A great (and lengthy) letter for anyone interested in true salvation
I pray for all you who come into read. That somehow this may penetrate with someone, for it came from my heart, from my experiences over the years, and from a very personal place. A Plea to Consid…
Source: Dear John
I’d say that perseverance of the saints isn’t guaranteed, since sanctification is synergistic. So the Arminian is correct that not all persevere–which is clearly seen biblically. And the Calvinist is correct that salvation cannot be lost–which is also clear biblically.
What is not clear biblically, and the point of contention, is that salvation necessitates perseverance. In fact it does not. We believe and are saved, we persevere and are rewarded.
Blasted assurance, I lost it again
I’ve been forsaken because of my sins.
Jesus has left me I could not sustain.
Now I’ll believe cause I want it again
Since sola fide is a distinct part of Reformed theology, at times RTs are very affirmative of salvation by grace through faith. But the doctrine of perseverance of the saints can have three responses. There is the Christian who hears what they say and actually hears free grace and understands the simple message even though they don’t understand all the nuances. They are satisfied that their faith works, thus they are saved.
There are also the others who hear the Lordship Salvation message inherent in Perseverance of the Saints and become saved and aren’t too introspective and actually become satisfied with what seems like quasi-assurance, a mix of objective and subjective assurance.
Then there is the third group, and these are the people who recognize the confusion of perseverance of the saints. How does it not obfuscate simple faith and works? Beliefs influence behavior, but faith is not a work. Better to see faith as the response to the truth, the persuasion that something is true. These people recognize the crystal clear message of the water of life expressed by Free Grace theologians.
Those in the first category usually agree with Free Grace but don’t see what the big deal is. Those in the second usually become antagonistic to Free Grace theology (with more Reformed education). And those in the third category love God’s simple message of Free Grace and wonder why there are people confusing the issue.
Between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will
Between Charisma and Catechism
Between Patriarchy and Feminism
Between Objective and Subjective
Between Elder rule and Congregational rule
Between Salvation and Discipleship
Between Heart and Head
Between Grace and Holiness
This doesn’t mean lukewarm. This means hot and cold. Both are useful at different times, and somehow we have to mix both without being lukewarm.
In what ways can looking at the bird and the lily help us to not worry? How can Jesus assert this? Kierkegaard asserts that man’s ability to worry innately affirms that humanity touches both the temporal and the eternal. Our ability to care about that which hasn’t occurred or that which might occur distinguishes us from those who aren’t created in the image of God, i.e. the bird and the plant. So how is it that looking at the bird and the plant help us not to worry?
What would we say to the bird worrying in the tree rather than actively working and finding his food? Only when the bird works does he live. So too the human. Would not we mock the bird who worries? And yet as Jesus says in Matthew 6 God provides for the birds, and humans are worth much more than birds.
And does the lily ever worry about its ability to photosythesize? They do not move, but they take the sunlight and water provided and build nutrients and energy, yet the wildflowers destiny is to be beautiful for a short time, and destined to be fire kindling a short time after that. And are we not destined for much more?
So the bird and the lily can teach us something. Each day worries enough for itself, we should, like the bird, work daily and expect daily provision from the God who has given the body and life, and we should, like the lily, bloom beautifully for the short time that we have. Worry takes away from today’s energy which should be used for tomorrow’s trouble, not today’s. We cannot add length to our life by worrying, but we can certainly lose time worrying.
Idealism, tempered by reality, with a healthy skepticism.
In other words, be Berean.