Continuing the article from last month’s magazine, we note that a strict Arminian believes “I can be truly born again, yet still end up in hell.” Here are some questions and statements that might help in discussing this view with such a person who is a professing believer.
What Does “Never Perish” Mean?
John’s Greek record of the Lord Jesus’ description of the security of His own uses a double negative. He states that eternal life is His gift to His own, bestowed upon His sheep, and that they will “never, ever perish” (10:29). Please note, there is no exception to this rule, stated by the Savior.
How Many Divine Hands Does It Take to Provide Eternal Security?
In this same passage in John 10, the Savior clearly teaches that the saved one is not only eternally secure, but safely held in/by a Divine hand. Furthermore, no one, or no thing, will ever be able to snatch this saved one out of the hand of the Lord Jesus. But He goes further, as if to anticipate Arminian teaching. He repeats the same promise regarding the security of the believer, as also being eternally safe in His Father’s hand. Two Divine hands, as if one were not enough!
The Truth of “Present Evil.”
In Romans 7:20-21, Paul bluntly states, as a saved man, that “sin dwells in me,” and “evil is present with me.” This is true of all believers. Even as a gloriously saved man, he owned up to this truth, as we all must. But in chapter 8, he ends a blessed passage with a long list of influences, forces, and powers, both natural and supernatural, which will never, nor can ever, separate those “in Christ Jesus” from the eternal love of God. One of those forces is Paul’s own “present evil,” for he makes sure to add to his list at the end of Romans 8, “things present.” We do have and will have evil present with us. But this present evil will never, nor can ever, “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What Does It Mean to Be Adopted?
The NT is full of the blessed truth that, when saved, we are adopted by God (Romans 8:15; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). This word means “placing as a son.” It is a word of position, more so than relationship. When born again, we are related to God as children of God. But adoption is the placing of the saved sinner, by God, into His family, as an adult son. If the God of heaven eternally planned to adopt into His family those who trusted His Son for salvation, what mechanism could possibly cause any of them to be “un-adopted”?
Please Define “Justification.”
The person saved has been justified by God and by His grace (Romans 5:1). This simply means that the ultimate Judge of all the universe declares the one who trusts His Son, as “not guilty.” Furthermore, the slate is wiped totally clean, never to be brought up again (Hebrews 10:17). In Romans 5:1, “being” in the Greek, signifies “having been”; it is a one-time, settled act, having abiding results, therefore never altered. Which sins subsequent to salvation will allow, force, or cause God to reverse this act of grace and declare the believer guilty? The Scriptural fact is “None.” A just God can never reverse His Word.
What Does “It Is Finished” Mean?
Actually, it means many things, and they ALL underwrite eternal security for the soul that trusts Christ. It is a statement of total and ultimate victory, the depths of which can never be fully plumbed. It signified that the OT Scriptures had been completely fulfilled as to the death of the Messiah. It meant that the cup of God’s wrath against sin had been drained, emptied, exhausted. It denoted that the will of God regarding the provision of eternal salvation for a fallen race had been realized. It stated that Satan was about to understand the finality of his ultimate defeat. And it meant that the debt of man’s sin to God, that the Law could never remove, had been paid in full by the blood of the cross (Col. 1:20; 2:14). The word Jesus used when He cried with a loud voice “It is finished,” was “tetelestai.” That same word was written across ancient debts when they were totally paid off, and meant “paid in full.” For me, it meant one October night 40 years ago, what it still means today: “Jesus died for me!”
How “Eternal” Is Christ’s High Priesthood?
In Hebrews 7:24-25, the writer states that Christ’s is “an unchangeable priesthood.” Included in this tremendous passage is the statement that He is able “to save to the uttermost (once, and forever) those who come unto God through Him.” Why is this? Because He “always lives” to make intercession, for those who come in faith. If a person can truly be saved, then can truly be lost, not only is Christ’s High Priesthood not eternal, but His salvation is really no salvation at all. Because the Son lives, “consecrated for evermore” (v. 28), the salvation He offers sinners is as eternal as His eternality as High Priest. They are inextricably connected.
Which Sins Are “Future”?
When saved by grace, we knew and appreciated that God had forgiven all our sins. But then, we sin again. And again. And again. What about these sins? That depends on what you consider “future.” We compartmentalize our sins; God does not. When Christ died, He satisfied God’s requirements for all the sins of mankind. All our sins were future at the cross! Christ is not required to die more than once. My forgiveness, through the grace of God, is based on this one act Christ completed “once for all.” This simply includes all my sins. He offered “one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb 10:10-14).
How Deep Is the Sea?
Through the prophet Micah, God promised He would “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). The deepest sea on earth is a little over 7 miles deep. Is that deep enough? Not for me. But this is not the sea into which God cast my sins. It was the sea of Calvary: please read Psalm 69:1-2, 14-15; 88:6-7; 42:7. Because of the work His Son accomplished in relation to my sins at Calvary, God says this: “I will remember them no more.” My sins are not “forgotten”- forgetfulness is a human weakness and is not part of the character of God. He instead chooses to remember them no more.