Chapter 21 Continued from Chapter 20
“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)
An Email Ministry for the Glory of God
A series of Bible studies on
SALVATION IN CHRIST
THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
PART C’: Which believer does not risk losing his salvation… (#5)
In the context of this series, I deem necessary to refer to an argumentation concerning the eternal security of the salvation issue, which was developed about Timothy, one among the closest Paul’s collaborators, whose name was written in the book of life (Php.4:3)!
- Timothy’s Salvation…
Those who argue that there is no security of salvation up to the last moment of their life, use, among other arguments, the words that Paul wrote to Timothy: “Take heed to yourself, and to the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you” (1Tim.4:16). This verse (as well as verses Ezek.18:26-28, 33:17-19 and certain others) has become one of the strongest arguments of those who believe that even true, even the best Christian may lose his salvation if, if, if… Consequently, there is none that is safe up to his last breath. Emphasis is put on the expression… “for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you”. They conclude, therefore, that Timothy was not yet, in reality, saved, but he would be saved if he took heed to himself and to the doctrine!
Some questions then should be answered! Those who say that the believer is not in reality saved, but will be saved if, if, if… he remains faithful to the end… are but partly right! I said that they are partly right, first, because their argument does not correspond to the statements and promises made by Jesus Christ and secondly because there are “believers” and “believers”! There are many who sincerely believe in Jesus Christ’s work of redemption, but they do not trust their life to Him! Is it in vain that it is written: “You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble » (Jas.2:19)?
The TRUE BELIEVER has given, right from the beginning or at another moment of his spiritual life, his heart (his will or his whole being) sincerely to God, has denied himself, has taken up his cross, has offered himself as a “slave to God” and his body as a living sacrifice. He has done it once and for all in all things. This is the meaning of Rom. 6:17 and of many other similar Bible verses. The case of being caught inadvertently in misbehavior is not excluded. This is the reason why 1John 1:9 is written: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness». The ‘occasional’ does not “demolish” our heart’s permanent stance!!!
The TRUE BELIEVER is already saved, but he is renewed every day! He is being saved from his sins, weaknesses and passions and finally he will be ‘saved’ forever, in eternity! As he progresses in his spiritual life he becomes all the more spiritually mature. The basis of all this is due to the great and glorious truth: “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
- Timothy’s Christian character and work
Timothy was the Apostle Paul’s “workflow” (Rom.16: 21), he was Paul’s “beloved son, and faithful in the Lord” (1Cor.4:17) and he had an unfeigned faith, which dwelled first in his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2Tim.1:5). Paul testifies that Timothy was working “the work of the Lord, as he also did” (1Cor.16:10); that he was “his brother” in Christ and that he was “servant of Jesus Christ” (Php.1:1).
Paul also testified: “… I have no man like minded” (GR: ισόψυχον = with equal soul), who will naturally care for your state” (Phil.2:20)! He calls him “our brother and minister of God and his fellow labourer in the Gospel of Christ” (1Thess.3:2); a “genuine child in faith” (1Tim.1:2); “my dearly beloved son” (2Tim.1:2); and that “brother Timothy is set at liberty” (Heb.13:23)! In other words, that he was in prison for Jesus’ name.
Was such a man not saved, but that he would be “saved”? The opponents to these truths, do they not remember that the verb “save” is used in three tenses: present, past and future? Here is the proof: “for the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us—who are being saved–it is the power of God” (1Cor.1:18 – YLT) and “because of Christ a sweet fragrance we are to God, in those being saved, and in those being lost” (2Cor.2:15).
If we compare the subject we are treating with the verse: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:8) or better “for by grace you have been saved, (σεσωσμένοι = you have been saved – GR: present perfect meaning a finished act) through faith, and this not of you – of God the gift,” (Eph.2:8) as well as with “Cast not away therefore your confidence, (boldness – GR) which has great recompense of reward” (Heb.10:35) we understand that we have to do with an accomplished fact… Alleluia!
All true Christians have been, (are) saved by faith, by the mercy and the grace of God, but they are also in the process of “being saved” from their shortcomings, weaknesses, lack of wisdom and that they will be finally “saved” (preserved for God’s heavenly kingdom)! The expression in question refers to spiritual progress. The “… righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev.22:11). Let us not forget some similar words of the Bible: “… and this also we wish, even your perfection” (2Cor.13:9)! Also the verse which says: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph.4:12).
Paul, speaking of himself, tells us: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after (pursue – “run” GR), if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus » (Phil.3:12-14). Let us take note that he is speaking about a prize and not about his salvation!
Is it not for the same reason that the apostle Paul wrote: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Cor.7:1), as well as “But now being made free from sin, and become servants (slaves) to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom.6:22)?
- Pastoral advices
The fact that Paul was giving him certain advices and instructions concerning this young man’s ministry, does it mean that he was not a true man of God, in whom the Holy Spirit dwelled (2Tim.1:14)? The fact that Paul was exhorting Timothy to exercise himself to godliness and become an example to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1Tim.4:12), did that mean that he was not already saved? The fact Paul was urging Timothy not to neglect the gift that was in him, which was given him by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the eldership, did that mean that he was not yet saved? On the contrary, just because he was already saved!
Paul was telling Timothy that God had not given him the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. He should not therefore be ashamed of the testimony of their common Lord, nor of me (that is Paul) his prisoner, but to be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God WHO HAS SAVED US and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2Tim.1:7-9)! The Holy Ghost dwelled in Timothy and Paul (2Tim.1:14), and were they not yet definitely saved?
Paul was giving similar advices also to Titus, one of his precious collaborators to show himself a pattern of good works in doctrine showing soundness/purity, gravity and sincerity (Tit.2:7). Was Titus not yet saved?
Please, notice what Paul also wrote about himself: That God had saved and had called him with a holy calling, not according to his works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given him in Christ Jesus before the world began! (2Tim.1:9). He was also speaking about the crown that God was going to give him – as well as to all other Christians that lived a holy life – and was he not secure? Timothy, his beloved son, of equal faithfulness, was he not secure? Their security was guaranteed not by them but by God! Yes! They were kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1Pet.1:5)! Alleluia!
To be continued…