I have been debating a Christian online about whether
salvation is permanent, which I believe it is. I have seen many
scriptures that show this is the case but the person I am debating
has brought up two verses I have never looked at before and I donít
know how to respond. The verses are 2 Peter 2:20-21:
"For if, after they
have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the
last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better
for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it,
to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them." I looked in a
couple of commentaries as well as in When Critics Ask (by Norman
Geisler and Thomas Howe) and they either said nothing about it or
they didnít address the issue at hand.I have just within the last
month or two started getting your newsletter and reading your
articles/e-mail responses and I have been very impressed. So I was
hoping that you could shed some light on this issue.
You have brought up a great question! The security of every believer is a critical issue in the Christian life. John 10:28-30 assures us that if we are given eternal life by God through Jesus Christ, no one can snatch us from the Father's hand. Romans 8:28-39 also guarantees that nothing in all of reality can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
With that said, there is the issue of the "apparent" problem passages. Of them, 2 Peter 2:20-21 seems a real nasty one. But upon reading the entire epistle from Peter, one can see that the people in question are false teachers. Peter's perspective, as that of Jude in Jude 19, is that these false teachers were not truly Christian. As Jude puts it, they are "wordly-minded, devoid of the Spirit." Most likely these teachers publicly professed Christ as their Lord, but their subsequent rejection verified their unchanged spiritual condition.
The Bible as a whole teaches that believers are securely held in God's hand. But let us be careful not to judge others because of what we see or don't see. Challenge one another in perseverance to bear fruit, but leave the final judgment to the word of God that is "able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Thanks so much for your insightful question. God gives understanding to those who seek it as if searching for buried treasure and precious silver. [Proverbs 2:3-5]