Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

I just finished Rob Bell‘s Love Wins. It was a quick read and just hurt my heart while reading it. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle had similar feelings that I had and decided to co-write a new book called Erasing Hell.

There is a very interesting and helpful interview with Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle about why they wrote the book and their feelings about all of this. Please watch it here.

If someone believes that they got themselves into Christ, then it is only natural to believe they can get themselves out of Christ. But Hebrews 12:2 clearly states that God is both the Author and Finisher or Perfecter of our faith. He began it and He finishes it perfectly. To say you can lose your salvation is saying Christ can only save me if I keep up my salvation. The truth is, you will keep up your salvation perfectly because of the new willing heart that God has given you and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which you received when you were Born Again by the power and will of God and God alone (John 1:13). God has guaranteed your perseverance and your perfect “keeping up of your salvation” (if you want to say that, which I don’t). But when you do persevere you can also say what Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

There is a wealth of Bible passages that guarantee that our salvation is perfectly secure in Christ. There are some passages that people like to look to to try to say that you can lose your salvation, and the most popular one that people use is actually rarely read in context, which is the key to understanding anything in the Bible. This is Hebrews 6:4-6. Let’s look at these verses real quickly and then make some final thoughts.

4For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

People will say that these verses guarantee that people can lose their salvation. We have two problems with that;

  1. Language like enlightened, tasting the heavenly gift, sharing in the Holy Spirit, tasting the Word of God and  the powers of the age to come, do not, I repeat, DO NOT mean that the person was saved. Remember the audience of Hebrews that were being written to here. The Jews were enlightened with the knowledge of who God was because they were given the law and were His chosen people. They tasted of many heavenly gifts such as the manna in the desert in Moses‘ time and Christ’s bread and fish in John 6. They shared in the Holy Spirit in the sense that they experienced the Holy Spirit empowered ministry of Jesus and tasted of Christ’s Word. They also tasted of the powers of the age to come in the many interactions with God through Moses and Christ, as well as every other prophet in scripture. That didn’t mean that everyone who did those things were saved, in fact the reality is that in spite of all those interactions, most still did not believe. A whole generation was left in the wilderness before entering the promise land after the great “experiences” or instances of “enlightenment.” After they all “taste of the heavenly gifts” of Jesus Christ in John 6, the thousands that were well fed just a few verses earlier left Jesus in the dust when he said that God is sovereign over who comes and does not come to Jesus and has eternal life, thus proving that they were never truly born again, they just desired to have their bellies filled for free. What this verse is really saying is that when a person has the fullest experience of who God really is in Christ, and then they reject Him, they are never capable of getting more information and are saying they understand it all, and they still don’t want Him. You can try to tell them, but they have all the knowledge you can give them, it is hopeless.
  2. If you are going to say these verses prove you can lose your salvation, you have to also at least be consistent with the rest of verse 6 which clearly says that this person can never again be restored to repentance because they would be re-crucifying Christ. The crazy thing is that everyone who believes that you can lose your salvation also believes that you can get it back again. This verse clearly says you can’t restore them again to repentance, it’s impossible (Verse 4 and 6).

Telling people they can lose their salvation is more fear-mongering than it is equipping people for the battle that we all face everyday. That’s like a King saying to his people about to go into battle, “gear up, but you will probably lose cause I ain’t fighting with you. I will be back in the castle living it up. Good luck.”

My King says, “I guarantee your victory in this battle because I am the one leading the charge and doing all the fighting. When you succeed it is only because I’ve given you power to defeat your enemy. Also, I have determined the end from the beginning so I know infallibly that you will win this and all battles because I Am the Alpha and Omega and I will do all that I set out to do.”

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: People celebrate in the...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So this morning I wake up at 5:00 am to do my P90X workout to then have my wife tell me that she just heard on the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by the US. She said that there were videos and pictures of people gathered at Ground Zero in New York City, as well as countless other places around the US, celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. As soon as I heard this, I had no idea what to think, feel, or do. My heart sank. As a Christian I felt that it would be wrong to celebrate the death of someone created in God‘s image. But I also began to think of some deep thoughts, questions, and observations that I would like to share with you.

Here are some pictures of people celebrating over Bin Laden’s death.

Why was everyone celebrating? I understand that if he really did orchestrate the attacks on 9/11 then he must be punished for them. But why do I understand this to be so? It is part of our deepest desire to have the wrongs righted in our lives. 9/11 was a terrible event that saw many people lose their lives. We wanted justice. If Bin Laden died this week, which I think it is terrible that we just assume at face value that this is true because President Obama said so even though there is absolutely no evidence for this, then my question is where is he now?

Think over that question long and hard. Is Bin Laden in hell or heaven? Or is he in a temporary hell being offered the chance to still work through his 9/11 garbage, as well as other sins, and come on through the open doors of heaven? This is what Rob bell has written about lately. He suggests that it does not matter if you actually cognitively understand the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who alone saves from sin, death, and hell. He goes on to say that God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and God has to get what He wants in order to actually be worthy of praise so then the natural assumption is that all men will be saved, even through the temporary correction of hell’s flames.

Rob Bell recently did an interview with NPR news. Hear it here. He says in his interview that he leaves the door open for people from other faiths to be getting to heaven through Jesus. He also says in the interview that he cannot trust a God who sends people to hell to be punished for eternity. What about Osama Bin Laden? Is he in a place of eternal flames right now without ever getting the chance or offer of escaping it? It is ridiculous for a Christian to assume that a Buddhist man who rejected Christ is not in heaven, but I do understand that it is not easy to admit this because he may have been seen as a good man. We don’t like to think of “good” people being in hell. I put “good” in quotes because the Bible is clear that there is none good or righteous (Romans 3).

But is it easy to go along with Rob Bell’s ideas and say Bin Laden is in Heaven? Or at least Bin Laden will be in Heaven… someday?

We want justice. That is why these people celebrate over the death of Osama Bin Laden. If we are all going to be in Heaven someday then who cares about 9/11? There would be no justice. While Bin Laden was alive, Christians should have been praying for his soul to come to know Jesus, but now his time is up.

And this isn’t even touching on the fact that all of our sin is actually first and foremost against God. That is the real matter. That is what brings out the discussion about Gandhi, or anyone else who rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being in Hell, no matter how “good” they seem to be.

I leave you with this thought. Heaven is eternal. Hell is eternal. The way to God is through the atoning work of Christ’s blood. The grace of God through faith in Christ. The forgiveness of sins that is only found in Jesus. There is no other salvation outside of Christ. If both Gandhi and Bin Laden rejected Christ, they are both in hell. Their sin is equal in the eyes of God because they both trampled on the blood of God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ.

“If Rob Bell is right then the Bible is wrong.” – Sean Harris

The Lamb’s Book of Life that is. I just finished watching a sermon by a certain pastor that I will not name because he is not the point of this blog post. Something he said was very intriguing though. The message overall was decent, actually one of this pastor’s better messages that I heard in a long time. But one thing he said jumped out at me and I wanted to try to let the Bible speak for itself on the matter. He gave a salvation story about a nameless and faceless man that could be you or I. Near the end of the message he proceeded to try to show what was happening in God’s realm. He said that the Word of God is powerful enough for a man to pick it up and read it and then give his life to Jesus because of the amazing promise found inside of Scripture. I was totally with him. But then he said that after this man believed then his name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven.  Now, you might agree with that statement. I think a lot of people probably do. The problem is with some of the implications of this thought process.

Is it my belief that makes God write my name in the book? If so, that means, in some way, I save myself. I put my name in the book by believing. And then if this is true, it makes perfect sense that I could lose my salvation, because I could just stop believing and then I suppose God takes his giant eraser and removes my name from the book. Is this really how this works? In the book, out of the book. In… out… in… out…

Or could it be something entirely different? Could it be that the fact that you believe is based on the fact that your name was already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? You may want biblical support for this, and I would hope so. Plus you, the believer in Christ, might start to wonder when the writing of your name in this Book occurred. Well here’s the biblical support and the answer to this question.

Revelation 13:5-8 ESV

“[5] And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. [6] It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. [7] Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, [8] and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

Notice in the context of these verses, the reason why these people worshiped the beast is because their names were not in the Book. There is power in our names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

God wrote down all the names of those whom He would save. He wrote all of their names down in this book. He wrote every name of every Christian down. When did He write it? “Before the foundations of the world.” One causes the other. If your name is written in the book, then you believe. God puts our names in the book. We do not. If I got myself in, I would surely get myself out. I know myself all too well. Because God put my name in there, he promises to never let anyone take my name out (John 10:28).

Also something to get your mind’s gears turning; notice how before there was anything (before the foundations of the world) there was a book and the book’s title was The Book of Life of the Lamb that was Slain. So before the foundations of the world, God was planning that His Son would be slain. Redemption was not God’s reaction to everything falling apart, it was the plan from the beginning.

Paul Washer is Legit! I love this brother in Christ. He is such an inspiration to me to know my bible and to preach what it truly says. There are a ton of videos of his preaching on youtube but I liked this interview with Kirk Cameron so I figured I’d share it with you. Check him out.