A common question often asked among Christians is, “Do believe that once a person is saved they are always saved?” The question is in essence asking, “Is the state of being justified before God something that a person can have and then lose?” We’ll unpack the answer in the paragraphs that follow but, for an immediate response, and to help frame the discussion, let me say that from God’s perspective salvation is a concrete plan from all of eternity and executed in time; while, from man’s perspective, it can look as though a person once ‘had saving faith’ and then ‘lost saving faith.’
Tag: Faith (Page 1 of 3)
In Genesis 22 not much attention is usually given to the ram. Understandably so. There’s so much in this chapter to marvel at: the testing of Abraham, the way in which Abraham’s offering of Isaac foreshadows the sacrifice of God the Father offering His beloved Son, Isaac’s humble submission as a prefiguration of the obedience of Christ, the parallel between Abraham’s words, “God will provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22:8) and those of John the Baptist thousands of years later, “behold the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). There is indeed much to contemplate in this chapter; but for now, let us take a moment to marvel at the connection between Abraham, the ram and Jehovah Jireh.
In the opening verses of the ninth chapter of Luke’s Gospel we see Jesus calling, equipping and commissioning His apostles to minister to the cities and towns of Galilee (Lk. 9:1-2). After telling them to basically leave and go only with the things they had in their possession in that moment (vs.3), He told them:
“Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.” (vs.4)
In Matthew’s Gospel we can see some additional caveats and instructions that Jesus gave them. He said that when they entered a city or a town they were to inquire who in it was worthy (Mt. 10:11). This likely meant that (a) they should see who in that town was known for showing kindness and hospitality, and (b) perhaps implicit in the statement of worthiness was the idea that they were to find men and women who were waiting for the kingdom of God.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
First, let’s notice what the people had asked Peter that provoked his response in verse thirty-eight: “What must we do?” (vs.37b). Their question appears akin to the Philippian jailer’s question in chapter sixteen, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30b). To which Paul responded by saying, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (vs.31). For starters, we shouldn’t think that Luke was unaware of this contrast when he comprised this volume. Although the language Peter used in Acts 2:38 is different than that of Paul in Acts 16:31, I would argue that both are saying the same thing using different language in different contexts.
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Col 2:11-12)
The idea of what’s spoken of in this passage appears to clearly be of a spiritual nature, similar to Romans 6:3-4, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27, and 1 Peter 3:21. We can see that in the immediate context of the passage. The believers were circumcised with the circumcision “made without hands.” It was this spiritual circumcision (cf. Rom 2:28-29), “the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh”, that Paul called “the circumcision of Christ.” Now, if the circumcision that saved believers and put off their sins was done “without hands” shouldn’t we conclude that the baptism that Paul was speaking of was “without hands” as well? It would be strange for Paul to stress that one physical ritual wasn’t what put off the sins of the flesh but that it was a physical ritual of water baptism that united a person truly with Christ in His resurrection.