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Fallen from Grace But Not from Perfection

"Fallen from Grace but Not from Perfection" is an advanced defense for unconditional security (also popularly known as eternal security) that demonstrates that believers who fall from grace do not fall from a state of soteriological perfection. The primary texts dealt with in the first chapter describe the possibility of believers falling from grace, falling short of grace, and being cut off from grace. The Calvinistic contention that genuine believers persevere in grace is shown to have proverbial limitations. Arminians are correct to deduce that genuine believers genuinely can fall from grace. Notwithstanding, a distinction between merited grace and unmerited grace is shown to be biblical. Merited forms of grace naturally are forfeitable. Fallen believers are still considered children of God; they do not fall from the state of grace. They are illegitimate children of God who forfeit the inheritance rights to which they otherwise would be entitled. Nevertheless, they remain children of God who qualify for entrance into heaven by virtue of God's unmerited grace. The second chapter demonstrates that believers cannot fall from their state of perfection described in Heb 10:14. The problematic conditionalistic translation would limit perfection to those who "are being sanctified." Linear sanctification is alleged to be the ongoing condition for soteriological perfection. The securitist, in contrast, affirms permanent perfection for those who "are sanctified." Whether those who are sanctified persevere in their progressive sanctification, they remain sanctified permanently in terms of their state as soteriologically belonging to God. A substantive (rather than linear) understanding of the underlying Greek verbal aspect is probable. Nonetheless, other possible aspectual understandings of this verse (such as a distributive durative) are investigated and found to be compatible with the securitist point of view. The permanent perfection affirmed by the perfect tense in this verse cannot be limited to those who persevere in their experience of sanctification. The affirmation of OSAS in terms of once sanctified always sanctified leads directly to an affirmation of OSAS in terms of once saved always saved. Appendix one demonstrates that the securitist position is not blindly based on an appeal to the perfect tense, however. Indeed, the perfect tense in Heb 3:14 is best understood in that context as affirming that partnership with Christ is conditioned on perseverance in the faith. Appendix two deals briefly with final justification before God. Conditionalists, not infrequently, affirm that final justification is according to the believer's performance. Unfortunately, conditionalists misconstrue this final justification by works as soteric justification. Securitists have two recourses: either deny any final justification by works before God or deny any final soteric justification by works before God. Despite the prevalence of the first option as the standard preference in the securitist community, appendix two opts for the second alternative, even to the point of allowing the possibility of boasting before God in terms of having a confident expectation that one will hear God say, "Well done." The primary benefit of this book to the reader is to encourage a biblically accurate understanding of falling from grace as dealing with hearing God say, "Well done," rather than, "I never knew you." Assurance of relationship is possible. Believers need not wait until the end of their lives to have complete confidence that they will never hear God say, "I never knew you." Contrastively and amazingly, assurance of hearing God say, "Well done," is possible to the faithful believers. Faithful believers are encouraged to pursue the latter; struggling believers are assured that they will not experience the former.
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About the Author

Marty Cauley earned his B.S. from Western Carolina University and his M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (where he was also a co-recipient of the Advanced Greek Award). He is the son of a retired Southern Baptist pastor who also graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Marty has served as the pastor of Southern Baptist churches himself and is currently employed in the computer industry. He and his wife, Dianne, reside in Sylva, North Carolina. They have two sons, Jeremy and Jonathan (with whom he loves to share his passion for biblical research and memorization). He fondly recalls having memorized the Pastoral Epistles with his sons when they were younger. His sons quoted these epistles in their entirety in the AWANA program at the churches they were then attending. Marty has performed dramatic recitations of the Gospel of Mark (among other passages of Scripture).

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