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Rembrandt-philosopher

Purpose: Here is a summary list of questions to Probe the Assurance of your Salvation that we have gone over in this series.

If one wishes to probe it more in-depth with Scripture with each questions please consult Part 6-9.

 

1.) Do you truly understand and trust in the Gospel?

2.) Are you fellowshipping with God and God’s people?

3.) Do you live knowing and practicing the truth?

4.) Do you confess your sins?

5.) Do you follow God’s commandments?

6.) Do you reject loving the world more than God?

7.) Do you love Jesus and others?

8.) Has God changed you?

9.) Is the yoke of obedience lighter for you over the passing of time?

10.) Is God disciplining you?

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Rembrandt-philosopher

i. Test of Assurance #1: Do you understand the Gospel?

i.      Dilemma: Do you really know the Gospel?

ii.      Purpose: Give a brief exposition of the Gospel message.

iii.      Outline of this session:

1. Consequences of a wrong gospel is grave

2. Do you understand sin and its consequences?

3. Do you understand what Christ has done it?

iv.      Consequences of a wrong gospel is grave

1. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel [d]contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be [e]accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel [f]contrary to what you received, he is to be [g]accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9)

a. Note another gospel, no matter who it’s from is dangerous.

b. Note also the seriousness of false gospel preaching is something Paul wishes upon the false preacher “to be [e]accursed! 

c. It’s so important that Paul repeats it twice again in verse 9.

2. Why this strong condemnation?  Paul goes on to say “For as many as are of the works of [a]the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.’” (Galatians 3:10)

a. A false gospel that will deny grace through faith in Jesus Christ will instead preaches justification by “the works of [a]the Law.

b. This brings about a curse both in the New Testament and the Old Testament as the Paul cites Deuteronomy 27:26.

3. 2 Peter 2:1-3

a. The reality of false teachers:But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you,” (2 Peter 2:1a)

b.  The reality of the dangerous false teaching they produce: “who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1b)

c. The reality that many will be deceived: Many will follow their sensuality, and because of themthe way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

v.      Do you understand sin and its consequences?

1. Everyone has sins

a. “ as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;” (Romans 3:10)

b. “ for all [a]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)

2. Sins have consequences

a. The LSD verse:But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [p]is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

b. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a)

vi.      Do you understand what Christ has done to rid our guilt?

1. “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

2. Salvation by Grace alone: Ephesians 2:8-9.

3. Substitionary Atonement:

a. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

b. Other passages: Isaiah 53:5-6, 1 Corinthians 15:3

vii.      Further doctrines to study to better understand the Gospel

1. Predestination

2. Justification

3. Adoption

4. Union with Christ

viii.      Works to read up on

1. The Epistle to the Romans by Leon Morris

2. Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther

3. The Future of Justification by John Piper

4. Atonement by Leon Morris

5. The God Who Justifies by James White

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Rembrandt-philosopher

h. Christians can know that they are saved

i.      Dilemma: The last few weeks demonstrated that God will see that a believer persevere and have eternal security, so while God can know we are saved can believers know they are saved also?

ii.      Illustration: A man in the train might not be sure whether the train has enough coal to arrive at their location while the Engineer knows this and that was never in doubt.  Is a similar thing the cases with a believer’s salvation or can a believer know he or she is saved?

iii.      Believers can know that they are saved

1. A believer can know whether he or she is saved since scripture states this explicitly: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

2. A believer can know whether he or she is saved due to the Holy Spirit’s testimony:

a. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery [b]leading to fear again, but you have received [c]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

i.      Earlier in Romans 8:11 Paul makes it clear the Holy Spirit resides in the believer.

ii.      Now in verse 15, Paul indicates negatively what the Spirit does not mean and what the Spirit does mean.

1. What it does not mean: ““For you have not received a spirit of slavery [b]leading to fear again,

2. What it means:but you have received [c]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!

3. Greek word for “but” is “Alla,” a strong contrast.

iii.      If you are saved, this verse tells us we will know we are adopted as sons of God.

iv.      Also, our spirit will cry out to Him showing we have a relationship with God.

b. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans8:16)

i.      There is an emphasis on “Himself,” since it is the first word in the verse thus indicating that the Spirit is the one who will do this.

ii.      The tense for the Greek verb “testifies” indicates a general constant truth.

iii.      The Spirit testifies “that we are children of God

iv.      This testimony by the Holy Spirit is in conjunction “with our spirit

3. A believer can know whether he or she is saved because of Scripture’s promises to those who believe.

a. The Scripture’s relationship to Salvation

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

b. Promises of Salvation in the Scriptures

i.      “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is [a]the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

ii.      John 1:12, John 3:16, etc.

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Rembrandt-philosopher

The last few posts in this series we have laying the theological foundation before diving into how Christians can be assured of their salvation.  It’s important to understand the doctrine of the perseverance of the Saints.

i.      Dilemma: What are we to make of some Christians objections to the teaching that a believer will always be saved and persevere?

ii.      In this session we will survey a few verses from the Bible that allegedly refute Perseverance of the Saints

iii.      What needs to be done in order to refute the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints

1. Arthur Pink observed that “in order to disprove the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints the Arminian is bound to do two things: produce the case of one who was truly born again, and then demonstrate that this person actually died in a state of apostasy, for unless he can do both his example is not to the point. It is not sufficient for him to bring forward one who made a credible profession and then repudiated it, for Scripture itself shows emphatically that such a person was never regenerate:”[1]

2. Thus it is not enough to show verses that:

a. Professing Christians fall away.

Remember, “it is the preservation of saints and not every one who deems himself a Christian.” [2]

b. God warns believers not to fall away.

i.      Those who affirm perseverance of the saints believe that while it’s hypothetical possibility that a believer might fall away, yet a true believer WOULD NOT fall away.

ii.      The reason a believer would not fall away: “It is by means of God’s promises and precepts, exhortations and threatenings, that they are stirred up to the use of those things by which perseverance is wrought and assurance is obtained.”[3]

c. A Christian must maintain his or her faith.

Perseverance of the Saints believes that God’s work of a believer’s eternal security means that in the level of human responsibility Christians will maintain and endure in their faith.

iv.      Biblical verses that allegedly refute Perseverance of the Saints

      1. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)

a. Objection: This verse shows people can fall away.

b. Be careful to establish a doctrine from a detail of a parable

i.      Note the literary form here is a parable: “Hear then the parable of the sower.” (v.18)

ii.      It’s easy to misunderstand a parable.

1. Parables were partly told so that some would not understand: The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parable (v.10) and Jesus replied, “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (v.14)

2. Jesus’ own disciples asked Jesut to explain the parable (v.36)

3. Parables are like analogies and all analogies break down so be careful of overemphasizing and building your doctrine from details of parables.

iii.      Hermeneutical decision: We move from the clear to the unclear.

iv.      Practically this means we move from the clear propositional teaching from Jesus and the greater Scriptural context of the Epistles, etc to the parables.

c. Note that this parable (v.18-23) never identify the ones falling away as born again.

d. Though this man “hears the word” (v.20) “yet he has no firm root in himself,” (v.21) which goes contrary to James 1:21 teaching that “the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

e. The one who does not fall away is described in verse 23: “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

i.      The difference between this one and the other guys was that this man “hears the word and understands it;” as opposed to the rest such as in verse 20-21 who did not understand.

ii.      We can thus rule out these verses teaches a true believer falling away since the prerequisite of a true believer is that he or she must first understand God’s Word.

2. “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [a]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [b]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude 5)

a. Objection: Didn’t God save his people once yet didn’t save them later?

b. There is a fallacy of equivocation here: that is, two possible meaning of being saved is being confused.

c. To illustrate, let the definition of saved, in terms of being rescued from eternal punishments, be labeled as saved1A.  The other definition of saved, in which we define as rescue from threatening situations, such as out of Egypt as in the situation of this verse, will be labeled as saved2B.  To be saved1A requires belief or believing, as John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  Saved2B, or being saved from other threatening situation, doesn’t necessarily mean that you were saved1A, since you didn’t necessarily believe, that is trust in the God of the Bible.  If we look at the world around us, we see atheists surviving car crash and being saved2B.  You can also say that being saved2B is a miraculous sign.  Yet, such people aren’t saved1A, since Jesus is not their Lord and Savior.  God, in his mercy, might allow someone to be delivered from certain situations that could be defined as saved2B.  The case of those in unbelief being given mercy, or saved2B, but not being saved1A is exactly the case described in Jude 5.  God saved2B his people, the Jews, out of Egypt.  But among them, there were those who weren’t saved1A in the first place, since they didn’t believe.  Thus, it’s not surprising to see that the Lord said this in Numbers 14:11-“How long will these people treat me with contempt?  How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?” (Italics mine)  So, taking all this into account, Jude 5 doesn’t go contrary against the position of once saved always saved.

d. Rather, if we were to take the contrary view seriously, that is the denial of the perseverance of the saints and believers can lose there salvation, there’s an issue we have to face:  If someone was once saved1A and later not saved1A, isn’t that person not saved1A at all? How can we call someone that is not saved1A, saved1A when they are not saved1A?! Yet, that is the logical dilemma.

3. “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,[a]since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

a. This Bible verse describes “if they fall away”.  Whereas in theory one COULD lose their salvation, in reality Christians WILL NOT lose their salvation.

b. This passage shows what it means if a true believer were to fall away in verse 6.  It is impossible to:

i.      “again crucify to themselves the Son of God”

ii.      “and put Him to open shame.

c. Taking the argument to a logical conclusion that most Arminians would reject:  If this verse does teach that a believer can lose their salvation they can never get it back.

d. Please see below on a Biblical view of apostasy.

v.      Toward a Biblical view of apostasy

1. There are Biblical passages that talk about people falling away (), yet what is the explanation of this?

2. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that [d]it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19)

3. Further resource: Apostasy in Pastoral Theology by Steve Hays.[4]

vi.      Towards a Biblical view of the relationship of warning and Perseverance

1. There are passages that warn a believer (ex: 1 Corinthians 10:12, Hebrews 12:25, Hebrews 13:22).

2. There is no contradiction between warning and a believers’ perseverance.

3. Example of Jude: Responsibility (v.22) and Sovereignty (v.24)

4. God uses warning to a believer and the believers’ response to allow them to persevere.


[1] Arthur W. Pink, “Eternal Security: Its Opposition” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at  http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_03.htm>

[2] Arthur W. Pink, “Eternal Security: Its Safeguard” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at  http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_03.htm>

[3] Arthur W. Pink, “Eternal Security: Its Opposition” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at  http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_03.htm>

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Assurance of Salvation Seriesa. Introduction

i.      Our study of Christian assurance of salvation begins with an exposition of the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints which is foundational and shapes how Christian ought to understand assurance of salvation.

ii.      Outline

1. Definition of Perseverance of the Saints and Eternal Security

2. Why is Perseverance of the Saints important for Christian assurance

3. Foundation: The Sovereignty of God

4. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will never be lost

5. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will persevere in their faith and works

b. Definition of Perseverance of the Saints and Eternal Security

i.      The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints “teaches very specifically that they who have once been regenerated and effectually called by God to a state of grace, can never completely fall from that state and thus fail to attain to eternal salvation, though they may sometimes be overcome by evil and fall in sin.  It is maintained that the life of regeneration and the habits that develop out of it in the way of sanctification can never entirely disappear.”[1]

ii.      “Eternal Security is the teaching that God shall with no uncertainty bring into their eternal inheritance those who are actually justified—delivered from the curse of the law and have the righteousness of Christ reckoned to their account—and who have been begotten by the Spirit of God. And further it is the teaching that God shall do this in a way glorifying to Himself, in harmony with His nature and consistent with the teaching of Scripture concerning the nature of those who are called saints.”[2]

iii.       “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end  of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.”[3]

c. Why is doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints important for Christian assurance

i.      Assurance must be based on a biblical view of eternal Security.

ii.      “Eternal Security is a doctrine that complements and completes other truths. It is the truth which establishes a Christian in assurance of salvation. The doctrine of election in itself cannot do this. Justification cannot do this. The doctrine of sanctification cannot do this. Not even the doctrine of glorification does so. Yet each of these is incomplete without Eternal Security. Election, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification are all hypothetical—mere possibilities—until Eternal Security complements and completes them by showing how they are applied to specific individuals. And it is also practical because it brings believers to assurance of salvation, which according to many Scripture passages they are to have.”[4]

d. Foundation: Beginning with the Sovereignty of God

i.      Note: The fact that those born again will have eternal security of their salvation rests on the basis of God’s Sovereignty.

ii.      “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

This verse indicates God has the capacity to fulfill what He pleases.

iii.      “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6)

1. Note again, this verse indicates God has the capacity to fulfill what He pleases.

2. Note the second half of the verse emphasis of this truth everywhere: “heaven,” “earth,” “seas” “and in all deeps.

iv.      “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” (Isaiah 46:10)

1. One other way God expresses His Sovereignty is through omniscience (Isaiah 46:10a)

2. Note the second half of the verse stating His purpose will be accomplished.

v.      Isaiah 14:27—God’s purpose cannot be overthrown.

e. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will never be lost

i.      John 3:16—Contra Arminians, how can eternal life be eternal life if it’s not eternal life?

ii.      Eternal security because of Jesus’ promise: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28)

1. Those who are given eternal life will not perish.

2. Nor will anyone snatch them away.

iii.      Eternal security because of Jesus’ prayer: “Therefore He is able also to save [a]forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

1. Note that the subject is Jesus.

2. Jesus “is able also to save [a]forever

3. Whom can He save forever? “those who draw near to God through Him,

How?  “since He always lives to make intercession for them.

iv.      Eternal security because of God’s Power: “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5) 

1. Note verse 4’s language of eternal security: “inheritance,” “imperishable,” “will not fade away,” “reserved in heaven for you

2. Note the basis of this is in verse 5a: “protected by the power of God 

3. How do we access it?  “through faith for a salvation” (verse 5b)

v.      Other passages: Romans 8:38-39, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1 Corinthians 1:8, Hebrews 13:5,


[1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 546.

[2] Arthur W. Pink, “Preface” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_foreword.htm>

[3] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Houses, 1994), 788.

[4] Arthur W. Pink, “Preface” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_foreword.htm>

 

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