Friday, February 25, 2005

Eternal security....maybe not the point

If you're a Christian, you've proably had the question, "can i lose my salvation?" Many people hold fiercly to both sides of the debate, and I have been in many arguments on this topic. In the last couple of months, I have realized that the issue is much deeper than whether we can or cannot lose this gift of salvation.

First of all, I do not believe that any group of Christians would say that you can lose your salvation; that God looks down upon you and says you've done enough wrong, now you're not a Christian. But that we have the choice whether to or whether not to give up our life in Christ.

How we look at this topic is deeply interwoven in the fabric of the issue of salvation. What exactly is the salvation that we as Christians believe we have? If to you salvation is something that is delegated by God, a judicial view of salvation, where the focus is man's sin being forgiven so he does not go to hell, then it would be illogical for man to be able to lose his salvation.

But if your view on salvation is a relational view, that God forgives your sin so not only you can be saved from being damned to hell, but so that you can be in communion with him. And the relationship between God and man is the reason, then I believe that it is possible for man to dissolve the union of that relationship.

I have given two paths to take down the road to understanding just what salvation is; but which one is right? Are there some clues to the purpose of salvation? Hmmmm. I think the only way we can truely know the purpose of salvation is to find the purpose of why we were created in the first place. Is the point of man to soley give glory to God? or is the purpose of man for God to show perfect love.

I believe that both options are correct but I think that one with the most emphasis is to show us love. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son...". While God does recieve glory from his creation, because it will happen no matter what happens, I believe that God does not act out of concern for this.

I'll admit that I have leaned in the direction of my bias, and if another person were writing this, no doubt the arguments would be the complete opposite. But I believe that the position that i take is not on the extreme left or right. I believe that the position of a relational view on salvation is the middle. If you think that my view of salvation is way to the extreme, I say to you that there is another view on what salvation is. We have God alone doing the saving work, man and God coming togeather into a relationship, and the final way of seeing what salvation is is man saving himself.

Of course that view is not an option, as it is discredited by the Bible. The nearly universal understanding of salvation (I say 'nearly' because there is a very small contingent of people who believe that you can work your way into salvation (yes i think they're wrong)) is that God is the one who does the work of salvation. If you are going to make me choose between either side of my belief, I will choose to say that God is the only part alone who does the work of salvation.

If you believe that God does the work of salvation completely independent of man, what is your understanding of man's role in the process. Because by the defination of what side you're on, man does not have a role, accept to be saved. This position very quickly leads to a lack of responsibility to be moral, not only for the reason that God is the one doing the acting, but because a changed life is not the point. The point becomes God saving you from hell.

This "point" does not seem to line up with the verses that talk abotu living transformed lives. This "point" also does not deal with verses that call us into living life in Christ. If all that God's purpose was to save us from eternal damnation in the afterlife, why did Christ come to earth and die as a 30 year old human. If he wanted to do that, all he needed to do was become a baby and die. If all that he wanted to do was give us a way out, why did he go through the ups and downs of life? Was there a purpose for the three years of teaching about a right way of living, if how we live our lives does not matter?

Think about it.....

4 comments:

conibell said...

hmmm...interesting...salvation is rather simple...God does the work...we respond with a yes...to be caught up in the argument one loses sight of the mission...so many are lost...have not even started down that path of the redeemed...and how shall we reach them...if we spend time arguing with our brothers.

conibell said...

Still - good reasoning - keep up the good work.

Doulos said...

Hey Bud,
I just stumbled upon your blog b/c of your comment on Stephanie Immordino's blog, and b/c I was curious who you were. Anyway, I'm pleased to discover that you believe in Jesus Christ as our way to God. Keep it up, man. By the way, I go to Bethany Bible College in New BRunswick, Canada, and I'm from Ohio, so please don't hate me since you're from MI.
Anyway, to comment on your discussion, I have been finding in my Church Music and Worship class that we think 'worship' is simply just meeting together with other Christians on Sunday morning, and that's it. Worship is so much more than that. We have been created and called to so much more than a Sunday morning ritual of saying and singing that we love God and saying we live for Him, when we don't do anything else beyond that. Isn't it sad that God's love and His way of life for us doesn't cross our minds many times during the week? And this happens to those that are preparing for ministry and already in ministry too. We need to get back to God. Our lives are to be lived in worship of Him, and all that we do should glorify Him.
I say all that to say that I think you are right now with what you said about salvation. We were created and saved for more than just simply going to heaven. I don't think God would be glorified in our lives if we simply accepted His love to go to heaven and then lived how we desired. That's not how it works. We were saved to be in a relationship with Him, and He wants more from us than a simply sin-repent cycle of the Christian life too. Please feel free to comment on what I'm about to bring up. We were created and saved for sanctification. I have been discovering as I've listened to a sermon series on it, and I will be discovering more as I do a project on entire sanctification, that salvation goes beyond walking the isle and saying the prayer. We were meant to live in victory over sin, and were meant to live our lives being filled--yes, filled--with the Holy Spirit.
Ok, I'm done. Good job!
Chris Massie

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