Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eternal Life & Security

The Scriptures clearly promise everlasting life:
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(John 3:36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
But what about security? Can this gift from God be possessed and then lost?

Salvation Is Of The Lord
It is important to realize that salvation is a gift from God that is provided by the grace of God and is implemented by the power of God.

The person was spiritually dead, but God made him spiritually alive.
(Ephesians 2:1-5) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
The person was spiritually blind, but God caused him to see.
(2Corinthians 4:3-6) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
He was a sinner and condemned, but God made him a new creation in Christ.
(2Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
If God has done this spiritual work of salvation, how do you think anyone could undo it? Notice what Jesus said about the salvation that He provided.
(John 10:27-30) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
30 I and My Father are one.”
Salvation is as secure as the promise and the power of God! Besides - it is logically impossible to have "temporary eternal life."

We Can't Tell Who Is Really Converted
People do make professions of faith in Christ without genuine conversion. Remember Jesus saying that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" is a true disciple.
(Matthew 7:21-23) ¶ “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
These people claim to have followed Jesus and they even did "ministry" in His name, but their hearts were never changed by God. That is why Jesus calls them, "you who practice lawlessness."

In Matthew 13:3-23, Jesus talked about the seed of the word of God sprouting in shallow, rocky soil or in the edge of a field in the weeds. In these cases there was an initial promise of a crop because the plants sprouted. Ultimately, however, these plants whithered in the sun or were choked out by the weeds before they bore fruit. Only the seed that fell on good soil bore fruit. Not every professor of Christ is a genuine possessor of Christ.

In Matthew 13:24-43, Jesus tells the story of the man who planted good seed in his field, but whose enemy planted "tares" in the field with the wheat. The tares cannot be sorted out without uprooting the wheat too. The harvest is the time to sort things out. Jesus is saying that genuine believers and false professors will be mixed together until the time of God's judgment. Then things will be sorted out.

Can We Tell If WE OURSELVES Are Really Converted?
This is what is really at issue in the question of eternal security. Can you know with certainty that you have eternal life? A genuine believer may have doubts from time to time. A false believer might have unshakable confidence. (Look at what the false disciples said to Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23).

On the one hand, the Scriptures offer evidences that should give confidence to true believers. On the other hand, the Scriptures suggest that you should always live as if you have something to prove about your devotion to Christ.

Followers of Christ follow Christ and they persevere to the very end of their life. A person who stops following Christ but says, "I'm o.k. because I can't lose my salvation" is just deceiving himself.


MomEee said...

This is great! Thanks so much--I can't wait to share with my friend. Have a wonderful day!

Benjamin said...

Great blog! I think many people in my generation are fooled into thinking that they are "safe" by well meaning people.