In 1876 a German-American clergyman and artist Johannes Adam Simon Oertel painted this picture “Rock of Ages”. His painting became enormously popular and was reproduced in millions of photographs and reproductions for sale both in the United States and England.
I heard a story of one particular lady who used to have this painting hanging above her bed. As she gazed at the poor wretch still tossed around by the stormy seas, clinging tenuously to the cross shaped rock , a look of agony on her face she would say “That’s what it’s like….clinging on to the faith!”
Wistfully she would think to herself “How my arms used ache for that girl. How I long to hold on for her”
One day God began to speak to her about this. He revealed to her two particular scriptures.
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith
Suddenly she felt as if the arms of Jesus were around her, loving her and holding her. She felt so warm and secure…utterly safe and peaceful. After a few minutes bathing in His presence, she opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was this painting.
A few days later her family visited and were amazed to find a clean patch on the wall paper above her bed. “What has happened to the old painting?” they exclaimed.
“I took it outside and smashed it up!” She announced proudly. God showed me I am not clinging on by my finger tips. I am 20 miles inland!”
Eternal security is a controversial topic with ardent Calvinist leaning protagonists and Arminian leaning antagonists. But when I ask myself the question “Is it possible for someone who has truly believed in Jesus to lose their salvation and end up in the lake of fire and separated from Christ?” I find I have to answer “impossible”.
For a season my wife and I used to be phoned every morning at 6 o’clock by a dear brother who had a schizophrenic illness. “Jamie” he would say, “I am afraid I have committed the unforgivable sin. I have blasphemed the Holy Spirit! I have lost my salvation!”.
“But brother, we have been through this” I would explain. John 16:8 explains that the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin so that they can go to Jesus for salvation. Blasphemy of the Holy spirit is resisting that conviction, and so never even calling on Jesus for His salvation. You however are a believer! You yielded to that conviction and DID go to Jesus for salvation! So you haven’t blasphemed the Spirit! A few minutes reassurance was needed before he could relax and continue his day.
Others worry about the passage in Matthew 7:21-23 In this familiar passage our Lord declared, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
The point about that story is actually obvious when you think about it; they weren’t saved in the first place! Any born again believer would say, “But Lord, you died for our sins on the cross. Our only hope is in what you did to pay for our sins!” These people didn’t say those things. Instead, they pointed to their works. They pointed to the very things which they were relying upon to earn them their place in heaven.
This is such a vast topic. There are many verses in the bible that seem to suggest we CAN lose our salvation. SO let’s come back to this next time.
For now let Paul have the last say:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (answer: None!) Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, (nothing you do or think or say in your life will ever cut you off from God) nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jamie Muir 13.02.17