Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Our Daily Bread, a ministry of Radio Bible Class, published a devotion by Anne Cetas clearly stating the popular, neo-Calvinist teaching that once saved, we cannot loose our salvation. Of the dedicated saints tirelessly working for God's kingdom, a large proportion claim this teaching as their own, jealously guarding their "assurance of salvation" against all who challenge it. Both schools of thought, of course, claim to be in the majority. The idea of eternal security has plagued me for years, at times seducing me, at times repulsing me. I would love to believe my salvation is eternally secure, but for the vast implications of such a belief. Calvinism states that God sovereignty chooses who are His, without regard to personality or performance. And some Bible verses back that up. For a more in-depth coverage of Calvinist proof-verses, click on Safe & Secure--The Permanence Of Salvation. My problem with this teaching is the "witness of the Spirit" that Calvinists claim gives them assurance of salvation. Romans 8:16 gives little to us but the barest idea: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The passage doesn't tell us what sensation He uses in bearing witness with our spirits, or in what circumstances that will happen. We are left to grasp at warm, soft straws, interpreting any religious thrill as His Spirit bearing witness to us. I've watched countless brethren backslide after weeks, months or years of bragging about feeling such a "witness." While emotional testimonies do little to confirm our infilling with God's Spirit, God's word invites us in Galatians 5:22&23 to discern for ourselves the fruit a brother bears: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." All the warm, "witness" feelings we might experience cannot contradict the fruit we bear. So regardless how eternally secure we may feel, we must rely on God's clear description of His fruit born through us.