Many people represent this point of Calvinism as “once saved always saved”, or that you cannot loose your salvation. Now of course, if by salvation you mean walking forward at a crusade LOADS of people seem to loose that. But, by now, you should realise that Calvinists do not believe that a superficial “decision for Christ” is what constitutes a Christian. If being born again is something done to you, how can you be unborn? Really this doctrine was always taken to mean that true Christians will persevere in their faith till the end. This is well expressed in the following scripture-
Hebrews 3:14 “For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
The “we share” here is past tense and so we can see that the best way to be sure of salvation is to persist in faith. What of those who appear backslidden however? It is my belief that it may not be possible to tell which of the following positions they are in-
1. They may never have been saved at all
2. They may be currently away from God but will return before the end
3. They may still have vestiges of faith and might be in the category mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:15 who’s “work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
The one thing they are not is someone who was once a Christian and now is not.
Of course, historically this doctrine has had the effect of destroying many people’s assurance with them not being willing to dare that they are saved because they have not yet persevered to the end. I believe however there are grounds for assurance and plan to answer the question “how can I know I am part of the elect” in my next theological post series, although I really ought to do some non-theological posts first- this is fast becoming a theoblog which is not something I intended!
So- what shall I blog about next, any thoughts?