The 4 Salvation Schemes
The schemes of salvation reputed possible are four:
1) Believing is sovereign work of God. Man believes because he is elected, and is not elected because he first believes, it is sovereign grace of God. The believer is sealed and preserved to the end by the Holy Spirit and cannot fall from grace.
2) The believing is work of man for he is "free" to choose. Man is elected because he first believes, not because he is elected. The believer has "free will", i.e. he can believe, he can preserve in the faith or can fall from grace at his pleasure, in and out as many times he wants.
3) Believing is work of man that he is "free" to choose. Man is elected because he first believes, and does not believe because he is elected. Afterwards the believer is sealed and preserved by the Spirit and therefore once a believer he cannot "fall" from grace.
4) The believer is sovereign work of God. Man believes because he is elected, and not elected because he believes. However, afterwards, the believer is "free" to preserve or fall from grace at his will.
Scheme 1) is the classical Calvinistic scheme, scheme 2) is the classical Arminian scheme, 3) is the scheme of "salvation trap" promulgated by the Brethrens and some "fundamental" Baptists. Scheme 4) is an impossible scheme, because it is plainly ABSURD, but there are certain evangelists that promote it.
If scheme 4) is clearly absurd, scheme 3) is also shaky and it is ironically called "salvation trap" because with a little reasoning it is like this: Man is wooed and guided to believe but once he has believed he is trapped for after believing he cannot go back no matter what he does. That famous adage fits him perfectly: "once saved, always saved".
The logical schemes are obviously the Calvinistic and the Arminian. In the former it is God that takes the sovereign initiatives to save His people, and because it is Him that initiates the good work He will bring it to fruition and will preserve His people to the end. In the second it is man that saves himself and if he tries hard enough (nobody knows how much) will keep his presumed "salvation" to the end.
The incoherence of schemes 3) and 4) is in the fact that they assign the only initiative or the only accomplishment of a generic salvation to God, leaving the rest entirely in the hands of man. In fact in scheme 3) it is I that DECIDE to believe, but then why afterwards I am no longer free to DECIDE to apostate? And in Scheme 4) the one of certain evangelicals, God gets terribly busy to elect man from eternity, He prepares the means, the elect man believes and then ... but then right on the very best the man is left to his own devices.
But what kind of salvation is this? This is no salvation at all, but the highest mocking persiflage of the universe! It is like the Arminian scheme which is a salvation system by WORKS, without any doubts.
Once I had an exchange with an exponent of this system (and this is just as valid for the Arminian scheme) and at the end I asked him: "What makes you think that you will persevere till the end? Perhaps you are better than others?" And this is the point: if one perseveres but another cannot make it, the first one can boast in front of God saying: "You see Lord, I am better than the other one, I have persevered till the end! I DESERVE salvation, I have earned it! Glory to ME."
Anyway, to all those that believe that they can fall from grace, let me tell you a thing. "you will fall for sure. If you have believed in a salvation that can be lost, then you will loose it definitely."
Is not this marvellous? Consider a little those evangelicals that have elected themselves from eternity, yes Christ has died for their sins, but notwithstanding that and with all their good intentions and all their efforts, they will loose their salvation (given that it depends on them) and will burn in Hell for eternity. On the other hand how could they possibly have kept this presumed salvation with their miserable efforts?
Will they have to pay for the sins that Christ has already paid for? IMPOSSIBLE.
Good loss of salvation to all those that believe in such schemes! The law of Murphy/Arminius says: " If you can loose your salvation, then you will."