Believe it or not, I don’t really like the type of controversy on topics like this. I know my own doubts and beliefs, but it can be difficult to give complete assent to one side or the other in some of these discussions.
Yet, I am so uncomfortable with dismissal of real points of contention within the debate, that it constrains me to add my two cents. I was about to apologize and give remonstrance that I am no theologian, but that is silly. If you are about the business of Knowing God, you become a default theologian of some sort or another.
There are distinct camps within Christianity. Two of those would be disagreed on the state of salvation in this life. One asserts eternal security in salvation, the other asserts that one may lose their salvation.
I tend to not accept the idea of “once saved always saved”. There are too many warnings in the Bible that a man can turn against God, can “fall away”. And other things, for which I will work off of Jollybloggers sermon.
He says,”It is true that, if you are truly saved, you cannot lose your salvation, but it is equally true that there are many who think they are saved and who arenâ€™t.” This is one part of the eternal security arguments I really dislike. There is often talk of how people think they are saved, but they are not really, because if they were they would have remained in that state. So the reasoning goes that they were mistaken about being saved.
That is implied within Jollybloggers statement, but I don’t know if he thinks that way. Others do, and that is problematical in the understanding of salvation. I think it is unnecessarily convoluted for the express purpose of supporting the eternal security idea.
J. continues,”Warning passages are there for the purpose of calling you to stop and re-examine yourself..” I agree. I would go further than that… it also means that there is a real danger being warned of.
J continues in his next installment to discern between “the Security of Salvation and the Assurance of Salvation” . My trouble with this section is that he combines the word eternal with security. The security I can agree with. Using John 6:39-40 and John 10:27-30 , Jollyblogger expounds on security and it is true as far as he goes, no one can wrench out of the Father’s hand, but then J. says this:
“Salvation is His choice not ours”
That brings me to a full stop. There are some intricacies of the Word to understand, but this is wrong as stated. Over and over it s made very clear that we have a choice. We do choose, really and truly choose.
However there are things involved that overconcern possibly makes Jollyblogger say such an unsupportable thing. Unsupportable because Christianity is not fatalistic. We don’t just sit by and view all things as God’s Will. Or we shouldn’t, or if we do have a conflict we ought to countenance it.
This is the verse given:
“Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
The grace is the gift, the faith is the vehicle by which it arrives, salvation is what happens; but there are some things on both sides of it, God chooses and we choose. Otherwise, pack away your prayers, why pray that hearts be opened and doors made into communities, and ear opened that they may hear?
Is that all some charade? Or is it necessary because there are wills on both sides of the matter? And God can shut doors and harden hearts that already have chosen and are on a path. Things that are laws within creation have already been put in motion. Our prayers can be instrumental in changing circumstances as surely as the sun stood still and the waves of the red sea rose up in a wall.
Of course if you doubt that you might have trouble seeing the usefulness or the necessity of our part in it. But someone had to put their rod out over the sea, and someone had to ask God to do these miracles.
It is hard for me to distill the many lines of scripture I see in this. Why does God plead with man? And why this:
I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. -Isaiah 63
He looked for a man. Why? He knew He would find none, but He also knew what He was willing to do.
I am going to stop here. I ‘m not going further into this without putting forth what I deem the central part of what is missed in between ideas of security and assurance, and it is this: we have so little concept of covenant relationship and what that means that we say things like:
“Salvation is His choice not ours”
No, no, no, and the word ‘covenant’ is the crucial reason why it cannot be as stated.