God Has The Power
To Save Us
And Keep Us Saved
Just to be clear “Eternal Security” is a teaching that says:
Once a person is saved they can never lose their salvation. Or in other words, there is no sin they can commit that will cancel out God’s saving grace.
Or to say it more succinctly: Once saved, always saved.
Some people believe eternal security and some people don’t. I am one that does.
But when you promote this idea one of the first objections involves “what-if” questions. “What if a person does this or that terrible thing?” The assumption is there must be a point beyond which either God’s ability or willingness to save ends. For example:
- What if a person commits serial murder, e.g., Ted Bundy?
- What if a person commits genocide, mass murder – e.g., Hitler?
- What if a person traffics in slavery?
It’s hard to argue against such emotionally charged questions. A salvation that can endure such egregious sins sounds too good to be true. Makes one indignant. Not only that, it runs counter to human experience, seems a bit too “pie in the sky-ish” to accept and those who disagree, or have serious insecurities about it, struggle to find a place to fit in.
No Pat Answers
Admittedly, the questions are good ones and there are no pat answers. I nor anyone else can give you a quick hit that resolves the issue just like that. Read more
Filed under: Personal Development, Personal Failure, Sport
“Improved” Is The Goal
Dealing With Negatives
Is The Process
You hear a lot these days about being positive – power of positive thinking and all – and I’m not going to say that’s wrong. Who doesn’t like positive. Good news is always better than bad, but!
A world where only positive things exist is not possible and considering negative things in the right frame of mind actually results in positive outcomes. That means that “negative” doesn’t necessarily equate to “horrible.” Consider the following:
You couldn’t have electricity if you didn’t have both positive and negative charges. Those “+” and “-” signs on every battery means the current will flow. It’s called opposing polarity and without it I couldn’t write this post. My wife couldn’t cook great rye bread. Printers wouldn’t print, cars wouldn’t start, CT scans wouldn’t scan and the lights would go off. Some of you might be able to live without my post but if I can’t write mine you can’t write yours. Negative charges support the freedom of speech and that’s a positive thing.
And the application can be broadened. Good writers become better when they make positive changes based on negative (constructive) comments. Talented athletes become superior performers when they use negative criticism to replace poor technique with better technique.
Negative is bad only:
- When it is left unsaid.
- When it is the only thing we hear or far outweighs the positive.
- When it is expressed in condescending and condemning tones.
- When we focus so much on the negative that we fail to formulate a positive action to change it.
- When it is perceived as bad but isn’t.
Otherwise negatives are the bumps we climb on, the hard knocks we learn from, the lemons that make lemonade and so on.
By all means be positive but only in an honest realistic way. Make a point of considering your negative traits and finding ways to replace them with positive ones. What could be more positively rewarding than that?
Filed under: Bible Study, Personal Failure, Salvation
Is Not The Same
As Being Christian
This post answers the question, “Why are Christians sometimes more sinful than non-Christians?”
And the answer is found in understanding the difference between Christian Condition (salvation) and Christian Living (character). Or to put it more simply, salvation VS character.
I say “VS” because these two ideas don’t blend. And this really is the crux of the issue.
The right “condition” – salvation – should, in theory, produce better “character” but that doesn’t always happen, at least not so we can tell it, and it never works in reverse. Good character never produces salvation. They are two entirely separate issues. Both can and do happen apart from the other.
Nicodemus developed good character as an adult long before and apart from his salvation. Fortunately, he did eventually get saved but his salvation was not an outcome of his character and, sadly, there are many “good” people who don’t get saved. Nicodemus had many associates who missed their opportunity.
Christians often justify marrying unbelievers because they are “very good.” It is the “good” part that makes them attractive in spite of being lost. In some cases these good people eventually become Christian and in some they don’t but being “good” had no bearing on the outcome either way. Good character makes them easy to marry and live with. It does nothing to change their “condition.”
The reverse is also true. It is possible to become a believer and never catch up entirely on the character scale. David with his polygamy and adultery is a good example.
This is an important discussion because you often find non-Christians – in some cases atheists – living on a higher moral plane than Christians. You also find varying degrees of integrity among believers. Some have great qualities and others need a lot of growth.
But, the truth is…
“Christian” is not synonymous with “good” any more than “unbeliever” is synonymous with “bad.”
And the Bible has many examples of people who were good before they became believers. Read more
Filed under: Personal Failure, Sport
No, I don’t believe God watches football or any other sport for that matter – even though Dallas fans suggest the Boys are His team – but maybe He does keep score. Not the score on the field but the one tallied from life outside the game.
And, no, I don’t think opposing sides in any match can be strictly represented as “The Good Guys vs The Bad Guys,” but one bad apple can smudge the image of an entire team.
We really need to broaden our thinking. Integrity does influence the outcome in any competition and football, like any other sport is complex and therefore, far more than “just a game.” It is multi-dimensional to say the least:
- It’s a buisness.
- A means of income and those who win take home the most.
- A measure of achievement.
- An exhibition of camaraderie.
- A great source of entertainment.
- As well as a means of modeling good character, or bad, as the case may be – on and off the field of play.
And the most recent Super Bowl, XLV-2011, illustrates the point well. Both teams, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, are hard working teams that match up well. Lots of talent, experience and heart on both sides of the ball. There wasn’t much to separate them at the start.
One team, however, had a flaw which is difficult to overcome. A high profile, stand out player, Big Ben, was charged not once but twice with sexual assault the most recent happening in March 2010. In the 2010 case, which involved a 20 year old college student, the charges were dropped but unfortunately for Ben the smear didn’t go away. Read more
This question is usually broached on a theological level and is defined primarily in terms of the atonement with an eye to the future, beyond this life. For example,
The resurrection is proof that Jesus’ death solves our sin problem and God’s wrath has been abated giving us hope in the eternal sense of the word.
This definition, however, is attractive mostly to scholars musing in classrooms filled with theological fumes. It doesn’t do much for the average guy on the street trudging through the difficulties of day to day living, struggling with personal failure and chronic faults, and it certainly doesn’t parallel the first thoughts of the early disciples either. Read more