Monday, July 26, 2010


Though I embrace the phrase “eternal security,” I have many problems with the interpretation of it. Many seem to believe they can make an emotional commitment to Jesus Christ, subsequently fall into sin, live in that sin without repentance, and rely upon the eternality of Christ’s finished work of redemption as assurance of their salvation. Such a position, I believe, is a prostitution of the phrase “eternal security.”

Paul, in First Corinthians 6: 9ff clearly demonstrates that one’s conduct is a reflection of his relationship to Holy God when he declares, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Time and again, I find people whose present conduct is diametrically opposite that which Scripture says should be reflected by the child of God, yet they believe their conduct is inconsequential as it relates to their relationship to God because they believe in “eternal security.”

Now, please do not begin to associate me with Pelagianism which asserts that one can lose his salvation, and that such salvation is dependent upon human works. I certainly do not believe Scripture teaches such. I believe Scripture teaches that one’s salvation is wholly dependent upon the finished work Jesus Christ, and that man’s corrupt nature can never affect such merit as to be acceptable to God until by God’s own grace, he has been born again into the family of God. It is a work wholly of God, independent of any merit of man.

Having said that, however, I wish to further develop the theme that one’s conduct necessarily reflects God’s holiness. The writer of Hebrews states in 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” There can be no doubt that those who see God will live holy lives, if one accepts the veracity of God’s Word.

So, the question comes, “What about our failures?” The clear fact is you and I will fail. We will sin, and some of our sin will be extremely socially and governmentally repugnant. Does that mean one is not saved? Not necessarily.

The example of David is, I believe, instructive for us. David committed an abominable sin. Not only did he commit adultery, he murdered to cover it up. Yet, David is called “a man after God’s own heart.” How can this be consistent with the thesis I’ve presented?

David’s sin wreaked great pain upon him and his family, but the faithful servant of God, Nathan, confronted David with his sin, and he was broken over it. He repented and accepted God’s chastisement as well as, His forgiveness, after which God demonstrated that forgiveness by elevating Solomon, David’s son by Bathsheba, to the throne.

The missing element in contemporary church life is genuine repentance. 1 John 1:9 is written to Believers who have stumbled along the way, and like David, desire restoration. However, the preponderance of people today seems to believe that one can simply continue on without such a sense of remorse which leads to repentance as long as he believes in eternal security. The hard cold fact is that “eternal security” does not mean that one can make a commitment to Christ, then live an unholy life and be justified before Holy God.

If there is no remorse over one’s sin when confronted with the evidence of that sin, and no conviction by God’s Holy Spirit that one is out of God’s will for his life, then he probably is not genuinely converted. He is probably one of that group who when the disciples inquired as to why they no longer walked with them, Christ replied that they were no longer with them because they were really never a part of them.

Do you have loved ones or friends, who have turned aside from the path of righteousness and seem oblivious to the demands of God on their lives? If so, it is incumbent upon you to begin to treat them as lost people that they might be saved before it is too late. Pray for their salvation, confront them with their error, and don’t attempt to cover over their condition lest you encourage them in that error.

Time and again people tell me that they fear such direct confrontation will drive their loved ones farther away. I remember Vance Havner saying, “How far are you going to drive a lost man? Hell number two? Hell number three?”

Listen, dear friends, Believers must not place the imprimatur of approval upon the aberrant lifestyles of contemporary society. Drunkenness, cohabitation, drug abuse, pornography, sexual deviancy, homosexuality, idleness, and promiscuity are leading to broken homes, multiple marriages, slothfulness, and financial irresponsibility. All of which are contrary to the holy life God requires.

One’s belief in “eternal security” is not enough. One must be converted by a supernatural work of God which affects such a change that he attempts to live a life which honors God and reflects His handiwork.

© 2010 Mike Rasberry

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Keeping God's Appointments

Recently I read Anita Onarecker Wood's thought provoking book, "Divine Appointment, Our Journey to the Bridge;" in which she gives an overview of her life with her late husband which culminated with a grand event on a bridge in Texas.

That book reminded me of a message I have preached entitled, "Your Story," in which I attempt to help people see that God is at work behind the scenes to bring about scenarios where He will receive glory and people will see His handiwork in the lives of His people.

Last Night, as I was traveling along a four-lane divided highway, I passed an automobile alongside the road with a flat tire. Another vehicle was stopped and I continued on at the speed limit for about a quarter of a mile until I felt an overwhelming urge in my spirit to go back. I discovered, upon my return, that the situation was in hand and all I could offer was encouragement and some light. Nothing dramatic happened. I don't know why God wanted me to turn around and go back, and I may never know until I reach His side in Glory. However, I do know I was strengthened by my act of obedience to His tug upon my heart.

It might be that our most important act is not one in which someone is dramatically saved, or delivered from some dread event. It might just be that the most important thing we can do at any given moment is simply obey the still small voice of Him who guides us, even when we don't see the purpose or necessity of doing so. Samuel told King Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice, and I think the churches of our nation would be stronger if we would begin once more to listen carefully for that voice of direction which indicates our complete trust in Him who died for us.

The Apostle Paul had a grand plan to evangelize a particular geographical area, but he testified that God prohibited his going there. Sometimes we might substitute the very good for God's very best when we commit ourselves to a course of action which, while commendable, is not God's best for us at that time.

The great question then in one's mind should be, "What would You have me do, Lord?" Even waiting for His direction is often within His divine plan. So while we wait, we demonstrate trust in Him and His willingness to communicate His will to us. The Jewish vagabonds had wandered for forty years and then were to told to camp and wait across the swollen River Jordan from the land of promise. They were not told to build boats, bridges, or dams; but to wait.

I don't know why God acts in the ways He has chosen, but I trust Him to do that which is best for me and mine in every situation. When I remember that, I'm less inclined toward anger, frustration, fear, and aggravation. I'm more inclined toward peace, joy, and genuine happiness. Should He want me to turn around on a dark road and investigate a situation, I'll experience less than His best for me if I don't obey. My responsibility is to discern and do His will while leaving the results and consequences up to Him.

© 2010 Mike Rasberry