OUT OF THE WOODS
by J.F.T. Woods
Q. You say that the believer "has eternal life as a present possession." What if the believer stops believing? Having become an unbeliever again, wouldnít he lose his salvation?
A. In addressing Jews concerning the new birth, Peter speaks of "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever" (I Peter 1:23). Anything born of corruptible seed may perish. Something born of incorruptible seed cannot, or language has no meaning! That the Christianís "old man" has been crucified (put to death) with Christ is clearly taught in the Bible (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20). Our old man, the person we were in Adam under sin and condemnation, went into the tomb with Christ never to emerge. What emerged was a new creation with Christ-life, not the old creature with Adam-life (and Adam-death).
Careful students of the Pauline Epistles will surely notice that at least 36 things became true of us the instant we trusted the cross-work of Christ that were not true of us a moment before. Each of these components of our salvation was wrought solely by God and completely in Grace while we were sinners, ungodly, enemies, helpless, alienated, and even spiritually DEAD! (Romans 5:8; 4:5; 5:10; 5:6; Ephesians 4:18; 2:5). A trip through the Pauline Epistles with a hiliter will reveal the eternal blessings that became ours in Christ when we simply believed. Our faith was not a virtue that God rewarded, but a non-meritorious act that "unlocked the vault" to a salvation already completed by our Substitute on Calvary. An African gentleman, asked to define "faith" called it "the hand of the heart". That is true. Faith simply receives what is offered freely. Many Christians mistakenly make faith a work in spite of such Scriptures as Romans 4:4,5,16; and 11:6. Many make faith the savior, but it is not. Grace saves through faith, as plainly taught in such verses as Ephesians 2:8-9. If our faith could save us and then fail us and lose us, it would not have saved us at all! Salvation is from any possibility of condemnation to the certainty of eternity in Heaven. Faith, once exercised, instantly brings eternal salvation that can never be lost. Believing is the only thing that we can do without "doing" anything.
God did all of the saving on the cross. That was the infinitely hard part. All that we do is "all of the being saved". That is the infinitely easy part (if it is ever "easy" for boastful man to trust only in the infinite generosity of a loving God). If a rich uncle dies and leaves 100 million dollars to you all you have to do is collect it. Your going to the bank does not create the wealth nor deposit it...you uncle did all of that. The wealth is yours, completely provided by another. But it will never do you any good unless you accept it. Godís grace alone provided your wealth. Your faith simply collects what is there for you.
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