Hebrews 7:23-25 Amplified Bible
23 The [former successive line of] priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office]; 24 but, on the other hand, Jesus holds His priesthood permanently and without change, because He lives on forever. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God].
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis. Venite Adoremus. Dominum.
Gloria. In Excelsis Deo. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
A Psalm of Life
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW [October 1838]
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
A Highly Offensive Contemporary Psalm for Life.
It’s not all about you.
But, then again, neither is it about me.
Urgently Needed Reminder: God’s Psalm for Life.
I would say that the question most frequently asked by Christians is this: is it possible for me to lose my salvation?
It bothers so many of us.
We know the stakes.
And the possibility of having got it wrong, haunts so many believers.
This message is the first of at least two in a small series that are stand- alone messages but which, I pray will all bear upon the question of eternal security.
Do we believe that the Blood of Christ cleanses us from sin?
Absolutely – no problem there – just read 1 John 1:9.
Do we accept that no-one can snatch us away from God?
Of course we do – the Bible says so.
No one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand – John 10:28-29 makes that one quite clear
But here’s where agreement ends and doubts begin!
We hear so many things that can make us insecure – particularly if we’re really struggling to the live the lives we know we should.
So many doubts.
So many fears and apprehensions.
So many different slants and theories.
When do we get saved?
Is it at a particular point in time?
Or does it develop over a certain measure of time?
Is it possible to stop believing and lose it all?
Can we blow it by persisting in willful sin?
Or does that willful sin show that we’ve already blown it in the first place?
After all – the tree is known by its fruit! [Psalm 1, Matthew 7:15-19, 12:33-35]
So – to extend that principle a little – can we forfeit Eternal Life – not just by sinning – but by being unfruitful and unproductive in our lives?
Carelessly allowing our salvation to slip straight through our very own fingers – as Hebrews 2:1-4 seems to suggest?
2 [a]For this reason [that is, because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth. 2 For if the message given [b]through angels [the Law given to Moses] was authentic and unalterable, and every violation and disobedient act received an appropriate penalty, 3 how will we escape [the penalty] if we ignore such a great salvation [the gospel, the new covenant]? For it was spoken at first by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us and proved authentic by those who personally heard [Him speak], 4 [and besides this evidence] God also testifying with them [confirming the message of salvation], both by signs and wonders and by various miracles [carried out by Jesus and the apostles] and by [granting to believers the] gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
We’re going to examine these fears and see if they have any basis in reality.
What does the Word of God actually teach?
But don’t just take my word for it. Like the Bereans – examine this subject for yourself.
I’m confident that when you understand the principles by which God operates – understand His motivations in relation to your salvation, you’ll put to rest these doubts, fears; you’ll appreciate the yawning gulf that divides human reasoning from Divine wisdom and Infinite Love and Grace.
This first devotion is entitled: ‘It’s not all about you’
We’ll discuss this in a moment – but first let’s address a couple of the concerns we mentioned at the beginning.
Among the various positions adopted on the question of eternal security, what undisputed facts can we all agree on – if we take the Word of God at face value?
What does the Bible clearly teach about eternal life?
Well – the first thing we find is that:
Eternal life is a present possession!
It’s not something we have to wait to receive;
It is not something we grow into;
And not something that develops gradually.
The Bible does talk about aspects of our salvation that still lie in the future – but entering into a relationship with God – and receiving the gift of eternal life – is something that happens at a particular point in our lives!
In John 5:24 Jesus said these words:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Then in Ephesians 2:4-5 we read:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And finally, Paul says in Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
So that’s quite clear.
Salvation isn’t something we’re looking forward to – it’s something that occurs in one point of time!
So you and I are either saved right now or we’re not saved at all!
So what’s the next thing we can agree on?
It appears that we can be sure that we have eternal life.
God intends for us to have confidence – to be able to rest quietly in the knowledge and complete assurance of salvation – no shadow of a doubt!
John writes in his first epistle, chapter 5:13:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
In Romans 8:16 Paul says:
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
And in 2 Timothy 1:12, we hear Paul’s stirring words:
I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
Some people would – of course – say that this confidence is conditional upon us showing the fruits of salvation in our lives.
They say, in other words, that we can be sure of our salvation as long as we have it – but that’s no guarantee that we can’t lose it!
So the questions which remain to be answered are this:
Is it possible for us to lies lose our salvation?
Is it possible to cease being a Christian?
Can we be saved one minute – but lost the next?
Ok. If we want to get down to what the Bible actually says, we’ll need to scrap some of this misleading terminology once and for all.
Losing your salvation is not a term used in Scripture at all!
And for very good reason!
Certainly salvation is spoken of as a gift – but not as an object: a thing that can be dropped, given away or lost.
This gift is nothing less than the gift of new life – eternal life!
So can you lose your Salvation?
Well – what happens if you lose your life?
You die, of course!
So the real question should be this:
If a man is reborn (through the process of the new birth) and consequently has eternal life – can he die again?
And that puts an entirely different complexion on things!
Can a life be described as eternal if it can end – and you can die again?
Christ is our life.
Can He die again?
Well – actually He can’t!
Romans 6:8-11 Amplified Bible
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live [together] with Him, 9 because we know [the self-evident truth] that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin [ending its power and paying the sinner’s debt] once and for all; and the life that He lives, He lives to [glorify] God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. 11 Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin [and your relationship to it broken], but alive to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
When you think it through – it’s actually nonsense to talk about losing salvation – because of the very meaning of the word.
In certain circumstance I can save myself – but if I’m saved by someone else – by very definition I’m not contributing to the action.
Christ saves me!
If I were to perish for any reason – then in actual fact he wouldn’t have saved me.
But let’s start from the beginning
As we said before: it’s not all about you, neither is it about me!
Salvation is not all about us.
What do I mean by that – and what bearing does it have on our eternal security?
In the Garden of Eden, Satan had effectively stolen God’s creation from him.
We belonged to God – we were created differently from the animals.
Mankind was His special creation – formed in His image so that He could enjoy fellowship with us forever – loving Him and being loved by Him for all eternity.
Now you can’t force a person to love you.
The relationship for which God created us, had to be based on our willingness to have, continue fellowship with Him, to freely offer Him our love and devotion.
So in that sense – maintaining a continuous relationship with God was man’s responsibility.
We were born with a self-determining free-will and this privilege and dignity is something God would never over-ride.
So, ultimately, He had to risk losing us.
He had to take the chance of us turning our backs on Him.
And that’s exactly what happened!
Adam and Eve transferred their allegiance to Satan.
They passed from God’s control to Satan’s authority.
But Satan wasn’t going to win.
God already had a plan – a plan of Salvation – in order to regain what Satan had been allowed to steal from him; a plan to repossess that which He had lost.
Luke 19:10: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Lost by whom?
Once again we make it all about us.
We were lost – we say – in sin.
But surely a natural reading of what Christ said would be we were lost to God – He had lost us – and that He had come to recover us: to save us – to get us back.
And that’s what redemption is all about!
In the OT the word translated “redeem” is pa^da^h and it means: to ransom, redeem, rescue, or deliver. [Isaiah 50:2 ESV]
In the NT the word is exagorazo. [Galatians 4:5]
In the Roman world, the market place was called the agora.
Exagorazo therefore literally means – to take out of the market place – hence – to purchase.
According to Strongs Concordance, it means: To recover from the power of another, to ransom by paying a price.
Of course, being recovered or ransomed implies that we formerly belonged to someone else – who then paid a price to get us back.
And that’s what our English word redeem conveys.
It comes from two Latin words meaning: to buy again or to buy back.
So – if I redeem something, I recover or ransom something that once belonged to me.
God did that – He once owned us because He created us.
He then lost us when we sinned – so He set out to recover which was lost – to ransom us – to buy us back – to redeem us – the price He paid was staggering:
it was the life of His own beloved Son!
The life blood of Jesus Christ was the currency that was used.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says this:
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
We were redeemed from the slave market of sin and are now twice-owned!
You and I are twice owned.
God created us – lost us and bought us back.
We are now his treasured possession – He purchased us.
A transaction has taken place and the highest possible price was paid:
the full asking price demanded by the law to free us from sin – the life blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.
So 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says.
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Do we get that?
We no longer belong to ourselves.
God paid the highest possible price to get us back.
We are now His property!
Titus 2:14 says that he:
gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
It’s not all about us.
It’s not purely for our benefit!
We are now his inheritance!
Paul says to the Ephesians in chapter 1:18:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people….
As Israel was continually referred to as God’s inheritance, we are His spiritual people – His glorious inheritance – His new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: Old things have gone, new things are here!
We’ve already seen that in the first creation, man was responsible for maintaining fellowship with God and he failed.
But do you believe that God will allow Satan to once again usurp him successfully?
To once again frustrate His purposes and steal away his possession?
One that He paid for with the death of his Son?
And that would happen if just one believer were to lose his Salvation – because effectively Christ would have died again.
Grace wouldn’t be reigning through righteousness – sin would once again be reigning through death (at least in that one life)!
A death, by the way, which has been destroyed by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not a chance!
Things are different now.
In the new creation, the responsibility of maintaining our relationship with God is now His responsibility – not ours.
And why? Because He bought us and we are His possession.
Remember 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
This involves ownership.
We actually don’t have the right to give ourselves away again – in any way shape or form.
We’re God’s property!
In fact, God made certain that we couldn’t blow it again – either as a new race or as individuals.
Let us now look at how he protected us as individuals – how he has further guaranteed that we’ll never die again.
It’s found in Romans 4:16.
Here the Apostle Paul writes these wonderful words:
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
Notice here what God has done.
So that the responsibility for our salvation might be taken out of our hands altogether –
in other words, so that it might be by grace, entirely on the basis of a free gift – with us contributing nothing at all,
he made its acquisition conditional upon upon faith – simply believing – so that we have no active part to play – just to receive what is offered!
Ephesians 2:8-9 therefore says:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no-one can boast.
So God took on the responsibility for the whole thing so that the promise could be guaranteed.
He had to!
Sin had to be paid for – that took the death of Christ.
We had no part in that – except, of course, in the fact He was representing us.
And our new life had to be perfect forever.
To those who say that we can lose our salvation by sin in our lives, I would remind them that it only took one sin to sink the whole human race!
I mean, what estimation do we have of God?
Do we think that He can tolerate a certain level of sinning and then if it gets beyond that, He’ll say: “Ok, that’s enough!”
It took one sin to sink the human race!
You think you can lose your salvation by sinning?
Then fine – but remember this: you lost it with the first sin you committed after you got saved!!
What is good enough for God is absolute and total perfection or nothing at all!!
And He guaranteed that too – by imparting to us the life of Christ by way of the new birth!
As I said, our salvation consisted of God taking back what belonged to him.
And doing so by paying the price for our freedom.
I mean – Consider what happened at the moment of our salvation.
A transaction took place.
A deposit was paid on us.
We were set aside as his property.
That’s pretty much a guarantee of eternal life isn’t it?
14 The Spirit is the [a]guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory. [Ephesians 1:14 Amplified]
In fact, Ephesians 1:14 describes the Holy Spirit as: a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
There’s the guarantee.
It’s because a deposit has been paid. And this deposit is the Holy Spirit.
The word deposit here is the word arrhabon.
It’s a word of Hebrew origin and means: a pledge – that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest.
It’s the money which, when a purchase takes place, is given as a down-payment – in effect, a pledge that the full amount will subsequently be paid!
When you were saved – did you receive the Holy Spirit??
Of course you did!
And if you did – then God’s already paid a deposit on you.
The Holy Spirit is the down-payment!
The Holy Spirit is also a seal on God’s property!
In ancient times, when property was purchased, it was sealed by the new owner with his own distinctive mark – just like cattle was branded in the old West.
This was to protect the goods and to ensure that nobody else could claim them or interfere with them.
In our case, we were also branded or sealed, just to make sure that we were His – that no-one else could claim us.
The Bible says – in Ephesians 1:13:
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
The word for seal is the noun from the Greek verb sphragizō – and it’s used 13 times in the Bible.
It means: to stamp for security or preservation – usually with a signet ring or private mark.
That happened when you believed!
It’s not a hope; it’s not a promise.
It’s a done deal!
It doesn’t say ‘if you continue to believe’
Having believed – the verb here is in what is called the aorist tense.
It’s a one-time process that’s already been completed in your life if you’ve come to Christ!
You and I have been sealed.
The seal signified that the goods belonged to the owner of seal or the mark.
Remember – it’s not all about you.
You’re his property now.
And the seal – the Holy Spirit in our case – is a guarantee that the goods will reach their destination in the same condition that they left!
Nobody can get at you except by breaking the seal!
Is there something out there that is greater than the love of God?
More effective than the blood of Christ?
More powerful than the indwelling Holy Spirit?
Doesn’t the Bible say: greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.?
The Holy Spirit can’t be overcome.
He can’t be ejected from the believer.
In other words – the seal can’t be broken.
It’s His seal – we are His property!
In fact His seal is an absolute guarantee!!
2 Corinthians 1:21-22:
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
How could our salvation be guaranteed if it was up to us in any way whatsoever?
Adam and Eve were created perfect, in idyllic surroundings and in personal contact and communion with God every day.
Yet they still blew it.
But God has purchased or redeemed us and put his personal seal within us.
Make no mistake about this.
If one sealed soul were to be lost, then the seal will have been broken!
The promise and guarantee of God will have been made void!
And God is very serious about keeping His Word.
It abides forever.
He warns us about making oaths because in doing so, we’re undertaking something that only God Himself is able to do – absolutely guarantee the fulfillment of an oath.
And if one saved soul were to be lost:
Satan would have won again!
The deposit would have been lost!
Good faith in purchase destroyed!
And no power in universe can do that!
God has his own plans for His possession
Nothing and nobody is going to steal us away again.
No power in the universe is going to thwart and frustrate His purposes!
Examine what is known as the Golden chain in Romans 8:30:
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
And so Paul says in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But sometimes it sounds counter – intuitive, doesn’t it!
As human beings, seeing everything from a humanistic perspective, we’ve been so ingrained with concepts like:
There’s no such thing as a free lunch!
If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!
You only get out of something what you put in!
And so forth!
So Christians, without realizing it, often rebel against the principle of Grace – the free unconditional love of God, His gift of Grace – Eternal Life in Christ.
They might say – and you’ve all heard these objections:
Sure – nothing can snatch us out of the Father’s hand – but surely we can:
by our own choice.
or our own actions.
lose our salvation.
I mean – there has to be consequences for how we live our lives!
So there’s the question.
Salvation is free, but can we, by free choice, stop being covered by blood of Christ?
Can we ourselves break the seal?
Void the contract?
Undo God’s work in us.
Make ineffective the blood of Christ.
Reverse the effects of the death of Christ in our lives?
See how silly that starts to sound!
Well – Some say that we can and they will give a variety of reasons:
Living a sinful life.
No longer believing.
Not persevering with works of righteousness.
Well, you’ll find each of these objections will resolve itself from the Word of God.
For the moment, just remember one important thing:
Man had a relationship with God.
The maintenance of that relationship was man’s responsibility.
Man failed to live up to the terms of that relationship.
Because of this, he passed from communion with God into the power of Satan.
God, by the death of Christ, went to amazing lengths to buy back or redeem His lost possession.
We now belong to Him – signed, sealed and delivered.
Our safety and maintenance in that relationship is now up to Him – and Him alone!!
May God bless His Word to each one of us! Amen
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Almighty God, you are the source of all light. You divinely separated light from darkness so that we may have the beauty of the light of day. Dear Lord, illuminate this day and enlighten us as we seek to know you through your word. May we be led by your light so our hearts may be opened to your word. We pray that we receive every word you speak to us today. Holy and gracious God, you are the greatest of all. You are full of wonders that no mere human can comprehend. Lord, I seek to understand you and your ways so that I can live according to your commandments. I pray for your divine illumination in my heart and mind. Help me see what you intend for me to see. Help me understand what you intend for me to understand. Open my eyes and my ears, my mouth, to see you and hear, speak your whispers.
Adeste Fidelis. Venite Adoremus. Dominum.
Gloria. In Excelsis Deo. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.