By Jack Kinsella
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)
I received an email from a friend who continues to struggle in the battle between the flesh and the spirit, despairing of the fact that he is convinced he is losing the fight.
My friend and I have been corresponding for years and I am certain of his sincere desire to be saved, but as he noted in his email, “I’ve never bought into the doctrine of ‘once saved, always saved’.” Consequently, my friend is only certain of his salvation when the enemy is taking the day off.
Let the enemy unleash an attack, my friend falls (as do we all) and now he has to start all over again – what he calls a ‘re-re-birth’. In the meantime, until he is able to get himself back under control, he believes he has lost his salvation and is useless to God.
The Apostle Paul admonishes believers to ‘put on the whole armour of God’ for the expressed purpose;
“that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)
The purpose of that armour is SO important that Paul restates it in verse 13, saying, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Paul lists the believers’ spiritual armour as follows:
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:14-17)
Let’s look at each component a little more closely:
First, the truth. Note the anatomical analogy Paul uses. In battle, that is an extremely vulnerable target. Strike a serious blow there, and the victim is rendered helpless.
Secondly, the ‘breastplate’ of righteousness’. The torso is the biggest and easiest target to strike, but it is also the easiest to armour. If one is covered by the righteousness of Christ, the heart is protected.
Thirdly, the feet. A battle tactic commonly employed in Paul’s day was to sow the battlefield with nails and other sharp objects. Foot soldiers with injured feet are not very effective. If one is fully prepared (‘shod’) with the Gospel, one can engage the enemy uncrippled.
Fourth, Paul says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (v16) If one is certain of his standing before God, the enemy’s whispering campaign falls on deaf ears.
Finally, Paul says to, “take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:”
The ‘helmet of salvation’. In battle, the most effective way to take an enemy out is a head shot. If the enemy can convince you that your salvation is in doubt, he has sidelined you as a threat.
Without truth, the righteousness of Christ, knowledge of the Gospel, faith in its promises, and the certain knowledge of your standing before Christ, the Christian’s only offensive weapon; “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” is not very effective.
“Above all”, Paul writes, is the shield of faith. Without faith, one can never be certain of one’s salvation. And just how effectively can the unsaved communicate the truth of the Gospel — or wield the Sword of the Spirit, ‘which is the Word of God’?
If the doctrine of eternal security is a true doctrine, then the enemy has no power over the Christian. He can’t inspire fear, he can’t inspire doubt, he can’t inspire faint-heartedness – in short, HE is defeated.
The only weapon the enemy can deploy against a Christian is doubt. The question can’t be examined often enough – what good is the Word of God in the hands of the unsaved?
The Scriptures say,
“For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness;”
“…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Can a person who is once saved, become a ‘natural (unsaved) person again through sin? Having been once saved, does the preaching of the Cross become ‘foolishness’ to the Christian who has sinned his way out of fellowship with God?
If the Word of God doesn’t become ‘foolishness’ to the lost sinner (and the Bible clearly says it does), then why is it that the once-saved sinner now out of fellowship stills knows enough to ask God to save him again? How can a sinner out of fellowship with God discern the spiritual need to be saved (again)?
The Scriptures say that salvation CANNOT be achieved the acts of men. (1 Corinthians 3:15, Ephesians 2:8, 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Titus 3:5)
Salvation, according to Scripture, comes to us by God’s love for us, not by our love of God. (Psalms 6:4, 17:7, 31:16, 109:26, Isaiah 63:9, Titus 3:4)
1 John 4:19 says that “We love him, because He FIRST loved us,” — and NOT the other way around.
The person who has ‘sinned themselves out of salvation’ cannot, of his own volition, return to the Throne and ask to be saved a second time.
A Pentecostal preacher that I know once told cited Hebrews 6:4-6 as his proof text that people CAN fall away to the extent they can lose their salvation.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”
It proves exactly the opposite. If his proof text means one can lose one’s salvation, then it also means that, once lost, they are forever lost and have NO HOPE of being ‘re-saved’ — unless there is another way of interpreting the word ‘impossible’.
Salvation is accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. (Matthew 1:21, 18:11, Luke 2:11, 7:50, 9:56, 19:10, John 3:17, 4:42, 12:47, Acts 2:47, 4:12, 5:31, 13:23, Romans 5:9, 10, 11:26, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 2:15, Ephesians 5:23, Philippians 3:20, 2 Timothy 1:10, Titus 3:6, Hebrews 7:25, 2 Peter 1:1, 10-11, 2 Peter 2:20)
Salvation is a gift extended by God’s grace and not something to be earned by good works or lost by bad ones. (Acts 15:11, Ephesians 2:5, 8, 2 Timothy 1:8-9)
THE STATE OF SALVATION IS ETERNAL, (Isaiah 45:17) physical, (Ephesians 5:23) and comes through the Sovereign Call of God. (Psalms 20:6, 28:8, 57:3, 2 Peter 1:10-11) A person who has been saved is saved from eternal judgement. (Psalms 76:9, 109:31)
The doctrine of eternal security was not given the Church as a ‘license to sin’, as its opponents claim. The doctrine of eternal security was given the Church as a defensive weapon to keep them from succumbing to wounds suffered in the battle with the enemy.
Without the helmet of salvation, the Sword of the Spirit is useless. And without the Sword of the Spirit, the Christian is defeated before he even steps onto the field.
Opponents of the doctrine of eternal security sometimes deride it the ‘doctrine of demons’. Logic says exactly the opposite.
Why would ‘demons’ promote a doctrine that renders the Christian invulnerable in battle, rather than the one that guarantees the Christian’s defeat — since all Christians sin?
Do YOU know anybody that has never sinned since being saved — not even once? What about YOU?
Then, there is the problem with the logic behind conditional salvation.
If a Christian can sin his way out of being saved, which sin is it? (I’ll only have to avoid THAT one)
If it isn’t one sin, but a preponderance of sins, how many sins constitute a ‘preponderance’? (So I can stay under the limit)
And, having sinned oneself out of salvation, how does one get around the problem of “crucify[ing] to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put[ing] Him to an open shame.”?
But the bottom line is this: If eternal security is a false doctrine, then we are defeated, and even Jesus can’t save us from ourselves.
And THAT, my friends, would be the ‘doctrine of demons’ in a nutshell.
Posted by Scott at Monday, August 26, 2019 No comments: Links to this post
DOUBTS ABOUT SALVATION
QUESTION: Thanks so much for this website. Christians really need this opportunity to ask questions and get a response.
I was saved many years ago when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and believed He died in my place on the Cross. I was so grateful to read the Scriptures and see salvation was faith-based. I notice from time to time I have doubts about my salvation and it really bothers me. Sometimes I think it’s my Catholic upbringing which stressed good works or it’s the Enemy trying to scare me. Your thoughts? Is this normal from time to time?
ANSWER: It’s not unusual to have a doubt now and then about your salvation. Every knowledgeable believer knows it’s something we don’t deserve, not by a long shot. And no matter what our upbringing, we’ve all been taught by the world that we have to work for what we want. The free gift of salvation is therefore a counter-intuitive notion to us.
When you experience doubt, it’s probably the devil toying with you, but it might be the Holy Spirit nudging you back to a closer relationship.
Either way the correct response is the same. Read 1 John 1:8-9 and seek forgiveness, for even your lapse of faith is a sin, and re-read the passages in Scripture that explain salvation by faith alone. John 3:16, John 6:28-29, Romans 10:9-10, Ephes. 1:13-14, Ephes. 2:8-9, and my favourite Titus 3:4-7, are good examples. I’m sure you have your favorites too. Get to know them by heart, so you can quote them to yourself from memory. As you do this you’ll find that your times of doubt become further and further apart until you no longer have them.
And remember James 4:7
“Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Jesus taught us that the way to resist the devil is to quote from Scripture (Matt. 4:1-11) and those I’ve given you above are good ones.
DOUBTS ABOUT THE NEARNESS OF THE RAPTURE
QUESTION: A few months ago, not far from my home, construction was finished on a new church building. It’s huge and very luxurious. The parking lot is equally huge with sculptured mini gardens throughout. My friends all believe in the rapture, but they all say there is no way to know when it will be. They all talk about seeing their children grow up and marry, and about retirement one day in Florida or the mountains. I’ve asked several of them about this attitude, and I am always told that we need to plan as if there was no rapture, since we don’t know if it will be tomorrow or even in our lifetime or that of our children or grandchildren. All this does is to put doubt in my mind as to the nearness of the rapture and if we’ll ever live to see it.
ANSWER: According to recent research over 90% of Christians live in a manner that’s indistinguishable from their unbelieving counterparts. Most local congregations are filled with such people who for the most part are completely given over to the things of this world.
Most of them plan as if God doesn’t intervene in human affairs and act in a manner opposite to the Bible’s teaching. They walk by sight instead of by faith, seeking worldly gain instead of God’s kingdom and His righteousness. They store up treasure on Earth instead of in Heaven and in general act as if the 70 -80 years they’ll live here is all the life they’ll get, without a thought for the eternity that lies ahead.
And why shouldn’t they? When have they ever been taught any different? Certainly not in their churches, where the same worldly attitude prevails among the leadership of most denominations. Anyone who wants to learn how close we really are to the rapture has to look outside the church for answers.