Lately we have been having some good discussions about the meaning and use of the well-known phrase “once saved, always saved”.
If you are a baptist or have been around church-life much, chances are that you have heard this phrase discussed. Many people prefer the phrase “eternal security” instead of “once saved always saved”. And other people prefer to use perseverance!
I wanted to simply share with you some crucial passages from the Bible that need to be considered in this discussion. It is so healthy for Believers (who are filled with the Spirit) to read God’s Word and then spend time thinking through it. The whole Bible is involved in teaching us how to understand the great work of God saving sinners. But these few passages here are helpful to understanding this discussion.
“I give them eternal life, 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.”
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.”
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
“even the demons believe– and shudder.”
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance…”
While digging and studying through Revelation I have come across lots of little mighty truths. I am really enjoying it. Let me share this one with you that we dug out this morning.
“It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”
Who are ‘these’?
Well, they are the 144,000 (14:1). They are the ones standing beside the Lamb on Mt. Zion (14:1). They are the ones sealed with the Lamb’s name and the Lamb’s Father’s name on their foreheads (14:1). They are the ones who worship with a new song (14:3). They are the ones who have been redeemed out of the earth (14:3).
In other words, they are the church (all of chapter 7)!
Now notice how they are described in verse 4… “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”
What a description for the church! I want that to be said about me. Whatever and wherever Jesus says to do or go, I will go! Awesome! Glorious! Faithfulness! Discipleship! Mission field, Adopting a Child, job change, intentional friendships, serving somewhere, giving money, time, energy! Whatever it may be! Whatever Jesus asks! Wherever He goes… they follow Him! Wow!
Kevin DeYoung recently posted this great quote from J.C. Ryle reflecting on death and what makes you a true believer:
“When we have carried you to your narrow bed, let us not have to hunt up stray words, and scraps of religion, in order to make out that you were a true believer. Let us not have to say in a hesitating way one to another, “I trust he is happy; he talked so nicely one day; and he seemed so please with a chapter in the Bible on anther occasion; and he liked such a person, who is a good man.” Let us be able to speak decidedly as to your condition. Let us have some solid proof of your repentance, your faith, and your holiness, so that none shall be able for a moment to question your state.
Depend on it, without this, those you leave behind can feel no solid comfort about your soul. We may use the form of religion at your burial, and express charitable hopes. We may meet you at the churchyard gate, and say, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” But this will not alter your condition! If you die without conversion to God, without repentance, and without faith–your funeral will only be the funeral of a lost soul; you had better never have been born.” (Holiness, 228-229)
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
This passage from Revelation helps us understand the victory that we have over Satan, the devil.
Are these three things present in your life?
The Blood of the Lamb
The Word of Your Testimony
Not Loving Your Life (even to the point of death)
When you first read those three points, it sounds like a sermon from Paul. But it is not. It is a vision God shows John of Satan running through the world furiously seeking to destroy anybody and everybody that he can. Those he is unable to destroy are those that CONQUER him. They did not conquer him with their own lives and strengths! They did it by those 3 points listed above. Glorious!
I really enjoy seeing how God is truly the author of the Bible. I recently ran across these parallels.
“And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.”
“The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,” and to the hills “fall on us.”
Luke 23:30 (Jesus’s words)
“Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.'”
“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”