Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday's Meditation: A Boss Your Heart Message

This comment (below) was left in response to THIS post:
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this message!  We are about to bring home 2 precious children (9&5) and the enemy is pulling at anything and everything to distract me and to question what we are doing.  Recently, he has attacked the area of my salvation.  So Thank You, I truly needed this.
I do have a question though.  And PLEASE know that I am not arguementative or playing "devil's advocate," I truly want to know what you think.
In the bible you read that God will spit the lukewarm Christians out of His mouth.  I read that Francis Chen says "all lukewarm Christians are going to hell."  And I read other respected Christian authors that say the same thing.  So...does that mean that the lukewarm Christians were never sealed in Christ?  I.O.W. -they never were truly saved to begin with? 
I take Lukewarm Christian to mean that they've just lost their passion for the LORD.  They believed and were completely in love with our Savior at one time, but now, their Christianity is just based on obedience and church attendance and sin management.  Does following  out of love make you lose your salvation?

I asked Mr. Kirsten Walkup (our Monday's Meditation contributor) if he would possibly provide a response to the comment.  I am grateful for his response, and I pray you will be blessed by it!  Thank you, Kirsten, for sharing your wisdom and prayerful insight into the Word of God. 

Security of the Believer
Kirsten Walkup
There have been few theological issues that are as frequently or hotly debated as the question “can salvation be lost?” Essentially there are two sides to this question. One side believes that a person can be saved one moment, and the “backslide” out of salvation the next moment. The other perspective is that salvation, once truly attained, cannot be lost. Having been raised in a family that attended a denomination of church that believed that one could lose salvation and having served on-staff at a church that shared similar views, I have wrestled with this question quite a bit myself. You see, while the organization I was a part of believed salvation could be lost, I’ve never really been comfortable with that idea. I just have never been able to reconcile the argument that God almighty would send His Son to die an unimaginable death to secure His people a “fragile” salvation. For whatever reason, I was unable to square my mind and heart with that notion. And don’t think I haven’t tried. Trust me, my life would be so much simpler if I just accepted whatever was being taught. My lot in life, however, is to question things. I know what I believe and why I believe it and from time to time that brings me grief, particularly when my views don’t square with the accepted norm. At any rate, in a moment I’m going to share with you why I believe that Christ did not give us a fragile salvation, rather one that we can be secure in. Before I get to that, let me say one thing. You may not agree with me and you know what? That’s okay. I’ve devoted much of my life to study of scripture and have prayed about this particular blog entry for a couple for days now. That said, I’m still a simple mortal man who is prone to error and I do not have all the answers…and neither does anyone else.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with the idea that someone can “’backslide” out of salvation is that it makes salvation conditional. In other words, you can have salvation so long as you hold up your end of the bargain. If you can’t do that then you’re out of the club. It essentially says that God saved us and now wants us to live up to a particular standard and if we fail at any point, we’re in danger of losing our salvation entirely. This type of “works righteous” salvation runs counter to what I believe the concept of salvation is really all about.
On the surface, I do get why people have the tendency to make salvation “works” based. After all, the Old Testament largely taught a works based system of belief. The Law of Moses was essentially a set of “thou shall’s” and “thou shall not’s” (gross over simplification). If you could follow it, you we’re good to go. If you couldn’t, you had trouble to deal with. The problem is that the law was virtually impossible to follow in its entirety…but that’s a blog entry for another time.  Anyhow, since Christianity owes so much of its heritage to the Jewish faith, and because our society is largely “achievement based”, it’s not difficult to see why it’s easy to equate salvation with works. The problem with that line of thinking is that it runs counter to what I believe scripture teaches.
I don’t know that there is a scripture that more clearly illustrates this that Romans 5:1-2. This passage says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Did you catch that? We’ve been justified through faith. Helping old ladies across the street, feeding the homeless, and being a decent overall individual are all fine and noble things, but they won’t get you saved and they aren’t the thing that keeps you saved. Salvation is the product of faith. It’s because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we have salvation and that same faith retains it. That’s it, it really is that simple.
The problem with espousing the “eternal security” doctrine is that you invariably run into someone who doesn’t believe the same way you do and has a different perspective on scripture. The typical counter they have to the salvation by faith perspective is, “you mean that once you’re saved you get to do whatever you want? Doesn’t your salvation also depend upon your obedience?” I believe that scripture does address these issues as well and we’ll take a look at those here in a moment. All of this doubt, however, does beg the question, where does this sense of uncertainty regarding salvation come from? Most every believer I’ve ever spoken to firmly believes in the sovereign power of God almighty and believes that He is powerful indeed. So why do so many believe that the salvation that God provides can be easily forfeited? I’ve addressed this earlier, but I also believe this to be a highly effective trap of Satan. You see, as a believer, Satan knows he can’t have you; you’ve already bought and paid for by Christ’s blood. So the next best thing to having your soul is to render you ineffective. If you’re constantly worried about the state of your own soul, you’re far less likely to be willing to reach out to others. After all, how can you strive to bring other to the saving knowledge of Christ if you’re not even certain you still have it yourself?
Romans 5:1 states that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. We have been justified through our faith and have been ushered into salvation through Christ. Paul also states that we have been granted “peace”. Some take this to mean a peaceful state of mind and a sense of calm feelings. Honestly, feelings have absolutely nothing to do with what Paul is referencing here. What he’s talking about is our posture towards God. The opposite of peace is war. Translation: before we came to the saving knowledge of Christ, we were at war with God, but now we are at peace with him. The war is over. Some take issue with this and state that they were never at war with God, but the simple fact remains that not receiving Christ as savior is tantamount to rejecting him, i.e. maintaining a warlike stance toward God, conscious or not. The point is that if you have not received Christ as savior, God is your enemy. It kind of puts a different perspective on it when it’s positioned that way, doesn’t it? God’s enemies have some very distinct and dire things waiting for them because God is very, very angry with sinners and those who tacitly or willingly reject Christ (I don’t have time to thoroughly explore this right now but Exodus 22:24, Deuteronomy 21-22, Joshua 23:l6, Isaiah 5:25, Ephesians 5, Revelation 1:9 are pretty good starting points if you want to dig a little yourself).
The good news for the believer is that Christ’s sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath and brought us into a peaceful relationship with God. Colossians 1:19-20 states, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.  When we come to God, through Christ’s love, God can be at peace with us and we with Him. God’s wrath, rage, and fury were poured out upon Christ on the cross and He already paid the dept for our sins. You may be thinking, “This is great, but how does any of this mean that I’m still saved, even after I’ve stumbled?” I John 1:7-10 address this beautifully. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” You see, being at peace with God not only means that I’m saved at the moment from God’s wrath, but that the blood of Christ is sufficient to keep me saved, even after I’ve sinned as he “purifies us from all sin”.
That’s what being at peace with God is all about. Now only are we saved from our initial sins, but Christ, our heavenly high priest, maintains intercession on our behalf and His blood continues to cleanse us after we’re saved. God’s wrath is placated and we are free to enjoy a right relationship with Him.
There is much more to be said about this subject, but sadly, I fear I’ve already blabbered on too much as it is. There is a chance I’ll continue along this thread with my next entry but hopefully what I’ve offered is enough to bring peace to those who are troubled about the security of their salvation. If people ask, I’ll continue on with this next week, if not, I’ll move on to a different topic.

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