In our continuing series on the various elements of the Armor of God (from Ephesians 6:10-18), last month we explored our "Helmet of Salvation." However, we had left some additional aspects to discuss further this month. How adequate is our "Helmet?"
We need to have complete confidence in our "helmet of salvation." There is no room for uncertainty about its adequacy or the durability of its protection.
Are you "going to heaven? Are you really sure? Or is it just a vague hope?
Where there is uncertainty concerning how salvation is attained - confusion as to what took place at the Cross - there will be confusion over whether it can be maintained. This issue reveals the reality of the Cross. If our salvation hinges on anything but the finished work of Christ on the cross, we are in deep trouble. Why should God let you into heaven?
"Nobodys perfect." Thats the problem.
"I am as good as the next guy." Strike one.
"I am doing the best I can." Strike two.
"Ill try harder." Strike three.
Try? My best? Church? Believe in God? Contribute? All are woefully inadequate to merit the destiny which He has reserved for us.
How, then? By faith alone. Faith is our response to His offer. He has done the entire job. It is actually blasphemy to suggest that we can contribute anything to what He has already completed.
If our salvation is not secure, how could Jesus say about those to whom He gives eternal life, "they shall never perish"?
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 Fathers hand.
"They shall never perish." His is not a probationary life. "No man can pluck them out of My hand." There could not be a stronger statement.
Notice that you are in good hands: both of them. There are two hands involved: "my hand" (v.28) and "my Fathers hand" (v.29). The "eternal fist" of the Father and the Son.
Carefully note the following:
- We are Christs sheep: it is the duty of the shepherd to care for each of his flock. The Shepherd keeps the sheep, not the sheep.
- To each (already) is imparted eternal life. An ending, or forfeiture, would involve a contradiction in terms.
- It is given, not merited: thus, we cannot demerit it.
- They shall never perish. God cannot lie.
- None is able to pluck them; even the Devil is unable to destroy a single one of them.
- In the Fathers hand. No disappointments are thus possible. (Jesus handed this responsibility over to the Father in John 17.)
If Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, 1 and yet we can somehow become unsaved "and therefore undo what Christ came to do" would it not be wise for God to take us on to heaven the moment we are saved in order to insure that we make it? Isnt it unnecessarily risky to force us to stay here?
If salvation is not a settled issue, how can I "be anxious for nothing?" 2
If a man or a woman ends up in hell, who has at some point in life put his or her trust in Christ, doesnt that make what Jesus said to Nicodemus a lie?3 If there is a condition "even one" attached to Gods willingness to maintain a relationship with His children, it is not unconditional.
Are you focusing on your own behavior rather than on Christ? We are never completely free to fasten our gaze on Him until we are sure our relationship with Him is secure.
The Sovereignty of God vs. The Sovereignty of Man
Predestination vs. Free Will is one of the classic debates throughout the entire history of both philosophy and theology. The doctrine of election also lies at the root of the traditional debate between Calvinism and Arminianism.
(When the Lord Himself touched on this issue in Nazareth, they attempted to throw Him off a cliff! 4)
The "Once Saved Always Saved" view is still a very controversial topic among those grappling with the apparent paradoxes emerging from this issue. Our own view is that both views - Calvinism and Arminianism - are correct in what they assert, but both are wrong in what they deny.
This classic debate, we believe, can only be resolved by recognizing that God is outside our domain of time. The great insight of modern physics is the discovery that time is a physical property. Since God is not bound by the restrictions of our physical existence, He is not someone who has "lots of time," but rather One who is outside our domain of time altogether.
While we have complete freedom of choice - within our dimensionality of time - He is outside of that domain and He alone knows the end from the beginning. Thus, it is a courtship between two sovereignties.
It is His faithfulness and unconditional love that we have the opportunity to receive. (We attempt to explore this in more depth in our briefing package, The Sovereignty of Man.)
The Prodigal Son
We all recall the famous parable of the Prodigal son. 5 Unthinkably rebellious, disdainful of his situation, he ends up in a hopeless mess. Which of the sons good works maintained the relationship between the father and the son in the parable? None.
Yet, had he forfeited any rights to his sonship? This is one of the key lessons of the parable: Once a son, always a son. The relationship was unbroken, even though his fellowship had been interrupted by his misdemeanors.
As a believer, you will never be judged for your sins. 6 It is so settled in the mind of God. However, some of us never seem to get out of the courtroom and into the family room. There is far more than mere forgiveness in store for us, if we are "in Christ."
Romans Chapter 7 is sometimes described as "law school." Yet the following chapter deals with our transcendence through adoption. 7 In the culture of that time, the procedure of adoption elevated a child into eligibility for his inheritance.
If salvation wasnt permanent, why introduce the concept of adoption? Wouldnt it have been better just to describe salvation in terms of a conditional contract between man and God?
Is your adoption probationary? Why would God choose, before the foundation of the world, 8 to adopt someone He knew He would eventually have to unadopt? Could you ever really put your total trust in a heavenly Father who might unadopt you? (I have heard of unwanted pregnancies. I have never heard of an unwanted adoption.)
To believe we can be unadopted is to believe that man is able to thwart the predestined will of God.
The authors of the New Testament left us with detailed explanations of how one becomes a child of God. If that process could be reversed, doesnt it make sense that at least one of them would have gone into explaining that as well?
We also notice that the New Testament repeatedly applies to us the concept of being "sealed." 9 The term explicitly denotes protection and security; being closed off from outside influences and interferences.
What is the significance of a seal that can be removed and reapplied? What does it really seal? To allow "unsealing" involves a contradiction in terms. (In the Book of Revelation, 144,000 are sealed. 10 The entire group reappears later in Chapter 14. 11 How many were lost?)
[Maybe wed better just hope for the best: Wed better cross our fingers and hope that Christ ultimately defeats the Antichrist in the end. If mortal man can thwart Gods prophetic will for his own life, think of what a supernaturally empowered world leader could do on a larger scale!]
Resolve any insecurities you may have with respect to your own eternal destiny NOW. It is clearly the most important issue in your life. Is there anything keeping you from accepting Gods free gift of salvation right now?
If your helmet appears perishable or lacking durability, your potential victory in the spiritual battles you are continually facing will prove fragile. The believer knows his ultimate victory is certain. Reread Romans 8:28-39. And remember who is continually holding you up in prayer: Our Lord Himself! 12
How do you know that you are really saved? Two ways: (1) By trusting in the completed actions by Jesus on that Cross erected in Judea so long ago. And, (2) By experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. You are not saved by your actions, but your actions should demonstrate that you have been saved. Its not so much an issue of "life after death"; but rather, "life after birth" (your second birth!).
How are you doing? Chat with Him about it. Every day.
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