Friday, October 25, 2013

Questions to Ask Yourself About Eternal Security

This topic has been an issue in the town I pastor for a number of reasons.  It was, in particular, an issue in the church I pastor, namely for many decades the prevailing position was that one could in fact lose their salvation.  As I talk to individuals one reason for this position is the lack of transforming power displayed in so many professing Christians.  Yet this does not need to lead one to this conclusion.
As I hear many professing Christians talk, including pastors, I see the great issue is the shallow and bad teaching on what exactly the gospel is and it's power to transform people.  The gospel does not make bad people good, it makes dead people alive!  Conversion is not just making a decision for Jesus, it is God calling people by his Spirit in such a powerful and irresistible way that it is effective in bringing about the new birth so that the individual responds with a resounding yes to Jesus!  Here is a helpful article by Jared Wilson.

Because “eternal life” is integral to the gospel’s promise, I believe eternal security is an integral blessing of the gospel, and to deny it is to embrace a truncated gospel. Eternal security is near and dear to my heart, and I have been grateful and sobered by the many opportunities I have had to teach it to others in counseling situations over the last several years. Eternal insecurity, the doubting of grace for me, has been one of the prevailing counseling issue I have encountered in both Bible Belt Nashville and the traditionalist wasteland of rural Vermont.

When I reflect on God’s promise of eternal security for those in Christ, I go to these common Scriptures and posit these questions of conviction.

John 6:39
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

1. How perfect is the Father’s will?
2. How good is Jesus at his job?
3. Does the word “nothing” mean nothing, or does it mean “some”?

John 6:40
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

4. What does “eternal” mean?
5. What does Jesus’ promise about the last day mean for “everyone who believes”?

Romans 8:28-30
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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

6. How does “predestined” jibe with insecurity?
7. If God commits to glorify those he justifies, why do we think he won’t?
8. Is justification really justification? Does it mean what it says?

1 Corinthians 1:8-9
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

9. How long does God commit to keep us blameless?
10. Is security dependent on our faithfulness or God’s? And how faithful is God?

Hebrews 7:25
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

11. Does “completely” mean “partly” or “temporarily”?

Hebrews 13:5
[H[e has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

12. Does “never” mean “never”?
13. Does “no one” mean “no one”?

Hebrews 10:10
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

14. How long does Christ’s sacrifice last?
15. How much does Christ’s sacrifice cover?

Titus 1:2
. . . in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

16. What kind of life did God promise?
17. When did he promise it?
18. Are God’s promises reliable?
19. Wouldn’t denying his promise of eternal life be tantamount to calling him a liar?

20. Is your sin more powerful than Christ’s blood? Is your weakness more powerful than God’s might? Are you the nut he can’t crack?
If our religion be of our own getting or making, it will perish; and the sooner it goes, the better; but if our religion is a matter of God’s giving, we know that He shall never take back what He gives, and that, if He has commenced to work in us by His grace, He will never leave it unfinished.
– Charles Spurgeon

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont, and the author of the books Your Jesus Is Too Safe, Gospel Wakefulness, and the study 7 Daily Sins.

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