Dear Susan,<br><br>Though it is the same God working throughout, you are right to think that there is some degree of difference between the two testaments. The Old Testament decreed destruction without mercy on any who disobeyed it --in the New Testament the stakes are even HIGHER! Whoever turns from the words spoken in it will only wish they had been stoned to death!<br><br>"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of His covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (lit. "insulted") unto the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:28-29)<br><br>"See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven..." (Hebrews 12:25)<br><br>Note that in chapter 10, Paul speaks of one who "hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of His covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing." We know that an unbeliever cannot be sanctified by Christ's blood, and so this must refer to a believer that has fully rejected Christ after he has been sanctified by Him. Also notice that Paul says in ch. 12, "if we neglect," not "if they neglect."<br><br>To begin with the scriptures you cited, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 John 5:13 reveal some amazing truths about becoming a new creature in Christ and our eternal life in Him, but do not really say anything about their conditionality or the lack thereof. <br><br>You wrote:<br>"The Holy Spirit could be taken from a person in the Old Testament, but that is not possible now."<br><br>The NT never directly says whether the Holy Spirit can be taken from a person or not, but let's see what implication it gives:<br><br>"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)<br><br>Yet we also read:<br><br>"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?... [to the same people] Christ is become of no effect unto you [lit. "you are estranged from Christ"], whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 4:9 and 5:4)<br><br>Now as if "fallen from grace" isn't clear enough, note that many of these people who have been known of God were now departing from His Gospel of grace and putting themselves under the yoke of bondage, which was the Jewish law. If they had been known of God (4:9), then surely they received the seal of the Holy Ghost; but now many of them put themselves in spiritual bondage. But where God's Spirit is, there is liberty; so while there is not a NT passage stating that the Holy Spirit will depart from a person, I believe that this can be easily inferred from these passages.<br><br>As to John 17, Jesus prayer for His disciples was answered, and none of His disciples were lost except Judas. I do believe that in this prayer, Jesus was also praying for all believers; but the implication was not that He asked God to unconditionally prevent them from turning away, but rather to guard them from wickedness (the literal meaning for 'keep' here is 'to guard'). So this is not a guarantee that every single believer will endure to the end, but rather, that they will not be snatched away. So while I strongly affirm that nothing can force a believer out of God's saving grace, there is much scripture that attests to the fact that a redeemed person can depart from the living God. Consider this, why did Judas fall away? It was so the scripture might be fulfilled. But the scripture also foretells the apostasy of some now.<br><br>"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils..." (1 Timothy 4:1)<br><br>1 Timothy 1:12 does make it clear that God is able to keep what we have committed to Him (namely, our spirits); but my rejection of unconditional security is not based on the idea that God is unable to keep us, it is based on the fact that if we do not hold onto Him, He will cast us away.<br><br>"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached the word to others, I myself should be a castaway (lit. unapproved, rejected, reprobate; some translators use 'disqualify,' but this is a liberal translation at best)." (1 Corinthians 9:27)<br><br>John 15 makes it clear that an apostate doesn't just slip out of God's reach all of a sudden, if he does not hear God (Zechariah 7:11) and lets his heart grow hard through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13), and refuses to repent (Revelation 2:21), then God will cut that individual off from Christ (John 15:2), Who is the source of eternal life (Colossians 3:4).<br><br>So I also believe that while God keeps us, our remaining in Him is contingent upon us holding fast to Him as well --but not by our own strength. I shall elaborate below.<br><br>You wrote:<br>"I would say that it doesn't depend on our ability to abide. We will abide because He is holding onto us, not the other way around. We will want to abide because we are His own."<br><br>Our ability to abide comes from God.<br><br>"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." (1 Timothy 1:14)<br><br>If we are truly new creatures (as you referenced) who share in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4), are given strength to do God's will by the Holy Ghost (see above), have Jesus abiding in our hearts (Matthew 28:20), and security from being snatched forcefully by the power of God the Father (John 10:29), then there is no reason why we should not abide. Some wilfully choose to turn aside after sin anyway (Hebrews 10:26).<br><br>You wrote:<br>"I disagree that the faith that was made shipwreck was a true saving faith."<br><br>If you do not believe that true saving faith can fail, note that some have "erred from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:10, and yes, "the" is also there in the Greek). When it speaks of not just faith, but "the faith," I can only assume it is a reference to the one true saving faith (Ephesians 4:5).<br><br>Let me give you something to consider. In 2 Peter chapter 2, Peter warns against false teachers that will arise. Vs. 1 says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."<br><br>The simple question is that if a saved person cannot be lost, then why does the word of God decree destruction on these men who were bought by the Lord?<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh