Eternal Security vs. Forfeiting Salvation

Shalom! This paper came about from a meeting I had with a brother of mine concerning eternal security. My friend believes that believers can lose their salvation. He prefers to say that we can forfeit our salvation. So I asked him to show me all his proof from the Bible. We met and he gave me many verses that he believes proves how believers can forfeit our salvation. Instead of just responding in a negative way because of my belief in eternal security, the Lord led me to study and analyze each of his proof texts. With an open mind, I allowed the Lord to show me what the Scripture has to teach. The following paper is what I found. There are a total of 29 pages of notes. Feel free to read the whole article or use it as a reference tool. All Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The Scriptures covered in this paper are in this order: 2 Pet. 2:20; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; Luke 12:35-37, 46; John 15:1-8; 1 Cor. 9:27; Matt. 10:22, 32-33; Matt. 24:13; Luke 8:13-15; Heb. 6:1-12; Heb. 10:29; Heb. 10:39; Eph. 5:5-6; Rom. 2:7-8; James 1:15; Rev. 3:5.

The analyzed verses are found in bold print and underlined. The first paragraph after each proof text is my friend’s remarks concerning each set of Scripture. It needs to be understood that my friend gave a short overview of his beliefs and not a detailed version. After my friend’s remarks are my notes. As you read you will notice that most of my research in this paper is based on the context of the Scriptures. In Bible College, the professors teach the 3 most important techniques of understanding Scripture. They are context, context and more context! I believe you get the point! Some of the research is based on Greek word studies and Greek grammar. Knowing what the original languages (Hebrew & Greek) meant when they were written is paramount in analyzing the Scripture. Other research is based on the old adage that Scripture interprets Scripture. Some Scripture is difficult to understand, but most times there are other Scriptures that help to interpret. No Scripture standing on its own should be used for doctrine!

Please feel free to contact me ( with any comments. For further information on this topic please consult with Charles Halff’s “Eternal Security, True or False?” He does a great job covering 19 reasons to believe in eternal security and deals with many of the objections to eternal security. You can order the booklet at our bookstore online at

2 Pet. 2:20

20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

Forfeiting Salvation

“Knowledge” of the Lord is seen by the forfeiting salvation group as “proving salvation.” Therefore these people had salvation and have forfeited it. They were able to escape the world through salvation and then they lost it because their last state is worse than their first state.

Eternal Security

The context of 2 Peter 2 concerns false teachers who visit congregations and “secretly introduce destructive heresies even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Pet. 2:1). It seems clear to me that these false teachers are not saved because they have denied Jesus. God knows how to judge them and God knows how to rescue the godly from these evil people’s temptations (V.2-9). The theme of the chapter is to warn and help the godly against these evil ones. The evil ones are full of adultery and never cease from sin (V.14). They promise freedom but are enslaved themselves (V.19).

Furthermore, in V.20, the word “if” (ei) causes a form of doubt. This doubt is caused when an assumption is being made about something that has not actually taken place (Complete Biblical Library (CBL) Dictionary (Dict.), Vol. 12, 238). We are not sure that the false teachers have escaped the defilements of the world. But even if they have, it is only a temporary situation since they are again entangled in them. This simple analysis by itself throws doubt not only on whether the false teachers have escaped defilement but also on whether they were saved in the first place. Coupled with the facts of V.1, there is no doubt that these false teachers are not saved!

“Knowledge” (epignosis) means “knowledge, recognition & consciousness” (CBL Dict., Vol. 12, 526). Knowledge of the truth can most certainly mean “salvation” like in 1 Tim. 2:4 where all men need “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Here it is very obvious that “knowledge of the truth” is equal to salvation. However “knowledge” does not always mean “salvation”. For example, in Rom. 3:20 we see “…for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Here salvation is very clearly not the context but recognition or becoming aware of sin by keeping the Law is the theme.

Now let’s look at V.20. If these false teachers are able to escape the defilement of the world it is only temporary for “they are again entangled in them and are overcome.” They are not “overcomers” but are overcome with sin. Rev. 3:5 says that believers are “overcomers” and these false teachers are definitely not “overcomers!” They might have some victory over sin by following the commands of Scripture but it is short lived for they go back to their evil ways. This is not talking of salvation but how the false teachers are able to escape defilement. If the theme was their salvation then the phrase “the last state has become worse for them than the first” does not make sense in this context. Instead it means that their last state of greater defilement is worse than their first state of defilement. They have greatly added more sin and defilement to their lives and will be judged worse than before. It is like they are stomping on the blood of Jesus even more since they know about the truth of how the gospel can save them and have snubbed their noses at it.

If this context is about salvation then V.21 makes no sense at all. It would be better for them not to have been saved and lose their salvation than not know how to be saved at all! This does not make any sense! Isn’t it better to know how to be saved and then lose your salvation so that if you want to get saved again then you would be able to do it (assuming this were possible to do)! It is better to understand V.21 as saying that it would be better for the evil ones not to have known the truth of the gospel at all rather than having known it so well and turned away from it. They will be judged more harshly by God for knowing and turning away from the gospel than for not knowing the gospel at all. Their sins are greater in the later state than in the first state!

V.22 shows that the judgment of the false teachers is just like a dog returning to its vomit or a pig after being cleansed returns to the mud. A false teacher will still teach false heresies despite how much knowledge they know about the Scriptures and Yeshua. They will continue to go back to their sin just like the dog and the pig. The word “washing” here refers to the pig getting physically cleansed by its owner and then getting muddy all over again. The comparison is not with the false teacher receiving a spiritual cleansing of salvation – believing this is a dramatic stretch of Scripture.

2 Tim. 3:7 tells us that evil men who are lovers of self, money and haters of good are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Even when they read it for themselves, they still are unable to get saved because they do not want it! The false teachers in 2 Pet. 2 are the same as the evil men of 2 Tim. 3.

2 Pet. 3:15-16

15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,

16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Forfeiting Salvation

False teachers turn the grace of God into licentiousness. America’s current seeker-friendly movement is doing the same thing. This position connects false teachers with the current seeker-friendly movement and believes they have forfeited their salvation. In addition, the “untaught” and “unstable” of this Scripture are believers who also have forfeited their salvation.

Eternal Security

The context of 2 Peter has not changed from Chapter 2 to Chapter 3. There is no indication that the false teachers of Chap. 2 are not the contrasting force the Messianic Jewish believers need to stay away from in Chap. 3. 3:1-7 discusses the mockers who mock Christians and follow after their own lusts. These are most certainly non-believers. Then in V.16 we see “the untaught and unstable distort [Paul’s letters], as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Since the context of false teachers & mockers has not changed it is better to believe these 2 new titles are for non-believers than for believers. These same people are called in V.17 “unprincipled men” who teach error. These undoubtedly are the same Legalizers (that Paul writes about) traveling from city to city disturbing the new believers with their false teaching about the Law.

The men spoken of in V.17 are “unprincipled” (athesmos) which means “lawless.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 11, 94) Athesmos is only used one other time in the New Covenant Scriptures and it is found in 2 Pet. 2:7. Here the word is used to describe the lawless and wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah! I do not think any believer would think these wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah were believers! Athesmos is describing non-believers and not believers! This is consistent with the context of 2 Pet. and so 2 Pet. 3:15-17 are discussing non-believers who will cause their own “destruction.” “Destruction” (apoleia) is the same Greek word studied in Heb. 10:39 (at the end of this study). It means an “eternal destruction and damnation.” This is the wrath of God poured out on the evil and wicked non-believers of this world.

In summary, there is no reason to believe the untaught and unstable are believers who have forfeited their salvation. There is no indication that the context has changed and thus the unstable and untaught continue to be the false teachers of Chap. 2 who have not received salvation.

Luke 12:35-37, 46

35"Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.

36"Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.

37"Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

46the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

Forfeiting Salvation

The position states that the slave who is not alert and ready has a license to sin and therefore forfeits salvation because they are additionally sent to the place of unbelievers which is hell.

Eternal Security

In V.35-48, Yeshua is addressing his disciples and truly all believers by encouraging them to be ready and waiting servants for their Master to return. Does this mean they just sit around and do nothing while they wait? No, God forbid! In V. 42, Jesus encourages them to be “faithful and sensible” stewards. He then gives 2 kinds of slave examples: one who is faithful and sensible and one who is unfaithful and foolish. The faithful servant will be blessed and his master will increase his responsibilities (and most likely bless him with other gifts as well). The servant who is unfaithful and who does evil things to the other servants will be judged harshly by the master (V.45-46). The strong lesson here is that the unfaithful will die and be placed with the unbelievers in hell. The question is then, “Are these unfaithful servants believers or non-believers!”

I believe the unfaithful in this example not only are doing evil things but are evil themselves. Yeshua is encouraging his disciples and believers to be faithful like good servants are to their masters and not be like the evil servants are to their masters. The good servants represent the saved and the evil servants represent the unsaved. Matthew writes concerning the same teaching that Jesus gave to His disciples here. In Matt. 24:45-51, we see the same 2 kinds of slaves except here the unfaithful slave is called an “evil slave” (V.48)! If Jesus calls him evil then he must be evil and not saved. So it makes sense that the evil slave who does evil will be severely judged and sent to hell just as Luke states. Therefore, it is concluded this passage is not discussing believers able to forfeit salvation but Yeshua encouraging all believers (strong and weak) to be like the good servant who is faithful and ready for His return and not like the evil servant who will be judged for his evil! There is nothing here written about losing salvation at all.

John 15:1-8

1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

8"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Forfeiting Salvation

V.6 is key in believing one can forfeit salvation. “Abide” means to remain and stay in the branch. If believers do not remain or abide in Yeshua then they forfeit salvation.

Eternal Security

In reading this section of Scripture the theme of bearing fruit shines through. In V.1-2 we find that Yeshua is the vine and believers are the branches. If branches do not bear fruit then He takes them away. Jesus taught using common every day examples that all the Jewish people of His day could understand. Here, He speaks of farming the vineyard of grapes. Any branch on the vine that does not bear fruit is pretty much worthless and useless and is usually cut off. So what does “bear fruit” mean? “Fruit” (karpos) means the literal produce of a tree. However, it also means in the spiritual sense “performing good deeds in the Spirit.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 13, 240) Nowhere in the Scripture does “bearing fruit” ever refer to salvation. However, in this section of Scripture the spiritual meaning of sanctification is used by Jesus.

The branch that bears much fruit is pruned so that it can bear more fruit. “Pruned” (kathairo) means “cleanse, prune.” Here with our context of bearing fruit it obviously means “to prune.” Yeshua says when a believer performs a good deed in the Spirit; He receives that good deed from us, tallies it to our heavenly account and prepares us for more good works.

In V.3, Yeshua declares His audience already “clean.” He is specifically talking with His talmidim (disciples) at His last Passover Seder. The Seder starts in Chap. 13 and runs all the way through Chap. 18:1. Being “clean” is a theme of Passover as we saw Jesus clean the feet of the Apostles. He also pronounced all of them to be “clean” in 13:10 except for Judas. Now He cleans or prunes their fruit so that they can produce some more. Then He proclaims once again that they are clean!

So as cleansed believers of Jesus, we should “abide” in Him (V.4). “Abide” (meno) means “remain, stay, stand fast, dwell, abide, and continue” among other meanings as well (CBL Dict., Vol. 14, 149-151). “Abide” is found to be in the imperative mood which means it is a command or exhortation from the Lord. It suggests that we can either abide in Him or not abide in Him. Paul encourages all believers to stay in the Spirit so that we would have the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives. When believers walk by the Spirit then they will have much fruit of the Spirit to be pruned by the Lord. This is obviously a sanctification issue rather than a salvation issue. Unless we remain in Jesus, in other words “stay in the Spirit,” then we will not be able to produce good deeds worthy of the Lord. V.5 strengthens this position where Yeshua even says that if we do not remain with Him then we can “do nothing” at all. No good deeds are truly good deeds unless we abide in Yeshua while performing them!

In V.6, Yeshua refers back to His vineyard example. The farmer cuts off the worthless branches of the vineyard and uses them for firewood. The believer who does not abide in Yeshua is “thrown away as a branch” that is dried up and burns in the fire. “As” shows a simile and is not to be taken literally. The Scripture does not say these non-abiding believers are the dried up worthless branches ready to be burned in hell! No, the non-abiding believers are like the dried up worthless un-producing branches that will be burned up. This is a major difference that needs to be taken into consideration.

“Thrown” (ballo) means to “throw or cast.” “Away” (exo) means “out, outside, or without.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 11, 522-525; CBL Dict., Vol. 12, 485-486) So “thrown away” means to “throw out or cast out.” But what is Yeshua casting believers out of? Although this set of Scripture does not tell us specifically, there is no indication at all that it talking of being thrown out of the family of salvation and thrown to hell. I believe the answer is obvious since the theme is sanctification rather than salvation. Rather than believing He is casting believers to hell, it is more prudent to believe that He is casting out believers, who do not stay abiding in Him, out of His presence/fellowship. If believers do not desire to abide or stay with Yeshua then He is a gentleman in that He will allow them to go their own direction. However, He will have the Holy Spirit convict them as they go their way. But they will not benefit from the presence of Yeshua nor His sanctification process.

V.8 is a key in understanding this passage. The reason to “bear much fruit” is not to secure our salvation but to glorify the Father and prove to be Yeshua’s disciples. The major goal of our lives is to show ourselves as approved mature believers in Yeshua so that we can be witnesses to the world and ultimately glorify God.

1 Cor. 9:27

27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Forfeiting Salvation

“Disqualified” is key to knowing that one can forfeit their salvation. Here “disqualified” is believed to mean “to be disqualified from salvation.” 10:6 and 10:11 are warnings for us so that we do not follow the first generation Jewish people’s example of forfeiting salvation.

Eternal Security

The context of Chap. 9 concerns Paul’s defense of preachers’ receiving material/financial support presumably to keep them full time in the field. In V.15, Paul even proclaims that he is not writing to gain financial support from the Corinthians. He then discusses the rewards he would receive as a voluntary preacher not obligated to preach the gospel because he was receiving direct support for preaching.

In V.19-23 Paul shows exactly how he works as a preacher. He is a slave to all men so that he could win some to the Lord. He became as a Jew to win Jews to the Lord. He became weak to the weak so that some of the weak would be saved. Ultimately, he does all things to further the gospel message. If that means he is not to ask for financial support from believers, then so be it. Can he ask? Most certainly! But if this request causes believers to stumble, then he will retract it. Paul does not want anything to get in the way of his preaching of the gospel. He believes that he needs to scrutinize his presentation of the gospel and his own witness/life to conform to the truth of the gospel so that some could be saved. If anything he says or does causes non-believers to stumble, then woe be Paul!

So now in V.24-27, Paul encourages the Corinthians to run their own lives like he does. They are to “run in such a way that you may win” the race of life (V.24). The example used is one of the Olympic races. All the runners in the race compete to win. They don’t train all their lives to run the race for fun or to come in last place. They run to win the prize! We too should run the race of the spiritual life (which includes preaching the gospel) to win the imperishable spiritual prizes (the eternal rewards of the Lord given to faithful and obedient believers) (V.25). In V.26, Paul says he lives his spiritual life with an aim or goal (to please the Lord). He exercises self control in all aspects of his life and buffets his body to make it conform to his spiritual aspirations (V. 25, 26). These words are not words of salvation but words of sanctification. He is trying to please the Lord by doing all he can in his life to conform to the image of Messiah and fulfill his calling of preaching the gospel message to the world. Paul’s great desire was to fulfill God’s calling/ministry and run the spiritual race of life so that he would not be “disqualified.”

“Disqualified” (adokimos) means “rejected, depraved, disqualified, unworthy, and useless.” It means being proven false, worthless, or useless as a result of a test. (CBL Dict., Vol. 11, 84-85) So what did Paul fear he would be disqualified from? The context shows being disqualified from the spiritual race of life! This would obviously include his calling and ministry of preaching the gospel. If his life was not in spiritual order then his ministry would most certainly be affected in a great way and would become disqualified, unworthy and useless to the Lord. Once again this set of Scripture is not talking about forfeiting salvation but of forfeiting ministry and the spiritual life of sanctification.

Where do 1 Corin. 10:6 and 10:11 come into play? The examples spoken of in V.6 are God’s miracles performed for Moses and the Jewish people. It states “that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.” Even though the Jewish people experienced God’s miraculous dealings with them, they still yearned to do evil against Him. Paul here is encouraging the Corinthians and us to not fall into the same trap of sin that can so easily entangle us (Heb. 12:1). Heb. 12:1, in addition, encourages us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” This sin in our lives is what gets us into trouble with the Lord and causes us not to run the race of the spiritual life with endurance. Once again there is no mention of forfeiting salvation and ending up in hell, just the fact of not craving to do evil.

10:11 clarifies this issue more clearly. God’s miracles performed for Israel were written down “for our instruction.” We are to take the teaching of the Lord and make application to our lives so that we can endure to the end. Thus, we can be life-long worthy ministers of the Lord. V.12 warns the prideful (“him who thinks he stands”) because their sin will cause them to fall. Then in V.13, we find that God is faithful and He will provide the way out of every temptation that comes our way so that we shall endure. This encouragement of endurance is not that we endure so we can stay saved, but we endure that we have triumph and victory over temptation and sin! This issue is about sanctification and not salvation!

Matt. 10:22, 32-33

22"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

32"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

33"But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

Forfeiting Salvation

These verses state that all believers need to endure to be saved. “Saved” (sozo) means “to be saved from sin and hell.” Therefore, if believers do not endure to the end then they cannot be saved. Also, if believers deny Jesus then Jesus will deny them salvation!

Eternal Security

The key in understanding V.22 is the word “saved.” Does the word “saved” always mean “saved from sin and hell?” The answer is unequivocally “No!” “Saved” (sozo) has many different meanings: “saved, keep safe, preserve, rescue and make well.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 16, 227-230) The context dictates the correct definition to use. In V.16-21 we see Yeshua sending out His disciples to the wolves of the world to preach the gospel. He warns them of the possible deliverance to the courts for scourging (V.17) but that they should take comfort in the fact that the Holy Spirit is with them and will speak for them (V.19-20). V.21 declares that people will even deliver up their own family members to death because of Jesus! Then in V.22, Yeshua tells His talmidim (disciples) that they will be hated by everyone but it is “the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” V.23 continues this theme of hatred and being delivered up to the courts when Yeshua tells them they will be “persecuted.

Within this theme of being hated and persecuted it is easy to see that the “saved” in question refers to being delivered and preserved or rescued from this inevitable persecution rather than being saved from sin or hell. If they can endure through the persecution, Yeshua will eventually deliver them from it. History bears this out to be truth. To think that the “saved” here is talking about salvation from sin and hell is not taking the context into question and arbitrarily assigning a perceived meaning.

V.26 and V.31 show us Yeshua’s encouragement of His disciples by telling them not to fear this violence that will be done against them. So when they go out preaching the gospel, even though they will be persecuted for it, they are not to fear the world. But rather they should be bold and “confess” Jesus before men and not shrink away from them. If they confess Him then Jesus will confess them before the Father. This is a wonderful reward for preaching the gospel to the world! But then in V.33, Jesus says that whoever “shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before My Father…”

The proponents of forfeiting salvation say that denying Jesus causes Jesus to deny us our salvation before the Father. However, this section of Scripture does not mention denial of salvation. So what is being denied? CBL Dict., Vol. 11, 434 states,

“The New Testament is most concerned with someone denying Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:33; Mark 14:31; Luke 12:9; John 13:38; Acts 3:13; 2 Tim. 2:12, etc). In every instance to deny Him means to reject or to denounce association with Him. Renunciation is therefore actually a denial of discipleship… Nevertheless, the denial of Jesus Christ is not an unforgivable sin… Peter denied Jesus, but God fully forgave him and restored him totally.”

If the denial is one of association with Jesus or one of discipleship, (both would involve sanctification) then we would expect a loss of rewards to occur rather than a loss of salvation. Well, in V.40-42, we see a discussion of rewards which is, of course, in the same encouraging dissertation of Yeshua to His disciples. In V.41, those who receive a prophet or a righteous man will receive rewards. In V.42, the one who even gives a drink of water to a little one will not lose his reward! Therefore, if we go about doing the will of the Lord such as preaching the gospel message without fearing the consequences of persecution then we will receive great rewards from the Lord. But if we shy away and deny Jesus and even tell people we are not associated with Jesus then we will not lose our salvation but we shall lose our rewards! Rewards and enduring through persecution are the context of this chapter and not salvation!

Matt. 24:13

13"But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Forfeiting Salvation

The position here is the same as for Matt. 10:22. This verse states that all believers need to endure to be saved. “Saved” (sozo) means “to be saved from sin and hell.” Therefore, if believers do not endure to the end then they cannot be saved.

Eternal Security

Once again the answer lies with the definition of “saved” (sozo) and the context of the passage. “Saved” (sozo) has many different meanings: “saved, keep safe, preserve, rescue and make well.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 16, 227-230) The context dictates the correct definition to use. Horrible events will take place in the world during the Tribulation Period. V.6-7 tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes. Believers of Jesus will be hated and delivered up to tribulation and some will even face death (V.9). Many believers will fall away because of this horror, false prophets will arise and most people’s love will grow cold (V.10-12).

Within all this desolation, believers are encouraged to continue on living the holy life with endurance. Amongst all the persecution, believers who physically make it and endure to the end of the Tribulation Period will be delivered from all the persecution and craziness of the world. How will this happen? In Yeshua’s Second Coming, He will rescue and deliver all the believers who make it through the Tribulation Period alive! These believers are the ones He comes back for!

In addition, Luke 21:19 is a parallel passage that helps to determine the understanding of “saved.” Luke 21:19 states, “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” Clearly by enduring through the Tribulation Period and not falling away from the faith, believers will gain their lives by being delivered and rescued from the evil ones. Yeshua, of course, is the one who will ultimately do this at the Second Coming.

Therefore, “saved” here means “being delivered or rescued” and not “saved from sin and death.” Thus the idea of forfeiting salvation is not considered because the topic is not even brought up.

Luke 8:13-15

13"Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

14"The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

15"But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Forfeiting Salvation

V.13 reveals believers can “fall away.” The same Greek word for “believe” (pistis) is used in V.12 which clearly discusses believing for salvation. Therefore, V.13 shows believers can “fall away.” What do they fall away from? They fall away from salvation.

Eternal Security

Luke 8:9-15 is where Yeshua explains the Parable of the Sower. To use this Scripture as a proof text for believers losing or forfeiting salvation is rather unreasonable. This section of Scripture is already hotly debated in Christendom. Some believe those in V.13 are not true believers because they have fallen away and others believe those in V.13 are spiritually weak believers because they have “believed” but have no root. Adding another issue of whether they can lose salvation or not just confounds the dilemma!

However, we still need to analyze the Scripture. In V.13 they “believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.” “Believe” (pistis) is found to be in the present tense which shows the action of believing is a continuous one in the present. A major issue is brought to the surface when temptation comes their way. In times of temptation they “fall away.” Assuming these are believers, then they would be considered “weak” believers because they are not relying on the Word of God or their newfound faith in Jesus to get them through the temptation to victory but are faltering.

“Fall away” (aphistemi) has many meanings including the main two: depart and fall away (CBL, Dict., Vol. 11, 505-506). Aphistemi is also found in the present tense revealing a continuous falling away when the present temptation occurs. This implies that the person is a believer and continues to believe when everything in life is great but when temptation occurs they are weak and fall away. The question that needs answering is, “What are they falling away from?” Is the answer “salvation” or something else?

There are two other Scriptures that (aphistemi) is used to mean “fall away.” In 1 Tim. 4:1, some believers in later times will “…fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…” These believers of Jesus are falling away from the faith because they are listening and believing in different doctrines than what the Bible teaches. The issue here is not one of falling away from salvation, but a sanctification issue in that these believers are falling away from the faith and are not faithful in their walk with the Lord!

In Heb. 3:12-13, believers are able to have an evil, unbelieving heart in falling away from the living God! Here it does not say they are falling away from salvation but falling away from God! In V.13 they are told to encourage one another to be faithful. If they have lost their salvation then how can they encourage each other to be faithful?! They obviously cannot and therefore this verse is not talking about losing salvation but of staying in the faith as a mature believer. V.13 continues with a warning to the believer not be “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” The idea here is one of sanctification and not salvation. The issue is becoming a hardened believer of God by the continuous process of thinking your sin is okay!

Therefore, “aphistemi” is used other times in the Bible to mean “falling away from God” and “falling away from faith” but it is not used to mean “falling away from salvation.” “Falling away from God or the faith” does not mean falling away from salvation. “Falling away from God or the faith” means believers are falling away from being faithful to God and they are in need of endurance. “Falling away from salvation” would mean believers could lose or forfeit salvation. However, the problem for the Forfeiting Salvation group is that this phrase, “falling away from salvation” is never used in the Bible!

Based on all of this evidence, I believe Luke 8:13 is discussing believers who are following the Lord when all is great in their life and when temptation occurs they fall away from being faithful. They are obviously very weak believers and in need of discipleship but they are not falling away from salvation here. The issue here is a sanctification issue and not a salvation issue!

Heb. 6:1-12

1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

3And this we will do, if God permits.

4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,

5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;

8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

9But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

10For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

11And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

12so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Forfeiting Salvation

“Fallen away” in V.6 means “forfeiting salvation.” In addition, “crucify” is found to be in the present tense. This shows that in their current state of sinning they can not repent. But in the future they can!

Eternal Security

Although Chapter 6 is a controversial chapter with many differing interpretations, I believe it is clear that the writer is discussing sanctification and not salvation. 5:11-14 begin to set up this topic of sanctification. It states that the Messianic Jews should be teachers by this time in their walk with the Lord. But they are not and are in need of reading the Word, becoming mature and discerning good and evil.

Then in 6:1, the writer encourages these Messianic Jews to go beyond the basic teachings of Messianic Judaism and press onward to maturity. His desire is not to continue teaching them the “foundation of repentance from dead works.” The writer has already declared that these Messianic Jewish believers should be teachers by now but they have need of becoming mature in 5:11-14. He does not want to have to write and encourage them again in this matter but he will if he has to! But what is “repentance from dead works?” These are the works that were performed by the Jewish people who thought they were performing good works to earn the right to salvation. 9:14 states the blood of Jesus cleansed them from performing these types of dead works so that they could serve the living God. Paul states in Rom. 10:2-3 that the Jewish people have a zeal for God but were seeking to create their own righteousness.

How were they doing this? By performing good deeds for salvation that God sees as “dead works” because these works are not performed in faith in the Lord or in love for the Lord! Therefore, this statement alone reveals the writer of Hebrews is writing about maturity in the Lord and not about “repentance from dead works and faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1). This statement also helps to show the context of Messianic Jewish believers falling back to a system of worship that includes animal sacrifices for sin and performance of good works for salvation.

In V.3, he even states that we shall do this if God permits. The writer of Hebrews is very clear that the topic of study from V.4 onward is going to be about sanctification and growing to maturity & not salvation!

In V.4-6, the focus of the subject shifts from “we” to “those”. The writer is now talking about “those” people. Before we continue it is good to know who are the recipients of this letter to the Hebrews and to what purpose is it written. This book was written to the Messianic Jewish believers of Jerusalem probably sometime in the 60’s A.D. The purpose is to encourage these Messianic Jewish believers to follow the new and living way of Yeshua by faith rather than turn back to the Old Covenant system of worship through animal sacrifices.

In this new system of worship, sins could not be forgiven by the blood of bulls and goats (10:4). Since there was forgiveness in the new system because of Yeshua’s blood, there was no longer a need for animal sacrifice for sin (10:18). 10:26 tells us there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins because Jesus did this once for all so if we continue in sin by using this old system then there is only a terrifying expectation of God’s judgment! 10:32-34 shows us that these believers endured persecutions, showed sympathy to the prisoners and lost properties all for the cause of Messiah. However, through time they lost their confidence and endurance (V.35-36) and were in need of regaining them. Obviously this loss of confidence and endurance occurred over time. In 13:20-22, the writer of the book prays for these believers that God would equip them for every good deed to do His will. As he calls them “brethren,” he asks them to bear with his exhortation. So what was happening to these Messianic Jews?

Some were drifting away from the Word and neglecting their newly found salvation (2:1-3) by going back to this Old Covenant (O.C.) system. Some were falling away from God and allowing their hearts to be turned toward evil and faithlessness – they were being hardened by their sin of going back to this O.C. system (3:12-13). Some lacked diligence, lost their assurance and hope and became sluggish (6:11-12). All of this occurred because they went back to their Jewish heritage of the O.C. system of worship. For whatever reason, they believed it was absolutely important to incorporate Yeshua into the Jewish old system of worship instead of incorporating themselves in Yeshua’s new system of worship. Herein lies the major theme of the book of Hebrews. Now let’s pick up where we left off at 6:4.

The “those” of 6:4 are those Messianic Jewish believers who have left the Jerusalem congregation (10:25) and have gone back to the O.C. system of worshiping God through animal sacrifices in the Temple. They are believers because they “have been enlightened” (photizo). Photizo means “give light to, bring to light, reveal, enlighten, etc.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 16, 476-477) Just as important is the fact that photizo is found to be in the aorist tense and passive voice. The aorist tense shows the action of being enlightened is in the past and the passive voice shows these believers did not perform the enlightening action themselves but received it from the Lord! This is significant to show the “those” are true believers.

These Messianic Jewish believers also “have tasted” of the heavenly gift. “Have tasted” (geuo) means to “taste, eat, enjoy and experience.” Geuo is used literally and metaphorically in the Bible. Here in V.4 it is easy to see the metaphorical use of personally “experiencing” something. So these Messianic Jewish believers have personally experienced the heavenly gift that God gave them. To confirm this analysis, geuo is found to be in the middle voice. This means the subject is performing the action in reference to themselves. So these believers have performed the action of personally experiencing the heavenly gift of salvation. They have obviously been walking with the Lord and experienced the benefits of this walk.

Finally, these Messianic Jewish believers “have been made partakers” of the Holy Spirit. “Have been made” is found to be in the aorist tense and passive voice. The aorist tense shows action in the past and the passive voice reveals they are the receiver of the action of “being made.” They did not perform this action but God did! They were made “partakers” of the Holy Spirit by the Lord Himself. “Partakers” (metochos) means “partaking, sharing, participating, a partner and a companion.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 14, 180-181) If a person partakes, shares or participates in the Holy Spirit while the action is performed by God, then this certainly shows that “those” of V.4-6 are believers in Messiah and have received the Holy Spirit. There should not be any doubt about this.

V.5 shows these believers “have tasted” the good word of God and His powers. “Have tasted” (geuo) is the same word found in V.4. It is the same word used in Heb. 2:9 where Jesus tasted death for everyone. He experienced death for all people so that we would not have to experience spiritual death! Geuo is found to be in the aorist tense and passive voice. So once again these Messianic Jewish believers passively received this experience of God’s word and His powers sometime in the past. The problem that these believers have is that they “have fallen away.”

V.6 shows these believers “have fallen away” (parapipto). In Classical Greek, parapipto means “to fall beside, missing or being led away. At times it is used of a person making a mistake or becoming lost. In the Septuagint it is used to mean “fail, be guilty, and it conveys the idea of sinning against God by going astray, acting unfaithfully, or acting treacherously. The NT usage of parapipto only occurs in Heb. 6:6 and here the classical meaning of falling away is combined with the idea of willfully sinning against God.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 15, 74)

It is interesting to note that this exact idea is stated a similar way in Heb. 10:26, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…” The Jewish roots of this verse are the same. The Messianic Jewish believers who go on sinning willfully by going back to the O.C. system of animal sacrifice for sins will not be able to achieve their goal of forgiveness of sins but instead they should have an expectation of judgment from the Lord (10:27)! Thus far, we have Messianic Jewish believers who have willfully sinned against God and have fallen away.

It is interesting to note that the writer of Hebrews did not use apostasia which means “apostasy” but rather chose parapipto for “have fallen away.” I believe if the writer desired to show these believers as apostate then he would have used the appropriate word “apostasia.” But he did not and this is significant. It opens the door wide to a different interpretation than believers falling away from salvation.

What did these Messianic Jewish believers fall away from if it was not salvation? The immediate context of V.5 would suggest they have fallen away from the good word of God and His powers which we already found out revealed that they had a walk with the Lord. So they basically have fallen away from God and their walk with Him. There is another warning concerning “falling away” in Heb. 3:12 that proves this point. It states, “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.” Here it is very clear that these believers have fallen away from God and their walk with the Lord. How have they fallen from God? 3:13 tells us they were deceived and hardened by sin! They did this by turning away from the truth of Yeshua’s once for all sin sacrifice and turning to the O.C. sacrificial worship system in the Temple. They went back to the old system of sacrificing animals for their sin. Why is this so bad? I’ll answer that in a few paragraphs!

V. 6 continues to state that after these Messianic Jewish believers have fallen away, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance…” If this situation was concerned with believers who have fallen from salvation then the question needs to be answered, “Why is it impossible for them to be renewed to repentance again?” (By the way, “renew” (anakainizo) is in the present tense which shows these believers are in a continuous present state of not being able to be renewed to repentance! So the explanation that they can be renewed sometime in the future directly contradicts the Greek grammar here!) Why can they not repent again? Is not our God a God of second chances? Are these believers performing a sin so heinous that they cannot ever repent from it? Are they performing the same unforgivable sin that the Pharisees performed? These are questions that need to be answered by the Forfeiting Salvation group.

If I held the forfeiting salvation viewpoint then I would believe that a person could get saved again at any time. If someone wants to repent and believe and call upon the name of the Lord for salvation then God is there for them and saves them. The Bible is very clear concerning salvation being for anyone who desires to repent! And yet this Scripture states it is impossible for them to be renewed to repentance! Obviously, this presents a dramatic dilemma for the Forfeiting Salvation viewpoint. So how can these believers continue to be stuck in an on-going process of getting saved, forfeiting salvation and getting saved when V.6 shows believers can not to do this! To say they can repent sometime in the future but not at that present time is grasping for straws! This contradicts the part of the verse that states, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.” Impossible means impossible and has no time line!

So what is going on here?! I believe it is impossible to renew these Messianic Jewish believers again to repentance while they continually put themselves under the Levitical system of animal sacrifice in the Temple. Yes, it is impossible to repent while believing the animal sacrifices are forgiving and forgetting sin. If these believers fell back to worshiping in the Temple believing their sin was forgiven through the animal sacrificial system, then it certainly would be impossible for repentance to occur within that system. Why?

10:4 very simply states, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” If they believed the animal sacrifices were taking care of their sin then why would they need Yeshua’s sacrifice? Obviously they wouldn’t! They were obviously convinced by the Legalizers (those who believed it was necessary for all Jews & Gentiles, whether they believed in Yeshua or not, to follow Torah for salvation or sanctification reasons) to go back to the Levitical system in the Temple. These Legalizers are the ones who plagued Shaul’s (Paul’s) ministry from city to city. Once you know the Jewish roots of this letter, it seems the light shines on all the difficult verses to make them more understandable. They also fall into conformity with the rest of the Scriptures.

V.6 ends with this statement that these fallen away Messianic Jewish believers “again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” “Crucify” and “put to open shame” are found to be in the present tense. The present tense shows a continuous action in the present. So these believers are continuously in the present crucifying themselves to Jesus and putting Him to open shame! What kind of sin can believers continuously perform to accomplish this result?

I believe the answer is simple. This answer also answers the prior question “Why is going back to the OC system of sacrificing animals after receiving Yeshua’s sacrifice so bad and so wrong?” These Messianic Jewish believers have fallen back to the O.C. system of worship and performed animal sacrifice for sin. These burnt and sin offerings were symbolic of the Messiah’s sacrifice and pointed to Yeshua’s once for all sacrifice. At one point in their believing life they thought this last statement was true – that Yeshua’s sacrifice forgave and cleansed them of their sins. However, now that they have returned to the animal sacrifice for sin –

it is like a cold slap in Yeshua’s face! The animal sin sacrifice does not take away sin and yet they are now saying that it does! Every time they perform these animal sacrifices for sin they are basically saying that Yeshua’s blood sacrifice was not enough and they need these sacrifices to complete the forgiveness of sin. This is definitely considered crucifying themselves to Yeshua and putting Him to open shame in the Temple!

The example found in V.7-8 is very similar to John 15:1-8. The ground that drinks the rain and brings forth useful vegetation is blessed by God. The ground that is blessed by the Lord is the branches who abide in Messiah. The ground that yields thorns and thistles becomes worthless and useless to the Lord! The ground that is worthless and useless is the branches who do not abide in Messiah! The analogy is obvious.

The useful ground and abiding branching are those believers who are following the Lord in the Spirit. They will be greatly blessed by the Lord! The worthless ground and broken away branches are those believers who have traded the new and living way in Yeshua for another way such as the O.C. sin sacrificial system. These are the believers who put themselves under the Law, have fallen from grace and put themselves under God’s curse (Heb. 6:8; Gal. 3:10, 5:4)!

V.9 continues this theme of sanctification by stating that the writer is concerned with the Messianic Jewish believers and the “things that accompany salvation.” He does not say he is concerned about whether they are saved or not and that they should get saved. No, he states he is concerned with the “things that accompany salvation.” These “things” are sanctification issues!

The writer of Hebrews even mentions that these believers are “still ministering to the saints.” If this is discussing how these believers lost their salvation, then how and why are non-believers still ministering to believers?! Then, the writer encourages them in V.11-12 to be diligent, to realize the full assurance of hope and not to be sluggish, but to be imitators of those who are faithful and patient. How can these supposed non-believers be diligent in their walk with Messiah or have full assurance of hope and be imitators of the faithful?! It is impossible! This sure sounds like the writer is encouraging these Messianic Jewish believers to be mature in their walk with the Lord. It certainly does not sound like he is encouraging them to be saved all over again!

Heb. 10:29

29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Forfeiting Salvation

The sanctified believers forfeit salvation because of their willful sinning.

Eternal Security

The context here is God’s judgment on willful sinning. Again, 10:26 states that there is no longer an animal sacrifice that can take away sins. The only sacrifice is Yeshua’s blood sacrifice. Remember, when the Messianic Jewish believers went back to Temple sacrificing for sins they continued to “crucify themselves to Yeshua and put Him to open shame” (Heb. 6:6). These actions also trampled on the Son of God, regarded His blood as being unclean and insulted the Spirit of grace (V.29). These believers who returned to the O.C. system deserved to be severely punished and “… the Lord will judge His people” (V.30).

V.35 continues the encouragement to refrain from returning to the O.C. system and stay with the New Covenant system. It states that these believers should not throw away their confidence. What is significant is that the Scripture does not say they have thrown away their salvation! However, V.36 does state they need endurance so that they can receive the promised rewards of a job well done! These statements do not concern salvation but do concern sanctification. Once again the context of the Scripture shows the theme of sanctification and not one of salvation.

Heb. 10:39

39But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Forfeiting Salvation

Shrinking back to destruction describes forfeiting salvation.

Eternal Security

The context of Ch. 10 continues as the writer encourages the Messianic Jewish believers to not willfully sin but have confidence and endurance in the Lord. Then in V.37-38, the writer quotes from Hab. 2:3-4. Whenever the N.C. Scripture quotes from the O.C. Scripture we must investigate it. In my comparison of these Scriptures, I find 10:37-38 are not a direct quote of Hab. but an application of the meaning in Hab. 2. The idea in Hab. 2 is that the Lord is coming soon to deliver Israel from her enemies. They need to be patient in the Lord and remember the proud who live by their pride will be judged. But the righteous who live by their faith will obviously be blessed and delivered.

The writer of Hebrews takes this O.C. idea and applies it to his current situation with the Messianic Jews. They are to remember that Yeshua is coming back soon and they are to be patient for Him by living righteously and by faith. The righteous should not shrink back away from God like the “proud” of Habakkuk. God is not pleased with anyone who shrinks away from Him.

V.39 states that “we” (the Messianic Jewish believers in the Congregation) are not of “those” proud evil ones who shrink back to destruction of Hab. 2. The writer of Hebrews confirms that these believers are not like those or any evil ones who shrink back to destruction but they are those who live by faith!

“Shrink back” (hupostole) means “a drawing or shrinking back, to cower, to be timid.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 16, 387). “Destruction” (apoleia) means “destruction, ruin, and waste. This word is mostly used for eternal destruction and eternal damnation. However, there are instances it is used for “ruin and waste.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 11, 416-420) In V.39, apoleia certainly means eternal destruction and damnation. However, the context shows these Messianic Jewish believers are not those who draw back or cower away from the Lord like the evil ones do but they live by faith.

Even if “shrinking back to destruction” means forfeiting salvation (which I believe it does not), the writer of Hebrews states that the Messianic Jewish believers are not of those who do shrink back to destruction!!! How clearer can it be: these believers written about in Heb. 10 did not forfeit their salvation!

Eph. 5:5-6

5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Forfeiting Salvation

The “inheritance in the kingdom” of V.5 shows salvation. Therefore, in V.6 the “sons of disobedience” could be believers who have fallen away from the faith and therefore have forfeited their salvation.

Eternal Security

The context of Eph. 5 begins with the encouragement to be imitators of God and walk in love just like Yeshua loved us (V.1-2). V.3-4 exhort believers to have godly character, godly speech and not be like the world. V.5 tells us that no idolater, no immoral, no impure or covetous man has an “inheritance in the kingdom” or salvation. I think every believer of Jesus would agree that those who are evil folks and they stay evil all their lives without repenting and believing in Jesus will be judged accordingly and not receive salvation or any inheritance from the Lord.

V.6 then confirms that those who continually do these evil things will receive God’s wrath. They are called the “sons of disobedience.” The question is, “Can the ‘sons of disobedience’ include believers who will forfeit their salvation if they continue in these things?’” In Eph. 2:2, “the sons of disobedience” is used to describe our old self or life but not our new way of life. Eph. 2:1-2 states, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” This Scripture is very clear that we believers used to walk in our sins as non-believers being led about by Satan who is the prince of the power of the air. Now that we are believers we no longer have that spirit of Satan. However, the “sons of disobedience” still have the spirit of Satan working in them! This proves the “sons of disobedience” describes only non-believers who are being led by Satan.

2:3 continues stating that we were formerly “children of wrath” as well. So the “sons of disobedience” are also called the “children of wrath” because they will face God’s wrath for being disobedient, idolaters and evil sinners. There is a definite dichotomy discussed in this section of Scripture between evil ones who are known as “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath” and believers who were made alive with Messiah (2:5). So we see this title is associated only with non-believers in the book of Ephesians. Could the title change in meaning in 5:6? No! 5:7 encourages the believers to not be partakers with them (the sons of disobedience) revealing two mutually exclusive groups: one believers and the other the sons of disobedience.

Once again, V.8 reveals we believers were once in darkness but now we are “children of light” so we should walk as such. Believers are exhorted to learn what is pleasing to the Lord (V.10), to not participate in the deeds of darkness (V.11) and be careful how we walk with the Lord (V.15). These encouraging words are concerning sanctification and not salvation. The issue that Paul is concerned with is that believers should not act like the evil ones but should be godly. Paul is not concerned with them losing salvation or forfeiting salvation. He never encourages the believers to get saved all over again but only exhorts them to keep striving forward with their walk in the Lord! If their walk with the Lord is broken because they have lost their salvation, then Paul’s encouragement of walking with the Lord is truly foolish. How can non-believers walk with the Lord?

Rom. 2:7-8

7to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

8but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Forfeiting Salvation

This Scripture is a warning for believers that if they do not obey the truth of the Lord then they will forfeit their salvation.

Eternal Security

After charging the Gentiles with sin and guilt in Chap. 1, Shaul now speaks to the Jewish people. The Gentiles who rejected God’s revelation of Himself in nature were “without excuse.” But the Jewish people who had God’s revelation, the Torah (the Word of God), the blessings and the covenants were also “without excuse.” The point of the first 2 chapters of Romans is that the principles of divine judgment are also applied to the Gentiles as well as the Jewish people too! (CBL Comm. Romans, Vol. 7, 37.)

This is God’s promise to all people that we will be judged according to our sin. Rom. 1:18-32 reveals that God worked through His creation to reveal Himself to the Gentiles and yet they did not know Him. They exchanged the truth of the glory of God for the lie of the corruptible images of mankind. For this reason God gave them over to their lusts and depraved minds and will eventually judge them if there is no repentance.

Chap. 2 begins with the change of pronouns from “they” and “them” to “you.” The question is, “Who are the ‘you?’” The chapter clearly shows a comparison and a contrast between Jews and Gentiles rather than believers and non-believers! Vss. 9, 10, 12-15, 17-24, 26-27, 28-29 reveal these comparisons and contrasts. V.17 even directly addresses the “you” of this chapter: “But if you bear the name “Jew,” and rely upon the Law, and boast in God…” Chap. 2 ends with V.28-29 telling us that a true Jew in God’s eyes is one who is circumcised of the heart by the Ruach (Spirit) and not by the letter of the Law. Rom. 3:1 states, “Then what advantage has the Jew?...” The context obviously reveals that the Jewish people are the “you” of Chap. 2 and they are without excuse like the Gentiles because the Law reveals they are sinners just like everybody else!

2:4-5 show these Jewish people are non-believers that don’t know that the kindness of God leads to repentance. V.5 tells us these Jewish people are stubborn and unrepentant and are storing up God’s wrath. V.6-8 we see that God’s judgment is rendered to everyone according to their deeds. Those who seek God’s glory and honor will receive eternal life. These are most definitely believers! And those who are selfish, disobedient and unrighteous will receive God’s wrath and indignation. These are most certainly non-believers.

Once again we see after closer study of the Scriptures in question that the context declares comparisons and contrast between Jewish people and the Gentiles. The comparisons are that both are sinners and therefore without excuse when it comes to God’s judgment. The contrasts show there are different reasons why these groups are without excuse. The Gentiles are without excuse because of God’s direct creation of the universe. The Jews are without excuse because of God’s direct revelation of His truth in the Law that was given to them at Mt. Sinai. The context of Ch. 2 does not show believers losing or forfeiting salvation. Actually there is no indication in any of these verses that believers are forfeiting salvation at all!

James 1:15

15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Forfeiting Salvation

In this verse “death” means “spiritual death.” If believers have spiritual death then they must be forfeiting salvation.

Eternal Security

Right from the beginning, this forfeiting salvation understanding is illogical. It suggests that every time believers’ sin then they must be forfeiting salvation because every sin brings forth spiritual death! Then believers must be in a forever struggle of forfeiting and re-gaining salvation. Surely the Scriptures would concentrate most of its encouragement for all believers to overcome sin for the purpose of not forfeiting their salvation. However, we do not see this type of encouragement at all! Actually, we see the opposite in V.16 where James calls his Messianic Jewish audience “my beloved brethren.” If many of them are in this constant battle of forfeiting and gaining salvation then would James be confident enough to call them “beloved brethren?”

No doubt, James 1:13-15 discusses the process of how sin enters into the believers’ life. Most importantly is the fact that God does not tempt anyone – it is not in His nature to do so. Temptations come our way and we lust after them. Some of these temptations are created by our lust but others are created by the world and Satan. Once lust is conceived in our lives it gives birth to sin. When sin is accomplished in our lives it brings forth death.

“Death” (thanatos) simply means “death.” Thanatos is used in the N.C. to mean “a physical death, spiritual death, eternal death and even the second death.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 13, 70-71). Once again, the context dictates the meaning of the word. James encourages the Messianic Jewish believers to be joyful when going through trials and tribulations in life (V.2). Why? Trials help us to mature in our walk with the Lord (V.3-4)! So we should not blame God for trials but rejoice in them. We should also be aware that God allows trials in our lives but does not tempt us to sin. The tempter to sin is Satan, the world and our own flesh – but not God (V.13)! So when temptation comes our way we should never blame God but we should blame ourselves and our lusts that cause us to sin. It is this sin that brings forth death (V.14-15).

In V.19-20, James exhorts all believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Anger never achieves the righteousness of God. So when we are angry we should control and calm it before we act on it. James also encourages us to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only (V.22). This whole Chap. 1 speaks of encouraging believers to become mature in the Lord. James, throughout the chapter, gives instructions concerning the believers’ sanctification process.

Back to verse 15. Is “death” here speaking of a spiritual death that causes a positional separation between God and His children where believers need to receive salvation all over again? I think not! Since the chapter focuses on sanctification it is better to see this verse building on this idea. “Death” here reveals a spiritual death that causes a separation in the fellowship of believers with the Lord. If believers desire to return to fellowship with God then confession of sin is paramount (1 John 1:9).

The belief that “death” here is a spiritual death that causes a positional separation from the Lord is not conducive to the context of the chapter. In addition, this belief actually contradicts other Scriptures. Believers are told in Rom. 8:31-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Messiah Yeshua! Once a person is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord then nothing can cause this positional union to be separated! It is clear from the context of this chapter that the sanctification process is discussed and not the topic of forfeiting salvation. Once a person is in union with the Lord through salvation there is no breaking that union up. James talks about the breaking up of spiritual fellowship with the Lord and not the spiritual death of relationship with the Lord.

Rev. 3:5

5He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Forfeiting Salvation

This verse states that those believers who do not overcome are erased from the book of life. If believers are being erased from the book of life then they must be forfeiting their salvation.

Eternal Security

First things first! For those who overcome, Yeshua says He will not erase their names from the book of life. This Scripture does not say that believers who do not overcome will be erased from the book of life! It simply says that overcomers are not erased from the book of life. The forfeiting salvation group makes an incorrect assumption here. They assume the opposite of what the Scripture says is true as well. One cannot do this without further Scripture confirmation and there is no other Scripture in the Bible that I know of that supports this claim! Without this Scripture verification, this assumption is considered to be poor exegesis.

“Overcomes” (nikao) means to “be victorious, prevail, conquer, overcome or win.” (CBL Dict., Vol. 14, 257). Since repentance and soiled garments are discussed in V.3-4, overcoming must be understood to mean “overcome sin and the evil that so easily entrenches us.” The idea is to overcome and walk with Jesus to earn the great rewards in heaven. But how much overcoming is necessary? To answer this question, I would like to use Lot as an example.

From what we read in Scripture about Lot’s life we do not see much overcoming. He did not make many wise choices in his life. He parted ways with Abraham. He lived with his wife and two daughters in an evil place, Sodom and Gomorrah. He was willing to give his daughters over to an angry mob to be brutally raped to spare the two angels. His wife did not obey the angel’s command to not look back to Sodom and Gomorrah while they were fleeing the cities. His daughters got him drunk and laid with him to have children.

This reveals that there was not much of a spiritual life filled with God and yet in 2 Peter 2:7 Lot is called “righteous.” How can this be? It is because Lot believed and trusted God! Unfortunately for Lot, his belief and trust in God was not well documented in Scripture. On the contrary, his actions revealed a un-discipled struggling believer of God. The best part about this whole situation is that we cannot judge Lot’s heart, but God is the judge and He knows that Lot was righteous in Him by faith! Was there any overcoming for Lot? Did he not help the two angels? Did he not believe God was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Did he not leave just in time? So there are some actions that show “overcoming.” So the question one can ask is, “How much overcoming does a believer need to do to keep from forfeiting salvation?” This is a great dilemma for the forfeiting salvation position. For if they believe James 1:15 supports their theory then no amount of overcoming can secure salvation because once a sin enters in then the forfeiting occurs!

1 John 5:4-5 states, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” The one who is born of God is the one who overcomes the world and sin! The one who believes in Jesus is the one who overcomes. If any believer wants to work for the Lord and overcome then they need to have faith. John 6:29 states, “Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

These Scriptures show that all believers are overcomers simply through their faith. Rev. 3:5 tells us that overcomers will not be erased from the book of life and therefore will have eternal life. All believers of Jesus are overcomers. So this verse actually supports the doctrine of eternal security rather than support the idea of forfeiting salvation.

To summarize this paper, the analysis of the many Scriptures actually proves that believers of Jesus have eternal security in Him. There is no single sin or compounded sin or anything else that can cause a believer to lose or forfeit their salvation. All these verses that we have analyzed have not shown one can forfeit their salvation but they have shown a great desire of the Lord for His children to grow and mature in their walk and fellowship with Yeshua. We are encouraged to stay close to the Spirit’s leading so that we can be used by the Lord for His purposes and earn great rewards in heaven! All the warnings are not because of a fear of possible separation of relationship with the Lord but are an alarm sounding off for a possible break in fellowship with the Lord. God has a great desire for us to stay in fellowship with Him so that He can use us for His glory. We need to be holy and righteous vessels ministering in the world so that our God would get all the glory! Amen!