Tuesday, March 17

The Great Evangelical Conundrum!

I have been asked this on more than one occasion, “Do you believe that you can lose your salvation?” and how I answered would determine whether that person would continue in a conversation with me or visit my church. Since I do enjoy a good conversation with people (and, indeed, what is a relationship but a good conversation?), and I do like people to visit my church, this works out to be a pretty good question to be able to answer.

What I believe, now, has to come first from what the Lord has brought me, thus far, to understand from my walk with Him as His Spirit teaches me through His Word, and through godly reflection on what I, and we as His people, find there. But to understand the question, if we look at it closely, we realise that to lose something we first have to own it, which means taking responsibility for it. So if we can lose it we have to be responsible for it in the first place. The person asking me this must be assuming that the outcome of “our” salvation is up to us in calling it ours to start with. Does the Bible say that it is ours, as something we own?

A quick search of the King James gives us seven references that either God is our salvation, or that He is the God of our salvation. One, Eph. 1:13, speaks of the gospel of our salvation, and another, Rom. 13:11, tells us our salvation is nearer than when we believed. However, when we look up “eternal life,” we find thirty references, generally in the context of a future expectation with none that say it is a present possession except for John 17:3, that, “This is eternal life, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.” So, then, that one key relationship is the factor, not that we “have” salvation, but that we have a reason to hope for it.

What it is, then, to “know” God, becomes the second most important question we can ever ask. Is it merely a passing acquaintance? I have met a few successful authors and musicians in the past years, but if I started dropping their names to get access to big parties, or boasting of their friendship while making an ass of myself, they would have every right to call me to court for abusing their names. I really doubt if Christ came to earth to go through all the abuse He did just so “Christians” could continue to abuse His Name. He came that we might know Him, and He put the key to our eternal future in that relationship. We could, at this point, go into a deep and technical study into the meaning of this word, “know1” but the wiser idea might be to ask that one, more important, question, “Do I know Him?” Do we find the answer by mining Scripture for a proof text that can excuse us from building a real relationship, or do we go the safer, and far more rewarding, route and make it our life's quest to really and truly know Him as intimately, personally, and openly, as He will in His own grace, allow? Do we bury our earthly lives in a rag, or do we truly embark on the adventure of all eternity?

Jesus said, “He that loves his life (in this world) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's, the same will find it.”


  1. Robert

    Well stated!


    I have been really tied up with work and church for the last 6 weeks. Just finding time to read my email has been a challange let alone trying to write. I keep comming up with things I want to write about I just cant find the time these days to do it.
    Trusting that its in His hands for now.

    His blessings on you


  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Bill! As I said, that question in the US is about as spikey as they come, and how to steer, not a middle way, but rather to stay in the channel with all the flotsam and drifted buoys in the water can be almost as difficult as it is crucial.

  3. Hey Robert,

    I am very busy reading through 3,000 pages of photocopies for my PhD revisions. I still have two fairly recent posts.

    We have discussed this general issue previously and you are of course aware of our general agreement that there needs to be reformation/revival in the Christian and evangelical church.

    It is good that you are seeking to deal with difficult issues as I do as well, Robert.


  4. Russ, I'm sure I don't follow you. Surely your dissertation is not 3k pages long, but you need to read all of every copy? And an earlier agreement that the Church needs revival/reformation, well, yes it does, but in this piece of history I believe it is necessary for there to be a rediscovery of what in the world Christianity even is. If even our "leading" theologians and mega pastors know they aren't exactly letting on about it. "Rah, Jesus," or "Discover your spirituality" helps few, and saves none.

    FWIW, Brother, I've been meaning to get over to your site, and will when I can. What time I do play on the Web right now is about building the facebook page into, hopefully, a networking & prayer-support matrix to facilitate future ministry, hopefully back on the Green Isle.

    (The difficult issue for tonight is plowing through these 300 pp of Provan!)



  5. Hi Robert.

    I have 3, 000 pages of photocopies, plus books from which I am going to take material to complete final PhD revisions.

    The PhD is 80, 000 words and counting.

    I only have four articles total for the two blogs combined per month now, and so less material for people to comment on.:) But also easier and less work in a sense for them.:)

    God bless,


  6. Do you really want to waste time listening to my sadsack reflections. The horrible thing is that I have known that relationship with Jesus. He came to me while I was warming myself after a long night of fishing. I heard Him say "Follow Me," and I did. I know He was the Son of the Living God. I ran after Him. I listened for His every word Like Mary of Mary and Martha fame, I wanted to be with Him and hear all He had to say. I dug through the Word to find comfort, direction, the voice of His Spirit speaking to me. I found deep peace and many blessings through following Him, but I slid . I slid long and far. As I mentioned in another blog response, rebellious decions have been made for over 30 years. Yes, Jesus I hear You calling, but just reight now I think I'm going to hang around here for a little while, and although I know it is against Your Laws and against Your desire for me to be holy and walk witth you, I'm going to do this (and that) anyway. Hopefully, You'll look away and maybe forgive me later. Yes, I am worsw than Gomer, and now I face the fact that I have cheapened the relationship so much, I wonder if I can ever in earnest say, Jesus, rescue me and may I follow You heart, soul, mind and strength from this moment forward. I'm in true dread over this, and I fear death. I fear my own authenticity. Please don't take this lightly. Thirty-five years is a long time of struggle just to push away and say whatever. If a real relationship (I possession I did hold on to if only for a short time)can be lost, or as the current religious winds say my salvation can be "lost," then I am certainly a living candidate and example to be pointed at like the skelton in Biology classroom. I want finally and sincerely to follow Him. I just don't know if I can anymore.

  7. Anon, I think that living in the US has its own hazards that we tend to overlook just from familiarity. We think we can, must, are expected to do things on our own. The New Testament tells us that God's plan is to set us into His Body, just as it was not so many individuals but a nation He was dealing with before Christ. Who set out on their own before Jesus? The odd renegade. Gomer. Who were the individualists in the New Testament? Ananias, Sapphira, Simon. The Church succeeded from the first because of their constant mutual support, close attendance to the Apostles' teaching, and in constant attendance to the sacraments. Each of us needs, not just ought to have or would be nice, Needs to be in a fellowship as close to the Acts 2 model as possible, and to be in relationship with other Christians, at least one, with whom we can open our hearts, confess our faults (what has befallen us- whether recurring temptations or occasional headaches) and pray for one another so that our progress in the Faith becomes a shared journey rather than a solo quest.

    A twist on an old joke: If eight climbers can make the top of Mt. Everest in 14 days, how long does it take a single climber? Obviously, one alone would probably never make it, and to expect oneself to stand against the "world, the flesh, and the devil" is like pretending to be Eastwood's character in "Trinity." They forget that that character was dead before the story even opened. "He has set the solitary in families," and "He has made us as living stones in His temple." "What? Do you not know that your (pl. as, y'all's) body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?"

    I pray this has been helpful. The very fact that you wrote, and even took the time to read this site shows the Lord is very much at work in your life.

  8. How do you pick someone to be that other Christian you can share your soul, struggles, and sins with? Just say a prayer and grab the next Christian that comes along. The Church I am at is filled with pretentious high-nosers

  9. Not your pastor? In this society, I think that can take years, but it may not have to. The first thing, of course, is to be in, or build, a close fellowship of Christians who can honestly accept, support, co-labor, and encourage each other ("bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ"). One of my teachers says, "if you make disciples by sitting around and talking, don't be surprised if your disciples sit around and talk." Invite folks over. Build a fellowship. Get that fellowship involved in some kind of regular outreach that can be a means by which the Lord can reach the members' hearts as they minister to others.

  10. I'm not very aggregious or outgoing. In fact, it is very uncomfortable for me to approach someone else. I guess I can just keep trying by praying and reading the Bible everyday. Maybe the right person will come along whom I can really unload with and stay accountable to.

  11. That sounds like an easy enough idea, at least if there's not that much at stake. From your first post I'd guess there's quite a bit at stake. If so, then let the Lord supply what is lacking, and if the first thing needed is an extra degree of His grace to begin the process, then amen! Amen?

  12. I need a real abiding relationship with the One True Living God. I need His mercy. I need His Salvation. I need His forgiveness. I need His power to get me from here to Heaven, to do His work. I need His favor, and I need to have a deep abiding peace and joy that comes from my confidence that I am His and will be with Him in Paradise, that when He sees me, he will say "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into my rest." I need Jesus in me - for real - not just some tossed about religious phrases. I want a real Holy Ghost filled, walking with Jesus, loving God Life!!! There is an urgency. But I am beginning from moral and spiritual bankruptcy, with a sense of lostness that leaves me fearful and in the darkness even in the brightest days. I don't want any magical thinking prayers. I am seeking someone to assist me now by going before the throne of God and asking Him to send someone to me, to direct me, to redeem,forgive, and sanctify me. Not that I deserve it. i deserve to die now and spend eternity in hell. I want Jesus.

  13. Right on & amen! A prayer like that, God will never pass over- It is the Lord giving you that insight, and putting that desire in your heart, and the Lord will bless you in cooperating with Him toward your salvation, like Keith Green's song, "Make my Life a Prayer to You." "Faithful is He that calls you, Who also will do it!"

  14. Is this the song you mentioned from Mr Green? I Googled this:

    Make my life a prayer to you
    I wanna do what you want me to
    No empty words and no white lies
    No token prayers no compromise

    I wanna shine the light you gave
    Thru your son you sent to save us
    From ourselves and our despair
    It comforts me to know youre really there

    Well I wann thank you know
    For being patient with me
    Oh its so hard to see
    When my eyes are on me
    I guess Ill have to trus
    And just believe what you say
    Oh youre coming again
    Coming to take me away

    I wanna die and let you give
    Your life to me so I might live
    And share the hope you gave me
    The love that set me free

    I wanna tell the world out there
    Youre not some fable or fairy tale
    That Ive made up inside my head
    Youre God the son and youve risen from the dead


    I wanna die and let you give
    Your life to me so I might live
    And share the hope you gave me
    The love that set me free

  15. Hi, Sorry about the delay. Yes, that's the song. That, and the song on the top of the current page are two of the best in the last 30 years or so, in my own opinion: Knowing Him, and making Him known! And, yeah talking with each other about Him, too!

    Sometimes we get so wrapped up in how weak we are, we forget how strong He is in us. When we step out of our circles and start serving others- whether witnessing, serving on a Kairos team, volunteering at a rescue mission, visiting the sick, counseling outside an abortionist, etc., we find His pleasure, joy, and passion alive in us, and the self-doubt is replaced by the living faith of Christ. Ya let 'em, & those two songs 'bout say it all!

  16. Salvation is that unearned gift from the Father that is so hard for us proud humans to accept. The fact that God loves us so much in spite of our selves brings us back time and time again to His table. It is our pride which leads us to either despair that we can never attain salvation through our efforts, or to rejection of God's gift. (To answer the question, Salvation is never lost, but people do get lost).

    Anon, I feel that you are not lost but are on the right path.


So what's your take?