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 Works versus Faith (Part 4) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Random Verses — Part 2)

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PostSubject: Works versus Faith (Part 4) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Random Verses — Part 2)   Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:03 pm

Works versus Faith (Part 4) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Random Verses — Part 2)

We are working our way through passages in the bible that prove that a Christian cannot lose their salvation and also that salvation is by faith only devoid of works.  Later, we will go over the passages that are often misinterpreted and used to support the opposite view.  But we still have a number of verses to look at that prove eternal security for all Christians.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 reads, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  The Holy Spirit is God’s seal of ownership of us.  Seals in biblical times represented ownership and they were also used to guarantee security.  The Holy Spirit is God’s seal.  Man cannot break a seal that God seals.  God seals a Christian couple, for example, who gets married because they marry into a divine covenant.  If the Christian married couple were to divorce based on irreconcilable differences, God would still view the couple as married because God sealed them, but He did not unseal them.  Their divorce certificate would mean nothing in God’s eyes.  To get a legitimate divorce, a Christian couple would have to do so according to God’s terms of His covenant and then He will unseal the relationship.  The New Covenant of salvation has no such proscription for unbinding the seal.  (Well, that is mostly true.  We talked about the only exception to a Christian not being able to lose his or her salvation and that is by recanting the faith in Christ that seals them.  If they convert from Christianity to Buddhism, for example, then the seal (and the Holy Spirit) is no longer there.  As long as you are a Christian you are sealed and no sin can unseal you.)  

God seals us and that seal represents His ownership of us.  One of the reasons why a Christian cannot lose their salvation is because God sealed us with the Holy Spirit.  The verse goes on to say that the Holy Spirit is a deposit that guarantees what is to come.  Clearly, this verse was written to offer the believer security that they will not lose their salvation.  This verse also implies that a believer cannot lose the Holy Spirit either.  All Christians have the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is given the moment a person believes in Christ.  I’ll prove this explicitly soon.  2 Corinthians 5:5 is a similar verse.  It reads, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  

Ephesians offers us more detail on this particular topic.  Ephesians 1:13b reads, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  This verse reiterates that the Holy Spirit is God’s seal, marking His ownership of us.  It also reiterates that the Holy Spirit is His deposit that guarantees our salvation.  But it adds an important detail.  It says that the deposit’s expiration date does not expire until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.  It gives a time.  We are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the last day.  The last day is the day of judgment and redemption for believers.  I don’t know what happens to the Holy Spirit after that day.  The bible does not tell us.  But the Christian cannot lose the Holy Spirit and are sealed with Him up to the day that all Christians stand before the Lord (sometime just after the Rapture) and receive our judgments and rewards based on our stewardship of these earthly temples (our bodies).  Up until that moment, the Holy Spirit dwells within the Christians’ bodies and will also dwell in their intermediate spiritual bodies after they physically die while they await the moment, after the Rapture occurs, when we will stand before the Lord for our judgment.  

Ephesians 4:30 reiterates everything we have said up till now.  It reads, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  This verse too gives a date.  So we do not have to worry that we will lose the Holy Spirit in our lifetime.  You will still have Him even after you pass away and up to at least that date.  One thing that will happen near that date is that we become married to the Lamb Jesus.  Seven years later we will be celebrating the Wedding celebration for 1,000 years.  The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of our salvation.  There is nothing you can do to lose salvation and the seal of the Holy Spirit is God’s proof of this.  Becoming saved is a one-time event.  And if God hates divorce, certainly He does not have in mind to divorce the bride of the Lamb, which is the Church.  

Ephesians 4:30 reveals something else: It shows that it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit and still be sealed for the day of redemption.  He commands the church of Ephesus to not grieve the Holy Spirit, but whether or not they do, they are still sealed for the day of redemption.  People who teach that a Christian can lose their salvation base their assumptions that sin and grieving the Holy Spirit will cause the Holy Spirit to go away.  That only happened in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit leaves a person because of their sin.  Saul, for example, was filled with the Holy Spirit, but because of his sin, the Holy Spirit left him.  Sampson had the Holy Spirit leave him, but then he prayed and the Holy Spirit returned and empowered him again even though his hair had been cut off.  The Old Testament is more accurately translated as the Old Covenant.  The New Covenant, based on the finished work of Christ on the cross is not like the Old Covenant.  When a person is saved, the Holy Spirit seals them for salvation permanently.  

Romans 8:9 is a very important verse.  It is one of those verses that if you read it too fast you miss it.  It reads, "You, however, are controlled not by the flesh but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."  Did you catch it?  Nah, see, you read it too fast (just kidding).  It says that the Christian is controlled by the Holy Spirit.  When you sin as a Christian it hurts.  It hurts because you are being controlled by the Holy Spirit, and when He is grieved, it trickles down and you become grieved.  Interestingly, and this is just a side-note, it says that we are not controlled by the flesh.  When you are tempted to sin it certainly feels like you are being controlled by the flesh.  What we need to realize is our new identity in Christ.  The flesh is not you so you do not have to let it control you.  You do not have to give in to its desires.  When you believed in Jesus, Jesus purified your soul, put His Spirit in you, but left your flesh (your body) with all of its sinful desires untouched.  He will only change that when we receive our new bodies.  It will also be changed, simply by dropping these bodies the moment we die.  When we die, we will no longer be attached to the flesh with all of its sin desires and there will just be the perfect us that Christ redeemed and made into new creatures.  Our personalities is the 3rd party in the trio (flesh, spirit, soul), and that is our soul.  Our souls are continually becoming conformed into the likeness of Jesus by the work of the Spirit who is in you.  

As I mentioned, I came to a side-note and took me away from the point I was making.  Back on point: Romans 8:9 continues, "...if the Spirit of God lives in you..." He is talking to Christians.  That is like saying, "if the reader is indeed a Christian..."  He goes on to clarify what he is saying, "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."  This last part says that if a person does not have the Holy Spirit in them then they are not Christian.  To be a Christian is to have the Holy Spirit in you.  If you do not have the Holy Spirit in you then you are not a Christian.  This verse tells us that all Christians have the Holy Spirit.  There is no such thing as a Christian without the Holy Spirit.  The moment you believe in Christ you receive the Holy Spirit, and as we have been studying, you continue to have Him until the last day, which is the day of Judgement for the Christian, which is after this lifetime.  So there is nothing that you can possibly do to lose the Holy Spirit, and likewise, your salvation.  There is no sin you need to worry about.  It might pop into your mind here, "What about blaspheming against the Holy Spirit?"  We will get to that when we talk about the misinterpreted verses that seem to indicate that a Christian can lose his or her salvation.  So stay tuned.  

We will look next at Luke 18:26-27.  Jesus had just made the comment that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.  That statement alone does suggest that salvation is based on works, or the heart of a person.  But this would be an incorrect application of this passage, and again, we will cover this later.  Right here I would like to focus on the response of those who heard him say this.  Verse 26 says, "Those who heard this asked, 'Who then can be saved?'  Jesus replied, 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'"  Jesus responds that obtaining salvation is impossible with men.  It is impossible for a person to make himself saved by anything he does.  We cannot strive to become a better person so that we might make it into Heaven.  Since salvation is impossible to attain because it is not based on things we do, it is based on believing what He did for us, then salvation is equally impossible to lose for the same reason.  All things are possible with God.  It is possible for God to fit a camel within the eye of a needle for salvation.  But note that Jesus did not referring to His own comment before their response to His comment.  Their comment was "How can anyone be saved?"  Jesus’ comment was that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.  The people, not Jesus, assumed salvation is synonymous with entering the Kingdom of God.

2 Timothy 1:9 does not need much commentary.  It says, "...who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace."  My commentary is just to reiterate what it is saying.  He saved us not because of anything we have done.  That is a lot like Titus 3:5, which we did look at already.  It reads, "...he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy."  Salvation is not predicated on anything that we do.  2 Thessalonians 2:13b tells us what is necessary to be saved and who is doing the work for our salvation to be extant.  It says, "...God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth."  This verse says that we are not the ones who need to work for our salvation; rather, the Holy Spirit does all the work necessary for our salvation and the only thing we need to do is to believe in the truth.  We are saved to do good works, but the works we do (or neglect to do) have nothing to do with receiving and retaining salvation.  

Hebrews 6:19-20 says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf..."  An accurate understanding of Christianity will give believers confidence that they are secure and will never see death and the torments of hell.  Jesus anchors the soul for eternity and His anchor is firm and secure.   We have this anchor, as this verse says, because Jesus is our Most High Priest and enters the holy of holies on our behalf.  Our anchor has nothing to do with what we do other than us having faith in the one who anchors us.   And finally, there is one word that I want to point out in Jude 1.  It reads, "...To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ."  The word "by" can also be rendered here as "for" or "in", but "by" is not the word I want to focus our attention to.  "Kept" is the word.  We are kept by or in (doesn't matter) Jesus Christ.  He is keeping us.  He purchased us through His blood and there are no returns on His purchase.
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Works versus Faith (Part 4) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Random Verses — Part 2)
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