Readers Question / Comment - Why do you not agree with Soul Salvation?

I have a question. I saw someone ask a question on your site whether or not a persons spirit could be saved but not their soul... I wasn't totally satisfied with your explanation becsuse i great part was just making statements like that is silly or something. This 3 salvation thing is something that I came across late last year and although it was new to me, it was the only doctrine that made all contradicting scripture make sense to me. So for someone to say it is folly, of course i would want more evidence that it is.

There are scriptures that need to be addressed first before I can accept someone else's words about it. Of course maybe you are saying I don't have to accept your words or you don't have to convince me of anything which is true. I am actually writing not yo combat anything you said but to simply ask you to shed some light. Maybe there is an explanation that is feasible and I would like to know if one exists. So now I will post some scripture. The majority of this is from ffruits.org. I'm not affiliated with them but this is where I first discovered this doctrine. I also didn't understand your aggregate with a present and future salvation but then also disagree at the same time?...

JPN Reply:

Hi,

thanks for the email and sorry for the slowish response. Been a busy time. I wrote a fair amount on this in the Q & A that you read and I don't agree with your comment that my answer was mostly 'that is silly'... I wrote about some things I agree with, some things I don't and some things I really don't like. That said, I'll try have another go and write some more!  : )

I would say that nearly all Bible teachers would walk partially (at least at the start) along the road with those who teach what you have sent through below. By that I mean that Bible teachers in general believe and teach that there are different aspects to salvation in regards to the past, present and future. I'll put this into a chart which may help:

Past

Present

Future

Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

1Co 1:18  For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Rom 13:11 ...The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Justification

Sanctification

Glorification

Saved from the penalty of sin

Saved from the power of sin

Saved from the presence of sin


So, as Christians, we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Now in general terms this corresponds to the three parts of man (spirit, soul and body) but they do overlap and there are scriptures that don't fit exactly as those who teach 'soul salvation' would like (such as when Paul says that the spirit of a man will be saved in the future when Christ returns 1 Cor 5:5). And glorification is more than just the salvation of the body. It is final salvation of the entire man where body, soul and spirit is set free from all the effects of the fall to be like the one who created and redeemed it. It is all from God and is one salvation. Just as Romans tells us: 

Romans 8:28-31  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to  His purpose.  (29)  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  (30)  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.  (31)  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

So concerning some of the scriptures used below...

James 1:21  Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

This speaks of the present ongoing aspect of salvation where the power of the word of God is able to save us in our ongoing battle against the power of sin and its destructive effect in our lives. 

1 Peter 1:8-9  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  (9)  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

This again speaks of the ongoing present aspect of salvation where the believer is being progressively changed into His image in this life. We are receiving the salvation of our souls (or 'life' as the Greek word psuche is often translated) as the salvation and life of the Lord we have already received is worked out through our life. 

So you are probably thinking 'this sounds like what they teach...where do you part company?'

Firstly, they speak of three different salvations where you seem to be able to be saved in one area and perish in another. This is not true. There is one salvation purchased and paid for by the Lord Jesus. It has different aspects to it in terms of the past, present, future, spirit, soul, body, penalty, presence & power of sin as we have seen, but it is one salvation and that one salvation will see all parts of man (spirit, soul & body) complete, perfect and blameless when Jesus returns. 

For example, they like to quote the following scripture to show the different aspects of man:

1 Thessalonians 5:23  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is fine but what THEY NEVER DO IS QUOTE THE NEXT VERSE because it totally refutes what they say in separating the final salvation of the soul and spirit!

1 Thessalonians 5:24  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

In other words, the salvation that Jesus gives His believers involves spirit, soul and body and HE will perfect each part of it. He will sanctify ALL true believers completely. He will bring it to pass! All parts of man will be blameless in all believers when He returns and we are made liken unto Him. Salvation is of the Lord scripture tells us. He won't just save part of us (spirit) and leave part of our salvation in the hands of man. What a dodgy place to leave God's work of salvation!.. In the hands of men and in their works? Never. Are there different rewards for our life here? - most certainly. But these teachers talk of our soul being saved by the works that man does and salvation is never by works or by men. Rewards are based on our works and that which originates in God and is based on the foundation of Jesus Christ will be rewarded in the life to come.

I also part company with them on how they take the whole 'salvation of the soul' thing and apply is to far more than what the Bible intends. For example, when you sent your email through, I googled the name of the author you mentioned, went to their website and read this on eternal life: http://www.ffruits.org/v03/eternallife.html

"Eternal life is the reward of “glory and honour and immortality” that comes to the Christian who patiently endures in performing good works (i.e., well doing)... Christians who arrive at the Judgment Seat of Christ as liars, gossips, adulterers or drunkards will have their lives perish in the testing fire of God. They will receive “tribulation and anguish” for their evil works, and they will not inherit eternal life. The opposite of perishing at the Judgment Seat of Christ is to inherit eternal life. Eternal life pertains to the soul of the Christian and not the spirit. The Christian must be faithful to “lay hold on eternal life” in the present life, or he will not have it at the Judgment Seat of Christ."

This is all just plain wrong! Eternal life is not a reward for good works nor is it to be applied to the soul alone. Christians do not have their lives perish at the judgement seat of Christ and they don't receive tribulation and anguish as if they now have to pay for the sins that Jesus already paid for! Nor will Christians "not inherit eternal life". Quite frankly it is a legal, works based interpretation that instead of helping just causes confusion and man-made effort to try and obtain that which God gives us by grace. For example, in contrast to what that author wrote...

Eternal life is the gift of God received through faith:

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is etrnal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:14-18  "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  (15)  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  (16)  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  (17)  "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  (18)  "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 4:14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

John 10:27-28  "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  (28)  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Notice also the present tense of the following verses - the believer HAS eternal life already through believing in the Son. Eternal life is not just stating a length of time or that a believer won't die. Eternal life is God's life. It is a person. The person of the Lord Jesus. He is the gift to all that believe the moment they believe. The experience of that life is seen in the lives in the believers in part in this life and in full when He comes for then we will be fully changed into His image for we will see Him as He really is! (1 John 3:2). 

John 3:36  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 5:24  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but haspassed out of death into life.

1 John 5:11-12  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  (12)  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Look at what John writes next:

1 John 5:13  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

We are meant to know that we already have eternal life through believing in the Son. Now contrast this to what was written above again by the author of the website you sent through:

"Eternal life is the reward of “glory and honour and immortality” that comes to the Christian who patiently endures in performing good works (i.e., well doing)"

If Eternal life comes to the Christian who patiently endures in performing good works (and we find out whether we are going to get eternal life at the Judgement seat of Christ) then it is not based on faith and John's reason for writing that we should know that we have eternal life already would be a joke because who of us could say that their own works are going to stand up and be deemed good enough to inherit eternal life? None of us could have any assurance of eternal life based on works (we wouldn't even know how many works are required!) but John wrote so that we could know that we have eternal life already because he who has the Son has life for eternal life is in Jesus Christ! If you have Him, you have eternal life!

As for me and my house, we will trust Jesus works for eternal life thank you very much.

Concerning the Judgement Seat:  

1 Corinthians 3:11-15  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  (12)  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  (13)  each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.  (14)  If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  (15)  If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Please read the whole passage above and especially note the highlighted parts. What is tested is the person's works. But even if all of the persons works are burned up, the person is still saved. They will suffer loss of rewards but the person is saved. In contrast to this clear teaching of scripture, the author says

'Christians who arrive at the Judgment Seat of Christ as liars, gossips, adulterers or drunkards will have their lives perish in the testing fire of God. They will receive “tribulation and anguish” for their evil works, and they will not inherit eternal life.'

Again, it is just wrong. The lives of Christians will not perish, they will be saved. They do not receive tribulation and anguish, they receive a loss of rewards. And they do not lose the eternal life which they already possess. To do so Jesus would have to leave them... something He has promised never to do! (Heb 13:5, John 14:16)  And how can they say that a Christian will 'perish' when Jesus says they will NEVER perish? (John 10:28) (Well, I know how they do it... they have made up a doctrine where one part of the believer can perish and one part doesn't).  

Concerning Eternal life being for the Soul and not the Spirit

They said 'Eternal life pertains to the soul of the Christian and not the spirit.'

Again, this is an example of dividing the Christian up where the Bible doesn't! It far exceeds what the Bible teaches about eternal life, soul and spirit and just brings confusion. I have looked up every verse containing the words eternal or everlasting life and there is not one that mentions the soul. Nor are there any verses that speak of eternal or everlasting life that apply it to the spirit of man. The reason is clear: Eternal life is not given to one part of man but to the whole person! This is clear because the salvation that Jesus gives applies to the body, soul and spirit as I mentioned above and He will perfect them all! He will do it! (1 Thes 5:22)

I won't go on but there is another reason I disagree and depart ways with those that teach these things... and that is if you look at all the associated 'doctrines' that go along with this 'salvation of the soul' stuff (as they define it, not as the Bible does), you soon just get into the dividing up of Christians based on works. For example, because of their emphasis on works, they often believe in things like:

A partial rapture where some Christians are left behind

A division in the body of Christ where not all Christians are part of the bride of Christ

A division in the body where some Christians are allowed into the Millennial reign of Christ and some aren't. 

Another 'soul salvation' writer I read has some Christians thrown into the lake of fire!!! (or maybe it is just part of them... whichever... it's all wrong from a poor understanding of grace.) 

All of the above points are wrong in my opinion but are part of what happens when you start going down this separate soul salvation road. Others have written on the above points well so if interested, have a look here:

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/GES04.htm

http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/knapp/Rapture.html

There is also a useful chart of showing the relationship between salvation and good works:

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/workssal.htm

Hope this helps. I trust this makes some sense. Obviously this is before you and the Lord but if I could give a warning it would be not to consume what is being offered up here. Yes there are elements of truth. Yes there are aspects of salvation for the present and for the soul. But don't ever accept that salvation (any part of it) or eternal life is by works. Salvation (all of it) is of the Lord. Man only spoils things. 

Jude 1:24-25  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,  (25)  to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

All the best.