Covenant. This has been the mainstay of my confidence: to understand the solemn seriousness with which God takes His part, and all He has provided to author faith, enable it and finish it for me, just for the price of my agreeing. All I had to do was say yes and set my seal to this, that”God is True”.
I believe by faith that God offers faith for salvation to all. I haven’t seen it clearly in experience. It is put forth so clearly in scripture, however, that I doubt that the full understanding is there for me, yet. I am more willing to believe that there is apathy amongst those called to pray “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”. I tend to believe that we are the weakest link, but even that being so, the security and assurance of the Covenant established in Jesus blood is powerful as to make it nearly impossible to fall. Because God takes covenant so very seriously.
How seriously? On the basis of God’s Covenant with Abraham He suffered through generations of rejection and flaunting and debasing of His precious gifts. Because this is what humans are prone to do. He also reached out to help every man woman and child who called upon Him., regardless of unlikely circumstances. He regularly intervened on behalf of those whom He esteemed through His part of the agreement. He showed some of what He could do on the behalf of those who trust Him.
And that was not the Covenant ratified in the blood of His own Son.
But we are warned that men can fall away, and I take that seriously. I just think that the Covenant we enter into with God , with the attending Holy Spirit to help us, makes it very hard. This is the security.
We would have to hate the light and love the darkness. And perhaps we were blinded all along. I am willing to imagine that in those cases. But it is not clear. And with the presence of the Holy Spirit I find it almost impossible to believe that those who are or aren’t saved wouldn’t have a witness to attest to that in the Spirit.
You can kid yourself that you are doing all the right things, but the Spirit of God testifies to the truth and of Jesus. To go on blind, you have to do alot of resisting and willful rejection. I think that the example of Paul illustrates that. He said so himself, that he was an example of how great and how far reaching the grace of God is.
I do believe in basic Reformation doctrine: that we are so depraved we have little idea how impossible it is for us to do good; that we are wholly dependent upon God’s grace to save us, and that it is sufficient to save us through Christ.
I believe those things…what I cannot see is this idea that it is static in nature.
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. ”
This is an ongoing choice to remain related.
Every day we live we make a choice, we continue to build upon the choices have made… it is a progression in salvation. Towards or away from Christ, and we are warned that it is possible to come to a place where we cast him off.
That there is much unseen grace involved is taught clearly in scripture.
Paul leaves us with a couple thoughts about all this. We can’t judge ourselves as attaining or not attaining, it is not in our capacity, but the great resevoir of grace and love that God has shown us in Christ gives us great confidence.
I think I would sum up my thought on this point that we must continue to develop in the salvation that God gives, it must continue to be a reality in earth, in us. we must keep accessing God, His grace and open ourselves to His work in us. John also gives this picture of the maturing in Christ over time and within experience. ” I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”
Jollyblogger ends his second installment with this,” He doesnâ€™t ask about a past decision or something like that in evaluating their spiritual condition, he talks about present day realities.”
Actually Paul often refers to certain points in experience, but he emphasizes that the present day realities are what count. I agree with this. I have very different beliefs on specific points within the salvation experience and their meaning in the spiritual realm, but on this I agree: our relationship with God most matters with where we are now. Do we show signs of grace now: a desire to know Him, an ability to desire repentance, any sort of interest in Him…now?
These are indicators, many scriptures are confident indicators, the Spirit helps us…. we are not left to wonder, although we are prone to fail in our feelings and assurances as Jollyblogger pointed out.
But I do believe there are lines that we should not cross in the continual rejection of God, and this gives us both fear of God and causes us to ask for more grace.
To continue on toward loving God is to replace all fear with confidence as we know Him and our eyes are opened to the vast salvation, extension of grace, and how determined God is to not let go.
We are not so far from each others beliefs, yet neither of us have fully satisfactory answers.
I would have questions such as why are some not saved? Is God arbitrary in this? How would someone make the idea of God deliberately choosing someone not be saved congruent with the statements that He wants them to be saved? How does a time extension as mentioned in Peter make any difference then? Are we going against God’s will to pray for someone specific to be saved?
Those would be my questions for ‘once saved always saved’.
Additionally there are so many remonstrances to be “faithful to the end”, it is under lined over and over. That is the goal. There is an endpoint of faith in this life that is to be reached, and some doubt whether one would reach it without effort. I believe the effort is staying in the position of receiving from Christ. This also seems supported in the sower and the seed parable.
I always have certain questions as to what part the Church plays. It appears that if we do not lend ourselves to God in the effort at hand, then it will not get done. It is like God has purposely made a boundary that we must fullfill our part for the fruit to come forth from people.
I can’t say I understand this. I worry about it. That is, if we understood our part better might we not see more receiving the joy of salvation, of an eternal life?
There are some fragile times in the beginnings of life. Are we sometimes remiss in the nurture of new beleivers? Might there be less mortality rates in this if we understood the progressiveness of salvation better?
Perhaps there is more to salvation. there is the called, the chosen, and the sealed. Perhaps we must respond to God in each of the stages, and Christ promises that He will keep us as we continue in trust. Trust doesn’t start over each time, it builds in strength.
Predestination appears to take place within Christ- those who enter Christ are predestined and foreknown from within that promise and provision for salvation.
I do sometimes wonder about Simon the Magician.
Did he ever receive prayer and grace to recover? I don’t know why, but I doubt it. His blindness hadn’t lifted, perhaps he wouldn’t let it lift through pride of life.
I just wonder.
I know there are the false amongst the true. This is pointed out in the parable of the tares. There are those who enter into the flock of God to exploit them, and you can’t always tell who’s who; but does this mean that those who are saved have eternal security? They don’t seem to be transferable properties of salvation: the false necessarily being those who weren’t saved at the outset and just imagined they were… or however you would term this.
Although I will say that there does seem to be strong difference made between “child” of God and child of other things like Revelations ” that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess”.
so I’m left with it not being perfectly clear.
I think the most important thing to take away from this conversation is that you can have a deep assurance of your acceptance in Christ. That you may press into Him in every trial and temptation and be confident that he will bring you the message that you are His.
I have strong confidence of that. You can plumb the depths of the Covenant reality for yourself and know that it is Christ that God sees, and not the failing broken person that you will feel you are before His throne, you are hidden in Him. You can know that the Covenant relationship is so strong that God will give you anything you need, anything you ask, and will enable you to respond to what He asks of you.
The hold of God in an immeasurable love that decided long before that you worth it. There is so much to be confident of, that the questions of fear are very small in comparison, the fear is to walk away from all this wealth of love. To somehow miss it.
Therein is the warning.