Federally Backed Security
Nations are currently experiencing the most volatile economic period in a generation. Many investors here in America have made moves to reduce their risk and put their treasure into securities backed by the U.S. federal government. The government gives us its word that it will guarantee deposits up to a certain amount. If that institution falters, will our financial peace of mind endure?
The stakes are even higher when we consider the treasure of our souls. There are only two destinations — heaven or hell. We are either storing up righteousness or wrath (cf. Matt. 6:19; Rom. 2:5). What guarantee do you have that you are headed towards an eternity of joy rather than an eternity of judgment?
Many professing Christians would answer that they have eternal security and will quickly cite the verse “once saved, always saved.” Can’t find that in your Bible? Neither can I. Properly understood this phrase is harmless. Yet there is the potential for an anemic Christianity to accompany this mindset.
What we do find in the Bible is a bit more sobering and a lot more comforting than “once saved, always saved”. We find real warnings of apostasy for presumptuous church members — Christians in name only (Heb. 6:4-8; Luke 6:46-49). We find that true Christian’s assurance of salvation is guaranteed not by their profession of faith or some momentary zeal for Jesus. The Bible tells us to continually cling to Jesus and therein is our hope (cf. John 6: 39, 10:27-29).
So our hope is not in who we are or what we did. Jesus is the guarantee of our salvation (Phil. 1:6). John Bunyan illustrates this in the pages of Pilgrim’s Progress. In the Interpreter’s house, Pilgrim is taken into a room and shown a fireplace full of flames. On one side of the fireplace, there is a man dousing the flames with buckets of water. Pilgrim is then shown the other side of the wall where another is fueling the fire with oil and the flames grow brighter. The observer is taught that while the devil tries to extinguish the work of grace in the believer’s heart, Christ “continually, with the oil of His grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart.”
We persevere because God preserves us. In Christ we have a surety, a guarantor of salvation (Heb. 7:22). He is our federal head. Those savingly united to Christ experience secure, eternal benefits. Jesus never defaults on His promises.
This article is from the May 2009 issue of Tabletalk. Learn more or subscribe to the magazine here.