Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Calvinism vs. Arminianism, or Election vs. Free Will

There is much debate as to whether the Bible teaches free will or election. The two well known camps are Calvinism and Arminianism. Below is a brief synopsis of each belief.

John Calvin was the author of the five principles that have come to be known as Calvinism. Those principles are in short:

Total depravity – says that because all men are born into sin, they are unable to choose to follow God, but can only follow their sin nature. This teaches that men are virtually dead and that since a dead man cannot make any choice, we cannot choose God. To do so would mean that we have some part in our salvation. There is no free will.

Unconditional election - says that God has chosen from eternity those whom He will save. His choice is not based on anything having to do with the people themselves, but just a choice He makes to save some and deliver others to perdition.

Limited atonement – says Christ only died for the elect, not for everyone. The sins of the wicked are not covered by Christ's atonement.

Irresistible grace – says that God's grace is applied to those whom He has elected, and therefore they have no ability to resist God's call and must be saved. They have no choice in the matter.

Perseverance of the saints – says that the elect cannot fall away from God. If a person appears to fall away, then they were not saved to begin with. This is also known as eternal security.

Along with these five principles is the idea of what predestination is. Under Calvinism, predestination simply means that after God chose whom He would elect, He then predestined them to be saved.

Classical Arminianism is quite different from Calvinism, in fact almost the opposite. Jacobus Arminius was the author of the principles of classical Arminianism. Classical Arminianism has the following principles:

Total depravity – says that man's free will is useless unless assisted by grace. It has no powers of its own without God's grace to choose God.

Unlimited Atonement - says atonement was made for everyone's sin. All people have the opportunity for salvation, however atonement is not applied where faith is not effected.

Grace is resistible – says that God initiates the salvation process by offering grace to all (called prevenient - meaning preceding - grace), and revealing the truth of the gospel through the Holy Spirit to draw them to himself, thereby enabling them the possibility of making a free will choice for faith, unless they resist the draw of the Holy Spirit. Until man is drawn and enabled, he is only able to resist. This allows for a free will decision although the grace and faith is proffered by God beforehand to allow them to make a free will choice to accept or resist.

Free will – says man's free will is limited by God's sovereignty, (in other words if God does not offer grace and faith, man has no power to either accept or resist salvation as he is totally depraved. However God's sovereignty allows man to exercise his free will to accept or resist by giving prevenient grace.

Election – says election is conditional. In other words, the conditions to become elect is that one will accept God's offer and believe in Jesus through faith.

Predestination – says God has not predetermined who will believe, but what their inheritance will be. In other words, knowing that when grace and faith is preveniently extended so that they have the ability to make a free will decision to accept or resist the call of God, He predestines them to salvation and the life (mortal and eternal) that they will have as a believer.

Justification – is sola fide. (by faith alone) [Note that justification is not the same as salvation. Justification means that Christ's blood is covering one's sins. Salvation is achieved when one has died in the Lord without having shipwrecked their faith, so that Christ's blood is still being applied.] When people repent and believe in Christ, they are regenerated and brought into union with Christ having Christ's righteousness imputed to them.

Eternal security – is conditional. Believers have assurance of salvation as long as they abide and remain in Christ. Salvation requires perseverance. Resistance to God is possible at any time due to free will choice. Deliberate apostasy and willful rejection and renunciation of faith to the point of unbelief is possible. Such renunciation is irremediable. [Some people like to say that Arminianism teaches that if you sin, you lose your salvation and you have to constantly be born again. That is not what it teaches, as the belief is that you have to renounce your faith and become an unbeliever to lose your justification, and when that occurs, there is no more justification left for that individual, therefore there will be no salvation.]

So these are the two beliefs. Now what we need to do is see what the Bible says, and then see which one fits the Scriptures.

To start, let us address a few foundational truths that affect these beliefs. The first is the one and only unpardonable sin that keeps people out of heaven. This is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Many people wonder what this sin is, because it is the only unforgivable sin that exists. Some people, and even some Christians, wonder if they have committed this sin, as nobody seems to understand exactly what it is. Let us see if we can figure out what this sin must be from the consequences. The result of committing this sin is that you cannot be forgiven by God for this sin. It is a sin that sends people to hell with no hope of pardon. So what is the sin that sends people to hell? Why do so many people end up there? Any Christian will tell you that what ultimately sends a person to hell is not being a liar, or cheater, or fornicator, as all of these sins can be forgiven. What ultimately sends people to hell is rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua, as their Savior. It is a rejection of the entire gospel message of repentance, belief, and faith in Yeshua as the Son of God who gave His life as a ransom for our souls. Refusing to believe in Yeshua is a sin that cannot be forgiven, as it is His blood that gains us access to eternal life. There is no other way. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So if rejecting Christ is not forgivable and sends people to hell, why is this not the unpardonable sin as there is only one unpardonable sin? Actually it is. The Holy Spirit is the one who extends to us the knowledge of who Yeshua is, extends God's grace and faith so we have the ability to believe, and draws us to salvation. When the Holy Spirit does this, if you reject His revelation, in that moment you are blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So the only way the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed is by rejecting Him when He reveals the truth about Yeshua. Can it be seen that as there is only one unpardonable sin, and as both of these things qualify as being unforgivable, that these two things must be one in the same? It is a matter of simple logical deduction. If A = C and B = C, then A must = B. Rejecting Christ as Savior (A) is unpardonable (C), as it is the only way to salvation. You cannot be forgiven for refusing to accept Yeshua. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit (B) is unpardonable (C). You cannot be forgiven for blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Therefore rejecting Yeshua as Savior (A) must be the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit (B). If this is true, it can only lead to one conclusion. 1) That the Holy Spirit does give us prevenient grace to understand who Yeshua is, and extends the ability to have faith to accept that truth, and 2) we can reject that, and in so doing, blaspheme the Holy Spirit, hence we make a free will decision and it is not a matter of irresistible grace, otherwise we could not reject that revelation and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

The second thing that must be acknowledged is whether or not God created man with free will. If mankind was created with free will, then man still has free will, as God did not remake man after he sinned. So the question becomes, did God originally give man free will? We only need to look at Adam and Eve to get our answer to that. Adam and Eve were created in perfection. God gave them a choice. A free will choice. That free will choice was – Are you going to obey God? They were not forced into choosing to sin by God, because He had already decided that He wanted man to be sinful and have to be redeemed, and their choice was irresistible. That is what Calvinism would demand in reverse. Irresistible grace to do God's will would require that they move from perfection to sin because God gave them an irresistible call. The Bible instead says that Eve was deceived and chose to sin. Then Adam willfully chose to sin. It does not say that he was deceived as Eve was. They both made a choice. One being tricked into it, and the other just willfully doing it. Is that not how we end up sinning today? We either find ourselves sinning because we did not simply obey, but stretched some of God's commands to suit ourselves and then found ourselves in the middle of a sin, because were were deceiving ourselves? Or, we just decide to deliberately do something that we know is wrong, and do not even bother deceiving ourselves about that fact.

Adam and Eve represent the two ways we indulge in sin. One by carelessness and deception and the other by simple willful disobedience. If we do not believe in free will choice, then we are not responsible for any of our sins, as God has also ordained that we commit them, as He must have Adam and Eve under that theory. But does it make sense that God would deliberately and arbitrarily choose to destroy His creation by forcing Adam and Eve to sin, and then elect some to salvation, but then also ordain that they commit sin, over which they have no control? This would have to be so, as we do sin, but if that is not a free will choice then God is making us sin. Is that what the Scriptures teach? Or do the Scriptures teach that we are to bring our bodies and mind into submission? To do that requires a deliberate free will choice on our part. So that would indicate that we have indeed been endowed as our first parents with the ability to make a free will choice for good or bad.

In fact can we not see that in unbelievers in the world? There are people in the world who do not profess Christianity, or a relationship with Christ. Yet they spend their lives doing good for others without a thought to the sacrifice on their own part. Yet Calvin and Arminius both say that we are totally depraved and unable to make a moral choice for goodness (or God). Is that what the evidence shows? No it does not. The evidence says that man can make a moral choice without being a Christian. But how is that possible as man is inherently evil and has no good in him? I think there is more to man than we acknowledge.

God said that He created man in His image. But what is His image? God is a triune being – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If God is triune in His being, is it not necessary for man to also be a triune being if we are in His image? Christianity acknowledges the physical body, and the eternal spirit which is either dead in sins, or alive in Yeshua. But there is a third part of man, that part that is our intelligence and will. Degenerate man can, through his intelligence and will choose to do good in spite of the fact that he is spiritually dead in sin. But is anything that man does that is good ever going to be enough to gain him entry into heaven? No, of course not. One would have to keep the Law perfectly and nobody can. Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” No matter how much good an unregenerate person or regenerate person for that matter may do, he is still unable to save himself. Only belief in Yeshua will save us. He was the only one who could keep the Law perfectly and the only one who could satisfy justice for sin on our behalf. So when it is said that nobody would ever choose God, is that actually correct? We should not confuse our spirit – dead or alive - with our intellect and will.

Non-Christian people do choose to do good. Is it not possible for us to want to choose God intellectually using our will, if anyone can choose to be obedient and do good without being regenerate? If it were not possible to do this, could we ever expect our children to obey us before they accept the Lord? Obviously it must be possible to choose while still unregenerate, both to be obedient and to do good. So if we want to choose God, doesn't that mean we have a part in our own salvation? Tell me this, where do we get grace? Where do we get faith? Where do we get belief? The Scriptures tell us that all of those things are given to us by God. So just wanting to choose God will get us nothing. We have not done a thing to get our salvation. We can want it all we want (wanting is not the same as doing) and that still will not get us anything, because we cannot do anything to get it. Without God extending those things to us, we cannot gain salvation. We are totally dependent upon Him, even if we choose to want Him, so no matter what, we still have no part in our salvation. We cannot build that bridge between ourselves and God, nor can we even climb onto that bridge of our own accord. We can at best, merely wish to get on it. God must reach out and grab our hand and pull us onto that bridge that Yeshua built. He does that through the Holy Spirit who calls and draws us up onto that bridge.

A scenario that is not a perfect metaphor, but close, is if it were thought of as teams being chosen for a game. The team has a captain who chooses who will be on the team. People are lined up and some may want to be on the captain's team and some don't. The captain may wish he could have everyone on his team, but not everyone may want to be on it. The ones who do may indicate their desire to be on that team, but unless the captain calls their name, they do not get chosen to be on the team. A captain wants people who want to be on his team with him, as they will play hard for the team. So he calls their name. He may also call the names of people who do not want to be on his team, and they may refuse to join his team saying that they want to play for the other side. In this case, the captain is not going to force someone to join his team. But none of the people did anything to get on the team. Both had an equal chance. So does the Holy Spirit do this just for those who wish to know God, (the elect) or does He do it for everyone?

The Bible says in John 3:16 “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Note what the above verse really says. If Yeshua died for everyone, so that anyone can believe who wants to, does that not mean that this gift is offered to everyone at some point? If it were not offered to everyone, and only to those who would believe, does that not then make this verse a lie and the unpardonable sin non-existent? This sin cannot exist if someone is not committing it. It is only committed when people reject the Holy Spirit's revelation and call. But is an intellectual rejection (rejecting God before being called by the Holy Spirit) enough to satisfy God's just nature? Is an intellectual rejection actually blaspheming the Holy Spirit, if He has never interacted with them? How can they be said to blaspheme Him, if He has never offered grace to them and revealed Christ? So the question becomes, is prevenient grace and revelation offered to them in order for them to be able to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by rejecting Yeshua on an eternal spiritual basis? I believe that it must be, for the Holy Spirit to be blasphemed. If it were merely an intellectual rejection, then they would not be blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit would not have offered grace and revealed Christ to them. God sends them to hell for the unpardonable sin, but they cannot commit it if the Holy Spirit has not had a part in the action. 
The passage also says that those who “doeth truth cometh to the light”. How can we possibly do truth before we are saved, if we are totally depraved and unable to make a moral choice? And yet it says that those who do truth come to the light, not already have it. So it seems that our intellectual free will has the ability to want to do truth, however with our sinful nature we are unable to do anything toward obtaining salvation ourselves, even if we want it. It demands that God do it all for us.

It would seem then that there is a combination of things going on. For those who are, through foreknowledge, predestined to be elect, God knew in advance when a person would make the choice to accept Him when offered the prevenient grace to be able to make that choice. He chooses a time in a person's life to send the Holy Spirit to call them. The Bible says in Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Notice that not all who are called accept God's call. This verse alone negates Calvinism's premise that only the elect are called. God calls many or all, as this verse says, or extends grace to all to be able to believe, however the chosen are those who accept that call, so He chooses to make them His elect and extend the possibility for us to make that calling sure by continuing to bestow grace and faith. We are given the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Without God continuing to extend grace and faith and giving us the Holy Spirit, we would be the same as the unregenerate. It is this which separates us from unbelievers who reject God's offer. He extends prevenient grace to all so that we have the ability to have faith and believe, but not all do. We get the grace before we have faith and believe, as we cannot get faith and believe without it, therefore it is prevenient. Then God continues to extend it to us throughout life when we accept Him. None of this is of our own work or doing. As said before, we can wish all we want to be on God's team, but without God doing it all and choosing us, we obtain nothing. Therefore we still have no part in creating the salvation we are given.

As the verse above says, even for those who never seem to have an interest in God, I believe before that person dies, the Holy Spirit still shows them the truth. But doesn't being called mean we are elect? No, may are called, but few are chosen. We are predestined to election because God foreknew our choice and predestined us to be called and justified, then conformed to His image. To be perfectly fair so that on Judgment Day God can say to all that they had a choice, God has the Holy Spirit reveal or call them to the truth, or He would cease to be just. However, knowing it will be rejected and the Holy Spirit blasphemed, they are not predestined to be chosen to election. I have heard stories of people who have been given the gospel message, then declared that they would never choose to believe it, who were killed moments later. That is why it is so important for us to spread the gospel and tell people. They need to hear the truth, as it is in hearing it that we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to reveal the truth of the message, for we do not know who has been called to election.

As Christians we all know that when we witness, some of us plow up the ground, some plant the seed, some water, but it is the Holy Spirit who chooses the time in a person's life to make the call to which that person must then respond. As the Bible says in Romans 10:13-17 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Notice that it says that we will call on the Lord. We do have a part to carry out, even though we have no part in God's actions of offering salvation. This also confirms that all are offered the truth of salvation. It says that “They have not all obeyed the gospel.” In other words, some reject it and blaspheme the Holy Spirit, but they still have it revealed to them. But notice the order of events. For someone to come to salvation, they must first hear the gospel (that is our job), then they must believe (this is the Holy Spirit's job) and call on the Lord (that is their job).

But what about those who have never heard? God has told us that He will take care of justice Himself in those cases. Romans 2:12-16 “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” We however have been given the commission and responsibility to make sure that all men hear, so that the Holy Spirit can call.

So given the information above, we can now look at Calvin's and Arminius's principles to see which ones are true.

Both believe in total depravity. This is true in that man cannot save himself and can do no good towards that end. Is that completely true that we are incapable of moral behavior without renegeration? Mankind is all sinful. That is true. Our spiritual nature is dead, and our body is corrupt. Our intellect is also sinful, but it has the ability to make free will choices, and sometimes those choices are for good. This seems to be a part of us that both of these men ignore. Arminius says that after prevenient grace is extended man can make a free will choice, but until that point man can do nothing good. As said before, the evidence would say otherwise, and even the Scriptures say that those who doeth truth come to the light. We are capable of moral behavior apart from being saved. However that counts for nothing toward salvation. God must offer us grace and faith for us to accept His call.

Is atonement limited or unlimited? What does the Bible say? The Bible says that Christ died for everyone's sins, not just the sins of a few. Anyone, whosoever will, and please notice the word “will” may come. This verse is telling us that we have a will that can decide which choice to make. If anyone, whosoever wants to, may come, the atonement must be unlimited, otherwise Christ did not die for the sins of the world, as the Scriptures say.

Does God elect us arbitrarily, or does he elect us based on foreknowledge of what we will choose when prevenient grace is offered and faith and belief are extended to us? What does the Bible say? Romans 8:29-30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” 1 Peter 1:2a Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.....” Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We have grace and faith given by God, but election is by foreknowledge of the choice we make when offered that grace and faith.
Is grace irresistible or do we have a free will choice? A person cannot be guilty of the unpardonable sin, if they have not been given a chance to commit the sin. I know that people who believe in irresistible grace and election say that it is fair for God to do this, but God is not unjust and this is incredibly unjust if they are judged guilty of committing the unpardonable sin, when in fact they have not. God is fair and just. That is simply His character. To release yourself of all accountability by choosing (which ironically is a free will choice) to believe you have no choice is not what the Bible teaches. It teaches us that we have to choose all through life. If we are not choosing, then our sins do not need repentance, as we are not accountable for them, right? But that is not what we are told. We are told that we must repent and abide in Christ and keep His commandments if we love Him. If we have no choice, then should not all Christians be living completely sinless lives, being elect? Are they? Do you know one Christian that is completely sin free? I don't. And if you say you are, or someone you know says they are sinless, then both of you are liars, which makes both of you sinners. You choose out of your free will every day to be obedient or disobedient to God. If you are making that choice, then why say that man does not have free will in all choices? Our first parents did, and so do we.

Do we have eternal security regardless of what we do as long as we are elect, or can we choose to walk away from God and quit believing after having accepted His Son as our Savior? Do we have free will? What does the Bible say? Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” How can people read these verses and not understand them? What do they say? They say that it is impossible to renew the repentance of those who fall away. Fall away from what? From having once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been a partaker of the Holy Ghost, tasted the word of God, and the powers of the kingdom of God. These things only occur to someone who has accepted Yeshua as their Savior. It does not happen to unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot partake of the Holy Spirit anymore than someone can partake of a meal unless they actually eat it. The only way to partake of the Holy Spirit is to be indwelt by Him. Notice that they can fall away, but it is impossible to renew them to repentance again. This falling away is speaking of one that is equivalent to blaspheming the Holy Spirit, not simply committing a sin.  Added to this is the fact that is says that they cannot renew their repentance.  You can only renew something if you have had it before. If they had not had justification applied to their lives, it would not be talking about renewing it again. It would be the first time, not the second.

Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully (note the free will choice to sin) after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Notice the words in bold print. If we sin how? If we sin willfully. That denotes a choice of our free will. When is this choice made? After we have what? After we have received the knowledge of truth. This does not just mean intellectually receiving it. This is talking about having accepted Christ into our hearts. How can we be sure of that? Because it says how much greater will the punishment be for those who trod under foot the Son of God and have counted unholy the blood by which he was what? By which he was sanctified. One is only sanctified when one accepts Yeshua as their Savior and is set apart by God as one of His own. There is no other way of reading this. Does this mean that if we deliberately sin all is lost? We will all sin, sometimes willfully, but this is much more than that. This is a complete rejection of the blood of Christ and considering it a worthless thing. It is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

We may sin, but most of us feel remorse and guilt and repent of that sin. We can be forgiven for sinning against Yeshua, Luke 12:10 “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” So even though as Christians we should not willfully sin, we sometimes do. Fortunately God is faithful to forgive us our sins. We do not throw the baby out with the bathwater and reject Christ's sacrifice or stop believing in it, because we have committed a sin. In fact we cling all the more to the promise of forgiveness, knowing how unworthy we are to receive it. This verse is talking about those who willfully walk away from Christ and reject Him totally to the point of unbelief, not those who commit a sin, whether by deception or intent. If that were the case, then why tell us in 1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” We are sinners trapped in a sinful body and will be at war with ourselves all our lives to try to be obedient to God and turn from sin, however we will all sin from time to time in spite of our best efforts. We might be able to control our physical actions, but capturing every thought, which is also required to be sin free, is another matter entirely and extremely hard to do. It is that place where sin originates, inside of us in our hearts and minds before it ever manifests in our actions.

So are we eternally secure? Well, as long as we abide in Christ we are. People who believe in Calvinism and eternal security within that theology like to quote the following verse to say that it is impossible to lose your justification. Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are promised that nothing outside of ourselves has the power to separate us from Christ as long as we choose to remain in Him. Nothing and nobody else has that right. However notice that God does not include us in that list. We do have the ability to separate ourselves from Christ by our own free will choice. Hebrews has taught us that. So eternal security is available for the Christian, but only if you persevere and remain in Christ. You can walk away.

Think about what eternal security as taught by Calvin teaches us. It says that we do not choose to be saved, we have no choice. So is it really necessary to witness to people? No. According to Calvinism it is really unnecessary. If they are elect, they'll be elect no matter what, as God has chosen them to be. Can they lose their salvation by anything they do? According to Calvinism, no. They can backslide and do anything if they are elect, but will be brought back into the fold in the end no matter how far they may stray, as they have no choice in the matter as they are elect. If they do not come back, then it is taught that they weren't elect to begin with. So all accountability is completely removed. So where is the incentive to live a holy life of obedience to God? There isn't one. If I believed in election, it would not matter how I live my life, because if I am elect, I do not need to worry, as no matter how far I stray, in the end I will be okay. And if I am not elect and striving to live a life for Christ, it is useless, as no matter what I do, I can never make it.

This brings up some problems with the theory. First, if only the elect can be called and accept Christ, as all are depraved and cannot choose the path of righteousness, why are there people in churches pursuing a Christian life that are not part of the elect? And there are people like this in all churches. If one goes with the idea that if they eventually fall away they were never saved to begin with, it indicates that in their unregenerate state they were striving to be obedient to God for a while, which means they made a free will choice to choose God at some point, but that God has chosen to reject them. The question becomes, how can they in their unregenerate state choose God or try to live a life for God, if they are dead in sins and can only choose evil as Calvinism says? Why would they choose God if they are not elect? The theory does not work, as it is in conflict with itself. They are doing the opposite of what is said they are even able to do, and that is choosing God without being elect. Would God ever reject someone who really wants to know Him and live a life for Him? Is that not what this is teaching? That people want God, try to choose to live for God, but as they are not elect, He rejects them and consequently they fall away, as they are not elect. Think about it. This is exactly what this is teaching. This goes against what God has said, as He told us that it is His will that all be saved. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” If it is God's will that all be saved, then will not all men be saved? God would have everyone be saved, but not everyone wants to be saved. Therefore God is allowing us to choose, otherwise we would all be saved as that is His will. It is only in allowing us free will that His will is not fulfilled.

The second problem is if people are truly elect by irresistible grace and not free will, would that irresistible grace not extend to their decisions to sin or not sin, especially after God has given them grace, faith, and indwelt them with the Holy Spirit? How can they continue to commit any sins, if there is no free will? Why would God make them commit sins, if they are His elect and destined to salvation against any inclination of their own? Would He not also then make any inclination to sin disappear so that they would not stray? It simply does not make any sense to say that man has no choice or free will in the matter. We obviously do.

It is a comforting thought in a way to think that if we accept Yeshua as our Savior that we are all set and do not have to worry, but that is not the case. Even if one believes in Calvinism, it is not the case, as how do you know whether or not you are fooling yourself about being elect? Suppose you are one of the ones to whom the following occurs.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

How is it that people convince themselves that they are Christians, but Jesus says that He never knew them? How is this scenario possible, if Calvinism's premise that man is totally depraved and cannot choose God apart from being elect, is true? This verse tells us that many will be terribly surprised in that day, having actually done things such as casting out devils and doing wonderful works in Jesus' name. They truly believe they belong to God and are one of his children. Does it not scare even a Calvinist that their salvation is not eternally secure because they cannot know if they are elect or not?

There are several parables that Yeshua told that if we are willing to take them at face value instead of warping them to fit our preconceived theories, tell us that salvation is a choice, and a matter of perseverance.

Mark 4:2-20 “And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

Let us take a good look at this parable without putting a twist on it. What exactly does it say. It says that the seed was sown on four hearts. In other words, the Holy Spirit delivered it to every person. This goes along exactly with what was taught earlier, that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to every individual. In the case of the first heart, Satan takes it right back out of their hearts. They choose to let him do that, as they do not want it. But notice that it was sown in their hearts. And how was it sown? By hearing the word. This again is exactly what was earlier said that the Scriptures teach. Faith comes by hearing.

The second seed is sown in a heart which receives it with joy initially, but there is no depth to the person to really apply it to their lives. When it becomes difficult rather than a bouquet of roses, they walk away. This is what Hebrews talks about in abandoning the faith to go back to unbelief. The third seed is choked out because of not only the difficulty of life, but the call of the world and the lusts to embrace the world become too strong to resist. This is probably what brings down more Christians than anything else. Worldliness in this day and age is a hard thing to resist. I know that I struggle daily with desires and lusts. Because of worldliness, this group becomes unfruitful. They are not bearing fruits of the spirit, they are bearing fruits of worldliness. Look at how the “Name It and Claim It” group lead people astray because they expect a life of a Laodicean - “I am rich and have need of nothing.” But what does God say about the Laodicean? That He wants to spew them out of His mouth and that they have shut Him outside of the church, so that He is at the door knocking to come in. Many people think that verse refers to Christ knocking at the hearts of unbelievers to come in and be saved, but it is not. Yeshua is knocking at the door of the church asking to be let back in. (Revelation 3:14-22)

The fourth seed falls on ground that receives it and brings forth much fruit. What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” What else has God told us about bringing forth fruit? John 15:1-10 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” Anyone who is in the vine (and notice that you cannot be in the vine unless you accept Christ as your Savior and are justified by His blood), and is not abiding in Yeshua and bringing forth fruit, he will wither and be lopped off as a dead branch. Then he is thrown into the fire. The fire spoken of here is the eternal flames of hell. If you abide in Christ, and keep His commandments, you will stay in Him and bear fruit.

This is further illustrated in another parable in Matthew 25:14-30 “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Notice that all are servants, and all have been given a number of talents to use for the master, but the one did nothing with his. What happened to that servant that did not bring forth fruit? He was cast into outer darkness. And what is outer darkness? Hell. The servant of the master was cast into hell for not producing fruit.

Then we have the parable of the ten virgins, which people also want to twist. Matthew 25:1-13 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

It is taught by theologians that the oil in the Bible is a spiritual reference for the Holy Spirit. Well, if that is true, then all ten of these virgins were Christians as at the start all of them had their lamps lit. To have them lit meant that they had to have oil in them. But the bridegroom did not come right away and everyone fell asleep. The difference was that five of them had prepared for that wait. They had done the work of storing up enough oil and taking it along with them for the long wait. Another way of saying that would be to say that they were abiding and producing fruit, as they had worked to supply themselves with enough oil to carry them to the end of the wait. They were enduring to the end. The others had been negligent about being diligent in their preparations and consequently in the long wait had run out of oil or fruit and become a dry vessel. As a consequence, when the bridegroom finally made his appearance, they had withered on the vine or had run out of oil, and they were shut out of the marriage. When they tried to make it up at the last minute, it was too late. We need to abide throughout life, as we do not know when the end will come for each of us individually.

This idea of getting idle, or lax, or worldly and falling away from the Lord while waiting for His return is also found in Matthew 24:42-51 “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Note that in this parable, the same problem occurred as with the ten virgins. The Lord (bridegroom) delayed His coming beyond what the people were expecting. (Take heed you pre-tribulationists.) The good man watches so that the thief cannot come unexpectedly upon him. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-8 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

Too many people stop after verse three and ignore what I have put in bold print above. We are not in darkness that the day should overtake us as a thief. We are to know (from the signs) and expect His coming and watch and be sober, not falling into the trap the servant (only Christians are the Lord's servants) in the above parable did. The Lord did not come when expected, so he began to join the world and do as they do. And what was the result? His portion will be with the hypocrites where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. And where does that occur? In the place of outer darkness, which is hell. Matthew 25:30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

One more parable to illustrate this is found in Matthew 22:2-14 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Here Yeshua was addressing both Israel and Christians. First the king, who had arranged a marriage for his son sent forth his servants (the prophets) to call to those who were invited to the wedding (Israel). He did this numerous times, sending forth servants to call them to the wedding, but they treated it lightly or as a joke and ignored the invitation. They even treated the servants badly and killed them. (Israel killed their prophets). When the king heard this, he was angry and destroyed the murderers (the destruction of the temple and diaspora). Then he sent his servants (disciples and apostles) to invite anyone they found (Gentiles). The gospel went out into the world, and both bad and good responded to the call. But when the time for the wedding comes, there is a guest without a wedding garment. The guest is asked how he comes to be there not having on a garment. The guest is speechless, as he thought accepting the invitation (accepting the Lord as your Savior) was enough. (This parable reinforces the statement the Christ made to those who thought they were Christians when He says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”) The guest too late finds out that he was expected to have dressed appropriately. And what is the wedding garment? Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” The garment is the fine, clean white linen which is the righteousness of the saint. How is one counted as righteous? James 5:22 “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

Now if I were to simply look at this verse alone without the context, I would say that the righteousness of the saints was merely believing in God. But we need to look at the context of that verse, and that verse tell us more than that.

We are told in James 2:14-26 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

This entire passage tells us that Abraham was justified by works, because He believed God's promise. It was this acting out of his belief that made him righteous. Belief without anything behind it is an empty belief. I can say I believe all I want, but until it is put to the test, it is an empty declaration. Our faith is justified by our works, and without those works, our faith is as a dead thing. It counts for nothing if there is nothing backing it up. So the righteousness of the saints are their good works and fruits that give validation to their belief and faith. When the wedding guest shows up without a wedding garment or clean, white, linen robe, it shows that he has not been producing fruit. And what happens to people who do not produce fruit? What happens to the guest? He is bound and cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. And what verse follows that statement? “For many are called, but few are chosen.” As shown above, everyone is extended the invitation to know Christ as their Savior, and some even accept the invitation, but unless you put on a wedding garment, abiding in Christ, producing fruit, you will not be chosen in the end.

Regardless of what people want to believe, we do have a part in our salvation, not in gaining it, but in hanging onto it. We cannot do anything to get justification except to receive it, just as the seed thrown on the soil is accepted into the soil (or our hearts). God must extend the prevenient grace, He must give us the faith, and we can only reject or accept it. But, after accepting it, it is our responsibility to hang onto it by producing fruit. We can walk away willfully, or as these parables illustrate, we can lose it due to negligence. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” - Hebrews 10:21.

There are a multitude of verses throughout the New Testament that speak to this. Too many to put here, but I will share a few to show that this is not drawing from just a few random verses to show that this is what the Scriptures teach. It is all through the Scriptures.

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” One must ask why should one have to work it out, and especially in fear and trembling if it is secure and does not require anything on our part.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

John 6:27 “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Mark 13:13 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 6:15 “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

It would then seem from all of these Scriptures that we 1) can choose to reject or accept the revelation of the Holy Spirit when He calls us to salvation, 2) must keep Christ's commandments, abiding in Him and producing fruit and good works to make our calling sure, 2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” 3) We can walk away from Yeshua out of willfulness or negligence and lose our justification and ultimately our salvation.

But what of verses like this in 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Many times there is more than one way to understand a verse. What is important in interpreting it, is that we see what the rest of Scriptures teach, and interpret it in harmony with the rest of Scripture. According to this verse, our calling and salvation is not according to our works, but according to God's purpose. It is true that all the good works in the world by someone will not bring them salvation. We have to have God extend the grace and faith to believe, which is not based upon any of our works. It is God's purpose that all be saved, so we are called because He wants us saved and so extends grace and faith. It is not because of our works that He decides to do this. He does this because He loves us. However that does not negate that to make our calling sure, once it has been given, that we must continue by abiding in Christ and doing the works that validate our faith. This verse does not say, as some would teach, that works are completely unnecessary, because we are elect according to God's arbitrary purposes in calling us. In light of the rest of Scripture we can see what it really says. The whole concept of calling, election, predestination, eternal security and all of this is very hard to understand, as it is so intertwined. However while we cannot and do not save ourselves, only God can offer us salvation, we are responsible to react to that offer of salvation in the proper way. First by accepting it, then by working it out and keeping it.

There is further evidence that God foreknows and therefore predestines us, and that while some may be saved for a while, they can walk away and lose their salvation. This is shown through how the Book of Life is used. We are told that names are inscribed in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Revelation 17:8 “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

These verses tell us that there are two groups of people. One group (the elect) have their names written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, and the other group does not have their names written there. We know from all the above information that this is based upon God's foreknowledge of who will and who will not respond to the Holy Spirit when He calls them. This is predestination. Everyone who initially responds has their name inscribed in that book. God also knows who will not respond to His call, therefore these names are not written in the book. This is why God can say things like Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. God did not arbitrarily decide to do this. He knew what their response to Him and their actions in life would be before they were even conceived. Further, we are told that people whose names have been inscribed in the Book of Life, who initially receive Yeshua as their Savior, can have their name blotted out of that book.

Revelation 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Revelation 22:19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

People can have their names blotted out of the book (which means losing one's salvation). In particular if they do not overcome or endure to the end. The second warning is far more frightening for those who teach Bible prophecy for what does it say? That those who add or subtract from God's prophecies will have their names taken out of the book of life. This is serious, especially for me, as I teach Bible prophecy. This is why I try to stay to the literal words of the Bible when teaching it.

Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life can expect an eternity in perdition, not in God's kingdom.

Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”

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