I probably will tread on some toes here, but I'm confused as to why you use a recent translation of the Bible to explain what someone believes about Salvation, instead of what's already BEEN translated into English? Granted, I have NOT read your articles in their entirety, but isn't Satan sowing ENOUGH confusion among us? Pretty subtle, too... imagine... let's RETRANSLATE what took years to gather, research, accept or reject (based upon statistical analysis and the Holy Spirit), and come up with... how many translations? When will it stop? Many groups have or will have, translations saying what they, in effect, want them to say. Some have tried very hard to keep their translations exactly as the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts say, but some have divergent paths. Catholics have their own bible, and they don't even REALLY follow it. I'm sure we'll find all KINDS of ways to argue points in the Bible, and we won't know many things until we stand before the Lord.
Let's go back to the thief on the cross.. Jesus would have been lying if, when he said (paraphrased) "...today you shall be with Me in Paradise..." and then neglected to tell the thief about a way to lose his Salvation. Did He also lie when He said "It is finished"? I think not. I think some people's confusion about this issue stems from Satan casting doubts based upon our "fleshly" behavior. I believe "Once TRULY Saved, Always Saved". The Holy Spirit will NEVER, EVER let us wallow in sin too long without convicting us. God will remind us, no matter what it takes. That's what chastisement is all about. Our perception of other Christians sinning and "getting away with it" must take a back seat to our personal relationship with God, and how Jesus holds us accountable for our actions as Christians. HE knows which of us are His children, and who's covered by the Blood. Do you think He would have given us His Word if it were too difficult to understand? I think not. After all, Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the Author and Finisher of our faith. In the end, He has me in His hands. I will "...work out.." my faith with... "fear and trembling...", just as it is left up to you and your faith. However, until I learn to read Hebrew and Greek, and can get my hands on some original manuscripts, I will use that which was painstakingly compiled by King James and his team of scholars: and which, when I read it or hear it spoken, has POWER in its words, not a "blandness" like so many of the newer translations do.
Thank you for your attention.
My response is in Green:
So we should never again retranslate anything? So when missionaries go to the mission field the first thing they should do is teach people English and then teach them "old English" so they can read the KJV? Is that what you mean? Or should all the translations into other languages be made from the KJV instead of the old manuscripts?
I am sorry that makes no sense to me. I will agree that the KJV has served the Christian community well, but it is not perfect. You should really do some non-bias research into the subject. Are the new translations perfect? No, but that does not make them bad either. God has preserved His Word just as He promised to. Not word for word, because that would preclude any translations at all. But He has preserved it's meaning so that we can be sure of what He wants us to know.
You speak about the confusion Satan brings into the issue, that is exactly what I think this is confusion. Why must a new believer be given a book which was translated 400 years ago and be told to study it? The language is not the same as the way we speak today. It is hard to read unless you grew up reading and hearing it. Many passages are confusing because of that old word usage.
You make a statement that we are retranslating something which took years to research, etc... Did you know that the KJV was not the first translation? Were you aware that the translators of the KJV used other people's translations to make theirs? Were you aware that they faced the same kinds of criticism about their work that the new versions face?
Quit sowing confusion. Read the new translations and see for yourself. Do they give the clear unadulterated gospel message? Yes they do. Now I will tell you I agree that many cults have their own translations which distort God's word so that they can make their points, but there are many other cults which use the KJV and do the same thing.
Your point about the thief on the cross is irrational. It is irrational for several reasons. First Jesus was God, so He knew for sure whether the thief's faith was real or not, He also knew for sure whether the thief would continue in that faith until he died. Second, why would He have to explain that the thief had to continue in the faith? That makes so sense in the situation. But I will give you one point. If we must continue in the faith it should be clearly stated in the Bible. If it is not, then reject it.
So let me show you where it is clearly stated:
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
And just in case you think that is a mistranslation here is the same verse in the KJV:
(1 Corinthians 15:2 KJV) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
It is not as clear but makes the same point. How about a few more?
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Again in the KJV:
(Hebrews 10:26-27 KJV)  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
(Ezekiel 18:21-24 NIV)  "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
In the KJV:
(Ezekiel 18:21-24 KJV)  But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?  But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
(2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
In the KJV:
(2 Peter 1:5-9 KJV)  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Peter tells us that a person who does not increase in love and knowledge is short sighted and has forgotten that he was forgiven from his "past" sins, or as the KJV says his "old" sins. Now why would Peter say that? I thought OSAS teaches we have been forgiven for all our sins, past, but also present and future?
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice it does not say these people will not inherit the kingdom 'unless they are Christians' it just says people who are committing these acts will not inherit the kingdom. You say that the Holy Spirit would not let us sin too much before convicting us. I can only partially agree with that, see I think that the Holy Spirit convicts us "every time" we sin. He does not wait for us to sin enough. That is what salvation is; it is a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. That is my whole point about OSAS. OSAS claims that no matter what we do after we are saved we will go to heaven. They claim you can't lose your salvation. Well you admitted that you did not read much of my writings, so I will let you know I don't believe you can lose your salvation either. I do believe you can reject your salvation and choose to go back to a sinful lifestyle. You can do that by making a decision to do it all at once or by ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit when He brings sins to your mind. Eventually you will have chosen to reject Christ's law and therefore His salvation.
Look at this passage:
(Galatians 5:2-4 NIV)  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
(Galatians 5:2-4 (KJV)  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Paul is telling Jewish believers in Christ, that if they now go back to Judaism to be justified by the law then Christ will be of no value to them. He goes on to state that they have 'fallen away from grace' or in the KJV that they 'have fallen from grace.' I thought that was not possible. So was Paul lying, or just mistaken? Or is OSAS not true?
(2 Peter 2:17-21 NIV)  These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.  For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.  If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
(2 Peter 2:17-21 KJV)  These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.  For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Peter says that these people would have been better off if they had never been saved. How can that be if once you are saved you are always saved? Oh, you can find plenty of OSAS "scholars" who will 'explain' what these passages really mean, but no matter what translation you read you should be able to take what God's word means without the help of so called experts. If you can't then there is a problem. You even said: "Do you think He would have given us His Word if it were too difficult to understand? I think not." I totally agree with your point, but do you? The Bible says what it says, not what people say it says.
From what you wrote me it appears that you are making a doctrinal stand on two thoughts. One that Jesus did not tell the thief on the cross that it was possible for him to lose his salvation. And the second one is that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. I would agree, but what does that mean? Does it mean that He gives us the faith and we have no responsibility? I don't think you even agree with that since you went on to say: 'I will "...work out.." my faith with... "fear and trembling...", just as it is left up to you and your faith.' If you have no responsibility then why will you work out your faith in fear and trembling? I think unless you take the Bible as a whole and look at all the passages which concern our salvation you are falling short of the mark. Look at the parables that Jesus told. Most of them deal with salvation and continuing in the faith. What do you think the parable of the lost sheep and lost coin was about. The shepherd had 100 sheep to start with, but when one wandered off he went and found it. The woman had 10 coins but lost one and searched for it.
What about the Prodigal son? He was a son to start with, but he choose to leave the family. What did the father say when he returned?
(Luke 15:32 NIV) But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
(Luke 15:32 KJV) It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
He was dead and lost, but when he came back he was alive and found. If we walk away from Christ we are lost and dead, but praise God if we come back we are again alive and found.
(John 15:6 NIV) If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
(John 15:6 KJV) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Again you can get people who will say this fire is a refining fire, or through it the believer will just lose their rewards. The problem with that is that Jesus is talking about a believer who does not remain, or abide, and therefore is no longer a believer. This fire is punishment. Believers are not cast forth, or thrown away depending on which version you like. You say that we should be able to understand God's word, I agree so it is time to start believing. We cannot make a fool out of God by being forgiven and then living anyway we want. Either we follow Christ or we go to hell, period. No one sin will cause a believer to lose his salvation, but sin is the symptom of a deeper disease of apostasy and apostasy will remove you from your salvation. No one nor anything can take your salvation away, but you can choose to walk away. We must continue in our faith. Only those who "believe" in Jesus Christ will enter heaven. Past belief without present belief is of no value. That is why Paul says if you don't continue you have believed in vain.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)