V IF I CONTINUE TO LIVE A SINFUL LIFE IN DEFIANCE OF GOD'S COMMANDS, WILL I CONTINUE TO BE SAVED?

Nazarenes do believe that it is possible to truly receive Christ as Savior, then at some later date chose to live a life of disobedience and rebellion to God, and be eternally lost if they do not repent again and return to Christ. Nazarenes do not believe that Christians should live in constant fear of losing their salvation; as though they were walking a tight rope over the pit of hell where one bad thought or one bad word would results in their falling out of grace and into the fires of eternal punishment. We believe that the Scripture supports the assurance of having a loving heavenly father who will do more than can be imagined to patiently nurture, encourage, and protect His spiritual children on their journey of growth into mature Christian believers. We also believe that the Scripture supports the concept of God's justice as well as His mercy and the responsibility of every Christian to continue to strive to live in obedience to God's commands. We firmly believe that Salvation is by Grace through Faith and that no act of man or any good works than man may do, can make man worthy (or deserving) of the salvation that Christ provided for us by his death on the cross. However, we do believe that the great gift of salvation is more than a "no strings attached" gift that can simple "be received" by the sinner without any commitment on the sinner's part to leave his life of willful sin and began an ongoing quest to seek, to know, and to do God's will.

From the time of the Reformation, most Protestant churches have believed in "Salvation by Grace through Faith" rather than "Salvation by Grace through Faith and Good Works". One of the reformation preachers and teachers was John Calvin. Calvin's effort to understand and explain "Salvation by Grace" was greatly influenced by his understanding of what he thought "The Sovereignty of God" meant. Calvin thought that in order for God to truly be "Sovereign", God could not allow anything to happen that was not part of God's direct choice and plan, which Calvin believed, caused everything to happen. Therefore, for Calvin nothing can happen that is not "God's Will".  Everything that does happen, is a part of God's Plan and is definitely God's Will. Therefore, Calvin reasoned, Salvation from first to last is the result of God's choice, and God's Grace with no part depending on any effort, choice or action of man. For Calvin, Conviction of Sin, Repentance, and Faith were all graciously given by God to those God chose to save, and only to those He chose to save.

 

Following his logic, the fall of Adam was so complete that it even destroyed man's awareness that he was a sinner deserving of punishment and the fall destroyed any desire to call on God to ask to be forgiven. Therefore, in order for man to repent of his sin, have faith in Christ, and receive forgiveness, God had to give an irresistible grace or calling to those He chose to save. Once saved, God's grace would not allow any of the chosen to backslide or return to their life of sin. If anyone did return to their life of sin, it was seen as proof that they were never saved in the first place.

 

Calvin was clear on the scripture's demand that Christians must repent of their sins and live a holy life when they were saved! Calvin never saw his doctrine of "Perseverance of the Saints" or "Eternal Security" as support for someone to live a life of willful sin and rebellion against God's laws and still claim to be "Saved".

 

Today the doctrine of "Eternal Security" or "Once Saved, ... Always Saved", is VERY different from what Calvin taught. Today, some Christians believe that if anytime in a person's life, that person acknowledges that Christ is the Divine Savior, asks God to forgive them of their sins, and receives the gracious gift of salvation, then nothing they do after that can keep them form entering heaven or result in their "losing their salvation'.  In this school of thought, the sinner's "Repentance" as a necessary requirement to receive God's gracious gift of salvation is often omitted from the presentation of the gospel.   Even if the individual turns their back on Christ, living all the rest of their life in intentional, willful sin, and total rebellion against God and all that is good, they believe they are still "Saved".   After all, isn't Salvation by Grace through Faith, and not of Works?

 

Nazarenes do not agree with Calvin's understanding or with the modern version of "Eternal Security".  Read all of the scripture below and see if you think it supports the belief that it is possible to "be saved", then turn your back on your commitment to actively follow Christ thus forfeiting your salvation.

 

Matthew 10:22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  (NIV)

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  32 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  (NIV)



Matthew 24:4  Jesus answered: "Watch out that no-one deceives you.  5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.  6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth-pains.  9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  (NIV)



Mat 25: 1  "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  6 "At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’  9 "‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’  10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.   11 "Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’12 "But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(NIV)

Luke 8: 11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (NIV)

Luke 13:6  Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig-tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'  8 "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig round it and fertilize it.  9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"  (NIV)

John 15:1  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  9 ¶ "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.   (NIV)

Romans 11:13  I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.  15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.  19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in."  20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!  (NIV)

1 Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.  26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  (NIV)

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.    (NIV)

Colossians 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.  (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.   (NIV)

1 Timothy 1:18  Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.   (NIV)

1 Timothy 4:1  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  (NIV)

2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.   (NIV)

Hebrews 3:7  So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.   10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"   12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.  15 As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."  16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?  17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?  18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?  19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.  4:1 ¶ Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.  4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work."  5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.   (NIV)

Hebrews 5: 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him   (NIV)

Hebrews 6:1  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.   4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.   (NIV)

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.  33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.  38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."  39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.   (NIV)


Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord.  15 See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  16 See that no-one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. (NIV)

2 Peter 2:9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 ¶ This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. 13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!  15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.  16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.  17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.  19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.   (NIV)


2 Peter 3:11  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  (NIV)

2 John 1: 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
7 ¶ Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God
; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.


The Old Testament does not present a clear picture of life after death, heaven or hell. Therefore it is difficult to use Old Testament passages to definitely speak to the issue of "loosing your salvation".  Usually the Hebrews thought that ALL rewards and punishments were given in this physical life.  However, the concept of being "God's Chosen People" exempting them from punishment and insuring God's Blessing regardless of their sin, disobedience, and rebellion was a constant problem that the prophets preached against. The two old testament passages presented below are a small sample of the Old Testament's constant theme that God WILL punish those who do not repent of their sin and turn from their evil ways.

Ezekiel 18:21  "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.   22 None of the offences he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 24 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.  25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?  26 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die.  27 But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life.  28 Because he considers all the offences he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die.  29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 30 ¶ "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offences; then sin will not be your downfall.  31 Rid yourselves of all the offences you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?  32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!  (NIV)

(I Samuel 2:22-36 see this entire passage but especially the following verses) 

I Samuel 2: 27  Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?  28 I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites.  29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’  30 "Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me for ever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.  31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man.  33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.  (NIV)

 

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