If God starts it–He WILL finish it!

road to nowhere 11

I have always heard that if you are going to teach something, you should teach what you are passionate about. I am passionate—more like adamant—about the eternal security of the believer. Or as Steve Lawson would say, “I’m not just dogmatic–I am bulldogmatic” about this subject. I am absolutely convinced that if a person is truly saved, they are saved forever. And today we’re going to see why.

Let me start with an illustration—and when I say “Let me” I’m not looking for your permission, I’m telling you in a nice way, “I’m doing this whether you like it or not.” Let me start with an illustration. Have you ever been to Bryson City, NC? It is a tourist town nestled in the Smoky Mountains. And in Bryson City there is an odd sort of tourist attraction. It’s a bit of an unintentional tourist attraction. If you take Everett Street out of the city, it eventually becomes Fontana Road. Go past Swain County High School about 6 miles, and you come to a tunnel. And on the other side of the tunnel is…wait for it…NOTHING!

Fontana Road has actually gained a more colorful nickname by the locals, many of whom call it, the Road to Nowhere. It stands as a monument to governmental efficiency. Actually, there’s a good reason they didn’t finish it. During the construction process they found rock that was highly acidic, and if they were to disturb it, the acid would cause severe environmental damage. For all you children of the ’70’s, I will leave off any references to “acid rock”.

tunnel

We have our own “Road to Nowhere” here in Knoxville, it is called the James White Parkway (named after the man who founded Knoxville, TN. Not the wonderful Christian apologist. But if I had my way…). Got started and has still not been finished, and it appears it never will be finished. The Foothills Parkway, which was originally supposed to be 72 miles long, running from Tennessee to North Carolina–how many miles are complete, anybody know? About 22.

So, my point is this: do men begin projects that they do not finish? Wives, please hold your comments about husbands until we are finished, OK? My dad was notorious for that. So many times we begin things we have every intention of finishing–but for whatever reason, those things remain unfinished.

On the other hand, if God starts something, will HE finish it? Oh, absolutely. And that is a truth we find in our text today. And that text is Philippians 1:6. No, I actually need to start at verse 3. Philippians 1:3-6 (NASB)3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Of all the verses that so clearly spell out the fact that a saved person is saved forever, this is one of the clearest. When I first got saved, I was like a lot of people probably are. I thought that, “Well, yeah, you can be wicked enough to lose your salvation!” But that’s because I was looking at it in the same way as anyone else who thinks you can lose your salvation—I was only looking at salvation from the human side, not taking into account that it is not that we save ourselves, but that God saves us, sets us apart as His own, and will do everything He has to do to keep the one He has adopted. I like what John Calvin said about this verse—

“Let believers exercise themselves in constant meditation upon the favors which God confers, that they may encourage and confirm hope as to the time to come, and always ponder this in their mind: God does not forsake the work which his own hands have begun, as the Prophet bears witness, (Psalm 138:8; Isaiah 64:8) we are the work of his hands; therefore he will complete what he has begun in us. When I say that we are the work of his hands, I do not refer to mere creation, but to the calling by which we are adopted into the number of his sons.”

And in that quote, he lists two Old Testament verses to support is argument, Isaiah 64:8But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. Psalm 138:8The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands. So in these three verses—Philippians 1:6, Psalm 138:8 and Isaiah 64:8—we see this most beautiful picture that God has taken us mere lumps of clay, and is shaping us, molding us, making of us a vessel of mercy to show His grace, and that He will not leave that good work undone.

OK, so let’s look at our text from Philippians. Let’s start off by talking about the good work. What is the good work? Salvation. Who began the good work? God did. Otherwise, Paul would have said, You who began the good work in you… Right? But he didn’t say that. He said He who began the good work. So obviously somebody other than you began the good work in you. Somebody not named “You” began the work of salvation in you. In fact, Paul uses the word ἐνάρχομαι (enarchomai). It means “to begin”. You hear the word “arch” in there, like archangel or archetype. It comes from the same Greek word as ἀρχή (arche). John 1:1 (Greek NT)ἐν ἀρχή (en arche) In the beginning. The word Paul uses refers to the very beginning of something. Not, “You had the idea, and God showed you the rest.” God started it. When Jesus asked His disciples “Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” and Simon Peter said “Thou art the Christ”, Christ did not say, “Good job Peter! How did you ever figure that out? You’re one smart cookie” I don’t think the phrase “smart cookie” was part of the Greek or Hebrew lexicon at the time, but anyway. It was GOD who showed Simon that Jesus is the Christ. Simon didn’t have the idea in his head and God came along and said, “Yep, you got it!”

Titus 3:4-64 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Did God look down on creation, and say, “Hey, ya know, that Donny guy, he’s a pretty good fellow. I think I’ll save him”? No, because there is no such thing as a “good person”. We are all wretched and wicked and we all deserve Hell. If you have a problem with that, then go to your Bible and rip the entire 3rd chapter out of the book of Romans. We are, as he would tell the Ephesians, dead in trespasses and sins. And by the word “dead” he means……DEAD! But God grants new life to us, washes us, puts His Holy Spirit in us, and opens our eyes to the truth. We have an example of this action by God in Acts 16:14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. When we send out missionaries, mission teams, when we commission them to the work, what do we often ask in prayer? We pray God would grant His missionaries mercy; that He would protect them, but what do we pray for the people they witness to? Do we say, “Lord, I hope the people are smart enough to believe us!” or “Give us eloquent speech so we can convince them to follow us!” No, we pray that God would open their hearts to believe the gospel. Because one cannot believe the gospel, cannot confess Jesus Christ as Lord unless the Holy Spirit acts on their heart (1st Corinthians 12:3).

Next let’s look at the word confident. When we think of confidence, what do we normally think of? Someone that can walk into any situation, and they are “confident” they can get the job done. The heart surgeon, or the brain surgeon. “I am Dr. Big Man, and I am going to save your life!” That is self-confidence. And in some circumstances that can be a good thing. I want the guy cracking my chest open and holding my still-beating heart in his hands to know what he’s doing. “Gee, I hope I can get this thingy back in there!” is not something I want to hear him say. But when it comes to salvation, is self-confidence a good thing? Absolutely not!! But the person who says you can lose your salvation is indeed basing your continuing in salvation on your confidence in yourself. When you boil it all down, that person is saying, “Great! God has saved you! Now, make sure you do enough good things, and you don’t do enough bad things so you lose that salvation!” That is basically what they are saying—that God started it, but now it’s up to you to keep it going. That was the whole problem with Galatia. The Judaizers were telling the new Christians in Galatia that yes, you may have been saved by grace, but you keep yourself saved by keeping the Law of Moses.

And that is basically what these people do—they set the person up to embrace a form of legalism. If you do this many of this sin and that many of that sin, and if you don’t do this or this then you’re lost again. Galatians 3:3Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Having been saved by the washing of regeneration by God, are you now kept by obeying a list of rules and regulations that if you don’t live up to them God will disown you? Paul put no confidence in his flesh. Paul is not confident in man’s ability to keep himself. Just the opposite—he knows than man’s flesh is weak and he cannot save himself. And he certainly cannot keep himself saved. In fact, if one says that a saved person can be wicked enough to lose their salvation they are, by default, saying that one can be righteous enough to keep it. Paul’s confidence is in God and in God’s ability to keep that person. Being confident of this. Confident that God began the work, and that if He has begun the work He will perfect it.

That word perfect. That is the key to this whole verse. The Greek is ἐπιτελέω (epiteleo). The root word is τελέω (teleo). Does anybody know what the 3rd person passive indicative of that word is? How can you not know the 3rd person passive indicative of τελέω (teleo)? What’s wrong with you people? The 3rd person passive indicative of τελέω (teleo) is τετέλεσται (tetelestai). Do you know where we find the word τετέλεσται (tetelestai) in the gospels?

John 19:30 (Greek NT)τετέλεσται (tetelestai) “It is finished.”

Did Jesus complete the work of redemption and salvation on the cross? If God begins a good work in you will He complete it? ἐπιτελέω (epiteleo). τετέλεσται (tetelestai). If you are saved, your salvation is every bit as complete as Christ’s work on the cross. He who began a good work…will complete it.

Unfinished bridge, discontinuity, interruption.

Let’s look at some other verses that say pretty much the same thing. Hebrews 10:14—and of course we can’t start with verse 14, let’s start with verse 11. Hebrews 10:11-1411 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. Under the old covenant, if you sinned today, you bring an animal to the priest, he would kill it, cut it up, burn it. You sin tomorrow, does that animal you brought yesterday do you any good today? No. So what do you do? You bring another one. The priest kills it, cuts it up, burns it. You sin again the next day–you get the picture. The goat that was killed on the Day of Atonement one year—was it still good the next year? No. What did they have to do? Bring another animal. The year after that, are the two goats you brought the previous two years any good? No, you bring another one. 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins fora little while—no? One sacrifice for how long? For all time. 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. Did the priests ever get to sit down? When you have 2 million plus people, you’ve got a whole lot of sin. And when you had a whole lot of sin you had a whole lot of animals that needed to be killed, cut up and burned. How many sacrifices did Christ offer? One When He finished that one sacrifice, how many more sacrifices did He have to make? NONE. So what did He do? He sat down. Why? Because He was done. τετέλεσται (tetelestai). 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. And here we go. 14 For by one offering He has perfected……for the time being those who are sanctified. Is that what that says? No. NKJV–He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. I mentioned before that when I first got saved I did not believe in eternal security. Wasn’t gonna have it; wasn’t even gonna hear it. But after a while I started reading more, and just when I was about to the point of accepting it, I read this verse. Game over. Period, paragraph. He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. And actually, the ESV describes us as those who are being sanctified—much closer to the Greek.

Listen to the tenses. He has perfected. And by the way, the word perfected in Hebrews 10:14? Guess what Greek word that comes from? τελέω (teleo). Who has been perfected? Those who are being sanctified. This verse cannot be talking about some future, possible, “do everything you can to get there, maybe you’ll get there and maybe you won’t” kind of idea. Those who are right now being sanctified have been already perfected.

Now, someone may ask, “Well, what about the one who believes for 20 years and turns his back on Christ? What do you say about that one?” I asked one of our pastors about that way back then. He said, “That person was never saved to begin with.” And I thought that was kind of a cop-out. But in reality, that’s the truth. If someone believes for a little while—goes to church and listens to Christian music and even teaches or sings in the choir—if they turn their back and walk away from Christ, that is one who went out from us but they were not of us—how do we know they were not of us? Because if they had been of us, they would have continued with us (1st John 2:19). That was a work that was not begun by God. That was a work begun by the flesh, and anytime a person seems to get saved, and seems to continue in the way for a little while, but they defect and return to their old ways, it is proof that they were never saved to begin with. God did not begin the work in them because if it was God who began that work in that person, would He complete it? Of course He would! He who began a good work…will complete it. But if the work is not completed, then it was never started by God.

“Many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord! We’ve done all these great things in Your Name!’” What will Jesus say? “I never knew you. I didn’t begin a work in you. Be gone!” Turn to 2nd Timothy 1:12For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am…pretty sure that He might keep what I have committed to Him for a little while. No, that’s not what it says. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded—same word he uses in Philippians 1:6 as confidentI am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. What was Paul committing to Him until that Day? His eternal soul. Can we trust God with our eternal soul? If we cannot trust God with our eternal soul, then what kind of hope could we ever have? Read through all of Paul’s letters. See if you ever read where Paul uses words like ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps’ or ‘he might’ or ‘it’s possible’ or ‘for the time being’. Paul does not use wishy-washy, milquetoast, equivocating language. When Paul writes he uses words like ‘confident’ and ‘able’ and ‘He will’ and ‘I believe’ and ‘until that Day’. What kind of hope could we ever have if we can’t even trust God to keep our eternal soul?

But I can lay my head on my pillow at night, knowing that I am trusting my eternal soul to a God who is not only able, but also faithful to keep that soul safe. Chris H, I love ya brother. You’re a fine pastor, I’m sure you are a good father, a decent man. But I’m not gonna trust you with my eternal soul. Because you’re human. And humans fail. Manfred, I’m not trusting you either. Jungle Missionary, sorry. My wife Laurie, I love you honey. But I’m not trusting you either. I’m not trusting anybody who contributes to this blog, or comments on it. I’m not trusting John MacArthur or RC Sproul or Ligon Duncan or Voddie Baucham. And in fact, out of all the 7 or so billion people on planet earth—out of all those 7 billion people, do you know who is the LAST person on earth I would trust with my eternal soul?

ME.

If it is up to me to keep my soul safe until the day of Christ—I might as well pack for an eternal marshmallow roast right now because I know me—I’m gonna screw it up!! And if it is up to me to keep myself saved I will more than surely lose it. And so will you if keeping your salvation were up to you.

But this is the good news–it’s not up to us!! God does not leave our eternal salvation in our hands because we would all surely be lost! I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. And why can I trust Him with My soul? Because if He began the work, He will complete it. He did not leave it up to me to complete it. Let me show you another passage.

Ephesians 1:13-14. These are two verses in a long, long paragraph. But we’re just gonna take a look at one concept in this passage. And we are going to read it from the King James. Ephesians 1:13-14 (KJV)13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 14 which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. OK, did you see that word in verse 14? Your translation may say ‘pledge’. ‘Guarantee’ is the most common rendering. I like earnest. I like the translation ‘earnest’ because it carries a certain meaning. Much like the word ‘betrothed’ in the gospels, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, that betrothal being more than simply an engagement. An earnest was a down payment, but it was more than that. By putting down an earnest, the buyer was pledging, as solemnly as possible, that he would pay the rest of the money and finalize the transaction. Now, who is the one paying the earnest? God. How? By sealing us with the Holy Spirit. Now listen carefully and if you remember nothing else that you have read, please remember this: If God puts down the down payment, who will complete the transaction? If God gives us the Holy Spirit now, promising that He will complete the transaction, will He complete that transaction? If God put down the down payment, then how in the world can yo ever hope to come up with enough to finish paying it off? That kind of thinking is nothing short of absurd. And it has led countless Christians into lives of legalism and Law-keeping trying to do what only God can do.

So, here are some questions you need to answer:

If God begins your salvation, will He finish it? YES.
Is He able to keep your soul until the day of Christ? YES.
If He put down the down payment, will He finish the transaction? YES.
Has He perfected forever those that He has set apart? YES.
Is He able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him? YES.
Does He ever live to make intercession for us? YES.
If the Father draws a person to Christ, will Christ lift him up on the last day? YES.
Is He the Good Shepherd who will not lose even one of His sheep? YES.
If one of His sheep wanders off, will He go bring them back? YES.
Do His sheep know His voice and will they follow Him? YES.
Will His sheep follow a stranger? NO.
Can anyone snatch His sheep from His hand? NO.
Can anything separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus? NO.

So to argue that one who is truly saved can be lost again, you would have to throw out all that Scripture. You would have to cut it out of your Bible, or use your Sharpie™ as a highlighter through those passages. The person might argue, “But doesn’t it say ‘He who endures to the end will be saved’?” Yes. And that person will endure who has been sanctified by God, who began the good work and will complete it.

One last verse. 1st John 5:4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. Are you born of God? Will you overcome the world? I rest my case.

30 thoughts on “If God starts it–He WILL finish it!

  1. Yes, but are you sure your faith is strong enough to keep holding on?😉

    I John 2:19 sort of kills every counter-argument, doesn’t it?

    Thanks for an enjoyable (and thus memorable) presentation of sound truth.

    (Side point: Few would call Barnes “Arminian.” He was Presbyterian, a revivalist “New School” Calvinist. Here he is not teaching Arminianism, but refuting sinless perfectionism. He strongly affirms the efficacy of the work of Christ for the security of the believer a couple paragraphs earlier.)

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  2. I think it is very important to point out that while we cannot lose salvation, we can believe we have it, and never have obtained it in the first place. This is the real issue. Of course God does what He says. He is God. We do not however, and when we continue in sin after being ‘saved’ without feeling a conviction from the Holy Spirit to change, we should question our own hearts and examine if we have actually accepted Christ as our savior, his cross and ours, or if we just profess Christianity because it seems like a good idea and helps us sleep at night.
    Works should not be downplayed to show the magnificence of God’s promise. God’s promises do not need that. He wants us to follow all of His directions, not just the convenient ones. If we do not feel moved to do good works, then our faith is dead. Will God still save us? Of course… But I would rather hear God say ” well done, my good and faithful servant” and know that I did my best, than rely only on His promise without wholeheartedly seeking to live more like Jesus ( who did works ). That would feel dishonest to me. He may call me a liar and say ” I never knew you”.

    I pray for brokenness.

    – Monica

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  3. Thank you, fourpointer, for a most effective and winsome presentation of this wonderful Truth about our Lord. One typo; you left out the word, “not” from the second sentence in this couplet: “Chris H, I love ya brother. You’re a fine pastor, I’m sure you are a good father, a decent man. But I’m gonna trust you with my eternal soul. Because you’re human.”

    I’m preaching Rev 9:1-12 (Hope in the midst of judgment) this Lord’s Day and am including the following Grace Gem in my closing:

    Christ has completely and perfectly delivered all His people from the condemnation of sin, as He suffered the wrath of God for us on the cross, having our sins charged to His account. But His deliverance of us does not end there. He is still delivering us and keeping us from all that would harm or destroy us. He continually delivers us . . .

    from the power of sin which still plagues, corrupts, and contaminates us;
    from the influence of the world;
    from the force of temptation;
    from the deceitfulness of our own hearts;
    and from the designs of all our foes!

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  4. Fourpointer, I too appreciate the time and effort that went into this post. I grew up learning about eternal security but the kind where if you just prayed a little prayer you could then live anyway you want to live because you had your ticket on the glory train! Praise The Lord for His goodness and solid exposition all ministry that later changed my understanding of both the grace of God and the power of His keeping. Thank you!

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  5. @JonGleason–I’ll take your word for it. It just seems like in many parts of his commentary, Barnes (at least) seems to list toward Arminian theology. I could be wrong.

    @Monica–It appears Jungle Missionary has addressed your theme.

    @Manfred–It appears someone corrected the typo for me. And on that note, another reason not to trust myself for my own salvation. If I can mess up a simple blog post…

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  6. Ok, I was hoping and praying and waiting all the way to the last verse and got disappointed! Grrrrrrr!!!!!!!

    Not at the message. No, it was great, edifying and the truth that sets one in bondage to one’s self free!!!

    So, now you wonder what is so disappointing? Well I will just put up two more verses that I was hoping and praying you’d have included in this superb message!

    But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20, 21 ESV)

    and

    And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10, 11 ESV)

    In the verses from Philippians 3 the Apostle starts us as “citizens”, having citizenship “already” and in the verses from 1 Peter 5 Peter concludes no one but God has the dominion and if no created being is greater than God whose going to stop Him from restoring, confirming, strengthening and establishing us in Christ?

    Well I feel at least a little better now that I got that disappointment off my chest! 🙂

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  7. One of the best articles I have ever read on this topic.
    Confessional regeneration is one of the most insidious deceptions ever conceived. Among all similar verses I think Matt. 7:21-23 is says it best, concerning false converts. Self deceived or deceived by others their eternal destiny in perdition remains.
    This explains why our loving savior sprinkled self examination verses, throughout the Bible.
    They are not intended to warn that salvation can be lost as much as warning that you were never found.
    Only a false convert would embrace even a modicum of antinomianism.

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  8. All scripture is God breathed therefor rightly understood it cannot be self refuting it cannot be rightly divided to make it contradict itself.
    In Matt. 24:24 Jesus said , …..to lead astray IF POSSIBLE even the elect.
    Indeed the word says that, He who began a good work WILL…it does not say maybe He will and maybe He wont
    This is a work of God not a work of man lest any should boast from beginning to eternity.
    There are false gods and the one true God.
    There are false christs and the one true Christ
    There is a false gospel and the one true gospel
    there are false converts and true converts.
    There are false prophets pastors and teachers and true prophets pastors and teachers
    There is a false church and the one true (invisible) church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it.

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  9. Amen, Miller! It grieved me greatly a couple weeks ago as the pastor-man where I currently attend “church” was finishing his sermon and read John 1:12 & 13; “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Then he said that anyone could get saved by the exercise of his will! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or stand up and cry Ichabod!

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  10. Finnegan, any time a man claims any role in being raised from death unto life, he takes away from the glory of God. Not all nonsense qualifies, but man saving himself certainly does. Shame on me for not standing up and so declaring.

    I take no offense at questions from brothers. To take offense reveals a haughty self-important mindset.

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  11. John 6: 38 Jesus speaking plainly explains that He came to do His Fathers will. :39 Jesus explain the will of His Father that He will lose none, none that the Father has given Jesus. Further more He will raise everyone that the Father has given Him. :39 He restates the will of the Father.
    If Jesus could lose even one then He has sinned by disobeying the Fathers explicit will.

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  12. Finnegan-

    I sympathize with your position as I used to hold it. It is definitely possible to fall away from Jesus but only if you were never truly His (born again) in the first place. You can have an experience with Jesus and fall away, go to church and fall away, walk with Him in a sense for a while and fall away, etc (Matthew 13:3), but not if you are born again of the will of God (John 1:13), which is of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23). The Lord is a good shepherd (John 10:23) , who keeps us for His names sake (Psalm 23:3) and through His loving kindness (Psalm 63:3) causes us to continue on. The Lord is alsoa loving father who corrects His own children when they sin (Hebrews 12:6). He is quite able to complete His work in us!

    One of the main reasons I used to reject the doctrines of grace is because of over zealous self proclaimed calvinists muddying up the teachings and going beyond the word of God in explaining them. Even now I would have to write some asterisks next to those doctrines to show where I think they could be better explained, or where they go beyond what is written.

    Take for instance the perseverance of the saints. Gods word gives assurance and comfort to His true saints that we will be kept, sanctified, made holy, overcome, endure until the end, not love our lives unto death, be found spotless and blameless, clothed in Christ, using our wills but ultimately saved and kept by an act of sovereign mercy of God working and willing in us.

    Perseverance of the saints is completely different than OSAS (the perseverance of the false converts) which gives false assurance to those living in habitual sin and worldliness because they have claimed some interest in Jesus Christ though church attendance, a sinners prayer, alter call, baptism, mental profession of faith, born in the bible belt, etc. The grace of God that saves effectually works in us, teaching us to deny ungodliness (Titus 2:11) and follow soberly after Him. Christ covers the sins of His people and we are saved by His merits. If that truth emboldens us to sin, or gives us comfort to keep sinning, then it is a good sign that Christ does not cover our sins and we are not saved by His merits.

    In Christ -Jim

    PS – The scriptures say Jesus Christ has preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18). That include the salvation of our souls!

    PSS – I reject all carnal isms, including Calvinism, even if holding to truth that parallels it.

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  13. Finnegan – the only free will man has is that which comports with his nature. Either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. No man, of his own will, seeks after God, much less decides to be saved. John 1:12 & 13 and Romans 9 (among myriad other places) teach this. If man chose to be saved, God plan of election would not stand! And too much Scripture explicitly proclaims that plan so no man can boast of being sovereign over that status: https://defendingcontending.com/2014/09/04/is-predestination-biblical/

    As for 2 Peter 3, I wrote about that a while back: https://defendingcontending.com/2015/09/29/what-does-2-peter-39-teach/

    Clear teaching of Scripture interprets less clear portions. If God left the choice to man, He would not have spent much time working His Spirit to show us how that is not true nor possible.

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  14. A more precise and concise literal translation would read….the believing ones…….who so ever is a very loose inept translation
    fallen from grace…in no way refers to loss of salvation
    I do not answer your question according to your folly as that would be unwise.

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  15. Finnegan,

    Yes. Man is unable to participate in determination of his salvation. The Bible tells us man is by nature a child of wrath, that no man seeks after God, that God chose those whom He would save before the foundation of the world and granted us redemption in Christ before the foundation of the world.

    The Lamb was required to pay the sin debt of those chosen to be redeemed. No sinful man can pay his own sin debt.

    As I tried to explain in that post on 2 Peter 3, context is king. Peter is encouraging the saints, not telling outsiders that God wants to save every one of them but is unable to do so.

    God commands man to do many things man is unable of doing; this to crush the pride in man and turn him to the Son of God. God grants repentance just as He grants faith – and only to His elect.

    Agreed – coffee and donuts would make this much easier🙂

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  16. Finnegan – If you did not comprehend the context of that one verse from the article I wrote, there is nothing else I can say to you about it.

    Get off the hyper-calvinist label, my brother. That applies to those who think man is to do nothing about bringing the elect to salvation, whereas the Scripture tells us God has condescended to use us and our proclamation of His gospel to bring them into the fold.

    Being elect simply means that you have been chosen before time and in time we will experience that salvation, which includes the gift of faith and repentance. If you read the article I wrote about getting the boot from a few free will deacons you will see the large amount of Scripture that explicitly shows SOME are predestined to eternal life, leaving OTHERS to be damned for their sins.

    Romans 9 shouts at us not to think of God being unfair, that He has the right as Creator to do with humans as He choses.

    The fact that He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked has no bearing on His doctrine of election.

    Man is by nature a self-worshiper, so his pride does need to be crushed, the sooner the better. While the Bible does not include the soul-crushing law as part of the gospel, it does demonstrate the use of the law for the purpose with prideful religious folk.

    If a man is told to do something he cannot do, he will either protest that he can do anything he puts his mind to; ignore the command; or despair because he cannot do the thing.

    I am sure I will not convince you via this forum on this topic. If we were close friends living nearby, we could discuss this until the Lord takes one of us home. Note – I am not a disciple of John Calvin. I disagree with several things he taught. Hence, I do not label myself a Calvinist, although I heartily agree with the theology behind the TULIP, if not some of the actual terms used. The 5 points known as Calvinism were a response to 5 points brought up as a protest by disciples of Jacob Arminius. They are well grounded in Scripture, whereas the protest known as Arminianism is well grounded in the fable that man determines who gets reconciled to Holy God.

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  17. Free will is what caused the fall in the Garden. She freely chose to know evil after knowing Good. He chose her the creation over Him the Creator. Thus all are under the curse of the sin. Free will is the most corrupted of human attributes due to man’s fall. And yet some would believe that all was corrupted in man except free will! Hmmm….

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  18. Anyone else not understand what I wrote? Just in case there are other questions, I prefer to answer all of them at one time.

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  19. I would add that man’s will is as free as his nature. Man is, by nature, a child of wrath, at enmity towards God, unable to do or will good. Only one raised from spiritual death to new life in Christ can have a will that desires that which God calls good. If one doesn’t know the Scriptures that vouchsafe these statements, ’tis a sad thing.

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  20. Or, as Jonathan Edwards described, the will is free; but the mind is not. The will can do whatever the mind desires and the mind of the unregenerate is hostile towards God and cannot desire good. His will is free to do anything his depraved mind wants.

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  21. Finnegan – I take no offense from you or anyone else who is asking legitimate questions. But if you don’t comprehend the context of 2 Peter 3:9 as I explained it, I can add nothing on that; others may.

    The first link in that comment I made was for the story of the free-will deacons: https://defendingcontending.com/2014/09/04/is-predestination-biblical/

    None of us know who will be saved; we can only see the fruit of a new life or the rotten fruit of a dead soul to get an idea of who has or has not been saved. God alone who He chose before the foundation of the world; we experience it in time, in awe that He would save any of us.

    None of us has perfect theology so we MUST sharpen one another and test what we read and hear – all in mind that the goal of all creation is to glorify the Lord!

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  22. Glory to God, He is risen.

    fallen from grace according to the Concordance and from differing translations it can also be rendered as estranged or off course or deprived of all profit from grace.
    When we sin we are similarly estranged from Christ but by no means are we utterly severed from Christ. Estranged is our condition and not our soteriological position.
    I once gave another Christian a paper comparing the 5 points of Calvinism to the 5 points of the anti-Calvinists. When asked which side they agreed with they replied, both. Proving that they understood neither.
    Your bias is showing when you repeat hyper-Calvinist but never say hyper-Armenians.
    To be blunt I describe the 2 camps as being either boasters in Christ alone and boasters in themselves alone.

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  23. Finnegan – you will ALWAYS err if you don’t examine other parts of Scripture to see if they clarify what you may be reading or contradict what you may be thinking. I didn’t actually write “No man of his own free will seeks after God.” – He did! Read John 1:12 – 13 and Romans 3:9-18. If these verses are in the Bible, how must we approach Hebrews 11:6? In light of the rest of Scripture!

    Hebrews 11:6 is TRUTH. God does reward those who seek Him. But who can seek Him? Not natural man, he is at war with God. Ephesians 2 tells us faith is a gift from God and Hebrews 11 says this faith is required for anyone to be pleasing to God. John 6 tells us nobody who goes to Jesus (comes to Him in faith) will go hungry; that John 6:37 (HCSB) Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. And John 6:44 (HCSB) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

    Hebrews 11 is in agreement with the rest of Scripture. You cannot rip it out its context and pretend it says that anybody and everybody can seek God, because He said in another place that none (meaning natural man) can.

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