Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved?

There is a belief among some Christian denominations, that once you are saved, you are always saved--that it is impossible to lose your salvation. This misguided, dangerous line of thinking was never part of the early church and seems to have originated in the 1500s with John Calvin, a French theologian and pastor during the Protestant reformation. The Father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, didn't subscribe to this theory.

So who do you believe? A theologian 1500 hundred years after the fact? Or Jesus Christ and the apostles?

Those who believe in Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) use the following scriptures to support their belief:

1) John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

"Believes" is not past-tense word. It is ongoing and we have to believe EVERYTHING Christ taught and demonstrate it through our actions and words. When we slip up, stumble and sin, as we often do on a daily basis, we have to confess our sins, repent and ask for forgiveness. And forgive those who sin against us as well.

If our salvation was a guaranteed event, how close would it make us in our relationship with Christ?

2) John 5:24:"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

This is the danger of choosing a few scriptures to build a theory while ignoring other scriptures. You want the WHOLE Truth so read ALL of the Holy Bible. Christ also said:

  • John 15:5-6: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

3) John 10:28: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."

God gave us free will. Satan and the fallen world can tempt us but we choose to jump from the hand of Christ or abide in Him.

4) Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

But Jesus Christ himself said:

  • Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. "
  • Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Why was Paul unsure of his own salvation?

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27: No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

This verse above, the last in Chapter 9, provides a very good transition to First Corinthians Chapter 10.

Who Judges, Man or The Lord?

This "Once Saved, Always Saved" concept is the equivalent of man prejudging himself and others who enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

Apostle Paul wouldn't judge himself, he knew such power belongs to our Lord:

  • 1 Corinthians 4:3-5: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

If we are saved and always saved, why does Christ tell us that we have to stand firm to the end to be saved?

  • Mark 13:13: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
  • Matthew 10:22: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

In the Second book of Timothy Chapter 2, the following passage below tells us that if we disown Christ, He will disown us. However, Christ will be faithful when we are faithless because He cannot disown himself:

2 Timothy 2:8-13: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

if we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

Another scripture to ponder:

  • Romans 13:11: And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
If our salvation was already earned as a believer in Christ, how could we be nearer to it?

If Salvation was as simple as accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and only a past-tense guaranteed event, they why this scripture?

  • Philippians 2:12: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

If our Salvation was a guaranteed event, there would be no need to work out anything.

We Do Have Hope...

  • Romans 8:24: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

So be strong in Faith and Love...

  • Jude 1:21: Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Also be sure to check out the videos I uploaded from Father Corapi's Dinner Speech. Click Here

Friday, October 2, 2009

Important Questions Jesus Asked About Himself

In a discussion on marriage, my parish priest, Father Jim Taranto, brought up three important questions we should think about regarding our spouse or spouse-to-be. Jesus was asked many questions, He answered many questions and raised many questions in order to teach his followers. But Jesus asked very few questions about himself. Here are three:

1) Who do you say I am?

In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks Peter: "Who do you say I am?"

We all have perceptions of who we really are. But how does the people closest to us perceive us?

Peter answered Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

We are not. We are all made in God's image. We may be Christian but we all sinners, we are all mortal and make mistakes. Have you forgotten your spouse's good qualities? Have you forgotten the many things they are to you? Who do you say they are to friends and family?

Also remember, with the people we love and are closest to, we tend to focus on the 20% not-so-good qualities in them instead of the 80% good.

2) Do you truly love me?

  • John 21:15: When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
  • John 21:16: Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
  • John 21:17: The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
Although it hurt Peter's feelings, Jesus asked him three times if he loved him. This parallels the three times Peter would deny Jesus the night he was arrested (Matthew 26:69-75).

Even Jesus needed reassurance how much he was loved. So why we would be any different?

3) Will you leave me too?

In John Chapter 6, Jesus said:

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."" John 6:53-58

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" John 6:60


From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. John 6:67

When your spouse loses a job, loses popularity or says something that is difficult for you to accept, are you going to leave them physically and/or emotionally?

Two More Important Questions

In addition to the three above, I came up with two more important questions

4) Why have you forsaken me?

When Jesus was dieing on the cross

  • Mark 15:34: And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When we are in pain, when we are sick or if we are ever stricken with a terminal illness. Or when the world comes toppling down on your spouse's head: Will you be there for them? In sickness and in health and until death do us part?

5) Who touched me?

  • Luke 8:45: "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."

In this instance, a woman with a bleeding disorder sought out Jesus in a crowd. She had been to many doctors and suffered with this bleeding disorder for 12 years. She touches Jesus's cloak and was healed instantly.

In times of peril and troubles in your marriage, remember who came into your life in this crowded world we live in. Remember who touched you.

And what Jesus did say to the woman with the bleeding disorder?

  • Luke 8:48: Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Remember who can heal all wounds and stop the bleeding.

And remember who had faith in YOU.

I guess the most important question to ask yourself about your spouse or spouse-to-be:

Do you see Jesus in them?

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take Thou: Faith

Life can be difficult at times. We all experience anxieties and stress periodically. We all desire a stress-free, easy life filled with happiness. Guess what? Life is never going to be this way. It wasn't supposed to:

"We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." -- Acts 14:22

And Thank God for it.

If you didn't have some bad days, how would you be able to appreciate the really great days of your life? If we weren't tested, how well would we ever know our Lord? How would we be able to prove our love for Him?

When we experience tough times in life, don't let it push you away from Christ.

  • Romans 8:35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
The purpose of going through tough times is prove our faith and to build spiritual maturity:

  • James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So be careful not to fall into Satan's pit:

  • Luke 21:34:"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.

As a pharmacist, I dispense plenty of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. I believe that they are good for short-term use and for acute phases of depression and anxiety. But reliance and dependence upon them are unnecessary for most people and they can potentially be addictive. All drugs have side-effects. So don't let earthly things replace God and what He can do for you.

When you are stressed and full of anxiety or depression, you need to strengthen your Faith.

  • Matthew 13:22: "The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."

We have something better than any prescription sleeping pill, his name is Jesus Christ.

  • Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

We have something more powerful than any Valium tablet:

  • 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  • Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Feel down and out, depressed, or unable to function?

  • Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

When we have strong faith, we will have great Hope. Hope stands for: Helping Other People Endure

Christ gives us hope. Heaven and eternal life gives us hope. Show this hope to others.

When we have strong faith and hope, we can love others more.

What does Love stand for? Loss Of Valuable Energy

Losing Valuable Energy is necessary because LOVE is what makes the world go around as they say. We need to give this "valuable energy" to others in order to make room to receive valuable energy. Otherwise, we become spiritually constipated and eventually will become unhappy.

Getting through life is all: Faith, Hope and Love:

Faith is what gets you started.

Hope is what keeps you going.

Love is what brings you to the end.

~ Mother Angelica

In the Pharmacy industry, you'll often see the Rx symbol on signs and preprinted on prescription blanks. Rx is an abbreviation for the Latin word "Recipere" which literally means: Take Thou

So in life's trying times,

Rx: Faith

And Faith stands for, Forsaking All I Trust Him

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox