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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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1John 2:19 The Perseverance of the Saints

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The Perseverance of the Saints


1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.


This is another characteristic distinguishing children of God from children of the devil. Who is John referring to as "They"? From verse 18 John is writing of antichrists. And according to verse 22,23 antichrists deny Jesus Christ the Son of God. So these people left the Christians community in the sense that they became apostates, denying the most fundamental aspect of the Christian faith - namely that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.


Fundamental Principle:

The Perseverance of the Saints

if they had belonged to us,

they would have remained with us

Once a person is a genuine Christian, they will inevitably continue to remain so.This is not simply saying "Once saved, Always saved", though that can be logically inferred. This is saying, "Once saved, it is inevitable that such a person will remain in the faith identifying with the Christian community". (And as such, once saved, always saved, seeing as the saved never depart from the faith)


How did John know that "they did not really belong to us."? Because they left the Christian community. Thus if a person departs from the faith, such is indicative that they had never really been of the faith to begin with.


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Intellectually and Scripturally, I simply could not agree more.


Yet three and a half decades of empirical evidence have reveled some jaw dropping "counterfeits".

Enough so, that I am reluctant to even attempt to engage in the task of "Fruit Inspector" and speculate on the salvation of any other individual (one way or the other).

I can tell you what God says, after that it is up to you to do with that information whatever you will.



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