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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Seal or No Seal

Posted by admin in October 24th, 2008
Published in faith

My husband Big D is a Wesleyan-Arminian. I on the other hand am a five point Calvinist. These different views make for some very interesting dinner conversation. He of course has to be more careful than I about what he says because he can lose his salvation at any moment. In fact, sometimes when he is driving unChristianly, I ask him, “Are you about to lose your salvation just now?” He loves when I ask him that. Bless his heart. You should see his face when I bring that up. I think it is very remarkable that the Lord would put the two of us together because if anyone could cause Big D to lose his salvation, well, it would be me. I could try the patience of any holy saint.

I am thankful for the doctrine of once saved always saved. For someone like me it is truly eternal security. I am thrilled that Ephesians 4:30 says that I am sealed until the Day of Redemption. When I was a child I would walk the aisle of church every Sunday feeling as if I needed to get saved again. I would sin all week long in word, thought and deed and then Sunday’s preaching would convict me so badly and down the aisle I would go needing to get born-again again. What a relief it was when a gentle country pastor explained to me that I was sealed until the day of redemption. Whew. My name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and God’s pencil doesn’t have a big old eraser on the end. Wow! How complicated would that be? Entering and erasing. Entering and erasing. Entering and erasing each person’s name that lost their salvation throughout the day; then when they got right with the Lord, the name would need to be re-entered. Ugh. Tough job.

But there is something beautiful about living with a holiness man. Big D has never lost his temper with me. He doesn’t use bad language; he tries to do the right thing; he is a man of prayer as well as a devoted reader of Scripture. He takes his walk with God seriously. There’s a maintenance in his relationship with God that I don’t really have. There’s a perseverance that I deeply admire. However, I, in contrast, let some things slide. Am I resting in the arms of the Lord or am I just lazy?

A few years ago I taught at a local Bible college of the Calvinist persuasion. The majority of my students didn’t live holy lives. In fact, Friday and Saturday nights were spent like any other college students in the US–partying, drinking, messing around. It grieved me. One day I laid aside my lesson plan and asked these students of mine, most of whom were young men, weren’t they bothered by their behavior on the weekends? Didn’t they feel guilty about messing around and doing things that were prohibited by Scripture? One very brave student spoke for the rest, “Why? We’re saved. We’re going to heaven. We’ve made a profession of faith followed by water baptism. We’re sealed until the day of redemption.” I think in the back of my mind I always knew that kind of thinking existed. I think way back in the recesses of my brain somewhere I believed the same thing he did, but I had never spoken it aloud. I had never permitted myself to say those words. Like a deep prejudice locked away in my psyche I was forced to confront the dangerous side of the once-saved-always-saved doctrine. It had become for these students a license to sin. It had become for them a get out of jail free card. Dangerous stuff. Of course there is the old debate about whether folks that live badly are really saved at all. And then there is the other side, those crazy Arminians that live holy lives, but perhaps live in fear. Is it possible that there is something behind Door #3? An option that exists that we don’t really talk about, or perhaps even know about?

Norm Geisler wrote a great book a few years back, Chosen But Free. In this book Geisler calls himself a Calminian. He has a great view of balance betweent the two opposing doctrines. (See his dialog on pages 117-124–good stuff!). But alas he doesn’t answer all the questions. And maybe no one really can. Maybe there are mysteries about God that will remain until we see Him face-to-face. And after years of living with a Wesleyan-Arminian I have to say holiness is a great way to live. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, I have come to wonder why we even ask the question at all? Why would I WANT to lose my salvation? Why would I even need to know the perimeters? It’s an odd question to ask when you think about it. There is so much Christ asked us to do and there is so much that is needing to be done and if I am busy about my Master’s business, why should I ask the question, “Will I get fired?” I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to know if I can lose my salvation because if all that I am doing is motivated by my love for Jesus Christ and my devotion to him, then it really isn’t an issue, is it? If my focus is on Christ and following him getting off the path would seem impossible.

Anyway, I like what Corrie ten Boom believed: she believed there is a gate in heaven and inscribed over the top as we enter in are the words, “Come all of you who are heavy laden… (John 1:12)” and on the back side of the gate, as we pass through, it reads, “For I knew you before the foundation of the earth was laid (Ephesians 1:4).” Peace.

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24. ndhorton said,
October 27th, 2008 at 6:01 am

Teri, you’ve gone where angels fear to tread! I could write a blog post in response, but you have better things to do with your time. You made a critical point when you said “I don’t need to know if I can lose my salvation because if all that I am doing is motivated by my love for Jesus Christ and my devotion to him.” At issue is whether God is a means or an end. When you have time, I highly recommend listening to Paris Reidhead’s message, Ten Shekels and a Shirt. Here’s the website: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=282.

Keep up the good work, I’m looking forward to reading through all your blogs!
Noel

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26. mike rice said,
October 29th, 2008 at 12:21 am

great stuff

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