Reason #

Reason #ILostCount - I'm not going back"I'm not going back" is a refrain at our house, and we have reasons...we usually make up a number (reason #848) but I just lost count.

And I'm not going back.

My daddy died last week and  I know that he's with Jesus.  I heard another refrain:  If you want to see Jesus, you need to be holy.

Here's the thing - if you're holy enough to get yourself into heaven - raise your hand.

I'm not.

I'm not holy enough - far, far from it.  To paraphrase Mark Driscoll - this kind of teaching leads to either pride or despair.  Pride (I got this) or despair (I can't do this.)

Reason #ILostCount

When Dad got to heaven, I know that he lived his life in faith in Christ.  He never pointed at his works; he pointed to Jesus and the cross.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)

What is "law?"  Law (simple explanation) is God's character codified.  In the law, we learn God's character, and His standard for holiness.  God is perfect and His law is perfect.

We are not and we cannot be, this side of the grave.

Since we are not perfect, how do we see Jesus?  How are we justified?

We are justified by faith, and not by works.

Yes, sanctification is a thing and for a person who is justified by faith, that faith will be evidenced by sanctification.

I asked a Sunday School student - do you do your chores because you are part of your family?  Or do you do your chores in order to become part of your family?

Do we obey the law because we belong to Christ?  Or do we obey the law in order to belong to Christ?

The difference is worth an eternity.

On this Resurrection Sunday, I am reminded that

The assurance that Christians can never be separated from the love of God is one of the greatest comforts of the Christian life. To deny this doctrine is to destroy the grounds for any rejoicing among the saints on earth; for what kind of rejoicing can those have who believe that they may at any time be deceived and led astray? If our sense of security is based only on our changeable and wavering natures, we can never know the inward calm and peace which, should characterize the Christian.

(From "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" by Loraine Boettner)

When Jesus died on that cross, He bought us with His blood. When He rose, the conquered death.

We live because He died, we die to ourselves because He lives.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

I'm not going back. Here's a rundown of what I read and explored this week:
*
God Did it. Man Did it! Which Is It?

If I asked you who wrote the book of Romans, would your answer be Paul or would your answer be God? Both answers are true. But it's not right to give them both equal credit. Why not? Because God is the ultimate source; they are the words that He wanted written, so we must give Him full credit. And yet, Paul and the other human authors of scripture were not merely puppets on a string; they used their own words, mind, and personality in their writing. Do you agree with everything I've just said? If so, then you also have the basic framework in place for understanding how a soul is saved.

*

The Salvation of Babies Who Die (part one)

when I was making the move to the Reformed camp, Phil and I had dinner with a Calvin Seminary student and the question about babies was the first one I asked. This answer is a good answer.
*

Most Perfect and Complete - a sermon and Sola Scriptura in the Belgic Confession

Virtually every cult and false religion is founded upon the following premise: “Of course, we believe the Bible. But . . . We have additional holy books that no one else has. We receive new revelations from God. We have sacred tradition in addition to the Bible. We have an inspired prophet or leader who interprets the Bible correctly unlike everyone else.” So at the end of the day, the essence of false religion is basically this: We believe in the Bible, plus, we have an additional religious authority which corrects or explains what the Bible “really” teaches, or else supplements what the Bible supposedly leaves out.

*

2 Comments

I came across this today...

"Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them."

It really doesn't sound that much like Spurgeon...but maybe it does.

Reason #2 - I'm not going back.

Perseverance and assurance may go hand in hand, but they're not the same thing.

Perseverance and "once saved always saved" may sound like they're the same, but they're not.

Assurance is in the "now" - right now, you can be sure of your salvation.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life - 1 John 5:13

"Assurance" means that right now, this very minute, you can know that you have eternal life. It may be, if you believe such things, that tomorrow or the next day...or sometime in the future...you may sin too much or do too little and lose it. You can be assured now...but tomorrow may be a different story. You have the choice, in the future, to walk away.

"Once saved, always saved" gives the impression that..well, just what it says. No matter what you do or believe, you have no choice. It's the "fire insurance" way of thinking. Even if you want to walk away...shoot...even if you DO walk away...you're stuck with your salvation. "Once saved, always saved" is about what you have.

"Perseverance of the saints" is very different. It's not our salvation that is preserved...it's God who makes us persevere. If we are in Christ, we don't WANT to walk away.

"6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" ` Philippians 1:6

We are now, and will be, assured of our salvation because we are preserved and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory ` Eph. 1:11-14

Conclusion - both "perseverance" and "once saved, always saved" comes with assurance, and even "I can lose it later" can have assurance in the present.

"OSAS" - you don't have a choice if you wanted it
"POTS" - even if you have the choice, you are sealed by the promise that you won't want the choice.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing

This was in my daily reading and it hit me again...without Jesus, I can do nothing, I can accomplish nothing...I AM nothing.

I'm not clean because of the works that I do, the choices that I make. It's not my works, it's the WORD that Jesus has spoken.

Before they (I) even knew..."Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you."

Sola Scriptura...The Word.

One letter apart...one very small difference...

"...for apart from me you can do nothing"

No longer are my works making me "good enough" - my works are a result of the Word and my gratitude that Jesus spoke.

worK
WorD

yet, such a huge impact on my life. I got off of the works treadmill, to rest gently in the Word.

Maybe I'll start counting...Reason #1; I'm Not Going Back