Saturday, August 8, 2015

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

Photo by aussiegali 2012


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
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26 comments:

  1. I love the thought that if we had the power to walk away from our salvation it would be greater than Gids power to keep us. Great statement. But you back it up with scripture, which is even more powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you, Mary, for your comment! Praise God that He keeps our salvation secure, for on our own, we would surely lose it.
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  2. I love the thought that if we had the power to walk away from our salvation it would be greater than Gids power to keep us. Great statement. But you back it up with scripture, which is even more powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. I love the thought that if we had the power to walk away from our salvation it would be greater than Gids power to keep us. Great statement. But you back it up with scripture, which is even more powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. I am interested in reading more of this. I have many thoughts on the subject and will return to read more. I like to interact with other people who think on such things. The same is true of education. Once you have learned something to be true you cannot unlearn it. You can never go back to being ignorant on a subject you have learned and understood.

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    1. You can read my blogs, which also touches on Eternal Security, of which, like Laurie, I too am an advocate.

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    2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Spirit of Simplicity, and I enjoyed visiting your blog as well. I hope you'll come back next week and comment on the second installment. It is so true that what we put into our mind changes it forever, so may we have our minds renewed and transformed by Scripture and not conformed to this world.
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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    3. Thank you, Frank, for making note of your blog posts on eternal security, which are well-written and Bible-based.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. Brilliant article, Laurie, absolutely brilliant!
    About the blood donation though, I have given blood on a regular basis throughout much of my life. I had to stop, under orders, after my cardiac procedure. However, if during the operation I had to have a transfusion, my own donated blood would have been the most suitable.
    Thanks for posting this, I'm looking forward for the next installment. God bless.

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    1. Thanks so much, Frank, for your kind words and uplifting comment! Banking blood for auto-transfusion is still the safest way to receive a transfusion, in those cases where elective surgery is planned and there is time to do so. It used to be the case that you could also designate a transfusion to go to a blood relative, in which case there would be a greater likelihood of compatibility, but I think that is no longer the case.
      May God bless you in the coming week,
      Laurie

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  6. Love how you backed up all these facts with scripture Laurie and love the butterfly example.

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    1. Thank you so much, Deborah! I blessed to hear you enjoyed the post!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. Hi Laurie,
    Always the main thing for me has always been to have my mind renewed in Christ Jesus. I love the analysis of the butterfly.

    Just like the butterfly had to be changed from the caterpillar to the chrysalis, and then to the butterfly, there are changes that I have to go through, and that is why our Lord said that the Holy Spirit would be sent - to teach us and lead us into all truth.

    I feel as if being in the Lord is being in the chrysalis stage while in my physical body on earth while being taught by the Holy Spirit, and in the butterfly stage by being raised up with Christ in the Spirit.

    God bless you Laurie.

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    1. Hi Brenda,
      That is a lovely analogy, Brenda, that we are like the chrysalis in our earthly body, as we die daily to self and let Him give us new life and reassemble us to be more like Him. Praise God for His indwelling Holy Spirit Who directs that process in each believer.
      May God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  8. Great post, Laurie.

    I John 3:2-10 Makes a powerful statement about us not being able to go back and live in the same old sins once we are saved, because as II Corinthians 5:17 says,"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

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    1. Amen, Donald! Praise God that He has quickened us to new life, and that the Holy Spirit indwelling each believer cannot sin. May we die to self and yield to Him daily.
      Thanks as always for your encouraging comment! God bless,
      Laurie

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  9. Great article and scriptures, I think we are all in transformation, "If we allow ourselves"
    Thanks for sharing on the OMHGWW!!

    Have a beautiful week!
    Karren

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    1. Thanks so much, Karren, for hosting and for your lovely comment! May we all be transformed by yielding to the Holy Spirit!
      Hope your week is blessed!
      Laurie

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  10. Thank you. It is such a blessing to study Gods Word. Keep reading, keep praying! Keep writing! Big hug, your Dutch sister in Christ.

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    1. Thank you, Ariella, I am blessed by your encouragement! May we keep studying His Word, praying and writing for Him until He comes again!
      Love and hugs to you,
      Laurie

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  11. I really don't know what to say to be honest. There are things like the possibility to fall from grace if a person returns to the law that I think should also be mentioned and explained when talking about things like this, because falling from gace is something that can happen if a person returns to the law they have been freed from. this is currently one of the biggest issues in the church today, people are returning to the law because of things their pastor taught them about tithing or be cursed and sabbath keeping etc. Many have fallen from grace and don't even know it. Why? Because they are told once saved always saved no matter what. But returning to the law is something that Paul said not only causes us to fall from grace, it also makes us estranged from Christ.

    I will read the other blog post, but this is something I'm going to pray about so God can help me to truly understand the questions I have.

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    1. Dear Sateigdra,
      Paul says, in Galatians 5:

      1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

      (Paul is referring to our Christian liberty, not to our salvation. God's grace gives us both. Once saved, if we choose to go back to legalism, we lose our liberty, but not our salvation.)

      2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
      (In other words, choose whether you're going to follow the law, i.e. be circumcised, or follow Christian liberty. If you choose the law, you cannot benefit from the liberty Christ won for you).

      3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
      (If you're going to try to please God by keeping the law, you have to do it perfectly, which no person can. The only way to please God is by faith -- Heb. 11:6).

      4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
      (Liberty is way better than legalism. If you start depending on legalism to please God, you lose the benefit of His grace, which is liberty. You still don't lose your salvation, and you can regain your liberty by recognizing that Christ is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) and that we trust in His righteousness alone, not in our self-righteousness).

      Here is an excerpt from one commentary on this: The issue of this verse is not eternal security but a contrast of grace and law as systems of relating to God. Grace and law are mutually exclusive; we cannot mix them. A Christian cannot lose his justification. Legalism does not draw us close to God but it drives a wedge between us and God. (http://versebyversecommentary.com/galatians/galatians-54/)

      I join with you in prayer that God will give all of us wisdom and discernment. Praise God that He has promised wisdom to all who ask Him for it (James 1:5).

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  12. Just wanna add something else I've noticed generally each time I've seen this topic discussed or preached. Most person will basically say there is nothing you can do to lose your salvation (nothing), that being the main point, and that's it, it's just lefr open like that. No wonder this topic can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, topics like this can't just be left open like that because it leaves room for people to assume they can do whatever they want and still inherit the kingdom, since the person did say (nothing) u can do can cause youto lose your salvation. Paul realized the dangers of this so he never left topics like this open-ended. Like when he addressed our liberties in Christ, he did just make a point of saying we're free fro the law, then he dropped the mic and walked away, Paul would go on to always say, "however this freedom is not to be used as a cloak for vice". Paul new if you just say part of the message, even if that part is true, if you leave out the rest then it leaves mch room for confusion and misunderstanding. Paul would have many rhetorical questions in his letters he would ask because he knew that after what he just said there would be people wondering certain stuff and he couldn't leave it like that, so he would go on to answer the question he asked that he knew the people were wondering. Jesus on a few occasians did the same. After he made a statement, Jesus could perceive that people were wondering about what he said, he would go onto explain what he said without even asked to explain, some would think Jesus was reading their minds but He was wise enough to perceive and know that people may possibly misunderstand what He said.

    For example with this same topic. Since a person who has their salvation cannot lose it no matter what not by any unseen force or by their own actions, then if they stole or killed somebody or committed adultery or fornication, do they still have their salvation? If they repeatedly do this and not even confess and repent of it, do they still have their salvation? So since nothing can cause you to lose your salvation, can you now do whatever you want and live however you want since your salvation is secured? And if a person bears no fruit of the Spirit, that's nothing because their salvation is secured? This is why topics like this need to be explained thouroughly to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

    A person cannot simply say nothing you can do can cause you to lose your salvation, yet neglect all the scriptures that talk about the falling away of the end times, falling from grace if one returns to the law, and what Paul said about not using our new freedom in Christ as a cloak for vice. All of that must be explained to. Paul who taught about our liberties in Christ was careful not to neglect those other important points. This is why once saved always saved doctrine is a problem, it is an open ended doctrine of the Calvanists and whoever else. Important scriptures that explain that we don't just go buck wild because we are saved by grace through faith and are free from the law, are neglected. This is why I point people to Christ and the scriptures when they wonder about stuff like this, it's very easy to steer people wrong, even if it's unintentinal. We have to teach the whole counsel of God not just a part of it. There are people who teach grace and how we're saved by grace through faith (which is the truth) yet these persons stay clear of mentioning what is written about falling from grace and other pertinent scriptures that clear up confusion and answer questions, I don't know if this is done always intentionally or not, so I just observe and see if later this person goes on to explain rhe rest or they just leave it. Paul taught saved by grace through faith and Paul taught that it's possible to fall from that very same grace if one returns to the law.

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    1. I agree with you, Sateigdra, that our liberty and eternal security is no reason or excuse to sin. Far from it -- because of our gratitude for all Christ has done for us, we should want to serve and obey Him with all we have and all we are.

      I also agree with you that we must not take Scripture out of context, but always consider a particular verse in light of what the bulk of Scripture says on that topic. As our pastor says, the best commentary on the Word of God is the Word of God.

      We are saved by grace, but once we are saved, we experience God's grace daily in all the blessings He gives us. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, so even the unsaved receive that aspect of God's grace. Once we are truly saved, we can still fall out of grace and lose many blessings He would otherwise give us. But salvation -- eternal life given by God through our faith in His Son -- is not earned by good works, not earned by keeping the law, and is received only as a freely given gift by His grace through our faith. We did nothing to earn it and we can do nothing to lose it, for He keeps it by His perfect power.

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