A book has been written called, The Believer’s Conditional Security, By Daniel D. Corner. My pastor returned home one day to find a bag hanging on his doorknob containing two of these books. There was no note or other indication of who had left them. Each book contains 25 chapters, 801 pages, 13 appendices, and weighs over two pounds in the paperback edition!
My pastor, Larry Kimmell, handed me one of the books and said, “I’ve looked this book over and I don’t agree with him, but I don’t have time to study it and refute it, so here, you read it and write a refutation.” As he handed it to me I almost dropped it, it was so heavy.
My first thought was, “If you don’t agree with it, I don’t want to read it!” I noted that it was 801 pages. Quite frankly, I didn’t want to read it. I let it sit on a shelf at home for a couple of weeks before reluctantly starting to read it. I immediately learned that I didn’t agree with it either and I anticipated that I would find reading it to be quite a chore. As I read, however, I found the book to be challenging. Some of the points the author brings up are based on Bible verses that I’d studied, and I believe rightly divided, years ago, but my understanding had gotten fuzzy since then. When confronted with his arguments I often found myself saying to myself, “Uh, uh, I gotta re-read that in my Bible so I can get the full context.”
One thing that made the study difficult was that the author quotes from the KJV; or NKJV; or NIV; or NASB; or NRSV; the Amplified Bible, Old Testament; the Amplified New Testament; or Young’s Literal Translation; or The Literal Translation of the Bible by Jay P. Green; or The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest…whew! That’s ten different versions! The version he would quote was the so-called “better version,” which seemed to support his argument in each particular instance. I constantly had to re-read from the KJV to truly comprehend what he was quoting.
The author cites the names of people in his references and I think that is good. Whether it casts the person in a good light or bad, one should name names.
On page eight Mr. Corner says:
“The Believers Conditional Security maintains that we are saved by grace, salvation is a gift, eternal life comes instantly the moment we truly believe on Jesus for salvation, and righteousness is imputed by our faith in Christ.”
That’s great! I believe that too! But then he denies all of the above on every succeeding page. Particularly he denies that we get eternal life the moment we believe. He says that we get initial salvation the instant we believe and final salvation when we die, if we have no unconfessed sin, or told a lie, or committed murder, or committed sexual immorality.
He says that you can lose your salvation. Well, if you could lose your salvation then you didn’t have eternal life in the first place. But he says that, “…eternal life comes instantly the moment we truly believe…” Well which is it, eternal life or temporal life? If you can lose it, it doesn’t sound eternal to me. Getting eternal life the instant we’re saved sounds like unconditional security to me.
In essence his argument is that we only become a candidate for eternal life the moment we get saved.
In chapter two Mr. Corner recognizes that some people make a distinction between eternal security and perseverance of the saints. He quotes three Baptists who do make a distinction between the two doctrines. After that though, he quotes seven Calvinists who say that they are the same thing. Then he says:
“This is the perspective from which this book is written, that is, the doctrine of eternal security, the perseverance of the saints, or Once Saved Always Saved, all mean the same thing.”
This being the case then the whole book is based on an erroneous premise, because they are not the same thing.
The book refers to Once Saved Always Saved as OSAS. The author says that OSAS and the Calvinistic doctrine called Perseverance of the Saints are the same and it can be traced back through John Calvin to Augustine of Hippo. This is true with regard to Calvin's philosophy called Perseverance of the Saints. But truly, the doctrine of Etenal Security, OSAS as Mr. Corner calls it, can be traced back to God through the Bible.
Next, Mr. Corner devotes an entire chapter to Calvin’s dark side. Calvin certainly had a dark side, but the inference is that anyone who believes in the OSAS doctrine is a Calvinist. Dr. Curtis Hutson, Dr. Laurence Vance, Pastor Larry Kimmell, and thousands of others reject all five points of Calvinism, but we all believe once saved always saved, what we call the doctrine of eternal security. Therefore, the entire Chapter has no need to even be in his book.
Chapter four, the next chapter is totally devoted to the travesty of the Synod of Dort. This chapter would be interesting if the subject of the book were about Calvinism or Arminianism, but since the subject is eternal security, this chapter doesn’t belong in the book either. Mr. Corner makes it clear that he is an Arminian, which is no surprise. In fact Mr. Corner is so extreme in his Arminianism that he sounds like he’s preaching Pelagianism. Arminianism today is simply a version of Pelagianism, sometimes called Semi-Pelagianism.
Pelagius, ca. 354-420 AD, was a contemporary of Augustine. Actually, Pelagius presented his philosophy at Rome and Augustine was assigned to play the Devil’s Advocate and come up with an opposing philosophy. Curiously, Augustine’s philosophy was so convincing that Pelagianism nearly died out but Augustine’s philosophy thrived.
Pelagius taught that the human will, tempered in good deeds and rigorous asceticism, was sufficient to live a sinless life. He told his followers that right action on the part of human beings was all that was necessary for salvation. To him, the grace of God was only an added advantage; helpful, but in no way essential. Pelagius disbelieved in original sin, but said that Adam had condemned mankind through bad example, and that Christ’s good example offered us a path to salvation, not through His sacrifice, but through instruction of the will. Jerome emerged as one of the chief critics of Pelagianism, because according to Jerome, Pelagius' view essentially denied the work of the Messiah; Pelagius personally prefered “teacher” or “master” to any epithet implying divine power.
Arminians, erroneously, like to say that Jesus was a great teacher because he taught people how to live so that they might attain eternal life; that this was the purpose of Jesus’ life, not his death.
In chapter five Mr. Corner introduces the idea of initial salvation and final salvation. He says, “initial salvation refers to the moment in time when a person extends a trusting-submitting faith in Jesus Christ for his personal salvation and thereby instantly receives the gift of salvation.
”Then he says, “final salvation simply refers to entering the kingdom of God, which only occurs for those who die physically in a righteous state or are in such a spiritual state when the Lord returns.” This makes salvation a two stage process.
Initial-salvation and final-salvation are non-Biblical terms and concepts which man has invented. Without them Mr. Corner would have a difficult time with his argument.
I notice that the author never mentions the expression, “born again.” If a person gets saved the moment he believes then he would get born again of the Holy Spirit at that time. This is the way it happened on pentecost. If a person could subsequently get unsaved, he’d have to get unborn also. He’d have to go from being a child of God to somehow not being a child of God. Or would he be an unsaved child of God?
Right away the reader discovers that Mr. Corner has mixed up sanctification and salvation, and he doesn’t understand that it is Jesus Christ who does the sanctifying, not us with our good works. We should endeavor to be Christ-like and do good works. However, we are not sanctified by our good works or clean living. To sanctify means: to make holy, that is, to separate from the world and consecrate to God. Is it possible to have eternal salvation and not be sanctified? Of course not. Eternal salvation and eternal sanctification go together, one mandates the other.
If sanctification required any effort on our part then salvation would be by our good works. If sanctification required effort by us then salvation would not be through the shed blood of Jesus! Anyone who denies that salvation is through the blood of the Only Begotten Son of God, who sacrificed His life to atone for our sins, is headed for hellfire. If we could be good enough to save ourselves then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die on the cross.
There are a lot of goody-two-shoes, holier than thou, self-righteous, Pharisaical so-called Christians who are going to burn in hell because they say that Jesus was just a good teacher.
Heb 10:29, “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 the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Oh-oh! Don’t say that Jesus was just a good teacher! Don’t say that the sanctification by Jesus is insufficient.
Next Mr. Corner mentions what he calls some awkward passages on eternal life, meaning: awkward to those who believe Once Saved Always Saved: Daniel 12:2, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This verse is referring the end of the tribulation period, specifically regarding the bodies of Jews who have been martyred or otherwise died during this time. Neither the church nor this age of grace is in view here. This is during the time when God is again dealing with the nation Israel.
Another verse which he says is awkward is Matthew 25:46: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Jesus is referring to the same event mentioned above in Daniel 12:2. This is the end of the tribulation period and is regarding those who have died during this time. This is just prior to the Millenneum, which is referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven in the Gospel of Matthew. Again neither the church nor this present age of grace is in view here. Mr. Corner must have missed the Sunday School class when they talked about this. The author frequently fails to recognize the distinction between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.
The author likes to quote the following verses as proof that if you sin after you have been saved you will lose your salvation.
Revelation 21:7-8, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” He that overcometh… is he that gets saved. You can’t be His son unless you’re born again.
But the fearful, and unbelieving…etc. These are the unsaved. The author tries to make the point that if you’ve committed any of these sins after you get saved then you will have your part in the lake of fire. Anyone who says that he never commits sin is a liar. The author and his teaching results in a lot of people who have no assurance of their salvation, after all, how many sins can you commit before you’ve lost it. Can Mr. Corner honestly say that he has never sinned after he got saved? No he can’t. We have a lot of Holier-Than-Thou, self-righteous, Pharisees who say that they don’t sin, they just make mistakes. Sin is sin, not a mistake!
Mr. Corner essentially says that after you are saved, if you sin again, that sin is not covered by the blood of Christ. He says that the only sins that are forgiven are those that you committed before you were saved. He says that according to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He says that we must confess that sin and God will then forgive you of that sin. Well, what if while you were crossing a street you had an adulterous thought and you were immediately run over by a truck. According to Mr. Corner’s thinking you would be forever condemned even though were normally a paragon of virtue.
People sin so often, what about those times when a person sins and forgets one of them when he confesses? Or what about those sins that are committed and the person didn’t even recognize that he had sinned? They’re unwittingly condemned and don’t even know it, according to Mr. Corner’s book.
What condemns a person? Sin. James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Just one little white lie and you’re toast. But that’s not all, we inherit from our parents, and we inherit sin from Adam through our parents. We’re not sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners. We are born sinners. So even if we could live our lives without ever having told even one little white lie, our soul would still die. It is impossible to make it into heaven except by giving up on our self efforts and placing ourselves in God’s hands.
Mr. Corner says on pages 130-131 that I John 1:9 doesn’t apply to the unsaved, only to the saved. This is just the opposite of reality. For a person to get saved he must first understand what sin is. Next he must see that he is a sinner. Then he has to recognize that there is a penalty for sin. Next he must see that there is only one way for him to escape the penalty for sin, by confessing saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to take him to heaven. It’s all stated in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
By the time a person gets saved it’s impossible for him to remember, or even recognize, each and every sin he has committed. The point is that he must acknowledge to God that he knows that he is guilty of sin and deserves to go to hell. If justice were served we would all go to hell getting what we deserve. Because of God’s mercy the children of God don’t get what they deserve. Because of God’s grace His children get what they don’t deserve.
A person who is a born again child of God but who has been out of fellowship for a long time cannot remember all of the sins he has committed since he got out of fellowship. According to Mr. Corner he would have to remember each and every one of them so as to confess each of them in order to get saved again. If I thought that I had to remember and confess each and every sin and do it continuously in order to maintain my state of holiness then I’d just quit because I know that it’s impossible.
A Christian should endeavor to avoid sin and to be as Christ-like as possible, but these efforts on our part are not what sanctify us. Hebrews 10:10 says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Here the Bible says we are sanctified once through the body of Christ, and if the Bible is true then we cannot be progressively sanctified. According to what God says we are sanctified how many times? Hold up one finger. Just before Jesus died He said, “…it is finished.”
We should avoid sin and live clean lives, but some unsaved individuals live cleaner, more sin free lives than some saints. Does this mean these unsaved people are sanctified? No.
The Progressive Sanctification theory says that the moment when we believe in Jesus our sins committed up until that time are forgiven, but when we sin again we need to be sanctified again by praying and asking forgiveness as stated in I John 1: 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But this is what an unsaved person must do. If Progressive Sanctification were true it would mean that Jesus would have to get back up on the cross and die for us again every time we sin. But the fact is that we are sanctified once for all. Sin does not make us unsanctified, but it will break our fellowship with our Father.
The book of I John is, of course, written to Christians, but chapter one is a soul-winning message for Christians to pass along to the unsaved. The words “little children, beloved, and brethren” appear eighteen times in the short little book of I John, but they do not appear at all in chapter one. This is because these terms do not apply to the unsaved. The point is that verse nine in chapter one does not apply to people who have had all their sins past, present, and future already forgiven.
The moment that we believe in Christ, we have forgiveness for all our sins; past, present, and future. All my sins were committed in the future when Christ atoned for them.
I Jn 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”
Eph 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"
Col 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Col 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” If God has forgiven those of us who have been born again, for all our sins past, present, and future, why would we continue to ask for forgiveness, unless we really don’t believe what God says in the Bible?
Some people have the foolish notion that they can commit a sin then just tell God they’re sorry and that makes everything all right. That’s what the believers in Progressive Sanctification say. But, to restore fellowship with God it takes more than just confessing it and saying you’re sorry, it takes repentance. Repentance means to not only change your mind about what you are doing, but to also turn away from it. If a man is shacking up with a woman, simply saying, “I’m sorry God,” just won’t do. It requires that you get out of that sinful situation. But this will only restore fellowship; the man’s sanctification was never taken away.
Heb 13:12, “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Who might sanctify the people? Jesus! With His blood! We do not and cannot sanctify ourselves.
Heb 2:11, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” He that sanctifieth…that’s Jesus! Note the word sanctified, it is past tense.
Heb 10:10, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” We are sanctified, present tense.
Heb 10:14, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Are sanctified…present tense! Are presently sanctified, not are being sanctified. We are sanctified for how long? “…for ever,” that’s what the Bible says! If we’re sanctified for-ever then we have no need to ever be re-sanctified.
Heb 10:29, “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 the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Was sanctified, not are being sanctified.
Rom 15:16, “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” In this case “being sanctified” is the past perfect tense, which means that it is already accomplished, we are already sanctified.
1 Cor 1:2, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” Are sanctified…present tense.
1 Cor 6:11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Are sanctified…present sense.
II Th 2:13, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” Sanctification of the Spirit, according to John F. Walvoord ThD., means sanctification by the Spirit.
1 Pet 1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Sanctification of, or by, the Spirit.
1 Pet 1:15-16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” We are told here to be holy, to be Christ-like, but is anyone really Christ-like? Not in this life in the flesh. But we are holy in God’s eyes if we have accepted Christ as our Savior; trusted in Him and what He has already done for us.
We should endeavor to be holy as Christ is holy, but Romans 3:12-18 is still in the Bible, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” None of us are holy, or sanctified, because of our own efforts, nor can we be.
Heb 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Holiness has the same root meaning as sanctification. We should endeavor to be holy, to be Christ-like, to live sanctified lives, but we have seen that we cannot attain the holiness that our just God requires. That’s why Jesus had to die for us. We cannot see the Lord unless we accept the sanctification which He has provided for us, and reject self-sanctification.
Heb 10:29, “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 the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Oh my! How angry God must be if we count the blood of Christ an unholy thing and endeavor to sanctify ourselves through our own self-righteousness.
Rom 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” We have our fruit unto holiness. And “the end.”
2 Cor 7:1, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Yes, let us cleanse ourselves by accepting the pure white robes that God provides. The sanctification that counts is provided by what Christ did by dying as our substitute.
We cannot cleanse ourselves as God requires, Isa 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” If all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, then we cannot get sanctified except by the one sanctification that Jesus has already provided. As we have seen however, we should make a genuine effort to live consecrated lives.
Through a proper repentant and loving attitude we may progressively become more Christ-like but we will never become more sanctified. Don’t fall for Satan’s Progressive Sanctification heresy.
Now, let’s examine Romans 3:22-27:
"22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:" (We’re all the same, we all sin.)
"23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Note: the saved as well as the lost have sinned)
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
If we could keep ourselves saved by living righteously we would have cause to boast.We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, whether we’re saved or unsaved. This is why we need a Savior. This is why Jesus had to shed his blood for us. Because we are incapable of saving ourselves.
Romans 8:12-13 says:
"12.Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13.For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
This sounds like if you mortify the deeds of the flesh, this is what will save you. Unfortunately, many preachers will read this, and then preach that we should shun evil and do good works and that this is how we mortify the deeds of the flesh. Thus he promotes the work of self-righteousness; works for salvation. But what this is saying is that you will know you are saved if you mortify the deeds of the flesh.
Verse 12 says that we are debtors…to whom? The verse says, “not to the flesh.” We are debtors to Jesus Christ.
Verse 13, above, says that if ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds… ah…it’s through the Spirit that we mortify the deeds of the flesh, not through the efforts of our own self-righteousness. This word “Spirit” begins with a capital “S,” therefore, the Spirit through which we are to mortify the deeds of the flesh is the Holy Spirit, and He is God. In other words, we are to mortify the deeds of the flesh by repenting of our rejection of Christ and by accepting Christ, through faith. We mortify the deeds of the flesh by getting saved, and we know that we are saved when we mortify the deeds of the flesh. That’s what this verse is saying!
The Holy Scriptures support this view also in James 2:18, "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." Our works only show that we are saved.
I am not saying that we should not shun evil or not do good works. We should shun evil and we should do good works. I’m just saying that these two verses say that the only way to mortify the deeds of the flesh is by faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus. We are not saved by our own efforts, through our works of self-righteousness. We mortify the deeds of the flesh through the Spirit! The following verses say that we should shun evil and walk in the Spirit after we’re saved…if we love Jesus.
"16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (The honest Christian will see himself here, in his own eyes. But God sees us through His eyes and He sees the righteousness of Christ in us.)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (…have crucified…past tense…through the indwelling Spirit.) (This describes all Christians in God’s eyes. Note: it’s His eyes that count!)
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross he atoned for all of my sins. Unlike the thief on the cross, all of my sins (past, present, and future) are already atoned. All of my sins were already atoned before I was ever born. To get the benefit of this gift all one has to do is accept it. That’s all the thief on the cross had to do, but then he (unlike me) had to go to Paradise and await his redemption after Jesus atoned for his sins. All of redemption is not yet complete but that is another subject.
Old Testament saints, before Christ had died for them, were sanctified. 2 Chronicles 30:17, "For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD." Sanctified means they were set apart unto God. This does not mean that they were saved.
When you go to the grocery store, you pick up items and place them into your grocery cart. You have now sanctified these items for your own use, but, since you have not paid for them, they are not actually yours yet. You call them “yours,” but legally they are not yours until you pay for them. Let’s say that you reach the cashier but then discover that you’ve left your money in your car. The cashier understands your predicament and tells you to park “your” cart “over here” and then you can go get your money. When you come back inside the store and you pay for the items, then you may redeem your groceries, to take them home and do with them as you wish.
The groceries are like the Old Testament saints; and the shopping cart is like paradise, where those deceased saints were kept. They were “His,” even though they had not been paid for. He couldn’t redeem them and take them “home” to heaven until He had actually paid for them on the cross. Then they were justified, Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"
Galations 3:23, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law" (Paul is speaking to Jews who were keeping the Old Testament laws.), shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 4:4-5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5. To redeem them that were under the law (the Old Testament Jews *), that we might receive the adoption of sons."*Note: This redemption includes New Testament saints as well.
A few Old Testament saints had the Holy Spirit come upon them, at certain times, to empower them for the fulfillment of God’s divine purpose. For example: Judges 6:34, "But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him." But, nowhere in the Old Testament does it indicate that anyone was born of the Holy Spirit, or was indwelt by the Holy Spirit, however, note that in John 3:3, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The point is, that the Old Testament saints did become born again, but that they could not have been so until after Christ Jesus had purchased their redemption on the Cross.
Also note that if the Old Testament saints had been born again during the Old Testament period, Jesus would not have been "… the firstborn among many brethren." Rom 8:29. So, no one was saved or born again until Jesus died, an atonement for our sin.
Mr. Corner should remember, when determining the meaning to be applied to a word or passage, one should consider:
1. The context within the verse, then the chapter, then the context of the book, followed by the context of other books by the same author, then the New or Old Testament in which it is found.
2. Who is speaking,
3. To whom is it being spoken. Is it Israel, Old Testament Jew, unbelieving Jew, New Testament born again Jew, Gentile, born again Gentile, local church, or the church universal.
On page 93, to support his view he quotes Matthew 18:3, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
He then states, “Clearly then, in the light of all the cited material, after initial salvation a Christian’s entrance into the kingdom of God can be negated.” The kingdom of God? Matthew 18:3 clearly says the kingdom of heaven!
They are not the same thing! The kingdom of heaven is the Earth during the millennial time, ruled over by Jesus Christ, the son of David when He occupies the throne of David in Jerusalem. According to Luke 1:32,33, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to God’s Son, he told her that Jesus would reign over the house of Jacob. The book of Matthew portrays Christ Jesus as the King of the Jews, it is specifically written to Jews, although we all gain enlightenment from it, it pertains to Jews. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The kingdom of heaven will be on the Earth, during the millennial period, and will include some unsaved people.
The Kingdom of God is everywhere, His Kingdom cannot be limited, and is populated only by God’s children. God Himself is our King and we are His subjects. Our Father is our King, so we are princes.
Mr. Corner seems to have an obsession with sexual immorality, since he mentions it nearly every time he mentions sin. But that should be expected since Pelagius believed that even marital intercourse was sinful.
The author devotes the entirety of chapter fourteen to the book of Hebrews. Unfortunately, he asserts that the book of Hebrews was written simply to Christians. True, it was written to Christians but Mr. Corner seems to have intentionally neglected to recognize that these were Jews who had accepted Jesus as the Messiah. The book is named Hebrews for a reason, it was written to Hebrew Christians. One of the primary factors in studying a book of the Bible is to first determine to whom was it written, because this will help one to understand the context. Mr. Corner seems to intentionally point the reader away from the fact that these were Jews.
Paul had to correct the Christians at Galatia because some Christian Jews were teaching that they had to keep the law as well as have faith in Christ. Also, they were saying that the gentile Christians had to be circumcised too and keep the rituals of the law in order to be saved. Twenty or thirty years later a similar problem arose primarily among the Christian Jews who were confused regarding the keeping of the law versus faith in the finished work of Christ. For centuries, from childhood it had been pounded into them that they had to keep the law, including the ceremonial law to be sanctified. But this new way, simply having faith in Jesus Christ seemed too easy. Jesus said…ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. We Christians today sometimes think, in error, that we’ve got to do something because just believing in Christ is too easy.
To correct this tendency to slide back into the old system of depending on their own works in keeping the law, the writer to the Hebrews appealed to them by progressing from the things they knew to the things they didn’t fully know; from the familiar to the unfamiliar. He said, although God spoke to the fathers by the prophets, He has now spoken by His Son.
Then to convince the Hebrews that Jesus is preeminent, he shows them that He is superior to the angels. Next he shows that Jesus is superior to Moses, a man highly revered by all Jews. He is relating what they have known since childhood to this new relationship that they have to God. You see, this is not a conversion to a new religion for these Jews, it is a fulfillment of the same old religion.
These are Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah, but some of them have slidden back into the old idea that they have to be sanctified by their sacrifices and keeping of the law. Maybe they have fallen under the teaching of the same teachers as the Galatians, or perhaps they’re influenced by some of their relatives who are unbelievers. They are under persecution because of their faith in Jesus and this makes it tempting to neglect one’s zeal. This is the context of the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” The word “if” and “end” makes it sound to us as if a person could lose his salvation. How do I know if you are saved or not? If you hold fast unto the end I can have confidence that you are saved. How can you be sure you are in the house (family) of God? If you hold fast to the end, you can have confidence. How can anyone have confidence that he was truly saved in the first place? If he holds fast to the end. This is not referring to loss of salvation, this is referring to the confidence that you really had salvation in the first place.
Hebrews 3:14 says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end:” Again, this is talking about confidence in our salvation. Read the above verse again, only this time put the emphasis on the word “are,” instead of on the word “made.” “Are,” means something that is already done, not something that “will be” done when you die.
If, after making a profession of faith, a person lives just like he did before, then no one has confidence in that person’s salvation. The individual himself probably doubts his salvation. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, though many think that it is. Doubt is an integral part of faith. Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Every believer wants to have faith without wavering, but when we sin we ask ourselves if we are really a partaker of Christ, because we know that if we really were faithful we wouldn’t sin. Then we have doubt, which drives us to hold on ever tighter to Christ Jesus, because we see that it is only through Him that we have any hope of salvation. An unbeliever never doubts his salvation; he never questions whether he is saved, because he thinks it is all a myth. Only believers have doubts. Doubting is questioning, “Am I really a partaker of Christ?” By holding fast until the end we can confidently answer, “Yes!”
What if a person does not hold fast his confidence unto the end? Is he unsaved? A person who adheres to Mr. Corner’s point of view would certainly not have much confidence. Was that person ever really saved in the first place? Possibly. Some are wheat and some are tares, only God knows the difference.
Now let’s examine a few verses which Mr. Corner calls “highly controversial.” Hebrews 6:4-9 say:
“4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”
Those who are born again have eternal life and that cannot be taken away. If they should fall away, that is, they slide back into keeping the law for sanctification, they cannot be saved again because if they did they would have to put Jesus to an open shame and crucify Him again. Jesus has already been crucified and has gone on to be with the Father in heaven, so it is impossible to crucify Him again. But it isn’t necessary to crucify Christ again because they never lost their salvation, even though they fell away from their Christian practice. Those who fell back into their practice of observing the law are “nigh unto cursing…But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you,” (better than cursing) because you are still saved!
Mr. Corner also says that Hebrews 10:26-31 are highly controversial. To get the whole context we must look at Hebrews 10:14-38:
"14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hey! If He doesn’t remember our sins and iniquities, why would we have to ask for forgiveness? We don’t have to if we have been saved, that’s the point. This is written to Christian Jews.
"18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Our sins are remitted, therefore we don’t need anymore offering, even if we slide back into the old practices.
"19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."Here the author of the book of Hebrews is relating the old covenant with the new.
"23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;" (for he is faithful that promised;)
"24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Like many Christians today, these early Christians were being ridiculed and afflicted because of their spiritual fervor, so some of them quit going to church.
"26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, " Right! There is no more sacrifice because none is needed! Even if we sin willfully! We ought not to sin willfully or otherwise, but when we do sin no more sacrifice is required. The sacrifice of Christ is all sufficient.
"27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." The adversaries are those who ridicule and persecute the sons of God, and those who twist the truth.
"28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 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 the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" Woe unto those false teachers of that day and to those of today.
"30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used." These early Christian Jews have been under persecution.
"34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward." Here’s that word, confidence, again.
"36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Lord, I need patience and I want it right now!
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
"38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. The non-believing Jews drew back into the Jewish traditions, away from Jesus.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Those who draw back into perdition are those Jews who have heard about Jesus but reject him and go back to the old ways without ever believing. But the writer of the book of Hebrews was not writing to unbelieving Jews, he was writing to saved Jews.
There is a lot more I could say in refuting Mr. Corner’s heretical views but frankly it’s getting boring.