|Photo by aussiegali 2012|
Saturday, August 8, 2015
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Some things in life are irreversible. These processes involve permanent change -- you can’t unboil a hard-boiled egg. Many of them are the product of decay and corruption traced back to the curse of sin (Genesis 3:17-19) -- you can’t change rust back to iron. Far fewer of these irreversible processes reflect an improvement, like a diamond formed from soft carbon.
Many examples of irreversible events occur in the biological realm. If you receive a blood transfusion, you can’t return the blood, even if you change your mind. Once a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly, it can never resume its original state. And once a baby is delivered from its mother’s womb, there is no going back inside (John 3:4).
All of which remind me of eternal security. Once you are saved by placing your faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), you are instantly and irreversibly changed. There is no going back to condemnation by the law (Romans 8:1-4), which merits eternal punishment in hell. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
The blood of Christ washes the believer clean of all his sins (1 John 1:7; Isaiah 1:18). The Holy Spirit takes up residence in his heart (Romans 8:9-14), giving him the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5), which transforms him into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). And he is born again (John 3:5-8) as a child of God, receiving joint inheritance with Christ (Romans 8:14-17) and the freely given gift of abundant, eternal life (John 3:15-16; 10:10).
A dear reader of this blog began a stimulating discussion on the post, “Who Needs the Law?”, regarding whether a person who trusted Christ but then chooses to walk away from the faith can lose their salvation. Can salvation be reversed?
We are saved by God’s grace through our faith in His Son, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:27-28), because God regards our own self-righteousness as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No good work that we could do in any way mitigates the fact that we have broken God’s law, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23). If we can’t do anything to earn our salvation, which is the freely given gift of God, we can’t do anything to lose it.
Almighty God is all-powerful (Genesis 17:1;28:3; 35:11, etc.), and He is the Triune God keeping us eternally secure in the double grip of Jesus Christ the Son and God the Father (John 10:28-29), sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). No power, whether a physical force, human enemy, spiritual demon, or even our own free will can reverse the metamorphosis God has wrought (Romans 8:35-39).
If we could undo His salvation simply by walking away from it, our power to walk away would be greater than God’s power to keep us, and we would have more power than Almighty God, which is impossible. His gift of “eternal” life would be an empty promise if that life could end whenever we decided to reject it. Our new, immediate, permanent status as His children (Ephesians 1:5) would have no meaning.
A blood transfusion can save our life if we are hemorrhaging. Once the red blood cells have entered our blood stream, we cannot voluntarily will them to disappear so that we return from health to the brink of death. The power in the blood of Christ far transcends this, for it takes us from spiritual and eternal death in hell to abundant and eternal life in Heaven.
His shed blood, as symbolized in the sacrament of communion (1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:25), is the new testament (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20), meaning covenant, promise or will, that frees us from the penalty of sin and makes us joint heirs with Him, to share in all the riches of glory. He has purchased us, or redeemed us from the slave market of sin, with His blood (Acts 20:28; (Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Our faith in the power of His shed blood removes us from sin (Psalm 103:12) and from the power of sin (Hebrews 9:22). It justifies us in God’s sight (Romans 3:24-28; 5:8-11), making it “just as if I’d” never sinned. His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). His blood reconciles us to God, making peace with Him (Colossians 1:19-20). The righteousness of His Son is imputed, or credited to our account, appeasing the wrath of God (Romans 3:22-26; 4:22-25).
Before we were saved we were hopeless, aliens, and strangers, but His blood transports us from being far away to being close to God (Ephesians 2:12-13). Once we are saved, His blood not only redeems us but translates us into His kingdom (Colossians 1:12-14), allowing us to enter into the holiest place where God Himself is (Hebrews 10:19). By washing us in His blood, Jesus Christ has made those who trust Him kings and priests to Himself and His Father (Revelation 5:9-10).
What an amazing transformation God has created in His enemies who are washed in His blood, born again as His children, and indwelled by His Holy Spirit to have the mind of Christ! As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” How can anyone who has experienced the mind of Christ ever be the same?
Like the caterpillar that not only dies within the chrysalis but has all its tissues dissolved and metamorphosed into the new stuff of the butterfly, Christ has made us dead to sins and to our old destiny. He has quickened us, or made us alive, giving us a spiritual rebirth forever transporting us to heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3,20; 2:6).
Born-again believers can no more go back to being what we once were than a butterfly can decide to become a caterpillar or than a child can crawl back into his mother’s womb. Nothing and no one, not even ourselves, can rob us of the amazing treasures that are our joint inheritance with Christ once we are saved (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9). As the song goes, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”
How then can we explain those who say they are saved but then appear to walk away from the faith? Many are justifiably bothered by this question, which we will discuss next week, Lord willing!
© 2015 Laurie Collett