Bible Study Lesson Motivating Faith is the Victory to Overcome for Salvation This lesson examines the role in faith for salvation. In particular, it examines the question of whether a person with faith can ever lose that faith, and whether that affects the person’s salvation. Some people call this question the “once saved always saved” issue. To review a little, in lessons 3 and 6 we learned that faith toward God includes: (1) belief that God exists (Heb 11:6); (2) belief that God will perform His promises (Heb 11:6; Rom 4:20-21); (3) faith must motivate a person to desire to do the will of God (Jam 2:22; II Cor 5:7; Heb 11:4, 7, 8-9, 17-19, 24-28); Mat 7:21; Luke 6:46; and (4) belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, and the Lord (John 20:30-31; Rom 10:8-10). Believing in Jesus cannot be omitted for salvation. 1. What does it mean to pursue holiness? Luke 1:67, 74-75; II Cor 7:1; I Pet 1:13-16. 2. If any person does not pursue holiness, will that person see the Lord, as He is when the Lord is revealed in the future? Heb 12:14-15; I John 3:2-3. Comment: Seeing the Lord involves seeing Him when we are like Him, which occurs in the resurrection. Thus Heb 12:14-15 shows that we must pursue holiness to be in the resurrection to eternal life. This does not earn eternal life, but pursuing holiness is the outcome of being motivated by faith. 3. Is a life of repentance and overcoming through motivating faith a sure way to avoid having your name blotted out of the Book of Life? Rev 3:1-5; I John 5:4-5. Comment: Repentance (this includes faith) is not a one-time event, but is something that a Christian does as awareness of sin is recognized all through life (see lesson 4). This shows that if a person does not make repentance part of one’s relationship with God, that person’s name may be removed from the Book of [eternal] Life. 4. Are there people who at first have faith, but then lose the faith they have? Luke 8:415, especially verse 13. 5 If a person continues in motivating faith (belief), is that person assured of eternal life? John 3:36; 5:24, 28-29; Mat 24:12-13. 6. Are those who are continuing to avoid living according to the prince of the power of the air assured of eternal life? Eph 2:1-7; II Cor 4:3-4. Comment: The prince of the power of the air refers to Satan, who is called the god of this age in II Cor 4:4. 7. Can a person who previously repented (this implies faith) and received the Holy Spirit of God fall away and lose salvation? Heb 6:4-6. Comment: Heb 6:4 says that these people have “become partakers of the Holy Spirit”, and Heb 6:6 “to renew them again to repentance”. These people did have the faith to repent in the past and God gave them His Holy Spirit. They fell away. 8. Is a person who is sanctified by the blood of Jesus cleansed from sin? Heb 13:12; I John 1:7. 9. Can a person who was previously sanctified by the blood of Christ go backwards toward a life of continuing willful sin and lose salvation? Heb 10:26-29. Comment: Heb 10:26 says, “if we sin willfully”. This does not mean a one-time sin, because otherwise there is no opportunity for repentance. This actually must mean that one’s entire lifestyle is a continuing about-face backwards into continuing sin, not a short-term momentary lapse. Only God has the authority to determining how much continuing sin this is. Read II Tim 2:19. 10. Can a person who previously lived the right way, avoided the pollutions of the world, had a knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and knew the way of righteousness turn back to a life of wickedness and lose salvation? II Pet 2:12-22. 11. Are many people called and few of them chosen? Mat 20:1-16. Comment: Read Luke 8:4-15 to see that many people are called to hear the word of God. Read Rev 17:14 to see that the chosen are the faithful ones. Mat 20:1-16 shows that from the time each worker who accepted being chosen began to work, his work continued until the end of the day. All who worked to the end of the day received the same pay. The analogy is that people who start their life of faith do so at different stages of their life, some when young and others when old, but all who continue to be motivated by faith until their death receive the same eternal life. 12. Again, are many people called and few of them chosen? Mat 22:1-14. Mat 22:1-8 refers to the Israelites who were first called and invited to the wedding of salvation by faith. Verse 7 refers to the Roman armies who destroyed Jerusalem in the year 70. Verses 9-14 refer to those of all peoples of the earth who were invited to the wedding. In Mat 22:11 the man without a wedding garment had not continued in righteous deeds (see Rev 19:7-8). The chosen ones are the ones who were motivated by faith to keep their wedding garments until the wedding. 13. Is all our righteousness like filthy rags instead of wedding garments? Isa 64:4-7. Comment: In verses 4 and half of 5 the person is repentant and righteous in partnership with God because of faith, as it was with Abraham. In the second half of verse 5 and through verse 7 other people are not repentant and their righteousness is like filthy rags because their numerous continuing sins are not forgiven. The righteousness of ancient Israel was as filthy rags. A person with faith lives in a righteous manner (I John 3:7) and his righteousness is not as filthy rags. By faith one has forgiveness and righteousness (II Cor 5:21; Ezek 3:21). 14. Can a person earn salvation by obeying God? Eph 2:8-10; I John 1:8-10. 15. Is a repentant person a slave of God who will have eternal life? Rom 6:22-23; Acts 3:19. 16. Did the apostle Paul write that his own eternal life was not assured? I Cor 9:24-27. 17. Did God foreknow certain people before their birth who would continue to love God and therefore have eternal life? Rom 8:28-30; John 14:15; I John 5:3. Comment: Those people who God foreknew would love Him to the end are those who have enduring faith and are therefore motivated to continue to obey God’s laws. Rom 8:33 calls these people God’s elect or chosen, and reading verses 31-39, we see that God responds to their enduring faith and love by ensuring their salvation. God knows who these people are, but people are not certain to know who these people are. 18. Are the people of God expected to overcome all obstacles by faith? I John 5:4-5; Rev 2:7, 10-11, 16-17, 25-26; 3:3-5, 10-12, 21; 21:6-7. Comment: Faith for salvation must continue throughout life. It is not a one-time faith. 19. Is Jesus Christ called the Rock? I Cor 10:1-4; Mat 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49. 20. Must the foundation upon which eternal life is based, be upon Jesus Christ, the Rock? John 14:6; Luke 6:47-49; I Cor 3:5-15, especially verse 11. Comment: I Cor 3:5-15 is sometimes misunderstood. Verse 5 introduces the subject – ministers who preach and help people to have faith. The subject through all these verses is evangelists and preachers of faith. Verse 6 shows that Paul planted and Apollos watered. This means that Paul preached to the public, and he planted new churches, while Apollos helped strengthen churches after they began, so that he watered. Paul was more the evangelist, while Apollos was more the preacher. But I will simply use the word preacher to refer to them both. When verse 8 speaks of “he who plants and he who waters”, this refers to “preachers”. An expanded meaning of verse 8 is this: “Now the preacher who plants and the preacher who waters are in agreement as a team, and each preacher will receive his own reward according to his own labor of preaching. Verse 11 teaches that Jesus Christ is the foundation of the teaching for faith. Verse 12 mentions “if anyone builds on this foundation (of Jesus Christ)”. In the context, the word “anyone” continues to refer to “preachers”. The gold, silver, and precious stones represent the people who have good spiritual character from the teachings by the preacher. The wood, hay, and straw represent the people who have poor character quality from the teachings by the preacher. Verses 12-13 continue with preachers as the subject. An expanded meaning of verses 12-13 is this: “Now if any preacher preaches on this foundation of Jesus Christ to produce listeners with a good spiritual relationship with Christ and listeners with a poor spiritual relationship with Christ, each preacher’s listener’s will become clear; for the Day of Judgment will declare it, because it will be revealed by the Lake of Fire; and the fire of trials will test each one’s listeners, of what sort the person is. Verses 14-15 continue with preachers as the subject. An expanded meaning of verses 14-15 is this: “If any preacher’s listeners which he has built upon Jesus Christ endures, the preacher will receive a reward. If the preacher’s listeners are burned in the Lake of Fire [these do not have salvation], the preacher will suffer loss; but he himself [the preacher] will be saved, yet as through the fire of trials that the preacher will have overcome.” Of course this makes the assumption that the preacher will overcome, but it is possible that the preacher himself may be a castaway (See question 16). Some people may initially have faith and then fall away from faith and salvation.