Soteriology 022Romans 8:29-30 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 3, 2016 • Soteriology
Soteriology 22, Romans 8:29-30
July 3, 2016
Father, we’re grateful for this special weekend where we celebrate 240 years of freedom and we recognize that that’s an anomaly in world history, and we just thank You for the blessings that You have given us in this country. And beyond political freedom, Father, we’re grateful for the spiritual freedom that we have in Your Son. And so I pray that you’ll guide us this morning as we take a look at the great doctrine of salvation; equip us better to understand what we have in Christ. I pray, Father, that You would help us to correct any erroneous thinking we might have on this so we can be better servants for You. And we lift all these things up in Jesus name, and God’s people said, Amen.
Good to see everybody, there’s a few people here that I think are here for the first time and that’s because your Sunday School class ended last week so you had no choice but to come in here I guess. What we’re doing in this study is we’re going to be teaching the doctrine of salvation. We actually started teaching it in the spring Wednesday nights and we just kind of let it bubble over into Sunday mornings. So it’s going to continue on throughout the summer months. We’re doing this for the benefit of our missionaries so we are taping these. So since that’s the case we’re using the lecture method and I’m going to stop at about 10:35 and then we’ll open it up for questions at 10:35. So if you have a question as I’m moving through it just jot it down and then we’ll try to address it a little bit later on in our session today.
Soteriology, of course, is the doctrine of salvation. Here’s the outline we’ve been working through. There’s a handout going around, does anybody need a handout. We don’t give hand-outs, we give hands-up at this church. But if you have hand up we’ll give you a handout. Those handouts are just the slides that we’re using for any given day.
So you can see we’re here on Roman numeral VII, the doctrine of eternal security, which is a huge issue in the body of Christ if you get into the subject. In our first summer session on eternal security we sort of went through why this is an important issue. We went through our definition that we’re using for eternal security; I got this from a book called Shall Never Perish, which is a very good book on the subject, and the author, Dennis Rokser, says eternal security means those who have genuinely been saved by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone shall never be in danger of God’s condemnation or loss of salvation, but God’s grace and power keep them forever secure and safe.
So the same grace that brought you to Christ is the same grace of God that keeps you in Christ. And it’s amazing as you listen to different Christians how many Christians don’t believe that; they believe they’re on probation, if they step out of line the carpet is going to get yanked out from under them at any given point. So we’re trying to look… and it’s an issue that’s been going on in the church for centuries, the debate. Some, like our church, believe once saved always saved; some don’t believe that. So we’re trying to do an in-depth examination of what the Bible actually says.
Our first major heading under eternal security is eternal security arguments. And I’m giving you about thirteen of the strongest arguments that I know of that teach we are forever saved the moment we trust in Christ. And I’m not really so much into teaching you what to think as I’m trying to teach you how to think. And in part II we’re going to be going over several passages, not today but later on in the series, that people use over and over again to deny the security of the believer. But we’re not quite there in our outline.
So eternal security arguments, there are about thirteen of them; we find ourselves this morning on number VII, but to kind of let you know the ground that we’ve covered here’s the arguments. And you can get the past sessions online, these are all archived video and audio and all the ppts are there if you wanted to review.
Number 1, Because self-righteousness did not save us it is not a basis upon which salvation can be lost. We went over that. Number 2, Salvation is not given or maintained by works. So the same grace that brought you to Christ is the same grace that keeps you “in Christ.” So therefore what work could you do to undo that. Number 3, if a believer can lose eternal life, then eternal life is no longer what? Eternal. And we went through several passages which describe the gift of eternal life with the noun aiōnios, which means eternal. If nothing else you know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have,” not just life, but “eternal life.”
The Greek word aiōnios is the same word used to describe God elsewhere in the Bible, like Romans 16:26. [Romans 16:26, ““but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.” (NASB)] So if God is forever, which He is, then your salvation from the point of trusting in Christ is forever as well.
Number 4, if eternal life can be lost or forfeited then what do you do with the Bible’s promises that guarantee security? So I went through all of the promises of God, these are the clearest ones that I know of that promise that once saved always saved. And these are all based on, looking at that top bullet point, God’s reliability, this is just what God says. So if God can’t lie (and He can’t) then you either take these promises to the bank and build your life on them in terms of a theological view or you don’t. [God’s reliability – Numbers 23:19; Romans 3:4a; 2 Cor. 1:20; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 10:23, John 4:14, John 5:24, John 6:37-40, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:28-38, Hebrews 13:5]
And then last week we saw number 5, the Bible promises the assurance of salvation. There are many, many promises in the Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, that essentially say that once a person trusts in Christ they’re not just forever saved but they can actually know that they’re forever saved. And that’s what we call the doctrine of the assurance of salvation.
One of the clearest ones is 1 John 5:13 which says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” So you notice that the Bible here is not just teaching eternal life, it’s also teaching that you, as a child of God, can know you have it. And this is just one of many that we examined last time.
And this is what we call the doctrine of the assurance of salvation. So we don’t just teach once saved always saved; we teach that you can actually know you have it. So we teach two doctrines here, eternal security, number 1, and the assurance of salvation, number 2. Now it’s different in a lot of places because what they’ll essentially teach you, if they’re into a heavy Reformed lens is yeah, we believe in eternal security, but you really can’t know that you have it because as one of the elect you have to persevere in good works till the end of your life.
I gave you several quotes, first of all from Roman Catholics and second of all from Reformed theologians, popular names that you know, where these people are saying over and over again we don’t really know if we’re saved. So they’re believing in eternal security but they’re denying the assurance of salvation. And we’re not teaching that here; we’re teaching both—eternal security AND the assurance of salvation. And these promises wouldn’t mean anything of the assurance of salvation if you’re on divine probation and you can lose salvation.
Unfortunately a lot of people live their lives based on experiences. If you ask them, “do you know you’re saved,” they’ll give you some kind of experience. Oh yeah, I trusted in Christ and I have a new nature now and I have a hunger for God’s Word and I have an appetite for prayer and I never had those things before so that’s how I know I’m saved. Well, the problem is the reality of carnality, you can go back into the sin nature even as a Christian. We saw last week 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where Paul taught that is a definite sad possibility.
[1 Corinthians 3:1-3, “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”]
And if you go back into carnality what do you do with all of these subjective experiences? You’ll discover that your desire for prayer is not what it was, and the desire for the Word is not what it was, the desire to be with God’s people is not what it was. So what I’m trying to communicate is these experiences that we have are really not the final basis upon which you can understand eternal life and the assurance of salvation.
Lewis Sperry Chafer writes this about these subjective experiences. He says, “There is a normal Christian experience. There are new and blessed emotions and desires. Old things do pass away; and behold all things do become new;” but then he writes, “all such experiences are but secondary evidences, as to the fact of salvation, in that they grow out of that positive repose of faith which is the primary evidence.” [Lewis Sperry Chafer, Salvation: A Clear Doctrinal Analysis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), 60. Italics added]
The primary evidence that you know that you’re saved are the promises of God because those never change. Now anything else God gives you, in terms of the subjective experience, you need to put those in your mind as secondary evidences. They are important, God gives them but because they can ebb and flow in the Christian life, depending on your degree of progressive sanctification and your moment by moment dependence upon God, you should not base your eternity on these subjective experiences. And because people are never really taught to define the difference between a primary evidence and a secondary evidence they’re caught in this emotional roller coaster…today I’m saved, today I’m not, sort of mindset.
Let me tell you something from personal experience; if I was flying my plane based on secondary experiences there would be days I would think I’m saved and other days I would think I wasn’t saved, because I have ups and downs in the Christian life just like you do. So I stop flying my plane, I use the plane example because the pilot always his eyes on what? The compass; a pilot does not fly based on how he feels, or she feels. In fact, if you talk to pilots they’ll tell you that many times they feel the plane should be doing something different than what the numbers say. I’ve talked to pilots who will say we actually feel in the midst of a storm as if the plane is upside down, but we don’t fly based on our feelings, we fly based on the objective fact of the numbers, what the compass says. So in the Christian life that’s how you fly your plane; you fly your plane, or live your life based on what God says. Subjective experiences are wonderful but they can come and go. That’s why Dr. Chafer calls these secondary evidences.
And this, I actually said we left off at number 6 last time but actually we haven’t covered number six, so here are six reasons for eternal security. Let’s go to Romans 8:29-30 on our list of thirteen, number 6; the 6th argument for eternal security is that the believer is predestined for glory. Now here Paul, in Romans 8:29-30 articulates the various phases of our salvation. And look at the tenses here on all of these, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined” that’s the work of God towards us before we even believed, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;” that’s when the Spirit convicts you to the point where you are now willing, through human volition to trust in Christ, but He’s called us, “and these whom He called, He also justified;” that’s justification, the declaration of innocence we receive the moment we trust in the provision of the Son, “and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Glorification is eternity, it’s the next life. It’s the time period when I’m out of this body.
Do you see the past tense in all of these? Foreknow is in the past tense, predestination is in the past tense, calling is in the past tense, our justification is in the past tense and look at that, so is our glorification. Now are we in glory now? Are you guys glorified right now? You guys don’t look very glorified out there; I don’t look very glorified up here probably, particularly with this cowlick I was trying to get rid of this morning but my left the house earlier so she’s usually the one that mats that down so I tried to mat it down as I was in the car but not with much success. But in glory I won’t have any cowlicks; isn’t that great.
So legally… what you have to understand is legally we are already glorified, and that’s the difference between… let me give you some fancy words, de jure, which means legal; de facto which means fact. So there are things about us that are legally true, even though they factually haven’t been accomplished yet. For example, Ephesians 2;6 says that we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6, [“and raised s up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”] and that obviously factually hasn’t happened yet but it is a legal positional reality.
So what you have to understand from the standpoint of God is that we are legally glorified already, de jure, even though de facto it hasn’t yet been accomplished.
And what I’m trying to say is simply this: our glory is so certain that it’s spoken of in the past tense in the Bible. Now how can God do this? How can He express things that haven’t happened yet? Because He’s not bound by time; to God tomorrow is already today.
And I like to analogize God’s viewpoint to the Rose Parade, in California we’ve been to the Rose Parade several times. Anybody been to the Rose Parade? Anybody seen it on TV? Okay, good. It’s a crazy thing, you camp out literally night to go to this thing, I don’t know if it’s really worth it at the end of the day, but you freeze to death, you’re camping out all night, you get this great seat there on Colorado Boulevard and you see these floats come by, which they’ve worked on for weeks and months, made completely of floral arrangements and things. And you see the floats go by one at a time. That’s our viewpoint. Then you get smart and you say well, I’m going to watch it on TV next year, or you watch the rerun on TV and camera, the guy in the helicopter gives you the aerial shot and you can see the whole parade, you can see (sometimes, depending on the aerial shot) the first float and the last float. So the helicopter viewpoint is God’s viewpoint. He sees the end from the beginning. Man’s viewpoint is the seat on Colorado Boulevard where one float is passing by after another. So to understand eternal security you really have to stop having the Colorado Boulevard viewpoint, you have to look at the aerial shot. And God here is giving us the aerial shot.
What He basically is saying is it’s a done deal. And that’s why there are these verses like Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8, which says with the Lord a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as what? “one day.” [2 Peter 3:8, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” Psalm 90:4, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.”]
And people do all these weird things with that verse, they try to calculate the end of the world, with that verse, when the six thousand years of human history is elapsed or they do weird things with the creation days. They don’t want to take the creation days in Genesis 1 literally. But that’s not even what those verses are about; it’s not giving us calculations about the end of the world, it’s not even making a statement about the creation days which are just normal twenty-four hour days when you understand the Genesis narratives. They’re just simply statements that God is outside of time; He doesn’t look at things the way we do.
So from God’s timeless viewpoint glory has already happened. This is why you read passages like Joshua 6:2. [Joshua 6:2, “The LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors] Even before Joshua went out to fight the battle of Jericho God already told him, you already won the battle, before any blood was shed, before any actual physical combat took place God said you’ve already won.
So in a sense that’s what God is saying to us; He’s saying you’ve already won. You don’t have to sit nervous, gosh, how’s this thing going to work out in the end. God is saying here’s My viewpoint, aerial viewpoint, the victory is already yours.
Now “glorified” here is the Greek verb edoxasen, it active voice which means God Himself is accomplishing this glory, not the believer. Your future glory does not depend on you or your performance; your rewards at the Bema Seat, to some extent, do depend on that, rewards or lack thereof, whether you allowed God to use you in this life for His purposes. But your ultimate glory depends completely on God. And that’s why I think this is a big deal, because a lot of people look at their salvation as something they have to strive to keep. And that’s not a burden God ever put on a human being. I love the fact that I’m not responsible for my own salvation. Now I have to believe in Christ through volition to receive it but once I have it it’s not something that I have to strive to keep. And it’s sad to me to watch so many people striving to keep it when they’re sweating under some burden that God never gave them.
This is also in the aorist tense, indicative mood, this word “glorified” at the end of Romans 8:30, which means it’s a completed event in the past time, from the standpoint of the writer. In other words, this is a done deal; our arrival in glory is already a done deal. And then it’s also what you call a proleptic or futuristic sense. Sometimes the Bible… Dan Wallace, in his Greek Commentary defines futuristic or proleptic this way: it’s to describe an event that has not yet come to pass as though it were already completed. Now how can God describe an event that has not come to pass as though they were already completed? Because of their certainty, that’s how God can do it, and the fact that He is not bound by time.
So if I could do something to unseat my salvation that means me as a mere human being could cause God’s plan and program to fail. And one of the things I love about God is He doesn’t have any unfinished projects. If you come to my house you’re going to see unfinished projects, just things around, even books, I read through half of a book, I get bored with the book, I decide to read another book; there’s a lot of just things in my life that I haven’t really completed in totality that I wish I had. And God is not that way.
Notice Philippians 1:6, it says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will” what? “perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God doesn’t have any unfinished projects, and guess what one of His projects is? It’s you! It’s me! So all of this to say that the believer is destined for glory.
Let me take you to a seventh argument and let’s go to the book of Ephesians, chapter 4 and verse 30. Actually let’s go to Ephesians 1:13 and 14 first. Number 7, if a Christian can lose his salvation then the Holy Spirit has failed in His sealing ministry. So one of the things that the Spirit of God has done is He has placed the seal on us, that’s a mark of ownership, showing God… I don’t know if you have to show God anything, but it’s signifying that we belong to God, we are His property. And notice, if you will, Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul says, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
So you notice that the Spirit there is called, first of all “a pledge.” A pledge is like a down payment, if you make a down payment on something you, as the buyer, are signifying to the seller that further payments are coming. And because God has already given us a down payment, which is the indwelling ministry of the Spirit within us the moment we trust Christ, the Spirit sort of functions as a pledge to guarantee to us that further payments are on the way, which would be our future glorification.
Buy it also uses this expression “seal,” we have been “sealed” or marked for ownership by God. Now having said all that let’s go to Ephesians 4:30 because what Paul does in Ephesians 1-3 is he lays out the doctrine; what he does in Ephesians 4-6 is he starts applying it. So to understand Ephesians 4-6 you have to understand the things He said earlier in the book, in Ephesians 1-3. And notice what He says about application; he says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” So the application is since I’ve been marked by God for ownership maybe I ought to live differently. I mean, since I’m a new creature and I’m God’s possession maybe I ought to say no to the sin nature more frequently. And when I don’t do that the Spirit of God, who is in me, begins to grieve and that shows that the Spirit of God is an actual personality; He’s not just some kind of a Star Wars invisible source of energy. A lot of people look at spirituality through the grid of Star Wars. You know, there’s the light side and then there’s the dark side. That’s not the biblical view at all. The biblical view of all is you have the Third Member of the Trinity an actual being with emotions permanently living inside of you.
And that’s Paul’s whole injunction to the Corinthians when they were wandering off visiting the temple prostitutes, 1 Corinthians 6. And Paul never says well, I guess you all aren’t saved the way you’re acting. He says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
[1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”] So when you do this sin you just brought the Holy Spirit in with you, and what do you think you’re doing to the Holy Spirit’s emotions? So that’s the application but in the process of the application Paul goes back over this sealing ministry. He says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed” well how long am I sealed for? Holy Spirit long does the seal last? It lasts to “the day of redemption,” and in this case it’s speaking of the redemption of the physical body, future, it’s a futuristic redemption. And what He’s saying is the seal is with you, it’s permanently on you and it will take you all the way to glory. It will stay with you all the way to glory, even though you as a Christian, we as Christians, can go back to the sin nature and grieve the Spirit of God that’s within us.
Now this word “seal”, Ephesians 4:30, is the Greek word sfragizō. It’s in the aorist tense meaning a completed action. It’s in the indicative mood indicating certainty and in this case it’s in the passive voice which basically indicates… because the subject is what we’re supposed to do, so if it were in the active voice it would indicate what I’m supposed to do but here it’s in the passive voice indicating that God is the One that sealed me. I had nothing to do with my sealing; I believed in Christ but the benefit I got was the sealing mark, or ministry of the Holy Spirit and it’s something God totally did.
The seal is a big deal in the Greco-Roman world. You have to understand that the book of Ephesians and all the New Testament books were written in the backdrop of the Greco-Roman world. I brought in my props today for show and tell, you guys ready, let’s do some show and tell, this is really high powered stuff here, I’ve worked all weekend on this. So here’s a letter in the Ancient Near East, it’s rolled up like a scroll or the Greco Roman world I should say, and what they did is they took… to keep it shut they took wax that was just melted from a candle or something of that nature and just before it was melted the Roman Emperor, his insignia would be on the ring and so they took the Roman Emperor’s insignia or a replica which was on the ring and they put it into the melting wax and then the wax would dry there and every time you looked at this seal you would say I can’t open this because if I open it I’m violating Roman law. So the seal, you have to understand, virtually guaranteed that this letter would arrive safely in the hands of the intended recipient. If anybody violated the seal or broke the seal to whom this letter was never written they did so under the penalty of Roman law.
So this letter is designed to go to somebody, they didn’t have a postal service like we have today so how do you guarantee the letter gets from point A to point B? It was with this seal, and so Paul is using that same imagery from Ephesians 4:30 to basically say you are sealed by God, His insignia is on you; and just as a physical seal from the Greco-Roman world guaranteed that the letter would arrive at its intended destination with no tampering God is saying you are going to arrive at your intended destination in glory with no tampering and anybody who tampers with it is doing so under the penalty of God Himself. That’s the imagery.
So we don’t really get a lot of these images because we’re removed, we’re now in the 21st century and we have a different, similar but different way of doing things in terms of postal service but to Paul’s readers this sealing imagery, they would all pick up on it and they would understand exactly what he was talking about.
What’s interesting is when you study Matthew 27:66 the Jews, unbelieving Jews were worried that the disciples were going to fake the resurrection of Jesus by stealing the body in the middle of the night and then get up on Sunday and say look, it’s empty, the burial place of Jesus is empty and fake this whole resurrection deal. So to prevent that from happening notice what it says there in Matthew 27:66, it says, “And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a” what “seal on the stone.” Now this one obviously wasn’t of wax, the stone would be too big but it was some kind of mark indicating that if you moved this stone, and you tampered with this in any way then you were under violation of Roman law. That verb “seal” is the exact same word sfragizō that Paul uses both in Ephesians 1:13 and Ephesians 4:30.
[Ephesians 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”]
So what you have to understand is that you have been permanently sealed by God. Nothing can derail your arrival at future glory. And the Holy Spirit is something that all Christians have. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit then you’re not a Christian. Right? I used to think well, there’s the Methodist Christians over there, there’s the Baptist Christians over there, the Presbyterian Christians over there, you had the Catholic Christians over there, and then oh yeah, there’s the born again Christians over here. Before I was saved I thought born again was kind of a denomination within Christendom. But the fact of the matter is there’s only one kind of Christian, that’s the born again Christian. Regardless where you attend church if you haven’t been born by the Spirit of God then you’re not a Christian. You can be a “MethaCathaBapterian” or a “BaptiCostalFundamatic” or whatever you are but if you’re not born of the Spirit of God you’re not saved, it doesn’t matter where you go to church. And Romans 8:9 says that. [Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.]
And let me ask you a question; how long is the Spirit of God in me for? Forever. You say well where is he getting this from? I’m getting it from the words of Christ in the Upper Room, as He was speaking of the Spirit’s work that would begin in the church age on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2. And what does Jesus say in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” the word “Helper” there is paraclete, it’s the one who comes alongside and assists; paraclete, “that He may be with you” for how long? What does it say at the end of verse 16? “forever.” Now the Greek word for “forever there is aiōnios, which is the same word used to describe God in Romans 16:26. [Romans 16:26, “but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;”]
So the Spirit is within you forever. It doesn’t qualify it, it doesn’t say well, you know, the Spirit is in you but man, you’d better keep your church attendance up or you’re in a lot of trouble. It doesn’t say that at all. I’m pro church attendance, by the way; actually I have to show up to church, I get paid to be here. As Howard Hendricks said I get paid to be good, everybody else is good for nothing. [Laughter] So you guys can be good for nothing, I get paid to be good; isn’t that cool?
But it doesn’t qualify it at all, it doesn’t say… you know, gee, maybe the Spirit is in you, maybe it’s not. It doesn’t qualify it on some kind of human performance. It says “the Spirit is in you forever.” So the mark of God on you… you know, it’s interesting, you study the marks in the Bible, there are a lot of interesting marks, 144,000 Jewish evangelists are going to be sealed by God. God put a protective mark on Cain, remember, in the book of Genesis, chapter 4. The antichrist, who duplicates God’s system is going to have the mark of the beast and things like that. It’s a very interesting study to look at this insignia or mark. But as I’m understanding it there’s some kind of mark on you spiritually, marking you out as God’s possession. And nothing can deactivate that, you are sealed unto the day of redemption because the Spirit of God is in you forever. [Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”] Now if that doesn’t build your doctrine of eternal security I don’t know what can or will.
Let me take you to an eighth reason and let’s go to the book of 1 Peter, chapter 1, and verses 3-6. An eighth reason why you cannot lose your salvation: if a Christian can lose his salvation then God has failed in His intention to keep us. And there’s a specific promise in the Bible that God, present tense, keeps us. And where do we find that? We find it in 1 Peter 1:3-6, let me read these verses to you. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chris, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” here’s the key point, verse 5, “who” that would be us, “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Verse 6, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.”
This is so tremendous here. He tells us we have been born again so the only type of Christian there is, as we’ve said before, is the born again Christian. Jesus revealed that in His whole dialogue with Nicodemus in John 3, I call that Nick at night. And then he says we’ve “been born again to a living hope,” now remember from our study of the word “hope” last week what the word “hope” means? It’s the Greek word elpis, see, we use the word hope differently in English, I hope that business deal goes through. I hope my house sells. I hope I get the new job, where we use the word hope almost as if it’s an uncertainty. That is not how the Bible uses the word hope. It’s a certainty that hasn’t materialized yet. Don’t analyze the word hope from the English language; analyze it from the Greek language. And when you look at the word elpis in Greek you’ll very clearly see that. So we’ve been born again to a hope, that’s the certainty of our glory, we know that we have these things because Jesus bodily came out of the grave.
So we are going “to obtain an inheritance”, now what in the world is an inheritance? An inheritance is not a reward; people confuse those constantly. A reward is something we receive from God based on how we allowed Him to use us in this life. Peter is not dealing with rewards here. It’s a different doctrine. He’s dealing with inheritance; an inheritance is legally something that’s yours. Back to our fancy words, De jure, legally it’s yours. Factually you’re not yet possessing it or enjoying it but legally it’s yours. It’s just like receiving an inheritance from your prior generation that puts you in a will or a trust; it’s something that the law says is legally yours but you have to wait till so and so dies before you can actually enjoy or possess that inheritance. So we are on a fast track with God towards this inheritance.
Now is the inheritance sure? I mean, can inflation corrupt its value? Can thieves break in and steal? Can greedy relatives secretly re-write the will and kick you out of your inheritance? No, because it’s “reserved in heaven for you.” It’s protected. So consequently it’s imperishable and undefiled. And here our inheritance is our future glory with Christ.
Now how do I know I’m going to get this inheritance? How do I know something is not going to go astray or go wrong on the front end before I arrive at my inheritance? Because, verse 5, “we are protected by the power of God….” The Greek word for “protected” here is phroureō. It’s a military term, it means to be guarded, protected, and shielded. So what has happened to you is you are currently being guarded, protected, and shielded by God which is your guarantee that you are going to arrive at your place of glory. And this Greek word is in the present tense which means God is continually doing it. It’s not like God protected us so we arrive at our future glory, the idea here is He is currently protecting us.
And what you discover here is this is in the passive voice, meaning it’s not the believer that’s doing anything. It’s God that’s doing it! I’m not protecting myself so I arrive at my intended destination; God is currently protecting me. And as you continue on in verse 5 it says I am being protected “through faith,” now faith of course is the one condition that’s necessary for me to be saved, but once I’m in faith then I have the present tense power of God protecting me.
Now how strong is this protection exactly? You’ll notice there in verse 5 we are being protected by the power of what? “the power of God.” Is there a stronger power than that? I don’t think there is a stronger power than that, so what is happening is we are currently being protected by the power of God Himself; God’s power is what we call omnipotence, all powerful. So how do I know that I’m going to arrive at my future destination? Because I’m being currently protected, present tense, by the power of God for my salvation.
Verse 5, “…for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Now you say well why is salvation there futuristic, I thought salvation is something we already have. Well remember the three tenses of salvation? Remember what they are? Justification. What’s the middle one, sanctification. What’s the last one? Glorification. So you’ll find in the Scripture that salvation is used three different ways. So when people say Brother, have you been saved, the right answer is I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved. And they’ll probably say that’s more information than what I was looking for. But here salvation is speaking of my future glory. How do I know I’m going to get my future glory, which is my inheritance, which is my legal possession even though I don’t possess it yet? Because the power of God, present tense, the omnipotent power of God permanently protects me. Oh, so that means that God’s power is protecting me, I don’t have any problems in life, right? No, it doesn’t say that, does it.
Verse 6, “In this you greatly rejoice,” are you rejoicing in this? I get so nauseated with Christians that say well, I’m not going to worship God because they don’t play the kind of music I like. They do too many traditional hymns, or they do too many contemporary hymns, and what everybody is wanting is their own self-centered generational needs catered to. I don’t see that at all in the Bible; I think we ought to be people of rejoicing no matter what kind of music is played. Now the music, and Bruce is in the back, he does a great job of making it biblically accurate, but my rejoicing doesn’t depend upon the style of music that’s being played that day. I ought to be a persons of rejoicing, even if I have to, God forbid, you don’t want this to happen, get up and sing a cappella, what a disaster that would be.
But regardless of whether it’s a guitar or a re-stringed banjo or a piano or a choir, I ought to just rejoice in that; I ought to just can’t wait to get amongst God’s people and in amongst His church and rejoice in what He’s done for me. Oh, I’ve got to be careful, I feel a three point sermon coming on here and I’ve got to conserve my energy. But the Bible says we ought to rejoice in this. It says, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while” you look at your problems this way, as things that just happen “for a little while”? We don’t naturally look at our problems that way, we see them as these big things that never end. And the problem is we have the Colorado Boulevard mindset, we’re not looking at it from the aerial shot. We don’t look at it from God’s point of view.
So the Scripture says, ‘In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while … you have been distressed by various trials.” So you will notice that trials do distress us but they should not inhibit our joy. You’ll notice the word “various trials,” trials come in different shapes and sizes, don’t they. The trial I’m in today was not the trial I was in last year or the year before that. There are different types of trials that come into our lives and distress us.
By the way, do you know what was going to happen to these people in 1 Peter? Most of them were about read to be headed off to the lion’s den because Nero is now on the throne, he’s kind of going wacko, losing his mind; he’s a hateful man and he’s the one that brought the first formal wave of persecution against the church, formerly from Rome. And he’s the one that financed the coliseum, I’ve actually stood in one, they have one in the land of Israel in a place called…I think it was Beth Shean, if I remember right. But it’s sort of eerie, you walk in there and you actually stand where Christians were devoured by ravenous animals 2,000 years earlier. And you know, my little complaints of the day, I didn’t get enough ketchup on my eggs at breakfast, I got suntan lotion in my eye, those kind of have a tendency to dissipate when you’re standing in the actual place where martyrs blood was spilled.
So when he says various trials this is what these people were about to go through. That’s why the end of 1 Peter talks about Satan roams about like a roaring what? Lion! I take “lion” there pretty literally, most people just see it as a metaphor for Satan but I see it as that but I think it’s actually a reference to the literal lion’s den these people are going to face. And how does Peter describe even a trial of that severity? It just happens for a little while and you can still rejoice in the midst of it. Why? Because nothing can derail your eternity because you are protected by the present tense power of God. So rejoice in that.
And how someone can look at this and deny the doctrine of eternal security is totally beyond me. So we’re going to get ready to stop here in just a second, I went too long last week and those guys taught me to have a bathroom break, but basically what we’ve covered is some more arguments for eternal security, we’ve covered number 6, the believer is predestined for glory. Number 7, the Spirit’s seal in you, on you, cannot be broken. And then number 8, according to this tremendous set of verses in 1 Peter 1:3-5 God keeps us, the present tense power of God continually keeps us so that we are guaranteed that we will arrive at our ultimate destination.
Next week you’re going to learn that you have a defense attorney that’s better than Johnny Cochran. So we’ll stop there. We’ll let people go, if they want to get some extra leg time and then we’ll open it up for questions if you guys…..