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Archive for Saturday, May 5, 2007

Faith Forum: Once a person has been ‘saved,’ is it possible to lose that salvation?

May 5, 2007

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Once formed, faithful's relationship with God won't be severed

The Rev. Randy Beeman, pastor, First Christian Church, 1000 Ky.:

I love taking walks and hikes with my son. When he was young, I can remember walking near a creek that was raging after a recent thunderstorm. He tightly held my hand.

He was pretty confident as a young boy and at one point begged me to let go of his hand as we walked along the creek. I was not going to let go of his hand, even though he threw quite the stubborn tantrum. I loved him and would not let go.

Jesus said that once we freely trust him, "that I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." God also reminds us that "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."

All of this points to the fact that a loving God who has taken hold of the hand that we have stretched forth to God, will not let go. The security of our relationship with God is totally dependent upon God, not upon us. If the stability of my relationship with God was entirely based upon me and my wayward emotions and feelings, I would be in trouble.

One day I would be saved, the next I wouldn't. We are God's children, and we will at times fuss, struggle, attempt to pull away and say things we don't really mean. During all of this, God lovingly holds onto our life and will never let us go.

- Send e-mail to Randy Beeman at rbeeman@sunflower.com.

Mankind's tendency toward exclusion not what Jesus wanted

The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:

Can the love of the Holy One be limited toward anyone? The Bible's story is of a God who challenges us to widen the circle of God's people.

Our human tendency is to draw the line on who might be in and who is not. We put up boundaries, saying you have to be like this, to believe these things and practice life in this manner, in order to be included. But God constantly pushes against our walls, reminding us that divine grace is always greater than our barriers.

I once served as a chaplain at a maximum-security prison. One of the inmates, a young man still in his teens, had been convicted of multiple murders. He was sentenced to die.

He said to me, "I am a Christian now. But I can't help but wonder, can God forgive me for what I've done?" Over the years his question has disturbed my soul. I have come to the conclusion that God's wisdom and grace is far beyond my finite comprehension.

Whenever I want to set limits, God always pushes against me, saying, "How can I limit my love to just a few? How can I not include this person and that group of people?"

Once Jesus was asked, "How often shall I forgive, seven times?" Jesus answered, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven." Christians have understood this number to mean infinite or unending. In other words, there should be no limit to our willingness to forgive. If we are called to such a radical practice of reconciliation, can we expect anything less from God?

- Send e-mail to Kent Winters-Hazelton at fpcpastor@sunflower.com.

Comments

John Kyle 7 years, 7 months ago

"How often shall I forgive, seven times?" Jesus answered, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven." Christians have understood this number to mean infinite or unending"

It's 490. That a xtian would consider this infinite explains quite a lot.

Speakout 7 years, 7 months ago

Islamic thought also says that good intentions with good deeds are multiplied by 7 to 70 times. One must do good deeds to earn paradise. Even a good intention is rewarded but not as much. Just saying you accept something doesn't do it, one must show it and do it by performing good deeds and having good intentions. No one can enter paradise if they believe in a god other than the one God, the creator of all things and the master of the day of Judgement.

DaveR 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm surveying the paper, after many years away from Lawrence. Nice new format, but confess I never saw the old one.

Once you've been saved, is it possible to loose that salvation, was that the question?

What?

If I want a degree from this fine University, it's not enough for me to wake up some morning & declare that I have one. Or make some private deal with some individual professor, swearing allegiance on an old textbook. Yes, the University loves me & yes, the University has my best intentions at heart, and yes, it's a fine old book, but if I want the University's grace & salvation, I've got to meet their standards. Not mine. I must earn it.

Once I have that (and I have a pair of KU's fine grace, thank-you very much), what I do with it is up to me, not the University. I may, with continued sincere & honest work, become an outstanding success, bringing honor not only upon myself, but that great University that gave me their grace. Or I may merely declare to one & all - and to myself in the mirror first thing every morning - that I am saved & a member of the elect & in all other ways prattle vainly about my own self-importance.

Saved? Is that not the sin of pride? Or is it arrogance? How could anyone say he was "saved"? We may live firmly in God's grasp, but what living creature, saved or not, living or dead, animal, vegetable or mineral, does not exist in God's good grasp? If there is such a thing as salvation, it can only be something which we eternally work towards, which, every now & then, in our daily toil, if we are lucky, if we stand on tip-toe, if we hold our breath, we just might catch a glimpse of? I have, once or twice. They were thrilling, yet humbling experiences. They remind me how much work remains undone.

denak 7 years, 7 months ago

The reason seven is a holy number is because it is a cross transplant from the other religions( ie Babylonian) in the region during the time of the Isrealites. Seven is significant to them because the sun, the moon and the first five planets were visible to the naked eye. This is where the number comes from and the Assyrians, Babylonians and the Egyptians all considered it a sacred number. The Isrealites adopted the same thought when their religion was created. In fact, the Isrealites adopted so much of other religions and were so friendly with outside groups, that the Commandment "Thou Shall Not Say Thy Lord's Name in Vain" was etched into the 10 commandments. This commandment is an admonishment against sharing and adopting other religious practices in the region. The ancient Isrealites believed that the only people who should speak to the diety were the priesthood and that if you shared the name of your diety with those outside of the religion (the priests of other religions) then they too would be able to speak to your diety. The point is that the number seven isn't sacred in and of itself. It doesn't mean infinity(which is a concept not a number) nor does the teaching mean you should only be forgiving 490 times. The teaching means that we should repeatedly try to forgive other's their transgression just as God and just as other's should try to forgive ours over and over and that forgiveness should have no limit (number) attached to it.

Dena

gr 7 years, 7 months ago

I find it interesting that queequeg proposes she will keep track of how many times she forgives you. I think Jesus' point was lost on her.

That was 487 times. Three more times and you've had it!

=======

"Seven is significant to them because the sun, the moon and the first five planets were visible to the naked eye. "

Or, the number of seven came about way before that? Try Genesis 1.

"I'm not sure how a holy and just God can accept any 'deeds' by sinful man, as they would be as foul and corrupt as the sinful man who performed them."

Do you think there's another way of deeds coming about? While doing good deeds does not earn salvation, but because we have salvation, the good deeds naturally come out? Would someone who has been saved go around doing bad things? But, just because we are saved, God doesn't prevent us from choosing to leave Him.

John Kyle 7 years, 7 months ago

gr said: "I find it interesting that queequeg proposes she will keep track of how many times she forgives you. I think Jesus' point was lost on her.

That was 487 times. Three more times and you've had it!"

What the heck are you talking about? I never said that and I'm a 'he' not a 'she'.

gr 7 years, 7 months ago

You're not a queen something?

So what WERE you meaning about the 490 times if not that?

craigers 7 years, 7 months ago

As for the question of the article, I don't believe in the once saved always saved mentality. The first pastor's comments somewhat scare me. The scripture about us not being snatched away from God's hand has to do with His protection over us. Salvation is all about grace and is a free gift. Just as we all are free to take it, we are free to reject it. And just because you have accepted God's grace once and were "saved" doesn't mean you can't reject God and His grace and lose that salvation. Hey Danny, are you out there? Would love to hear some of your thoughts. And Oldenuf, 75x55, etc what do you all think? And Danny when I say some I mean let's keep it to a two maxed out posts at a time. :)

jonas 7 years, 7 months ago

How do you know you're "saved" in the first place? Isn't that presuming to know the mind of god?

gr 7 years, 7 months ago

"Isn't that presuming to know the mind of god?" Did God give some indication as to what His mind on the subject was? - The Bible?

alm77 7 years, 7 months ago

craigers: And just because you have accepted God's grace once and were "saved" doesn't mean you can't reject God and His grace and lose that salvation..... Agreed. However, I think these pastors were trying to assure people that they haven't lost it. Romans clearly states that if someone were to change their minds there are circumstances where they are free to go. I'm not sure what those circumstances are, but when I went to Bible college one professor said: "Let's put it this way, if you're worried about it, you probably haven't lost it."

Jonas, you don't have to know the mind of God, you just have to believe what He told you. My kids can obey me without reading my mind and when I tell them I'm going to do something, they can trust that I'll do it. There are multiple places that Jesus spoke to people about salvation and how to obtain it.

HappyFace 7 years, 7 months ago

"Would someone who has been saved go around doing bad things? But, just because we are saved, God doesn't prevent us from choosing to leave Him."

Amen GR.........look at what happened to Marty Miller!

Crossfire 7 years, 6 months ago

Oklahoma in the 70's... JESUS saves S&H Greenstamps.

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