Posts Tagged ‘Assurance of salvation’


HOLD FAST – Jan. 15

January 15, 2013

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

I don’t think that my adventurous spirit is sufficient enough to have sought to be a sailor in the era of the great sailing ships.   I am awed by those sailors who would leave the safety of land to venture into the unknown of the sea with only the sky as a guide and the wind to propel them.  My minimum requirements for such an adventure are engines, GPS and a satellite phone.

I fully respect the courage of those sailors.  They were on their own.  Their entire security was within the oak timbers and cloth sails of their vessel.  There was no rescue from the Coast Guard if you were washed over.  Their ship was their life.

I imagine that it did not take a lot of courage to sail through the doldrums.  The doldrums refer to those areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans affected by a low-pressure zone around the equator where the prevailing winds are very calm. (Intertropical Convergence Zone)  I think that I could easily handle sailing through the doldrums.

Sailing around Cape Horn is another matter.  “Rounding the Cape” takes courage.  Cape Horn is the sailing route around the southern tip of South America.  It is notorious for being one of the most dangerous ship passages in the world. The Cape is known for fierce winds, large waves, icebergs and as a sailors’ graveyard.  Sailing the Cape takes courage.

capehornStaying in the vessel is life or death when sailing the Cape.  In the doldrums, the risk of getting washed over is slight.  Therefore, I imagine that sailors are a bit lackadaisical in moving about the ship.  The risk of getting washed over “rounding the Cape” was likely if you were to miss-step.  “Holding fast” is paramount in rough seas.

I like the old sailor saying of “hold fast.” A rope on board a ship is called “fast” when it is firmly secured to the vessel.  To “hold fast”, is to cling to security.  It is to grasp onto your life line.  Death is what awaited a sailor who failed to “hold fast” in rough seas.   I imagine that there have been many a sailor “holding fast” as they braved the treacherous seas of Cape Horn.

Jesus gives a similar “hold fast” warning.  He tells us that “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”  God’s word is our line that secures us to Christ.  Our security lies in Christ alone.  We are to abide – remain in place – continue – dwell – endure – in His word.  Abide in His word proves that we are Christ’s disciples.  How are we supposed to do that?

Are we abiding in His word if we never read it?

Are we dwelling in His word if we never study it?

How can we continue in His word if we don’t recognize it?

There is a quote by C.H. Spurgeon, “Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 1, that I fear is too true:

“There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers.”

The truth of this quote lies in Jesus’ warning to “hold fast” to his word.  The act of having a Bible is similar to a sailor knowing where a secure line is on a ship while strolling the decks in the doldrums.  Reading your Bible is like a sailor clinging to a ship rope while being pulled to the rails by the crashing waves and biting winds of Cape Horn.

We are to “hold fast” to God’s word.  We are to cling to it – abide in it – like our lives depend upon it … because they do.  I guess this is one of my greatest concern for many of my professing brothers and sisters in Christ.  I see very little abiding in the word – I see very few who are dwelling in God’s word – I wonder how many are  “holding fast” or even know Jesus’ words.

This is why I write these blogs from my own daily Bible reading.  My hope is that all who read them will feel the Spirit’s tug on their hearts to wipe the dust off their own Bibles and start “holding fast” to the incredible words of our Lord and Savior.  Let’s “hold fast” together; let’s encourage one another to “hold fast”; let’s out do one another in “holding fast”; let’s “hold fast” to the glory of our Lord and Savior.


PRAYER: Lord, my secure lies in you alone.  You are my safety in all times.  You are what I can trust in.  Your words are life to me. Father, write them on my heart – bring them to my mind – help me to meditate upon them day and night.  Father, teach me how to hold fast to them; to cling to them.  Give me an appetite for your word that surpasses my appetite for anything else of this world.  Amen



December 17, 2012

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34

Bowling ball

Bowling ball (Photo credit: jonnykeelty)

I took my daughter and her friend bowling yesterday. It was bowling without consequences. They were bowling with bumpers. Bowling bumpers are metal barriers raised in the gutters to keep the bowling ball in the lane. The result was that pins fell on every try.  That is not very realistic given the bowling skills of these two young ladies.The girls made great use of the bumpers as they bowled. Rather than bowling as if the bumpers were not there, they incorporated the bumpers into their game.  The bumpers are supposed to be a safety net. However, they were bouncing the ball between the bumpers and turned their lane into a form of a pin-ball game. They were playing a game but it was not really bowling.

Does God give us bumpers to our spiritual lives? I know some folks who live their lives like one misstep will send them head long into the gutter of destruction. I know other folks who live like there are no gutters and go bouncing down the lane of life without a care or concern for the consequences of their actions – like there are none.

There is no easy answer to this question because I think that it is “yes” and “no”.  The answer depends upon how the question is defined. If we consider that falling into the gutter of life is the loss of one’s salvation, then I believe that God has given us bumpers. I believe in the eternal security of the children of God. However, the manner in which you live reveals whether you are actually participating in the right game. I am concerned for anyone that lives smashed against the bumper or bouncing between the two sides as if they are trying to get out of the lane.

Those who are called by God will desire to go down the center of the lane; periodically we may stray off course but we should not want to be up against the bumper. Those who purposefully seek to get out of the lane should be concerned because I don’t think that they are playing the game that they think they are – I don’t think that they are saved.  Those who love Jesus will desire to keep his commandments – they will desire to be in the center of the lane.  If you don’t – then your love for Christ has to be questioned – if you don’t value Christ as a treasure then you may not really know him personally.

The other way this question is viewed is that God will keep us out of the gutter of bad consequences.  I believe that the answer to this is absolutely “no.”  Falling into the gutter of bad consequences is often how God teaches us some very important lessons. My daughter did not focus on improving her bowling because there were bumpers. There was no need for her to heed the warnings of the gutter because there was no way for her ball to fall into it. My guess is that she and her friend would have focused more on how they threw their balls if there were gutters.

God has given us many warnings to watch ourselves. If it was impossible for us to fall into dissipation or drunkenness or the cares of life or all his other warnings, then why would he tell us to watch ourselves or examine ourselves? I believe that he tell us that because it is possible. We have the opportunity in life to learn the easy way or the hard way – God loves us so he is going to make sure that we learn and grow – how depends on whether we live like there are bumpers or not.

PRAYER: Lord – Forgive me for all the times that I have lived in an indifferent manner to your commandments – as if there were bumpers to protect me from the consequences.  Thank you for sparing me from many of those consequences. Father, thank you for not requiring me to live a perfect life. Thank you for sending your son to live a perfect life for me and to bear the punishment of my sin. Thank you for that treasure.  Help me to value that gift in my heart more than anything.  Renew the amazement of my own salvation.  Give me a desire to follow you with my whole heart.   Amen



November 15, 2012

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather me scatters.” Luke 11:23    

I am going to purchase a used car and I am already dreading it. My car buying experiences have never been what I would describe as fun. There are an assortment of questions, a lack of answers, and never enough time. I hate the hard sell. What I want is a deal that includes a perpetual test drive. I want a risk-free deal. I want to drive a car until it finally falls apart. Then I will know its real worth  and can pay for what I have received. Shockingly, no one is offering that deal. God doesn’t even offer that deal.  However, there are a lot of folks who approach Him in exactly this manner. They are on a perpetual test drive with God. They are continually negotiating with God. They are hesitant to commit because their deal may necessitate them changing. Many don’t even realize that they have settled into this compromise position. They may have said a prayer but they have not gone all in. They are “associated” with God but not fully with God. The Church is full of folks on perpetual test drives. They are cruising along thinking all is well; they think they have done just enough to get their ticket to heaven punched without having to risk too much. Jesus tells us in Matt. 7:22-23, that there will be many “christians” shocked to find out that their test drive didn’t cut it.  “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Cor. 13:5

PRAYER: Lord, examine my heart; show me all of the areas of my life that I am holding back. Lord, I want to be all in; I am with you. Help me with those areas where I am not.  Amen

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