4. SALVATION IN CHRIST AND THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER (Chapter 4).

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Chapter 4 Continued from Chapter 3

“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)

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A series of Bible studies on

SALVATION IN CHRIST

AND

THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

 

PART A’: SALVATION IN CHRIST (#3b’)

 (B’: Beneficial earthly and eternal results of our salvation)

ΜΠΑΛΤΑΤΖΗΣ-Σειρά Βιβλικών μελετών (4). 

1.  Conditions, promises and eternal consequences of our salvation

His promises, all His promises, are inherited under certain conditions: In reality, everything is under condition! That which is unconditional is God’s unfailing love for us! He blesses abundantly those who love Him with all their heart! On the other hand, we must never forget: God loves and calls to repentance those who do not believe in Him. If they stubbornly follow their way God will give them over to a reprobate mind and will let them reap the fruit of their disobedience (Rom.1:28). In addition, they cannot have fellowship with Him.

If we, believers, do not become sluggish, but imitate those who live through faith and patience, and if we do not live for ourselves but unto Him who died for us and rose again (2Cor.5:15), then we will inherit the promises (Heb.6:12). If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom.6:5). We will also be given authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us (Luke 10:19).

As long as we live, a great number of blessings are kept for us: He will give us the Anointing of the Spirit so that we will not be in need to be taught by others, He will fulfill all our needs, He will give us all we need and the work that he began in us He will not leave incomplete but will complete it and will enable us to do great works. This does not mean that Christ will cease to remain the cornerstone of our salvation and of our work. Our Lord Jesus Christ declared that it would be more profitable for us to send the One who would replace Him, the Holy Spirit. Proof of it is the work of the apostles: How many people, how many crowds were saved by the speeches of the Apostle Peter immediately after the ascension of Jesus the moment they were filled with the Holy Spirit! How many churches were planted by the apostle Paul throughout Europe during his missionary travels!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be able to separate us from the love of Christ! Whether tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword! In all these things we will be more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom.8:35-37). We will overcome the Wicked one (1John 2:13) because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (1John 4:4) because we have believed that Jesus is the Son of God (1Joh.5:5)

Christ will give to him who overcomes some of the hidden manna to eat, that is profound spiritual food and a white stone on which a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it (Rev.2:17); He will give him white garments, and will not blot out his name from the Book of Life but He will confess his name before His Father and before His angels (Rev.3:5); He will make him a pillar in the temple of His God, and he shall go out no more. Also, He will write on him His new name (Rev.3:12). He will grant him to sit with Him on Christ’s throne (Re.3:21). Christ says, He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Rev.21:7). Who is he who overcomes? Is it not he who has given his heart to Jesus UNRESERVEDLY? Is it not he who has given to Jesus all the keys of his life and has not kept any key for himself? Is it not he who has honored Jesus as the LORD of his life? (Rom.10:9). Is it not he who has accepted TO DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM? If not, can he ever become His disciple and worthy of Him? (Mat.10: 38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27). Is it not he who endures to the end that will be saved? (Mat.10: 22; 24:13; Mark 13:13). And He goes beyond that and gives a wonderful promise, If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2Tim.2:12). The true children of God will become God’s heirs and joint-heirs with Christ; if God’s children accept to suffer with Christ, they will be also glorified together (Rom.8:17). In addition to the above blessings, there are other blessings which I would like to mention for example: Now our bodies are the habitation of God by the Holy Spirit. When He will appear we will also appear with Him…! He will fashion our body like to His glorious body (Php.3:21), i.e. He will give us a spiritual body! We will live as fellow-citizens of God.

 

2.  Even more blessings… for now and for eternity!

The wonderful blessings for us are beyond any imagination! Yes, if our repentance is genuine and our faith without hypocrisy God will grant us, first of all, salvation! True salvation from all points of view! True salvation because Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Christ, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb.7:25). When the Bible says to the uttermost it means to the uttermost. The expression to the uttermost does not only mean eternal life but it also means victory to the uttermost over our sins, over our passions and over our weaknesses! No condemnation but victory over sin, victory over all our weaknesses, victory over the flesh and victory over the Wicked one! It means ETERNAL LIFE: “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has (already) everlasting life.” (John 6:47). It also means what our Lord declared that “… he that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, HAS everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life (John 5:24). All these privileges and many others are given to us if we accept the LORDSHIP of Christ in our life: A continuous giving up of our rights to the others’ needs, weaknesses and sicknesses will have as result the deepening of our spiritual life more and more; that is also valid when we obey the Holy Spirit’s stirring.

I repeat: The consequences for true believers will be beyond any imagination! One of the most precious and important promises is that we will have, as soon as we are justified by faith PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.5:1). And something else: Those He did foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom.8:29 and 1John 3:2). Elsewhere it is expressed in a similar but very expressive way: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself” (Phil.3:21). Christ confirms: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Rev.21:7). This word constitutes also a promise and a guarantee of the resurrection of all true believers (Rom.8: 11; 1Cor.6:14; Php.3:21 1John 3:2).

In addition, it is written: “… I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people (Heb.8:10). Let us pay attention to two similar and very important verses: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Heb.10:16-18).

 

3. Consequences for Jesus and for the whole world

The consequences for Jesus our Lord who obeyed to the end, were to be highly exalted and be given the name which is above every name by God His Father that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Php.2:9-11). His kingdom shall never be destroyed, it shall break in pieces and consume all kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Dan.2:44). All peoples, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away (Dan.7:14).

Parenthetically, we should mention two extremely important points:

The miraculous birth and resurrection of Jesus are the two pillars of our Christian faith. Each and every Christian must accept, by simple and sincere faith, these two great miracles in order to be counted as a true believer! He who believes in Jesus’ resurrection and does not believe in His birth from the Blessed Virgin Mary through the intervention of the Holy Spirit is fatally mistaken! This is the reason why death and Satan could not retain Him in the grave: “Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it” (Ac.2:24). He partook of our flesh, He was found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Php.2:8). He was reviled, He was bruised, He was spat upon, He was despised but He did not consider all these as a hindrance. On the contrary, He went out conquering and to conquer (Rev.6:2).

  1. 4.      Let us examine ourselves on the basis of what God has done for us
  • ·         Have we received Christ as our personal Savior and as the LORD of our life? If yes, we are now children of God! It is written:  “… as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
  • Have we been set free from the dominion of sin? There are many Christians who sincerely believe that their sins are forgiven but they have great difficulty to believe that they have been set free from the power or slavery of sin. They live the experience of chapters 6 and 7 of Romans but not of chapter 8 as overcomers. God does not only forgive our sins but He also purifies us and delivers us from our bad habits and passions, which have become our second nature! (1John 1:9). God can save to the uttermost! An “up and down” life is not, therefore, a normal Christian life! There are many who consider, however, that an “up and down” life as normal, because they take refuge to an extremely dangerous excuse or pretext that they are just ‘weak human beings’! Should we let excuses keep us from responding to His call while we have such divine promises?
  • Do we want to be winners? If yes, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and FOLLOW HIM (Mark 10:21). If not, we are not worthy of HIM (Mat.10: 38; Mat.16:24). Let us never forget what our Lord taught all His hearers: “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me [………] And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 9:23, 14:27).

Question: Have we given our all to Christ, who gave His all for us?

God exists and has done – in His love – through Jesus Christ His part for us! Satan exists and his only burning “desire” is to destroy us! It is up to us to make the right choice and act accordingly. When we do our part, that is to say, give our heart (our will) (Prov.23:26) to Him, He will pour His blessings on us so that there would be no place to contain them! HE is eager to do His part more than we can imagine! His mercy and grace is for a lifetime and eternity! It is He who will sustain the spirit of repentance and faith and He will become the guarantor for our future.  How important is truly the word that the Lord pronounced when He made a lament for Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not” (Mat.23:37 and Luke 13:44)!

Christ did everything for us. Now, everything depends on us, on our will! We conclude, therefore, that man’s responsibility is extremely great! All the words of Jesus Christ, as well as those of all His prophets and apostles have put on us the responsibility of our salvation and of our spiritual progress! Our responsibility is to live in an unfailing and spontaneous repentance and in a total obedience and trust in Him (Luke 24:47)! God is He who “grants repentance to life” (Acts 11:18) and the power to obedience on the condition that we have given Him our heart (our will). It is as He was telling us: Trust Me so that I may bless you! Untie My hands so that I can help you! Our responsibility is not limited only to ourselves but also for the salvation of others through our personal testimony and behavior. Let me give you three examples:

a)      Why, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, lest I make my brother to offend” (1Cor.8:13). That means that it is possible to offend my BROTHER, who may perish… (1Cor.8:11);

b)     “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1Cor.15:34). This verse means that we are responsible for our spiritual situation and not the church or God; and

c)      “For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2Cor.4:11). This is our duty! Truly, truly, I say to you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit (John 12:24).

  • Have we received the Anointing of the Spirit? The Holy Spirit gives us His anointing, in order to understand so that we may not be in need to be taught (1John 2:27) but also the capacity to transmit the Word of God; He gives us power against sin and leads us in the right way; He also bestows on us gifts to make us able for service. We should never, however, forget that God gives the Holy Spirit only to those who obey Him (Ac.5:32). God pours out His Spirit on man and makes His words known to him provided man pays attention to His rebukes (Pr.1:23), that is, when he accepts and obeys His reproofs (AV). The Holy Spirit guides them into all truthTHOSE WHO LOVE THE TRUTH – (2Thes.2:10-12), intercedes in their favor, comforts them and helps them when they go through difficult moments in their life. If we are weak and stumbling, do we look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb.12:2) ? Let us not be discouraged on account of the adversities of life. God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it (1Cor.10:13). The Holy Spirit informs us when Satan tries to sift us as wheat. Our Lord prayed for us and His prayer is always valid that our faith should not fail (Luke 22:31-32), provided we are honest and sincere with Him. Let us submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us (Jas.4:7). We should also never forget that He that loves his brother stays in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (1John 2:10), that is to say that he is not offended (scandalized) with his brother’s weaknesses! Can you imagine what was going to happen if God was offended (scandalized) with our weaknesses (Lam.3:22)?
  • Have we understood that the only way to face our problems and afflictions is to commit our way to the LORD, trust also in Him so that He may bring things to pass? (Ps.37:5). Let us pray God that He makes us wise to that which is good, and simple concerning evil, and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly (Rom16:19-20). Then we will see the victory of Jesus and we will live and enjoy the privileges and power of the cross and Christ’s resurrection! Then we will be able to repeat with Paul But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal.6:14). Finally, let us not forget that “[…] we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2Cor.5:10).

 

John BALTATZIS

baltatzis@skynet.be

 

To be continued…

 

 

ΔΙΑΔΩΣΤΕ ΤΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ ΣΕ ΦΙΛΟΥΣ ΣΑΣ