Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eternal Life is a Gift

A Candid Look at OSAS "Support"

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

One of the most nonsensical explanations that is given about why salvation cannot be forfeited is because it is a "gift". Some will say, "Because we did not earn it, we cannot lose it."  However, such a statement is completely absurd.  When I was 8 years old, my father gave me a gold pendant from Hawaii.  I didn't earn it or have to work for it; it was a gift.  But guess what...I lost it.  As an adult, my mother gave me a piece of original artwork with a formal certificate of authenticity, but in moving a number of times, I eventually lost it. 

Apart from seeing that I was not perhaps the most organized person in my younger days, it is clear then that losing something doesn't imply that we earned it.  It simply means that at one point in time, the item lost was in our possession.  

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." I John 5:11-13

When we enter salvation, we obtain the gift of eternal life at that time by virtue of faith in Jesus Christ even though the fulness of that gift is not realized until we leave this world (John 4:14, 5:24, 10:27-28, 11:25).  It is therefore accurate to state that believers in Christ currently possess eternal life.

Scriptures are clear that eternal life is a gift we obtain in Jesus Christ through no effort of our own, but by His mercy and grace alone. However, Scriptures are equally clear that eternal life is a gift that God gives us now.  The issue then is not that we misplace eternal life - like I lost my pendant.  Rather, we disqualify ourselves from receiving it.  Eternal life is a gift which is only obtained "in Christ".

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." II Timothy 1:1

The promise of life (which is zoe meaning eternal life) is only found "in Christ". In other words, the only ones who have this promise are those who are in Him or are members of His Body.

In an earlier article, we saw that God will remove from His Body those who do not abide in Him. If one is removed from the Jesus' Body, then one is no longer "in Christ" and therefore is not a partaker of the promises. Once again, the promises are only made to those "in Christ".

Even those who propose Once Saved, Always Saved will acknowledge that - while being a gift - there is a condition of faith in Jesus Christ which must be present before one can receive it. So, clearly being a gift does not preclude there being conditions to receiving that gift. Neither does it preclude there being conditions to keeping that gift. Gifts can be rejected...and they can even be returned.

The gift giver is not responsible for what the recipient does with a gift. Salvation "is the gift of God", and like any gift, it can be accepted and cherished; it can be outright rejected; or it can be accepted and then later discarded.

Saying that salvation is a gift does not imply that that we will always have it; it simply states that we have not earned it.

This article is part of a 6-part series evaluating a doctrine referred to as Once Saved Always Saved, Eternal Unconditional Security, or Preservation of the Saints.

  1. God Doesn't Mince Words
  2. "IF"
  3. Salvation is a Result of Covenant
  4. Sealed Until the Day of Redemption
  5. A Candid Look at OSAS "Support"
  6. The ONLY Reason Salvation Can Be "Lost"

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