Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dangerous Teachings - Part 2

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Both Pastor Brimstone and Pastor Lovejoy have used this verse to express the doctrine of Eternal Security, AKA Once Saved Always Saved. I've never had a problem with this verse because for one thing Jesus said it, but I've always felt uncomfortable around the Once Saved Always Saved doctrine. For another thing I read John 10:27-29 like this - in chronological steps:
  1. Jesus' sheep hears His voice
  2. He knows (acknowledges) them
  3. They follow Him
  4. He gives eternal life to them 
  5. They never perish
  6. No one will (or can) snatch them from His hand
Now I know I'm missing a whole lot of steps in there, and please feel free to correct me, and maybe it's my technician/engineering/wrench dragging mind at work here but it looks to me that Eternal Security is the final step of a process rather than step 4 where  much preaching I've heard puts it. Maybe I'm wrong, but if I am, why are there so many passages in the bible demonstrating that salvation is conditional upon continued faith? Hang with me and let's look at this...
In 1991, in the first year of the decade of harvest, a major denomination in the U.S. was able to obtain 294,000 decisions for Christ. That is, in one year, this major denomination of 11,500 churches was able to obtain 294,000 decisions for Christ. Unfortunately, they could only find 14,000 in fellowship, which means they couldn’t account for 280,000 of their decisions, and this is normal, modern evangelical results... Ray Comfort, Hell's Best Kept Secret
What is going on here? Romans 10:9 says that if you "make a decision for Christ" (confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord) you will be saved, but these statistics (whose ratios haven't changed over the years) show that 90% of saved people don't show up back to church once they've "been saved". Is it possible that millions of people are saved then suddenly raptured out? Do they end up going on missionary work never to be heard from again? Or are they wandering around the world, living life exactly the same way they did before they were saved? Most (if not all) preachers will respond with the standard script when confronted with questions like this "Obviously they weren't saved." But they confessed that Jesus is Lord! Paul says they're saved. So who's right, Pastor Peachfuzz or Paul of Tarsus?

I like Calvinism and for the most part I can be considered a Calvinist, however I don't like the idea of a fully automatic salvation. I personally know too many people that feel they can do anything they want because they're saved, their lives have changed only in the fact that on many Sunday mornings they're in church and have an idea what the preacher is talking about. After that they're back to their normal life, sinning as before but convinced that since they are 'born again' and have made a declaration to Jesus, they are saved. We know this is wrong because when we are saved we become a new creature. Is there anything else? Besides the afore mentioned John 10:27-29 there's several verses in the Bible which address salvation, here's a couple:
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (John 6:37)
Which brings me to the thought - if I'm saved at the the moment I confess that Jesus is my Savior and I can never lose my salvation, why are there churches? They're obviously not there to save me, I'm already saved. And being saved I just joined the One True Church, the body of Christ, so I'm good, there's nothing else needed, right? However there is one verse that I think should never be overlooked: 
12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)
Endures to the end? But I'm saved, life is a cakewalk now, right? What's this endures to the end stuff?
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:12-13) 
22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
Here the word endures in the original Greek is hypomenō which means to persevere, such as being under misfortunes and trials and to hold fast to one's faith in Christ. In other words our faith is going to be tested;
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials [temptations], knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
It should be obvious to any Christian as to who would be testing us - Satan. but why would our faith be tested? Because he wants us to lose it. The bible makes it abundantly clear that we can lose our faith and warns us to hold on tight to our faith so we don't lose it. Because our salvation is based on faith, if we lose our faith we also lose our __________ (fill in the blank)
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. (Hebrews 3:6)
  For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, (Hebrews 2:1-3)
In other words if we neglect our relationship with God and surrender to sin, over time sin will harden our hearts to such a degree that we become capable of things we wouldn't even have imagined – even rejecting the Lord who bought us, and in whom we once believed:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)
Once we reject God it's all over
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Let's go back to the case of the thousands upon thousands of people who make a declaration for Christ and as I mentioned Pastor Peachfuzz says they weren't really saved - to that I (personally) have to disagree with the good pastor. From what I've read I have to say yes they were saved, because Paul clearly stated if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If they were not saved then the bible lied to us, and maybe Pastor Peachfuzz has the courage to say it lied but I surely don't. But I believe they were only saved for a short period of time, then they allowed their salvation to slip away. Maybe if someone were there to mentor them they'd still be with us, but that's a problem especially with mega-churches. If I'm wrong please correct me but I can not find anything in the bible that says prima facie Once Saved Always Saved. In fact I believe I've pointed out that the bible says "Once you're saved you have to maintain your relationship with God, allowing His spirit to work in you as you mature in your faith, otherwise you will lose your faith."

What I believe is that while satan nor any of his agents can take our guarantee of eternal life, we can throw it away, and we can do that consciously (actively turning our back on God) or unconsciously by failing to maintain our close relationship with God.

Personally I think of it this way: I'm not home yet, I'm here behind enemy lines. I'm still deep in the jungle of sin. God's own para-rescue team (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) have dropped me a line and I'm clinging on to that line with everything I have, and I have faith that they are going to lift me out of that jungle and bring me home. I don't let go to check out the flowers and trees, I cling tightly to that rope praying that the branches brushing against me don't make me lose my grip. When, and only when I'm fully out of enemy territory can I dare consider the rescue complete, so until that time I must cling to that safety line, which truly is my faith in Jesus, and when I'm safely in the arms of my Lord and Master and the Man who adopted me as his brother, then I'm saved, and will always be saved. Until then, the rescue operation is still in progress.

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