When conversing with Christians in Christian forums, I’ve come across those who believe that all Christians will inevitably end up in the kingdom of God because of the grace of God (Calvinism). This means, of course, that there is no kingdom exclusion – period – for such believers. According to this view, if a person falls away, then he was never saved to begin with. This person is commonly called a “professing Christian” by the Calvinists. This is distinct from those who are “true Christians.”
In theory, the idea that the saved will always be saved and those to be punished must not have been saved in the first place sounds plausible. But when I examine specific warning verses with the theory in mind, the theory falls apart.
In Matt. 6:9-13, for example, we have the Our Father prayer. Verse12 says, “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus emphasized the conditional aspect of forgiveness when He said in verse 15 that we will not be forgiven if we do not forgive. There is nothing in the passage that indicates that forgiveness will be withheld from the professing Christian merely because he is a professing Christian. The plain teaching is that forgiveness is conditional on our forgiveness of others – period. If we forgive others, God will grant our plea for forgiveness. This is individual accountability.
Nearly every warning, like the one above, is clearly offered as a consequence for one’s behavior, not because “you’re not saved.” If a person is not saved, you would point them to faith in Christ,. You don’t try to change his behavior. Some Christians are told to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” Does an unregenerate person have the means to examine himself in that way? Will he not think the endeavor is foolish? The passage is addressed to Christians. Such needed to see whether they had turned to faith in other things instead of resting in faith in the One who promised.
If none of the warnings have any real force for the saved, then Jesus is just lying, because those warnings can’t happen to the saved anyway. It’s like the dubious reason a manufacturer may give for a warning on the bottle of poison: “We’ll add the warning to the bottle, but nobody will ever drink it, anyway. If they did, it will never harm them. It will only harm those who are not supposed to drink it.” The argument is crooked.