Friday, April 16, 2010

Blogging Thru: "P" By Grace Alone

Click here for the intro to this series of Blogging Thru: By Grace Alone T U L I P


The Letter "P"

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the saints most basically means that all the elect will be saved, none will be lost.

  As you can see through out this study, these doctrines flow one to the other. If man is born with a fallen nature unable and unwilling to choose to come to God (total depravity) then God must choose him (unconditional election). The sins of those whom he has chosen must then be atoned for (limited atonement). Conversion necessitates a new birth, regeneration, with a new nature that is now enabled by the Holy Spirit for repentance and faith (irresistible grace). Now if God purposely and sovereignly went to all the trouble of  electing, atoning and converting lost sinners it only stands to reason that God himself would see them through to glorification. 

The question we are faced with is "Can the elect lose their salvation?"

  If the other doctrines are true, then we have seen that salvation is all of God and none of us. He chose us, we didn't choose him. Then how can we lose what we never earned?  If God chose to save us, is it up to us to remain saved? Is it possible to overthrow God's choice? Never, God's will will be done. What he purposes will come to pass.

Romans 8:29-30 clearly shows that what God plans, he will do.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 
God will see to it that those whom he predestined in eternity past will be kept until they arrive to their reward in glory.

Arguments against

  One of the biggest arguments against this doctrine isn't grounded in scripture but rather in experience and observation. What about those who once appeared to be Christians but then "fell" away from the faith? The first thing we should ask is whether or not that person was ever truly saved. In the parable of the sower (Mark 4:16-19) Jesus tells of the seed that sprung up in rocky ground without roots and then withered under persecution. He also tells of the seed among thorns where the word is choked proving unfruitful. Both of these gave the appearance of a work of salvation yet in the end neither of them were.

Another passage that shows this is 1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
They may have once appeared to be saved, but the fact that they didn't continue on proves that they never truly were.

 The other most popular objection comes from Galatians 5:4 - "falling from grace". Jim McClarty explains it this way.
Another popular out-of-context argument arises when people misrepresent the Scripture as saying that a man may “fall from grace.” Their argument implies that a man may lose his salvation because he has somehow slipped out of God’s preserving kindness. But once again proper context will dispel their errant thinking. The phrase “fallen from grace” occurs only once in scripture:

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). KJV

In context, it is fairly difficult to misconstrue Paul’s meaning. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He constantly defended the New Testament doctrine of salvation by grace alone against “Judaizers” who insisted that Christians were obligated to keep the Law of Moses. In refuting such teaching, Paul insisted that anyone relying on his own fleshly abilities to save himself had “fallen from” or “passed out from under the security of” gracious salvation. The sure and certain work of Christ is of no effect to men who insist on law keeping as a means of justification before God.

This verse is clearly a contrast between the requirements of the old and new covenants. It is not the basis of any doctrine promoting the arbitrary loss of salvation. (Page 126)
By Grace Alone covers much more in support of this beautiful doctrine. Take the time to read it for yourself and learn  more about what it means to be saved by grace alone.
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