As to Eternal Security. I am not sure. There are proof texts on both sides.
These days I am tending toward the belief that we can lose our salvation. I believe that God honors our freedom beyond all else [how else do we explain the state of the church and the world].
When Paul lists those things that cannot separate us from the love of God, he leaves out one thing that can – our own free choice. We chose “in” and I believe we can choose “out”.
Also, and this is much dearer to my heart these days, I am thinking a lot about how we define the word “Christian”. The writers of the New Testament used the word “Messiah” under 10 times to describe Jesus. They used the term “Son of God” 30-40 times. They used the term “Lord” over 700 times. It is impossible to read the New Testament without coming to the conclusion that, as far as they were concerned, the central factor in defining the term “Christian” is the lordship of Jesus.
A Christian is one who has made Jesus his Lord. This means a changed life. Discipleship. When I see little evidence of any intention to make Jesus Lord, I tend to think the person never really met Him. I have a real concern about how we “sell” Jesus these days. Most of the time the message I hear is that Jesus will solve all of our problems and give us “abundant life” which to most of our hearers means “more stuff than my neighbors have”.
We have been so influenced by the spirit of materialism and pleasure that dominates our culture that we define salvation in material terms. This, of course, proves not to work and soon the person says, “I tried Christianity and it didn’t work for me”. They walk away. The sad thing is, as far as I am concerned, they never tried Christianity. If we would define Christianity as the Lordship of Jesus we would have many fewer converts and many more disciples and almost no apostates.
Interestingly, we would then resemble the demographics of the early church. Perhaps we would also resemble the early church in the degree of her power. I have read much of Michael Browns book “Hyper Grace” and so far I agree with everything he says with some question about whether or not we were forgiven in total at the cross or whether we need to receive it in installments as we sin and repent. That may sound like a big question, but for all the reasons I have given throughout our discussion, I think we arrive at the same practical conclusion and that is that repentance is an ongoing form of spiritual breathing which is essential to life with God – for many more reasons beyond the legal issue of the atonement of sin.
I am still thinking a lot about Michael’s arguments and am open to changing my conclusions on this issue but in practical terms it doesn’t make any difference to how I live or how I would counsel others to live. I tend to define my faith in functional terms which means much of the time I can avoid a firm position on many of these debatable questions. I have to go. Thoughts?