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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : losing your salvation?

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Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA


Always wondered 'what the destruction of the flesh is when turned over to the devil'. Any takers?

Hello brother.

Good question. I have not the answer, but may be able to shed a little light.

Some say the “destruction of the flesh” here refers to physical death.

Others say it is a casting out of the church into the world of sin and debauchery to reap the consequences of rebellion. This would hopefully cause such physical/emotional distress that the disobedient would repent.

And as we all well know, some have used it as a pretext for a physical purging of the church of ungodly members (e.g., in the use of the death penalty). ‘Christian’ history is saturated with the blood of those whom it considered “heretics.”

Good question. I look forward to reading the responses.


 2008/9/18 7:46Profile

Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 528
Southern USA


Relpy to all

The right question for us to ask ourselves
Am I still in rebellion?

Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?



 2008/9/18 8:19Profile

Joined: 2008/7/24
Posts: 613



tjservant wrote:
Always wondered 'what the destruction of the flesh is when turned over to the devil'. Any takers?

Hello brother.

Good question. I have not the answer, but may be able to shed a little light.

Some say the “destruction of the flesh” here refers to physical death.

Others say it is a casting out of the church into the world of sin and debauchery to reap the consequences of rebellion. This would hopefully cause such physical/emotional distress that the disobedient would repent.

And as we all well know, some have used it as a pretext for a physical purging of the church of ungodly members (e.g., in the use of the death penalty). ‘Christian’ history is saturated with the blood of those whom it considered “heretics.”

Good question. I look forward to reading the responses.



 2008/9/18 12:28Profile

Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991

 Re: losing your salvation?

but if saying one can never lose salvation, then it should be in theory possible to once be saved and then in theory live a life full of sin and never once read a bible, never once pray, never once go and fellowship with believers.

Now i know this may seem foolish thinking, any born again christian would have a desire to live for Christ and a life that suits the profession and walk worthy of that.

But in theory, it would be possible.

I also find it strange, why would Paul and all the others write all those epistles to other believers, exhorting them, warning them and so on, if it dident really matter salvation wise?

seem like a waste of time and effort when they are in no danger anyway?

But if there is a small chance it is possible, it makes more sense, and we can find many scriptures that indicate, we can interpret them differently and have different opinions. I see two extremes, one is the calvinist extreme, not all calvinist agree, but once saved always saved because it not what we or how we live that counts only what God has done so if i am elect, it does not matter how much i sin because God has chosen me, and the other side who always live in fear of losing their salvation and never have peace with God. Trying to please God with works and earning their salvation

I think the case is somewhere in the middle.

But the reasoning that we see much is due to this teaching i think, once saved always saved has a huge part of Christianity living carnal thinking they are saved because they once accepted Jesus.

after reading what i have written, and thinking about it, two scriptures comes to mind

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling...


He is able....


 2008/9/18 12:36Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


Yah that does sound quite ridiculuous for christian to now be able to just walk in sin because he is saved, why is that because if he has the holy spirit, he hates sin, he hates being disobedient to God. He has become a new creature and the spirit of god has awaken him. What does it mean to walk in the Lord in fear and trembling. It has nothing to do with losing your salvation, but all with serving God in holiness all the time and renewing your mind in christ so we can be great witnesses to the unbelievers so they might come to Christ. Realize this that our sin is what is sending us to hell, now when your born again and you realize that you have been saved from your sins and now you our being disobedient to the one who has saved you. You our rebelling against God everytime you sin. You our offending the almighy everytime you sin, it should make you fearful and tremble that you have sinned against a holy God, but we have someone we can go to , Jesus Christ everytime we slip and sin. But, remember if you believe it depends on us perserving you believe in works salvation.

 2008/9/18 13:59Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4502


Hi tjservant...

I do not believe the lampstand is symbolic of salvation. I believe it is representative of the local ‘institutional’ church at Ephesus, and it is being threatened with a disciplinary act of judgment. He does not say the flame will be extinguished, He says the stand will be removed.

A generation had passed in Ephesus since Paul was with them. The Ephesian Christians did not have their initial consuming zeal and fervent love relationship. After their original love relationship faded, the Ephesians continued to work as they had from the beginning. Their attitude changed from love to duty.

For Jesus to remove a church’s lampstand would mean the church would cease to be a church. Indeed, the Ephesian church did not continue as a body, and its members were dispersed, although I don't believe this means they were no longer Christians.

Okay...I read the passage directed to the Church at Ephesus after reading your thoughts. I understand your perception, but it just doesn't seem to connect with me.

First of all, the Church had been instructed that they "left your first love." This goes against the notion that a "saved" person could never leave Christ. Yet this passage says that someone who is/was part of the Body of Christ could FORSAKE his/her first love. So, yes, it is possible for someone who has known and fellowshipped with Christ to forsake Him.

But even if you think that a Church cannot lose its place as a "Church" -- what of the Church of Laodicea? Consider these words:
Revelation chapter 3...

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

These were part of the Church. Yet Christ was going to "spue" these out of His mouth. Would this equate to a loss of salvation? Would this equate to a fall from grace?

I suppose the bottom line, in my opinion, is that "the soul who sins will die." I don't believe that this means that we are condemned to Hell with every mistake, sin or giving in to temptation. I believe that the grace and love of God woo us back to repentance. Yet I think that there is something telling about the words given to each of the Churches of Revelation.

2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

2:11 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

2:17 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

2:25 "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
2:28 And I will give him the morning star.
2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

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."

3:12 "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."

3:21 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

"To him who overcometh..."

Our Lord spoke these things to the Churches (not potential members of the Body). When/How do we overcome? Is it when we "call upon the name of the Lord?" Or is it something different? Do we need to [u]remain[/u] faithful until the end?

I just can't agree that a one time decision to follow Christ is all that God requires. I have known individuals who have called upon the Lord who fell by the wayside, were choked by the cares of this world, or who simply were caught into temptation -- even after following the Lord humbly and wholeheartedly for many years. I have even known ministers who have "returned to their vomit" via the temptation that is always before us.

My question, which usually goes unanswered in these sort of discussions, is simple:

What is the end of a man who truly calls upon the Name of the Lord, follows Him wholeheartedly, prays and seeks His face, yet later falls back into the arms of this world by giving into temptation and willful sin? Is such a person "saved and eternally secure?" Are we so audacious as to claim that such a man was "never truly saved?"

Or can we conclude that real salvation is ultimately best viewed through the eyes of Eternity (from the outside looking in)? Remember, God is not confined to our earthly limits of time. He "knows the end from the beginning." He knew us before we were conceived. He already knows our ultimate destiny -- yet provides the opportunity to everyone who will call upon Him at any time.

Perhaps if we better understood the exact nature of what "salvation" is or means, we might be able to better perceive the pros and cons of the "lose it or can't lose it" debate?


 2008/9/18 14:12Profile

Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 797


Well if you have read the scriptures in corinthians where the man that continued in sin who would not repent, was given over to satan for the destruction of the flesh. His rewards would be lost but his soul would be saved

Frankly, I don't believe that's what Paul meant. The Bible doesn't teach that we'll only lose our rewards, but not salvation.


 2008/9/18 17:56Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


I wuld say to your question is that if he is saved, the Lord will bring him out of that sin sooner or later even if it takes health problems, or things to go completely wrong in his life if he ignores the continued conviction. The Lord will bring him back. Remember when a righteous man falls he gets back up 7 times, when the wicked fall they keep falling. Their is a difference between a saved person and a unbeliever. The holy spirit abides and will change them and lives in them and is always speaking. You must have not been around many true whole hearted, 24/7 christians. Who have the joy and peace and live their whole life for God. I believe you need to really discern between a true christian who is true from his mouth, mind, heart and soul about ghis faith. And discern between the false convert who or professing christian who shows you by their mout and even possibly their works but they don't really know Jesus and our not born again. Come on guys you our making that which is holy to be taken over by the unholy after it comes to abide within, your all teaching and believing a works salvation. Oh, and when it says that the man was given over to satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that their soul could be saved even though by fire.

 2008/9/19 1:39Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


Here is a website that i go on answering that verse about giving over to satan.

Q: In 1 Cor 5:1, why was Paul disfellowshipping the man but not the woman? Was this a double standard?
A: While scripture is silent on the woman, Paul might have said nothing about her because she never claimed to be a Christian.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.514 has an interesting sidenote. A man having intimate relations with his mother or father’s wife was not only against Old Testament Law (Leviticus 18:8 and Deuteronomy 22:22), it was also against Roman Law (Cicero Cluentes 6:15 and the Institutes of Gaius 1:63).

Q: In 1 Cor 5:5, what does "delivering someone to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" mean?
A: When either a Christian or non-Christian knows what is right and refuses to follow, this prayer is a "last result" that God would hand that person over to physical afflictions by Satan for the purpose of discipline.
One might note that despite Satan’s open rebellion against God, God still chooses to use Satan as an instrument of His discipline and punishment. As one Christian put it, Satan is the unwilling servant of the most High God. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.581-584 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.60-61 for more info.

Q: In 1 Cor 5:5 (NIV) does someone delivered to Satan no longer have a "sinful nature"?
A: No. The NIV usually translates the Greek word for flesh, sarx, as sinful nature, but the context here is the physical affliction, as The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.514 says.

 2008/9/19 1:56Profile

Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


here is a respons for hebrews ch.6

Q: What does Heb 6:4-12 teach about salvation?
A: There are two distinct issues in Hebrews 6.
1) How can a living person reach a state where repentance and salvation are no longer possible for them?
2) Can a genuine Christian lose their salvation?
1) Losing Further Opportunities:
Yes, a person can get to a point beyond which further repentance is not possible for that person. What makes Hebrews 6:6 especially scary is that it says people who fall away in the manner the writer talks about can never be brought back. Some interpreters claim this is a hypothetical situation that would never occur. However, I see no indication that we can ignore this warning in the Bible and not the other warnings in the Bible. Rather, Hebrews 6:6 and Matthew 12:31-32 (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) are both permanent. In Matthew 12:31-32 the Jews, who were never Christians, saw enough and heard enough to know it was true. But not only did they decide not to accept Jesus' words on that day, but they ascribed His actions to the devil.
Now Christians still sin (1 John 2:1). In fact if we think we are without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). So then what are the verses in the previous paragraph referring to?
The main two purposes of the Book of Hebrews are to show Jews how Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and to encourage Jewish background believers to not turn back to Judaism but continue in the faith. So these passages do NOT refer to someone who sins, but to someone who turns their back on Christianity and returns to their false hope, be it Judaism, or generalizing, some other religion. 1 John 2:18-19 says that even in those times there were people who "appeared" saved church-goers, but then they left, presumably permanently. John says that they went out because they never were a part of us. If someone walks an aisle, or says some words, but they do not persevere in their faith, and then later turns their back on Christianity, they does not mean they lost their salvation; if they never return that means they never were saved in the first place.
Here are three cases I know personally that I think it does NOT refer to.
1. One college Christian girl I knew, for a period of months told God she wanted nothing to do with him and asked the Holy Spirit to get out of her life. She still believed, intellectually, but she was willfully disobedient. Later she repented, and returned to the faith. She said that that Hebrews 6:6 was especially scary for her. However, she did repent though. Perhaps God graciously was convicting her by bringing to mind that verse, and almost asking "Is that your final answer". A person who has run afoul of Hebrews 6:6 will not ever repent, and will not want to ever repent.
2. There was a pastor of a small church I knew who said that he was a pastor seven years before he was truly saved. After he was saved, he continued on being a pastor. This is not a case of falling away, but of someone who was never saved in the first place.
3. When I was a [Christian] teenager mowing a lawn, this Christian lady came out and we started talking. She said that her son had moved away to California to be with his live-in girlfriend. But she was sure that he was still saved though, because he had made a confession of faith in the church. I do not think she had any basis at all for her confidence. Paul the apostle tells us to examine ourselves and see if we are really in the faith in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6. Maybe he was never saved, but could be saved in the future. Maybe he knew so much about salvation and turned his back on it, and Hebrews 6:6 applies to him. Maybe he was genuinely saved before, he fell away into sin, but since he is genuinely saved he will return. We cannot say. Paul commanded the Corinthians to excommunicate an immoral brother in the church in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. However, 2 Cor 5:5 shows that Paul still had hope that after this discipline, the brother might be saved. We think that 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 refers to the same brother, and that he did return.
Conclusion on this: We have to make a distinction between a believer who has drifted away into gross sin, and someone who has denied the faith and turned to something else. But whether their denying the faith is permanent, they might get saved in the future, or they are a saved person who is fallen and will return, we have to leave in God's hands to judge.
What should be our attitude towards someone else who has drifted away? It should NOT be complacency saying "don't worry, they are saved anyway." It also should not be writing them off, as they will never come back. Jude 23 says, "save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh." (uNASB). Now the end of Jude 23 implies these people were doing some pretty gross things, but they could still be saved.
James 5:19-20 says, "My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (uNASB)
2) Can a genuine Christian lose their salvation
This can be thought of as three sub-issues:
a) Can someone whom God knows [with certainty] is one of the elect going to heaven, catch by surprise the all-knowing God and not go to heaven?
b) Can a person have confidence that they are saved, and be sadly, and permanently wrong?
c) Can a person have a valid confidence that they are going to Heaven, and yet change and not make it?
The answer to the first question, when it is phrased that way, is obvious: no.
The answer to the second question is yes, because Matthew 7:21-23 shows us
The answer to the third question is no, but it is not because they have the strength to keep in the faith, but because God has the strength to seal and preserve us in the faith, as Ephesians 1:13-14 shows. However, we must balance the doctrine of once-saved-always-saved with the doctrine that true saints will persevere in the faith. We DO have the responsibility to examine yourselves, as well as our leaders, and see that we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5-7).
By the way, a written debate on person on once-saved-always-saved vs. a person can lose their salvation every time they sin is at

Q: In Heb 6:4-12, can people can lose their salvation?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this issue, but all should be able to agree on the following points.
1. God is never surprised. Before anyone was born, God knew for certain all who would go to Heaven. (Revelation 20:12,15; 17:8; Psalm 139:16)
2. Some people will be surprised at the judgment. (Matthew 7:21-23)
3. We can have confidence in our salvation. (1 John 5:13; Hebrews 4:16; 10:35; Acts 8:13,20-23)
4. Our rightful confidence should not turn into complacency. Christians can lose rewards in Heaven, and Philippians 2:12-13 shows that (after being saved) the outworking of our salvation should be with fear and trembling. Praise God that it is He that is working in us.
5. There is such as thing a counterfeit conversion. (1 John 2:19; Jeremiah 17:10; James 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; 2 Peter 2:17-22)
6. We can know if our salvation is genuine by testing ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5-6), in other words, by comparing our doctrine and life with scripture.
7. We are given the responsibility to persevere. (Hebrews 6:11; 10:36; James 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:3; 4:5)
8. The Holy Spirit has sealed genuine believers until the Day of Judgment. (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Jude 24; 1 Timothy 1:14). The Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5). See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.191-193, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.419-421, and Now That’s a Good Question p.115-117 for complementary answers. See also the discussion on Ephesians 1:14 for more info.

Q: What does Heb 6:4-12 mean about not being able to repent to salvation anymore?
A: There are at least six views.
1. Believer’s loss of salvation: Christians who teach that believers can lose their salvation would interpret this passage to mean that once salvation is lost, it can never be regained. While I have heard someone teach this means it is difficult to regain salvation, that is not what the word "impossible" means. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.681-683 for more on this view.
2. A believer giving salvation back: David O’Brien in Today’s Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.307-310 says that a believer can never "misplace" their salvation, meaning no believer can sin so bad that that, unknown to them, their salvation is lost. Our staying saved is not maintained by works, just as our getting saved is not by works. However, a genuine believer could consciously choose to "give back" their salvation to God. Then, they would be like those who knew the truth, and crucified Jesus. They will be going to Hell. O’Brien interprets "impossible" to mean impossible for the person, but not impossible for God.
3. The unpardonable sin. Jesus spoke of the unpardonable sin in Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30, and Luke 12:10-11. One writer of the New Geneva Study Bible p.1567 (The Unpardonable Sin article) believe that Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-29, and 1 John 5:16-17 also refer to the unpardonable sin.
4. Nonbeliever’s loss of opportunity for salvation: There is no way to be saved apart from Jesus’ death and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If a person rejects (without repentance) coming to God through Jesus (John 8:24) or blasphemes the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29), they will never go to Heaven. People can see and taste, but not swallow.
5. Hypothetical ad hominem: If salvation could be lost, then it could never be regained. But since salvation cannot be lost, these severe words are just an explanation, not a warning. R.C. Sproul in Now That’s a Good Question p.592-594 takes this view, though he is not dogmatic about this. Curiously, the New Geneva Study Bible p.1941 mentions various views but not this one.
6. Christian’s being disqualified for further service: A fallen-away Christian would not have the good witness to be of further service in this life, and of losing their glory in the millennium. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.794 takes this view.
See When Critics Ask p.514-515 for more info on the different views

 2008/9/19 2:10Profile

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