Over at the Pulpit Magazine blog (http://www.sfpulpit.com), there is an ongoing series on Lordship Salvation. Over the last few weeks, there has been many valuable insights from the Grace team on what exactly Lordship Salvation means. The usual vocal opponents have surfaced, and voiced their normal objections.
One of the cornerstones of the non-Lordship camp is the issue of assurance of salvation. Reformed theology provides for two types of assurance, namely the objective and subjective. In short, objective assurance comes from an undoubting conviction of the promises made in the Bible, while subjective assurance comes from a personal experience of the testimony of the Spirit. It is not my intent to give a full treatment of assurance from reformed theology here, but rather to investigate the claims made by the no-lordship side on the topic of assurance.
The Grace Evangelical Society has a section on their site named “You can be sure.” From there we learn this:
“The Bible says that you must believe in Christ for eternal life. Have you done that? If you have, then you are saved! It really is that simple!”
“Can assurance be lost?
Yes, assurance can be lost. While eternal life can’t be lost, assurance can. Whenever a believer stops looking to Christ for assurance, he will lose assurance of his salvation. The believers in Galatia were confronted by false teachers. The false teachers told them that they had to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. The result was that some of the believers in Galatia lost the assurance that they were saved.
A person is saved the very moment he believes in Christ for eternal life. At that moment, he knows for sure that he has eternal life and that he can never lose it. However, that does not mean that all Christians always have assurance of salvation. If a Christian takes his eyes off Christ, then he will lose his assurance. Each day you must believe Christ’s promise to you in order to stay sure that you have eternal life.
If you lose your faith, you will also lose your assurance. Therefore you need to cultivate your faith in order to keep your assurance. “Avoid truth decay: Read your Bible every day” is a slogan that is true of all aspects of the Christian life, including assurance of salvation.”
This is simply astonishing to me. What kind of belief are they talking about? If you truly believe “in Christ”, what does that mean?
We are further enlightened:
“To be sure you are saved, you must believe that Jesus Christ has given you eternal life as He said He would if you believed in Him. It’s simply a matter of taking God at His word.”
This is not very helpful. How much “belief” is enough? God requires that we fully believe, i.e. there cannot be any doubts. If one can lose their assurance by not believing any more, how do they know that they believed in the first place? If you fully believe, there are no doubts, therefore, logically, there is no impulse for you to stop believing and therefore you cannot stop believing.
The Bible distinguishes between believers and non-believers in many places, and it is clear (Rev 21:8) that unbelievers are destined for doom. Does that have to be a present faith, at the moment of judgment, or can it a fleeting moment of belief? The Bible does not distinguish between unbelievers who once believed, and present unbelievers. It just speaks about believers and unbelievers.
The Greek of unbeliever in Rev 21:8 is “apistos”, “disbelieving, that is, without Christian faith”. It is the opposite, the negative of “pistos”, “objectively trustworthy; subjectively trustful”
Now, the no-Lordship advocates can state that you can be saved for only having a fleeting moment of belief, and that it gives you objective assurance that you are saved. That assurance is a false, man-made assurance, it depends purely on the human himself. Human beliefs change all the time, they swing between issues all the time, subject to earthly conditions and whims. It is no assurance at all, how can you be sure that you were saved in the first place if you stop believing it?
Saving faith is a full heart, mind and soul inner conviction brought on supernaturally by the drawing of God. It is not down to human fallibility, God loses no-one He draws.