Uh, how about asking me an easier question. I’m squirming a bit here… A less dangerous question would be better. (Hey, they used to kill each other over wrong answers to certain questions.) I don’t want to be wrong (I only want to be different, just like everyone else ;-).
Ever been asked that question, “Do you believe in eternal security?”
[I was asked the question in our men’s small group. We do purpose to keep our eyes fixed on the Word, but because we do have different theological backgrounds in that gathering I’m a part of, of course things come up and we give one another good humored teasing about our leaning tendencies towards this or that theological persuasion and how it colors how we interpret scripture regarding that question (or any other…). I did manage a reply and then wrote this followup]:
“I thought again tonight as I was reading in the 8th chapter of John of your question…, “Do you believe in eternal security?” and of the answer I gave…” “This is where I land on that one: I really do believe in eternal security. But I don’t want that belief to be resting on the theologies of a Calvin or a Arminius, both being mere men, and neither one of them being our Teacher. Somehow we’ve got to get better at looking at what we call “biblical theology” differently, we’ve got to look at it through a different lense:
Jesus said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8: 32) The Word there is the focal point and truth’s freedom is the result, and the lense by which we can perceive it is the Spirit. But can we really set aside our baggage… our presuppositions… our theological bent?
Can we ever be free enough? Can we “handle the truth”? The Spirit of truth?!
John 8:31 catches my attention: “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine…” The question is still, “Do we have eternal security?” So what does this scripture say about it? And… can we answer the question in light of the word and the truth with the freedom to see it clearly…?
John 8:31 leans one way with that conditional “If… “, John 10: 28 leans the other:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, 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.
Heb 13 :5 leans one way: “He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”
Heb. 2:1-3 leans the other way: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
What happens when we put them all together?
Well, we have eternal security.
But the [begging] question is:
Is our eternal security conditional or is it unconditional? We have scriptures in tension:
Assurance and warning: Seemingly unconditional security, countered by an “If…”. Can we be snatched away? (No.) But can we drift away? (We have been warned.) Will we continue? (Jesus said,”If you continue you are truly disciples…”) So can we dis-continue?
Ahh… what is the truth that sets us free?
If you want to pin me down on this, I’d simply say, our eternal security is proven by this: by our continuing to abide in Him.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
It’s all about abiding in Jesus. He is our Security. Let’s keep on walking in Him.
~~ a neitherarminiannorcalvinistbro…