THE SAFETY OF GRACE AND SALVATION
A. Although believers who are so for a while and others unregenerate vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions that they have God's favor and are in a state of salvation (but hope they perish ): Jer. 17: 9; Matthew 7: 21-23; Lk. 18: 10-14; 8:41 June.; Eph. 5: 6,7; Gal. 6: 3,7-9.
B. Those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all sincerity before him in this life can be absolutely certain of being in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of glory of God; and such hope never embarrass them, Ro. 5: 2.5; 8:16; June 1 2: 3;. 3:14, 18, 19,24;5:13; 2 Peter 1:10.
A. This certainly is not a mere conjectural and probable conviction, based on a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith: Rom. 5: 2.5; I have 6:11, 19,20; 1 June 3: 2,14;. 4:16; 5:13, 19,20.
B. Based on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel: I 6:17 18; 7:22; 10:14 19.
C. And also in the internal evidence of those graces of the Spirit to which this makes them promises: Mt. 3: 7-10; Mark 1:15; 2 Peter 1: 4-11; June 1 2: 3;. 3:14, 18, 19, 24; 5:13.
D. And in the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirit that we are children of God:Rom. 8: 15,16; 1 Cor 2:12; Gal. 4: 6,7.
E. And, as a result of his, keeps the humble and holy heart: 1 June 3: 1-3 . .
A. This infallible assurance does not belong to the essence of faith to the point that a true believer can not wait long , and conflict with many difficulties before he be part of such security: Acts. 16: 30-34; 1 Jun. 5:13.
B. However, being empowered by the Spirit to know the things that are freely given by God, you can reach:Ro. 8: 15,16; 1 Cor 2:12; Gal. 4: 4-6 with 3: 2; June 1 4:13.; Eph. 3: 17-19; I have 6: 11.12; 2 Peter 1: 5-11.
C. Without an extraordinary revelation, by the proper use of the media; and therefore it is the duty of everyone to be diligent to make your calling and election; so that his heart was enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, which are the proper fruits of this assurance: so is of safety distance is to lead men to debauchery: 2 Peter 1:10; Psalm 119: 32; Ro. 15:13; Neh. 8:10; 1 June 4: 19,16;. Ro. 6: 1, 2,11-13;14:17; Tit. 2: 11-14; Eph. 5:18.
A. The safety of the salvation of the true believers can be shaken, diminished and interrupted in various ways by negligence in preserving: I 6:11, 12; 2 Peter 1: 5-11.
B. By falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit: Psalm 51: 8, 12, 14; Eph. 4:30 pm.
C. by some sudden or strong temptation: Psalm 30: 7; 31:22; 77: 7, 8; 116: 11.
D. By withdraw the light from his face, allowing even those who fear him to walk in darkness and have no light: Is. 50:10.
E. However, never fall short of the seed of God and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, by which, through the operation of the Spirit, this security can be relived over time; and which, in the meantime, true believers are preserved from falling into utter hopelessness: June 1 . 3: 9; Lk. 22:32; Ro. 8:15, 16; Gal. Four. Five; Psalm 42: 5, 11.
The issue of merit and grace is in the heart of the historic debate between Roman Catholic and Protestant theology. The main statement of the Reformation was one -the gratia salvation is only by the grace of God. Believers do not bring any own merit before God's judgment, but rest solely on the mercy and grace of God.
The merit is defined as that which is earned or deserved. Justice requires that credit is given where it is deserved.
Merit is something that a person deserves for his performance. If the credit due is not received, an injustice is committed.
Roman Catholic theology speaks of merit in three ways. It refers to the deserved merit, something that is so meritorious that imposes the obligation to be rewarded. He also talks about a congruent merit, which although not as high as the deserved merit God's reward would be "consistent or appropriate". The consistent merit is achieved by performing good works in conjunction with the sacrament of penance.
A third type of merit is supererogatory merit, which is the merit that transcends the call of duty. It is the excess merit achieved by saints.
This merit is deposited in the treasury of merit from which the church can remove it to replace the accounts of those who lack sufficient merit to progress from purgatory to heaven.
Protestant theology denies and "protest" against these types of merit, declaring that the only merit that we have at our disposal is the merit of Christ. The merit of Christ comes to us by grace through faith. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is an action or disposition of God towards us. Grace is not a substance that can dwell in our souls.
We grow in grace, not by a quantitative measure of a substance within us but by the merciful help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, acting in his grace for us and in us. The means of God's grace to help us in the Christian life include Scripture, the sacraments, prayer, fellowship, and the teachings of the church.
1. Our salvation is one gratia, by grace alone.
2. We have no own merit that compels God to save us .
3. The Roman Catholic theology distinguishes between the deserved merit, consistent and supererogatory. These three types of merit are rejected by Protestantism.
4. Grace is the unmerited favor or mercy of God towards us.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES FOR REFLECTION
John 15: 1-8, Romans 4: 1-8, Romans 5: 1-5, 2 Corinthians 5: 17-19, Ephesians 2: 8-9, Titus 3: 4-7.
Can anyone know with full certainty if it is safe? Declare that someone is sure of his salvation appears to be an act of extreme arrogance. Yet the Bible calls us to make our salvation a matter of certainty. Peter commands us: "Wherefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10).
It is our duty to diligently seek the certainty of our salvation. We should not look for idle curiosity to know what is the state of our soul, but to improve our growth in sanctification. Christians who remain uncertain about the status of your salvation are subject to all sorts of questions that paralyze their walk with Christ. Faced with doubts and are vulnerable to Satan's attacks. That's why we seek to have the certainty of our salvation.
There are four possible positions on the certainty of salvation.
FIRST POSITION : There are people who are not saved and they know they are not saved. These people know of enmity towards God they have in their heart and want nothing to do with Christ as their Savior.They are bold in proclaiming that they have no need of Christ. These people are usually publicly hostile to the gospel.
SECOND POSITION: There are people who are saved but they do not know they are saved. These people are actually in a state of grace but have no assurance of salvation. They may be struggling with sin in their lives and doubt their own salvation because they guilty conscience. In this group are those who do not yet have the certainty that they are among the chosen.
THIRD POSITION: There are people who are saved and know they are saved. This is the group consisting of those who are certain of their choice and calling. They have a clear and certain understanding of what is what salvation requires and have met the requirements. They believed the testimony of the Holy Spirit when He bore witness to their spirits that were the sons of God (Romans 8:16).
FOURTH POSITION: There are people who are not saved but think they are saved. These people have the certainty of salvation but have no salvation. His certainty is a false certainty.
As you may have a false assurance of salvation, how can we know if we are in the third position or the fourth position? To answer this question we must analyze in more detail this fourth group and ask how it is possible to have a false sense of certainty.
The easiest way to have a false assurance of salvation is to have a false doctrine of salvation. For example, if a person holds a universalist viewpoint on salvation can follow the following reasoning: All people are saved.
I am a person. Therefore, I am saved.
As this doctrine is in error, their certainty has no firm basis.
Another way people can have a false assurance of salvation is to believe they can reach heaven if they live a life of good. Those who think they are living a good life enough to meet the demands of a holy God delude themselves into thinking they are saved.
But what happens if a person has a certain doctrine of salvation? Is it still possible to have a false certainty? We must answer yes. A person may believe that you have saving faith when in fact it does not.
The real test for certainty is twofold. On the one hand, we must examine our own hearts and see if we have a true faith in Christ. We must see whether or not we have a genuine love for the biblical Christ.Because we know that this love would be impossible without regeneration.
Secondly, we must examine the fruit of our faith. We do not need the fruit to be perfect to have this certainty, but there must be some kind of evidence of the fruit of obedience to our profession of faith is credible. If no fruit present, then there is no present faith. Where saving faith are, there the fruit of that faith will also find.
Finally, we must seek our belief in the Word of God, through which the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are his children.
1. It is our duty to diligently seek the certainty of salvation.
2. The certainty of salvation improve our sanctification.
3. There are four groups or possible positions with respect to certainty:
(A) Those who are unsaved and know they are not saved.
(B) Those who are saved but do not have the certainty that they are saved.
(C) Those who are saved and know they are saved.
(D) Those who are unsaved but believe they are saved.
4. The false certainty is primarily based on a false doctrine of salvation.
5. For a real certainty we must analyze our own hearts and examine the fruit of our faith.
6. The absolute certainty comes from the Word of God united to the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES FOR REFLECTION
Matthew 7: 21-23, John 3: 1-21, Romans 8: 15-17, 2 Corinthians 1:12, 1 John 2: 3-6, 1 John 5:13.
Common grace, of course, influence and enriches the church, since apart from the common grace of God given to masons, carpenters and other craftsmen have not temples; apart from the common grace given to printers and bookbinders (and even those who work in companies that manufacture paper and woodcutters who cut the trees in the forest to make paper), we would not have Bibles.
The church benefits of common grace in many ways in daily activities.
On the other hand, the special grace that God gives to those who are saved brings more blessings of common grace to unbelievers who live in the sphere of influence of the church. Unbelievers benefit from the examples of Christian life they see in society, from the prayers and mercy that Christians do for the community, from the knowledge of the teachings of Scripture and wisdom in which they find moral benefits and intellectuals, and the influence of the laws, customs and beliefs of a society that come through the policies of Christian social activities.
Historically the powerful presence of those whose lives were changed by the gospel has been frequently which has resulted in the freeing of slaves (in the British colonies and the United States), rights of women, the spread of education public, scientific and technological progress, increased productivity in the economy, the high value of the work, thrift and honesty, and other things like that.
Despite all this, we must understand that common grace is different from saving grace. Common grace does not change the human heart and leads people to genuine repentance and faith, and therefore can not save people (although the intellectual and moral sphere can provide some preparation to make people are more willing to accept the gospel).
Common grace restrains sin, but does not change the fundamental provision of anyone to sin, nor to any significant extent purifies the fallen human nature: We must also recognize that the actions of unbelievers carried out under common grace have themselves no merit to get approval or favor of God. These actions are not the result of faith (and all that is not of faith is sin "Romans 14: 23, RVR 1960), nor are they motivated by love for God (Mt 22: 37), but rather by love itself in some form or another.
Therefore, although we have the inclination to say that the works of unbelievers externally conform to the laws of God are "good" in some sense, they, however, are not good in terms of having merits to gain approval God or make God toward the sinner is bound in some way.
Finally, we should recognize that unbelievers are often more common grace that believers, because they may be more skilled, more diligent, more intelligent, more creative and have more than the material benefits that life can provide. This does not indicate at all that God favors or they will gain some share in eternal salvation, but only God distributes blessings of common grace in various ways, and often gives very important blessings to unbelievers.
In all this, they should, of course, recognize goodness of God (Acts 14: 17), and should recognize that the revealed will of God is that the "goodness" of God leads to repentance (Romans 2: 4).
Why common grace God gives to sinners who do not deserve and will never seek salvation? We can suggest at least four reasons.
Peter says that the day of judgment and the final execution of punishment is being delayed because there are still people who will be saved: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Rather, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but that all should repent.
But the day the Lord will come like a thief "(2 Peter 3: 9-10). Indeed, this reason is true from the beginning of human history, because if God wanted to rescue some people from all sinful humanity, could not destroy all sinners immediately (because it had not then been human race). It therefore decided to allow live for a while and sinful humans to have children, to allow subsequent generations to live and could hear the gospel and repent.
The goodness and mercy of God not only seen in the salvation of believers, but also in the blessings he gives to sinners that they do not deserve. When God "is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6: 35), his goodness is revealed in the universe, for his glory. David says: "The Lord is good to all; he sympathizes with all creation "(Ps 145: 9). In the story of Jesus' conversation with the rich young man, we read: (Jesus looked at him with love) (Mark 10:21), even though the man was an unbeliever And at a time would give back because of their great possessions.
Berkhof says that "God pours countless blessings upon all men and also clearly indicates that they are expressions of the favorable disposition of God, which, however, does not reach the positive volition of personar their sins, lifting his sentence and grant salvation '"
God is not unjust delay the execution of punishment over sin and temporal blessings spill on humans, because not forget the punishment, but so what postponed. By delaying the punishment, God clearly shows that no pleasure in executing the final punishment, but rather delights in the salvation of men and women."As surely as I live, says the Lord God, [it is] that I'm not happy with the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live" (Ez 33: 11); "Because he wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth" (1 Tim 2: 4).
In all this the delay of punishment gives us clear evidence of mercy, love and goodness of God.
When God repeatedly invites sinners to come with faith and when they continually reject his invitation, is most clearly seen God's justice to condemn them. Paul warns those who persist in disbelief that what they are doing is storing up wrath against them: "By your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment "(Rom 2: 5).
On the day of judgment everyone shut up and be held accountable to God (Rom 3:19) and no one is entitled to object that God has been unfair.
Finally, the glory of God appears in many ways through the activities of human beings in all areas where common grace is manifested. To develop and exercise dominion over the earth, men and women demonstrate and reflect the wisdom of their Creator, demonstrate similar qualities to God and virtue and moral authority over the universe, and stuff like that.
While all these activities are marred by sinful motives, reflect, however, the excellence of our Creator and therefore glorify God, not a complete and perfect, but significantly.
When thinking about the various kinds of goodness we see in the lives of unbelievers because of the abundant common grace of God, we should bear in mind three things:
Even exceptionally large amounts of common grace implies that those who receive it will be saved. Even the smartest, wealthiest and most influential people in the world need the gospel of Jesus Christ or be damned for all eternity.
Even the most kind and decent neighbors need the gospel of Jesus Christ or be damned for all eternity. It may seem at them from outside who have needs, but the Scriptures tell us that unbelievers are "enemies of God" (Rom 5: 10; Col 1: 21; James 4: 4) and are "against" Christ (Mt 1230). "They behave as enemies of the cross of Christ", "only mind earthly things" (Phil 3: 18-19) and are "by nature objects of wrath" (Eph. 2: 3).
By common grace, unbelievers do some good, and we should see the hand of God in it and be grateful for the common grace to see it work in every friendship, every kindness, every way to provide blessings to others. All this while the unbeliever does not know, ultimately comes from God and he deserves the honor and glory for it.
When we walk down a street and see houses, gardens and families living safely, or when we negotiate in the market and see the abundant results of technological progress, or when caminamos.por-l9s-forests and grasslands and contemplate the beauty of nature, or when we live protected by the government ,? or when we are educated with extensive human knowledge, we should realize not only that God in his sovereignty is ultimately granted all these blessings, but also that God gives to sinners who do not deserve them at all.
These blessings we see in the world are not only evidence of the power and wisdom of God, but also a continuous manifestation of His abundant grace. We realize this reality should fill our hearts with gratitude to God in every activity of life.