Ignoring the Obvious

March 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Romans | 5 Comments
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An overview of the middle chapters of the Book of Romans can seem like a little bit of a rollercoaster ride. In Chapter 7 the Apostle Paul is a “wretched man.” In Chapter 8 he is “more than a conqueror.” Then, in Chapter 9:

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:2-3

Why did he have great heaviness and continual sorrowing in his heart? Why could he wish himself accursed from Christ? Because of his kinsmen.

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9:4

The Holy Spirit used Paul to show that it was the Jewish people, not God, who were to blame for their rejection of His Messiah.

1. God is faithful: He kept His covenants with the Jews. He chose them as the people through whom He would bless the world and through whom the Messiah would come. Even when they tried to circumvent His plans, He honored His covenants.

2. God is righteous: The people who seem to have been chosen by God for dishonor are the ones who have willfully refused to acknowledge Him or repent.

3. God is just: The clay can not question the wisdom of the potter, nor can it claim that it wouldn’t have fitted itself for destruction if God had given it “free will.”

4. God is gracious: A sinner is never in a position to demand what he deserves.

The Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah were given specifically to the Jewish people. All these prophecies pointed to Jesus. The law which God gave to the Israelites was designed to be their schoolmaster to teach them the way to Christ. Christ came unto His Own people and they received Him not – they rejected Him.

Why would they reject Him? Because they didn’t believe they needed to be saved. Their attitude was, “Saved from what?” This was mirrored in Paul’s life. Before he was converted he believed the Gentiles were at enmity with God, but not the Jewish people. The Israelites believed they needed political salvation from Rome, but not spiritual salvation from their own sin – even though they were zealous for God.

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Romans 10:1-2

They had banished idolatry in the temple and even forbidden Gentiles from entering the temple, but their “knowledge” wasn’t real knowledge. They were proud and self-righteous.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:3, emphasis added

“Establish” means to set down a foundation and make it secure. But the Jewish people had rejected the Cornerstone – the Head of the Corner. They had “set Him at nought.” They didn’t understand their own law. Paul cites Moses (from Deuteronomy 30:11-14) to show that the righteousness of the Law was meant to point the way to salvation. But those written commands were meant to have an effect on the heart. What is in the heart comes out of the mouth. What comes out of the mouth is the “word.”

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

Romans 10:6-7

Is keeping the Law of God difficult? No, it’s not difficult – it’s impossible for everyone but Christ Himself. For a human being it would be like using our own physical abilities to go up to Heaven to find Christ – or to go down into the grave, the land of the dead, to find Him. It can’t be done.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Romans 10:8

The word of salvation was right there – in the heart – in the mouth – and that word was and is “faith.”

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 4)

February 9, 2011 at 9:34 am | Posted in Eternity, Luke, Matthew, parables | 7 Comments
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Objection: I believe that I can lose my salvation because Luke 8:13 says, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” To me this is going back to free will. We have the free will to walk away.

Answer to Objection: Luke 8:13 is not teaching that you can lose your salvation. You need to read the whole parable that Jesus is teaching. Some people hear the Word of God, but it lands on their stony heart. It is like seed on a rock. It can not send down roots. There may be a thin layer of soil on the rock, so that it looks for a little while like something is growing from the seed. But sunlight shines down on it (the heat of temptation), and it shrivels and dies and falls away. If it had roots, the heat would have made it grow, not die. These are people who look like they got saved until temptation came, and it was revealed that they never got saved to begin with. They did not “lose their salvation.”

Objection: But what about Deuteronomy 30:17-20: “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Answer to Objection: Deuteronomy 30:17-20 does not teach that you can lose your salvation. When God renewed His covenant with the people of Israel as they prepared to cross over into the promised land of Canaan, He told them that if they disobeyed, they would die. If they obeyed, they would live long and prosper. They could be blessed for obedience or cursed for disobedience. This is speaking about prolonging their days upon the land, and the “length of their days on the earth,” not eternal salvation. Eternal salvation is by grace through faith, not through keeping the Old Testament Covenant.

Objection: What about Matthew 5:13?

Answer to Objection: Matthew 5:13 is not teaching that you can lose your salvation. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Salt in Bible times could go bad or spoil, and then it would be useless for bringing out the flavor in food, and for preserving food. Jesus is saying that you are no good as a disciple if you won’t bring the truth of God’s Word to the people with whom you come into contact. We should cast people out of the church fellowship and positions of ministry if they are not acting as salt and light.

I have seen God convince some people of the truth of eternal security. Some people I have seen simply do not want to believe it. It is important that we do not try to find Bible verses that will fit into what we want to believe. There are whole ministries and denominations out there built around teaching that Christians can lose “their” salvation. These preachers think that people will just sin as much as they want to after they’re saved, and that we can’t trust God to get saved people to do what He wants us to do. But we must let the Bible tell us what is true even if we don’t happen to like it. I hope you will prayerfully consider that Jesus can not lie. If He has promised to take all those who have once been saved, and to keep them saved forever, what makes you think this is the one exception where He would lie? If you think you are keeping yourself saved, then you are giving yourself the glory, and you may be trusting in you, instead of trusting in Christ. But if God is keeping you saved, then He gets the glory, and you must put all your trust in Christ and not in yourself.


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