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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Misunderstanding a Secure Salvation

Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV) 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Many people are afraid of a gospel that can be grasped but not released. It is the gospel which saves us but never lets us go. It is the gospel that assures our salvation even though we fail to live sinless lives. However, it is a misunderstanding of this gospel that permits licentious behavior with impunity. This misunderstanding gives so-called Christians a justification for doing nothing, giving nothing and being nothing for God.

Paul had a clear goal in mind. He was seeking Christ's image to be impressed upon himself. He was continually leaving what he was behind so that he could press forward to what he was to become. He was seeking to complete his calling. He knew that the moment of passing from this earth would be the completion of whom he was to become. It wasn't that he doubted his salvation; he was counting on it!

Our salvation will mature us so that we are never complacent about our present condition. A true salvation does not allow for a secure apathy. It is humbling because it reveals the difference between what we are and what we are to come. It continues to bring us to a new glory of change as we become more like Christ. We praise God for the difference He continues to make in our lives. We know we are not finished until He is finished with us on this earth.

Therefore, we press forward, not because we are hastening the day of our death, but because we are bringing to light His glory through us. We press forward in ever increasing praise as we see what He is doing to complete us. We press forward because we see Him more clearly as we come closer to Him.

I sometimes do funerals for people who have the thinnest of salvation stories. The loved ones will note that the deceased was a member of a church when younger. They will siay that he had no use for organized religion as if that was a justification of living his life apart from a Christian testimony and other Christians. I think, "Really? Do you think that you can ignore the Christ's Bride, the Church, and still get invited to the wedding reception?"

Why do we not realize that the completion of the wedding vow is "until death do us part." The successful completion of a marriage is met at the grave. Why do we not realize that the fulfillment of our vow of salvation is fully realized when our hearts beat for the last beat? What would a marriage be if the bride and groom separated right after the ceremony and, though they never saw each other again, cavorted with others for the rest of their lives? Can we really call it salvation if our Christian lives reflect this type of living?

The Christian knows that his salvation is secure because His Lord holds onto him. But he also knows that his salvation is doing a work within. It gets him up and motivates him to become more like his Lord. It is this that makes the Christian exlaim:

Praise God, that He is not through with me!

Praise God, that He is still working on me!

Praise God that He is coming closer!

Praise God for I will be ready for the end of this life!

I press on toward the goal . . . .

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

Indeed, such as being said by Ps Prentis here, is the correct posture of any Christian living still on earth.

I cannot stress enough that Christians are on a journey, on the move all the times. It is NOT just what I think; it is all there portrayed in Scripture.

I do not want to steal the thunder from under Ps Prentis, and so, I will NOT expound here on the parabolic journeys in Scripture; but I will mention that the journey of the people of God, the Israelites, to the Promised Land is a parable to the Christian life on earth - we are on a journey to our eternal Promised Land, Heaven; and the Way or Highway of Holiness given by the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 35:8-10, is also a description of our journey.

Because it is a journey, there are a couple of important things to bear in mind; I will just mention a few here:

1. If it is a journey, it means you and I have NOT arrived. Think about this; it is NOT you are perfect; it is NOT you have the FULL mind of Christ; it is NOT you do NOT need to "work" anymore!

2. If it is a journey, you are NOT alone. You are NOT alone, for Christ Jesus is with you and travels with you, by His Spirit. You are NOT alone, for there are many other brothers and sisters travelling along with you. You are NOT alone, for there will be those who would want to get you off the journey or the highway.

3. If it is a journey, you will stumble, for sure. That is why you need the mercy of God. That is why you need the grace of God. That is why you need a faithful God, and He is faithful (2 Tim 2:13).

4. If it is a journey, you need to keep going. Your God moves along, and so must you! God just moves forward, so must you. God let go of the past, so must you.

I will just elaborate a little more on the last point of the need to keep going. Am I not right that the God of ours, keep going? God created and intentioned Man to holy and blameless (Eph 1:4), but Man sinned, God kept going. Man became really, really terrible and horrible, God kept going despite He had to bring the Flood. The Israelites broke covenant with Him, despite He bringing them out of Egypt to sojourn to the Promised Land, God kept going. God did NOT sit there and wallowed in self-pity. God did NOT give up on Man. God tweaked real-time, and moved forward, all the time. God did NOT and does NOT go back in time. God just deals with a situation and moves forward. God the Father is NOT alone; He has the Son, and He has the Holy Spirit. They move forward together as One. God taught, praised, chastised, and forgave, and moved forward, and He is still doing that, with all of us. If God does that, don't you think we should adopt the same posture in our lives on earth? We are to learn and teach, we are to praise, and at times, chastise, and we are to forgive, and move on forward. You and I have NOT arrived, and so we cannot be "staying in the same spot". Do NOT stay in the same spot of spiritual indifference. Do NOT stay in the same spot of apathy. Do NOT stay in same spot of self-pity or self-wallowing. Do NOT stay in the same spot of anger. Do NOT stay in the same spot of resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. Do NOT stay in the dark. Come out, come out, come out of it. As a Christian, you are in a state of being saved. Believe in that, and move along, in tandem with God, through His Holy Spirit indwelling in you... till He takes you Home.