Ask Father Paul 07/14/10
Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible
Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few that I have gotten over the years and via email for this column.
Dear father Paul: Can a Christian lose his/her salvation? — E.J.
Dear E.J. Christians of good will may differ over the answer to your question. While it is an important question, the answer is not an “essential to the Christian faith” as is, for example, belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, or his atonement on the cross, or his second coming.
Both sides ... those who answer “yes” we can lose our salvation, and those who answer “no” we can’t, make excellent arguments.
The “yes” folks point to the fact that we humans have, until the moment of our death, the God given gift of free will. That is we can choose to either accept God and his plan for our salvation ... or we can reject it ... and (this is important) ... we can change our minds (either way) right up to the point of our death. They will often quote Hebrews 6:4-6 as proof of their view ... “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted in the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” To “fall away” under this view is a big, big deal.
The “no” people, on the other hand, say that when we are born again we become “new creatures” according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 and that once we are made “new” this act of God can’t be cancelled and we can’t be made back into our old selves again. We are “sealed” as Christ’s own forever. They also put forth the verse in Romans 8 that states “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Finally, they would argue that a Christian who falls away was never a “real” Christian to begin with.
So take your choice E. J. I personally probably lean a little more to the “yes” side than the “no” side ... but for me, and millions of others, it is really a moot point. I have walked with the Lord for a little over 50 years now, and I firmly resolved a long time ago to walk with him until the end.
Dear Father Paul: Why is “blood” so much a part of the Christian faith? — Patsy
Dear Patsy: Let’s go back to the beginning in the Old Testament. The Book of Leviticus, Chapter 17 tells us that the life of all flesh is in its blood. So, to God, life and blood are essentially the same thing. In God’s design, blood is the essence of life ... so to God the shedding of blood represents the shedding of life.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden their lives (their blood) became tainted by sin. In his love, however, God provided a “way out” for mankind by declaring that sacrifices of blood, first animals, then finally the blood of God’s own son, Jesus, would be sufficient to cover the sin of fallen mankind and restore us to fellowship with God. Today, when Christians receive the cup during holy communion, the pastor/priest will intone the words of Jesus from 1 Corinthians 11:25 “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Do you have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.