Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eternal Life is "Eternal"

A Candid Look at OSAS "Support"

Another peculiar statement that is made from supporters of the Once Saved Always Saved doctrine is that eternal life is "eternal". This is a strawman argument where people are debating against positions that no one holds.

While it sounds sort of snazzy (YES, that is a word!) to say, "If we can lose it, then it is not eternal.", such a comment is really a Non Sequitur. It is a statement containing an illogical conclusion.

Who are the ones claiming that eternal life is really not eternal? Those who dispute OSAS are not calling into question the attributes of the life given, but man's receipt of it.

God gives us a "gift" of eternal life. He does not give us an "eternally given gift" of life. The attribute of what is "eternal" is not a descriptor of how we receive the gift, but it describes the nature of the life being given.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

All "gifts" are the purview of the giver. It is the giver who determines what the gift will be, makes provision for it, purchases it, packages it, and presents it. Whether or not such a gift is received (or retained) doesn't change the nature of the gift...or the one who gave it.

In a practical sense, if you give me a toaster, and I decide that I do not want it, I can reject the gift outright or return it later. If I return the gift, it doesn't mean the toaster stops being a toaster. Nor does it mean that the quality of the toaster has been compromised. It also does not mean that I have interfered with your ability to give me the toaster...because you did. It only means that I no longer have a relationship with the toaster.

We know from an earlier article that the gift of eternal life is only found "in Christ".

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." II Timothy 1:1

If one is no longer in Christ, then how can one continue to be a recipient of that gift?

Eternal life IS of course eternal. However, that doesn't mean that the gift is "eternally" given. The word "eternal" defines the type of life God provides and not the act of receiving the gift.

This article is part of a 6-part series evaluating a doctrine referred to as Once Saved Always Saved, Eternal Unconditional Security, or Preservation of the Saints.

  1. God Doesn't Mince Words
  2. "IF"
  3. Salvation is a Result of Covenant
  4. Sealed Until the Day of Redemption
  5. A Candid Look at OSAS "Support"
  6. The ONLY Reason Salvation Can Be "Lost"

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