Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Preservation and perseverance

Some argue that there are passages in Scripture that teach eternal security for the believer and the inability to apostatise. It seems to me that the security that God provides is not on par with that of men's faithfulness. Let's run with this.

Consider a prime employment opportunity. A kind-hearted boss offers you a job; an excellent job! There is always training for the employee. Remuneration is sufficient and the retirement plan is out of this world. The contract precludes dismissal. No matter how badly a job is done you can't get fired, though one is expected to eventually master the various tasks.

The point is obvious. Even if the boss has said he will never fire you—the contract does not allow for you to be fired—clearly the employee can quit.

One can take both the security passages and the apostasy passages at face value. God will never leave us, he helps us in our weaknesses, and he gives us strength to persevere. None of this prevents us from rejecting him. We can deny the faith and it says nothing of God's faithfulness
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2)

6 comments:

  1. Exactly, I could not agree more. The problem is people tend to use the argument of eternal security and the inability to apostatise in a way where I think Paul's response to it would be this: Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! Rom 6.

    I have the same problem with the argument of God's love is unconditional. Yes, it is in one sence: "...for while we were yet still sinners Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8). I believe though to have relationship with God, discipleship, is highly conditional. We cannot expect to experience God's love however, as He intends us to (intimacy with God, to hear His voice, to do His will and to live a fruitful life for the kingdom) with out meeting certain obligations. How we do this is different from the fact that these have to be met and does not undermine the fact that whether we meet these or not God will always love us and we are always able to approach the throne of grace through His love to us in Christ.

    My experience has been that those who promote the first argument of the inability to apostatise also often promote the second of God's unconditional love in a way as if we can do no wrong or what we do makes no difference and is of no consequence because of grace.

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  2. Ephesians 4:30. We are sealed for the "Day of Redemption".

    After that, who knows what some might prefer? As for me and my house...

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  3. Hi Blair, I agree with you and dispute eternal security.

    I think that those who choose to continue in sin slowly draw away from God. So even if God does not reject them, and in fact encourages them to persevere, a continual self-hardening will lead to the person turning away from Christ.

    I heard of a book recently that documents that atheism is a moral position, not a philosophical one. Many reject Christ because they prefer sin, then use philosophy to defend their position. The Making of an Atheist by Spiegel.

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  4. Thanks bethyada an interesting quote from the book - "for the atheist, the missing ingredient is not evidence but obedience." This makes perfect sense when read in the light of a previous quote from Spiegel's book p10, "The candid remarks of atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel are telling: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well- informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God, and, naturally, hope that I’m right about my belief. It’s that I hope
    there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that." It is this longing that God not be true that, as you say, makes atheism a moral and not a philosophical one. I believe God does encourage people to persevere (in so many ways) and as you say it is a continual self-hardening that ultimately leads a person to reject Christ for what are so often self focused reasons, which have little to do with the desire for truth.

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  5. Did not Jesus say, " you must be born again"? Are you born again my friends? Really think about it he did not compare salvation to a job or an earthly title but a being " born". It is of god and not yourselves. Think, if you are born can you be unborn???? If a baby is born can it decide to be unborn in the eternal yes or no. Obviously no. Would the lepar after being healed of leporosy demand to be unhealed? Would the blind man demand his blindness be restored? In these cases no, but they could demand it, or do it themselves for some odd reason. Philippians 1,2,3 it is god that works in us, and he will finish it. And would you really damand your leporosy be returned? Would a loving god do that? Lol. Lastly I think of an old man I was witnessing too about a year ago, as I approached the subject of Christ and forgiveness I could literally tell the frustration in his eyes and body language." You know he loves you?" I said." Yup, don't believe in that anymore". As the conversation went on it came to a yelling match. But my realization was he didn't not believe in god because of god not being there, but an ignorance or lack of faith in a situation, maybe the death of a family member had haunted him and he had become enbittered against god. He was upset, blaming god but all the while tormented through his life knowing he could not escape gods never ceasing love. We may quit on god, but he will NEVER quit on us. That's the god I serve. Do you?

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  6. Anon We may quit on god, but he will NEVER quit on us.

    But that is what I said in the post. I wrote: God will never leave us, he helps us in our weaknesses, and he gives us strength to persevere.

    Being born again likens the Christian experience to a new life. We gain new life in Christ. God gives us such life. But none of this means that we cannot reject him.

    While it may not seem that someone would want to become blind again, go back to being leprous, but the likelihood of such a choice does not render it impossible. And it would seem that some do choose to reject the new life and return to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2).

    ReplyDelete

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