Secure and Sure of It, Part 5 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #53)

The Bible says in Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Charles Spurgeon. He said: “From the Word of God I gather that damnation is all of man, from top to bottom, and salvation is all of grace, from first to last. He that perishes chooses to perish; but he that is saved is saved because God has chosen to save him.”

Our topic today is titled Secure and Sure of It (Part 5) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

THE MEANING OF ASSURANCE

Assurance is the confident realization that one has eternal life. Security is a biblical truth whether or not one has assurance, and even if one did not believe in security he could have assurance (that at that time, at least, he belonged to the family of God). But if one does not believe in security he will undoubtedly lack assurance more than once in his lifetime.

SOME REASONS PEOPLE LACK ASSURANCE

People lack assurance of their salvation for several reasons:

1. They cannot pinpoint a specific time when they received Christ. Conversion does occur at a specific time, yet a person may not know when that time was in his or her life. No one grows into conversion, but we do grow in our comprehension of conversion.

2. They question the correctness of the procedure they went through when they expressed faith in Christ. “Should I have ‘gone forward’?” “Did I pray the right prayer?” “I did it privately. Is that all right?”

3. Certain sins have come into their lives. They think that they surely were not saved in the first place or they would not have committed such sins. Security never gives a license to sin, but at the same time sin does not cause us to lose our salvation. The normal Christian experience never includes sinlessness, for “we all stumble in many ways”. This fact never excuses sin, but neither does sin cause us to forfeit our salvation.

How can I have assurance? The Bible offers two grounds for assurance. The objective ground is that God’s Word declares that I am saved through faith. Therefore, I believe Him and His Word and am assured that what He says is true.

The subjective ground relates to my experiences. Certain changes do accompany salvation, and when I see some of those changes, then I can be assured that I have received new life. Some of those changes are keeping His commandments; loving other believers; and doing right things. It goes without saying that I will never keep all His commandments, nor will I love all other believers, nor will I always do right things. But the fact that these experiences have come into my life, whereas they were absent before, gives assurance that the new life is present.

If we have believed, we are secure forever; and we can be assured of that if we take God at His Word and take heart from the changes which He brings into our lives.

What grace it is that can give us not only forgiveness and eternal life through faith alone but also guarantee that the Giver will never renege on His gift! Nor can we ever give it back even if we try! Be assured, fellow Christian, this is true, for God says so in His unbreakable Word.

Secure and Sure of It, Part 4 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #52)

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.”

Secure and Sure of It, Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #51)

The Bible says in John 7:37-39: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from D.L. Moody. He said: “Salvation is worth working for. It is worth a man’s going round the world on his hands and knees, climbing its mountains, crossing its valleys, swimming its rivers, going through all manner of hardship in order to attain it. But we do not get it in that way. It is to him who believes.”

Our topic today is titled Secure and Sure of It (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Dr. Ryrie continues as follows…

REASONS FOR BELIEVING IN ETERNAL SECURITY: THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The work of the Holy Spirit gives us additional reasons to believe in the eternal security of our salvation. Consider these three works of the Spirit and their implications for our eternal security.

First, the abiding presence and residence of the Holy Spirit in the believer is also a gift from God. If salvation can be lost, then God would have to take back His gift of the Spirit.

Second, at conversion the believer is joined to the body of Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If salvation can be lost, then one would have to be severed from the body, and the body of Christ would then be dismembered.

Third, when we believed, the Holy Spirit sealed us until the day of redemption. If we are not secure, then the seal has to be broken or the promise would be that we are sealed not until the day of redemption but only until the day we sin (or at least commit some very serious or grievous sin). And remember, God seals all believers, not just those who are, or who are willing to be, committed believers.

Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes, Part 1 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #36) #VA5

The Bible says in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Jerry Bridges. He said: “We could not take one step in the pursuit of holiness if God in His grace had not first delivered us from the dominion of sin and brought us into union with His risen Son. Salvation is by grace and sanctification is by grace.”

Our topic today is titled Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes (Part 1) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

The Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 commands us to make disciples. This involves two activities—baptizing and teaching. Baptizing is a single act; teaching is a continuous process. Disciples have to be baptized (an evidence of salvation—therefore, one may say that disciples must first be saved); then they have to be taught over and over to obey (observe all things).

In New Testament times, baptism served as one of the clearest proofs that a person had accepted Christ. Baptism was not entered into casually or routinely as is often the case today. Although it is clear in the New Testament that baptism does not save, to be baptized was to signify in no uncertain terms that one had received Christ and was also associating himself with the Christian group, the church. Of course, there may have been exceptions; that is, there may have been some who were baptized who had not been born again. But normally, a baptized person was a saved person; and a saved person was a baptized person. This is why our Lord’s Great Commission can use “baptism” as equivalent to “salvation.”

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 4 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #27) #VA4

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 A.W. Pink. He said: “The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Saviour from Hell rather than a Saviour from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 4) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Consider two important sayings of our Lord, spoken one after the other, as recorded in Luke 14:16-33.

The first tells the story of a banquet for which great and elaborate preparation had been made. Many had been invited by the host, and when all the preparations had been completed, a servant was sent to tell those who had been invited that they should now come. But those invited began to make excuses—a real-estate purchase that needed to be seen, oxen that needed to be proved, and a new wife that the husband needed to be with. Remember that the people had been invited ahead of time so that they had ample opportunity to take care of their personal matters during the time the banquet was being prepared.

The host became angry and told his servant to bring in those who were considered inferior. Still the banquet room was not filled, so others were invited from the roads and lanes where the poor and vagrants lived. (This latter group represents Gentiles who were offered salvation after the Jewish people rejected Christ.)

What clear and repeated displays of the host’s grace shine through this parable. He gave three distinct invitations, and a reminder to the first group of guests. So actually four invitations were issued. In spite of rejection, the host continued to invite people to his banquet. No strings were attached, except to come. No price needed to be paid. No conditions were involved, except to come. Indeed, the host told his servant to compel or persuade people to come. He wanted others to enjoy what he had prepared and to enjoy it without cost to them (though at great cost to himself).

But there was a warning that the gracious invitation would not be renewed, so that those who gave excuses would have no further opportunity.

The teaching that follows stands in sharp contrast. Whereas the story of the banquet says “come” and “free,” the next says “stop” and “costly.” What is free? The invitation to enter the Father’s kingdom. What is costly? A certain kind of discipleship.

What kind of discipleship? In this account, discipleship that involved attaching oneself to the Lord, leaving family and possessions to be with Him wherever He went. Discipleship that would involve standing against great opposition.

So the Lord warned the multitudes who were attracted to Him too hastily but halfheartedly that it cost something to be His disciple. It cost: (1) supreme loyalty to Him even above family, (2) willingness to die for Him, and (3) literally forsaking everything (not just being willing to do so) to be able to accompany Jesus from place to place. The word forsake means “to say farewell.” One would have to do that at least for the time that he left home to follow Christ. And apparently some had given up possessions and employment in order to hear and learn from our Lord as He and they traveled from place to place.

To emphasize how carefully such a decision should be made, the Lord gave two illustrations: (1) the man who began to build and could not finish because he failed to plan wisely, and (2) the king who carefully considered the strength of his enemy before deciding whether to fight or sue for peace. Likewise, the decision to follow (and this meant literally to go from place to place with the Lord) was not to be made lightly, halfheartedly, or hastily.

The contrast between these two sayings of our Lord could scarcely be more vivid.

Come to the banquet. It’s free.

Don’t rush into discipleship. It’s costly.

Today the Lord Jesus, the God-man, offers His feast of salvation freely, and He can do so because He is God who became man. The same Lord Jesus, through many New Testament writers, asks those who have believed to submit to His mastery over their lives. Some do to a great extent. Some do to a lesser extent. No one does it fully and always. But He was, is, and always will be Lord whether He is acknowledged as the God-man Savior or whether He is acknowledged as Master of the believer’s life. He is Lord.

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #26) #VA3

The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

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:

What all will confess is that Jesus Christ is Lord. This, the earliest Christian creed, meant that Jesus Christ is Yahweh-God. One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be — very God of very God. Unfortunately, for many it will be too late for the salvation of their souls. The exalted place the Savior now occupies and the universal bowing in the future in acknowledgement of His lordship is all to the glory of God the Father.

Today’s quote is from Horatius Bonar. He said: “The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting-point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, ‘Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee.’ It says at once, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.’”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

JESUS AS LORD OF MY LIFE

Is Jesus not also to be Lord of my life? Of course He should be, sometimes is, and sometimes is partly so.

The cliché “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all” is simply that—a cliché and not a biblical or theological truth. He can be Lord of aspects of my life while I withhold other areas of my life from His control. Peter illustrated that as clearly as anyone that day on the rooftop when the Lord asked him to kill and eat unclean animals. He said, “By no means, Lord.” At that point was Christ Lord of all of Peter? Certainly not. Then must we conclude that He was not Lord at all in relation to Peter’s life? I think not.

Dedication is a call to believers. On occasion an individual may face and even settle both the question of salvation and dedication at the same time. Paul apparently did, for on the road to Damascus when he realized that Jesus was alive, he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” The reply, “Go on into Damascus,” of course had nothing to do with salvation but with obedience to the one who had become Paul’s Savior.

Actually, it seems that many believers do not settle the matter of the personal, subjective lordship of Christ over the years of their lives until after they have been born again. The New Testament appeals for surrender or dedication are addressed to believers. Romans 12:1 says, “I urge you, brethren, … to present your bodies.” Earlier in the same letter, Paul asked those who had been baptized into Christ (obviously only believers could be described that way) to present themselves to God. Those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (believers) are exhorted to glorify God in their bodies. James too urges his brothers to submit to God.

These calls to dedication would be meaningless if it were true that one had to receive Christ as Lord of his life as a part of the requirement for being saved. Saved people need to be dedicated, but dedication is not a requirement for being saved. Neither is willingness to be dedicated an issue in salvation.

SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT

Let me ask a few questions that may put these matters of Christ’s lordship in better focus.

1. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord God?

2. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord/Master of my life?

3. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without being willing to place my life under His control?

4. Can a dedicated Christian take back part or all of his commitment?

5. If so, does he (or she) lose salvation?

We have already addressed some of these questions; others will be answered later.

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #25) #VA2

The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

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:

In keeping with Christ’s exaltation and high name… every knee will one day bow and acknowledge Him for who He really is. Paul stressed the same truth in his letter to the Romans. Both instances reflect Isaiah’s prophecy of the singular greatness of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The extent of Christ’s sovereign authority is delineated in the three- fold phrase, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. No intelligent being — whether angels and saints in heaven; people living on the earth; or Satan, demons, and the unsaved in hell — in all of God’s universe will escape. All will bow either willingly or they will be made to do so.

Today’s quote is from Neil T. Anderson. He said: “The inner change, justification, is effected at the moment of salvation. The outer change in the believer’s daily walk, sanctification, continues throughout life. But the progressive work of sanctification is only fully effective when the radical, inner transformation of justification is realized and appropriated by faith.”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

But what is the meaning of Lord in Romans 10:9-10?

There Paul writes: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Do these verses mean that one must confess Jesus as Master of his life in order to be saved? Unquestionably, Lord means “sovereign,” but is Paul saying in the passage that in order to be saved a person must receive Christ as the sovereign of the years of his life on earth? One writer says that “the saviourhood of Christ is actually contingent on obedience to His Lordship.” If contingent means “dependent on” (as the dictionary indicates), then the statement seems to mean that Christ’s being my Savior depends on my obedience to His lordship or mastery over my life.

Another writer, under the heading “Leading Others to Christ,” writes,

Third, there is something for you to do to be saved.
(1) You must repent … Acts 3:19
(2) You must put your faith in Jesus … Eph. 2:8
(3) You must surrender to Jesus as your Lord (boss) … Romans 10:9.

Does Lord mean “boss” or “master of one’s personal life” in the passage? Not according to Everett Harrison, who writes:

“Jesus is Lord” was the earliest declaration of faith fashioned by the church. This great truth was recognized first by God in raising his Son from the dead—an act then acknowledged by the church and one day to be acknowledged by all…. Paul’s statement in Romans 10:9-10 is misunderstood when it is made to support the claim that one cannot be saved unless he makes Jesus the Lord of his life by a personal commitment. Such a commitment is most important; however, in this passage, Paul is speaking of the objective lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved. Intimately connected as it was with the resurrection, which in turn validated the saving death; it proclaimed something that was true no matter whether or not a single soul believed it and built his life on it.

Notice Harrison’s careful distinction between “objective lordship” and, by implication, “subjective lordship.” The former labels Christ by virtue of who He is, and is true whether or not anyone ever acknowledges it. The latter relates to that lordship or master relation Christ may have to the believer, and is true only when someone acknowledges it to be so for him or her.

William G. T. Shedd, a well-known American Calvinistic theologian, in commenting on the word Lord in Romans 10:9, says:

The word kurios is the Septuagint rendering of Jehovah, and any Jew who publicly confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was “Lord,” would be understood to ascribe the divine nature and attributes to him. It is also the Old Testament term for the Son of God, and the Messiah; and when Christ himself asserted that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, he was charged with blasphemy, and with equalizing himself with God.

B. F. Westcott, one of the foremost Greek scholars of the nineteenth century, in commenting on 1 John 4:3, wrote:

To “confess Jesus,” which in connection can only mean to confess “Jesus as Lord”, is to recognize divine sovereignty in One who is truly man, or, in other words, to recognize the union of the divine and human in one Person, a truth which finds its only adequate expression in the fact of the Incarnation.

Two other well-recognized scholars, writing on the meaning of the “word” in Romans 10:8, say:

“The subject of the rema [word] which is preached by the Apostles is the person of Christ and the truth of His Resurrection … The power of Christ lies in these two facts … His Divine nature and His triumph over death.”

Explaining the phrase “Jesus is Lord,” the NIV Study Bible note says:

The earliest Christian confession of faith, probably used at baptisms. In view of the fact that “Lord” (Greek Kyrios) is used over 6,000 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) to translate the name of Israel’s God (Yahweh), it is clear that Paul, when using the word of Jesus, is ascribing deity to him.

To sum up: Romans 10:9-10 is not dealing with the question of the subjective lordship of Christ, but with His deity and His resurrection. To believe that Jesus (the man) is Lord (God) and that He is alive (which includes the fact that He died) results in righteousness and salvation. Notice too that this interpretation is held by several generations of scholars who represent differing schools of theological thought.