My entire life I have been taught that it is impossible for us to lose our salvation, and it never made sense to me that God would even think about forsaking mankind. In fact, every scripture that I have ever noticed that even looks like it suggests that God would do such a thing, when looked at in context, states that God will not forsake us (or that we cannot lose our salvation).
Recently I ran into a verse that brought question into my mind. Revelation 21:19 “And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Does this quotation suggest that we cannot be wrong in our theology, or the exact sequence of events to come? Is this the reason why mankind was so fearful to translate God’s Word? I began to contemplate what this verse could possibly mean other than a loss of salvation if we got (and/or taught) something wrong.
I began to think about what John meant when he referred to “book of prophecy”. Was he talking about only the book of Revelation, or was he referring to the Bible as a whole? So, I looked at the prophecy presented in the book of Revelation. It can be summed up in three parts:
1.God’s wrath against unbelievers, This attests to God just nature and is portrayed throughout God’s living Word.
2.God’s work to bring people into a relationship with Himself, This attests to God’s unfailing love which is also present throughout scripture.
3.God’s final authority (includes the casting away of sin and death and all that belong to them), This attests to God’s, well, Godliness which is also (not coincidentally) seen throughout the entirety of scripture.
All three of these ideas must be present in a person’s beliefs before they can begin a relationship with God. One must confess that Jesus is Lord (this supports God working to bring people into a relationship with Himself) and believe that God raised Him from the dead (which supports the idea of God as the final authority and His wrath ‘death’ that awaits those who do not believe) (Romans 10:9).
If a person denies any of these three principles, then they are either not confessing Jesus as Lord, or not believing that God raise Jesus (the earthly incarnation of Himself) from the dead. Not believing one of these things means that a person cannot be saved in the first place.
As far as what we teach: We usually teach what we believe to be true.
John also says that if a person does take away from the words of prophecy, then God would “take away from his share in the tree of life and in the holy city”.
Someone who never has a relationship with God looses their share in the tree of life and in the holy city???!!! Does this mean that God had a place for them? Does this speak against the notion of predestination? Does this mean that God does not know who will accept Him and who wont?
Tough questions to answer. No doubt questions I will be looking to answer for the next couple of blogs. Meanwhile, leave comments letting me know how you feel about these questions and subscribe so you can find out what I believe about these questions.