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What the Early Church Fathers Said about Eternal Security [podcast]

(excerpt from the book Lie of the Ages)

These are some seriously sobering quotes…..

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Was OSAS (once saved always saved; eternal security) a doctrine of Christ and His apostles and those who truly followed Christ thereafter? Please see below and share this to warn others.

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…” Acts 2:42

The “apostles’ doctrine” is the compilation of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles who wrote the Holy Spirit-inspired books which make up the canon of the New Testament. Nothing could be nor ever will be more authoritatively divine than Holy Scripture.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This chapter features the intriguing and telling words of some of the earliest servants of Christ who lived to carry forth the Gospel and work of Jesus after the twelve were deceased. One should witness a consistency in these words with the doctrine of Christ and His holy apostles as recorded in the New Testament Scriptures. These early disciples spoke in accordance with the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). Regrettably, as time went on under this New Covenant era, the prophesied apostasy in the church world began to transpire and escalate. Deceivers began to wax worse and worse and they will continue until the return of our LORD and the ultimate setting up of His eternal kingdom (2 Tim. 3:13).

These men, whose words you are about to read, were not far removed from the original apostles of our LORD and His Gospel and held fast to His Word – “the apostle’s doctrine” (Acts 2:42).

Perhaps these words, since they are consistent with what we read in the whole of the Word of God, are worthy to be accepted as supplemental, yet not on the same level of authority as the truth of Holy Writ. The purpose of placing these words in this volume is to show a preponderance of witnesses to the divine truth once delivered to the saints of Christ (Jude 3-4). This is an historical witness to the truth of Scripture. Some who read this will have been surrounded by those who espouse the reformers, John Calvin, and leaders of the evangelical world and yet have had little exposure to the words of other men and their view of Bible truth.

Knowing truth from error is the result of becoming intimately and personally familiar with the contents of the New Testament Scriptures. As we behold what Christ and His apostles taught we are then able to rightly divide the Word of truth and discern who is and who is not teaching and speaking according to the original Gospel Reqe 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16; Heb. 5:11-14.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation…” 1 Timothy 1:15

Today, many who are within professing Christendom, go back to church history and men like John Calvin, a man with no genuine kingdom authority whatsoever – because he simply did not honor the counsel of God (Isa. 8:20; 1 Pet. 4:11). If we are going to look back to mere men for inspiration and authority, why not go a little further back than Calvin? Why not do the right thing and look to “holy men of God” who “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”? (See 2 Pet. 1:20-21.) When we do, we will find John Calvin to be a heretical false teacher who spent his years poisoning the church world with his “private interpretation” and outright and outlandish falsehoods.

No man’s teachings or view are on the same level as Holy Scripture (Prov. 21:30; Rom. 3:4).

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:20-21

It is unfortunate that some people today follow the teachings of mere men, so-called reformers, all while they have complete access to the very Word of God. We make the word of God of no effect when we place the words of mere men above the truth given us of the Almighty.

This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of menas the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:6-9, 13

It can be perhaps witnessed, when studying the Church as it functioned through the New Testament centuries, that after Christ and His apostles left the earth, there was a steady decline in doctrinal purity leading up to our day. This was long ago prophesied – “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). It is interesting to observe the words of some of the leaders in the Church world throughout these New Testament centuries. Many of these men held to the biblical revelation of salvation – how it is received and how it is maintained. It may interest you to know that Polycarp was the direct disciple of the apostle John. These men addressed this unconditional eternal security matter that had already sprung forth from diabolical origins soon after Christ had risen again from the dead. Later, John Calvin came on the scene and grossly perverted the grace of God as foretold by Jude in Jude 3-4. Men like John Calvin set forth and re-established the lie that would continue through the centuries to be responsible for the damnation of millions of souls who believed and died believing they were eternally secure no matter what spiritual state they died in.

QUOTES FROM EARLY CHURCH FATHERS BEFORE THE CORRUPTION OF UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY SET IN:  (In quoting these men, we are not condoning everything they might have taught in other areas of doctrine.)

“Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh. But often shall ye come together, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if ye be not made perfect in the last time.” (Didache, A.D.140)

“That eternal fire has been prepared for him as he apostatized from God of his own free-will, and likewise for all who unrepentant continue in the apostasy, he now blasphemes, by means of such men, the Lord who brings judgment [upon him] as being already condemned, and imputes the guilt of his apostasy to his Maker, not to his own voluntary disposition.” (Justin Martyr, fragment in Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, 5:26:1, A.D.156)

“Christ shall not die again in behalf of those who now commit sin, for death shall no more have dominion over Him; but the Son shall come in the glory of the Father, requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most shall He demand most. We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon those of old time, but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom. And therefore it was that Paul said, ‘For if [God] spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest He also spare not thee, who, when thou wert a wild olive tree, wert grafted into the fatness of the olive tree, and wert made a partaker of its fatness.’” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4:27:2 A.D. 180)

“But some think as if God were under a necessity of bestowing even on the unworthy, what He has engaged (to give); and they turn His liberality into slavery. But if it is of necessity that God grants us the symbol of death, then He does so unwillingly. But who permits a gift to be permanently retained which he has granted unwillingly? For do not many afterward fall out of (grace)? Is not this gift taken away from many?” (Tertullian, On Repentance, 6 A.D. 204)

“Therefore, the ones who are pardoned are those who slip into sin unintentionally and incautiously. He who sins willfully has no pardon.” (Lactantius, A.D. 304)

“By believing in Him you will live. But by disbelieving you will be punished.” (Apostolic Constitutions, A.D. 390)

“Grace with the Lord, when once learned and undertaken by us, should never afterward be cancelled by repetition of sin.” (Tertullian, A.D. 203)

“He who keeps them will be glorified in the kingdom of God. However, he who chooses other things will be destroyed with his works.” (Barnabas, A.D. 70)

“Only those who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with God; but as for those who do not keep His commandments, there is no life in them.” (Barnabas, A.D. 70)

“We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation. Otherwise, the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, may hurl us forth from our life.” (Barnabas, A.D. 70)

“Let us therefore repent with the whole heart, so that none of us perish by the way.” (Second Clement, A.D. 150)

“I hold further, that those of you who have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back for some reason to the legal dispensation [i.e. the Mosaic Law] and have denied that this man is Christ, and have not repented before death—you will by no means be saved.” (Justin Martyr, A.D. 160)

“Rather, we should fear ourselves, lest perchance, after we have come to the knowledge of Christ, if we do those things displeasing to God, we obtain not further forgiveness for sin, but are shut out of His kingdom.” (Irenaeus, A.D. 180)

“He who hopes for everlasting rest knows also that the entrance to it is toilsome and narrow. So let him who has once received the gospel not turn back.” (Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 195)

“God gives forgiveness of past sins. However, as to future sins, each one procures this for himself. He does this by repenting, by condemning past deeds, and by begging the Father to blot them out.” (Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 195)

“The world returned to sin…and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins.” (Tertullian, A.D. 198)

“Rather they must be preserved. It is not the actual attainment, but the perfecting, that keeps a man for God.” (Cyprian, A.D. 250)

“A son who deserts his father in order not to pay him obedience is considered deserving of being disinherited and having his name removed forever from his family.” (Lactaintius, A.D. 304)

“He who sins after baptism, unless he forsakes his sins, will be condemned to Gehenna.” (Apostolic Constitutions, A.D. 390)

“These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.” (Clement to the Corinthians, 7:33-36)

“Day and night ye were anxious for the whole brotherhood, that the number of God’s elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience.” (Clement to the Corinthians, 2:7, 8)

“On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their abode without the camp. Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram  alive to Hades.”(Clement to the Corinthians, 4:20, 21)

“Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immovable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] thy blameless face which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. Maintain thy position with all care, both in the flesh and spirit.” (The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp, 1:1)

“What we gather from all these quotes is that the early Church believed one was saved by faith in Christ and His blood, apart from works. That we’re redeemed and washed from our sins, there must be repentance, if one sinned and did not repent they would be lost. They believed God’s foreknowledge and predestination, and they believed by blaspheming the Holy Spirit and/or forsaking God that one would lose salvation.” unknown

“God is a God of mercy and compassion, He is long suffering, patient, and willing to call you back, but if one persists in willful abandonment and blasphemy against His Spirit, how can He put up with that?” unknown

Justin Martyr- c. 100/114AD – c. 162/168 AD. He was another early Christian apologist (defender) of the faith and was martyred by beheading. His works represent the earliest surviving Christian apologies of notable size:

• Man acts by his own free will and not by fate. (20)

• We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is in our own power. For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions-whatever
they may be…. For neither would a man be worthy of reward or praise if he did not of himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.

• But that you may not have a pretext for saying that Christ must have been crucified, and that those who transgressed must have been among your nation, and that the matter could not have been otherwise, I said briefly by anticipation, that God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness; possessing reason, that they may know by whom they are created, and through whom they, not existing formerly, do now exist; and with a law that they should be judged by Him, if they do anything contrary to right reason: and of ourselves we, men and angels, shall be convicted of having acted sinfully, unless we repent beforehand. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall be certainly punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably [wicked], but not because God had created them so.

PRAYER: Holy Father, I love You supremely. LORD Jesus, Savior of my soul, thank You for coming to die for my sins – for redeeming my life. Thank You. Thank You Jesus! Thank You. I cling to Thee alone and to the words of Your holy truth. You promised that as I stand upon Your unchanging truth, that I would forever stand in Thee! Thank You! On Christ the solid rock I do stand and all other ground is sinking sand! So be it Jesus! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

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