Can I be a Wesleyan and believe in eternal security?

For five hundred years Israel did not hear from Jesus.  They filled this void themselves, and created “traditions” they believed were equal to God’s words.  Then when Jesus, the Messiah, written about by their beloved Moses, appeared, their “traditions” blinded them to the One revealed by God through Moses.  Jesus was clearly not from God (in their judgement) because he profaned the Sabbath.  He deliberately healed on the Sabbath, and he told those he healed to also profane the Sabbath (carry their mat on the Sabbath).  (These actions were against the “traditions” they held dear, but not against God’s words).  Because they believed their “traditions” over God’s words, they were blinded to the truth God and Moses had written them.

Now let’s fast forward hundreds of years to the “traditions” of today.  There are at least two “traditions” today.  The first says: I have no responsibility for entering into, or keeping, a relationship with Jesus.  Everything has been predetermined by God.  I have no responsibility for choosing anything.

The second “tradition” says:  I have the responsibility to choose to respond to Jesus’ invitation to a relationship with him and I am responsible to choose to keep that relationship by “not rejecting Christ.”  (According to a pastor, if I reject Christ I will not be capable of enjoying heaven and will spend eternity separated from God).

God’s written words in Romans shed light on these two “traditions.”  God wrote through Paul, “those he foreknew he predestined.”  First he foreknew, or knew ahead of time, those who would choose to respond to his invitation to a love relationship with him.  He has this knowledge because he created time, he can live outside of time,  and all of time is laid bare before him.  The first “tradition” interprets “foreknowing” as the action of determining.  This is wrong.  God gives me the freedom to choose because without being able to choose there is no possibility of me having a love relationship with God, which is God’s highest goal for me.  He knows the future, he knows what I will choose, but he doesn’t determine what I will choose, I make the choice.

Second, he said he predestined them.  Of those that chose Jesus of their own free will, God said their destiny would be to be conformed to the image of his Son.  This was God’s choice and it is not conditioned on my performance.  I can still choose to sin.  But God is greater than me or my ability to sin.  (Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more).

But you may say, this kind of love can be abused, it risks being license.  And I may reason, if I can sin without consequence why not continuously enjoy the pleasures of sin?  Yes I can sin, but it is not without consequence.  Because I am now his child, Jesus lovingly makes my life a living hell when I deliberately disobey him.  He chastises me.  And his correction, though in love, feels just as horrific to me now that I am his child, as when he had punished me in the past for my sins before I became his child.

Jesus risks me choosing to disobey him in order to give me the priceless freedom and security to love him purely.  He gives me the freedom to love him apart from the coercion and threat of being separated from him if I reject Him (and all sin is rejecting Jesus).  And he gives me the security that I don’t have to depend on myself to stay saved.  (And I must depend on him because I have completely proven to myself that apart from Jesus I am completely undependable).

And because Jesus loved me no matter what I did, I learned it is not my behavior that Jesus values most highly.  It is me.  He loves me.  He loves my heart.  He loves me just as I am.  And he is willing to love me into relationship with him, despite the risks of the abuse of that love.  And I will spend eternity with him, not because I can keep him, but because he can keep me.

 

 

Author: james bruce mcnaughton

I became Seriously Mentally Ill at age 18, ten years later I got and took the right meds, I accepted Jesus, and my recovery began.

2 thoughts on “Can I be a Wesleyan and believe in eternal security?”

  1. Nice James, but different persons got the story different:

    I understand that the first tradition what is actually trying to say is: in a fallen state, no one can choose God. By that fallen nature we are natural enemies of God.

    In the second tradition I understood: some there think like so: “we are swimming in a sea of sin, and we must swim towards the boat in the middle (Jesus) and get on it to be saved”. Any believer that knows their previous life well, knows that without God’s Holy Spirit, there is no way they could have gone out of such.

    You are right in that foreknowing is not determining. Foreknowing is basically “discerning” whether the person would eventually accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    Based on that previous knowledge, good deeds were prepared before the foundation of the World so that elect ones could walk in them.

    Note that in that discerning of what a person would choose (before the foundation of the World) then God predestined those that voluntarily (exerting a free will and discerned in God’s omniscience) were predestined.

    So the end result is that God knowing what is deep in the heart of each (as in would the person accept salvation and Lordship of God or not), is that a Tare or Wheat status was given.

    God did not appointed some to destruction and some to salvation on a whim arbitrarily. He discerned the person before physical creation of the being to know which way would lean: God or else.

    I do not think Jesus makes anybody’s life hell, the persons separation from God, takes away the protective fire of God that prevents Tares and evil spirits from wreaking havoc.

    The old covenant had a format as so: God graciously drove out an elect group out of slavery, that unmerited favor is the cause that the now free believers owe allegiance to the faithful King delivering them. They are to now submit voluntarily to do His will. (keep law, etc).

    New Testament comes: fallen creation is such a mess, that without Jesus coming down to remove penalty for sin, there is not much chance of salvation.
    God as deliverer again sets a prescribed manner to enter into the New Covenant:

    Listen / read Gospel, understand, repent, baptize as per Acts 2:38, receive the Holy Spirit (power from above), prepare for service IAW gifts of the Spirit bestowed, look for the lost (or be support for it), and walk humbly with your God doing as He tells you.

    Free will to be saved? all our actions are like unclean rags, so only Jesus sacrifice could pay penalty.

    But we have a responsibility to do as prescribed to enter the New Covenant, and to walk in a manner worthy of the calling into the Kingdom of Light.

    Good works in thankfulness for a great free gift of salvation, not to earn that salvation.

    Very nice article.

    Liked by 1 person

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