Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 7

Of this new life, God has spoken in this way, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5. Also, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” Matthew 28:20. And, “I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob,” Malachi 3:6. That many “Christians” do not practice Christ’s commands is an indication they may never have had saving faith. Yet we cannot judge the certainty of another’s salvation because God alone knows the heart, 1st Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9-10. We are told on the basis of conduct to judge whether or not someone is walking in the faith; but this should only compel us to heed the Apostle’s advice in warning them to test themselves as to whether they are in the faith, 2nd Peter 1:10; 2nd Corinthians 13:5. We are to encourage fellow believer’s to run the race with zeal, looking toward the consummation and the reward, which Christ will give to His faithful servants, Luke 19:12-27.

Paul writes, “If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness,” Romans 4:2-3. There is an apparent discrepancy between Paul and James chapter 2 at this point. Yet, if you observe, they were looking at the matter from differing perspectives. Paul’s discourse is clearly between Abraham and God. God spoke, Abraham believed God, and the result was justification. Abraham needed no works with God because God sees the heart. James is writing from men’s perspective. When someone is truly saved, we expect a difference in their lives, the natural outworking of the Holy Spirit that Jesus called “bearing fruit,” John 15:1-8; Matthew 13:8, 23. James asks a relevant question: “Can faith [the type of faith that is barren] save [you]?” James 2:14. He goes on to argue his point that if he sees no spiritual fruit in your life, he will rightly fear that you do not have, nor ever had, saving faith. He even contrasts a barren man with demons; that they too believe in God after this manner, James 2:19. He goes on to use the same example Paul did to show that Abraham was justified by his works, when Paul said otherwise; but James is referring to being in the sight of men. Does the unbelieving world see the reality of your salvation in your daily walk? James concludes, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also,” James 2:26.

The idea of justification is from the Greek term “dikaioo” which means, “to declare righteous, to justify.” When a sinner is justified before God it does not mean that they are made righteous; it means they are declared righteous because of the meritorious act and Person of Jesus Christ, who is righteous. The term is a legal one and refers to being exonerated. When someone believes on Christ the immediate result is being declared righteous by God by the virtue of the One in whom we believe. This disqualifies our conduct from earning salvation, or forfeiting the same; see Romans 3:28.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Acts 16:31. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God,” 1st John 4:15. Salvation is eternal: Jesus stated this very clearly in the gospel (John 3:15-16; 4:14; 5:24; 6:27; 10:28 etc). No created thing can separate us from God (Romans 8:38-39); sin cannot be imputed to the new nature (1st John 3:9); God gifted us with salvation (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 6:23); His gifts cannot be rescinded (Romans 11:29; Hebrews 7:19-25); and that incorporating obedience with salvation creates a works system (Galatians 5:1-4). “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,” Romans 4:4-5. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent,” John 6:29. We are comforted by Jesus’ words when He says, “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day…Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life,” John 6:39, 47.
To be Concluded.

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