True believers may know that they are securely in God’s care and keeping, and that no person, circumstance or unforeseen set of events can ever snatch them away to destruction (John 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:3-5). According to Jesus, those who believe in him have been given to him by the Father, and he will not lose one of them (John 6:37-40). This certainty is grounded in God’s faithfulness (1 Cor. 1:8-9; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thes. 3:3-5), power (Jude 24-25) and love (Rom. 8:35-39). He will finish what he has started (Phil. 1:6). Our source of this knowledge is not Calvin, Luther or Augustine, but Peter, John, Paul, Jude and, ultimately, Jesus himself.
We learn from Romans 8:28ff that those whom God foreknew, he predestined to become like Jesus. And those he predestined, he called. Those he called, he justified. And those he justified, he glorified. We were not there when God foreknew and predestined. We are not yet glorified, though it is so certain that Paul speaks in the past tense. But we do know if we have been called by the gospel. We do know if we responded in faith and were justified. We do know whether we are being changed into Christ’s likeness. Since the same people occupy all these scenes of divine grace, if we see ourselves in some of the scenes we may know that we are in the other scenes as well (1 Thes. 1:4,5, 9-10).
The basis of our confidence is not anything that we learn, experience or do. We do not trust in our baptism, in our good works, or in our praying a ‘sinner’s prayer.’ Our confidence rests, always and only, in God’s faithfulness, power and love. We are secure because of the accomplishments of Jesus our representative, and because of God’s estimation of what Jesus has done (Rom. 4:25-5:1). Each new day we need to ask: “Do I acknowledge that apart from Christ, I am a sinner? Do I trust his atonement for peace and right standing with God? Am I sorry for my sins and determined to turn from them? Do I cling to the cross of Jesus as my only hope of forgiveness? If I sincerely answer “Yes” to these questions, I belong to Christ, and God will keep me to the end. Nothing can thwart God’s purpose. Nothing can defeat God’s power. Nothing can separate me from God’s love.
(more can be found on this subject and more at EdwardFudge.com)
Saved by Christ alone,
I agree. If salvation were an act of man’s will or decision it would be impossible for anyone to be secure. Since salvation is an act of God it can’t be undone (Rom 8:35).
That’s the way I see it Mike. Thanks for reading and your comment.
Interestingly enough, I heartily agree with the last paragraph. Maybe I misunderstood the earlier part of the article. I thought Fudge was saying that if you sincerely answer those questions yes at one point in your life, you will always answer yes. The fact that he talks about asking ourselves that each day makes me think his views may be more similar to mine than I thought.
Grace and peace,
Concerning this topic, our common salvation, the most important issue is that we should NEVER depend on any act, ritual, work, or religious activity at the expense of trusting Christ alone.
All of us, free willers and those of us who lean toward the Reformed position, sincerely want the same outcome. We all want Christ glorified in our lives and hearts and we want him known in the world. We also share the desire that those who claim Jesus as Lord will live disciplined lives, loving righteousness, hating sin, and loving others in Christ’s stead.