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"I know you, the first-born of Satan." --Polycarp (69-155 AD), pastor of the church in Smyrna (which city is today called Izmir, Turkey). These were his words to Marcion -- rightly discerning that the teachings of this heretic were not of God (Isaiah 8:20; 1 John 4:6; Romans 11:8).
Those are very good questions. Indeed, they are related questions. Our Lord tells us "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27)
First of all, remember that "bearing a cross" is a metaphor. Because of the influence of the Bible on our language, it has become a common idiom. How often have we heard someone say, "Well, everyone has a cross to bear." So as you study the question, remember that when Christ uttered these words, He did not mean it the way we use it in modern English. Nowadays we see crosses everywhere, even being used as a fashion accessory or as tattoos. But two thousand years ago, it was a word that brought shame and horror with it. It was generally not used in polite company. There were very few ways to be executed that were as awful, painful, and humiliating. So when our Lord tells us to take up our cross (Matthew 10:34-36; Mark 8:34-35), it is not meant as an easy thing.
Read Luke 14:25-35. You will see that anyone who wants to be a disciple must first consider the cost of doing so. Thus, one of the first things we see, is that discipleship itself is not peaches and cream -- it is a very difficult thing; a pursuit that will yield great reward in eternity, but will be painful and difficult in this world.
Now let me turn to the word "disciple." The literal meaning of the word is a pupil or student. You ask a very good question. The Great Commision given the church can be found in Matthew 28:18-20. See the command is to go out, but not just to travel. We are to go out for a purpose: to make disciples. We can do this with confidence because of Christ's authority (v18) -- that is the foundation of what we do. So we are to go out and make men disciples of Christ. These pupils enter the church through baptism and then we instruct them to do all that God has commanded (see John 14:21).
I can sum up some of what it means to be a disciple with the earmarks that the Apostle John used: he is one who loves God, loves God's Word, loves God's people, and hates sin. All of these aspects, over time, should be growing in Christian.
We are very blessed that God has provided very good descriptions of what a disciple looks like. We are called to examine ourselves using this mirror. That mirror is the Word itself. If I were to hope for you to rightly understand discipleship, I would point you to John chapters 14 through 16. Read through it several times. Then begin to compile a list of how disciples act and function. I did this once and came up with over 30 aspects of a disciple. I bet you could come up with more.
Notice that none of it is about warm fuzzy feelings or mystical experiences, etc. Instead, it is all very practical -- and doable because He has given us all that we need (2 Peter 1:3).
Even more amazing is that Christ actually prayed for us in John 17, that we would succeed in serving God and bringing God glory. With such prayers, we have enormous confidence that the work that God has begun in us He will finish (cf Hebrews 12:1-2).
Now, ma'am, you cannot do this alone. God has provided a way by which He dispenses grace (i.e., the power to do His will). This includes prayer and Bible study on your own; but it also includes your participation in a congregation of Bible believers. Thus, you need to be under the teaching of the Word, in the fellowship of believers, and under the authority of a church.
Not just any church. We are persuaded that the true church of Christ is one that holds to the Biblical definition of the gospel; teaches the Word expositorily; practices the ordinances of baptism and communion; and exercises discipline for all of the sheep.
One last thing: If you are having genuine conviction for sin and a desire for a holy life, this can only come from the Holy Spirit. That should encourage you as seek to understand God through the Word (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Ma'am, we are happy to be praying for you. We are also praising our Lord that He has drawn you to Himself.
I have no problem with you arguing that a person can loose their salvation. I think you are wrong, but I think this forum is a place where you out to be able to discuss that position from scripture if you wish. So don't think I'm objecting to that. But you are mistaken when you think the only people who disagree on Heb 6:4-6 are calvinists. I wrote a paper on this for a Ph.D. seminar, and then I had to give a public defense against the brutal onslaught to my stance. Which does not make me an expert, but it ought to lead credence when I tell you it is hotly contested from many many views. I'm merely letting you know that throwing out "Heb 6:4-6" isn't like throwing out some clear passage where everybody looks at it and says, "oh, that is very plain."
I assure you have thought carefully about the passage, and I don't agree with your interpretation. Now I may well be wrong. But all I can say is that if I am wrong then I am honestly wrong. I'm not playing games with it to make it say what I want to say.
Finally, I am extremely confident that Doc does not think the quotes from men trumps scripture. He absolutely agrees that scripture is the final measure of truth from which we ought to judge all sstatements. What's more, I'm willing to bet that every single man he has quoted also agrees with that. NOBODY is suggesting that quotes from men trump scripture. But quotes have their value. Not a value of defining what we believe, but there is some value to seeing that Christians throughout history have held to a certain position. And there is also value in knowing when a position has been debated throughout history. Further sometimes people of the past have thought deeply and then stated things in ways much more clear and compelling than we could ever manage. This is valuable too. Doc is not asserting that things are true BECAUSE certain men spoke it. He is simply sharing things he believes were always true, but somewhere throughout the history of the church somebody said it in a particularly edifying way. That's ok. I would equally welcome you quoting great Christians from the past who hold to your view. I would guess John Wesley would be a good place to start as he was opposed to the calvinistic viewpoint and he was a true treasure from Christian history. And I promise, none of us will think you are suggesting something is true simply because John Wesley said it.
Beja let us be fair, for years one member has posted quotes of man as if they are definitive rebuttals to Hebrews 6 and you have never complained. But the minute I post Hebrew 6:4-6 as a definitive answer to the question you cry foul.
You are right the Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:25-26 have been hotly debated, because it blows a huge hole in the Tulip of Calvinism.
Read the passage it clearly describes the person about which it is talking.
Hebrews 6:4-6 (NASB)
4 For 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,
5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6 and 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.
Can a non believer be enlightened? Realize or be convicted of sin and know Jesus is the Salvation.
Can a non believer taste the heavenly gift? To taste salvation requires salvation
Can a non believer be made a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Only a saved person can partake of the Holy Spirit.
Can a non believer taste God word? Only when the Holy Spirit illuminates the word to a believer can a person fully taste God’s word.
Can a non believer know of things to come? This is saying a person fully understands the Kingdom of God
This has to be a saved person. Not only saved but a mature Christian that has been feed not just the milk of the word but also the meat of the word. No other person meets all of these conditions.
While you can say it is hotly debated, it is only debated by those that disagree with it not by someone that takes scripture literally.
Lockman demands Sola Scriptura! Produce one scripture that says “Once saved always saved” using those words. Produce a scripture that says those in Hebrews 6 are not saved.
My suggestion is since this is clearly disputed and will never be settled on this forum that instead of people posting quotes of man on the subject we stick to scripture only. That is to say unless someone has scripture that clearly states once we are saved we will always remain saved no exceptions, that sin even the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is forgiven and will not keep us from heaven, it should not be implied or eluded to.
Hebrews 6:4-6 is a hotly debated passage. Nobody can simply quote it in passing as if it can settle a discussion. You would need to defend your interpretation of it at length. I actually think it is not referring to loosing salvation. I believe it is talking about somebody who has been within the church and has been a participant in the blessings of the various ministries of the church over length and yet ultimately reveal themself to have never belong to Christ. Now I am certain you don't believe that, but my whole point is this: you can not simply say "see heb 6:4-6, discussion won."