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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Monday, January 19, 2009
Double Crucifixion. Part IV - Being Convinced Of The Impossible.
If you haven't done so already, please read through the first, second, and third posts in this series to get the context.

When I use the word "impossible", I am describing something that cannot happen. The past, for example, cannot be changed - we can obscure it, or report it incorrectly, but it is impossible to change it.

Scripture doesn't use the word "impossible" very often, and when it does use it, it is almost exclusive to the New Testament. That being true, when scripture does use the word, we stand up and take note.

Consider some of the very few things that scripture describes as impossible:
Salvation Through Human Effort Is Impossible:
Matthew 19:25-26 - When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved? And looking at them Jesus said to them, With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [NASB]
Mark 10:26-27 - They were even more astonished and said to Him, 'Then who can be saved?' Looking at them, Jesus said, 'ith people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.'

That is, man cannot produce salvation of himself - it is impossible. God must do it.

It Was Impossible For Christ To Be Held By Death's Power.
Acts 2:24 - But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Nuff said.

It is impossible for the blood of Goats and Bulls to take away sin
Hebrews 10:4 - For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Again, this needs no commentary.

It Is Impossible To Please God Without Faith
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the Rewarder of those who seek Him.

So clear, again what can I add to that?

It Is Impossible For The Law To Free A Man From Sin's Power
Romans 8:3 - For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

The law was unable to save a man from sin's power - it wasn't merely difficult, but impossible. The purpose of the law was never to make men righteous, but to show them that they are not righteous.
Interestingly enough, what we see is that spiritual things are impossible for carnal creatures, except where God intervenes. Not every example makes that obvious, but it is a passing notation I am willing to mention. Spiritual things are not merely difficult or improbable - they are outright un-doable, and Impossible means that there is no room for another option, and that is going to be important as we look at one of scriptures critical absolutes, which I plan to mention in some later post.

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posted by Daniel @ 5:44 AM  
10 Comments:
  • At 11:23 AM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    For some reason I feel like this series is turning into another presentation of the doctrines of Grace??

     
  • At 2:07 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, did I not openly state in the first post that I would be "articulating what I believe scripture teaches: the eternal security of the believer" ?

    That being the "P" in the TULIP acronymn I am indeed presenting one facet of the doctrines of grace - but I can't say I am turning this into that, since it has always been that - and clearly described as such - from the beginning.

    :)

     
  • At 3:37 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    You are funny Daniel...

    Just curious, what does the perseverance of the saints have to do with our eternal security in Christ?

     
  • At 4:18 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, are you joking?

    Please define what you think perseverance of the saints is, then define what you think eternal security is, compare the two, and tell me whether or not you see the one in the other?

     
  • At 4:19 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, and if you cannot see the one in the other - then please, tell me how you define them, as I am genuine interested.

     
  • At 8:55 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I am being somewhat facetious in this discussion; although it is to try and stimulate some thought.

    I see eternal security as the life of God given to the believer as a sure, steadfast, unchanging and eternal gift that will not be taken aware by our Lord. We have this promise based upon the word of God which never changes. It is a fundamental truth imperative to learn in the infant stages of a new believers life, for it provides the foundation upon which to understand God's character and nature.

    From my understanding there are two main interpretations of "perseverance of the saints", which really are not that different at all.

    Arminian
    Those who persevere to the end will be saved; those who do not will lose their salvation.

    Calvinist
    Those who persevere to the end prove their salvation; those who do not prove they were never saved to begin with.

    Neither position guarantees "eternal security" to the believer, but is based upon the works of the individual and their relative degree of comfort with their spiritually and goodness.

    From my study of scripture, I see persevering as keeping the faith, remaining faithful to Christ, finishing well, running the race; to ultimately claim the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Christ will reward His faithful children at His return according to their works. What this reward is I cannot tell you but it has nothing to do with the eternal life promised to us as a gift.


    Let me know if I am coming across coherently.

     
  • At 10:39 PM, January 19, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, that's coherent enough.

    You describe (quite well) what the assurance of sonship looks like - and I wonder if you haven't smooshed together the doctrine of eternal security and the assurance of salvation into one?

     
  • At 10:48 AM, January 21, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, sorry I was too busy yesterday to check back.

    I was hoping for a more "enlightened" response from you than this?

    I am not quite sure what differences between the two you are thinking about?

     
  • At 12:02 PM, January 21, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, no worries. I was going to drill down a bit in my previous reply, but had to go to bed for the night.

    God alone guarantees our eternal security. Our theology either articulates that or fails to do so, but our theology doesn't change it. Our eternal security is in Christ, regardless of whether we are able to describe it to ourselves or others with precision and clarity.

    Let us say that a bank decides to host "eternally secure" bank accounts. What would they look like? Well, you would put money in them, and thereafter, for all eternity, the money would remain yours. You wouldn't be able to close the account, since it is eternal, it cannot be closed. You wouldn't be able to disown the account, since it is eternally yours. In order for the account to be "eternally secure" - you wouldn't even be able to draw your own money out.

    Eternal security, in the Christian sense, means that our salvation is eternally fixed - it is a constant, and unchangeable reality - the only salvation a man can lose is a non-eternal one. If a man is eternally secure, he cannot lose his salvation.

    If a person believes salvation is something they themselves make happen (with divine assistance of course), and again something they themselves maintain through on-going (divinely assisted) self effort - they are only being logical and consistent when they conclude that one can lose this by failing to continue in the requisite "staying-saved" works, whatever they define them to be. In this system, whatever is labeled "eternal security" is certainly not eternal, nor is it secure - it would best be labeled "momentary security", or perhaps "eternal insecurity" since it is neither eternal, nor secure. This one sees the apostate as one who was secure, but who has since lost that security - was saved, but is now lost.

    On the other hand, the one who regards eternal security as, well, eternal, and secure, says that salvation depends upon God's ability to keep us, and not our ability to keep ourselves. God doesn't fail, so those who are saved are saved forever. When a person falls away from the church, they demonstrate that it was they, and not God, who was maintaining them in the church - they didn't have a genuine faith in God, but were hoping (through the Christian religion) to gain the "fold" of eternal life by jumping over the fence into it, rather than coming through the "Door" - if you follow the metaphor (and you I know you do). They were "sheep" if you will, but they were never part of His flock because although they pressed themselves into the flock, they did not do so through the Shepherd of the sheep. They acknowledge Him as the Shepherd, and they may even go where He leads the flock and do what He tells the flock to do - they may eat where He leads the flock, and they may drink where He waters the flock - but they are not His sheep because ownership doesn't happen through hanging around with other sheep, it happens when a sheep presents itself to the Shepherd, and not before.


    If I believe that I can lose my salvation, my security is going to depend upon what I believe will restore my salvation.

    If I believe that faith can be had and lost then had again, it stands to reason that my hope is going to be that I happen to die during one of my fickle fits of faith.

    My sanctification becomes a sort of spiritual insulation - the more sanctified I am today, the less likely I am to fall away tomorrow, the more likely I am to be "saved" on the day death finds me.

    The whole focus of my Christian endeavor (under such a scheme) is on keeping myself saved. All my ministry, all my "love for the saints" - all my everything is a sacrifice on the altar of self - I do it all to ensure that my afterlife is everything it could and should be. My faith, and my walk are nothing more than sanctified expressions of my own perverse selfishness - dressed up in Christian clothing - and I am not serving Christ, but myself, not loving others even as I serve them, for I only serve and love them insofar as doing so secures for me a place in heaven. It is, perhaps the most holy seeming of deceptions - but that is why the tares look so much like the wheat.

    On the other hand, If a person believes salvation is something that God brings about - they do not work to prove that God has done so, nor do they work to maintain what God has done - they work because God has done so, and after they are dead, their works, which were not performed to maintain their own salvation (which is just selfishness), but performed out of love from a true heart - an act of worship in spirit and in truth, and not in some selfish scheme to stay out of hell. The nature of the work they do testifies to their salvation, and not the work itself. The motive of their work, the impetus - these testify to the genuineness of their salvation - not the work itself.

    Does that make sense, or should I rephrase it?

     
  • At 1:35 PM, January 21, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    "God alone guarantees our eternal security. Our theology either articulates that or fails to do so, but our theology doesn't change it. Our eternal security is in Christ, regardless of whether we are able to describe it to ourselves or others with precision and clarity."

    I agree completely!! Our assurance simply comes from understanding and believing this truth.

    Please note Daniel that when I speak of works I am in no way inferring a means of attaining, keeping, preventing from losing, or otherwise jeapardizing the eternal life abiding in myself and every other believer in Christ.

    Rather, the good works the NT speaks of are generated out of the abundance of my abiding in Christ and are the fruit of the life operating within me. I must however co-operate with the Spirit and not quench his moving in my life.

    If I choose to set my mind on the flesh I will experience "death", but when I set my mind on the Spirit and I am infused with the life of God, which is the enabling factor to live pleasing to Him who called me.

     
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