Security, Salvation and Other Non-Controversial Topics

January 5, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

The question has never been asked, “Do you take requests?”  Thanks for asking.  Sure I do.  That doesn’t mean all will always do what you ask, but I most certainly will take the request.

Someone recently hit me up on the Facebook and asked me about what is commonly referred to as “once saved, always saved” or “security of the believer.”  I know that in a lot of circles this is highly debated and perhaps controversial.  I wish that it weren’t.  When I teach on it, I pretend like it isn’t.  I don’t go to the “controversial passages” and have some theoretical debate with myself.  I go to what I believe are a couple of very straightforward passages and just teach them, which is what I will do here.

(On the other hand, I don’t want to stifle discussion by acting like this is a cut and dry issue.  If you have a different point of view or questions, ask them and I will post new thoughts/responses.  I like to keep blog posts to about 600 words or less.  If you wanted to read a book, you would, well, you know, get a book.)

Romans 8:28-39

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is a simple logical formula that Paul describes in the first part of this passage:

The ones he foreknew–he predestined–he called–he justified–he glorified.

Everyone in the first category is in the second, everyone in the second is in the third and so on.  Therefore, everyone that God chooses for salvation (I will leave predestination on the shelf for now) are the ones that are glorified (end up perfect in heaven).  If you God starts the process with you, he finishes it.  There are no points where you can lose it, fall out or escape.  God finishes what he starts when he calls someone.  There are no exceptions.

To further emphasize what he means, Paul describes the security that we have in our relationship with God saying that nothing can separate us from the love that we have in Christ.  He says nothing.  Nothing in the present or future (which is everything by the way) and in case you want to think he leaves an exception he says nothing in creation.  Some might say, you can separate yourself.  Well, that is only true if you are not created or you do it at some time that’s not in the present or future.  (I don’t mean to get all mystical, but you really can’t do that without a DeLorean and a flux capacitor.)

I know that this only scratches the surface, but like I said, I like to keep posts short.  Let me know your thoughts and we can keep talking.  Some questions or thoughts, I might respond to, others I might turn into new posts.  Please share your thoughts, counterpoints or concerns.

Security of the Believer and Holding Hands in the Parking Lot

Today was church in the ice day.  Tim Lundy was supposed to come to Cabot today and preach, but the weather kept him from being able to come.  So what does that mean?  It means it’s impromptu sermon time.  I decided to take what we were going to talk about at Community Group tonight and turn it into a sermon.  It’s from one of this week’s Fellowship Journal readings.  We discussed Romans 8:28-39. 

Paul is assuring us that the relationship that we have with God is secure.  God will finish what he started–those he calls, he justifies and those he justifies, he glorifies.  God is the one doing the work, not us.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  No one can bring a charge against us because God is on our team.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Paul could not be more clear in this passage that our relationship with him is secure and that nothing can separate us from him.

However, we spend so much energy worrying about whether or not our relationship with God is secure.  We worry and fret as if our security depends on us.  Our security does not depend on us but on God.  I was reminded of what our Lauren was like when she was 2.  She would run as fast as she could in one direction with reckless abandon until she crashed something full speed.  She would then get back up and do the same thing in a different direction.

Needless to say, she caused us a lot of anxiety, especially in parking lots.  So any time we were in the parking lot or crossing the street, we would teach her to hold hands.  She wasn’t very good at it.  She didn’t want to hold hands.  She wanted to run.  Do you think her safety depended on her ability to hold my hand?  No way.  I would have a death grip on her arm.  There was nothing she could do to separate herself from me in the parking lot.  In the same way, there is nothing that we can do to separate ourselves from the love that God has for us.

(p.s., author’s note, one more thing.  In this post I am not trying to resolve a centuries old debate.  This is just a small excerpt from a sermon today.  If you have questions, let me know.)