Thursday, September 11, 2014

Once Saved Always Saved Part IV

By this point we've pretty conclusively established that God has an elect--a predestined people. This notions is not only crucial to understanding Bible passages like Matt 24:24, but as we've shown provides a strong argument for Once Saved Always Saved.
So with the idea of elect fresh in our mind we are ready ask the following question: why did Jesus come to earth and die? Was it so that everyone could be potentially given a chance to maybe be kinda saved if they wanted it? Given what we've been over about total depravity that's very unlikely. Did He come so that anyone who places their trust in Him might be saved? That's probably getting closer. John reported that Jesus said,

"I lay down my life for the sheep."
Which points to the fact that He came to save His people. Let's answer the above question like this: He came so that those whom God chose before the foundation of the world would certainly be saved. For it is written by the prophet, 
"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.
And again,
"With your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation."
The point there is that Jesus has no intention of letting His death go to waste by allowing the elect perish if they so desired. His death is efficacious to save. But even if it wasn't, He is even now standing at the right hand of the Father, interceding for the believer so that their faith wouldn't fail.
Consider how effective this was for Peter after he had denied Jesus three times. What was it that brought him back? Jesus praying in the garden, and God granting the prayers of His Son.
His blood is effectual. His prayers are effectual. And He bled, died, and prays for you, believer. To deny eternal security at that point is to deny the strength of Jesus.

The Argument

After dying for the elect, Jesus prays for their salvation.
If the elect are lost in spite of this then Jesus blood and prayers are worthless.
But that would be an absurdity. Therefore, we can be assured of salvation.   

Romans 8:24 

"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."
This verse is exactly the point the preceding paragraphs is making. Who shall condemn the elect given that Jesus has given up the splendor of heaven to be born into poverty just so He could die a painful death on their behalf and pay the penalty of their sins? Is it in anyway conceivable that after paying for their sins He will let them slip into hell because of those sins? No. He rose for them. He's interceding from them. He is not going to rest until they are with Him forever. There is now nothing, and no one, who may bring a charge against the redeemed.

John 17:11-12

"Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."
The whole of John 17 is the record of the high priestly prayer, two verses of which are excepted here. In this section we are given both a glimpse of the kind of prayers Jesus is offering to the Father for us, and a personal testimony as to its efficacy. Jesus began His earthly ministry with the goal of losing none of those whom the Father had given, and at the end proves He was successful. He kept His elect as far as the garden, confessed His faithfulness to them, then kept them until their deaths. (And keep He did, all eleven died in faith, the apostasy of Judas does not factor in here since it was prophesied of by the Scriptures.) The point is directly applicable to us: if the savior who made a point of telling us how He would save His own prays for us in this fashion (John 17:20) then we have security in knowing we are going to be saved. If we receive the same intercessory death and prayer the Apostles did, doesn't it follow we will end up safely in heaven like them? Indeed it does.

John 10:28-29 

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
There are three emphatic denials here: no man can pluck the elect from Jesus hand, the elect shall never perish, and the elect cannot be plucked from the hand of the Father. This is as strong a passage for eternal security as they come. "But wait!" cries the protestor, "can't I lose my own salvation? After all, free will." To that these verses answer, "no man, no man, and no man can do it. Are you a man? Then you can't do it."
But there is yet another argument lurking in here, and it comes directly out of the definition of salvation: if you lose your eternal life, then you didn't really have eternal life did you? You had temporary life. If you could be unsaved then you really weren't saved. That's why once you're saved, you're always saved.

1 John 2:1

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
"But I know that I can lose my salvation, I sin. I'm a sinner. What if I sin so much that I'm done for?" John writes his letter instructing you to doubt less and believe more. Yes, sin is decidedly not good, and yes, the Scriptures were given so that we wouldn't sin, this is true. But if we do sin, even after Christ died, we can trust that Jesus is there interceding for us. Just to head off the objection that the Father wouldn't listen to a petition given on behalf of a sinner John adds that this is Jesus the righteous. It doesn't matter what Jesus asks in His name, He's righteous, He's the one God listens to. And He's your advocate, the one who comes alongside to help. Your sin simply isn't strong enough to keep you out of heaven; His intercession is stronger.

The Efficacy of the Merit and Intercession of Jesus Christ

Jesus isn't someone who might save, He's the one who does save. So while it's true to say He can save, it's much more accurate to say He's the one who will effectually save. We don't have a potential savior in Jesus, we have an actual one.
John 10:11 testifies to us that the Lord not only knows
who are His, but works tirelessly to save them. And if it says that, we should believe it.

Next: Part V, The Abiding of the Spirit


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