Friday, October 30, 2009

Against "Once Saved, Always Saved," Part II

“Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we SHALL BE SAVED from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, WE SHALL BE SAVED by His life” (Romans 5:9-10).

Schreiner responds,

“Notice the logic in both verses: since we are NOW justified and reconciled, WE CAN BE SURE THAT WE SHALL BE SAVED. Paul does not say that we can be sure that we are saved but that we WILL be saved. He thinks of salvation as a future blessing that we shall receive” (49-50).

I finished my post yesterday with the above Scripture and quote. I’ve started doing a series here at CTS on “Once Saved, Always Saved,” examining the view itself and showing that Scripture opposes such a view (also abbreviated as “OSAS”).

Schreiner wants to create assurance here in the minds of believers, but he does so at expense to the biblical text. As we get further and further into his book, you will find that Schreiner often dismisses propositions without sufficient evidence for so doing (except that the proposition opposes what he believes). And, while he doesn’t agree with “Once Saved, Always Saved,” he will still advocate “always saved” in his exegesis, especially when it comes to the “warning” passages.

Besides this, however, there are other passages regarding the issue of future salvation that we must address.

Here then, is Romans 13:11—

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is NEARER than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11, NKJV).

If salvation is “nearer,” then that means it is “closer,” which means that “salvation” is “coming” or on its way to believers. They have yet to inherit eternal life. In the words of Schreiner, “We are summoned to live godly lives because salvation lies before us” (“The Race Set Before Us,” page 50).

Next in our study of Scripture is 2 Timothy 4:18—

“And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Tim. 4:18, NKJV)

In Schreiner’s exegesis, “the verb ‘sosei’ is rightly translated by the NRSV as ‘save,’ and it is a FUTURE TENSE VERB. That the salvation is on the last day is clear since it will involve induction into the Lord’s heavenly kingdom” (51).

Two more texts of Scripture that present future salvation are Hebrews 1:14 and Hebrews 9:28—

“Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who WILL INHERIT SALVATION?” (Hebrews 1:14, NKJV)

“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him HE WILL APPEAR a second time, apart from sin, FOR SALVATION” (Hebrews 9:28).

Then we have Thessalonians 5:8-9 and 1 Corinthians 5:5—

“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet THE HOPE OF SALVATION. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:8-9).

Regarding the “hope of our salvation,” Schreiner says that “...1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 confirms the FUTURE DIMENSION of our salvation” (caps mine).

Last but not least, we have 1 Corinthians 5:5—

“deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5).

According to Schreiner,

“The hoped-for salvation is obviously future, since it will occur ‘in the day of the Lord’” (50).

1 Peter 1:4-5 states,

“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The last verse I will mention in this post is James 1:21—

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is ABLE TO SAVE YOU” (James 1:21, NKJV).

Schreiner tells us the significance of this verse:

“Apparently, THE WORK OF SALVATION IS NOT COMPLETED, since the Word planted in them must be given free rein so that they will ultimately experience salvation” (52).

I will refer to these verses in future posts. What I want to note now is the phrase I capitalized in the quote above. This is a phrase to keep in mind as we go through Schreiner’s book. What he will do is make it seem as if salvation is “guaranteed”; however, if the believers have to submit to the work of salvation, which is still a “work-in-progress,” then how can they be sure (without their submission) that they will still experience final salvation? This is just a question we need to ask ourselves while reading Schreiner. I’m afraid that the question I pose to you now is a question that not even Schreiner himself can answer...

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