The Bible says in John 4:39-42: “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him.”
Our topic today is titled Secure and Sure of It (Part 4) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.
Could being “faithless” include unbelief? Could a true believer disbelieve and still be saved? Charles J. Ellicott, Greek scholar of the last century, while acknowledging the possibility of the translation “faithless,” said that the word means… “‘If we exhibit unbelief,’ whether as regards His attributes, His promises, or His Gospel … nor here is there sufficient reason for departing from the regular meaning of the word [to disbelieve], which, like [unbelief], seems always in the New Testament to imply not ‘un-trueness’ or ‘unfaithfulness,’ but definitely ‘unbelief.'”
Normally one who has believed can be described as a believer; that is, one who continues to believe. But according to Ellicott, apparently a believer may come to the place of not believing, and yet God will not disown him, since He cannot disown Himself. Some years ago a book by Robert Shank, entitled “Life in the Son,” argued against eternal security on the basis that the uses of “believe” in the present tense in the New Testament show that if a believer did not continue to believe he could and would lose his salvation.
Today proponents of lordship/discipleship/mastery salvation use the same argument to conclude that if someone does not continue to believe, then he or she was never a believer in the first place. However, notice that when Abraham’s faith is described in the New Testament, an aorist, not a present, tense is used consistently. Many Samaritans believed the harlot’s testimony and were saved. Others believed. And in response to the Philippian jailer’s question, Paul said, “Believe”.
As Lenski wrote in his commentary on Acts: “The word [believe] is properly the aorist, for the moment one believes, salvation is his. ‘To believe’ always means to put all trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus, in other words, by such trust of the heart, to throw the personality entirely into his arms for deliverance from sin, death, and hell. This trust is to rest on Jesus…. To trust him is to let him give us that salvation…. To believe is to accept the divine gift of salvation and at once to have it.”