation in Christ rather than men. The passage seems to say that certain women were marrying men to make them the focus of their life instead of Christ.
OBJECTION #2. Can you be "born again" again?
ANSWER: This is a rhetorical question that has confused some. To be "born again" is the same as getting saved or believing in Jesus. Therefore, if one stops believing in Jesus, then later starts believing again, he did indeed get saved again, as Romans 11:23 declares. Remember also the Prodigal who became "alive again" (Luke 15:24,32).
MY RESPONSE: Mr. Corner thinks being born again is just another word for salvation. However, the Bible teaches different, in John 3:6 Jesus states that those who are saved are born of the Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the scripture says we are a new creature or a new creation. Galatians 2:20 says Christ lives in us and Colossians 1:27 says God has now made known the mystery of Christ in us. 1 Peter 1:23 tells us we were born again, NOT of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. 1 John 3:9 says whosoever is born of God doth NOT commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he CAN NOT sin, because he is born of God. So we see that we need only be "born again" once because the new seed is INCORRUPTIBLE which means there is absolutely no way we can lose our salvation. The new seed of Christ is our new identity and it is incorruptible. Once you realize CHRIST is the source of our righteousness, the only way for us to lose our salvation is for Christ to sin. The Bible plainly states that this will not happen (John 8:29).
ANSWER: This was not true with Saul, Solomon, Judas, the unnamed disciples of John 6:66 and many others! Furthermore, Jesus clearly taught that one could "believe for a while" then fall away or die (Luke 8:13)! Paul similarly taught that one could "believe in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:2) and fall "away from grace" (Galatians 5:4). Therefore, the wishful position of the UES proponent here is, again, refuted by the truth of Scripture.
1) Judas is the only one of ones mentioned above whose eternal condemnation we know for sure (John 17:12). To assume the others are in Hell is blasphemous, James 4:12 says God alone is able to judge. In fact, 1 Samuel 28:19 and the book of Ecclesiastes seem indicate that both Saul and Solomon are probably in Heaven. Certainly we should hope so.
2) On Luke 8:13, our Lord says those who turned away had no root. Our root is Jesus Christ, John 14:6 says Jesus is the only way to get to the Father so it is no wonder they fell away since they were not saved through the root of Jesus Christ in the first place.
3) Chapter 15 of Corinthians in general discusses the resurrection and the condemnation of those who do not hold to this truth. Paul uses the chapter to show why Christ's resurrection was essential for our salvation and simply questions the salvation of those who do not believe in it (vs. 2). This is brought out more clearly in verse 17 where Paul says," And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins." Believing in the resurrection is essential for our salvation as Romans 10:9 indicates.
4) It is strange that Mr. Corner should mention Galatians 5:4 since those being spoken have returned to the law for their justification. The phrase "fallen from grace" refers to those who tried to mix faith and works. Grace simply is not grace if works is mixed in with it (Romans 11:6). They were never justified because they failed to understand what grace means and instead trusted in the deeds of the law for their salvation. This being the case, they were still under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10).
OBJECTION #4. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life," John 5:24. The verse says "will not be condemned." Therefore, one cannot lose it!
ANSWER: The word in John 5:24 rendered "believes" is transliterated as PISTEUON and is also a PRESENT PARTICIPLE in the Greek. Therefore, the Lord is saying here that we must CONTINUOUSLY BE BELIEVING the Father, that is, his testimony about Jesus, which implies that Jesus alone is to be the focal point of our TRUST for our soul's salvation. See Matthew 17:5 cf. John 14:6. We will never be condemned, as long as we keep this condition -- a continued 100% trusting in Jesus for our soul's salvation.
MY RESPONSE: Mr. Corner makes too much of the Greek tense and maybe should consider the past tense of the English word "crossed" ( In the KJV the word is passed) before making a final judgment on the verse. How can the person have already crossed over from death to life if we must continue to believe as a condition? I believe Mr. Corner is reading into the word "believes" much that is not there. The 100% trusting in Jesus is strange, it will be seen from most of Mr. Corner's responses that he trust a 100% in his ability to maintain good works rather than in Jesus.
OBJECTION #5. "The Bible Answer Man" is Hank Hanegraaff. He's on coast to coast radio, he can't be wrong! He wrote the following, "And remember, eternal life comes to the believer through faith in Christ is not life for two weeks, two months, or even two years; eternal life is everlasting life. It begins at the moment of conversion and stretches on through the eons of time." (2)
ANSWER: Hank is right when he writes that eternal life (or salvation) "comes to the believer through faith in Christ" and "begins at the moment of conversion." Also, it DOES remain everlasting (or eternal) life. That can't change. However, this doesn't necessitate that we can't be lost after we receive the "gift" of eternal life. In other words, eternal life is the "gift" (Romans 6:23). As long as we have the gift, we have eternal life. Moreover, as long as we have spiritual life, it is everlasting, but according to Scripture a person once saved can still "die" spiritually (Romans 8:13) and miss the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)!
1) First off I think Mr. Hanegraaff does a great job from what I have listened to and bases his ministry purely on the teachings of the Bible. The questioner however should not stake his claims on Mr. Hanegraaf, but on the Bible. The logic of Mr. Hanegraaff is simple and to the point, if eternal life is not forever then why call it eternal life. Mr. Corner tries to agree, but fails to see that the "eternal life" is a particular gift of God that happens to be eternal. The way he tries to separate the two is hardly convincing. The very meaning of gift means that there are no strings attached to what was given. If we could lose our salvation then there were strings attached and it was not a gift by definition. Also see Romans 11:29, which says the gifts and the call of the Lord are without repentance (irrevocable in some other versions).
2) Romans 8:13 -- Paul simple warns the church that believers are not after the flesh but in the Spirit (vss. 8-9). Who we serve, sin or God, reveals whether we have been regenerated or not (Romans 6).
3) Galatians 5:19-21 -- These verses list off several sins and then says at the end that those who do such sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. Most expositors agree that Paul is describing someone who has not escaped from the bondage of sin through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:10, 14; 2 Peter 1:4). Mr. Corner's alternate interpretation is that we will lose our salvation if we commit these sins. How he can say this after reading the first four chapters of Galatians is amazing. The whole book is an apologetic against works based salvation and repeatedly states that the law can in no way justify us before God (Galatians 2:16, 3:3, 5:4). Note especially Galatians 3:3 which asks if after starting in the Spirit, are we made perfect through the flesh? Salvation through works is complete and utter heresy and the Apostle says let those be accursed who would pervert the gospel to preach another(Gal.1:6-9). They in effect have made Christ dead in vain (Galatians 2:21). This applies specifically to the legalist, since faith + works happened to be the same false doctrine being preached at Galatia.
OBJECTION #6. We are made sons of God, not put on probation!
ANSWER: Yes, it is true that we become a son of God at the point of salvation (John 1:12). However, "We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly TILL THE END the confidence we had at first," Hebrews 3:14. This verse is also true! Better than the word "probation" would be to say: according to Scripture, after salvation, we are sons of God with a free will and the potential of still not inheriting the kingdom of God, because of certain sins, false doctrine about salvation and disowning Christ during persecution.
MY RESPONSE: Hebrews 3:14 -- The book of Hebrews warns the believing Jews about returning to Judaism and the law. After starting the faith superficially, they returned to the law. The legalist who claims to be saved by grace + works should heed the warning, since that would be the modern day application.
OBJECTION #7. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," John 3:16. Jesus said "shall not perish"!
ANSWER: The word "believe" is PRESENT PARTICIPLE again! Therefore, Jesus was promising only those that CONTINUE to BELIEVE on HIM the assurance that they "shall not perish." This verse does NOT cover others that just "believe for a while" then fall away, as Scripture mentions (Luke 8:13). Remember, one can truly believe, but this doesn't mean he will always continue to believe on Jesus in the future!
MY RESPONSE: see Objection #3 for my response on Luke 8:13.
OBJECTION #8. I agree with Dave Hunt who wrote, "Salvation is the full pardon by grace from the penalty of all sin, past, present or future ..." (23)
ANSWER: Dave Hunt has done an excellent job exposing and refuting false doctrine and various forms of subtle deceptions that plague the church. However, regarding this subject, we disagree with him.
Yes, we are saved by GRACE. However, the rest of this argument is contrasted by Scripture! See Peter's advice to Simon (Acts 8:22-23); Proverbs 28:13 and John's teaching on this subject as cited in 1 John 1:9. This is the Scriptural basis for getting forgiven AFTER initial salvation. At salvation, all sin to that point is forgiven and forgotten (Luke 23:42-43; 18:9-14; Acts 10:43-48; Psalm 103:12). However, all sins afterwards committed are NOT automatically covered! If they were, then Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:19-21; etc. would be senseless! Furthermore, Jesus clearly taught that our future sins would not be automatically forgiven in Matthew 6:14-15!
1) Acts 8:22-23 -- Whether Simon was saved or not is questionable, regardless the rebuke Peter gave was appropriate to make sure the man was saved.
2) Proverbs 28:13 & 1 John 1:9 -- We should confess our sins and repent of them lest we are chastised by our Father (Hebrews 12:5-11). Chastisement's purpose is to correct us, if we repent and turn from the sin there is no need for chastisement. 1 Corinthians 11:29-32 where we are exhorted to judge ourselves lest God judge us, notice it is said that some sleep because of their sin. Sleep refers to a believer who has died (John 11:11-12; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15), they were not sent to Hell, but there life was taken from them. Stern rebukes do not necessitate eternal condemnation.
3) If we consider the Old Testament covenant, it becomes apparent that our salvation is not dependent upon our continual confession of sins. In the OT, the Holy Spirit stayed with Israel through the tabernacle or temple. God was not willing to treat individuals as temples because they committed sins every day. The Israelites were daily offering sacrifices in order to make atonement for those sins. The question is why the Spirit does not leave us (Ephesians 1:13,14 says were sealed with the Spirit) when we sin and come back when we confess our sins. The key lies in how God dealt with our sin. In the OT, the lamb died in the place of the person offering the sacrifice. In the New Testament we died (Galatians 2:20) with the lamb (Jesus) so our sin is dealt with in one stroke. In God's eyes were all dead, and no longer commit sins (1 John 3:9). We live through Jesus, who is completely righteous, so God may give us His Spirit. Christ simply testifies that we are dead in Him, that is why he is able to save us to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). The reason we repent today is to restore fellowship with the Spirit whom we have grieved (Ephesians 4:30). Otherwise, we will be disciplined as mentioned above. So as God the Father we still commit sins that need to be disciplined, but as God the Judge we are dead in Christ and commit no sins. If this was not the case, the Holy Ghost would not be able to tabernacle with us.
5) Matthew 6:14-15 -- The ability to forgive is a sign of a true believer (Ephesians 4:32; 1 John 2:10-11)
OBJECTION #9. "... love for the one who saved us is the greatest and only acceptable motive for living a holy life ..." (4)
ANSWER: FEAR, like love, is indeed a legitimate motive or reason for serving God! Jesus told the Twelve when they were about to go out: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, BE AFRAID of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell," Matthew 10:28. Furthermore, Paul wrote: "... they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but BE AFRAID. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either," Romans 11:20-21. Finally, remember Psalm 2:11, "Serve the Lord with FEAR and rejoice with trembling."
MY RESPONSE: none necessary.
OBJECTION #10. God wouldn't save a person then later send him to Hell.
ANSWER: This was not the case for Judas and Saul, the king of Israel! The real truth is God would never force a person to continue to follow Jesus even after his faith in Jesus produced salvation. Read and ponder Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
Furthermore, this objection is like saying, God would never give His Spirit to later take it away from a person. This, however, clearly wasn't the case for Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).
1) See Objection #3 for discussion on Saul and Solomon.
2) 1 Samuel 16:14 - Reveals to us that the Spirit of God was taken away from Saul and seems to dispute the orthodox teaching of the Spirit being the very earnest (pledge) which guarantees God will finish our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 1:6). However, the seal of the Holy Ghost is only a New Covenant blessing that was graciously extended to the gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealously (Romans 10:19-20). The outpouring of the Spirit of the New Covenant as described in Ezekiel 36:25-27 was originally just a covenant given to the Jews. Our death and marriage to Christ (Romans 7:1-4) has made us heirs of the promise and broken down the walls between Jew and gentile (Ephesians 2:14). The body of Christ now takes the place of the torn vail of the temple (Matthew 27:51) that we ourselves might become the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) and worship Him there (Hebrews 10:19-20). Since we are vailed by Christ, there is no chance that the Holy Ghost will ever be taken from us who are under the New Covenant. In the Old Testament the Holy Ghost could leave a person because of sin and return to the temple behind the vail since the body of Christ could not yet vail them. This in no way nullified Saul's justification as 1 Samuel 28:19 seems to indicate.
OBJECTION #11. Our fellowship with God can suffer, but never one's relationship as a son.
ANSWER: As "adopted" sons (Ephesians 1:5), we can fall away (Luke 8:13), lose our inheritance of the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21), be disowned by Christ (Matthew 10:33), have our name blotted from the book of life (Revelation 3:5), have our share in the tree of life and New Jerusalem taken away (Revelation 22:19), "DIE" because we chose to live according to the sinful nature (Romans 8:13) and as the Prodigal SON, become "dead" and "lost" (Luke 15:24)! This obviously describes a much greater loss than just our fellowship with God (or rewards), as some would wishfully like us to believe!!
2) Matthew 10:33 -- Certainly those who do not confess Jesus as Lord are not saved since it is necessary for our salvation (Romans10:9).
3) Revelation 3:5 -- There is some dispute to exactly how the Book of life and its role comes about. One possible explanation is that all of humanity which Christ died for is on the role. Those who do not confess Jesus as Lord and Savior are however blotted out.
4) Revelation 22:19 -- Certainly a severe warning to the higher critics and modernist, that true Sons of God will not tamper with His divine revelation. Note, we all have a part in the tree of life since Christ died for the world(Jhn.3:16), but it is up to us to take hold and believe in it.
5) Luke 15:11-32 relates the parable of the prodigal son. Applying theological terminology to a parable is very difficult. Many parables do not lend themselves to this kind of exegesis. In the very next chapter of Luke we read about the parable of the unjust steward. Some try to say the king in the parable is God as in other parables, but this king actually commends the servant for his wickedness (Luke 16:8). And certainly Christ is not saying we should behave as the unjust steward and cheat those above us. The parable seems to just teach we should use our money wisely. A similar way of understanding the parable of Luke 15 can be used. The parable simply reveals that God is willing to forgive sinners and fallen sons despite their actions. The fact that the Pharisees are portrayed as sons does not mean they were saved either (Matthew 23:33). Also notice that the sudden famine (Luke 15:14) could be God's chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-12) to insure that the son would indeed return.
6)If we feel absolutely compelled to treat this passage theologically, perhaps it is best to see the two sons as representing Israel (the first being the common man and the second representing the priest). Several times the Old Testament (especially the book of Judges) tells us that the next generation did not hold on to the faith of their forefathers and became spiritually dead. Later Israel would remember God and seek Him during their time of tribulation because foreign enemies would oppress them. This corresponds exactly to the parable and teaching of Jesus, that He came to seek that which was lost (Luke19:10). This interpretation also has the advantage of not equating sonship with salvation since the Pharisees (represented by the older son) were Jewish but not necessarily saved.
OBJECTION #12. Those that are saved have an inheritance that can "never perish, spoil or fade -- kept in heaven" for us (1 Peter 1:3-4).
ANSWER: This wonderful passage of Scripture only describes our inheritance as Christians. It doesn't say that we cannot annul it through our after-conversion activities and/or beliefs! In fact, just the opposite was repeatedly declared by Paul (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; 15:2; etc.).
1) First off we should notice people are saved (past tense) indicating that salvation is the finished work of Jesus Christ, not an ongoing process maintained by our self righteousness.
2) For Galatians 5:21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 see Objection #5.
3) For 1 Corinthians 15:2 see Objection #3.
OBJECTION #13. Jesus prayed to the Father that He would protect His disciples and that none would be lost. Certainly, the Father heard Jesus' prayer!
ANSWER: The verse referred to is from John 17. This, however, is not a certainty of remaining saved! In the very same prayer, Jesus also prayed for "complete unity" among the believers (John 17:24). Clearly, from 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, this didn't occur. Therefore, there must be some unnamed, outside factor to consider here. Remember, it was Jesus Himself who told His disciples that they would have to "stand firm to the end to be saved" on more than one occasion (Matthew 10:22; 24:13) and to "REMAIN" in Him or be thrown into the fire (John 15:4-6)! Also, according to Romans 8:34, Jesus is now praying for us from the right hand of God. This, however, doesn't mean that His servants cannot be deceived by false teachers, grow lukewarm, fall into impurity, etc. His powerful prayers and our free will work together. Our free will can, however, override His incredibly powerful prayers and His will for us. This is also evident from the following: It is His will that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet most will perish (Matthew 7:13-14), in spite of His will! This is also the answer for the UES proponent who argues from Hebrews 7:25 or Romans 8:34 regarding Jesus' prayers for us now.
1) In John 17:11, Jesus prays that none would be lost and that the disciples would be one as He and the Father are one. It is true that unity did not last too long, but Christ states categorically in John 6:39 that none whom the Father gives him will be lost.
2) Hebrews 7:25 -- Christ is not praying, but interceding for us and he does it to the uttermost (completely) so that our salvation is secure.
3) Matthew 10:22 and Matthew 24:13 just re-affirms the perseverance of Christians during tribulation (see Romans 8:35). Note also that the day's are shortened for the elect's sake (Matthew 24:22) and that it is not even possible to deceive the elect (Matthew 24:24).
4) Romans 8:31-39 -- Romans 8, probably the greatest chapter in the Bible, affirms eternal security more than any other. It all begins in verse one with "now there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" and ends in verse 39 with absolutely nothing being able to "separate from the love of God ". Verse 35 flatly refutes Mr. Corner's assertion that true Christians will fall away through persecution or tribulation as he thinks some of Christ's so called disciples did in John 6:66. The security of the believer is properly placed on Christ sacrifice and intercession for us (vs.34). The intercession is clearly effectual as the rhetorical question "Who is he that condemneth?" indicates. Mr. Corner's casual brushing over of verse 34 in no way answers the implicit claims of the passage.
OBJECTION #14. "... if salvation from the penalty of breaking God's laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it CANNOT BE LOST BY BAD DEEDS" (5) (emphasis his, but capitalized words are italicized in original).
ANSWER: This type of statement-conclusion must be carefully examined. Yes, it is true that we don't gain our salvation by good deeds, according to Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:9 and Romans 4:4-6. However, the conclusion is FALSE, according to MANY Scriptural passages. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 just to mention two. Remember also the many other references cited in this study. (Also, let's call it "sin" not just "bad deeds.")
Please note that sins such as worry and unthankfulness are not listed anywhere in Scripture as being spiritually lethal, as drunkenness, greed, sexual immorality, idolatry, slander and lying are!
1) Mr. Corner fails to answer the argument and instead just quotes passages he knows others do not agree with him on. It is fine to quote passages for support but he offers no counter explanation. A legitimate answer should at the very least offer some other explanation that makes logical sense. The questioner gets right to the heart of the problem with the rather obvious question the legalist is unable to answer. If our good deeds do not earn salvation, how can good deeds keep it? This is the dividing line between Christianity and the World religions; Christianity says Christ's righteousness saves us(2 Corinthians 5:21) while the other religions say our self-righteousness saves us. It is both tragic and shameful that the legalist should try to blur the lines any further than the liberals of our day have already done between Christ and the world.
2) The wages of sin is death, no exceptions are mentioned in Romans 6:23. This is obvious since if we commit one sin, we commit them all (James 2:10). Mr. Corner tries to sound like he takes sin seriously, but not near as serious as God. Note the high standard of righteousness Christ gives in His sermon on the mount(Mtt.5:21-30). The rather simple teaching of Romans 3:23 should convince us all that it is impossible to please God through works since God demands perfection. It is only through Jesus Christ that God finds us acceptable and worthy (Ephesians 2:13).
3) Mr. Corner quotes off a few commonly used salvation verses such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5. But notice he has to refer to other passages to prove works are needed after salvation. If works were essential to us maintaining salvation, why does Paul not mention it in Ephesians 2:8-9. Surely something so crucial to our eternal life would not be overlooked by the great apostle. The passage tells how to get salvation, why does it not tell us how to keep it as Mr. Corner contends? The obvious answer is that works has nothing to do with our present or future salvation as the verses clearly state. Paul does in fact mention works in verse 10, but in no way connects them to our salvation. In fact he does all he possible can to exclude them from salvation.
OBJECTION #15. A child cannot become unborn, and the relationship of a father and a child cannot be ended. Once a son, always a son.
ANSWER: This argument is based on natural fact, then applied to the spiritual, which doesn't always hold up as truth. (UES adherents frequently make this kind of mistake!) This type of error can be demonstrated by the following facts: Before we became Christians, we were all "children of the devil" (Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10) and "sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:38). In other words, the devil was our spiritual father (John 8:44). However, this spiritual father-child relationship changed at the point of salvation, according to Scripture! Aren't you glad that spiritual father-child relationships CAN be ended?
Furthermore, many UES adherents who know the fallacy of the deification of man teaching would be quick to reject one of their arguments which is, likewise, based on natural fact then applied to the spiritual! That faulty argument put forth by Earl Paulk is: "Dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods." (6) Therefore, this type of reasoning must be carefully compared with Scripture.
MY RESPONSE: The new birth as spoken about in John 3:6-9 and 1 Peter 1:23 is just as real as our natural birth and just as immutable. 2 Peter 1:4 says we are now partakers of the divine nature and 1 John 3:9 says those born again will not continue in sin. Note also that 1 Corinthians 5:17 says were a new creation. Mr. Corner can spiritualize the new birth as just another word for salvation if he likes, but the Bible teaches something else.
OBJECTION #16. "... I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day," (2 Timothy 1:12). The only way Paul could have made this statement for himself was if he believed in unconditional eternal security.
ANSWER: Paul certainly knew that a "know-so" salvation existed and that he had it. However, we can assume that Paul believed personally the things he wrote to others. This means that Paul knew his "know-so" salvation at the moment could be negated in the future, as already cited.
Furthermore, Paul obviously believed God would guard or keep him. However, he also knew about the human responsibility for this: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Here we see Paul believed in human responsibility too.
MY RESPONSE: If you read the verse carefully, it will be noticed that Paul has put his trust in God to preserve his salvation and not in his good deeds. This in no way implies we do not have a responsibility to God, but our salvation is in no way conditioned on our responsibilities either.
OBJECTION #17. A real Christian won't ever be condemned as Romans 8:1 reads, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus ..."
ANSWER: This "no condemnation" mentioned in Rom. 8:1 refers ONLY to those that are in Christ Jesus! This can only be the case if we continue in the faith, for it's definitely possible NOT to remain in the Son (John 15:6; 1 John 2:24; 2 John 9). Furthermore, the KJV renders the "no condemnation" as conditional for only the ones who "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"!
1) Romans 8:9 states that Christians are not in flesh but in the Spirit. The first 9 verses of the chapter simply contrast those who are saved verse those who are not.
2) John 15:1-6 & 1 John 2:24 -- Teaches that we must live through Christ if we hope to produce works that are acceptable to God. Those works done outside of Christ will be burned up, but the Christian is yet preserved (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).
3) 2 John 9 is talking about something completely different. Those perverting the gospel of Christ (vs. 7) will not be saved. The legalist should heed the warning.
OBJECTION #18. Philippians 1:6 declares, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This proves unconditional eternal security.
ANSWER: The New Testament declares this promise to be true ONLY in the lives of those who meet the conditions stated elsewhere in Scripture as in Matthew 10:22; Romans 8:13; Galatians 6:8; etc.
Also, Philippians 1:6 needs to be understood in the light of the context of that book. Philippians 2:12 declares that this church group "always obeyed" in Paul's presence. Though not perfect, this was not a lukewarm, worldly church group, for not only did they "always obey," they were enduring the same types of struggles that Paul had (1:29,30), and they alone helped support Paul financially from the very beginning and were still doing so as this epistle was being written (4:14-16).
Besides the context of the book, the immediate context of the verse CLEARLY shows WHY Paul was so "confident," as he states in verse 6, which is really the whole basis of this favorite UES argument. Verse 7 reads, "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart...." Note: The basis of the "confidence" mentioned in verse 6 was NOT a guaranteed eternal security which all Christians have in common! The basis of Paul's "confidence" mentioned in verse 6 was that he had them "IN HIS HEART" -- meaning they would be aided in their personal struggles by his heart felt prayers cited in verses 9-11. Note the same phrase mentioned in verse 6, "until the day of Christ Jesus" is repeated in verse 10 as "until the day of Christ," which connects Paul's "confidence" for them to his prayers for them.
2) Galatians 6:8 -- Sinners sow to the flesh, while Spirit filled Christians sow to the Spirit.
3) Philippians 1:6 -- Paul was writing to the Philippians to encourage them in their time of tribulation and to assure them of there future salvation. Paul bases his confidence on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ as the verse plainly states and not on the faithfulness of hearers. It is strange to hear Mr. Corner say the prayers of Paul are effectual while also arguing the prayers of Christ are not elsewhere (See his answer on Objections #13).
OBJECTION #19. Samson was sexually immoral and he's mentioned as a hero in Hebrews 11. Therefore, one can be sexually immoral, like him, and be saved.
ANSWER: It's true that Samson is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32, and why he was included in this chapter is mentioned in verse 34. This, however, has nothing to do with the conclusion that one can be sexually immoral and be saved. The Apostle Paul, in no uncertain terms, stated that the sexually immoral are wicked, impure, and God rejecters who will NOT inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). Furthermore, God Himself declared that the sexually immoral will go to the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 21:5-8). Samson, David and/or any living person today is no exception!
MY RESPONSE: Certainly a life characterized by sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) is a good sign that someone has not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. 2 Peter 1:4 says it is through Jesus Christ that we have escaped the corruption of the world.
OBJECTION #20. Fritz Ridenour has done an excellent job showing the
differences between Roman Catholicism and true Christianity in his book, in which he also
cites 1 Peter 1:5 for support of UES. (7) I believe both points.
ANSWER: Ridenour is absolutely correct about those differences between Catholicism and true Christianity, including their false plan of salvation, which has misled hundreds of millions of sincere Catholics into a dangerous, spiritual deception. For this he needs to be commended, especially in this day of rampant, ecumenical compromise with Catholicism for the sake of personal ministry. However, it's unfortunate that he would taint his excellent book by trying to support UES!
1 Peter 1:5 says, "Who through faith, are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." The key words in this verse are, "through faith." This verse shows the shield of protection that believers have exists ONLY as long as we keep the faith! The Lord taught this is certainly no guarantee, though, with His words, "They believe for a while, but in time of testing they fall away," Lk. 8:13. Also, Paul wrote, "But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either ... sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off," Romans 11:20-22.
1) see Objection #3 for Luke 8:13.
2) Romans 11:20-22 -- Paul tells us that the Jews were cut off from God because they failed to believe in Christ. Certainly the same is also true of the gentiles. The legalist should be wary since he is making the same mistake the Jews made which can be seen by reading the beginning of the chapter (verses 1 through 6).
OBJECTION #21. 1 John 3:9 says, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." This seems clear to me that someone truly saved can't go back to a life of sin.
ANSWER: In part, this verse deals with initial salvation, which frees one from sin's slavery and changes his desire for sin. However, to conclude from this verse that one can't go back to a life of sin is error as the Biblical examples of Solomon, the younger widows of I Timothy 5:11-15, those referred to in 2 Peter 2:20-22, etc. show! "God's seed," His Word, impedes sin IF HIDDEN IN OUR HEART (Psalm 119:9-11). However, as one might not "remain" in the Vine (John 15:6), God's seed might not "remain" in the person who gets born of God! If 1 John 3:9 had the meaning the UES advocates give it, then Paul's multiple warnings to the Christians would be meaningless (Galatians 5:19-21)!
1) Mr. Corner fails again to give any real alternative interpretation to the verse but instead just quotes others verses. The verse plainly says Christians cannot go on sinning because they are born of God. What other possible meaning could there be. Most of Mr. Corner's hang ups seem to center around his inability to understand the new birth. God saved us from our old nature that he might give us another that is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23). Since the new nature is incorruptible, surely it will last far beyond our initial conversion. There is absolutely no basis in the verse for saying our desire for sin is only changed at the point of conversion.
2) See Objection #1 for my response on I Timothy 5:11-15.
3) See Objection #17 for John 15:6.
4) See Objection #5 for Galatians 5:19-21.
5) 2 Peter 2:20-22 -- At the beginning of 2 Peter 2, Peter tells us he is specifically referring to false teachers whose false doctrine neither saved them or anyone else.
OBJECTION #22. I believe in UES because I believe in the finished work of Christ!
ANSWER: The unnamed writer of Hebrews certainly believed in the finished work of Christ also (Hebrews 7:27; 9:26;10:11-14)! This, however, didn't mean he believed in UES as well (Hebrews 3:12-14; 6:4-6; 10:26-31)! The same can be said elsewhere about Paul (Romans 6:10 cf. Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 2:12; etc.).
Such UES proponents infer that it is impossible to believe in the finished work of Christ and not believe in UES at the same time, in an effort to immediately discredit the opposing view. Obviously, they are wrong, according to what was just cited. The finished work of Christ is foundational to Christianity, but irrelevant in this controversy regarding the believer's security.
1) Here again Mr. Corner is unable to give an alternative meaning to verses like Hebrews 10:14 and instead just refers to other verses. Furthermore this article should prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Corner does not believe in the finished work of Christ. He has repeatedly shown that he believes Christ started his salvation but that his self righteousness finished it. If we must do works after salvation then Christ work was not finished. To say otherwise would destroy the very definition of the word "finished". Hebrews 10:14 says in simple terms that we as Christians have been made perfect forever. How can some who has been made perfect forever lose his or her salvation? It just does not make any logical sense to say such a person could lose their salvation.
2) Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-31 -- These controversial verses again warn the Jews about returning to Judaism and the law. Here the legalist should pay close attention. Hebrews 10:29 says such a person has treated the blood of Christ as an "unholy thing" and that they "crucify the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame" in Hebrews 6:4-6. Has not the legalist done the same thing, they say the blood of Christ is simply not good enough for our salvation and that our own self righteousness must complete our salvation. My friend nothing could be more blasphemous as these verses plainly show. Note the strong warning in Hebrews 10:30,31 where the writer proclaims that "Vengeance belongeth to the Lord" and again "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." True believers will put their faith in Jesus Christ and not draw back to perdition through the works of the law (Hebrews 10:39).
Most orthodox commentators agree that the author is saying hypothetically what would happen to a Christian who apostatized as denoted by the word "if" in both passages. This interpretation is in perfect accord with 1 John 2:19 which speaks of some people who actually turned away. There our brother John tells us that such people were never Christians to begin with. No doubt his statement was based on the perfection of believers (Hebrews 10:14) who can no longer continue in sin (1 John 3:9).
OBJECTION #23. I know I am eternally secure because God has promised that He will never leave me and never forsake me.
ANSWER: This is quoted from Hebrews 13:5b which is taken from the Old Testament reference of Deuteronomy 31:6, 8. Though God's promise to Israel in Deuteronomy 31 verses 6 and 8 is that He [God] will never "forsake" them, about ten verses later in the same chapter God predicts Israel will "forsake" Him, then in verse 17 He said, "On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many DISASTERS AND DIFFICULTIES will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, 'Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?' And I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods." [This is a conditional promise, as the whole chapter bears out, which can be nullified by "wickedness." If we "forsake" God by turning to wickedness, He will "forsake" us!]
What does it mean then to be forsaken by God here? When this occurred, various "calamities" came upon them: wasting famine, consuming pestilence, deadly plague, wild beasts, vipers and sword, according to Deuteronomy 32:23-25. Therefore, the UES people read into this Scripture found in Hebrews 13 something that is not there, for it does not even deal with an assured and guaranteed entrance into the kingdom of God at all, but instead a promise for temporal protection and well-being only, which can be negated by sin!
MY RESPONSE: none needed
OBJECTION #24. Samson committed suicide and he went to heaven because he is listed in the faith chapter. Therefore, we know Christians can likewise commit this awful sin and still go to heaven.
ANSWER: Samson did not commit suicide. His prayer shows he asked God to let him die with the Philistines, but left the matter entirely in God's hands (Judges 16:28-30). Unlike Samson, suicide victims decidedly take into their own hands the termination of their own physical lives. God honored Samson's prayer, but didn't honor Jonah's prayer for the same (Jonah 4:3) nor Elijah's prayer (1 Kings 19:4)!
MY RESPONSE: Suicide is another sin like any other which will lead to eternal death (Romans 6:23) if the person did not accept Christ beforehand. If he or she was saved, the person will only lose some of their reward, not their salvation (1 Corinthians 3:15-16).
OBJECTION #25. If I'm wrong as a UES advocate, I want to be wrong because I overemphasize the infinite work of Christ on the cross.
ANSWER: This sounds like a good reason to accept UES or stay with this position. However, the infinite work of Christ, as just shown, doesn't relate to this controversy about the believer's security! In fact, many people who embrace once saved, always saved actually deny the infinite work of Christ by denying He died for every single person who ever lived. So, this is irrelevant to the issue! Truth is the deciding factor, which shows UES is a myth that holds its adherents in a false security with obvious spiritual disadvantages.
1) See Objection #22 for the relevance of the infinite work of Christ.
2) Concerning the reference to the doctrine of "limited atonement", I will let those who believe in it try and defend it.
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