Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 5

June 1, 2015 at 9:32 AM 1 comment

bibleThis short series has brought us to this point because my previous post in this series – Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 4 – didn’t really wrap things up the way I wanted. While it’s impossible to cover every aspect of the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology) in even an extended discussion on the subject, there were things I failed to point out and I’d like to correct that with this post. As I write this I realize that everything I want to say about what I believe the Bible teaches regarding our salvation will not be contained in this fifth part, so there may be one or two more.

Having said that though, I do want it to be clearly understood that the subject of salvation is a deep one. Because of how much the Bible teaches on this subject alone, it will be impossible for me to teach on it fully even if I posted 20 more articles on the subject. Understanding that, I will do my best to provide instruction using portions of Hebrews as my main text. I’m not going to pull out one or two verses and use those for the basis of these articles. I want to use large sections of Hebrews, specifically when the writer of Hebrews talks about the “rest” that he encourages us to enter into. I believe that too many think that this “rest” he is referring to is salvation itself. In point of fact, I think – if things are left within their original context – it will become clear that he is not referring to our salvation at all, but something that stems from our salvation; our future rewards and benefits.

By the way, before I go any further, just shortly after my wife and I shared our devotions and prayer time together, two Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our door. Please pray for them. Their first names are Sylvia and Bobby, two seemingly wonderful people who are caught up in a cult that will end in their eternal ruin, unless God opens their eyes. I told them we are Christians so we are “good to go” and Bobby said they were Christians also. I responded with, “Well, we would disagree with you on that and I hope that your eyes will one day be open to that fact,” and did so as nicely and warmly as possible. Jehovah’s Witnesses are very quick to shut down discussion when they know that they are talking with someone who is sure of what they believe and can prove it from Scriptures. Please pray for these two people that God loves dearly, would you?

The book of Hebrews starts off with a bang! We learn about the fact that in these “last days,” God has chosen to speak to the entire world through God the Son, Jesus. The writer of Hebrews rightly points out that Jesus, above all created things (and He Himself was not created but is eternal), deserves the praise, the honor, and the glory because of who He is and what He has accomplished for humanity. This is in spite of whether or not people receive the only true salvation He offers. Hebrews 1 painstakingly assures us that God the Father “appointed” (stated, labeled) Jesus as the eternal Son. He did not do this with any of the angels or with any member of the human race. He did it with God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.

The writer of Hebrews even quotes parts of Psalm 45, succinctly and clearly pointing out that God the Father refers to the Son as “God.” This is unmistakable, yet some fail to comprehend the clear teaching of God’s Word. If we couple this with many other portions of Scripture, like John 1:1 for instance, which states, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” it should become even clearer. By the way, the word “beginning” there in Psalm 45 is referring to eternity prior to the start of time. In that beginning, God already existed as God the Son.

In Hebrews 2, the writer to the Hebrews goes into more depth regarding just who this Jesus is and what He accomplished for humanity. He speaks of the humbling of Jesus (Hebrews 2:9ff) and how He – though God very God – took upon Himself the form of a servant (humanity) and for a short time became a bit lower than the angels (as humans are), which proves God’s humility.

After Jesus had lived His entire earthly life in absolute submission to God the Father (providing the perfect example of how all people are to live), once again, proving His humility, He then offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice in order that salvation could be offered to us. It was also through His act of becoming human (or rather, clothing Himself in humanity so that His deity was temporarily covered), that He sees those of us who receive His salvation (faith in His salvific work on our behalf), as brothers and sisters. In other words, the fact that Jesus adopted humanity as part of His nature (He now possesses two full and separate natures, one fully human, one fully divine), created that connection with us. He did not die for angels or for animals or for plants. He died for human beings, the elect and the non-elect. Salvation is extended to everyone whether it is embraced or not.

The writer of Hebrews then goes into the fact that Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 3), and because of this role He fills, we have a constant Advocate for us. He is always interceding for us to the Father.

Starting with Hebrews 3:12, the writer begins to move onto what will turn out to be a main subject of his treatise. He has laid a strong foundation regarding Jesus, who He is, what He has accomplished for humanity, and what He continues to do for those who have and/or will receive His salvation. This foundation is exceedingly important in understanding the true nature of Jesus and His work.

The writer of Hebrews also refers to the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) often, pointing out a myriad of examples of his next subject, which has to do with continuing to exercise faith in God. Hebrews 3:12 states the following warning, which sets the stage for the teaching about “resting” in God and all that it entails.

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”

If we were to simply leave it there, we would be very tempted to think that the writer of Hebrews is referring to salvation and if we are not careful, we will lose that salvation through an “unbelieving heart.” In fact, this verse (among others) is often used as a proof-text to show that salvation can be lost. I do not believe this is the case and if we take the time to strongly consider the context, which we must do, then we will all arrive to that very same conclusion. The question to ask is whether or not the writer of Hebrews is speaking of our salvation beginning with Hebrews 3:12 or something else entirely?

We will take up this question in our next article. By the way, I am very well aware that I will likely have no effect on those who believe salvation can be lost. Just as I have no power or ability to convince a Jehovah’s Witness that they are in error, people will arrive to their own conclusions. Attempting to debate me via this forum is pointless because for someone who might think they have “won” the debate will simply create within them a false sense of security in their position. They need to take it up with God and His Word because on the day of judgment, no one will be standing before me but before God.

We will all – though separately – stand before God the Son. If you are a Christian, you’ll stand before Him at the Bema Judgment Seat where you will learn if you were faithful to Him in this life and what – if any – rewards beyond salvation you will receive. If you are not saved, you will stand before Him at the Great White Throne Judgment and there you will learn that the choices you made in this life regarding Jesus have given Him no choice but to allow you to continue on your way to the Lake of Fire, which burns for all eternity.

Do you want that?

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , .

Satan Quit Gig and Owns a Nightclub in the City of Angels Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 6

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