Q. I scanned thru your library of articles in regards to the fate of the church at Ephesus in Rev 2. Historically it is known that the city and church by whatever means were destroyed. This seems to demonstrate Christ’s promise of having its lamp stand removed. A friend of mine suggested that removal of the lamp stand symbolizes loss of salvation and supports the Arminian view of conditional security (which I don’t subscribe to).
Physically we see that Ephesus is no longer. However what became of the spiritual fate of the Ephesus church? Does this mean the Ephesians lost the Holy Spirit (or have fallen away or have fallen from grace) and were all condemned to Hell because they didn’t repent? Or is this in reference to inheritance and rewards that they blew (or never had)? Or is it something else?
A. To equate loss of the Ephesians’ lamp stand with loss of their salvation is obviously a misuse of the letter’s symbolism. Revelation 1:20 says the lamp stands represent the churches the Lord is addressing, not the Holy Spirit. And Paul had earlier told the Ephesians that the Holy Spirit was sealed within them as a guarantee of their inheritance (Ephes 1:13-14).
The letter had nothing to do with the salvation of their members. The Lord was warning them that if they didn’t abandon their religious works and return to expressing their love for Him as they had in the past with worship and adoration, their church would be disbanded. And so it was.
The warning to us is clear. If we think our ongoing relationship with the Lord is primarily dependent upon the good works we do, rather than the love we share, we’re mistaken and are called to repent. The work that sustains our relationship with the Lord was finished at the cross (John 19:30). All that’s left for us to do is express our gratitude in whatever way He calls us to do it.