Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Secure in Grace: Saved by Grace Through Faith and Our Endurance?
I really sensed the need to establish the truth about how to rightly divide the Word in order to bring clarity to the conditional salvation so many cling to. Some Christians object to eternal security and instead prefer a conditions-based, hope so salvation. They see passages referencing overcoming, enduring, continue in, holding fast and attribute to them conditions to maintain and retain one's salvation. Or they conjure up the concept that endurance to the end proves one was really saved. This is God starting salvation but us perfecting it by our persevering rather than God and His Grace preserving us till the end.
Hebrews 3, Revelation 2, Matthew 10 and Matthew 24 all reference holding fast, overcoming or enduring. The traditional view of these passages has birthed two confusions in the minds of believers as I just referenced. Salvation is conditional, either overcome and endure or you're lost. (A variation of this is that sinning too much hardens your heart and will cause you to loosen your grip and you will be lost.) The second as mentioned before, us persevering to the end to prove we were truly saved. These two ideas are erroneous because they leave the believer fearing loss and never fully assured of their salvation. In essence, they both promote an eternal insecurity.
Allow me to briefly bring light to these passages. To properly understand them context and who is being addressed is key. When Jesus spoke of enduring to the end to be saved, He was referencing the persecution believers would face and the calamities and opposition to come to the Nation of Israel at a future date. The salvation He spoke of was physical deliverance, not eternal salvation. Hebrews was admonishing the unbelieving Jews who heard the true Gospel hold fast to that truth and act on it. For those who've received the Gospel hold fast because Jesus has already procured triumphant victory and you won't experience the benefits if you aren't resting in Christ alone.
In the book of Revelation Jesus speaks of overcoming. Some see Him also warning of removing lampstands and fear this is talking about a loss of salvation. Nothing can be further from the truth. The lampstand reference is talking about a church's influence, not their eternal salvation. As for overcoming to receive life and not having our names blotted out of the book of life, John already gave us the insight to what overcoming really means and who these overcomers are. John said in his epistle that the overcomer is the one who believes in Jesus.
So is our salvation by Grace through faith and our endurance, overcoming or holding fast? No! If so then eternal life isn't eternal but temporal. You're saved so long as you remain enduring. Religion likes to put the focus on self and human abilities. It seemingly seeks for a "look at me Jesus, I helped sustain my salvation" "award, ribbon or trophy" when they get to Heaven. This is why they can't seem to grasp the New Covenant. They keep trying to add self, conduct, ability to endure, hold fast or continue to the New Covenant. This is why God found fault with the first Covenant. Mankind was never able to fulfill their part.
In this New Covenant, we don't have a part to play. Jesus played our part already. The Covenant was cut and sealed between the Father and the Son. Our only "work" is simply to believe. To better understand our eternal salvation, we need to look to the Scriptures that specifically address our salvation.
This is clear, it is not obscure. We who've received Christ are forever secure in our Father's hands.
So in summation, is salvation conditional? Is it obtained, maintained and retained by our endurance? By our continuing? By our holding on tight? No! It is clear Jesus and our good Father is holding onto us and they have sworn they will never let go. Salvation is by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is not Grace plus our works or self-efforts or behavior or performance or steadfastness. Rest and stay in peace we are forever in Grace's secure grip.