Is there a fine line between having confidence in one’s salvation and presuming on the grace of God?
Trampling on the Blood
When the author of Hebrews (Paul?) wrote about how “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Heb 10:28), he places that against the rejection of Christ, writing, “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace” (Heb 10:29)? This warning comes just after the author wrote, that “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:26-27). That sounds very much like we can hear the gospel and then go on sinning deliberately, but this same chapter ends with the author telling them that “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Heb 10:39), so the author says we are not of those who go on deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, thereby trampling “underfoot the Son of God,” having “profaned the blood of the covenant.” Even thou we still sin (1 John 1:8, 10), it is not our practice to do so (1 John 3). We fall into sin, but we don’t seek it out and dive into it, and then do the backstroke. We get up, repent of that, seek forgiveness, and move on. That’s our practice, not ongoing, deliberate sinning with no remorse or no change after conversion. If there is no desire to overcome sin, it seems unlikely that the person has been regenerated by God, or at least they are in the embryonic stage of the new birth.
Jesus on Security
The Gospel of John may be the most reassuring gospel of them all as far as our security in Christ. For example, Jesus says “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:37, 39). Then in John 10:28-29 He says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Can you see the symbolic meaning of Jesus’ words? If we are secure in His and the Father’s hand, so “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 gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom 8:31-34).
Who is it that sometimes condemns? Sometimes it is us when we doubt Christ’s promise (John 3:16-17)? In that case, Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39). These verses are very convincing, so ask, “Who or what can separate us from God?” Paul says, not death, not angels (fallen ones), things present (today), things to come (in the future), not height (falling), depth (by accident or death or insurmountable obstacles), or powers (heavenly or earthly) can ever separate us from God. And to make sure there are no exceptions, Paul adds “nor anything else in creation.” That means whatever’s been created, and that includes us, cannot separate us from God. “[N]or anything else in creation” covers it all, wouldn’t you say? When you trusted in Christ, you were been born again (John 3:3-7), or born from above by the Spirit of God, and no child of God has ever been aborted!
Peter on Perseverance
The Apostle Peter, even after denying Jesus three times in public, wrote that God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept (held in store or reserved) in heaven (not by us) for you, who by God’s power are being guarded (literally, “kept”) through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:3b-5), and even “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining (past tense) the outcome of your faith (already completed), the salvation (past tense) of your souls” (1 Pet 3:8-9).
Reserved in Heaven
Jude wrote “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for (literally “kept by”) Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1). What Jesus keeps, stays kept! Paul said “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard (to “keep protected”) until (or “up until”) that Day (of His return) what has been entrusted (Greek, “deposited”) to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit (means like a down payment or promissory note) entrusted to you” (2 Tim 1:12-14). If God is guarding us, then who can take us form Him?
Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? God warns us that “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15). If you are not, the Bible says God is angry at the sinner every single day, and since “God is a righteous judge, a God who feels indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11), every one not born again needs to be brought to a point of repentance (2 Tim 2:24-26) and faith in Christ (Mark 1:14-15), if they haven’t already done so (Rom 10:9-13, Acts 4:12).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.