Judging by previous reaction to this direction in articles, I will be jumping even further out into rush hour traffic here, but this needs to be trumpeted irregardless.
What of the individual who hears the Gospel (or doesn’t for that matter) and is saved, but who subsequently accepts a works based paradigm of Salvation, living thereafter as a believer but with the stress of perceived constant jeopardy should his demonstrated ongoing merit not meet the burden of continued salvation, with that burden anything but clearly defined? Worse he or she might be saddled with a definition of that burden delineated by men of authority (church or other).
What of the beleaguered believer for whom every momentary nuance of sin in his or her life brings fear of immediate loss of Salvation until discovered, repented and confessed. And what if it isn’t discovered?
What about the new believer, experiencing the struggles of massive life change (which are predicted in Scripture and normal in the process), wrestling with the past in the present while being told then he or she will loose their Salvation as they struggle moment to moment? Or worse, having their state challenged as by others because they are not sufficiently perfect while in the growth process?
These people are legion. I have met many from each group, and they suffer at the hand of man (their own hands or those to miss-guided others). This is error, not Scriptural, and I would go so far as to say the work and delight of the enemy. These unfortunate soles are done great and harmful disservice by many of the faithful in this ideology of guilt and unsecured redemption. From this comes an interesting consideration.
Does the fact that they hold an erroneous view have any overall effect? Certainly it maintains them in a constant state of perceived instability concerning their own eternal state, frequently with resultant anxiety and possibly a less than joyous existence to one degree or another. If this seems an exaggeration, it is not. Many people react to these matters emotionally. Intellectual explanations, unless accepted emotional, do nothing to reduce the anxiety. It also may cause them to project a similar state upon others that they view as believers? Overall, there is a potentially to exact great misery in normal life. But what of reality?
We must remember from Scripture that what we believe is what saved us, as the primary criteria, not what we did before the fact or even changeable emotional states in the process. We are transformed in the mind, quickened by the Spirit to understand and embrace the Call, and our subsequent belief on Christ is the pivotal factor. Not that action in good works is not part of the equation, but that is after the fact, not causative – again according to Scripture. The good action flows from our new self in Christ.
However the belief we are focusing on here is not the belief on Christ that lead to Salvation. We are focusing on the erroneous beliefs related to the circumstances and scenario after Salvation which govern our ongoing emotions. As such, one must conclude that this means absolutely nothing in terms of eternity. By analogy, after a person has walked out into a sunny day, whether that person insists that the sky is blue or green does not affect it’s objective colour. Or, when a person stands under burgeoning rain clouds, whether or not they accept that it affects them will have no affect upon the reality that the subsequent rain will get them wet if they continue to stand there. Surely there is some humour in this, albeit it dark humour…
We are saved solely through the Grace of God, through the exercise of His Sovereign Will in election before the foundation of the World (Ephesians 1), enabled through the work of the Holy Spirit in applying the wholly sufficient work of Christ to those marked by God. All of this is completely the mandate and action of the Triune God, and nothing of us. Through this God merits and receives all the Glory.
Should he chose by His pleasure to elect and save us, yet we miss-understand the reality after the fact through miss-representation of the process, it matters not a wit as far as I can see. The only effect that might possibly be suggested by some might be that by furthering the miss-understanding and causing misery to others we might accumulate on our own behalf a lesser treasure in Heaven (notice I did not say penalty). But even this is highly questionable and I do not buy it, since there is no sinful intent, and in terms of the present focus it has no effect whatsoever upon our Salvation.
Rejoice in the Glory of the Sovereign work of our Lord in our lives, seeing it as all of Him and nothing of ourselves. What a joy! And what a tragedy for those that might be starved in life of that joyous view of Glory through miss-information which subversively acts to on the all too human desire to appropriate a portion of God’s Sovereignty and Glory for man.
Soli Deo Gloria