THE ARGUMENT BASED ON 2 PETER 3:16
Let us look at another passage. Second Peter 3:16 says, "As also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these things, in which some things are hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable twist, as also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." Some would argue after reading this word that Peter is telling us that Paul’s letters were hard to understand, and that some who are unlearned and unstable, that is, untaught and unestablished, bring in their own destruction by twisting Paul’s letters. If they can be destroyed, does this not indicate that they will perish? Will a saved person perish? In this case Peter is not talking about eternal perdition at all.
According to the Bible, whether one perishes or not does not depend on the way that he interprets the Scripture. Today in China, I have seen a number of good Christians who love the Lord and who labor everywhere in the gospel work. Yet they do not really understand Paul’s letters. When they preach, they do more than twist the word of the Scriptures. Are these Christians going to perish? Can a wrong exposition of the Scriptures be a factor of perdition? The Bible never makes a sound exposition of the Bible a condition for salvation. Hence, Peter’s word here must mean something else.
Second, the word apoleia in Greek does not refer to an ordinary kind of destruction. It is different from the one used in 2 Corinthians 2:7. It is different from the usual word for "perdition." In Greek, this word, apollyon, means to destroy or to be corrupted. If something is taken from you smoothly, it is a "taking"; if something is wrung out of your hands by force, it is an apollyon. What Peter meant in his Epistle is that some misunderstood Paul’s letters and did not have light from God. They twisted his word in the same way that something is wrung out of a person’s hand. In so doing, they were destroying themselves and not building up themselves. Destruction is the opposite of building. If you are not being built up, you are being destroyed. By so doing, you will not be built up but will have your work destroyed. Hence, these two verses do not tell us that a man can perish after being saved. They tell us of those whose work and living after salvation are not perfected, and who are unable to be built up day by day. If you twist Paul’s Epistles, you are destroying what you already have.
THE ARGUMENT BASED ON HEBREWS 10:26
There is another portion of Scripture that we must mention. It is also a passage that many do not understand. Hebrews 10:26-29 says, "For when we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice of bulls and goats for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fervor of fire, which is to consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without compassion on the testimony of two or three witnesses. By how much do you think he will be thought worthy of worse punishment who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and has considered the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" The person mentioned in this portion of the Word must be saved, because he has already had the sacrifice for sins. The apostle said that if one who already had the sacrifice for sins sinned willfully, there would be no more sacrifice for sins. We have no problem after verse 27. However, the verse that many readers of the Bible find difficult to understand is verse 26, which says, "There no longer remains a sacrifice of bulls and goats for sins." Some people think that if, unfortunately, a Christian commits sins willfully, there will be no more sacrifice for sins for him. In this case, it would mean that he will surely perish. Hebrews 10:26 is a problem to many people. When I was first saved, I also thought that this verse was a big problem. For over a year, I considered myself unsaved because of this verse. For this reason, we have to spend an amount of time to find out what Hebrews 10:26 speaks of.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 19, by Watchman Nee)