Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Scandal of Grace: Eternally Saved and Secure

God has already saved us and called us to this holy calling—not because of any good works we may have done, but because of His own intention and because eons and eons ago (before time itself existed), He gave us this grace in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King. 2 Timothy 1:9 VOICE

 Grace, Grace, scandalous Grace. What have you done? You've given New Life to spiritually dead ones. You have pardoned and forgiven once for all time and eternity all those who simply respond. Scandalous Grace what else have you done? This scandalous Grace of Almighty God has given eternal security to all those who are in Christ. 

 Wouldn't it seem fair enough if all Christ did was purchase our forgiveness of sins and impute His righteousness to us? Wouldn't it seem reasonable that Christ would then demand of us that we  maintain our own salvation? That it was left up to us to strive to do our best and put forth much effort to make it to the end? It would seem within reason, but His Grace is exceeding, and far above all expectations.

 His scandalous Grace has not only ensured our total forgiveness, perfect acceptance and given us His very righteousness, it also has gone a step further. He has completely solidified this work in the believer by sealing them with His Spirit until the day of complete redemption. By giving us an eternal salvation, not a temporal position we have perfect assurance and security in our relationship with our Father.

 I am aware that this concept of an eternally secure salvation makes many glad, and many others mad. I know because I used to be one of those who opposed this glorious truth. Once I came into contact with this scandalous Grace, it ambushed me, it transformed me and now I herald from the rooftops how secure we are in Christ.

 In reality, some of those who oppose this are viewing their Christian walk through the lens of self-righteousness or personal achievements. Because they have given up profanity, abstain from tobacco, tattoos, and alcohol and don't view R-rated films they feel they have it all together. They forget God's standards are absolute perfection. That is why it is so vital for the foundation of our salvation to be in Christ and His Finished Work and not our performance.

 Yea but what about that passage in Matthew 7? Jesus is clearly talking to believers and revealing they lost their salvation. Does it teach this? Many years ago, I was on a security detail in a courtroom. I recall witnessing two attorneys citing the exact same statute before the Judge. Each had a different interpretation. The Judge looked at the statute and made a judgment call on what was the right view. That's what we must do when it comes to the Scripture. Let's allow the Spirit to give us the correct understanding and not traditions of men.

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

See? It's right there. They did great works and look they aren't eternally secure. To fully understand this passage, let's begin by answering what is doing the will of the Father referencing? Is it about performance or behavior? No, Jesus reveals to us what the will of the Father is in John's gospel. It is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, (here). Another major issue with rightly dividing this passage is because it references people doing mighty works for God. How could this not be talking about believers? 

To best understand this passage we must first address this issue. Read the passage again. Jesus is saying what will happen. Note that He never said that these folk actually did any mighty works. He said they will say to Him that they've done mighty works in His name. They are claiming to do great works but Christ isn't agreeing with them. Therefore, this is not proof that these are Christians. 

 The biggest key to understanding this passage is the phrase, "I never knew you." This word never in the original Greek means: not even at any time, that is never at all. To help illustrate this further, I can recall receiving a visit many years ago as a child from a distant cousin. I haven't had any personal contact with this person since that visit. Can I now say I never knew him? 

 Of course not. I once knew him as a child, so I have known him. Jesus said of these, He never knew them. He didn't say I once knew you but now I don't. He stated clearly I never knew you. Because people don't see this plain truth, this passage has struck fear in the minds of many sincere believers. If these guys who worked miracles have no assurance, how then can I have a secure salvation? When we know that Jesus wasn't talking to Christians here, this concern is settled. With the truth revealed about this passage, we can rest in our assurance in Christ without fear. 

  His scandalous Grace wouldn't rescue you, just to leave you to your own merits and abilities to finish what He started in you. Religious tradition teaches He who began a work in you expects you to complete it. That is not good news. That is not the gospel.

 This amazing Grace of God sought you, found you and rescued you. He deposited His great love within and gave you new life and exchanged your sins for His righteousness. He began a work in you and will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). He is completing the work in you. It is not by your efforts or performance. This is the scandal of Grace. Undeserving, spiritually dead, lost souls, made alive with His life within, forever forgiven, made perfectly righteous, and eternally secure in Him. 

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