Today, I want to examine the Calvinist/Arminian debate concerning eternal security.
Those are fine things to think through, but I would like to go on record as saying that discussion has limited relevance for Christian living.
The Calvinist doctrine of eternal security says that it is impossible for a person who has truly come to saving faith in Christ to ever lose his or her salvation. There are a whole host of verses that do emphasize the security and confidence we can and should have in Christ’s salvation.
The Arminian position, focusing on human free will, insists that a redeemed person retains the ability to shed his or her allegiance to Christ and forfeit salvation. Again, Scripture is full of warnings to be on guard lest we fall away.
Calvinists are tempted to think that if salvation is not some sort of gilded unconditional certificate of admittance, then there is no real security for the believer. Redemption is shaky and flippant—we can be in one day and out the next.
Arminians, on the other hand, are tempted to try to determine how far we have to go to fall away. How “bad” can I be before I lose my salvation?
Repeat after me: WRONG FOCUS!
First of all, our hope for salvation rests in God’s character. He has revealed Himself to be faithful, good, merciful, just, loving, and powerful. He’s not looking for ways to disqualify us. Jesus went to the cross because God wants us to have eternal life with Him. This would indicate that if a person’s heart meets the conditions of saving faith in Christ in any way, it is God’s pleasure to grant eternal life.
That brings me to my second point. I think most Christians would agree that mankind was created for the purpose of an eternal relationship with God. That being the case, God’s primary interest has always been the heart. We are intent on nailing down the legal parameters of salvation and how much wiggle room we have. Shouldn’t we be focusing on pursuing the heart of God and loving Him better with each passing day.
God will uphold His end of the covenant. Why are we obsessed with trying to figure out how much we can cheat on Him before He determines we have officially walked out on the marriage?
Whatever we believe about the conditions of salvation, the appropriate response to God’s lavish love remains the same—a relentless pursuit of His heart and a life devoted to pleasing and blessing Him. Questions concerning how much we can get away with hurting, grieving, or disobeying God really have no place in determining how our salvation will be lived out.