Douglas Moo warning us about a wrong conclusion we can draw from believing in the perseverance of the saints:
But the danger is that such a theological position will lead to smug satisfaction, a presumption on God’s grace. Belief in eternal security must not lead to unconcern about holiness of life. We may believe that God promises to preserve his saints to the end, but we must also recognize that it is in that very perseverance that the saints are recognized (see Heb. 3:6, 14). Thus we Christians are called to respond to the truth about God that we learn and are warned about the consequences if we fail to do so. . . .
“Cheap grace” is endemic among contemporary evangelicals. We constantly hear that God loves us, that Christ’s blood covers our sins, that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9)—precious promises, not to be toned down for a minute. The problem is that we don’t often enough hear that God is holy and terrible in his majesty, that he is just and cannot abide sin, that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10). The litmus test of our Christianity is not how much we know but the degree to which what we know affects our attitudes and actions. We Calvinists must be extremely careful that we do not allow our belief in or teaching about eternal security to remove or lessen the responsibility that God places on our shoulders to grow in the grace he so richly makes available.
Moo, Douglas J. (2011-02-22). 2 Peter, Jude (NIV Application Commentary, The) (Kindle Locations 3533-3547). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Read Full Post »
Whatever apostasy occurs in Christianity, it may never prompt us to question the unchanging faithfulness of God, the certainty of his counsel, the enduring character of his covenant, or the trustworthiness of his promises. One should sooner abandon all creatures than fail to trust his word. And that word in its totality is one immensely rich promise to the heirs of the kingdom.
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30).
Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28). The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16-18;13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31-32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10;10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9;Phil 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Peter 1:4-5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), he is to behold his glory (John 117:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
Excerpted from Reformed Dogmatics 4.269-70 (paragraph breaks are mine) (HT: Kevin DeYoung)
Read Full Post »