Friday, February 24, 2012

       Romans Chapter 1: Key Words: God, Christ, faith, Jesus, gospel, power, revealed, Son, changed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forever Eternally Imperishably Saved Part Dos

Second, let’s consider scriptures that talk about the “How” of Salvation:

Eze 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

See all the “I wills” of God here? God does all those things not believers. If you can reject God after salvation what happens to the new heart and God’s Spirit He gave you? That which is eternal cannot die by nature of the fact that it is eternal.

John 1:12  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Faith produces sonship, but new birth (regeneration) is strictly the work of God. It has NOTHING to do with man’s will. We do not ‘choose’ to be born. (1st time or 2nd) What happens to a New Creature if he rejects Christ? Can he cease to be a new creature?

Eph 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2. in which you once walked, following the course of this world...
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love... 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
We were dead. We could not repent and believe until we were made alive. Drowning men can grab a lifeline, but Dead men can’t. Also see: Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights... 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

Salvation is a gift, as are repentance and faith[1]. The word “Grace” means gift. If you ‘could’ choose to believe it would not be entirely of His Will.

Act 16:14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira... who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Why did God open her heart?

1Co 2:14 the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

            You see, the ‘natural’ man cannot receive the things of God. That would include the gifts of faith and repentance. He must be changed by regeneration in order to understand, believe, repent, follow etc.

            Yes! People do have a will. There are many places where choices made by humanity are called for and even required. “Choose you this day whom you will serve...”, “Come unto me all who labor...”, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ...” There is such a thing as man’s will, but no where in scripture is man said to have a free will. Maybe, in the Garden before the fall, man had a free will. (I still don’t think he could fly so his will has always been limited to some degree, because our will is always limited by our abilities.[2]) But after the fall, man’s will was limited all the more.
            What did the Fall of Adam produce?

Gen 6:5 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

            Man’s fallen will is corrupted and has little to do with Salvation. Man was bent toward sin.[3] He sinned “Freely” not under compulsion to sin, but sin was a necessary outcome because his nature was sinful.
            God’s nature is Holy. Does God have a free will? Well, let’s consider this. He only does good and He does not sin, why? Because, He acts according to His nature; which is Holiness and Love, He is merciful and just, and all powerful.
            The whole idea of "Totally Free" will in man is false and irrelevant. In effect it wants to say, Man doesn’t need God’s intervention. And THAT makes it dangerous, too. Satan may be said to have started this delusion when he said to Eve, “You shall not surely die.”
            Men who insist on their Free Will are insisting in contradiction to the Sovereignty of God, or the Perfect Foreknowledge of God, or both.[4] Being locked into the idea of "Free Will" People often come to scripture and force the paradigm they they believe in onto what Scripture says. All of us are capable of doing that. But we need to see scripture for what it truly teaches not what we want it to teach. 

Once one realizes that salvation begins with God’s initiative and God’s act to regenerate, however, one realizes what God makes eternally alive, no man can kill!

[1] Eph_2:8 by grace you’ve been saved through faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
[2] God, it could be said, has no limit on His abilities.
  Rom_5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam.... 1Co_15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 
[4] I used to hear God described as a Gentleman who won’t force you to do His will. First, nowhere does the Bible say God is a gentleman. Second, He does in fact force Hell on sinners who don’t repent.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Forever Eternally Imperishably Saved

I have for sometime held that most Southern Baptists believe in "Once Saved Always Saved" but really don’t know why. Subsequently, some then reject that teaching. I too, once suffered from the view that a person could in fact reject Christ after having once believed. 
I did not believe any mere sin would cause that, because, as the Psalmist points out, we have been set free as a bird and that the snare has been broken. (Psa 124:7) And yet I still held that a saved person could, for some strange reason, decide he didn’t want to be saved any longer and reject what Christ had done. 
After all, I said, “If God is a Gentleman and won’t force heaven on me before I’m saved, surely He won’t force it on me after I am saved.” Then I learned God is not a gentleman. Being a Gentleman is a tradition born of sinful men trying to elevate manhood to be gallant, noble, and perhaps, 'more Christian'. But it does not begin to compare with Christ
C. S. Lewis was closer to the truth when he said that God “is no tame lion.” God is Sovereign Lord of the Universe. He does only as He pleases. The fact that He has grace on anyone is more than we deserve. If He never sent Jesus to die in our place He would have been justified. But since He did, we should be careful not to misunderstand the basis of His Great Salvation. It is all of Grace, not of any human activity lest any man should boast against the saving grace of God in Christ.

Salvation Is Eternally Secure
 John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know themand they follow me: 28 And
I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man (none!) is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
(Notice, in one sentence, eternal life, never perish, and no man is able to pluck! All in one sentence.)

Many times, faulty beliefs about the eternal nature of salvation spring from faulty views about how salvation occurs. I know that was true in my case. I came from a tradition of believing the old adage “Once saved, always saved.” But I began to see scripture after scripture that seemed to support the idea that one could choose death and choose to reject God, after being born again. And it seemed right, to me, that anyone who thumbed their nose at God and rejected Him after receiving so great a salvation should become “lost” again. But I learned, that is not what God says.

First, what is Salvation? Let’s take a look at some of what salvation entails:
When one is Saved:
One’s name is in the Lamb’s book of Life,[1]
Born Again: A new heart, a new nature, 
and death of the old nature[2]
Union with Christ, (We are “IN” Christ
as Christ is One With the Father)
Seated in Heavenly places, [3] Adopted into the 
Family of God, “no longer slaves but sons”[4]
Justified: Declared righteous, past sins forgiven, 
the imputed righteousness of Christ applied to our account,
keeping us righteous,[5]
Sanctified, set apart for God at conversion, 
and increasingly made to be like Christ in this life, 
changed in an instant at glorification,[6]
Baptized, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the “earnest” of 
the Holy Spirit as a promise/guarantee of Heaven,[7]

And, the Perseverance of the Saints guaranteed:
Jn 3:36-he who believes has eternal life,
Rom 8:30-for those who are In Christthere is no condemnation 
Phil 1:6-He who began a good work...
will bring it to completion in the day of Christ,
1Pe 1:5-Who are kept (from escaping) by the power
of God through faith unto salvation...

Now, with this incomplete list of all God has done for the one who believes in Jesus Christ, can you imagine all that would have to be undone to release a soul from salvation? If God left any of these in place the person who thinks they have rejected Christ and secured damnation would have a rude awakening when they woke up in Heaven one day. 
If God canceled everything else He'd done but left your name in the book of life, you would still be saved.
If He blotted out your name but left the imputed righteousness of Christ on your account, you'd still be saved.
If He took back the imputed righteousness but left you in union with Christ you would go directly to Heaven without “passing Go” because “There is NO CONDEMNATION to those who are IN Christ.” And how could you possible be out of Christ when He promised “I will never ever leave you or forsake you, ever!”(Heb 13:5)

In fact, I think we could fill a whole book as a take off on Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck" concept, but instead have "You might be eternally saved" as the new motif.
If you are robed in the righteousness of Christ, You might be eternally saved.
If you have a new heart, you might be eternally saved!
If you have a love for the Bride of Christ, You just might be Eternally SAVED!!!

OK, you try your hand at that now, and I'll be back with an other installment of Eternal Salvation.

[1] Rev_21:27, Lu 10:20.
[2] Eze_36:26, Rom 6:6, 2 Cor 5:17
[3] 1 Cor 1:30, Ep 2:6, 10;
[4] Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5, Jn 8:35
[5] Rom 3:24, Eph 1:7,  Phil 3:9
[6] Rom 8:29-30, 1 Cor 1:2,

[7] 2 Cor 1:22, 5:5;