assurance of salvation

118 peace of mind

The Bible affirms that all who remain in the faith of Jesus Christ will be saved and that nothing will ever be removed from them by the hand of Christ. The Bible emphasizes the infinite fidelity of the Lord and the absolute sufficiency of Jesus Christ for our salvation. It also emphasizes the everlasting love of God for all peoples, calling the gospel the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. In the possession of this certainty of salvation, the believer is invited to remain firm in the faith and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (John 10,27-29, 2, Corinthians 1,20-22, 2, Timothy 1,9, 1, Corinthians 15,2, Hebrews 6,4-6, John 3,16, Romans 1,16, Hebrews 4,14, 2, Peter 3,18)

What about "eternal security?"

The doctrine of "eternal security" is referred to in theological language as the "perseverance of the saints." In common usage, it is described as "once saved, always saved," or "once a Christian, always a Christian."

Many scriptures give us a certainty that we already have salvation, though we must wait for the resurrection to finally inherit eternal life and the kingdom of God. Here are some of the terms that the New Testament uses:

He who believes has eternal life (John 6,47) ... who sees and believes in the Son, who has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (Joh 6,40) ... and I will give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will take them from my hand (Jn 10,28) ... So there is no damnation for them who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8,1) ... [Nothing] can separate us from the love of God who is in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rom 8,39) ... [Christ] will also keep you firm to the end (1Kor 1,8) ... But God is faithful, who will not let you try for your power (1Kor 10,13) ... who started the good work in you, who will complete it (Phil 1,6) ... We know that we came into life from death (1Joh 3,14).

The doctrine of eternal security is based on such assurances. But there is another side that concerns salvation. There also seem to be warnings that Christians may fall at the mercy of God.

Christians are warned: "Therefore, whoever says he stands, may see that he does not fall" (1Kor 10,12). Jesus said, "Watch and pray that you do not fall into temptation!" (Mk 14,28), and "love will be cold in many" (Mt. 24,12). The Apostle Paul wrote that some in the Church "believe in

Shipwrecked "(1Tim 1,19). The church in Ephesus was warned that Christ would remove her candlestick and spew out the lukewarm Laodiceans from his mouth. Particularly horrible is the exhortation in Hebrew 10,26-31:

For if we purposely sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, we have no other sacrifice for the sins, but nothing but a terrible wait for the judgment and the greedy fire that the adversaries will consume. If someone breaks the law of Moses, he must die without mercy on two or three witnesses. How much harsher punishment, you think, will the one who tramples on the Son of God and considers the blood of the covenant unclean, by which he has been sanctified, and reviles the Spirit of grace, will deserve? For we know Him who said: Revenge is mine, I will repay, and again: The Lord will judge His people. It's terrible to fall into the hands of the living God. "

Also Hebrew 6,4-6 gives us to consider:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and tasted to have received the heavenly gift and share in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, and then have fallen again to repent to repentance because they again crucify and ridicule the Son of God for themselves. "

So there is a duality in the New Testament. Many verses are positive about the eternal salvation that we have in Christ. This salvation seems safe. But such verses are softened by a few warnings that seemingly state that Christians can lose their salvation through persistent unbelief.

Since the question of eternal salvation or whether Christians are safe - that is, once they are saved, they are always saved - usually comes from such scriptures as Hebrews 10,26-31, let's take a closer look at this passage. The question is how to interpret these verses. To whom does the author write, and what is the nature of the "unbelief" of the people, and what have they accepted?

First, let us look at the message of Hebrews as a whole. The crux of this book is the need to believe in Christ as a fully sufficient sacrifice for sins. There are no competitors. Faith must rest on it alone. The clarification of the question of the possible loss of salvation evoked by verse 26 lies in the last verse of this chapter: "But we are not of those who shrink and condemn, but of those who believe and save the soul" (v. 26). Some retreat, but those who remain in Christ can not be lost.

The same assurance for the faithful can be found in the verses before Hebrews 10,26. Christians are confident that they are in God's presence through the blood of Jesus (v. 19). We can approach God in perfect faith (v. 22). The author admonishes Christians with the following words: "Let us hold on to the confession of hope and not waver; because he is faithful, who has promised her "(v. 23).

One way to understand these verses in Hebrews 6 and 10 about "falling off" is to give the reader hypothetical scenarios to encourage them to stand firm in their beliefs. For example, let's look at Hebrew 10,19-39. The people to whom he speaks have through Christ "the freedom to enter the sanctuary" (v. 19). They can "come to God" (v. 22). The author sees these people as those who "cling to the confession of hope" (v. 23). He wants to incite them to even greater love and faith (V. 24).

As part of this encouragement, he paints a picture of what might happen to those - hypothetically, according to the aforementioned theory - who "willfully persist in sin" (v. 26). Nevertheless, the people he addresses are those who have been "enlightened" and remained faithful during the persecution (V. 32-33). They have put their "trust" in Christ, and the author encourages them to persevere in faith (V. 35-36). After all, he says of the people to whom he writes that we are not of those who shrink and condemn, but of those who believe and save the soul "(v. 39).

Note also how the author ends his warning about "falling away from faith" in Hebrew 6,1-8: "Although we speak like that, beloved ones, we are convinced that you are better off and you are saved. For God is not unfair, that he forgive your work and the love that you have shown to his name by serving and still serving the saints "(v. 9-10). The author goes on to say that he has told them these things to prove "the same zeal to hold hope to the end" (v. 11).

Hypothetically speaking, it is possible to speak of a situation in which a person who had genuine faith in Jesus can lose it. But if it were not possible, would the warning be appropriate and effective?

Can Christians in the real world lose their faith? Christians can "fall away" in the sense that they commit sins (1Joh 1,8-2,2). They can become spiritually sluggish in certain situations. But does this sometimes lead to "apostasy" for those who have real faith in Christ? This is not completely clear from Scripture. In fact, we can ask the question of how someone can "really" be in Christ and "fall away" at the same time.

The position of the church, as expressed in the beliefs, is that never can people who have the enduring faith that God has given to Christ be torn from his hand. In other words, when a person's faith is focused on Christ, he or she can not be lost. As long as Christians hold this confession of their hope, their salvation is secure.

The question of the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" has to do with whether we can lose our faith in Christ. As mentioned earlier, Hebrews seems to describe people who had at least initial "faith," but who may be in danger of losing it.

But this proves the point we made in the previous paragraph. The only way to lose salvation is to reject the only way to salvation - faith in Jesus Christ.

The letter to the Hebrews deals primarily with the sin of disbelief in God's redemptive work done through Jesus Christ (see, eg, Hebr 1,2, 2,1-4, 3,12, 14, 3,19-4,3, 4,14). Hebrews, chapter 10, dramatically addresses this question in verse 19 and states that we have freedom and full confidence through Jesus Christ.

Verse 23 exhorts us to adhere to the confession of our hope. We certainly know the following: As long as we hold on to the confession of our hope, we are quite sure and can not lose our salvation. This confession includes our faith in Christ's reconciliation for our sins, our hope for new life in him, and our continued faithfulness to him in this life.

Often those who use the slogan "once saved, always saved" do not realize what they mean by that. This formulation does not mean that a person was saved just because he or she said a few words about Christ. People are saved when they receive the Holy Spirit, when they are born again into a new life in Christ. Genuine faith is demonstrated through faithfulness to Christ, and that means that we no longer live for ourselves, but for the Redeemer.

The end result is that we are safe in Christ as long as we continue to live in Jesus (Hebr 10,19-23). We have the full certainty of faith in him because it is he who saves us. We do not have to worry and ask the question. "Will I be able to do it?" In Christ we have security - we belong to him and are saved, and nothing can snatch us from his hand.

The only way we can get lost is to kick our blood, and decide that we do not need it in the end and that we are self-sufficient. If that were the case, we would not worry about our salvation anyway. As long as we remain faithful in Christ, we have the assurance that he will complete the work that he has begun in us.

The consolation is this: we do not need to worry about our salvation and say, "What happens if I fail?" We have already failed. It is Jesus who saves us, and he does not fail. Can we fail to accept it? Yes, but as Spirit-led Christians, we have not failed to accept Him. Once we have accepted Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in us and transforms us into his image. We have joy, not fear. We are at peace, do not be afraid.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we stop worrying about "doing it." He has "made it" for us. We rest in it. We stop worrying. We have faith and trust it, not ourselves. Therefore, the question of whether we can lose our salvation no longer plagues us. Why? Because we believe Jesus' work on the cross and His resurrection is all we need.

God does not need our perfection. We need His, and He gave it to us as a free gift through faith in Christ. We will not fail because our salvation does not depend on us.

In summary, the Church believes that those who remain in Christ can not be lost. They are "forever safe". But this depends on what people mean when they say "once saved, always saved".

As far as the doctrine of predestination is concerned, we can summarize the church's position in a few words. We do not believe that God has always determined who will be lost and who will not. It is the Church's view that God will make fair and just provision for all those who have not received the gospel in this life. Such people will be judged on the same basis as us, that is, whether they place their faithfulness and faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul Kroll

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