Holding Firmly, I Am Held (An Arminian Approach to Eternal Security)
written by SEA member, Roy Ingle
There are two things we really want to know about being a Christian. First, we want to know that we are truly saved by the grace of God. Secondly, we want to know that our salvation is secure. I believe that Arminians can rejoice because we can have both in the context of biblical Arminianism. Too often many err when it comes to these issues by making assurance and the security of the disciple based on their own good works instead of the Person of Christ. I believe a biblical approach to these issues is to focus on Jesus Christ and His finished work instead of trying to look for the answers in ourselves.
Arminianism stresses the necessity of Christ both from our initial salvation to our final salvation. Jesus is our Savior from the time of our salvation to the end. He is our life (Colossians 3:4). I fear that many want Christ to rescue them from hell but they don’t want Him to rescue them from their sins (Matthew 1:21). They want to know that heaven is their reward despite living for hell here and now. This is not God’s way. God’s way is a way of holiness (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:14). God’s call is for us to forsake our sins and follow Christ (Mark 9:42-50). This is the true nature of repentance (Luke 13:1-5; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31; 26:20; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9). Arminianism stresses that faith in Jesus is necessary for salvation and He is necessary in overcoming sin as well (1 Corinthians 10:13). We cannot overcome sin by our own will power for we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) but we can overcome through Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24-25). Jesus is our complete victory!
Our salvation and our assurance of salvation and our security in our salvation comes in Christ. Jesus reminds us of this principle in John 15:1-11 where He stresses the importance of remaining in Him. Here we read:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Jesus makes it clear here that our total trust must be in Him. We cannot bear fruit apart from Him. He is the vine. We are simply the branches from Him. We must abide in Him and we do this by faith. It is faith that saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9) and it is faith that keeps us (1 Peter 1:5).
We see this again before us in the small book of Jude. Jude 21 says that we must keep ourselves in the love of God and this leads to the end of our faith, our final salvation. Jude 24, however, says that God is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy. The balance here is what Arminianism stresses with the emphasis upon persevering faith in Jude 21 but also the keeping power of God Almighty in Jude 24. It is unfortunate to emphasize one without the other. Too many have placed stress on our perseverance in the faith of Jude 21 but not enough on the power of God to keep us in Jude 24. The true Arminian stresses both.
Charles Spurgeon had written above his Pastor’s College door frame these words, “Holding Firmly, I am Held.” This is the biblical view of our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith and we are kept by grace through faith. We must endure to the end to be saved (Matthew 24:13) but this endurance comes through faith (2 Peter 1:3-11). Our salvation is based completely upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work for us. It is not based on faith plus works. It is based on faith in the Lord Jesus to save us (Romans 1:16-17). The totality of our salvation is found in Christ alone. Not in us. Not in our power. Not in our faith. It is in Christ alone that we are saved and in Christ alone that we are kept by God’s sovereign power. May true Arminians stress this biblical truth that holding firmly, we are held. Jesus upholds us as we hear His voice and follow Him wherever He leads (John 10:27-29).
For the original post, go to: http://arminiantoday.com/2013/01/08/holding-firmly-i-am-held-an-arminian-approach-to-eternal-security/