A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Once Saved Always Saved --- Biblical Truth Without Choice

In 1993 I sat in the pews of a Presbyterian church under the teaching of a very spiritual preacher who was contemplating the task of explaining predestination, effectual calling, election, assurance of salvation and free will. His fear was that people would misunderstand the Biblical truths of such matters, and church members would feel as though they were puppets, without free will and with God pulling all the strings. In my opinion nothing could be further from the truth, in reality you are free to do anything you want to do in your lifetime, even sin, as long as it is within your capability and nature and does not contradict God’s will. However it is not the nature of a cat to be a dog, nor, if it were possible, would a cat ever desire or make the choice to be a dog. Likewise the natural man's nature is fallen flesh, and as such the natural man cannot be spirit, because spirit is the opposite of flesh, and flesh, the natural man is supremely pleased to be, as no man hates his own flesh.

The will of God cannot be suppressed, denied, ignored, forsaken or overpowered. The will of the sovereign Lord, Savior and King, Christ Jesus will be done regardless of a human’s will to do anything to the contrary. All-powerful, almighty God has the right to do as He pleases, He doesn’t need your permission to call you to Himself and save you, nor can you do anything to save yourself. And what is His purpose for saving any of us helpless, useless, pathetic humans anyway? I believe the answer is simple, to bring glory to Himself! It glorifies God to save the chief of sinners as Jesus said in Matthew 9:13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” So, as a layman with no flock to lose I would like go out on a limb and say that this is what I believe:

Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we will all, without exception, happily live our lives only to satisfy our lustful desires, die and go to Hell. Those who God, of His own free will and predetermination, made before the creation of earth, decided to conform to the image of His Son, and for the glory of His son, those also called the elect, whose names are already written in the book of life, who being enabled by God’s grace, and who by faith not of their own, but given to them by God, accepted the free, unearned, undeserved, gift from God of His Son’s blood sacrifice and atonement for their sin go on to heaven, to live in eternity in the presence of God. God never recants His gift, nor can the elect resist, forsake, nor renounce salvation once given, for it is in the power of Christ that the effectual call is made and we do not have the power, nor will any of us have even the inclination to refuse His call. All have received general revelation, but few are chosen. For all that were given to the Son before the foundation of the earth, He will in no wise lose. Nor will the elect desire as much, just as the lost are equally as happy to follow their God given course. Those who, entirely because of God’s preordained effectual calling, accepted the free gift of salvation and have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit, can know with certainty and without doubt that they are going to heaven, this certainty brings saved Christians peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. For it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone and He did this for us “while we were yet evil sinners,” joyfully on the road to Hell and without an inkling to choose God’s grace.”

This is what I say, but you don’t have to listen to me, nor believe it yourself, it is true none the less. No one has ever chosen to be a Christian before God put the desire in their hearts and drew them to His Son.

If that makes you a puppet then praise the Lord, perhaps you will live long enough to gain the wisdom that when it comes to your sin corrupted flesh, being a puppet would be better than what you really are, because, before glory, even at your best, you are but a repentant evil Christian sinner, a mere lamb in need of a Shepard. I have come to understand the shear shame of my horrid sin, and the utter disgrace it’s brings to my Savior's name. To me it would be preferential to be a sinless puppet, with my mind, heart and flesh submitted to Christ, than to sin one more time. But this cursed flesh and evil heart of mine keeps me from lowering my self to be the least on Earth. Damn this accursed free will and choice!

But does this agree with the Word of God? Like good Bereans, let us go and learn and verify what God has to say!

Ephesians 1:3-6 (nkj)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Romans 9:11-16 (ncv)
But before the two boys were born, God told Rebekah, “The older will serve the younger.” This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this so that the one chosen would be chosen because of God’s own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything he did. As the Scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” So what should we say about this? Is God unfair? In no way. God said to Moses, “I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy.” So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do.

Hebrews 7:25 (nlt)
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf.

John 6:42 (nkj)
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:37-40 (nkj)
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (nkj)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Romans 8:28-30 (niv)
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Hebrews 10:12-14 (rsv)
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (niv)
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to think of anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (rsv)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

Romans 8:31-39 (nkj)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s revelation is simply? Once saved, always saved, the only choice to be made, He made for His own glory!

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina