No power of hell, or scheme of manI would like to draw your attention to the first two lines above, which bring to mind several Biblical Truths from the Word of God:
Could ever pluck me from His hand
‘Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."These two references teach the two aforementioned lines from the hymn very well. Nothing can separate the sheep from the love of God in Jesus, and the sheep have eternal life and cannot be removed from the clutches of Christ or the Father. I firmly believe this and I owe it to my eyes being opened with Reformed theology. Unfortunately, the teaching we typically receive dismisses these truths. How many times have you heard someone tell you that you can lose your salvation? Probably often if you are in the Churches of Christ.
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I do not believe true believers can lose their salvation and this belief comes with two clarifications:
1) Believing the Word of God for what it says. Jesus said that “no one will snatch them out of my hand” and “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Should we not believe this?
2) To answer all the questions about Scripture referencing those who “fall away,” or warning against it (most famous, Heb 6:4-8, for example); They may have tasted the gifts of Christian community, even been baptized or taken the Lord’s Supper, but if they fall away they only prove they have never been born again to begin with; Jesus never had them (if He had, Jesus says He will NOT let them go, doesn’t He?).
If we are to believe the Word I do not see how an Arminian or a semi-Pelagian (much less a Pelagian) can sing the last quartet of verses in “In Christ Alone” and mean it, or believe it. John 6:37-40 says, “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 someone has eternity, that is has salvation, they would be of and in Jesus; and Jesus says in v.37 that He “will never cast out” whoever comes to Him; so how can anyone claim that someone can be “in Christ” yet by an act of the will remove themselves from Christ? They can’t really believe that nobody can pluck them from the Hand of God, because they believe that they can indeed pluck them from the Hand of God by themselves. What kind of security in Jesus is that? Did He die for your sins or didn’t He? Is it eternal rest or not? Why do some choose to limit the atonement and make the new covenant into a contract?
Philippians 2:12-13 says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." In this Paul is not telling the Philippians to be fearful that they can never achieve salvation; but to live in such a way to show respect to the coming judgment. Day to day our relationship with God grows and it is God's mercy and grace that will see us through. And the "working out" is God working in us that we will and work for Him. This is security!
No, I do not believe that being secure in Christ means you can sin at will and prostitute the grace of God. If one claims to be born again, yet willingly and habitually practices sin they only prove that they are probably not born again and are not really Christian for they would be showing no respect to the coming judgment. Only those who turn from sin and toward God are in the pattern of eternal life. Only those who persevere in life to the end prove to be receivers of the gift of forgiveness and grace.
We should find security in the reformed (i.e. scriptural) view of salvation. If it were up to us and our own will to treat our salvation like the hokey pokey (I put my life all in, I put my life all out, I put my life all in and I shake it all about….) we would be scared stiff and the security of Christ, in my view, would be nil. However, with Jesus promising to not let His sheep go, that eternal life is a guarantee to those in Christ (for good), we can live life, truly pursuing by the power of the Spirit, true sanctification to the glory of God the Father. We know we will slip for we are still in corrupted flesh, but our security is not in my behavior alone but in Jesus Christ alone. By grace you have been saved (Eph 2:8). “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Thank God “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” (Eph 1:13) What were we sealed with the Holy Spirit for? “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30) So if you are a true believer you are sealed for the day of redemption. Or, can you be sealed, then unsealed? Are we or are we not “…by God’s power … being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet 1:5)?
When we slip, Jesus is there and my eternal security is not in question. If we didn’t have this promise, we couldn’t fight with any assurance of victory. But “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1)
Thanks be to God the Father in our Lord Jesus Christ for His gift of forgiveness, grace, faith, and the eternal security that rests within His hands!