Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Tree of Life
There are two verses that need some explaining because unless you understand the correct interpretation, you will think that these two verses coming up teach that a believer can lose his salvation. In fact, whether or not a person can lose their salvation has been a doctrine that has separated Christianity since the Church-age began.
Let’s begin with the first six verses in JOH 15.
JOH 15:1-6, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Now, there are two verses in this passage that seem to say that a believer can lose his status with God or that a believer can say to GOD, “I no longer believe in you.” Now, you can say that to GOD until you are blue in the face, you cannot give a gift back to the LORD.
Those two verses are JOH 15:2, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
JOH 15:6, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Now, once again, you have heard me says that Bible doctrine must be taught based on three principles.
The “I” in Isagogics is the historical setting of the passage. The passage concerning our salvation has its origin way back in GEN 15:6, Then he (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and He (the Lord) reckoned it to him as righteousness. The point here is that salvation has always been “Faith alone, in Christ alone.”
Next, we have the capital “C” which represents the different Categories that come from systematic theology developed from combining Scripture with Scripture. This is a very important principle for all of us to understand because if you have one verse saying one thing, and then hundreds of verses that say another, then what conclusion are we forced to? Well, if we are going to be academically correct then we should let the Word of God guide our every move.
Whenever you are faced with a dilemma in interpretation of a passage always include two major principles.
- How many different passages and categories of the Word of GOD are there to back up the interpretation that you believe.
- The next point is this: How does the interpretation we have apply to the justice of GOD.
Always look how the interpretation lines up with the character and nature of GOD, especially in two distinct areas, the justice of GOD and the righteousness of GOD. Inevitably, the real issue is this: Who is glorified by the correct interpretation, is it the Creator or the creature.
Then under ICE we have the capital “E” which refers to exegesis of the word of God with a grammatical and syntactical analysis of the passage from the original languages. And this my friends is the one major principle for us because the koine (common) Greek definitely teaches the principle that “Once saved, always saved.
Every time I bring this principle out in the original language, I remember asking two Pentecostal teachers what resources they use to learn what the original language says about eternal security. And, in every single case I was told by these Pentecostal preachers that they study from same Greek scholars I do. And so I said to them, in every single case, that those Greek scholars I study from and they study from, all believe and teach the Doctrine of Eternal Security so I said how come you don’t. And the best answer I heard from then was “We respect those Greek scholars, we just disagree with things like the doctrine of Eternal Security.” That, my friends, is really a form of academic dishonesty which is not being honest to those individuals especially the ones you are teaching.
The proponents of “losing salvation” actually teach that you are born physically, then you became “born again” spiritually, and then finally, if you sinned wilfully after salvation then you could lose your salvation. How can we lose something that was given as a gift from our Lord to us?
Now, there are many passages that teach that salvation is a gift, none more popular than Eph 2:8-9.
EPH 2:8-10, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we [members of the Royal Family] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for (the performance of good works), which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Do you realize that if you could lose your salvation that you went from being a believer to an unbeliever and then back to becoming an unbeliever once again. Does that sound like the Gospel or the “good news?” Of course it doesn’t. By the way, you can never really have the confidence that you will need if you are occupied with “your salvation” and trying to keep yourself saved.
That’s a trap!
That’s a lie!
First of all, let’s begin by noting an obvious conclusion.
If a believer could lose his salvation, wouldn’t the Lord make sure that there are some passages or even just one passage that says, “Be careful Brethren, that you do not lose your salvation.” Do you think that our Lord is trying to trick you? Do you think that our Lord really cares for you? Or do you believe that our LORD finished the work that GOD the Father assigned to HIM?
Look at JOH 17:1-4, These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.”
This was followed by the one more verse that most of you are familiar with, JOH 19:30, When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
Now, the two verses I am talking about are found in JOH 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
The second one is JOH 15:6-7, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you desire”.
However, there is not one passage from Genesis all the way to the book of Revelation that teaches a believer can lose what GOD gave them = the gift of salvation. Always remember that Salvation has nothing to do with works but it is a gift from the LORD.
In ACT 2:38, the Apostle Peter reveals that salvation is also called a gift from the Holy Spirit.
Act 2:38, And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Look ROM 3:23-24, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Notice that we are also said to be perfect in the eyes of GOD which is why Paul said we are justified not by trying to please GOD by our actions, but we are justified as a gift from GOD, that we can never lose. Some of the principles that we can learn from the passages that we are noting in Joh 15, is that we have been given so many blessings from the LORD that it would be blasphemy to say we can give back the gifts our LORD gave us.
I mean just in one small booklet on the 40 things that the LORD gave us at the moment of salvation reveals that the gifts that our LORD gave us go way beyond what we can think or imagine.
Speaking of the gifts that come from God, the apostle Paul writes in ROM 5:14-15, Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift (salvation) is not like the transgression [Adam’s original sin] . For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Notice the phrase “the gift by grace” because grace is the policy of GOD when He deals with His children, you and me. That one phrase reveals the importance of recognizing the gifts the LORD has given us.
ROM 5:16, And the gift [salvation] is not like that which came through the one who sinned [Adam’s willful sin of disobedience was imputed to the entire human race with their consent]; for on the one hand the judgment [Christ on the cross] arose from one transgression [Adam’s] resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift [salvation] arose from many transgressions [sins of the whole world] resulting in justification.
ROM 5:17, For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death (that is spiritual death) reigned or ruled through the one [Adam], much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Here is another principle concerning the gift of salvation which is called the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness that will reign, not be lost, but reigned or ruled in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Twelve Points to Consider:
- He was falsely accused; Mat 26:60;
- He was spat upon and beat up: MAT 26:67;
- He was slapped in the face constantly; Mat 26:67-68;
- He was falsely accused; MAT 27:12;
- He was also rejected: Mat 27:21-22;
- He was scourged with a whip; Mat 27:26.