Love, Hope, and Faith, but the greatest of these is Love. In continuing the questions on whether there is eternal security in the way it is presented by those who believe ‘Once Saved Always Saved’, I want to take a moment and look at the character of God. I’m not doing this for those who profess Christ, particularly, although maybe we need that time out.
The character of God is described in many ways throughout the Bible, but most emphatically described as Love. The personification of Love, the very essence of Love. That is at the end of many revelations, so that in the body of scripture we may look through and say, yes, I see that. But whether we see it or not, it is stated.
Most of the time we just have no clue to how powerful that is.
This may be combined with the statement of Jesus. “I am the truth, the life, and the way”. So we know something about that love. It tells the truth, it has and gives life, it is the way itself as it is followed, obeyed.
I wanted to preface with this because we tend to overlook inconvenient truths or bypass ways that we don’t understand. We all do. I will say plainly I do not fully understand how it works that one is saved and another is not. I have grappled with this in personal matters. But I am still left with certain statements about God and salvation that makes me doubt things about the explanations of the doctrine at hand. [ I find that this is just what Jeremy of Parablemania has said.]
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
“that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[ have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Here are three scriptures that pertain to salvation through faith.
The first and third contain the idea of God as love and one who desires all men to be saved. He is not willing to lose any, but in the third appears the idea that some are lost, and why. It could be argued that the ones who come to repentance are those God enables, but it isn’t worded that way.’All’ is pretty flat and inclusive.
The second scripture is the toughest: “no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father”. Here we see the Sovreignty of God preserved.
I think that we will have to look at two things in Salvation: the preservation of God’s Sovereignty and the preservation of man’s moral free agency. Both kept by virtue that God will not violate these two things. The more I look at some of these things the more Gethsemene impresses me. There is the Father’s Sovereign Will, but there is the Son of Man, a free moral agent, fully able to say “I want something different”. Fully allowed, and having to ask for the enablement to overcome that which is separate and contrary to God the Father in His expressed will.
The remembered difference of Jesus: He was not required to die but was asked to be willing for the sake of others. It was fully within His right to abstain, to decide that the plan was not for Him. Man would have been doomed if he had.
but He did follow the plan and now we come to John 3:18.
It states that the expression of God’s love is toward all men, his offer of salvation to all, but upon what does God grant grace to believe? The way one is choosing. There is where I both agree and dispute what was said about God choosing and enabling. I believe the scripture says the light went out. The testimony went out, it is here in the world.
God has enabled and made available. But there is resistance to getting the message out. there is resistance to receiving. Yet there is a progressive effort made to carry that message to all without exception.
God chooses, but He has already chosen, He has chosen all; but now we must choose since this is a covenant we are talking about after all. The covenant is not in force until both parties agree.
3 thoughts on “Hearts, Anchors, and The Cross”
I don’t think the view that God choose all for salvation can stand up biblically. There’s a clear distinction between those chosen and those not chosen in Romans 9-11, and Romans 8 just beforehand discusses this in terms of personal salvation. Those who are chosen are justified and are saved. There’s no waffling there, as if some who are chosen will not see salvation. This is God we’re talking about, who will see the work he began to fruition, as Paul says in Philippians. He will complete any work he has begun. That means those who won’t be saved do not have the genuine work of God toward salvation. I can’t see any room in scripture for the idea that those God longs to be saved but won’t be (which he indeed does, contrary to some Calvinists) count as being chosen or as ever experiencing the grace of salvation.
I understand your point.
I think it is clear that God’s Will is to chose all, that He set forth the essentials, but He made it pivot upon man’s choice of faith. Man has to be able to really chose, meaningfully chose, whether to believe. What I am trying to put forth is the idea that God has already provided the grace and the faith…. it is available to all. It is there, it is active, it just waits to be activated in the individual.
In choosing, it seems that God chooses us when we choose Him. Our choice activates all the promises within the Covenant, which is performed in time and place within Christ.
What I retain is the idea that God’s work in a person may abort. You seem to balk at this idea… that somehow if He were really in the man’s salvation that it would work toward its inevitable end.
I think God has so reserved the space of man’s free agency in this that He is willing to have His Will frustrated for that particular man.
Too often the view is that when God desires something who can resist? But you can resist if that same God insures your right to.
Is God more determined to reach some and thus, “chose”? I think that is altogether possible.
We are more than just citizens of Heaven. We are partakers of God’s own nature, we are family members. There is a certain amount of desire within the Sovreignty of God that we would have to allow for in our thinking. God is personal, He can desire. We are simply trying to find out how this applies.
It is just that God keeps saying “all” in His Word. I can’t get away from this. Why does He say it?
I have looked at the scripture sources you cite. There is the preservation of God’s Sovreignty, that God elects to save. But I am saying that in Christ God elects to save all… and now it is the response that determines the predetermined course of a man.
“Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.”
“For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. ”
Progression of the individual, to keep on choosing to respond to God. It cuts off or receives the flow of life, the salvation.
God is not arbitrary. The ones doing the changing in all this is us. What God has done and chosen, stands.
If God chooses, a man still has the right, in ability, to reject. He does not have the right in the face of being a created being. In that resides the condemnation. We have no right to refuse the goodness of God, but we are allowed if we insist.
Yet, I have to concede this: it is in God’s court whether to initiate more grace to man to enable his belief. We are not capable of wanting good on this level on our own. We just don’t see how far into the hole we have fallen, and have no ability to save ourselves from it, not in will, not in desire, not in ability.
So we are dependent upon the Good Will of God. I think scripture assures us that we can trust that God desires to chose us, and we can thus say, “Lord help my unbelief” and receive what we need.
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