2008-12-27 - A Firm Salvation
Colossians 1:23, "If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard..."
Standing firm in the Gospel is not a small task for the follower of Christ. The world, and our natural propensities toward sin, both make faithfulness difficult for even the most stalwart Christian. The enticements to move aside from the hope we have in Christ are real, and the conflict we engage in is real. If you do not feel the conflict, it is more likely that you are yielding than fighting, capitulating rather than standing firm. But stand firm we must, so that one day Christ will "present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach," Col. 1:22.
As we consider standing firm in Christ, a quick look at salvation itself is not out of order. Salvation in Christ is complete. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Rom 8:1. We are free from condemnation for our sins now and forever, once we have trusted and placed all our hope in Christ. Even beyond this, all those who have come to Christ in faith will persevere to the end. "He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus," Phil 1:6. God keeps all that are His. We read in Scripture of being born again, but we do not read that those who have been regenerated ever need to be given new hearts again. No place in Scripture speaks of being born again, and again, and again, and again. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," John 10:27, 28. Christ gives eternal life, and to suppose that what He gives we either can lose or He can take back, thus making us need regeneration a second time, is absurd. If Christ saves, He saves perfectly. No one who is born again need be reborn again. We don't ever see such a concept in God's Word. We stand firm in our faith, because we have been firmly established in it through Christ.
The ground of our hope is that God claims the prerogative in giving mercy. "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion," Romans 9:15. We are not saved by any goodness in our natural disposition, but by God's loving mercy. The reason for God's love is His love. Nothing else is needed than that God so wills to forgive and grant mercy. The Father saves on the basis of what the Son has done. The Christian places all his/her trust in the finished work of Christ, and stands fast against anything that would draw him/her from Christ. Salvation is a work that is done outside of ourselves, but it is applied to us by the Holy Spirit, who draws us to Christ's mercy. Because we are resting in Christ, and seeking to stand firm in our faith, the least sin in us ought to humble us greatly, and yet the greatest sin in us ought not to cause us to despair - because Christ has covered it with His blood. It is a great salvation we have in Christ. There is nothing in the world like it, and we may with our whole hearts agree with Jonathan Edwards when he says, "If any man can prove this form of the gospel to be untrue and a mere dream, the very best thing that he can do is to sit down and weep forever to think that he has disproved the brightest hope that ever shown upon the eyes of men." But we know it cannot be disproved, if we are resting in Christ, because we know it's reality in our hearts.
Soli Deo Gloria,