Does Ephesians 6:24 Mean Salvation Loss Is Impossible?
For the longest time, I was very conflicted on the issue of apostasy. It seemed to me that The Bible suggested eternal security (as the Calvinists teach in some places). But if people couldn't turn away from Christ, what about all of those warning passages in scripture? Why would scripture talk about apostasy of believers if such a thing couldn't even happen? Scriptures like Hebrews 3:12 and Hebrews 6:4-6 among many others? Well, I eventually found a solution that seemed the most plausible to me. I first found out about it from Ken Keathley in the book "Whosoever Will" and later heard William Lane Craig talk about it in his Defenders class, Doctrine Of Salvation section.
I adopt Kenneth Keathley's and William Lane Craig's approach to the question "Can A Christian lose their salvation" which says that a Christian can in fact turn away from God after being truly born again, but that true Christians never will turn away from God. They CAN turn away, they WON'T turn away. God has actualized a world where the elect are endure through circumstances where God knows, if they endured through those circumstances, they would freely continue serving Him. He also gives plenty of warnings throughout scripture not to fall away because God knew that most of His elect would heed these warnings. As a consequence of heeding the warning passages, their perseverance would be brought about. Forfeiting one's salvation is possible, but it's a possibility that will never be actualized. It seems to me that this is the best way of reconciling the truck load of biblical passages that warn against falling away with the passages Calvinists bring up to argue for eternal security. I go into this model of apostasy/security in much more detail in the blog post titled "Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation? (Molinist Perspective)". It's a bit of a blend of the both the Arminian view and the Calvinist view. So I won't go too much into my view here. Click on the link to learn more.
However, a while back a friend of mine in a Facebook group brought up a Bible verse he found it seems to be problematic with both this view and even the view that some actually have and will fall away. "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible." This seems to suggest that salvation forfeiture isn't even possible, much less actual. After all, it says our love for Christ is incorruptible, as in, it cannot be corrupted. Does Ephesians 6:24 suggest not only that we will persevere, but that we can't fall away? Is my search for concluding the best explanation for the apostasy and security passages not concluded?
*Interpret The Unclear Passages In Light Of The Clear
For one thing; I think we should stick to the principle of interpreting the unclear passages of scripture in light of the clear. There's an ocean of passages warning people of what will happen to them if they fall away, which, if it isn't even possible, would make those passages superfluous. So whatever this single verse means, I'm inclined to think that in the light of all the apostasy oriented scriptures, it doesn't mean salvation forfeiture is impossible. If you have 30 passages saying one thing and only 1 verse saying another, it's very likely that your interpretation of the 30 passages are correct and the interpretation of that one verse is incorrect.
*Secondly, not every translation renders the world "incorruptable", for good reasons.
Secondly, not every translation renders the world "incorruptable".The NIV renders it "Undying love" and NLT renders it "May God's grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” Other translations also say "undying love" and "eternal love". "...those who love our Lord Jesus Christ forever."
The question of Ephesians 6:24, it is probably a matter of translation and grammar. The Greek word does not necessarily mean incorruptible, but can mean "unceasing". Moreover, it is not even an adjective but comes in a prepositional phrase. More formally, the passage reads: "Grace [be] with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in unceasingness." Let me quote a couple entries from Greek lexicons:
From Friberg's lexicon:| "(EP 6.24) has three possible alternatives: (1) as qualifying love unceasing, undying; (2) as qualifying grace with incorruptibility, eternally; (3) as qualifying Christ and Christians in immortal life "
From Louw-Nida: They give 2 main definitions, "'Immortality' and 'unceasing.' They place Eph 6:24 with 'unceasing' and translate like so: 'grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ unceasingly'. But they note: 'A number of scholars, however, insist that in Eph 6.24 must be understood in the sense of 'immortality' or 'eternity' as a temporal expression, but one which can be rendered as 'with undying love.'"
Here is an interesting note from the NET Bible, which takes the text that speaks of undying love, but interpets that along the lines I have, which does not imply that believers cannot possibly stop loving the Lord and fall away: "tn Grk "without corruption." The term "love" is not found at the end of the sentence, but is supplied to clarify the sense in English. The term "undying" which modifies it captures the sense of the kind of love the author is referring to here. He is saying that God's grace will be with those whose love for Jesus never ceases."
So, in conclusion, Ephesians 6:24 does indeed suggest that those who are true Christians will persevere to the end. We will love Jesus for eternity. We love Him with an undying, never ending love. It doesn't seem to suggest, however, that it's impossible for us to stop loving Him. God has actualized a possible world where none of the elect find in situations where they would fall away if placed in those situations.
*Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation? (Molinist Perspective)
*Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation? (Arminian Perspective)
*Is Molinism Biblical?
*Molinism and Divine Foreordination.
*Did God Harden Pharaoh's Heart?