Retirement certainly has its benefits! No more getting up in the mornings to survey the weather, and then after breakfast and Bible reading, having to hobble off to where my ladders and associate equipment had always awaited my arrival. But then again, retirement is a constant reminder that as each day comes and goes, every morning as I look into the bathroom mirror, I could see that I'm not getting any younger. Instead, I watch as I gradually age and my awareness of the grave approaching remains an inescapable reality.
Therefore, together with having to take five different pills everyday for life, I also accept my GP's recommendations seriously enough to visit the gym twice a week for a thorough two-hour workout. Other days of the week I put on my hiking boots and saunter off to Nowhere - just for the benefit of exercise. Then as if the icing on the cake, each Sunday I crack off five miles on the bicycle for church before repeating the journey home.
What a lovely day it was during the week as towards the end of one of those walks, when I paused at a park bench located within a copse of tall trees, mostly silver birch, but with a variety of other species too. It was while I was sitting to rest, pray and meditate, that a powerful thought crossed my mind:
God is not angry with me anymore. His wrath is completely removed.
His wrath against sin completely removed. Not only from me, not only from all other believers, but for the whole world. At this point a verse of Scripture comes to mind: 2 Corinthians 5:19 - To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (AV).
Although I was fully aware of this verse for many, many years, this time it was almost like a Damascus Road experience, the kind both Paul the Apostle and Reformer Martin Luther had experienced. God is not angry at us anymore! I think this is so difficult to take in. For example, all I had to do was Google Once Saved Always Saved, and 6,960,000 results appear in just half a second. And two of my blogs on the subject appears on the first page. But directly above my link there was one submitted by the Assemblies of God church, thoroughly debunking the concept of Once Saved Always Saved. And above that, another link to the Watchtower Society also led to a rebuke against the doctrine. By scrolling down the listing, I could see that the vast majority of links led to articles debunking Once Saved Always Saved.
And these articles weren't necessarily written by laymen. Rather they were written by church pastors and roving ministers, some of them even holding a doctorate. By reading some of their articles, I have come to the conclusion that they centre their opinions on three main New Testament passages: Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10, and Hebrews 6:4-6. Other verses are quoted as well, including Philippians 2:12, where we are exhorted to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Ah, the threat of Hell-fire yet again!
And so it is easy for them to assume that once you are saved, you will always be saved. Therefore eat, drink and be merry, for Heaven is guaranteed. Go out and revel in your sin - wine, women and song for you - as one eternally saved, you have no fear or worry about the consequences. Really. These pastors, teachers, and academics, some having the title Dr. in front of their names - come on! Are they so ignorant? How could I ask this about such a well-educated person? And with such teaching prevailing throughout our churches, what has come out of all this?
The most obvious reason for advocating Once Saved Always Saved, also known as Eternal Security of the Believer, is because God is omniscient. That means that God not only knows absolutely everything which is happening at this moment, but everything that will happen in the future. And that includes the life of every single individual who are yet to be born. And that where ignorance among these academics kicks in. With the abundance of prophecy found in the Bible, many which are already fulfilled with startling accuracy, can they really believe that God does not know what a person, especially a Christian, is going to do next? Especially if the believer is fully acquitted, has the imputed righteousness of Christ credited to him, a new creation, reborn of the Spirit, and adopted into God's family as a gift from the Father to the Son, and becomes a citizen of Heaven.
Then God himself being gullible as he is, a believer falls into sin which remains unconfessed, and he slips into apostasy. Then God has to undo everything he has already done - first he would impute his sin upon him, making his imputed righteousness of Christ null and void. Then somehow become unborn. Then he would remove the Holy Spirit from him, next he is disenfranchised from God's family and left to be claimed by the Devil again. Finally, he loses all his inheritance and has only the consequence of eternal loss. Talking of the Devil, this shows that Satan is stronger than God himself, whom with his lack of foreknowledge, the Almighty does not know what's going to happen next! Really, does the atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross have any power at all?
Can you see what wretched blasphemy all this is? Yet doctors of theology constantly preach and write such heresy, knowing that they will be listened to, just because of who they are. And the average Christian bow the knee to their authority, not because of a sound knowledge of the Bible but through admiration of the preacher's academic background.
But where does it, for example, leave me and many other Christians? Or, for example, someone who is homosexual? That is a case in point, because this is mentioned in Romans 1:18-32. Generally, the LGBT community is hostile to God and the Bible, because on how the churches quote these Scriptures as proof of their sin without assurance that God has already made peace with them, and he is no longer angry with them. They don't need to be told that what they are doing is wrong. Instead they need the love of God through faith in Christ. So this gay man has faith in Christ, but despite all assurances from the rest in the fellowship, he will be aware that he will be peered at from the corner of the eye by not a few with a Pharisaic attitude.
The worst thing about being gay is that it is not out of personal choice to have his libido excited by a presence of someone of the same gender. It just happens, even without initial intention. And he was aware of his orientation from childhood without making any conscious choice to be gay or straight. Then an elder, pastor or visiting speaker raises the issue on how wrong and sinful homosexuality is. Of course, the speaker is a married man with children, and when he gets into bed later in the evening, he can enjoy his relationship with his wife without a strand of guilt and with full approval from God. The homosexual is fully aware of this. However if a dashing young man also walks in and he is sexually stimulated, the feeling of guilt within the crowd could well make him feel uneasy. Quite likely he has that longing wish to be "normal" with a wife and family. Instead, he listens to a guest speaker condemning homosexuality as a serious sin, yet still uttering the inept statement "to love the person, hate the sin" - and quoting Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 and Hebrews 6:4-6 as proof-texts that either he was never saved in the first place or he is in danger of losing his salvation.
The homosexual feels trapped, and cannot enjoy a loving relationship with Jesus Christ in the same way as the heterosexual speaker can. Oh, it's all very well for him! His wife will be waiting for him in bed. But for the gay, he feels trapped and cannot find a way out of his natural orientation. Rather, knowing and being fully aware that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself and not imputing their trespasses against them will go a long way towards personal holiness.
It is human nature to anthropomorphise God. That is to liken God to "a big man" in the sky with human attributes and characteristics. True enough, we are made in his image. We have his threefold characteristic of thought, emotion and free will. Also, like him, each man is a trinity, having spirit, soul, and body, just as God himself is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But we are not omnipresent, neither omniscient, nor omnipotent. And because of our fallen state, by nature we don't have his holiness either, but we do have a sense of morality put in us by God himself and a conscience to bear witness of this morality. If, as an example, my natural father had been overbearing, then it's most likely that I would perceive God in the same way - overbearing.
The idea of a Holy God reconciling a sinful world to himself without imputation of transgressions is rather too hot to handle. Probably that was why churches has struggled with this throughout the centuries, even to this day. The trouble which such struggling is eventually the rise of the Pharisee. And sadly enough, the Pharisee is not confined to some Jews living at the time of Christ. They are with us now, sitting in the same church as the rest of us. They debunk any idea of Once Saved Always Saved, they make great efforts to keep the Law, they are prone to be judgemental towards those who don't fit their model, and they are great believers in nationalism, classism, and culture. And they have a strong dislike for mavericks.
And that is why not everyone likes me in our fellowship. I'm too much of a free-thinker. Pedantic too. And perhaps quite controversial. I stick up to by beliefs. More important, I will always uphold the historicity and verity of Holy Scripture. If the Bible teach that the Earth is only six thousand years old, then it's only six thousand years old. If the Bible imply eternal security of the believer, then I'm willing and ready to stand up and face down anyone who thinks otherwise, no matter how clever he might be or where he attended university. I would be willing to rebuke a doctor for dishonouring God in such a despicable way by teaching salvation by works, and placing a stumbling block at his hearers and hindering them from walking in holiness, which is the same as walking in love, as God himself is love.
I guess I am who I am. I stand up to what I think and feel. If some people don't like it - tough! I love independent travel, I love my church, I believe in hugging, I love the spirit of internationalism because that is a far better representative of the Kingdom of God than nationalism, especially here in England with its isolationist bulldog spirit which breeds hatred, prejudice and even physical violence. Not exactly godly, is it? And I am convinced that this "bulldog spirit" is actually a demonic entity dwelling invisibly in the air. After all, by deceiving people with pride, self-confidence and optimism, along with a history of imperialism sustained by Darwinism, this entity continues to send up to 95% of Brits into a lost eternity. It is a dreadful thought. Facing such a startling reality gives me no pleasure. Indeed, this is an awful and sorrowful tragedy. But it does not have to be this way. Instead, as I already mentioned in my last blog, anyone can come to Jesus Christ and be saved. Even if this means learning about who he is and what he has achieved by his sacrifice made on the cross for us, his burial, and three days on, his resurrection, conquering death and making eternal life accessible to all believers.
And then to change his mind to believe in his heart that this Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Christ, the Son of God. We call this change of mind Repentance. And here is something I still find very difficult to understand: If God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and not imputing their trespasses against them, then how is it that the vast majority of Brits are heading for a lost eternity?
The best illustration is at a Magistrate's Court. The defendant is proved guilty of a crime serious enough for a death penalty. However, his uncle, totally innocent of any offence, steps in and offers to die in his place. Therefore his uncle is executed and the defendant is free to go. But to be set free he has to accept it. But he doesn't. Instead he insist that his uncle was telling porkies. Eventually the judge had no other option but to execute him. Such a needless tragedy!
Such as the state of Britain, deceived by the lie of Darwinism.