Sunday, January 29, 2006

Is Perseverance of the Saints the same as Eternal Security

Or are some of us feeling a little eternally insecure?

Having worked at teen camps and been an "altar worker" for much of my life if have quite often encountered a question like this:

My church teaches "once saved, always saved." no matter what you do. And I'm wondering about that. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me and I think I'm a little confused about whether or not I'm really saved.

Here is how I have usually answered it.

First, I acknowledge that it is a tough and sometimes confusing subject. And it is a tough question! I strongly believe the Bible teaches a "conditional eternal security". Now don't go get the firewood and kindling and prepare to offer me at the stake! I believe that as long as we continue to confess our sins, take up his cross daily and follow him, submit our will to His, remember to flee and not flirt with temptation and desire to obey Jesus' teachings, we are eternally secure (See Romans 8, especially the last half).

Pay particular attention to Romans 8:35. It speaks about God's love. And the fact that nothing can separate us from it. Even before we were saved, God in His Love pursued us. So, based upon God's character, there is no reason to expect that love toward us to ever change.

Here's the important point--whether you're a Baptist or Methodist or a Nazarene like me: Our salvation is based on our relationship with God through Christ. And, we may "fall short of the glory of God." But, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

I have to admit that in my younger days there were times when I wasn't sure of my relationship with God. For instance, one day I came home to an empty, silent house. The lights were on, but no sign of life. Then it hit me like a ton of Bibles. It could only mean one thing: Christ had returned "like a thief in the night" and snatched up Mom, Dad, and my brother Dave.

For years, I had lived under apocalyptic terror. I would be living a "good Christian life," but in a moment of weakness, I would sin, or worse yet, I would somehow sin without even knowing it. And, then--at that very instant, even before I could ask forgiveness--Christ would return for His children. Now, I was left behind, all alone to face the battle of Armageddon and then the fires of hell!

Suddenly, my conscience recalled the reason for my doom. Just an hour before, my big brother had done something that ticked me off that big brothers often do, and in the emotion of the moment, I had called him a name. Not just any name, but the four-letter name that my pastor warned would guarantee a one-way ticket to the devil's front porch. Yes, I had called my brother a F-O-O-L! And according to my pastor's interpretation of Matthew 5:2, there was nothing left to do but to turn on the TV and wait for the "beeeeeeeeeeeeep" of the Emergency Broadcast System and the announcements that busses no longer had drivers, planes had no pilots and that half of the people on the planet had disappeared.

But then to my rapturous relief, my family (and yes, even my brother) returned from visiting the neighbors. While comforted that I had one more chance, I still felt a little eternal insecurity when it came to salvation. And, apparently I'm not alone.

A youth-pastor once asked his teens, "How many of you are sure that you are a Christian?" These were teens whose parents were professors at an evangelical college and administrators at a denominational headquarters. With heads bowed and eyes closed, very few of the forty young people raised his or her hand! The majority professed to be Christians, but not very many were sure that Christ had forgiven their sins and had reserved a place for them in His eternal neighborhood - Heaven!

I'm afraid that in my tradition's zeal to avoid the error of "once saved-always saved," I have encountered something else; a large number of teens and adults who are "eternally in-secure."

Now hold on. Before you think someone needs to revoke my membership, let me assure you that I do not believe that once someone is forgiven of their sins and believes in Christ that eternal life is unconditionally guaranteed.

Jesus himself makes it very clear that those who once knew him can turn away into eternal punishment: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned" (John 15:5-6).

Both the Old and New Testaments agree:

If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die (Ezekiel 18:26).

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on {the testimony of} two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29 NASB, emphasis in the NASB)
But Scripture also assures us that we can know that we are saved and be eternally secure. The old-timers called it a "know so" religion when I was growing up. They said, and I believe that we can know in our hearts that we are Children of God. All you have to do is look at a few passages such as:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:16)
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)
But we in the church may have created some eternal insecurity in at least two ways:

Insecurity comes from a limited view of Scripture

Some teachers, pastors and evangelists have only stressed the first set of verses. These leaders fear that those under their care will reject Christ. And that is a legitimate concern. But Christian leaders sometimes spend too much time preaching warnings of "falling away" rather than a message of Holiness. In fact I heard a message today in church like I haven't heard in quite a while. The pastor preached on creating moral margin in our lives and in living our lives as far from what the world calls the norm as possible.

The fact is, Christians do not "fall" as if Salvation was a slippery rock in a flowing river. Salvation is not like my car keys or my reading glasses that I lose from time to time. Notice that 2 Timothy 2:12 reads in part,
. . . if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us."
We lose our relationship with Christ, and thus our eternal home with Him, by willfully, deliberately rejecting Him and His will. We must balance our warnings with equal parts of assurance.

Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And in II Thessalonians 3:3:
But the Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from the evil one.
In Second Timothy 1:12 it says it this way:
And that is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
Christian can be sure of this because "the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16) as was stated earlier. Hebrews reinforces this truth:
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:21-22 NLT)

So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the line of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6: 18-19 NLT)
John writes:

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NASB)

Finally, Paul has an assurance for Believers:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6 KJV)
Insecurity comes from a limited view of Christianity

Those who believe a bump of our heads on an altar at the close of the final service at youth camp or a quick dunk in a baptismal guarantees heaven -- no matter how they live after they dry off -- need to be warned that God demands Holiness. The preaching of a Holiness doctrine that stresses personal Holiness in all that we are and do is essential.

However, there are some out there who have preached personal tastes rather than Scriptural standards. These extra-biblical teachings often create eternal insecurity in those who attempt -- and inevitably fail -- to live up to these human standards.

A "conditional security" comes from Scripture in its full context

I believe that when taken in the full context, the Bible does not teach the idea of an unconditional eternal security. I believe that it teaches the perseverance of the saints. I know, some are already riled up and want to hit me over the head with their 27 pound Billy Graham preaching Bibles and tell me about God's Grace, and the fact that my Salvation is based upon Faith alone! (Thank you martin Luther!) But in actuality the Christian life (not the Salvation experience) is just that it is a life-long commitment to Jesus Christ and His Righteousness. It is not just a quick trip to the altar and then back to the same life that we were living without Christ.

However, do not be afraid. We do not need to live with doubts about our relationship with Christ. Jesus himself prayed for the perseverance of the saints. Remember Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night that he was betrayed:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.} They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, {are} in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17: 15-24 NASB)

So what does this mean to me?

Once again I want to take this back to the question of what does it mean to me in the context of my daily walk with the Lord? How does it relate to the idea of Holiness of Heart and Life?

I think it means that my salvation is an active condition whereby I willingly walk hand in hand with my Heavenly Father. We walk hand in hand and he works on my life by daily transforming me into His image and according to His Will. I willingly abide in Him. And He abides in me. What else could I ask for?

I thank God that I no longer fear coming home to an empty house. I can come boldly before the Throne of Grace and approach God Almighty without fear. He is my Father and I am His Child. And, unlike those teenagers that I mentioned, I pray that you can raise your hand today and say "I'm sure that I am a Christian." And I am becoming more and more like Him every day. My thoughts and actions are more Christ-like today than yesterday.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    How can you lose by works what you didn't gain by works?

    Ken Clifton
    -author of I Shall See Heaven
    Ken Clifton's Books

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  2. Kevin,

    Thanks again for you comments at our blog.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit is using your blog and for this we give GOD praise. You have said it well. You have explored both extremes of what is often called "eternal security".

    I like the way one old Pastor once said it to me... "I believe 'once saved always saved...so long as you stay saved" He continued, "God is a gracious giver, and He freely gives the gift of salvation, but He never forces you to keep the gift."

    I see that you have also taken good aim to "shoot down" the other aspects of how the enemy has twisted the scriptures and multilated the precepts of GOD.

    If the enemy of our souls cannot get us to ignore God or work against God, then he will get us to falsely believe that we have God in our life and that we have a free gift of salvation with a sort of "permission" to keep on with our sinful ways, confusing us into believing that we are forgiven for past and in advance for all sins we may want to do.

    Fortunately, the Holy Spirit works on our heart to keep us searching to know if these things are so. God's Word tells us that ...
    "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,.....and...to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    He wants to give us the gift of forgivenss and He also wants to give us victory over sin and temptation in our life.

    He wants a changed church. A people that reveal in their words, their life and all that they do, the transformation that GOD can make in us.

    Jesus himself said that He wants us to be changed more and more each day and onward to the point that we are perfect as He is perfect.
    "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John 17:23
    "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

    To me it is a faith building experience to witness a change in my own life that GOD has made. Every time GOD gives me another victory over a temptation, I am so thankful for the power He has and his willingness to give that power to me.

    I know I am a sinner and that fact will always remain ..."For all men have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23.

    So..How may one's nature be changed?
    "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor. 5:17.

    Then, what is it to be in Christ?
    "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:1.

    What are the works of the flesh?
    "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like." Gal. 5:19-21.

    And what is the fruit of the Spirit?
    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Gal. 5:22, 23.

    Notice what those who are led by the Spirit are called.
    "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14.

    and...What assurance is given to the sons of God?
    "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." l John 3:2.

    Logic leads one to reason that if one has this hope, what will he surely do?
    "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He [Christ] is pure." 1 John 3:3.

    Let us see, is the doctrine of perfection taught in the Bible?
    "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting [lacking] nothing." James 1:4.

    Is one perfected when he receives the principles of Christ?
    "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." Heb. 6:1.

    In order to accomplish this, what must be done?
    "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18.

    How may one grow in grace?
    "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." 2 Peter 1:5-7.

    In requiring so much of His followers, what is the design of Christ?
    "That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Eph. 5:27.

    What will cause the Christian to grow?
    "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1 Peter 2:2.

    In order to grow by the word of God, what must one do with it?
    "Thy work have I hid in mine heart." Ps. 119:11.

    And what must that word become to the heart?
    "Thy words were found, and I did eat them: and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts." Jer. 15:16.

    In building up the character, what else is necessary?
    "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Jude 20.

    What advantage will prayer be to one engaged in such work?
    "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5.

    On what occasions is it proper to ask God for help?
    "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Phil. 4:6.

    If we fulfill the conditions of the Bible, how perfect may we expect God's care for us to be?
    "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." l Thess. 5:23.

    Praise GOD for what HE can and will do in all that ask and are willing to be changed.

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  3. For Ken Clifton's comment - faith without works is dead, and dead faith cannot save.
    Also, obedience is not work, it is love.
    As for your post, I think it is important to rememeber that
    #1 Jesus looks at the heart, so we don't have to be paranoid about confessing every sin right away, or that we might forget one...
    #2 That the father is always faithful to forgive. No sin is too big that if we confess it God won't forgive it. If through deliberate sin, our relationship with God is broken, it can be restored (as in the case of the Prodical's son).

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  4. I am trying very hard to avoid the term "lose" because losing something is quite often an act of carelessness and not a volitional act.

    Even though I used the analogy about losing your keys, it is an imperfect analogy. For in fact my keys were never really lost. They were always right where I left them. I just had to go back and get them and put them back in my pocket.

    Did God through His Grace help me find them again? You betcha!

    Again, this is an imperfect analogy for a divine activity.

    ~Kevin

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  5. Very good thoughts Kevin. I can tell you thought through this one alot. My worry is that we put too much eschatological weight on one instance in time. Salvation is a process so "once saved always saved" is not an adequite theological statement. I believe salvation is one of the hidden things. I don't think we have to know the future so we don't have to burden ourselves so much (as we commonly do) witht the question of where I'm going when I die. The real question is does it work now? Is folowing Christ brining salvation today? Our eternity lies in a Jesus who came to us, not one that brought us to Him. In the same way we live out our salvation... not trying to reach Him but seeing Him in our daily lives.

    I don't know the nature of "eternal destination" and all I can do is speculate. It is more profitable to deal with the things in a way I can understand.

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  6. Wes,

    I think you are really capturing what I am trying to say in all of the stuff I am writing about. And that is, "What does it mean to me?" How does it affect my daily walk with Him?

    Despite my recent post to the contrary, I am really setting the groundwork for some thoughts and writings on practical Holiness. In other words, how does being "Holy as I am Holy" really affect the way I am as a man, husband and father. How does it affect the way I greet the person at the gas station when I buy my gas and my cup of coffee? How does it affect the way I interact with my co-workers, my family and my fellow laborers at church?

    You are spot on in your observations. Keep 'em coming!

    ~Kevin

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  7. The issue at hand in this discussion is not really the concern of one's eternal security, or not. It is rather the question on the inevitability or avoidability of sin.

    Scripture is very clear that we need to remain free from sin, IF we are to fellowship eternally with Christ. See Heb 12:14: "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (NIV)

    How then can we of limited human ability and inherited moral corruption "remain" holy, so as to abide in heaven? Refer to 2 Cor 12:9-10. Paul, asking Christ for strength to endure his "thorn in the flesh," is told by the Lord: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (NIV)

    WE cannot remain free from sin IN OUR OWN POWER. Praise God, we don't have to! Our eternity's can BE secure, if we merely appropriate the grace freely given us in Christ.

    Kevin and Mike had it pegged when they claimed that the trick to eternal security was not to walk as close to the [sin] line as allowable, but rather to walk as close to Christ AS POSSIBLE!

    Any discussion (argument) that focuses on eternal security, without addressing the joy-filled application of grace, resulting in a holy walk, is simply talking around a subject.

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  8. Dave Woods says "...the joy-filled application of grace, resulting in a holy walk"

    Now there is a statement that is very well said! Sometimes I lose focus on the JOY of living a Christian life. Sometimes I forget to stop and think where I would be without Jesus.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    ~Kevin

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  9. humblethyself9:56 PM

    Kevin: Great post. Wow.

    Relative to your question within the context of your daily walk with the Lord. "How does it relate to the idea of Holiness of Heart and Life?"

    I can only offer the following:

    "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)

    "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity." All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

    In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that...doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.

    Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.

    The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

    He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows. (St. Gregory of Nyssa).


    David W. spoke to walking as close to Christ as possible (vs walking as near as sin as allowable)...and he is so right.

    And, how cool is it that even if (and when) we do fall (sin) we can be reconciled with Jesus and His Church through the sacrament of reconciliation! This is not a reason to NOT avoid sin, but yet, it is proof that God's everlasting love and forgiveness is always available if one seeks it when he/she falls.

    I love that piece from St. Gregory of Nyssa above: "He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows."

    God bless you,

    -Dave H.

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  10. Great conversations everyone! It is so good to know how others are thinking about these things. GOD is blessing us.

    I really liked the way David puts it regarding the "sin line" It reminds me of a modern day parable that someone shared with me...

    In the days of the old west, a wealthy man needed a driver for his horse drawn carriage. He put out the word and many had applied for the job, but only three were really qualified. All three seemed very experienced and each one had excellent references.

    The wealthy man announced that he needed to test their individual driving skills to determine who he would hire. He then layed out a course that extended from one end of town to the other and onward to the wealthy man's mountain home. Then he said that he would ride with each driver and would hire the one driver that he determined was the best driver.

    Each driver was eager to show his skill. The first drive was confident. He manuvered the carriage with great skill through the streets of that little western town and then up the montain side. The road was bordered on one side by a steep bank and on the other side by a steep drop off. The driver decided that this stretch of road was a very good place for him to show off his skill. So he demonstrated that he had such great control of the carriage that he could move the wheels of the carriage within one foot of the edge of the precipice and could maintain that control for the entire distance of the cliff and he did it without flaw.

    The other drivers had watched the first using binoculars. That is why the second driver knew he had to demonstrate a greater level of driving skill. So when his turn came he drove the horses expertly more quickly through town without one incident and then when he reached the montain road he decided to demonstrate even greater skill by moving the wheels of the carriage within six inches of the edge of the precipice all the while at a higher speed than the first driver. When we pulled in front of the wealthy man's house he jumped down and opened the carriage door and anounced that he was the better driver and that no one would be able to do better than he. The wealth man shrugged, "you are good, very good, but I must give the third driver his opportunity as I have promised."

    The third driver climbed into the "driver's seat", took the reins of the carriage and gently urged the team of horses onward. This driver seemed to have no urgency, because as he moved the carriage through town, he spoke pleasant salutations and tipped his hat as he carefully navigated the streets. As he drove the carriage up the mountain he chose to move the carriage so that the wheels were as far away from the edge of the precipice as possible.

    Which driver do you think the wealthy man hired?

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  11. Good job son.
    Dad

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  12. “lose of salvation” a question that erupts like a volcano. In the movie “hook” where Robin Williams plays Peter Pan grown and displaced from his irresponsible ways returns to never land. In this movie (I do not remember the name of this character) there is an old man running around the big old house in England saying “I lost my marbles” he is distraught confused and frantic. I think too many picture this as the idea of “losing ones salvation” as contrasted to how you have explained it and explained it well. Is this “gift we receive” a jumping slippery fish just taken from the hook precariously out of the anglers control until the fish is securely placed in the ice chest. There really is no basis for this for one reading the Scriptures. Questions within the text itself arise such as how can a young man please Yahweh, or who can ascend to the Mountain of Yahweh? In neither case is the reader left to guess or is it said it is some type of dark mystery unrevealed. In these two cases “holiness” can be the one word answer. Moreover from beginning to end the Scripture is constantly calling to men to “return to Me..” there is always the on the one hand this displeases Me and on the other hand this pleases me John tells us we can KNOW as one of the themes of his first letter. Jesus makes it clear the Father will send the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our weakness therefore holiness is not some type of pie in the sky ethereal standard or a striving but our restored and growing condition even upon this earth. The depths of our God’s mercy takes away the picture of the one who has lost his marbles hopeless and distraught.
    Pastor Art

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  13. I couldn't agree more with this post. In my own experience I have had similar worries about "Oh my Gosh what if he comes when I am in a fit of rage and have used every swearword known to man?" Well it's really not the right question to ask, the question misses the point. As I think anonymous did, (first comment on the post.) anonymous is exactly right when they said we cannot lose by works what we cannot gain, but that is not what this post is saying. Yes we will make mistakes and sin sometimes, but because of the Grace God has given us, and the intention we have in following him, and trying to flee from temptation. Then God will know our hearts and will carry us when we can't do it (which is pretty much all the time). Yet we can leave the grace of God if we so choose. Now some would say, "oh well then you were never truly saved." or was I, did you know the persons heart as God knows it? Someone can choose to leave the safety of a fortress, or a bunker. However foolish they may be. But we don't call someone safe if they are not inside the fortress at some point. So eventually, if someone should defect to the other side, (and for whatever reason I don't know but I have witnessed it happen.) they leave their place of safety. Is that a clear enough analogy? I hope so. Well I have homework and errands to run. But as for now, I know that I rest safely in the palm of my saviors hand. He is not gripping tight enough so that no other power can snatch me from his hand, yet his grip is light enough so that I could wiggle out myself. I will never ever. And I look forward to the day that I can boldly approach the eternal throne and claim that crown through Christ my own!

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  14. Oswald Chambers once said,
    "the gift always belongs to the giver"
    That is true. We cannot "give away", what is not ours to give away.

    Salvation is not a process. The working out of the salvation given to us is. We don't attain unity, we walk in the established unity. We don't attain sanctification, we are walking in the sanctification given to us.
    All things are given once for all, and we then walk in them and manifest the life.
    You cannot lose anything God has given you. You can neglect it though.
    Jesus said "it IS finished"

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  15. Oswald Chambers also said the following in one of his writings on "INSTANTANEOUS AND INSISTENT SANCTIFICATION" . . .

    "When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God's purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God's standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.

    Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul's? Are we prepared to say - "Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace"? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit's ministrations in us?"

    "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

    ~Kevin

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