|Dr. Couch, 1 John 3:7, 8, and 9 sounds like a Christian can lose his salvation. I believe in eternal security but what about these verses? How do you answer?|
ANSWER: The verses read: "The one who 'practices' righteousness is righteous, just as [Christ] is righteous" (v. 7), and, "The one who 'practices' sin is of the devil" (v. 8), and finally, "No one who is born of God 'practices' sin" (v. 9).
The key is the grammatical construction of the Greek word "practice" which is "poieo." The word means "to do, practice, work." In verses 7, 8 "poieo" is in the Present Participle form, and in verse 9, it is simply a Present Indicative. The idea is that the one who is continually, daily, going about sinning, and even bragging or flaunting his sin, doing it with boldness every day, is not born again. Nor has he ever been! With the Present Participle, the verb is united with the noun, meaning "The one who is going about each day boldly practicing (maybe a specific sin) and continually enjoying doing so, this one is not born again."
For an example, let's take the sin of homosexuality. This person is saying by his actions, attitudes, and proclamation, "I'm going to continue to practice daily my sin, I am not going to repent, nor am I ashamed, and I am not planning to drop that sin or to give it to Christ for forgiveness!" "It is mine and I am proud of it and have no plans to walk away from it."
I think it works this way: A gross sinner comes to Christ and says 'I accept Him as my Savior,' except in reference to the sin that I am continually practicing, that I love, and plan to keep! I give Him all my sins except this one that I relish and I am not repentant of it. So, Christ died for my sins except this one that I plan to keep and to practice daily!"
In my opinion that is what John the apostle has in mind. Most people understand when they come to the Lord as their Savior that they are confessing all their sins. That is the essence of being born again. Being born again implies that Christ died for all of our sins, not just a few of them! We cannot be selective, otherwise, we are playing games with Christ's sacrifice on the cross!
A person who is born again cannot lose his salvation. He is in heaven already in God's mind. On this see Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:3-14. and 2:6. This last verse reads: "[God has] raised us with Him, and seated us with Him in THE HEAVENLIES in Christ Jesus." We are already in heaven and we cannot be jerked out of glory. We are there forever!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch