Truth: The Danger of “Once Saved, Always Saved”

There is a danger of believing “Once saved, always saved.” Some teach that it is not a biblical doctrine. They believe a person is only guaranteed eternal life if they persevere after salvation.  There are others who do believe in “Once saved, always saved,” yet there are dangers to believing that. Continue reading

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Reconciled to God

I’m going to give you a quote that is utterly fantastic.  It’s a little long, but bear with me and you will greatly advance in spiritual understanding. It’s helpful to understand the antimony of God’s sovereignty and Man’s freewill.  An antimony is an apparently unresolvable conflict or contradiction, especially between two true statements.  For example, Scripture declares that God is Sovereign.  Scripture also declares that man has free will.  If one is true, the other cannot be some will say.  It’s like God is one and God is three.  Both are true statements, but man’s finite mind cannot fully understand, except by accepting them both by faith and making our best understanding of both true statements.

This is a quote that helped me greatly understand the antinomy of God’s sovereign work in salvation and man’s non-meritorious choice. It’s a quote from Merrill Unger who wrote Unger’s Bible Dictionary.  He defines what the word “reconcile.” He explains what God did to restore man to Himself.  Read this and I’ll break it down.

“Reconcile comes from a word that means to change thoroughly from one position to another (Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20-21). It means that someone is completely altered and adjusted to a required standard. (Rom. 5:6-11).  By the death of Christ, the world is changed in its relationship to God. Man is reconciled to God, but God is not said to be reconciled to man.  By this change lost humanity is rendered savable.  As a result of the changed position of the world through the death of Christ, the divine attitude toward the human family can no longer be the same.  God is enabled to deal with lost souls in the light of what Christ has accomplished.  Although this seems to be a change in God, it is not a reconciliation; it is rather a ‘propitiation.’ God places full efficacy in the finished work of Christ and accepts it. Through His acceptance of it He remains righteous and the justifier of any sinner who believes in Jesus as his reconciliation.  When an individual heart sees and trusts in the value of Christ’s atoning death, he becomes reconciled to God, hostility is removed, friendship and fellowship eventuate.” 

            Let me break that down for you. 

“Reconcile comes from a word that means to change thoroughly from one position to another (Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20-21). It means that someone is completely altered and adjusted to a required standard. (Rom. 5:6-11). 

He is saying that the word “reconcile” means that by the death of Christ on the cross, God changes a person to a completely altered state related to God and adjusts that person to the required standard of God.  What is God’s standard?  His own righteousness.  Because Jesus died on the cross for the sins of man, paying the penalty of sin, man is altered and adjusted to the righteousness of God.  Listen to what Paul writes in Romans,

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Rom. 5:10-11)

We were considered as enemies by God, but because of the cross, we were altered and adjusted to the required standard. The sin barrier was removed by Jesus’ death, so that God could now look at man in a different way. Note that last phrase, “we received the reconciliation.” We’ll see that below. It is the part man must do for the fullness of reconciliation. Then Unger says,

By the death of Christ, the world is changed in its relationship to God. Man is reconciled to God, but God is not said to be reconciled to man.  By this change lost humanity is rendered savable.

Here the change is caused by the death of Jesus on the cross, Who died for our sins.  Notice he says that man is reconciled to God, but nowhere does it say in Scripture that God is reconciled to man.  THAT is very significant.  Furthermore, man is then placed in a “savable” condition, whereby man can be saved.  Man has been placed in an altered condition and adjusted to the righteousness of God and rendered savable.  But man is not saved at that point, because there is a second part of the reconciliation that is necessary.

            Unger continues addressing the relationship,

As a result of the changed position of the world through the death of Christ, the divine attitude toward the human family can no longer be the same. 

Because of the death of Jesus, God’s attitude had to change toward mankind.  It couldn’t be the same. Why couldn’t it remain the same, that is, considering man as an enemy (Rom. 5:10)?

God is enabled to deal with lost souls in the light of what Christ has accomplished.  Although this seems to be a change in God, it is not a reconciliation; it is rather a ‘propitiation.’

Because of the death of Jesus, God is enabled to deal with fallen man. How does that work?  Because God’s righteousness was propitiated – satisfied.  Legally, the penalty for sins was paid by Jesus and God was satisfied with His death payment.  However, there hasn’t been a full reconciliation, because a second part is necessary.  God was satisfied with the death of Jesus for the sins of the world, so God could no longer look at man as an enemy, but a soul waiting to accept what God had done for him.   Catch this next section,

God places full efficacy in the finished work of Christ and accepts it. Through His acceptance of it He remains righteous and the justifier of any sinner who believes in Jesus as his reconciliation. 

Jesus did the work.  God makes effective, or considers of great value, the work of Christ. Why?  Because God the Father accepted the work of Jesus on the cross and therefore can place man in a position of being justified, if man makes a non-meritorious decision of faith to accept what Jesus has done, that is believe in Jesus as his reconciliation.  Finally, Unger says,

When an individual heart sees and trusts in the value of Christ’s atoning death, he becomes reconciled to God, hostility is removed, friendship and fellowship eventuate.” 

So God calls you to salvation and waits on you to put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  When you do, then the fullness of the hostility is removed and you can grow in fellowship with God.  That is deep, I know, but is utterly important to understand as you grow in your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Consider how that helps understand the antinomy described above.

 

Five Questions: Bridge Building with the Gospel

 

Five Questions: Bridge Building with the Gospel

I have a growing concern for the lost in the world.  My concern has gone through ebbs and flows over the years, but as I realize the lack of many days left in life (maybe thirty years), I realize I may not have much time to reach out to others.

There are few things in life more moving than to watch a person put their faith in Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross and His resurrection.  There are few things more fantastic than to watch a rebirth happen before my eyes.  There are few things that motivate me more than witnessing a person who becomes my spiritual brother or sister!

Do you get that opportunity very often? 

One of the tools I use to transition to talk through the good news of Jesus Christ is to ask five questions.  The questions are merely a tool to build a bridge to someone so I can share the greatest news in the world – that Jesus died on the cross for his/her sins and that he/she can grow in a relationship with the God of the universe.  The questions are a tool to share that God loves him/her so much that God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world and that whoever believes in Jesus would have eternal life.  That’s fantastic news!

Here are the five questions I use to start a discussion and build a bridge to a person:

  • Do you ever talk about spiritual things?
  • In your opinion, who is Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe in a heaven and a hell?
  • If something tragic were to happen, do you know where you would go?

           [If God asked, “Why should I let you into heaven?” what would you say?]

  • If what you believed were not true, would you want to know the truth?

The answers to the first four questions don’t really matter too much, but they do tell me a great deal about where the person is spiritually.  They tell me what the person is trusting in for salvation, if anything.  They get the person talking and allow me to gain credibility that I am interested in them as a person (and I am!). 

The main question is question number five, “If what you believed were not true, would you want to know the truth?”  If they say yes, then I have a free and open door to walk through and share my faith.  I’m not forcing myself onto the person.  I give the person an opportunity to say no, before I start talking about Jesus.  But once they say yes, then I can take them through a gospel presentation, whereby they can make the greatest decision of all time – accepting Jesus as Savior to become a child of God.

What do you use to build a bridge to talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ?  Does it work well?  I’m interested in your feedback, because I want to be effective in building bridges and sharing Christ.  Let’s go reach the world for the sake of Jesus!

It’s Faith that Matters

It was great fun having the children on Sunday. They were so alert and Vickie and Debbie did a wonderful job in preparing and leading the children. I’m glad you invited friends and family members to see the children and come to our Resurrection Sunday service.
“When you believe, you will see spiritual” was the message I saw in the passage and first Mary, then the Disciples and finally Thomas were able to see the Lord. Then the penetrating words the Lord spoke, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” God wants us to depend solely by faith on Him. It’s not our senses, our feelings, our experiences, our intelligence that matters nearly as much as faith.
I love the last stanza of “It is Well with My Soul,” which goes:
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
“Even so” – it is well with my soul.
I pray that your Day of Resurrection was reflective about the Lord’s inscrutable gift of salvation. We’ll get back into Colossians this coming Sunday looking at “How do you become deeply rooted in Christ?” And we’ll need to consider, what are the consequences of not becoming deeply rooted in Him?
 Hope you can make the Youth Spaghetti dinner tomorrow night. Justin is going to be the auctioneer and rally some fun for all of us.

Reconciliation

Thanks again for your great support and prayer during the loss of my dad and that we could rejoice together about the salvation of my high school buddy, Dale.

I don’t know if you caught my thoughts on 2 Cor. 5:14-19 on Sunday as well as the thoughts from Colossians. We humanly struggle with reconciliation, because we “hope” things will work out, but we’re not absolutely sure.  If the person was forever gone, then we never have to think about it again.  If the person who hurt you dies, then you never have to deal with them physically again (I understand the memories that might exist).  You can have peace and not be suspicious, questioning, or be on guard.  That’s what God did with all the sins of the world in Christ.  God put all the sins of the world on Christ and when Christ died, all the sins of the world were put away – forever.

Now all that has to happen is to accept the gift of salvation by faith.  Paul writes that “If One died for all, then all died,” and then “…that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,…”  As unbelievers, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin (John 16:8-11), that we haven’t believed in Christ, of righteousness, that Jesus satisfied the righteousness of the Father and a judgment is coming for those who reject.  Sin is no longer the issue for salvation that I have to do something about; we know because that is not the issue for judgment at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).  All the world has to do is accept what the Substitute of the world has done, died for them, thus removing the enmity, the hostility, away eternally.  The Righteousness of God was satisfied and the Love of God welcomes unbelievers who accept the gift of salvation by faith.  Those who do not, reject the pardon and are forever banished from God’s presence.  That exalts God’s character beyond the universe.

I thought I’d also include those five statements that we walked through regarding initiating practical reconciliation.  They were:

  • Expressing regret.  “I’m sorry for what I did.”
  • Accepting responsibility.  “I was wrong.”
  • Making restitution.  “What can I do to make things right?”
  • Genuine repentance.  “I don’t want to ever do that again.”
  • Requesting forgiveness.  “Will you please forgive me?” 

Let me know if you have any questions.  This message was a great way to see the Grace of God for me.