Question: I have looked through several of your studies and paid particular attention to the lessons on 1st Peter. In lesson 12 you seem to be saying that a person who is saved and allows the world to interrupt spiritual growth and slips back into a sinful lifestyle cannot come back into the family of the elect. Peter himself, after he confessed with his mouth that Jesus was the Christ later denied that he even knew Jesus. After Jesus' Resurrection, Jesus reinstated Peter. I equate this denial with sin. Am I wrong in this assumption? Peter then demonstrated his faith through many great works in the name of Jesus as Jesus had instructed him. I tend to agree that a person who calls upon Jesus for Salvation but neglects spiritual growth and out of ignorance or lack of guidance goes back to a life of sin, will not have salvation. My question is what if that person becomes revived and taught through the Holy Spirit what he is not doing to maintain Salvation and comes back into the Light of Righteousness? Is that person condemned because he did not endure from start to finish? Please guide me scripturally through this because I find this doctrine quite confusing.
Response: Thank you for your interest and use of Ichthys. As to your question about the restoration of believers who fall away into unbelief, I am sure that I do not say anywhere that such restoration is impossible. Quite the contrary, I believe that "where there is life, there is hope". The son who tells his father "no" but later goes out to the field to work is justly estimated to have "done his father's will"; likewise the workers who only spend an hour in the vineyard receive the same reward as those who "bear the heat of the day" (the reward being eternal life). Our God is a God of grace who gave His Son for us all and who wishes for all to follow Him and be saved (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9). These two scriptures just cited make it clear what the Father's will is: for us to believe in and follow Christ, and the way I read these and all the scriptures, our merciful Father will hear the call of any and all who turn to Him through His Son, regardless of their "track record". I hope this helps to make clear what I believe the Bible to be teaching on this point. For more information, please see the following links:
Repentance, Confession, and Forgiveness (in BB 3B)
Recovering from Sin.
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?
Does exceptionally sinful behavior indicate that a Christian has lost salvation?
Confession of Sin, Fellowship, and the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
Does Hebrews 10:26-35 ("deliberate sinning" etc.) mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation?
Addicted to Sin.
Jesus' Cursing of the Fig Tree, Apostasy, and 'Feng Shui'.
The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan.
Yours in love in Jesus Christ,