Friday, August 8, 2008

Eternal security (Once saved always saved)

I have been discussing this issue with a Jehovah's Witness, this is my response to a post she made.

Allow me to give you my reasoning for believing in eternal security (once saved always saved).
First lets look in James 2. Beginning in 14 James writes, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" He then continues on to describe a scene of a naked and hungry brother or sister (in the faith), and a “believer” that says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled." However this “believer” does nothing for them, this is showing that the believer has “faith” but no works to back up the faith. “But do you not know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” In verse 18 it is written, "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
Thus works are the overflow of faith in the believers life, works alone cannot save one, but one can be justified by faith through works, "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?"
Another passage that I stand firmly in is John 10:28-30, "And I gave them eternal life and they shall never perish: neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are One." “No one is able to snatch them out of My hand.” Meaning no one can take one’s salvation away from one, not even the one that has the salvation; because My Father who is greater than all holds them tightly in His grip.
Now I cannot espouse to think that I can overcome the creator of the Universe in saying, “I can pull myself out of His omnipotent grip.” That would be making God nothing more than a weak man, which is nothing short of blasphemy.
Yet another verse is that of Romans 8:30, “Moreover whom He predestined these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (sanctified).” Not only does this verse present God as the initiator of faith, but also the finisher of the work of salvation. Revealing that there is a plan for those that are “called” from beginning to end. Not a plan that is contingent on the mere whim of mortal, broken, fallen man, but a plan that relies wholly on the Immortal, Whole, Creator of the Universe.
One final verse that I feel speaks completely for itself is John 6:39, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.”
To take this one step farther, this just makes sense. It is logical. That God would begin and finish the plan of salvation, instead of leaving it up to a fallen people of debase minds. We praise God as great, and worthy of praise, the Creator, the Savior by Whom grace came and saved, mercy was poured out, and salvation was made possible. But we would not dare to give God the glory that He is due for being able to hold us firmly in His grip! “He holds my life! And I praise Him for that, but He cannot hold my salvation!” That is blasphemy!

1 comment:

Gary said...

Here is my story: I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. I repented of all my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior at age nine…and again in my early teens…just to be sure. In my early 20’s my family moved to another state where we attended a non-denominational, evangelical mega-church (which taught Baptist doctrine) for several years. In my mid to late 20’s I stopped going to church because I didn’t “feel” God inside me and he didn’t seem to listen when I prayed.

I remained unchurched until I was married in my forties. I started attending liberal churches. When we had children, I started looking again at more conservative/fundamentalist churches, something closer to what I had believed as a child and teenager. We joined a conservative, orthodox Lutheran church. I became very involved in the church. I was happy and content in my orthodox Christian belief system. I read the Bible and prayed regularly.
One day I was surfing the internet and came across an atheist’s website. He was a former fundamentalist Baptist/evangelical pastor! I was shocked! I started to engage him in conversation, and also tried to bring him back to the Faith, to belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
However, this man pointed out to me some very big assumptions in my Christian belief system which I had never thought of, such as:

1. Just because there is evidence for a Creator does not mean that the Creator is the Christian God, Yahweh.

2. Our current Bibles contain thousands of scribe alterations, most of them inconsequential, but a couple of them are shocking. Why did God allow scribes copying the original Scriptures to change, delete, add, or alter his inerrant, Holy, Word?

3. How do we know that the books of the New Testament are the Word of God? Is there a verse that tells us? Did Jesus give us a list? Did Paul?

4. Do we really have any verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or is it all hearsay and legend?

5. Modern archaeology proves that the Captivity in Egypt, the Exodus, the forty years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, and the great kingdoms of David and Solomon are only ancient Hebrew fables.

At first I fought him tooth and nail. I fought him for four months. At the very end I had to admit that there are no verifiable eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus in the Bible or anywhere else. All we have are four anonymous first century texts full of discrepancies and contradictions. The only thing I had left to attach my faith to was the testimony of the Apostle Paul: why would a devout Jewish rabbi convert to a religion he so hated unless he really saw a resurrected dead man on the Damascus Road?
But after studying the five Bible passages that discuss Paul’s conversion, I had to admit that Paul never says he saw a resurrected body. All Paul says is that he saw a light…and that this event occurred in a “heavenly vision”. Visions are not reality...not in the 21st century nor in the 1st.

And as for the improbability that a Jewish rabbi would convert to a hated religion, there is a Muslim cleric in Israel today who not too many years ago was an ardent Zionist Jewish settler and rabbi, intent on ridding the Muslims from Jewish land.

Strange conversions occur. They do not prove that the new religion is true and inerrant.

I was broken-hearted, but I saw my Christian Faith was nothing more than an ancient superstition that had been modified in the first century by Jesus, a good man, but a dead man. There is zero evidence that this first century Jew is alive and the Ruler of the Universe.