“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
We’re back to Romans 8! Now, this section (verses 12-17) has more affirmative statements by Paul as he intentionally drives home facts. If you read the text carefully, you will see that these are “done deal” type of ideas. Yes, there is a qualifier, but that is only to distinguish between the believer and the rest of the world. Jesus, and thus Paul, is very careful to delineate between sheep and goats.
This is no small matter because the typical church is filled with people who aren’t his sheep, who don’t recognize his voice, and who don’t follow him. Jesus isn’t promising eternal life to everyone; he’s promising it only to those whom are in the Father’s hand.
Let’s look closer at verse 14, above. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Who is taking responsibility in this verse? Who has the active role? It’s the Spirit of God who is leading. Yes, we’re following, but pay attention to who is leading. We have an intentional leader. Look, there are all sorts of examples in the bible like this. You are familiar with them. For example:
John 6:37-40 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
If I could convince believers of one thing, it would be this – that your salvation is secure, as in rock-solid, in-the-bank, forever-and-ever, can’t-lose-it-if-you-tried type of secure. This all boils down to who chose whom in terms of salvation. Catholics say that baptism is the key to salvation. That’s why they baptize infants. On the other hand, they teach that one can lose his/her salvation by committing a mortal sin. The problem is that “mortal” sin isn’t so easy to define. Trust me, I’ve researched this high and low. For them, there are no cut and dried answers other than this – one CAN lose his/her salvation and spend eternity in hell despite once being “saved.”
Catholics aren’t the only ones that feel this way. Many Protestants believe one can walk away from his/her salvation. While some think infant baptism is the means to salvation, others believe that only adults may “choose” to follow Christ. Regardless, a significant number of Protestants vehemently maintain that one can simply “choose” not to follow him as well.
Both the Catholic and Protestant views, therefore, require positive actions to maintain salvation. And, yes, there is some sort of negative action that can forever unravel all the good that a person had.
Folks, this isn’t supported by the fullness of scripture. Yes, one can isolate a verse here and there that may make it look like salvation is conditional, but these verses take on an entirely different meaning when taken into context with the bible as a whole. Let’s take a verse in Romans 8, for example:
Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
That’s conditional, right? That proves one can cancel the contract, right? No. This isn’t a condition AFTER salvation, it’s a qualifier FOR salvation. We may think suffering, in this context, might mean that we must be willing to die like Jesus died (and the Apostles), a horrific death. Does it? I sure hope not because that would mean that virtually no one will make it to heaven. Could suffering mean something entirely different?
You and I will one day be sin-free when we meet Jesus face-to-face. Until then, we are required to repent and walk away from a life of sin. Right? Some sin goes easily, other sin seems permanently stuck. It isn’t, but it is really, really, reallllllyyyyyy hard to get rid of. I tell you what, if you don’t suffer getting rid of a besetting sin, you have never tried getting rid of it.
How about suffering the loss of family or friends because you have become a Christian? Have you ever been negatively labeled because of your faith in Jesus? Have you been snubbed while trying to share the gospel – snubbed when all you are trying to do is tell them how they might live forever?
We don’t do these things because we have to. We do these things because we can. Now, our zeal may not be as intense as the years go by, but that doesn’t mean we have lost our salvation. True, there are liars and fakes who for a season claim they are Christians but aren’t. Sooner or later, their true identity will be exposed. The bible tells us all about that in many, many places. No, a true Christian may lose luster, but that doesn’t mean they lose their faith. Their faith isn’t theirs to lose. Remember, it is a gift of God, so that no man may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It seems to me that a primary purpose of the apostle’s writings is to make us aware that our luster may dull and to ENCOURAGE us in the truth of the gospel. One of those main truths is that YOUR SALVATION IS SECURE! IT CANNOT BE LOST!
Pay attention to Romans 8. Read it carefully. Over and over, Paul hammers home this truth. Once this is grounded in your mind, heart, and spirit, you will then begin to truly understand the magnitude and intensity of God’s mercy.
Father, keep it coming! Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers