Perseverance: Some Implications of Hebrews 6:4-6

As we considered in the last post of this series, Hebrews 6:4-6 teaches that it’s possible for a Christian to so rebel against God that he falls away, and this happens when the Christian can no longer be brought back to repentance. However, as noted in the previous post,

Therefore, we must be careful not to interpret this passage to say that someone who is sorrowful for his sins and wants to return to God will be denied by God. It plainly says no such thing! Nothing here contradicts the Parable of the Prodigal Son. God forgives … Jesus saves … if we are penitent.

We don’t need to imagine that God will reject a penitent believer, but neither do we need to imagine that it’s easy to give up your rebellion and return. Not only is there a point where it becomes impossible to repent, long before then, there’s a time when it’s very difficult to repent. Rebellion is nothing to toy with. It’s seductive, addictive, and extremely difficult to escape.

Renewing to repentance

Royce Ogle noted in a comment that the passage speaks in the passive voice. The rebel must “be brought back to repentance.” The emphasis is not on the person himself repenting (which, of course, is the goal) but on the efforts of others to bring him back. I think there are two “others” in mind: God working through his Spirit and the other members of this person’s church.

Repentance is a work of the Spirit —

(Rom 8:13-14)  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

(2 Th 2:13)  But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Indeed, to resist the Spirit’s work is to grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30).

But a much more prominent theme of Hebrews is the importance of our fellow Christians —

(Heb 3:13)  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

(Heb 6:10)  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

(Heb 10:24-25)  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

(Heb 10:33-35)  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

(Heb 13:1)  Keep on loving each other as brothers.

(Heb 13:17)  Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

The message is that salvation is not entirely an individual thing. We struggle together, we encourage each other, and we are responsible for each other.

God’s incredible patience

Of course, if you don’t fall away until you are so far removed from God that repentance is impossible for you, then you remain saved up to that point. That makes God an incredible patient Father! And many protest such a generous interpretation. But that’s what the passage says.

Now, some argue that there’s another falling away — a reversible one that happens when you rebel but before you become so hardened that you won’t repent. It’s a nice theory, but I can’t find it in the Bible. Rather, I find evidence that God is actually unbelievably patient.

(Rev 2:18-24)  “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you):

What is the sin that so concerns the Son of God? Well –

  • In some sense, she is like Jezebel — a prophetess of Baal and opponent of God’s own prophet Elijah
  • She claimed to be a prophetess
  • She encourages fornication
  • She encourages idolatrous practices
  • Others commit “adultery” with her

Mounce notes in the his New International Commentary that fornication was a common feature of pagan feasts — which of course also involved eating meats sacrificed to pagan gods. Hence, he suggests that this was the likely context of the warning — especially given how central such feasts/orgies were to business guilds and Greek society. To refuse to participate was not like choosing the Methodist Church instead of the Church of Christ — it was to surrender one’s position in the business community and society in general.

The trade guilds practically controlled the city of Thyatira; every industry was strictly regulated by these guilds. In order to work in a trade; you had to belong to the guild – sort of like a powerful union. But to be a member of a guild also meant worshipping the pagan god connected to the guild. Any Christian involved in any trade was presented with the problem: his or her faithfulness to Christ would affect his livelihood.

The amazing thing is that God shows “Jezebel” any patience at all! I mean, how could someone be true to her faith in Jesus and submission to Jesus as Lord and yet not only teach these things but also encourage others to do the same? This passage shows God to be astonishingly patient! But his patience is not unlimited, and he will at some point give up on those who deny Jesus as Son of God and Lord.

Now, we all know people who’ve seemingly fallen away, rejected the holy things of God, and even become an enemy of God, only to later repent and become very faithful Christians. Obviously, as it wasn’t impossible for them to repent, they never really fell away. Either they weren’t saved at all before they appeared to fall away or they remained saved throughout their time of rebellion. And passages such as the one just quoted from Revelation tell me that it’s entirely possible that such a person remained saved throughout his time of rebellion.

Now, some argue that such a teaching is dangerous, as it seemingly gives permission to rebel and then come back to Jesus, but my experience is that the vast majority of those who rebel never come back. It’s like an addiction. Some kick it and go on to live healthy, happy, productive lives. Most don’t, and only an idiot takes that chance.

The real lesson is, I think, that we give up on people far too easily and far too quickly. When we try to bring a beloved brother or sister to repentance and fail, we very often give up. I don’t think God does, and he sometimes succeeds. He’d succeed more often if we didn’t give up so easily.

An unsure salvation

Another collateral result of this understanding is that our salvation can, at times, be very unsure. While confidence and assurance is always available to us, we often turn our back on God’s promises and slide into a state of jeopardy before we fall away entirely. Hebrews says,

(Heb 6:10-11)  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.

Our hope is not necessarily sure. And the way to make our hope sure is to serve others. Peter teaches a similar lesson —

(2 Pet 1:5-8)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although we begin with faith, we must grow in the Christian virtues — and never stop growing.

(2 Pet 1:10-11)  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Here we encounter the same thought. We can have an unsure election. We can live in jeopardy of falling away. But we can also live in a way where we “never fall” and have a sure “election” and “calling.”

Plainly, Peter doesn’t see calling and election as unconditional and irresistible, but they can be sure if we grow in Christ. You see, the best way to avoid going backwards is to go forwards. Playing with rebellion, going backwards even briefly, is dangerous because our heart can be quickly hardened. We can’t count on being able to repent in the future.

Calvinistic perseverance

I can’t reconcile either Hebrews or 2 Peter with the notion that Christians necessarily persevere and so their calling and election is necessarily sure. No, we are plainly taught that we have to be diligent and grow in order to have a sure election — and I think this is a teaching that should be taught over and over and over. We need to hear it.

Our assurance is in Jesus, but we only stay in Jesus so long as we are true to Jesus — and Jesus ministers to others and is filled with the virtues Peter describes. If we turn away from the life of Jesus, we risk also turning away from his salvation.

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53 Responses

  1. Well said!…Jim

  2. The writer of Hebrews at times was speaking to certain people present that they need to have genuine faith.

    Hebrews 4:1-2 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

    The unsaved participate partaking that which is of Christ all the time. The gospel had been preached to these people, they gained knowledge of Christ, they have been to churches, they have tasted heavenly things, they have seen the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit manifested in their presence. They were to go on to a full genuine acceptance or to fall to a willful conscious enmity against Christ, and the sin of rejecting Him, and putting Him to an open shame. Those who don’t hold firm were never eternally saved. The writer of Hebrews is speaking to the unsaved who have heard the truth, but who have hesitated to embrace Christ.

    As we see the writer also speaks to the beloved present to those who have genuine faith as in verses 6:9-20.

    “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

    The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”(John 10:27-30), Paul gives us assurance saying, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39), “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). We can be confident that God keeps us as He promises to complete what He started in us, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).

  3. We should be encouraged by God’s faithfulness to always help us and protect us.

    Psalm 18:1-2 “I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

    Psalm 18:28 “For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”

    Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”

    Psalm 36:5 “Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

    Psalm 37:39-40 “But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.”

    Psalm 48:14 “For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

    Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”

    Psalm 63:7-8 “Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”

    Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

    Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

    Psalm 94:18 “If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up.”

    Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

    Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

    Psalm 138:7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.”

    I trust when I put my life in His hands there couldn’t be a more secure place to be. God is my strength, my stronghold, He always revives me, God helps me and holds me up even when I am at my weakest.

    2 Peter 2:9 “Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.”

    People need to totally embrace Christ with all of their life, not just part of it. I trust God with all of my life, everything about me is in His hands, my weaknesses, my fears, my doubts. Whatever Satan wants to throw at me, God is with me, He will protect me. I encourage people who are learning to trust God that they can trust Him with all of their life.

  4. I appeal to “Anonymous” to give him or herself a name. Is there two, or one person choosing to be namless?

    What is the motive of being “Anonymous”? I wonder….

    Royce

  5. Why does it bother people (that I don’t know on a personal level who they are) that some use Anonymous when on the internet?

  6. Anon, look at your John 10 “snatched” and Romans 8 “neither death…”. Aren’t these saying the same, that God is in control and will not allow outside powers to overcome us.. Yes we cannot be snatched, and even supernatural powers cannot remove us, but can we remove ourselves? Sure seems like Hebrews says YES.
    The problem for me with the ultimates of Calvin is what is all those OT, NT passages about the struggle for good choices, and God’s happiness when We perservere. There was never a doubt by any that God would last, but most of the drama of the Bible is what will man do?

  7. Larry,
    The argument that outside powers can’t snatch us but we can remove ourselves doesn’t seem to fit the text. One doesn’t just sit down by oneself and say, “Well now, I’ll think I’ll take myself out of God’s hand now.”

    IF (giant IF) one to were to walk away don’t you think it would be the result of the wiles and temptations of the evil one though the ways he attacks people and tries to lead them astray? Either he can be successful at taking us out of God’s hand or he can’t.

    The point of the text is that we are secure, not sort of secure, but completely secure. Where could one possibly be more secure than in god’s hand? This is true of the passage in John’s gospel and also Romans chapter 8. How many things would Paul have to include in the list (he already included the phrase “any other created thing”) in order to make his point that absolutely nothing will separate us.

  8. Randall said; “The argument that outside powers can’t snatch us but we can remove ourselves doesn’t seem to fit the text.”

    I believe, it fits nicely with what was said in —
    Jn:10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    The word translated as “plucked” means to seize, carry off by force.
    Satan can’t do anything to you, without your compliance, he can not force you to do anything, in other words he can’t take / pluck/ snatch anything that belongs to God by force, but as we have seen he enticed the first man, who was safe within the hands of God, and if we are not obedient in the things God commands, we too can be enticed away. If we eat of the forbidden tree, we shall be lost.

  9. None of us are greater than God neither is Satan greater than God, for the Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

  10. Larry said; “There was never a doubt by any that God would last, but most of the drama of the Bible is what will man do?”

    The very first story we read is how “man ” was safe in the hands of God, and how he fell by his own works, no one plucked by force Adam from the hands of God, he chose to do what he did, yes he was enticed to do so, but he did it.
    I believe this story is a warning, if Adam can fall, so can you.

    once saved not necessarily, saved eternally, whether we believe it or not we will be judged by the works we do, good or bad. Why would God start out judging man/Adam by his works, and let you slide.

  11. There has never been much doubt about what man can do to get himself saved or keep himself saved i.e. very little. I was saved by Jesus, not by a five (or more) step plan. If my salvation depended on me and my ability to do right or stay right I would be lost for sure. Thankfully it depends on God and his power. So my salvation is as certain as the word of God.

    Reading this text and saying it teaches that one can take himself out of God’s hand is reading it like a legalist looking for an exception rather than accepting it for its plain sense meaning.

    That’s it for me on this text. If someone wants to see it differently that’s their choice.
    Peace,
    Randall

  12. [deleted]

    John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

    None of us are greater than God.

    God is my strength, my stronghold, He always revives me, God helps me and holds me up even when I am at my weakest.

  13. Anonymous, are you saying that Adam and Eve were never safe within the hands of God, they only thought they were, or they were safe and forfeited that safety by their actions ? No Satan did not by force, make Adam eat of the forbidden fruit, he ate of his own volition, and was lost.
    Or do you just not believe the story of Adam and Eve safe in paradise, and was kicked out, because they sinned/ disobeyed God.

  14. I don’t believe God abandoned Adam and Eve and I don’t believe they are in hell.

    I don’t believe anyone of us are greater than God

    God is my strength, my stronghold, He always revives me, God helps me and holds me up even when I am at my weakest.

  15. Anonymous said ” laymond thinks some are greater than God.”

    [deleted]
    I don’t believe you can read my thoughts, and I don’t believe I have said anything to cause you to think what you said. [deleted]

  16. You said a person can snatch themselves from God’s hands.

    John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

    None of us are greater than God.

  17. I will ask once again, “Why do ye not understand my speech?”

    I am left with but one answer, you don’t want to.

    I gave you the very first example of man, damning himself by disobedience, and you ignored it , and gave your opinion on what happened to Adam. The bible is not silent on the subject of what happened to Adam, he was denied eternal life in the presents of God. denied paradise. subjected to pain and suffering, and death, so was his wife. The story of Adam, ad Eve is the story of man, and trials and tribulation brought on by their own actions.
    Now who did I teach was greater man or God, if you choose to disobey God you will find out who is greater in the end. Jesus was placed above all men, and he said “My father is greater than I ”

    [deleted]

  18. It does not benefit anyone by “debating” as you guys do; it would be more beneficial to ask the person you disagree with to more fully explain where they are coming from… We are seeking for greater understanding of the text and subject aren’t we? OK… (never mind me, ya’ll go on feuding alright…)

  19. All,

    No fighting words. No calling anyone a liar. No calling someone a “false teacher” just because he disagrees with you. No mischaracterizing the other person’s argument.

  20. Paul, I believe I have asked, and received no answer, I even asked where they got the idea that I believed sinners were greater than God, no answer. I asked what they thought about the first rendering of man defying God and the results, no answer. I asked if they thought Adam was saved then lost, no answer.
    When the only answer is the same verse quoted over and over, I see your point, there is no point in me wasting my time and Jays pixels talking to this person who wished to remain anonymous, and has no intention to talk in a coherent way, except to say I am right, you are wrong. (once saved always saved) no matter the evidence placed before them, that they are backing a failing argument. When they turn to making up statements such as (you don’t believe God is all powerful) they know they are loosing and you know they have lost.

  21. Jay if someone tells an untruth about what you said , do you just accept it or do you do as Jesus did and set it straight I don’t see where Jesus used equivocator, or prevaricator, not even false witness, I believed he used the word liar. Would you delete Jesus comment, oh I believe you did.

  22. Larry,

    I have a couple of posts coming on “snatch” — I think you’ve put your finger on the critical questions: what does it mean to snatch? And who is doing the snatching?

  23. Laymond,

    Neither of us is Jesus. We can’t judge the heart. Calling someone a “liar” is a judgment of their intent. It’s not just that they’ve misunderstood, but they are intending to deceive.

    Because he is speaking directly to you about what you said, he could hardly be intending to deceive you.

    I just posted an article a couple of days ago asking the readers not to call each other liars. http://oneinjesus.info/2010/02/16/moderation-etc/

    I said those who do so would go on automatic moderation. That’s the rule. And so you are being moderated going forward — which is a lot of trouble for me. Hopefully, it will be a temporary moderation.

  24. To All

    If you have ever worked with addicted people you can see how subtle Satan can be. A boat with a small hole in the bottom doesn’t sink very fast. It is gradual. The same thing happens to the addict or the one who dabbles in sin. I can stop anytime is the biggest lie ever.

    To stay in the light one has to truly work out his salvation daily.

    I have seen human wreckage rise from the ashes and I have seen them stay there.

    I hate to say it but I do believe one in Christ can lose it by playing with temptation.

    Bob

  25. Larry,
    Just to point out that different folks can read the same story and see things differently. In your comment above you said:
    “There was never a doubt by any that God would last, but most of the drama of the Bible is what will man do?

    I think most of the drama in the story is what God will do. We all know the cliche that history is His Story. What man will do is predictable in a disappointing way. It is when God works in the life of a person that things turn out well. Paul said “I can do all things through Christ…” Look at what Paul did in his own power and compare it with what God did through Paul. I suspect one of us places the emphasis on Paul and the other places the emphasis on God.
    Peace,
    Randall

  26. Jay, I don’t see how you say anon,( whether male or female I don’t know) was speaking directly to me when they said “laymond believes there are some greater than God”
    If i am addressing a person, I speak to them and not about them. sounds like to me they were speaking to other commenters.
    they made a statement as to what I believe , so they were not disagreeing with me just making a statement about me.
    but that said so you will feel at ease and won’t be concerned that what I say will break your rules, and so not to cause you trouble. rest easy I will refrain from commenting on your blog.

  27. It is very interesting that so much time is spent parsing the words in the John passage. What does “snatch” mean, etc.

    Tell me, how many things can this mean? “I give them eternal life and they will never perish…”

    It appears that most of you either missed this part of the passage or have just chosen to ignore it when in my view it is the heart of the passage. Is it true or untrue? It can’t be that simple can it?

    Royce

  28. I thank several of you for reasoning the absolutes of salvation promises. Some people need a lesson in Biblical temptation. 1 Cor 10:13 And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
    Just like the snatched, same promise, God will prevent outside powers from taking you, but you can do yourself.
    Gal 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. No one, even saved with the Spirit is shielded from temptation but the promise is you (and God in you) can prevail.
    Jam 1:12 Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
    James gives us the mechanics, evil forces tempt everyone especially the saved, but only our allowance leads to sin. God promised to limit evil to what we can bear. Glory to Him, He has set the evil vs. good fight so that we can win! We only need to resist and ask for His power to aid us. The same senario is in 1 John “walking in the light” (His light) and “when you sin…..”
    Thank you all for looking at the whole word of God.

  29. Randall, thanks. God is so faithful and predictable that to me the drama is what will man do? By the way you are very right that it is what will we do with what God has given us. All live, light, food, and power comes from Him. To me He gave us the power over only our own destiny, He is everything else.

  30. Mr or Ms Anonymous:

    Nothing is in a name, but then everything is in a name. I used to think it was okay to sign in as “Anonymous”, but I have come to learn that it’s just weak. It somehow cheapens what you have to say. It gives the impression that you may have a bone to pick but won’t do it out in the open. It’s a little shady.

    One may have great things to say. But for some reason, when the name “Anonymous” is used . . . you wonder what are they hiding. What is their real purpose? Who are they hiding from. Or . . . is this the same Anonymous I was talking to earlier . . . or a new Anonymous?

    It’s weird. You could sign on using a regular name and your thoughts would be taken a little more seriously. It wouldn’t even have to be your real name. You could say your are Roger or Melissa or Juan . . . and it would somehow lend a little more legitimacy to what you have to say. It’s kinda funky how this works. It’s a human nature thing.

    So what’s your name gonna be?

  31. My money says it’s JAY.

  32. Funny Nancy! Jay? LOL

  33. So, Nancy, how much money are you willing to bet on that one?

  34. Hmmm, I dunno, how much do you have?

    I don’t really think it’s Jay, but I do think opposing thoughts make for a more interesting blog.

  35. I think it’s really Randall.

    (just kidding Randall, err… anon)

    Or Royce.

    🙂

  36. Another important verse which alludes to the importance of fellow believers in “bringing the wanderer back again” is James 5:19-20. “My brothers and sisters, If anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

  37. Nancy,

    I agree. It would be boring to only read my viewpoint. And as I’ve said before, it’s important that I be regularly challenged, because it makes me more careful — and pushes me to study all the more.

    I greatly appreciate all who comment — but especially those who disagree.

    PS — I have no real problem with anonymous comments because I know that many who comment here are in congregations where their views would not be tolerated.

    I prefer full disclosure, because I think comments are weightier when a name is attached, but I understand that for congregational or family reasons, for example, someone may be reluctant to disclose his secret identity.

    PPS — Hmm … writing my own comments to disagree with myself? Clever idea … Maybe a female name to really throw them off.

  38. Thanks, Donald, that’s my point exactly.

  39. I have no real problem with anonymous comments because I know that many who comment here are in congregations where their views would not be tolerated. – Jay

    You are wrong that the church I attend doesn’t tolerate discussing whether or not we are secure in God’s hands, pointing that at a congregation you don’t know is quite shabby.

    I don’t know any here on a personal level who they are and I know that there are some twisted people on the internet you shouldn’t give your name to. The reaction of some toward me here, good or bad, shows people don’t need to give their name to discuss the Bible.

  40. James also said, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

  41. Jay it seems very apparent by the tone in your comments you still have issues with people who don’t agree with your view. I don’t believe when someone has the promise of eternal salvation they are to doubt God’s faithfulness, I don’t believe that God is a liar about completing His work in us.

  42. Your trying to be hurtful to someone making jokes and such doesn’t bother me, it just show the COC denomination really isn’t as loving as they claim to be. Why would someone want to go to a church with people who behave like that.

  43. “I think comments are weightier when a name is attached” – Jay

    Says the man who just wrote a series of posts based on an ancient book written by uh, uh, an anonymous writer.

  44. Anon,

    Relax….. (whoever you are).

  45. Anon,

    I offered congregational concerns as an example of a good reason to be anonymous. I was not accusing your congregation of anything. I was trying to defend you. I’m sorry if it didn’t come across that way.

  46. Nancy,

    I kind of like the theory that Hebrews was written by Priscilla. The Greek culture’s low view of women would explain how the name came to be forgotten. It’s quite unprovable, of course, but interesting to speculate.

  47. Jay and Nancy,
    There is internal evidence in the letter to the Hebrews (13:22b) that it was written by a woman, so Priscilla is the most obvious choice.
    Peace,
    Randall

  48. Randall,

    Really? I’d be very interested in knowing more.

  49. Chapter 13 verse 2 reads ” But I urge you brethren bear with this word of exhortation, FOR I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU BRIEFLY. (upper case for emphasis).

    In the 13th chapter of this epistle the writer says she has writen BRIEFLY. It had to have been a woman to be that long winded and say it was brief. 😉

    Then again, it could have been me. 😉

    Peace,
    Randall

  50. correction chapter 13 verse 22 repeat 22

  51. Randall,

    I think that proves the author is a preacher.

    The great Gus Nichols was famous for saying “And finally …” 45 minutes before he concluded.

  52. Jay,
    Thanks for reminding me of Gus Nichols. BTW, I assume you understand my reference to 13:22 was intended only as a joke – and the brunt of the joke was not women, but rather those that would think a woman could not have said or written anything worthwhile.
    Randall

  53. I attended the 101 Sunday morning bible class at Highland church of Christ in Abilene this past Sunday. We were visiting my son for Sing Song. The teacher was a woman . . . I can’t remember her name . . . but she was a great communicator. It was a joy to hear her and receive a blessing from her.

    It was the first time I had ever sat in a class led by a woman. The room was filled with many skilled/gifted and highly educated men . . . and women. But she was given the baton. It was a gift to her . . . and she returned the gift.

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