Eternal Security And
Elder Buddy Abernathy
Fort Wayne, Indiana
United States Of America
As Primitive Baptists, we believe that salvation is entirely by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-9). We rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:14 & Isa. 40:1-2). We believe he came into the world to save his people from their sins (Mat. 1:21, John 6:38-39). We believe He accomplished His mission (John 19:30).
We also believe that our purpose in life is to glorify God (Psa. 22:23, 1 Cor. 6:19-20) by maintaining good works (Eph. 2:10). The Apostle Peter said it this way, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Pet. 1:13-16).
I hope this little booklet will help you rest in the salvation wrought for you by Jesus Christ. I also hope it will motivate you to "...live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;" (Tit. 2:12). If you believe the principles we have tried to set forth, I encourage you to come worship with us at Fort Wayne Primitive Baptist Church. If you live in another part of the United States or another part of the world, I hope you will feel free to contact me if you want more information about Primitive Baptists. The location of the church and my personal contact information is on the back of this booklet.
Elder Buddy Abernathy
Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA December, 2004
Copies of this booklet may be ordered from the author for $3.00 each. This price includes the cost of postage. Shipments outside the United States may require additional postage.
ETERNAL SECURITY AND PRACTICAL SANCTIFICATION
Primitive Baptists rejoice in the doctrine of “Eternal Security” (John 10:27-29, Rom. 8:38-39). Without it, all the teachings which comprise the “Doctrines Of Grace” would be vain . Election, Predestination, Redemption, and Regeneration are without value if no one is eternally secure as a consequence of these acts of God’s sovereign will (1 Cor. 15:19). We believe that, before the world began, God chose an innumerable multitude of people in Christ and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). We believe Jesus redeemed all the elect when He died on the cross two thousand years ago (1 Pet. 1:18-19). We believe the Holy Spirit regenerates (quickens) each one of the elect at some point during their life in this world (John 5:25, Eph. 2:1). All who were chosen before the world began will forever remain the elect of God. All who were redeemed at the cross are eternally redeemed. All who are born of the Spirit possess everlasting life.
Sometimes we refer to the doctrine of "Eternal Security" as “The Preservation of the Saints” or “The Perseverance of the Saints”. We also use the expressions, “Preserved in Grace” and “Perseverance in Grace” to convey this principle. Throughout most of my life among the Primitive Baptists, the particular expression one uses has not been a source of tension or controversy. To my understanding, the expressions “Perseverance in Grace” and “Preserved in Grace” (Jude 1) have referred to God’s people continuing in a saved condition throughout time and eternity. In particular, as the concept is applied to the new birth, it has meant that once we are born again we will continue to possess spiritual life forever (1 Pet. 1:23). At the present I pastor a Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana that was constituted in 1926, a young church when compared to many of our churches. When the church was constituted, they adopted the "Articles of Faith" written by Elder Walter Cash of St. Joseph, Missouri. The following statement is made under the heading, “Perseverance”. “We believe that none who are born again will fall away so as to be lost, but that they will be preserved through grace to glory.” This is a prime example of the two terms being used interchangeably.
Some Protestant denominations use the expression, "Perseverance In Grace", to imply a component of eternal salvation that is not implied by Primitive Baptists who are accustomed to using the terms interchangeably. The idea is advanced that God’s people will not only persevere in the sense that they will always possess spiritual life after they are born again, but; furthermore, they will persevere in terms of godly living. This generally includes the belief that they will come to understand the gospel and maintain a visible obedience to God in their life. In other words, “Daily" or "Practical Sanctification” (concepts which Primitive Baptists have often labeled “Time Salvation”) is part of the "process" of being eternally saved. All the elect will be born of the Spirit and persevere in obedience, at least to some degree. However, it is usually unclear as to how much of the true gospel they will come to understand and how much obedience they will maintain. It is also acknowledged that God’s children may fall away in disobedience for a season, but God will move upon them in such a way as to bring them to repentance. This view of Perseverance represents a fundamental difference between Primitive Baptists and some Protestant congregations who embrace portions of what we believe about the "Doctrines of Grace". This fundamental difference in doctrine is the result of fundamental differences in the interpretation of scripture.
Surely God has the power to work this kind of "Perseverance" in the lives of his children if it is according to his will (Dan. 4:34-35). However, God has not purposed to do everything He has the power to do. For example, Jesus has power over all flesh, yet it is his purpose to give eternal life to the elect only (John 17:2). God has the power to move upon us so that we persevere in obedience; however, He gave Adam the freedom to obey God as an act of his own will (Gen. 2:17). Adam, using the intellect that God gave him, chose to disobey God (Gen. 3:6). The question we are concerned with is, “Can a child of God live in perpetual disobedience?” Is it possible for “the flesh” to permanently dominate in the sense of influencing the behavior of a child of God? Or, in Paul’s language, can sin reign in our mortal body (Rom. 6:12)?
Throughout the duration of their life in this time world, all of God’s children, after regeneration (being born again), exist with two natures which the scriptures refer to as “the flesh” and “the spirit” (Gal. 5:17). The flesh is that evil nature which loves the world. The spirit is that good nature which loves God (Rom. 15:14). The flesh is corrupt (Rom. 7:18) and the spirit is incorruptible (1 Pet. 1:23). These two natures are contrary the one to the other. Each nature has an ongoing conflict with the opposing nature in an effort to influence the behavior of the individual person in whom the two natures dwell (Rom 7:15-23). Only in natural death is the child of God delivered from the ungodly influence of the flesh (Rom. 7:24).
Lot is a classic example of the two conflicting natures in a child of God. He was described as a "just man" with a "righteous soul" (2 Pet. 2:7-8). However, his lifestyle contained very little righteousness in terms of godly living. A casual reading of his biography as recorded in the book of Genesis reveals a life plagued with the consequences of poor judgment (Gen. 13 & 19). After the separation of Abraham and Lot as a result of the strife between their herdsmen, “Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (13:12) The men of Sodom were described as “wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly (Gen. 13:13).” Lot situated his life in such a way as to make himself vulnerable to the corrupting influences of the world. For about twenty years, Lot exposed himself and his family to the abominable practices of the people of Sodom and Gomorah. When the angels were sent to deliver Lot and his family from God’s approaching judgment upon the cities, Lot was found sitting in the gate of Sodom. In Bible times, “the city gates were centers for conversation and commerce. Because the elders often transacted business at the gate, to ‘sit at the gate’ meant to attain a certain social eminence.”* Clearly, Lot was involved in the social culture of Sodom and; therefore, subject to the influences of it (1 Cor. 15:33). Although Lot put forth great effort to protect the angels from being “sodomized” by the men of the city, in his warped sense of judgment he offered his two virgin daughters to them and said, “do ye to them as is good in your eyes…”. Obviously he had been persuaded to accept the openly promiscuous lifestyle of the citizenry of Sodom and Gomorrha. When Lot attempted to persuade his daughters’ husbands to leave the city, “he seemed as one who mocked unto his sons in law.” (Gen. 19:14). His sons in law had witnessed the blatant inconsistency of his life and consequently ignored his counsel. The next morning, instead of immediately leaving the city, he “lingered” (Gen. 19:16). However, because of God’s mercy unto him, he and his family were delivered from the city. But when the angels instructed him to “escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed“ (Gen. 19:17), he argued with them and said, “I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:” (Gen. 19:19). In his argument with them, he used the same words Peter used with Jesus, “not so, my Lord” (Gen. 19:18), which, in Peter’s case, prompted the Lord to say, “Get thee behind me Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” (Mark 8:33b). Clearly, Lot was not “walking in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). He ultimately persuaded the angels to allow him to escape to another city. As they were journeying to the city of refuge, his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26). This was not a casual, unintentional glance, but a manifestation of what her heart desired (Lk. 12:34). This illustration of the severity of God’s judgment (Rom. 11:22) was still familiar to the descendants of Abraham almost two thousand years later (Lk. 17:32). Lot was not delivered from the overthrow of the cities because of his faithfulness to God, but, to the contrary, he was delivered for Abraham’s sake (Gen. 19:29) in the same sense that we are delivered from hell for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor 5:21, Isa. 53:6). The last details of Lot’s life describe him leaving Zoar with his two daughters because he was afraid. They went to a mountain and dwelt in a cave. His daughters took turns getting him drunk and committing incest with him in order to perpetuate their family (Gen. 19:30-36).
The key to understanding what happened to this righteous man’s soul is found in 2 Peter 2:7-8. After referring to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Peter tells us that the Lord, “…delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;).” Interestingly, the word “vexed”, which is used twice in these verses, is translated from two different Greek words. In verse eight, it is translated from a word which means, “to torment or torture” (Strong’s #928). In verse seven, it is translated from a word which means, “to wear with toil” or “to wear down with labor” (Strong’s #2669). See also Spiros Zodhiates’ “The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament", p. 324 & pp. 840-841 for more information. The concept under consideration here is the corrupting influence which the world has on those who are constantly exposed to it (1 Cor. 15:33). Notice that it says “in seeing and hearing”, Lot “vexed his righteous soul form day to day with their unlawful deeds.” Day after day he was exposed to their wickedness and it troubled his soul greatly. However, in keeping with the corrupting influence of sin, he became more and more desensitized to it as the days, months, and years passed by. The daily “vexing” (tormenting) of his soul brought him to the point that he was “vexed” (worn down) with the filthy conversation (lifestyle) of the wicked. Sin became less shocking and more acceptable as time passed by, in much the same way that television has “vexed” (worn down) the sensitivity of the conscience of many modern Americans. The record of Lot’s biography in scripture illustrates the consequences of failing to heed the call Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost to, “save yourselves from this untoward (crooked or perverse) generation.”
Let's now look at some New Testament principles which teach the same concept which is illustrated in the life of Lot. Remember, Peter described Lot as a "just" man, yet he came out of Sodom and Gomorrha "vexed (worn down) with the filthy conversation of the wicked:". In Romans 8:9-11, Paul writes, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." In these verses, Paul is addressing "eternal security" and teaching that all of those who are born of the Spirit will ultimately be resurrected to life eternal. The same ones in whom the Spirit dwells are the ones who will finally have their mortal bodies quickened by the Spirit that dwells in them. However, he then says, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 8:12-13). The "living" under consideration here is based upon obedience. Paul is not teaching that "mortifying the deeds of the body" is part of God's process of eternal salvation. Rather he is presenting the way in which we are to glorify the One that will ultimately save us by His grace. When he speaks of "living after the flesh" he is not presenting a hypothetical scenario but is making it clear that it is possible for God's children to die in the sense of failing to "mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body." All of them in whom the Spirit dwells have two natures, the flesh and the Spirit. They are also prone to the influence of each nature. No wonder Paul says in Romans 6:12, "Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." He is essentially saying, "You are alive spiritually, now live in a way that manifests it." Again, Paul is not presenting a hypothetical in which no one fits. He is addressing both practical sanctification and eternal security. Although the child of God may allow sin to reign in his life, yet it will not ultimately have dominion over him because he "is not under the law but under grace." In Galatians 5:16-17, Paul says, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” In all three of these examples, Paul is concerned about the “now salvation” of God’s people and presents it as the central challenge in the life of God’s children.
The most basic ingredient in the recipe for godly living is conversion to the true gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2 & 6:18-20). The scriptures teach that all of God's elect are redeemed by Christ, quickened (born again) by the direct, effectual call of the Holy Spirit, and will ultimately be glorified with the Son in eternal heaven (Rom. 8:29-30, 1 Pet. 1:18-19, Eph. 2:1, 2 Tim. 1:9, John 14:1-3). Do the scriptures also teach that all of God's children will come to believe on Jesus Christ in the sense that they will have an understanding of some of the principles of the gospel? If not, do the scriptures support the so called "Hollow Log Doctrine" which essentially teaches that an individual can be born of the spirit and yet be completely unchanged by it in the same way a rabbit can run through a hollow log and have no effect on the log? I contend that both positions are extreme views which are contrary to the overall teaching of the word of God. Furthermore, failure to embrace one of the two views does not force one to embrace the other extreme. I do not believe that all of God's children will come to believe on Jesus in the sense that they will all possess a particular level of understanding about what he did for them. However, such a view does not force me to embrace the "Hollow Log Doctrine". Jesus made it clear that all of His people will know him in the sense that they will come to possess the new nature which is of God (2 Cor. 5:17, John 10:27-28, 6:37, John 17:2-3, 1 Cor. 10:4 & 12:13). The new birth is a permanent, radical internal transformation from death in sins to life in Christ. However, the Bible also makes it clear that, for a number of reasons, God's children may never know Jesus in the sense of understanding who he is as Savior. Paul asked the church at Thessalonica to pray for him that the word of the Lord would have free course and be glorified with others in the same way in which it had been with them (2 Thes. 3:1). His concern in this statement is for God's children because the next verse continues the same sentence in which he asks the church to also pray that he would be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men which do not possess faith (2 Thes. 3:2). Paul did not assume that preaching to those who possessed faith would be successful. To the contrary, he asked the church to pray for success. He recognized the uncertainty of his hearers coming to believe the gospel. Nonetheless, he was willing to "endure all things" in his labor to bring God's elect people to an understanding of the gospel (2 Tim. 2:10 & 1 Cor. 9:19-22).
Let's consider three reasons why some of God's children never experience gospel conversion.
1.) Deception. Paul asked the Galatians, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (Gal. 3:1). Paul compared false doctrine to leaven. Leaven spreads and influences the entire lump (Gal. 5:9). He said in his second letter to the Corinthians, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." Paul was afraid that the people of God would be led astray by the false teachers of his day who presented "counterfeit gospels". It is highly unlikely that anyone could pass off Monopoly money as the real thing. However, a professional counterfeit money maker can fool practically everyone except the experts. In like manner, it is not the radical changes which deceive the Lord's people but the minor ones which slowly lead, little by little, to radically different conclusions. This is the method being employed in the religious world today to change the meaning of the Bible. It is only when the modern English versions of the Bible are placed alongside the King James Version that the changes and omissions become obvious. Notice that Paul referred to "another gospel" and even "another Jesus." Drifting (Heb. 2:1) is a slow process in which the one who is drifting is often unaware of what's happening. When I was a child we generally went on vacation to the beach every summer. I always enjoyed riding the waves on an inflatable float. I would toss down my towel on the beach and head for the water. I was always amazed that in only a few minutes, my towel would drift way up the beach. Actually, I was the one that had drifted away from the towel. The waves were moving slightly unparallel to the beach causing me to slowly drift down the beach. I was unaware of what was happening until I referred back to the location of my towel which had not moved. In like manner, God's people often drift away from the truth. In some cases they are brought up under the influence of a "counterfeit gospel" which passes for truth in the minds of many. The Galatians were fooled by the counterfeit (Gal. 1:6-7 & 5:4). Others drifted away from the truth (Rom. 16:17-18 & Heb. 2:1). No wonder Peter warned us, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (2 Pet. 2:1).
2.) Interference. The Parable Of The Sower (Mat. 13:3-23, Mk. 4:2-20, & Luk. 4-15) illustrates the three most common factors which interfere with the progress of the gospel. The new birth is imparted by the life-giving voice of Jesus which is immune to all interference (John 5:25 & 11:43-44). The gospel, being a cooperative effort between the Spirit, the preacher, and the hearer, involves a human element (1 Cor. 3:5-9, 1:21, 2:4-5, 1 Thes. 1:5, & Tit. 1:3) and is therefore subject to outside interference (Mat. 13:57-58, Gal. 4:15-16, 1 Tim. 4:12). The first source of interference is the devil. The "wayside hearers" have the preached word sown in their hearts. The devil takes away the word which was sown in their hearts, "lest they should believe and be saved." The word "lest" here means that the devil anticipates what the results will be if he doesn't interfere. The greatest weapon a child of God can use against Satan is the knowledge that Jesus has saved them from the wrath to come (Rom. 5:9). What a deliverance! (Gal. 5:1). Our adversary will do all he can to prevent those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness from finding comfort and peace in the gospel ( 1 Th. 2:18). There is no need for Satan to be concerned about unregenerate men being exposed to the gospel. There is no potential for them to "believe and be saved" because preaching is considered by them to be foolishness and hearing it produces rage in their heart (1 Cor. 1:18 & Acts 7:54). The second source of interference is affliction and persecution for the word's sake. Many of the Lord's children are unwilling to "forsake all and follow him" (Luk. 5:11). Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luk. 9:23). It's easy to be a "fair weather Christian". These rocky ground hearers start out great but when they begin suffering difficulty because of their doctrinal beliefs and unworldly lifestyle, they fall away. They give up their commitment to the Lord. They choose rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season than to continue suffering affliction with the people of God. (Heb. 11:25). They love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43). Paul described the consequences of genuine Christianity in Gal. 6:14, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Paul is essentially saying, Since I became a believer of the gospel and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have lost all interest in the world and the world has lost all interest in me. Many today are unwilling to give up the favor and recognition they received from the world before they made a profession of faith in Christ. The third source of interference is "the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches" (Mat. 13:22). The "care of this world" is primarily the activities of life which we allow to dominate and control our time. Many families today are rarely at home together at meal time. Mother has become a taxi service for driving the children to all their extra curricular functions and team practices which are supposedly necessary to produce good social skills and healthy self-esteem. Father has become self-absorbed with his career and golf game. Home has become an extended stay Bed And Breakfast facility. This problem is compounded by the "deceitfulness of riches" (covetousness). Father and Mother want to have a big enough home where everyone can have their own space. This often includes equipping each room with its own T.V. and DVD player which helps everyone “relax“. This further insures that the family will not be spending any time together in wholesome conversation. Furthermore, each parent must drive a new SUV to maintain the right image. Since "a family can no longer live on just one income", mother must have her own career to help out. Consequently, there is no time to seek God much less get serious about what the Bible actually teaches. Going to church is viewed as an opportunity for God to meet needs and help the busy family feel better about themselves. The preacher dare not preach about self-denial and persecution for righteousness sake. Surely we can see the effect modern American living is having on the progress of the gospel. Interference plays a dominate role today in preventing God's children from hearing and embracing the truth of the gospel.
3) Divine Judgment. The third reason why some of God's children fail to enjoy the benefits of conversion to the gospel is because they are under His judgment. The clearest example of this is illustrated in God's dealings with the Jews. Paul described this in great detail in Romans and warned the Gentiles that the same fate awaits them if they do not remain faithful. "Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well: because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Rom. 11:19-22). This is not referring to an eternal separation but a judgment which separates us from the blessings of His kingdom in the earth. Paul then makes this profound statement to the Gentiles regarding their relationship to the Jews as a result of God's judgment upon the Jews, "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all." (Rom. 11:28-32). In a gospel sense, the Jews are the enemies of the Gentiles. However, as far as the eternal security of God's elect among the Jews is concerned, he says, "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance". If God's saving grace has ever been bestowed upon someone, he will not, under any circumstances take it back. The word "repentance" here means that God will not turn away from the Jews. The context demands that we distinguish between separation from the gospel and separation from God. The Jews were separated from the gospel, but they were not eternally separated from God. Generally speaking, in the Old Testament, the Jews believed and the Gentiles did not. In the New Testament, the Gentiles believed and the Jews did not - "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (Rom 11:32). God's everlasting mercy toward his elect people among the Jews and Gentiles is irrelevant to their present stance toward him in the gospel.
This insight as to how the Lord deals with His people is further described in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, "It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." If we were represented in His death, we will live with him in glory. (Rom. 6:7-9). However, in a practical sense, "if we deny him, he also will deny us:" (Mat. 10:32-33 & 26:69-75). Nevertheless, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." (Mal. 3:6, 2 Sam. 23:5). Again the context demands that we separate God denying fellowship to His people and God denying them the benefits of the everlasting covenant. It is only the "non-elect" which Jesus will deny at His second coming (Mat. 25:41).
Because of the potential for losing their "gospel salvation", the Jews are warned about the dangers of forsaking the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:23-31). To forsake the assembly is to "sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth". Furthermore, when one commits this sin, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,". Jesus was sacrificed to save us from the wrath (Rom. 5:9) to come and provide forgiveness and restoration as we regularly confess our sins (1 John 1:9). His sacrifice will not save us from the judgment of God that comes upon us when we depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1, Heb. 10:29-31). Notice that the one under this severe judgment is the one who, "counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace." The problem here has to do with the attitude of the individual, not their eternal security. The text asserts that the individual under consideration is sanctified by the blood of the covenant. However, he has "counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing...". He is living his life without regard for the benefits he has received through the redemptive work of Christ. I believe this is essentially the lesson under consideration when Jesus referred to the unclean spirit going out of a man and then returning with seven spirits more wicked than himself (Mat. 12:43-45). Jesus said, "the last state of that man is worse than the first." (See also 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
To believe that all of God's children will not experience gospel salvation is not to say it is unimportant. To the contrary, we share the desire that Paul revealed about himself when he wrote, "...I am made all things unto all men that I might by all means save some." (1 Cor. 9:22). Paul grieved that he did not have greater success in terms of his own personal sanctification yet he rejoiced that nothing could separate him from the Love of God in Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:21-25 & 8:38-39). Paul also taught that perseverance in godly living is an evidence that we are the Lord's people (Gal. 5:24). Yet Jesus said, "...many are called but few are chosen." (Mat. 22:14). Many are called to embrace the truth of the gospel which proclaims that Jesus is all of our righteousness. Few are willing to cease from their own works and rest in His finished work (Mat. 22:1-14). Many are called to serve Jesus on His terms in which he rewards His children as it seems good in his sight. Few are willing to accept his conditions (Mat. 20:1-16, Mark 10:17-22).
As Peter moved beyond the person and work of Jesus Christ, the focal point of his preaching on the Day of Pentecost was, "save yourselves from this untoward generation." (Acts 2:40). Almost two thousand years ago, the Hebrews were admonished, "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:1-2). What a great need there is today for the Lord's people to heed this admonition.
The words of Paul briefly but clearly sum up what we have tried to set forth in this little booklet, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Tim. 2:19).
*The Bible Almanac, Copyright 1980 by Thomas Nelson Pub., p. 412
PASTOR ELDER BUDDY ABERNATHY
FORT WAYNE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA 46818