Ah, a question which immediately raises eyebrows, and alerts the antenna of any who wants to protect a dogma or a denominational bias.
‘Saved’ in its most basic definition is simply ‘safe from hell,’ and ‘set for heaven.’ I haven’t lost any readers yet, for all would agree, but the contentions arise when we speak of the terms.
Is scripture clear on this, and is this clarity understandable? I would submit ‘yes’ on both accounts, but the fog arises when scripture is pitted against scripture, as if God wants His people to tear each other apart like dogs in an arena.
No, God wants no bickering on something which is simple, for this is the devils playground, as he traffics in half-truths, and steals the affection which should be toward God only. God’s mind is not revealed in one place, as if He could be contained in a thimble, and he is innocent of man’s lack of appreciation of his eternal purposes.
Salvation is in three tenses: past, present, and future. ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures.’ How then in the counsels of heaven, could any person of sane spiritual mind ever think they could come into judgement for their sins?
Alas they cannot, and thank God that they have been taken away, and the burial and the approval of resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ attest that God is satisfied. This is the message of grace and the message of the gospel. This is simply the good news, that the vilest of humanity can be clothed with the righteousness of God, made whole and pronounced ‘clean.’
This is the gospel preached, this is the message uttered by Peter that the murderers of the son of God could be made right by ‘repenting and believing the gospel.’ ‘Ye who have taken by wicked hands have crucified and slain,’ said the apostle, who himself just weeks earlier had said ‘I know not the man!’
Such is the power of grace which is the greatest impetus to live the christian life. Saved, sealed by the spirit of God for time and eternity, related and connected to the body of Christ who is the Head. Now then, how safe is the Head of the body??? Any chance of the Head falling into the hands of the enemy? Yes, what an insulting question, and that’s the point, for members of his body are they who are his.
The church is this mystery given by Paul to unfold, and any message not consistent with Paul’s is another gospel. A man ‘born again’ cannot be unborn as this was the truth taught to Nicodemus, as he also learned that one must be born from ‘heaven,’ that is, this new relationship must have the throne of God as its source.
But in this new life, there must also be an understanding of sin, self, and the One who would be lifted up. This is the root of the twin misunderstandings of any who find fault with the doctrine of eternal security, and that is, the terribleness of the human heart has not been seen in its pure ugliness, as well as a lack of appreciation for He who was lifted up.
Proverbs tells us that ‘the thought of foolishness is sin,’ a grim reminder that during the course of any day, there is a whole lot of sinning going on, and even unknowingly, so if I held to the teaching that ‘every single sin’ must be accounted for ere heaven be allowed, I would fall at the Saviour’s feet pleading for mercy.
This was told to me by a man who worked as an evangelist, as he neither presented a full and free gospel, and he left people in the ‘hope’ of heaven as long as they ‘held on.’ Well, my bible tells me Christ ‘held on’ for me, he DID NOT come down from the cross and save himself, and any teaching must be interpreted in light of Calvary,
The word of God does not present God as one who plays tricks on his people; saved today, lost tomorrow, lost today saved tomorrow. This mental gymnastics could only make a soul anxious, and more disturbingly, makes man his own saviour. This is the only conclusion a spiritual mind sees.
Say, where are thy sins? Not only the ones you can think of, but of the ones you will commit today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? Are you now getting a picture of salvation in ALL its tenses, past, present, future?
The natural mind sees horizontally, and sees the defects of man, and the daily shortcomings, and puts mans actions on a scale against God’s grace, and the unlearned sees more ‘good than bad,’ and attaches value to the destination of the human soul, but the question was asked: ‘What can a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Thankfully, there is no answer, for man has no worth in this exchange, but Calvary covers it all.
When Paul wrote ‘to depart with Christ is far better,’ this was no false hope, nor ‘hope I’m going to make it,’ no, this was the Spirit directed comment by a man who knew his place ‘in Adam,’ and ‘in Christ.’ There is no greater defender of the faith for the teaching of eternal security than Paul the apostle.’
Granted, God expects us to be exercised unto godliness as to his ways, lest we come to egregious opinions, but the life of faith is its own reward.
When the apostle spoke of ‘wood, hay, stubble,’ this has been a playground for the carnal mind, for sin is not the issue at all, but a displaying of a believers testimony, and even in this probable embarrassment, grace will be given and God glorified. God cannot deny himself.
The parables are mostly misunderstood, and have very little to do with ‘church’ teaching, and Matthew 24 singles out errors as well. The church of the living God is nowhere to be found there, it is teaching for another purpose. ‘Fleeing Judea’ is a geographical uniqueness, and meant as a warning to the Jews there at that time. In the context of ‘saved,’ this lack of understanding is important to notice.
Rightly dividing the word of truth has long been the safeguard of the quiet seeker of truth. John Calvin did not take heed, and many of his followers live and die the ‘five points.’ Too bad, for I see nothing of the promises of God to his earthly people Israel, and I see an amalgamation of the churches calling, leaving out the distinction between Jew, Gentile, and the church of God.
Years ago, I wrote of the terrible doctrines by Mr. Camping, and his exaggerations of salvation and distorted prophecy and its inevitable end, and years later this unfortunately proved to be clear as a bell. The connection here? It is isolating scripture against scripture, and certainly making more of man than does God.
When we read ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,’ many say: ‘see, you can lose your salvation, you need to work for it.’ But that is not what the spirit of God is telling us. Work OUT. Why? Because the next verse says ‘It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’
In one swoop, by understanding the context, the believer is encouraged, strengthened, and nourished in the truth that God does the willing of anything that is ‘good,’ And this is how ALL scripture is to handled: rightly divided. Who is speaking? Who is addressed? Where? Why? What is the intention? When does this refer to?
Abraham was saved by grace through faith in God’s promise of a Redeemer. His faith is called upon in Romans and Galatians for us to learn of God’s ways. He was called ‘friend of God,’ and he is in heaven by God’s grace, as will be any person who has agreed to the call of sinnership, and who has found favour at the mercy-seat, which and Who is Christ Himself.
To deny eternal security to the very weakest babe in Christ is to present Christ as an incomplete Saviour. Perish the thought. I will defend this teaching, and present imposters with a dire warning.
When I speak of imposters, I do not speak of godly christians who are a little sloppy with doctrine because they have not been taught. Poor teaching does not keep one out of heaven, as God is far more gracious.
I speak of devils, dogs, and pernicious wolves, they who transform themselves into angels of light, they who have never been born of God, they who have never repented and believed the gospel, they who have never been sealed with the spirit of God.
God knows they that are his, and by good teaching, we may know as well. Saved today, tomorrow, next week, month, year, and forever. This is the message of the good news. Any thing short of this is another gospel. It’s no wonder the apostle said ‘nothing under heaven or earth can separate us from the love of God.’ This is why we sing, ‘hallelujah, what a saviour.’
We must include the truth that ‘saved’ also means safe from the power, punishment, and consequences of sin as well, both now and in the future. People need saved from themselves, and God knows this. Christ is sufficient, he cannot fail, while man fails daily,
His love is perfect, unconditional, and timeless, so unlike the passing whims of man. ‘They shall never perish,’ is a truth tailored for the weak as well as the strong, for the great shepherd knows them all, and gives eternal life as the start, and not the goal of the christian life.
When asked about salvation in its fullest, a man of God said, ‘it matters not as to location, for NOW He is with me, THEN I will be with him.’ This shows great insight into the spirit of God. In this statement, the writer speaks of the unfailing promises of God to ‘be with’ and to ‘preserve’ His own; what a great comfort.
This is grace, which is the greatest inspiration to living a quiet and peaceable life. True christians know how to live here, lest heaven be an uncomfortable place. Saved and safe, because of a Saviour.
Finally, some people have a defective view of salvation because they have not the correct vision of themselves, as well as a unclear vision of Christ. When both are seen clearly, the word ‘saved’ becomes as great balm.