Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eternal Security Pt. 18: The Barrier of Sin

Man's sin creates a barrier between man and God. Man is inherently corrupt and sinful. God's perfect righteousness cannot associate with sin. However, God's love and grace provided an escape hatch for all humans. That escape hatch is Jesus Christ. From God's perspective of perfect, absolute righteousness, even the most moral and righteous human is still corrupt and sinful. While some humans may be more righteous than others, no human, with the exception of Jesus, has perfect righteousness. A person may think they are a far cry from Jeffrey Dahmer, for example--and they may well be--but the fact is that regardless of how good a person is on a relative scale, they are still a lot more like Jeffrey Dahmer than Christ. The best we can do is relative righteousness. God's perfect righteousness demands perfect righteousness, and therefore from God's perspective, all men are sinners (Rom 3:23) and anything less than perfect righteousness falls short. By what distance it falls short on a case-by-case basis is irrelevant. The point is, it falls short. There is only one level of sin in God's eyes. No sin is worse than another sin, because all sin is sin. From our perspective of relative righteousness, we see degrees of sin. Some sins are more offensive than others, and that's completely reasonable from our perspective. But from God's perspective, it's all sin. When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, however, our faith (trust) in Christ is counted to us as righteousness.

Isaiah 64:6:
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Rom. 4:5
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

So, what does this have to do with Eternal Security? Well, some of the resistance to Eternal Security seems to be connected to an understanding that we can, as believers, get away with some sins and not others. Generally speaking, a believer who believes they can lose their salvation has a conflict. They know, and will admit, that they will continue to sin… at least occasionally. And yet they may believe that there is some sort of "sin threshold" hanging over their heads and if they surpass this threshold, then they will lose their salvation. Well, the big problem with this understanding is that if there would be any sin threshold at all past the point of salvation, it would only take one sin to break it! In God's eyes, all sin is equal.

Take a look at Galations 3:10:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

The law here is the Mosaic Law, given to the Jews. It doesn't matter which of these laws you break… even if it's just one. One is all it takes. If you haven't, and do not continue to uphold every single law, then you are cursed. End of story.

Now, of course we're not under the Law in the Church Age. But you see the point… if we're going to make sin the trigger for losing one's salvation, then it's only going to take one and it doesn't matter how insignificant it may seem to us. God's standards are perfect. Now if it only takes one sin to lose one's salvation, then nobody is saved. There isn't a single human on the face of the Earth who can meet that standard. Now if that seems unreasonable, that it might only take one sin, then somebody find for me where the threshold is defined in the Bible? Ten sins? Twenty? One hundred thirty eight thousand four hundred and seventy two? Where does it say this?

Oh, some would say… it's a "pattern" of sin. I'm sorry, but this doesn't solve the problem. Where is a "pattern of sin" defined in the Bible? How many sins and of what kind constitute a "pattern"? You see, we're right back into the same mess again.

All of this takes us back to the only reasonable conclusion, which is that sin is no longer the issue and salvation, because it is a grace gift, is permanent and irrevocable. I am convinced that any capitulation on this point is an attempt to insert works back into the salvation equation so that we can claim the credit. Paul says not to do this numerous times in the New Testament.

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