What Did It Say?

The doctrinal divide over eternal security and the possibility of forfeiting salvation through backsliding has spilled into my life. I really enjoyed G H Lang’s book “Chaos”. At one point he showed me free will colors in discussing predestination. When I read another of his books, “Firstborn Sons” I found him talking to those who believe in eternal security. He was taking all of the scriptures that I would use as evidence of the possibility of losing salvation and chastising those from his camp in that they ignore these scriptures or falsely attribute them to warning to the unbeliever and not the believer. His conclusion is that all of the scriptures that warn believers of judgment for sinfulness are not warnings about losing salvation but warnings about losing a higher degree of reward in the Millennial Kingdom and heaven. He operates from the premise that once you become a son you cannot not be a son. You may lose your inheritance but you will always be a son.

 

I have a saying: Baptist preachers spend every Sunday convincing people who aren’t saved that they are and Pentecostal preachers spend every Sunday convincing people who are saved that they are not. This controversy about doctrine has spilled over into Audra’s life in Las Vegas. She was told that she always looks condemned and miserable when she comes from church. She has brought her college friends to church and they stand on their beliefs that will bring them to heaven. One of her friends has tried to explain to her that once you are saved you are always saved. Its one thing to have this doctrine believed by someone who is wholeheartedly pursuing the things of God, but quite another to be believed by a young person tottering upon infatuation with the world with no outward sign of being involved with the things of God.

 

In my state I took to reading the short epistles real slow to see if I could deduce the plain meaning of scripture without any wrestling or twisting. So here is one from Colossians.

 

Col 1:21-23

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight —  23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. NKJV

 

This seems straightforward to me. You have been reconciled through Christ and will be presented holy, blameless and above reproach If indeed you continue in the faith and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.

 

There are no surprises in the Greek definitions. Once again I understand the logic of eternal security based upon God’s choice. I see Lang’s logic in assuming that sonship is forever. But, this verse and many others leave me with just what it says.  I know and preach that God “will never leave and forsake us”. We might wish it to say that Christ has redeemed us and now that we are redeemed it is a settled issue but that is not what that verse says.

 

I don’t want to go overboard with this. I think this is why the bible says “work out you own salvation with fear and trembling” (free will) followed by “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure”.

 

As I told Audra, it is like marriage, you know if you are married or not. Marriage is not just a piece of paper that unites to estranged people legally. Marriage is a union of total commitment to each other, just as salvation should be between us and God.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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