In our last message, a reader was sending me passages that he thought called into question the idea of eternal security, or that once you are saved, you are always saved. This time, he continues with yet more passages.
Reader: I also found a few more to consider:
“Therefore I endure everything for the *sake of the elect*, that they *also may obtain* the salvation that is in Christ Jesus in eternal glory.” -2 Timothy 2:10
I don’t know what version you are using, but I think I might switch to a different one. The Greek is pretty plain here that it is speaking of the salvation that is in (en) Christ Jesus WITH (meta) eternal glory. To make it “IN eternal glory” is just to change the sentence.
This is the verse that launches Paul into the whole discussion in verses 11-13 about our life being secure if we are “in Christ,” but our reward only coming to us if we endure and do not deny Him His proper place in our lives. In this verse he expresses his desire that the elect, those chosen by God, might also (along with Paul, who had already earned his prize) obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It was not the salvation he wanted them to obtain, for they already had that. As he would say in the next verse, if we died with Christ, we WILL also live with Him. It is a done deal. There is just no question about it. But only IF we endure will we reign with Him.
Reigning with Him is the same as obtaining salvation “with eternal glory.” It is like when the server asks you if you want fries with that. You are getting the sandwich anyway, but the fries are something extra. The same is true here. Paul wanted them to get something extra…eternal glory…to go along with the salvation they already had in Christ Jesus. In other words, he wanted them to endure, so they would reign with Christ. He did not want them to deny Him, so they also would be denied. He wanted them to receive something extra along with their salvation. He goes on to explain what he means in the following verses.
It’s true I don’t have a clear understanding of the word elect. But it seems to me that it has to be with being chosen.
Yes. Those who are elect are chosen by God. Whom he is referring to here it is difficult to say.
And when it says, “that they (i.e. the elect) also *may obtain* the salvation,” it seems to imply by using the word “may” that there is a possibility that some of the elect do not obtain salvation. So, that leaves the question, are the elect that Paul is referring to people that have already chosen Jesus as their Lord and Savior, or are the elect the people that are *to be *in Christ, or both? If it is both, then it seems that it is possible that if someone turns away, that it is possible that they will not have continuously have retained their salvation.
You are cutting the end off the verse, as well as using a poor translation. What is only possible is their obtaining their salvation with eternal glory, not obtaining that salvation period. They already died with Christ, so they will live with Him. What is in question is reigning with Him, and receiving that salvation WITH eternal glory.
“holding a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made *shipwreck*of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have * handed over* to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. -1 Timothy 1:19,20
I think that if someone has shipwrecked their faith, that means their faith is no longer functioning. By Paul handing these two over to Satan I don’t quite understand. If they learn not to blaspheme, does that mean they will be accepted by Paul again? What if they didn’t? Being handed over to Satan seems to be being a friend of this world, which is unacceptable to God (reference to James 4:4). But, for all we know, maybe these two would face direct attacks from Satan? If we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and then our faith is shipwrecked, could that then mean that sense a person has lost their faith aspect, that they also lose their salvation aspect?
This passage regarding a “shipwrecked” faith is a favorite of those who claim that “free will” equates to being able to choose to stop believing and to lose your salvation. It is not a good sign when you have to base a belief on an obscure passage whose meaning is difficult. What exactly Paul means here is very hard to say.
First of all, we really know next to nothing of Hymanaeus and Alexander, other than that they had made shipwreck of their faith. Some have suggested that this is the same Alexander as in Acts 19:33, and since Timothy was at Ephesus when Paul wrote him First Timothy, it seems likely that this is indeed the same person. If so, Alexander is only mentioned as someone whom the Jews put forward. There is no indication here that he ever was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, many Jews had a faith in the God of their fathers. If their conscience told them to follow Jesus Christ, and they refused to do so, however, that faith that they had formerly had in the God of Israel would have suffered shipwreck. So this is the first problem: we just don’t know if Alexander and Hymanaeus were believers to begin with.
Secondly, we don’t know what it means to be handed over to Satan. Paul speaks of a man who was sleeping with his stepmother in I Corinthians 5:5, and orders the Corinthians to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” This man was to be delivered to Satan, and in this case what would happen to him is clear: his flesh would be destroyed. Of course, if this happened to him, he would die. So Satan was to be used as an executioner.
In this case, however, what delivering over to Satan would entail is not clear. How would Satan teach someone not to blaspheme? It seems that in this case, their death would not be the result. But what would be the result? This is very hard to say.
Another question we have to answer is “when did this delivering take place?” Paul says it is something he did. However, he had not been in Ephesus since the Acts period. Paul told the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:25, “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” So, though he was writing to Timothy post Acts 28:28, he could not have been back to Ephesus since the Acts period (unless all those he was talking to in Acts 20:25 had since died, which seems unlikely.) Thus we would conclude that this delivering had happened while Paul was in Ephesus during the Acts period. Paul is no longer around, and I do not believe that any man on earth has the power to deliver anyone over to Satan today. This is not really a situation that is relevant to us.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times *some will depart from the faith* by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” -1 Timothy 4:1-3
I wonder if this is something that already happened, is happening, will still happen, or all three. This verse refers to people who will depart from the faith. Thus, getting rid of the faith factor that is mentioned in Ephesians 2:8 and in turn get rid of their salvation. Plus, these people seem to fall under the “liar” category again, which Scripture clearly says is an offense. And like mentioned in an earlier e-mail, fits in the category of people that will not proceed to live with God.
To depart from “the faith” is to depart from believing God’s words. Those spoken of here choose instead to believe deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons, who forbid people to marry and who require them to abstain from certain foods (especially meats) as a means of holiness. These teachings are false, for God never forbade marriage or the eating of foods. This is contrary to the truth of the dispensation of grace. Those who believe this are believing a lie.
That said, I see no reason to believe that these people necessarily depart from believing God regarding other things, and particularly regarding salvation. We do not have to have every detail right to believe the right message about Jesus Christ. Nor does this passage reveal what will happen to these people, other than that they will be deceived in these ways.
You are reading one phrase out of the context, and then drawing wrong conclusions from there. The passage is very specific about the truths that these people depart from, and they are not the truth regarding Jesus Christ that leads to salvation.
These people are not liars, but rather they are believing the teachings of liars. There is a big difference there. If you honestly believe that you cannot believe any wrong teaching regarding Scripture in order to be saved, then we might as well all give up trying right now, and start living for pleasure in this life, because none of us are going to get it all right. There is just too much truth in the Bible for us to get it all down and never to slip up without more help from God than we currently have. Believing correct doctrine on every point is not what brings salvation. Yet there is little excuse for getting these two things wrong, at least, since the Bible spells it out here so clearly. Yet this is still not a requirement for salvation. You are reading salvation into passages that have nothing to do with it.
Another consideration is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. They both were Christians that lived in the time of God’s partial-Kingdom on Earth–the Acts period. However, when they had done something wrong, they both ended up dying for it. Which to me is an indicator that God still will exercise his wrath against people that he identified with. Whether or not their dying also concludes their eternal destiny negatively or not, I do not know.
Yes, they did die in the Acts period, and they died for lying to the Holy Spirit. However, just because they were destroyed by Divine judgment in the Acts period does not necessarily mean we can determine their final destiny. When Paul spoke to the Corinthians about the immoral man in I Corinthians 5:5, he instructed them, “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” If a man’s flesh was destroyed, he would naturally die. If his spirit is saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, then he will live at that time. If that was possible for this man, it would certainly be possible for Ananias and Sapphira. Plus, the rules for the Acts period and the rules for today need not necessarily be the same, as I have already pointed out. I think they probably had “eternal security” at that time, but I do not insist upon it. Today, though, I do believe that the message is clear. If we are “in Christ,” if we died with Him, then we WILL live with Him.
One last consideration:
“But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant 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 *put him with the unfaithful*. And that servant who knew his master’s will but *did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.* But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom *much was given, of him much will be required*, and *from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more*.” -Luke 12:45-48
-To me, this Parable seems to be referring to the return of Jesus Christ and his reign on Earth. I think this means that the person who is a Christian, but then has become on faithful, will deserve a punishment for it. When it says “put him with the unfaithful” I wonder if that would refer to unfaithful people that were never Christians? If he unfaithful then would that mean that he would also receive the same negative eternal impact that nonbelievers will face? But then, it says “the servant…that did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.” So then, he will receive a punishment, but it doesn’t sound like it would be the extermination of his salvation. And that last statement implies that much will be required for as much as was given, and much demanded according to how much you were entrusted with. Is the person being cut to pieces and put with the unfaithful and the person receiving a severe beating the same person? If not, is the person that is being put with the unfaithful the one that is eternally doomed, while the person that received a severe beating will still at some point get to live peaceably with God for eternity.
I do not believe that this is referring to what we would consider to be “Christians” today. The same answer applies here as for some of the other replies I have given. Just being born an Israelite made you a part of God’s nation. Particularly if you were born into a leadership position in Israel, you were in a position of serving God by birth. However, you could choose to reject God and live for yourself. If you took this attitude, you could certainly lose your place in Israel, and face only destruction, being “cut in pieces and put with the unfaithful.” If you did serve God and yet neglectfully, you might receive a place in God’s future Israel, and yet along with it receive a reprimand or punishment. And you could also serve faithfully, and be rewarded in time to come. This is not a situation we can apply to ourselves, since we are not born into a relationship with God, and we are not born as His servants.
And finally, when you had said that “God will teach us differently” in reference to obedience because we may have been unfaithful, do you think that this means that he will severely beat us? Or, where else in the Bible does it refer to God teaching us differently?
I was referring to the kingdom of God to come. As Paul said in I Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” I believe that God will straighten us all out as to the truth in the kingdom to come. Alas, many never do get straightened out regarding their errors in this life. I do not pretend to believe that I have everything straight, either. We are all shut up to the Word in this time of God’s silence.
Once again, thank you for looking into this all for me. One thing you will find about me is that I am a question asker by nature. I am so glad that I can ask you these things. I will give you as much time as you need, I am patient.
I love to answer questions! I pray that my answers are helping, and that you are coming to receive some further light on these truths.