The Bible says in John 11:25-26: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:
This is the fifth of Jesus’ great “I am” revelations. The Resurrection and the Life of the new Age is present right now because Jesus is the Lord of life. Jesus’ words about life and death are seemingly paradoxical. A believer’s death issues in new life. In fact, the life of a believer is of such a quality that he will never die spiritually. He has eternal life, and the end of physical life is only a sleep for his body until the resurrection unto life. At death the spiritual part of a believer, his soul, goes to be with the Lord.
Today’s quote is from John Calvin. He said: “Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation is open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering, but our own unbelief.”
Our topic today is titled “Fruitful or Faithless? (Part 4)” from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.
This is a continuation of the subtopic, THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY
Suppose I was genuinely willing to forsake all when I believed, but later I rejected that willingness or some part of it. How am I to view my salvation? Assuming that willingness was present when I believed, then according to the lordship view, I was truly saved. And if I believe in eternal security, then I cannot lose that salvation. So we are back to a relative amount or degree of disobedience in the Christian life that can be tolerated without doubting the original reception of salvation. A moment of defection, we have been told, is not an invalidation. Or “the true disciple will never turn away completely. Could he turn away almost completely and still be sure he was saved? or 90 percent? or 50 percent? Further, we are told that the motivation that causes us to defect even momentarily makes the difference between proving the reality or falsity of our faith. The motivation of fear, it is said, is permissible, but the motivation of treachery is not.
Frankly, all this relativity would leave me in confusion and uncertainty. Every defection, especially if it continued, would make me unsure of my salvation. Any serious sin or unwillingness would do the same. If I come to a fork in the road of my Christian experience and choose the wrong branch and continue on it, does that mean I was never on the Christian road to begin with? For how long can I be fruitless without having a lordship advocate conclude that I was never really saved?
Consider, too, the possible ramifications of this kind of relativity on mass evangelism, child evangelism, and collegiate evangelism. Should the mass evangelist instruct his counselors to send back to their seats those who are not willing to forsake all in order to be saved?
Should the children’s worker attempt to make his young audience face the questions of how they will choose among difficult life-changing options that they cannot even imagine and will not have to face for ten or fifteen years? If, later on, one of those children, now grown, makes a wrong choice, was he or she not saved all those years? Or if we acknowledge that a believer can make a wrong choice, can he make two, or two hundred, and still be saved?
Should the worker on the college campus insist that a collegian who wants to receive Christ hold off until he or she breaks off an immoral relationship? Could such a person be saved at the dorm meeting one evening and yet spend that same night in a continuing adulterous relationship? Or could he or she have two or three days to break off the relationship? Or two weeks or several months? In the meantime, is that person born again?