Sunday, March 28, 2010

Once Saved, Always Saved

This is something I thought I figured out years ago.  I was settled in my heart with what I believed.  We’ve been discussing this in our Sunday School class and I find myself rethinking my position.  (And I was in agreement with our church’s position.)

Let me clarify the question before I get started on the post.  The question is once a person is a Christian (has accepted Christ) can he lose his salvation?

Salvation is Believing in Jesus - “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36)

Not Saved by Works - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Salvation is a Free Gift from God – There’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation and nothing we can do to keep it.  - “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)

If you could lose your salvation then he didn’t give you eternal life – that in itself describes something that never ends.

Salvation happens at a point in time – not a process. “For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

When you accept Christ, you become a child of God.   (1 John 3:2 and Romans 8:15)

Nothing can separate us from our Father.  Nothing can “undo” your spiritual birth.  It is the difference between relationship and fellowship.  You can turn your back on your parents and never talk to them again but they will still be your parents.  You will be out of “fellowship” with them but the relationship is still intact. The same is true with your heavenly Father. 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.” (John 10:29)

Jesus will never leave us - “"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrew 13:5)  How could Jesus make this claim if there was a possibility that you could lose your salvation?

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20

When the Bible talks about eternal life, it talks about it in the present tense  - something we already have.  If we could lose it, how could we already have it?  If we had to do anything to keep it, how could we already have it?

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36)

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

That all sounds really convincing but what about the person who turns his back on Christ after believing.  He will lose rewards in heaven but he will be saved.  (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Even if we choose not to believe, we are already a child of God.  “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

If salvation is a free gift from God and I know that God will never take it back, can I give it back?  What if I turn my back on God?  I was reading Hebrews 6:4-6 and started to struggle with these Scriptures but I think I have come to a conclusion that makes sense to me.

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

This is actually throwing out a hypothetical situation.  It says if they fall away.  It doesn’t say when they fall away.  It says if we could lose our salvation then Jesus would have to die all over again for us to get it back.  That’s not only impossible but also ridiculous.  He dies once for all.

Can you lose your salvation from sin in your life?  If so, what kind of sin and how much sin?  There’s no verse in the Bible that tells us.  We are told that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – this implies that all sin can be forgiven as there were no conditions placed on this promise.  Hebrews chapter 12 tells us that all Christians sin.  It states that instead of a loss of salvation, sin brings God’s chastening.  He disciplines us as a father would his children. 

If a Christian is once saved, always saved, should he care about how he leads his life?  Does it matter how he lives?  Paul addressed this issue in Romans chapter 6.  We would never say, so ahead and sin because after all you accepted Christ and are saved.  If you are not willing to live for Christ, how can you say that you were sincere when you asked Him to save you? 

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”  Were you sincere, did you really commit your life to Christ.  If you did, it will be evidenced by a changed life.

Our security rests in God’s unchanging love and grace and the sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross to pay for our sins. 

Let me close with Romans 5:8-10

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Paul uses past tense verbs – have been justified and have been reconciled.  You can’t undo it – it’s a done deal.

I think I have just re-convinced myself of my original position.

I welcome your thoughts.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I read today that the average person speaks 10,000 words a day.  If we are talking that much, our words probably have a purpose or an effect. What effect do your words have on others?

According to Bible, words have power. 

“The tongue has the power of life and death,” Proverbs 18:21

The words we speak are extremely important.  Jesus said,” But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:36-37)

This makes me think long and hard about some of the things I say.  Have you ever said anything and wished you could have the words back?  Once something is said, you can never take it back. You can apologize for things but you can never undo it. 

James gives us some insight into how we should react to each other.  “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”  (James 1:19)

We are to be eager to listen.  Better listeners, understand better.  They work better with others.  They are better spouse and better colleagues.  Try using your ears twice as much as you use your tongue. 

Our words can be destructive or constructive.  They can bless and build up or they can hurt and destroy.  It is our choice to use our words to encourage others.

So how are you going to use your 10,000 words today?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Psalm 27

“The LORD is my light and my salvation;
          whom shall I fear?
     the LORD is the strength of my life;
          of whom shall I be afraid?”
  Psalm 27:1

One thing I noticed in the above Scripture is that it doesn’t say that the Lord gives light.  It also doesn’t say that the Lord provides strength.  It says the Lord is light and the Lord is strength.

When you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside you.  From inside you, the Lord is light and strength.  He takes care of you from the inside out.

Not even Goliath scared David because David knew that the battle was already won.

Just in case you think your life is harder than David’s was, read the next couple of verses.

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”  Psalm 27:2-3

Saul’s entire army was out to get him.  One man versus one army – that doesn’t seem like very good odds.

The Lord was David’s strength.  He was confident in what God could and would do through him.  It seems like in this situation there would be a lot of things I would ask the Lord for.  David’s focus was on one thing only – his relationship with the Lord.  Look at the next verse.

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

David is not showing fear.  He is confident in what the Lord was going to do.  He knew the Lord would protect him. 

No matter how tough we have it, I think David probably had it worse.  So no matter what you are going through, look to the Lord.  Seek a relationship with Him.  Be confident that the Lord loves you and that He is light and strength inside you.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


This is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

Psalm 62:1-2; 5-8

1My soul waits in silence for God only;
         From Him is my salvation.
2He only is my rock and my salvation,
         My stronghold
; I shall not be greatly shaken.

5My soul, wait in silence for God only,
         For my hope is from Him.
6He only is my rock and my salvation,
         My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
7On God my salvation and my glory rest;
         The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
8Trust in Him at all times, O people;
            Pour out your heart before Him;
         God is a refuge for us.”

Wait and persevere.

Waiting involves trusting.  Waiting includes praying.  Waiting implies resting.  We simply need to trust and wait in Him. 


“While I Am Waiting” by John Waller


Friday, March 19, 2010


I don’t seem to be persevering very well and so this may be a topic I shouldn’t write about.  Then again, because I don’t think I am doing it well, perhaps something I write will help me.  This blog is suppose to be about what I am learning and thinking.

A long time ago I read a book titled “Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back.”  I was thinking today that my life feels more like Two Steps Forward Three Steps Back.  I don’t feel like I am making any progress in some areas of my life – especially where my foot is concerned.  I’ve had problems with this foot for over a year and a half now.  I just want to be able to walk without pain.  Enough whining, let me continue on with my blog for today.

Psalm 62:1-2

“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

David is talking to himself.  He is telling himself to stop and wait for God.  Wait for God to direct my steps.  He is my rock.  Wait on Him to provide for my needs. Have you ever talked to yourself like this?  I talk to myself lots of times. 

Verse 1 also talked about waiting in silence.  Sometimes I just need to shut up and listen.  Stop speaking.  Close my eyes.  Meditate on who God is.  Meditate on what His Word is saying to me.  Listen deeply.  Listen to my heart.  Hebrews 8:10 says that God will inscribe His law….His will ….upon my  heart and mind.

Have confidence.  Verse 2 of Psalm 62 says that God is my rock and my stronghold.  It is because of the confidence I have in God that allows me to wait quietly for Him.

Finally know that Romans 5:3 says that perseverance produces character.  Perhaps that is what God had in mind for me all along ….


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are You Content?

I have had a particularly frustrating week.  I was anxious to return to the foot doctor on Tuesday.  I was hoping to get the cast off my foot.  I thought I was really lucky because the doctor did remove the cast.  She put me in a removable walking cast and told me to wean myself off my crutches over the next week.

My foot is stiff.  The ankle is sore.  The heel still hurts some.  I could deal with all of this, but somehow because of the funny way I was walking, I hurt my back.  This was not what I needed this week.  It is so sore that I can barely move.

So I sat here tonight to read my Bible and I was feeling fairly frustrated and what did I turn to ….

Philippians Ch 4.  Isn’t it bad enough that it is telling me to rejoice in everything but it is also telling me to be content in all circumstances.  This was what I needed to hear, but not what I wanted to hear. 

God’s Word seems to continually meet me where I am and minister to my needs.  I am not feeling content.  The chapter goes on to say that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  It also says that He will meet all my needs.  It really comes down to whether I trust Christ or not.

It’s all about choices.  Choosing to rejoice.  Choosing to pray about everything.  Choosing to be content.  Choosing to trust.

What will you choose?


Monday, March 15, 2010


I’m reading the book “Amish Grace”.  It’s about the Amish peoples’ response to the shooting of ten schoolgirls at the the Nickel Mines School on Pennsylvania in 2006.

The book tells about how the Amish people almost immediately forgave the shooter.  They supported his family.  They sent food to his family.  They attended his funeral.  They donated money to his widow.   Granting forgiveness was a natural action for them.  It was not an option, just a normal part of living for the Amish.

A father of one of the girls who had been killed stated “ Our forgiveness is not in our words, it’s in our actions; it’s not what we said, but what we did.  That was our forgiveness.”  Forgiveness is an integral part of the Amish culture.

One Amish man quoted a sign seen on a church and said we try to “preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

Do our lives reflect this kind of forgiveness?  Am I guilty of holding a grudge?  Is there someone I need to forgive? 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mission Trip

I’ve spent the week helping my daughter.  She is leaving tomorrow morning to go on a missions trip for the next week.  She and 16 other girls from her school are going to New Mexico.  They will be working on a Navajo reservation for a week.  Some of their jobs will be painting a church, delivering food to the elderly and working with teen Moms.

This is a tremendous opportunity for her.  She will get to see a part of the country that she hasn’t been in before.  She will be working with people in another culture.  She will spend her week helping others. 

Why would she want to do something like this?  Why would we want her to do this?

She feels like this is what God wants her to do with her spring break.  If she feels that way, then her Dad and I will encourage her to follow where the Lord leads her.  She is almost 17 and able to start making decisions for herself.

I heard this quote a long time ago and it has stuck with me. “The safest place to be is within the will of God.” 

I have prayed for her since before she was born.  I have prayed that she would love the Lord and want to serve Him. She accepted Christ when she was 5 years old.  She has always loved learning about God.  Now she has a chance to apply all that she has learned.

I am excited to hear how God uses her and her team.  I am also excited to hear how God works in her life as she serves others for the next week.  It could be a life changing event for her.

Will you join me in praying for her and her team?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Made in the Image of God

Last week I blogged some stuff about being made in the image of God.  I’ve given that some more thought and tried to come up with some applications of that idea.

Since I am an educator, I think like an educator and these ideas come from that perspective.

Education must impact the student or it serves no purpose.  In order to really impact students, we have to consider the whole child – mind, body, and spirit.  We have to see our students as unique creations of God. Every one is different and yet all are created in His image. 

Keep in mind there is a huge difference between being made like God and being God.  God’s attributes are infinite and perfect.  Ours are finite and imperfect.  We are the reflection of a living God.  A reflection is not the real thing but displays what the real thing looks like. Our lives should reflect what God is like.

God is an active and purposeful God.  He is not just sitting back waiting to see how events will unfold.  Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God makes things happen according to His will and good purpose.  God is busy trying to reach out to the lost – not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  Psalm 135:6 says that the Lord does whatever pleases him.  He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He was responsible for the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms. The point being made is that God has been purposefully acting since the creation of the world. 

We should also be purposefully acting.  I guess the key is what is your purpose. Since we are made in the image of God we are purposeful beings.  Therefore our purpose should be aligned with God’s purpose and not a self-centered purpose.  The students in our classes are acting with a purpose.  The children who we see as doing nothing as also acting with a purpose.  Their purpose doesn’t always align with our purpose and that’s were problems arise. 

God is a rational God.  He is a thinking, evaluating, problem-solving, logical God. He operates according to rules and not according to chaos.  That’s why the world makes sense. That’s why mathematics always works. That’s what holds the universe together. 

When we think our way through a problem to a logical solution, we are reflecting God’s character. Thinking is built into our existence.  All our efforts to make sense of this world involve thinking. Our students are thinking all the time. Our goal is to guide their thinking, to keep them on track, to help them solve their problems through a Biblical worldview. 

God is a creative God.  This is clearly seen in Genesis.  God takes delight in His creation.  God pronounced that His creation was good – he gave it value. 

As a reflection of God’s character we are continually creating things.  Then we often decide whether we think they are “good”.  We labor to produce the item and then we delight in it.  When I think about this my mind immediately goes to art work but this idea has far reaching applications.  Our creations could be books, science theories, technological items, movies, or even families.  One thing that I see in schools is that creativity is often squelched in students.  So much of education is geared towards “the right answer” that children are not challenged to create their own solutions.  Children are afraid to step outside the acceptable response and offer alternatives.  We need to encourage the creative thinker.  After all, they could be the next Thomas Edison.

When thinking about God’s character, I think of morality or in other words a standard of what is right and what is wrong.  Things like loving mercy, hating evil, being selfless, those things are right.  They are right because they align with God’s laws.  Someone higher than us has to determine right and wrong.  These things are not arbitrary or relative. 

Psalm 119:30 says “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.”  We make choices and decide what we are going to do.  Our actions display our choices and our heart.  (Mark 7:21) God’s law is the standard and we expected to “do justly” (Micah 6:8) and therefore reflect God’s character.

God is a social being.  Even before creation, He existed as a trinity.  Genesis 1:26 says “Let us make man in our image.”  This indicates a joint effort.  Isaiah 6:8, God asks “Who will go for us?”  God wanted us to get involved in ministry. 

God created us with a need for two kinds of relationships.  We have a created need to have a relationship with God.  1 Corinthians 1:9 talks about our need for fellowship with Jesus.  We also have a need for relationships with other people.  Think about the relationship between David and Jonathan.  Or how about Paul and Timothy.  Our relationships should be characterized by love and support.  Our students need these kinds of relationships.  How can we encourage and foster these?  Sometimes in our effort to “do school”, we stifle their efforts to communicate and to develop those deep long lasting friendships.

God acts freely and according to His purposes.  He makes choices according to His will.  He chose to create the universe.  He created us with that same free will. 

We make choices all the time.  Sometimes good choices and others are not so good.  We are accountable for those choices.  (We reap what we sow.) Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.  As an educator, I must give my students the opportunity to make choices.  Then they need to accept the consequences, whether good or bad, for those choices.  We cannot simply keep telling our students what to do and what to believe. 

There are many more attributes that I could write about but I think I will quit here.  The main point is that we are to reflect God’s character.  When people look at my life, something should point them to God.  It may be my actions, my purpose, or my standards for right and wrong.  It could be how I show love, justice, and mercy to others.  It could be how I relate and communicate with others. 

Think about how others see you.  Would they be pointed toward God?  Are you looking at others like they are unique creations of God.  Do you remember that God loves them, too?  (even if they fail your test)  Are you conscious that each child has a special and God-given purpose?  (Even the ones that annoy you.) Treat people the way that God would want you to treat them.  When they mess up, cut them some slack – you mess up sometimes too.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.

A lot of these thoughts come from things I learned years ago from Dr. Graham at Covenant College.  Thanks Dr. Graham for the impact you had on my life.


Sunday, March 7, 2010


Our pastor today talked about the idea that a sacrifice isn’t really a sacrifice unless it costs you something.  He used 2 Samuel 24:24 as his text for this idea.

The story goes like this, there was a plague on Israel and tens of thousands of people died.  David went to build an altar so he could offer a sacrifice to the Lord.  Araunah offered to give his threshing floor and oxen to David to use as his sacrifice.  David insisted on paying him.  He understood that the sacrifice had to cost him something in order for it to have meaning.

Then the pastor related that to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us and what that cost the Father.

I’ve been thinking on this throughout the day.  Sacrifices are dead.  However, Paul tells us we are to be living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1-2)We are to be dead to our own selfish desires.  Yet somehow we are to be alive? 

We must sacrifice our body to be transformed from a life of sin to a life that is conformed to God’s will.  We are a special people – a royal priesthood.  (1 Peter)  We are to offer praise and thanksgiving as a form of spiritual sacrifice.  Everything we do should be aligned with God’s will for our lives

What are you going to sacrifice?  Are you going to sacrifice that extra sleep in the morning so you can spend time reading the Word?  Perhaps give up that TV show so you can have a prayer time.

What’s it going to be?


Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Psalm 51:!7 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Hebrews 13:15-16 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Splitting Image

Someone told me today that my daughter looks just like me.  She used the term “splitting image”.

I was thinking about how we are made in God’s image.  (Genesis 1:27)  We are a reflection of his character.  We were made to resemble God.

Man was created as a rational, volitional being.  We can reason and make choices.  This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom.  When a man uses his artistic ability to create a beautiful work of art, he is reflecting God’s creativity.  When a man writes a computer program, he is reflecting God’s logic.  Anytime a man writes a book, enjoys good music, names an animal, or does a calculation, he is showing God’s image.

Morally we were created in righteousness and were a reflection of God’s holiness. God looked at His creation and called it very good.  Whenever someone praises good behavior or feels guilty, he is confirming that he is made in God’s image.

Man is a social being and was created for fellowship.  This is a reflection of the trinity.  God made women because it wasn’t good for man to be alone. 

While we are image bearers of God, we also bear the marks of sin.  The good news is that through the grace of God we can be redeemed from the sin that separates us from God.  Through Christ we are a new creation.


“and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:24

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:8-10

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are you lazy-minded?

I am reading the book, “The Pattern of God’s Truth: The Integration of Faith and Learning.”  In chapter 2 Gaebelein states, “Many Christians today are lazy-minded.  Too often the Protestant layman relies solely upon his minister for the understanding and even the reading of his Bible.”

We need a personal encounter with God’s Word.  We need to allow God’s Word to mold and shape our lives, our attitudes, our thoughts, and our actions.  It can’t do that if we don’t have first-hand knowledge of what it says.  It is great to read commentaries and Christian books but they are not God’s Word. They are not inerrant.  They are not spirit-filled.  There is an over-reliance on what others think about God and on other peoples’ opinions of the Word.  We need a fresh look at God’s Word. 

The Bible has authority and power.  God said His Word can change you.  His Word won’t return void.   “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

God will never change and His Word will never change.  (Exodus 3:14) 

God’s Word will never pass away.  (Mark 13:31)

The Bible is the final authority for all matters of faith, religion, and morals.  Those are things I am interested in.  I want, need, desire to know more.  These things affect every area of my life every day.

So what’s it going to be……. are you lazy-minded or are you going to dig into the Bible and let God speak fresh and new to you today?


“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”  (2 Timothy 3:15–17)

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Joshua 1:8

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2