A full and Enduring Salvation.

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Church, Jesus Christ
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For many salvation was based upon the mere mental ascent of a prayer, and if people came forward and said yes to all the right questions they were presumed to be a believer.  However time has proven that this course of action was fatally flawed.

 After many years we find the major percentage of those who were pronounced saved are in fact back in the world.  Now today we have gone to the other extreme saying that a Christian (true born again believer) can so back slide he can land up in hell.    The result has been the rejection of the once saved always saved doctrine.  But in claiming it a heresy we must then question what type of salvation do people actually believe in? 

  1. Salvation that allows a person to be saved one moment and lost the next?
  2. Salvation that not only does not endure but cannot guarantee if the sinner is even saved?
  3. Salvation which can be robbed of a person if he is unable to fulfil certain criteria?
  4. Salvation that sees the wheat transformed back into a tare and then back into a wheat?
  5. Can seed that is sown in good soil really bring forth a mixture of good and bad fruit.

 Is this the type of salvation people want?

Very little of this modern-day debate has explained or even tries to teach what true salvation is?   Is it possible that if we focus on what salvation is we might then be able to answer the above questions?

HOW INCLUSIVE IS OUR SALVATION?

The Bible clearly says that there is wheat and there are tares.  NO where does it say that wheat can become tares. You are either a tare that will not bring forth fruit in its season or you are wheat that will produce abundant fruit.  Everything produces after its kind.  That principle was laid down by God in Genesis.  So it is in the kingdom of God.  The question then is not that God cannot save but is he capable of keeping that which he has saved.  Can a sinner pluck himself out of the hand of God, throw away his salvation and walk boldly into the fires of hell.  I suggest that the answer is NO.

Much of this issue has arisen because people look at the present church and they are appalled at the utter wickedness of those who profess to be Christians.  Preachers whose stand was based upon sound orthodoxy have in recent years been exposed for all manner of wickedness and false teachings.  So it is not surprising that such opinions are held and in places fiercely argued over.  But the fact that ministers have been exposed as wolves does not reject the reality that God can save and save to the uttermost.

Rom 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Otherwise does their failure neglect what God is capable of doing?  I have to say NO.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.

God is a God of promises and he has the power to back up those promises.  Does our salvation depend on the sinner keeping those promises or on the one with the power to uphold those promises?

What is needed is an understanding of what true salvation is.  Then we will be able to place all these ideas into some order. 

 Understanding the covenant:

 Spirit of disobedience v the Holy Spirit.

 Eph 2:2-3  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

 There are two spirits working in this world.  In one is the spirit and propensity towards rebellion and in the other the propensity towards obedience.  One finds his ultimate joy and satisfaction in pleasing themselves, the other in pleasing God.  In choices the disobedient can be religious but never obedient to the true claims of Christ.

 They have knowledge but do not understand the power.

 Rom 10:2-3 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

 But as you can see they are ignorant of Gods righteousness.  So much effort is expressed at trying to keep their righteousness.  People have knowledge but do not understand the power.  People still hope that at the end of their days their good deeds will outnumber their bad deeds.  But you see it was never based upon our faithfulness.  For it was we would all be proven unfaithful and unworthy.

 But there is another spirit that works within the believer to bring us to obedience.

 YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

  2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

 Hebrews 10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

 Hebrews 12: 1 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 1 Thess 2: 13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

 Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We need to grasp this:

I cannot repeat this enough we cannot save ourselves.  Until we grasp this reality that we can’t save ourselves.  Then will we will never realize that if salvation depended on my faithfulness then my goose is already in the fire.  You have to understand when JESUS saved you,  you gave up all rights to your life.  You were saying to God he has the right to save you in whatever way he sees fit.  When we called on God we also gave up all our rights to go our own ways, and gave God all the right to do whatever he wants in our live.  OUR  Surrender to God was complete and final,  The white flag was hoisted up and we lay down our arms. 

The covenant that God has made is very clear. “I WILL PUT MY LAW ….IN THEM”

 What does this mean?  In the simplest terms he will put a new nature within a person.  That new nature will have the godly propensity and desire towards obedience. 

A business man (we call him Fred) sits at his desk discussing a proposed business trip with his fellow colleagues.   They laugh and joke because the actual trip is a weekend away from their wives at a seedy hotel in Las Vegas.  This trip takes place every year.  They go clubbing and drinking.  Prostitutes and gambling are on the cards.  They boast to each other of their conquests and laugh that their wives will never know. 

Let’s see what happens when God places his law in this man’s heart.  This man has recently become saved.  Now he sits at his desk with his fellow colleagues.  Their proposed trip has come around again and they all start talking about what they are going to do.  But this time Fred starts to sweat.  He is uncomfortable with the conversation.  The Jokes he once enjoyed suddenly become disgusting.  The swearing that went on between them has also become unacceptable.  He find even the music he used to listen to in the car on the way to work just does not excite him as  it once did.    His religion is not something practiced to be seen but is a glorious reality in his every waken moment.

Fred would have once taken great fun at hooting at the secretaries in their short skirts as they went by, suddenly he finds himself turning his head to avoid looking.  His friends all look at him and laugh.  They jokingly express that Fred has got religion.   What has changed in this man?  The law of God is now working in his heart and mind.  You see when we call onto God we are giving God the right to place his law into our hearts.  Suddenly we find ourselves starting to choose righteousness over wickedness.  The same temptations are there.  But a greater principle has been established within us.  A new desire and a new focus is being established.  Salvation is not the end of redemption but the beginning.  Now the covenant comes with a promise and that promise is not based on my faithfulness, but on his.  In the Old Testament faithfulness was based upon man keeping the law.  In the New that burden has been rolled off and is now on Gods shoulders.  He takes the responsibility to save us.  Faith grasps this and we recognize that his promise to redeem us will be realized and fulfilled.  That promise is we are not left to get on with it alone.  Just a Jesus always did what was pleasing to the father.  So we begin to desire to please the one who has saved us.  So the believer starts to make new choices in his life.  He no longer enjoys his sinful behavior and he becomes ashamed.

Now if God has promised to save us and it is his responsibility to complete what he started then he will.  How can you lose your faithfulness to God if that faithfulness was never based on you?  We are wretched and bankrupt.  But God has promised to establish his faithfulness over our lives.  That’s why we have the Holy Spirit abiding.  The Holy Spirit does not come and go.  But he abides to fulfill the will of God in and through our lives.

 2 Pet 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Gal 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 Partaker does not mean we partake of his essence as gods (deity) but of his nature.  That which God is in himself, his character as a holy and righteous being, and this is what he wants to share and express itself in all who are his people.

 The ultimate expression of someone who is genuinely saved is that he will seek to express outwardly what God has placed inside him.

 1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Bible does not speak about sinless perfection while we are here on this earth.  For as long as we are in this body we will continue to have a battle with a sin propensity.  The bible sees this is our flesh.

Rom 7:23-25 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin

Rom 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Paul speaks about it as “ANOTHER LAW IN MY MEMBERS “(Body),  this inclination is always trying to ensnare and pull us back towards sinful actions.  But there is a greater law which works to bring us into line with Gods will and desire.

James 1: 14-15  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Death is separation from fellowship with God.  But what happens if the believer continues in his sinful behaviour?

 Does the Christian continue in sin knowing he is bound for heaven?

Paul answers this very question in

Rom 6:1-3 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

 The true expression of the saved is that his desire is not to continue in sin.  If and when he sins he will despise the sin in which he finds himself.  Further more we can be assured that God will not allow the believer to get away with his sins.

 Hebrews 12: 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

In this respect you have to be a true believer to be chastised by God.  Which means you can’t be a son one minute and the next illegitimate.  You are either a son or you are illegitimate.  If you are a son then the father has all the right to discipline you as he sees fit.

Does this mean a Christian will never sin or backslide?  NO.  All Christians can and do sin.  But the propensity is not one of indulging continually in sin but a walking and an overcoming factor in his life.  A Christian should be able to look back and see a history of overcoming and look forward to an ongoing change in his life. 

The old saying that says “ I am not what I was and what I am now is not what I will be.

A Christian should find no enjoyment in his indulgence.  Now the nature of sin within our flesh is often expressed by a desire.  Temptation is not temptation unless there is an element of attraction.  The emotions become inflamed with thoughts and desires which seek expression contrary to the will of God.

When sin is indulged in or expressed by the believer he is then convicted by his deeds and seeks to repent and change his actions.  Overcoming is not a once in a lifetime experience, but an ongoing daily battle.  The true believer is one who will joyfully enter into that battle.  He wants to overcome.  Sin is a smear and a blot on his life that he desires to be rid of.  But it is also a smear on the name and character of God. The true believer will have a growing longing to be fully clothed in a resurrected body.  Jesus yearned for the glory which he shared with his father and even so we desire to be fully clothed in what God has promised to the believer. That we might be able to give full and total expression to the fullness of the New Covenant.

That is why many who have given a mere ascent to Christianity find it impossible to continue because there has been no fundamental change in their lives.

We can’t change ourselves by good deeds, nor by whipping myself physically or emotionally to conform “ourselves”.

James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Most Christians do not enjoy temptations, for the veneer of our flesh is exposed and we see ourselves in a light we find uncomfortable.  We seldom see the full horror which scripture calls sin.  Rebellion so ingrained in our flesh that it hides itself as love, indulge its passions and calls it freedom.  Yet it is an exposure which scripture itself will expose and the Holy Spirit will convict.  Sin is so wicked and rebellious it would be willing to bring creation into chaos just to give expression.  God will not allow sin to reign individually or corporate in his creation. In his divine wisdom he will establish his righteousness even in the face of a creation marred by sin.

For although temptations is not a sin, when we give expression to that temptation then it become sin.  Sin brings a breaking of fellowship with the one we love.  However the testing of our faith brings with it character, patience, persistence, and blessing. 

James 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

 James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Now there has been a teaching that speaks about an “entire sanctification” where the believer can enter into some supernatural experience where temptation and sin No longer has any relevance to his life.  Now from the scripture I have shown this is unlikely.  However there is an element of truth in that temptation is different for each person.  What might tempt you might not temp me.  There might also be temptations which were prevalent in our youth which do not pose a temptation in our latter years.  However age does not mean we are tempted less, in fact we often have a new set of temptations and sins to deal with.  Some people experience more temptations than others depending on what those temptations are.  But we should expect to be able to see a history of overcoming within the believer’s life.  Some will overcome quicker in one area than others.  Some temptations are not even temptations and are quickly rejected.

For many salvation is a means that does not include God.  God is more than capable of bringing the believer home. 

2 Tim 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Faith is where we can trust in God to keep his promise.  The drowning man does not save himself, but trusts the one who is saving him.

 Rom 8:37-39 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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

 Does this verse present such a tenuous salvation which can so easily be lost?  Or what is offered becomes one of the most exciting and glories realities a person can ever imagine.  Faith says YES!!!  As  we begin to realize and trust that  Gods is a God of faithfulness, we will see his plan and purposes  unfold in our lives.   This is why I believe that a sinner who is truly saved will remain saved. 

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