Safeguarding Your Soul

Eternal Life: Promise or Possession?

Carol Brooks

Also See The Two Phase Atonement

Introduction: It has to be noted that Once Saved, Always Saved differs from the Calvinistic doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, which is represented by the fifth letter of the acronym TULIP. [See Doctrines of Grace or Calvinism] Although both views have the final result of eternal security in salvation in common, they take dissimilar paths to get there.

The doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is the belief that everyone truly regenerated by God's grace will never fall away and perish. It emphasizes that truly regenerated believers will persevere, or keep on going in faith throughout their lives, since it is God who, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer.

Proponents of Once Saved Always Saved believe that, once a person has made the once and for all decision to "accept" Christ as savior, they are in the enviable position of being eternally secure in their salvation since there is not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand. Some carry this ridiculous and extremely lethal doctrine to ridiculous lengths, even teaching that since the potential for being 'unforgiven' has been done away with, a believer can proceed to live the rest of their lives just as they please, and still remain saved. There will be no repercussions other than possibly losing a reward or two. [Quotes by Dr. Charles Stanley in Footnote I]

[See The Bema or Judgment Seat Of Christ and Rewards in Heaven]

What a terribly tragic state we have talked ourselves into. scripture is not only replete with warnings about persevering in the faith and not falling from Grace (details below), but is also clear that NO LIVING CHRISTIAN can claim to be finally saved (The phrase “finally saved,” defined as salvation that is once and forever possessed, and cannot be lost).

So When Are Christians Finally Saved?
It is commonly believed that Christ’s death on the cross was the atonement for our sins. However, according to scripture, this is not quite true. Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was but the first ‘half’ of the process (for want of a better word), with the second phase still in the future. The sacrifice has been made, the blood has been shed, but the final atonement has NOT YET BEEN MADE. It is little wonder that the New Testament sometimes says that salvation is an accomplished reality, and at other times says it is still in the future, a seeming contradiction that is not limited to salvation alone.

But to properly understand the concept requires a more complete understanding of the atonement, for which we have to turn to the Old Testament. Just as the shedding of the blood outside the tabernacle on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement] was not an end in itself … it had to be brought to God and ‘offered’ as an atonement for sin, complete deliverance will not be realized until Christ puts away sin at the end of the ages, when He (Jesus] will appear “before the face of God for us”. [Hebrews 9:26]. See The Two Phase Atonement


The Prophecies

Jesus' Warnings
Jesus’ Many Messages About Perseverance
The Lost Sheep
Message To the Seven Churches
Blotted From the Lamb’s Book Of Life

Jesus' Parables
Parable of The Unfaithful Steward
The Parable Of The King's Banquet
Parable of The Unforgiving Servant
The Parable Of The Sower
The Parable Of The Vine And The Branches
The Parable of the Sheep and Goats
Parable of the Ten Virgins

Paul's Warnings...
in the Book of Acts
to The Romans
to the Corinthians
to the Galatians
to the Ephesians
to the Philippians
to the Colossians
to the Thessalonians
to Timothy

Other New Testament Authors
Peter’s Warnings
John's Warnings
Warnings From Hebrews

scriptures That Supposedly Teach Eternal Security

Warnings From The Old Testament
An Analogy From The Old Testament

Specific People Who Fell Away In The Old Testament
Saul and Solomon

Specific People Who Fell Away In The New Testament
Judas, Many Unnamed Disciples, Demas, Some Younger Christian Widows
Phygelus and Hermogenes, Hymenaeus and Philetus, Some Greedy Christians

The Prophecies [All Emphasis Added]
Both Jesus and Paul prophesied that in later (end) times, people would abandon or fall away from the faith. Note that people can not abandon a faith they never really had.

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” [Matthew 24:10-11].

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons [1 Timothy 4:1].

Jesus' Warnings

Jesus’ Many Messages About Perseverance
Jesus frequently taught, often in parables, about the need to persist in purity and holiness to the end, which implies that those who do not persevere to the end will not be saved. Note that anyone who is still alive is not at “the end.” [All Emphasis Added]

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 5:20].

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell” [Matthew 5:29-30].

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved [Matthew 10:22]

Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me [Matthew 10:38]

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved [Matthew 24:9-13].

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned [John 15:4-6].

The Lost Sheep
Pay close attention to the words of our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew.

How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the mountains, and seek that which goeth astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray. [Mat 18:12-13]

The word IF clearly implies the possibility of not being found and returned to the fold.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14)

According to Jesus' words above, only relatively few people will enter life. One has to stay on the narrow road in order to enter through the narrow gate. And how this is accomplished is clearly set out in many places. For example...

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” [Matthew 7:21]

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." [John 17:3]

Jesus describes eternal life as knowing God. "Know" does not indicate intellectual knowledge of God, or a mere casual familiarity with Him, but a very close relationship. the Old Testament regularly uses "know" to describe the relationship between husband and wife who have intimacy of heart and mind and a close personal relationship. Note God's words in Amos 5:4 where He instructs the house of Israel to seek Him and live. The word "seek" could not be used there with the idea of search, since God had already revealed Himself to the people. The term seek was used in the sense of "turn to Me," "seek to live as I do,".

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations [Revelation 2:26].

Message To the Seven Churches:
Jesus' message to some of the seven churches warned them that they had serious problems which threatened their relationship with him and even their salvation.

The church at Ephesus: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” [Revelation 2:4-5]

The church at Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” [Revelation 3:15-18].

The church at Sardis: “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels” [Revelation 3:5].

Blotted From the Lamb’s Book Of Life
Note this exchange between Moses and God..

So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book [Exodus 32:31-33].

As noted above Jesus' words to the church at Sardis regarding those who were righteous [dressed in white)

“Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels” [Revelation 3:5].

According to God, sinners will have their name blotted out of the book of life and, according to Jesus, overcomers will never have their names removed from the same book. The very word overcome implies hurdles and difficulties that a person has to succeed in dealing with... in other words perseverance to the end. And what happens to those whose names are not found in the book?

“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” [Revelation 20:15].

Jesus' Parables

Parable of The Unfaithful Steward [All Emphasis Added]
The next parable deals two types of people.. those who are prepared at all times for their master's return, and those who are not.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.[Luke 12:35-40].

Interestingly, the second half of the parable focuses on the falling away of those who have some position of responsibility within the Kingdom... that is the church leadership who's responsibility it is to give the household "food in due season." However the steward, seeing no sign of the master's return falls into or begins to indulge in excesses of eating and drinking (rather than providing food for the household) and abusing those he was supposed to watch over. Sadly this parallels so many of the modern day church leadership who seem to have completely lost sight of the Master and are busy creating their own little kingdoms. As the parable clearly states they will be assigned a place with the unbelievers.

“Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. “But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. [Luke 12:42-47].

The Parable Of The King's Banquet: [All Emphasis Added]
This parable initially illustrates the invitation to the Kingdom or the Gospel. The king held a great banquet, but the guests first invited (The Jews) didn't come. Asked again, they mistreated the servants the king had sent out with the invitations. So the invitation then went out to anyone on the street corners (the gentiles?), many of whom did accept the invitation.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. "Then he sent some more servants and said, "Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' "But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. "Then he said to his servants, "The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. [Matthew 22:2-10]

But, when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a person not wearing wedding clothes, upon which the king had the man thrown out into the darkness ...

"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are invited, but few are chosen" [Matthew 22: 11-14].

The church, commonly referred to as the bride of the Lamb, is clothed in "Fine linen, bright and clean" at the wedding supper.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" [Revelation 19:7-9].

In other words someone accepted the invitation to the banquet, but having failed to adequately prepare for the occasion was cast out.

Parable of The Unforgiving Servant [All Emphasis Added]

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” [Matthew 18:23-35].

The very fact that this servant had been forgiven his debt tells us that he had been saved. However this didn’t last very long. When he refused to forgive one of his debtors just as he had been forgiven, the king reinstated the debt he had formerly forgiven.

See Section on Hell And Page on Forgiveness .. Does God expect us to forgive everyone who sins against us, even those who don't humble themselves, admit their sin, and request forgiveness?

The Parable Of The Sower [All Emphasis Added]

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” [Matthew 13:3-8].

Upon being questioned, Jesus explained this parable in very unambiguous terms. Of the four groups of people who heard the word, the first group never really absorbed the Word. The second two were "saved" as we like to call it, since the seed of the word actually began to germinate. However in the face of obstacles both groups fell away, one withered, the other was choked. Only in the last group did the seed not only germinate but went on to produce a bountiful crop.

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” [Matthew 13:18-23].

Please note that that there can not be any debate as to whether the second group were believers or not since in the parallel account in Luke 8 Jesus used the same Greek word (pisteuo) in both verse 12 and Verse 13 for those that did not believe and those that believed for a while. Additionally, Luke 8:6 says the plants of the second group withered away, because it had no moisture. Something has to have life before it can ever wither away.

The Parable Of The Vine And The Branches
Note Jesus' teaching on bearing fruit. Note that all the branches Jesus refers to are in Him, which means they are Christians. One can but hope that no one seriously believes that they can be "cut down", yet be saved.

"I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" [John 15:1-8].

In the next parable God, depicted as the owner of the vineyard, wants to cut down the non-productive fig tree. Jesus, the one who takes care of the vineyard, intercedes wanting to try to get the tree to produce fruit. NOTE however that even Jesus agrees that the tree must be cut down if it does not produce fruit after being given another chance for one more year, He does not intercede for us forever.

“A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ”‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down’” [Luke 13:6-9].

The Parable of the Sheep and Goats

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” [Matthew 25:31-46].

This parable doesn’t speak at all about having faith, but living the faith. [See Section on Faith and Works]

Parable of the Ten Virgins

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ”‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. [Matthew 25:1-13].

It is difficult to interpret the parable if the five foolish virgins ran out of oil, however the text is clear .... the five foolish virgins never brought any oil with them. Their lamps did light momentarily, perhaps because of a possible residue on the wicks, but the very fact that all five of the foolish one's lamps went out at about the same time indicates that there was no oil in their lamps. Note that oil, in the Old Testament, is frequently used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and is synonymous with salvation in the New Testament.

So, contrary to popular interpretations of this parable the five foolish virgins were never saved in the first place. They were just empty lamps that promised to give light, but in the end never did. The five wise virgins were not selfish, but the saved can not share salvation with the unsaved. Each person has to make their own choices and there will come a point in time, when our Lord returns, when one’s rejection of Christ cannot be reversed. The doors have closed and one's fate is sealed. [When does this happen? See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet]

It is particularly interesting that this parable is related by Jesus only to His disciples, not to the crowds, the Jewish religious leaders, nor any other enemy. Therefore it should serve as a very serious warning to the church, indicating as it does that those who will enter the kingdom of heaven and those who will not, may not be apparent until the coming of Christ. In the beginning no distinction can be made between both the two sets of women. All were invited to the wedding, all came expecting to participate. The five foolish virgins even addressed the groom as “Lord” twice [V. 11]

The major difference was that the foolish ones brought their lamps, but no oil.

it will only be when men stand before our Lord, their true spiritual status, and their destiny, is known. All too often Jesus made it clear that there will be some surprises when it comes to who is saved and who is not. [1]

Paul's Warnings

The Book of Acts: Despite his incredible conversion experience on the way to Damascus Paul said

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” [Acts 20:24].

Letter To The Romans: In this communication Paul clearly told the Romans that the Jews had been cut off because of unbelief and warned the believers in Rome that God would be kind to them IF they continued in His kindness.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again [Romans 11: 17-22]

He also made it very clear that he was still waiting for his adoption as a son of God.

“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” [Romans 8:23-25].

And that a Born Again believer is freed from sin.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin [Romans 6:6-7].

Letter To The Corinthians: When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was clear that they used to be thieves and idolaters, homosexuals and drunkards etc that did not inherit the kingdom of God, but were now washed and sanctified. Note that in the second quote he calls them brothers, a term used for fellow believers

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [1 Corinthians 6:9-11]

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. [1 Corinthians 15:1-2].

A Weak Christian
In 1 Corinthians 8:10 -13 Paul says

But food will not commend us to God: neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak. For if a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth (Greek apollumi), the brother for whose sake Christ died. And thus, sinning against the brethren, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.

Eternal Security proponents tend to interpret this verse as meaning the weak conscience of the brother is “wounded” but not lost. However the word translated perisheth is the Greek apollumi which is used over 90 times in the New Testament. Especially telling are the following examples, especially when both James and Peter use the word as the opposite of "saved".

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish (Greek apollumi), but have eternal life. [John 3:16]

Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed (Greek apollumi) them that believed not. [Jude 1:5]

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish (Greek apollumi), but that all should come to repentance. [2 Peter 3:9]

One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able to save and to destroy (Greek apollumi): but who art thou that judgest thy neighbor? [James 4:12]

Furthermore, in this epistle Paul recounts the delivery of the Israelites from Egypt emphasizing the point that they blew it in spite of having been tremendously blessed by God’s guidance and protection. These Israelites were identified with Christ (the rock) and baptism yet their bodies were scattered all over the desert. Paul's words “I do not want you to be ignorant” expresses the Apostle’s plea that they understand that God wanted them to grasp and apply the lessons of Israel’s history to their (our) lives... that all of us face the reality of the danger of disqualification.

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry. We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! [1 Corinthians 10:1-12]. [Compare Hebrews 3:16-19]

If Paul, the author of two thirds of the New Testament believed he could be disqualified should he not complete the race, how much more the danger to the rest of us?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize [1 Corinthians 9:24-27].

In 2 Corinthians Paul warns them to

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you, unless, of course, you fail the test?” [2 Corinthians 13:5].

Letter To The Galatians: When he wrote to the churches of Galatia [Galatians 1:2] Paul was addressing an entire church that had confessed faith in the Lord Jesus. He was worried that he has wasted efforts on them, which would not have been the case if they were not in danger of losing their salvation. Since it is by grace we are saved, no saved person is "alienated" from Christ and "fallen away from grace".

But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you... You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace [Galatians 4: 9-11. 5:4]

Paul later expanded the list of actions that would deny them salvation (Note that his words "and the like" tells us that even this list is not all inclusive) and warned them they would reap a harvest if they did not give up.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19-21].

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. [Galatians 6:7-9].

Both verse above speak of a future possession, not missing out on some blessing in this life. And as to the how of being a "son of God"... it comes about through faith alone. No faith? You are not a son of God.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26)

Also See Section Faith and Works
Having all the correct beliefs about God will hardly suffice: even demons believe in God. Real, life-giving faith has to produce action, and James minces no words in describing the specific spiritual actions expected of Christians.

Letter To The Ephesians: When Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he addressed them as saints and faithful in Christ Jesus [Ephesians 1:1], which means he was talking to Christians. Yet he warned them that they would not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God if they became immoral, impure or greedy

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. or of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient [Ephesians 5:3-6].

Letter to the Philippians:
In this letter addressed to 'all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons", Paul says that he does not yet consider that he has "arrived"... taken hold of the prize

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus [Philippians 3:10-14].

Letter To The Colossians: Paul addressed the Colossians as the "saints and faithful brethren in Christ that are at Colossae" [Colossians 1:2]and told them that they used to be enemies in their evil works but would be presented as holy and without blemish if they continued in the faith. He then went on to add that they were to put sin to death.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. [Colossians 1:21-23]

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips [Colossians 3:5-7].

Letter to The Thessalonians: In this letter addressed to the "church of the Thessalonians", Paul says that their efforts were useless if the tempter had succeeded with the people. Certainly he would not have had any cause for concern had they been forever saved.

“I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless” [1 Thessalonians 3:5].

Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed [2 Thessalonians 1:5-10].

Letter To Timothy
Paul speaks of people like the young widows who were once true Christians dedicated to Christ, but have wandered away from sincere faith.. noting once more that only a person who actually has something can abandon it. Even though Paul knew that Timothy was a true Christian it is very telling that he found it necessary to warn Timothy that he he must persevere in the faith in order to be saved.

"so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith" [1 Timothy 1:18-19].

"As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan" [1 Timothy 5:11-15].

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" [1 Timothy 6:10].

"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" [1 Timothy 4:15-16].

"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you" [1 Timothy 6:21-22].

I am not sure how Paul could get more clear than in the following verse...

Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness. [2 Timothy 2:19b]

In 1 Timothy 3 Paul list numerous conditions for a possible bishop including being without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; one that rules well his own house.. etc.

However verse 6 adds one more stipulation.. that the man should NOT be a recent convert.

He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil

Considering that only a true Christian could possibly be considered for the post of a bishop, it is apparent Paul is warning that sin or conceit in a Christian’s life could very well lead to a person's falling under the same judgement as Satan...

For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, covetings, wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: all these evil things proceed from within, and defile the man. [Mark 7:21-23]

Peter’s Warnings
2 Peter 2:1: But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought (Greek agorazo) them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [Emphasis Added]

Other verses in the New Testament make it very clear that the Greek word (agorazo) Peter used in the verse above, referred to the death of Christ ... An atoning sacrifice; that he offered to purchase (or save) a people for Himself.

for ye were bought (Greek agorazo) with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. [1 Corinthians 6:20]

Ye were bought (Greek agorazo) with a price; become not bondservants of men. [1 Corinthians 7:23]

And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase (Greek agorazo) unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation [Revelation 5:9]

I am afraid that the Bible's undeniable statement that the Lord also "bought" false teachers, knocks the wind out of the sails of the doctrine of Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved.

Peter ends his second epistle with the words.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him... therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [2 Peter 3:14, 17]

Peter's warning about false teachers apply just as well to the many in the 21st century church as they did to those of Peter's time. He harshly criticizes them because they are leading people astray. What is especially telling are Peter's words that these false teachers promise freedom to the people. What better description of the teachers of Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved.

“For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” [2 Peter 2:18-19].

What Peter has to say to those who's ears are being tickled is equally harsh

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud” [2 Peter 2:20-22].

Peter is clear that only one's PAST SINS are forgiven.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins [2 Peter 1:5-9].

John's Warnings
With John adding that we need to continue to ask God’s forgiveness:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives [1 John 1:8-10].

The apostle of love was not very far behind when it came to warnings

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him [1 John 2:3-4].

Warnings From Hebrews "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted 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" [Hebrews 6:4-6]

The usual way out of the knotty problem presented by the above text is to say that the people the author of Hebrews is referring to are not truly born-again disciples, but Christians in name only. However the text says these people have "shared in the Holy Spirit," something that no non-Christian can do. Besides which, these warnings are against "falling away," which is impossible if they never attained the position from which to fall. The author of the book warned the Hebrew converts about deliberate sinning after becoming believers.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [Hebrews 10:26-31].

This text can not refer to false Christians who never came to faith and were never Born Again. The text unambiguously says that someone can be "sanctified" by "the blood of the covenant" and still fall from the faith.

The author then goes on to assure his readers that if they do not throw away their confidence, it will be richly rewarded, and that they will receive what God has promised when they have done the will of God.. This mirrors Jesus' words in Matthew 7:21... Only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved [Hebrews 10:35-39].

It has to be noted that while Christians are called to be vigilant and never let their guard down, this does not necessarily mean that they are in constant danger of falling from the faith. The Hebrew Christians being addressed here were in danger of completely abandoning the faith and falling back into Judaism.

Other warnings from Hebrews

"We have come to share in Christ if we hold to the end the confidence we had at first." [Hebrews 3:14]

"Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience." [Hebrews 4:11]

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord... See that no-one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears." [Hebrews 12:14, 16-17]

scriptures That Supposedly Teach Eternal Security
Against the great weight of evidence listed above, proponents of the Eternal Security Doctrine usually point to a handful of verses that they claim back up their teachings.. The usual suspects are...

1) "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" [Romans 8:38-39].

The words “We” and “us” in the above verses refer to Christians and were written to encourage believers concerning the confidence they have in Christ. This chapter of Romans is unique inasmuch as the Holy Spirit is referred to 17 times. It starts with the assurance that there is no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus (v.1) and goes on to say that...

they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. [Romans 8:8-10]

So those that are in Christ and have the Spirit of Christ are protected by God from all forces that would wish to separate them from His love. No confidence or assurance is offered to those that are not in Christ.

2) "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can ****** them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can ****** them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).

Jesus said that his sheep listen to his voice and those sheep will be given eternal life. The situation is similar to the above example inasmuch as it endeavors to give the believer confidence that that can not be snatched out of the Father's hand... that no powers can separate them from the love of God and they can overcome any assault of the enemy. However, if a person gets to the point where they can not or do not hear His voice, they certainly are not His sheep and these assurances do not apply to them. They can not claim to have any blessing of God, much less eternal life.

3) "And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day." [John 6:39]

Taken in context the verse reads

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6:38-40]

It is significant that the words "looks" and "believe" are both used as present participles in verse 40, which makes the looking and the believing ongoing actions. So one who continues to look to Christ with a continuing steady gaze and continues believing will be raised up at the last day. The believer's security is conditional upon an ongoing trust in Jesus, not a single profession of faith, or even short lived period of faith sometime in the past.

4) “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" [John 10:10]

The biggest flaws in this argument is the belief that eternal life is a tangible possession or commodity that is given to us at the moment of salvation and is ours to keep. This idea is light years away from the Biblical concept which is emphasized in 1 John 5:11

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is IN his Son."

Notice that this doesn't say that eternal life is FROM the Son, but IN the Son. Nor does it say eternal LIVES are in the Son, but eternal LIFE, which means that eternal life is in the singular and no one can claim it for their own but all share in it. In order to appropriate eternal life, we must continue to remain in Christ, which is why Jesus repeatedly impressed the thought upon us, "Abide in me, and I in you." Note the following verses that show that this eternal life does not exist apart from Christ who IS the life.

"Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, AND the life..." [John 11:25]

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

"When Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" [Colossians 3:4]

"He that HATH the Son HATH life; and he that HATH NOT the Son of God HATH NOT life." [1 John 5:12]

To those who claim that it is impossible to NOT have the Son once a profession has been made, John had this to say

"Let that therefore ABIDE in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. IF that which ye have heard from the beginning shall REMAIN in you, ye also shall CONTINUE in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." [1 John 2:24-25]

The conditional nature of salvation can not be more clear. John's use of the words IF in connection with abide, remain and continue, implies that one can cease to abide, cease to remain and cease to continue. If it isn't possible, then John was very very confused. What it all boils down to is that we have to continuously abide in the eternal life that is Christ. We have possession of eternal life just as long as we abide in the one who IS the Life. The fallacy with the argument that if eternal life could be lost, it would not be eternal is that the life is eternal but our participation in it can cease. Which is why many will hear these words "I never knew you" or "I don't know you"”. [2]

5) "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." [1 John 5:11-13)

It is argued that John wrote these verses that we might know that having once truly received Jesus, we know that we have Him in our life, and thus we forever have eternal life. However, as said above, the fact that the life is eternal does not prove that possession of it is eternal. Also note that just a few verse earlier John said

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [Vs. 3-5]

6) "If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself" [2 Timothy 2:11-13].

Proponents of Eternal Security often point to this verse saying that if we once died with Christ, by means of a sincere confession of faith or through baptism, we will also live with him. Usually omitted from their thinking is the inevitable IF... if we endure we will reign with Him. If we deny him he will deny us. Note also that Luke 9:23 has Jesus telling His disciples that anyone who wants to follow Him must "deny himself and take up his cross daily" and follow Him. Dying with Him (and to the world) is not a one-time event.

The second half of the verse has likewise been misinterpreted.. Paul tells Timothy "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself". People take this to mean that even if we are faithless IE. fall away from the faith, God will stay faithful to us. However this interpretation is surmised, since the text does not say He will remain faithful to us. On the contrary what it points out is that He cannot be anything but true to His own nature and will act in accordance with who He is. It would be a denial of his very nature to save those who are unfaithful. He is holy; therefore he can not save one who is unholy. [Also See Section on God]

However it is to be noted that the second half of the verse may not actually have anything to do with believers who have fallen from the faith but may instead refer to unbelievers. The word translated "faithless" is the Greek apisteō used some seven times in the
churinga churinga
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Dec 2, 2012