Serving an international
Vol. 10 No. 10 October 2008
When I was a young teenager, a neighbor kept several cattle in a large pasture behind our house. Perhaps it be would more accurate to say, “...A neighbor tried to keep several cattle in a pasture behind our house.”
One particular bovine
found a broken strand in the barbed
wire fence that separated the pasture from our property. Occasionally,
come home from school and find her traipsing around the backyard,
the occasional patch of herbaceous vegetation and scattering free
Having spent my childhood in the streets of
Once she discovered the way out, it was difficult to keep her in where she belonged. For “Bossy,” that twisted, three-strand barrier was the cow equivalent of the Berlin Wall and had to be breached. Those of you who have raised cattle know what I am talking about.
Stay with me for a minute.
I am always taken back
when I hear denominational preachers
teach the “once-saved, always-saved” doctrine.
Essentially, they are saying, “You
can’t leave if you’re ‘in,’ and
if you do in fact leave, you were never ‘in’ in
the first place.” People aren’t cattle, but
experience, observation, as well as
the Bible, tell us that sometimes folks, unfortunately, do wander
Remember the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)? A young man approached his father and asked for the immediate payment of his inheritance (v. 12). The request was granted, and the son then left for a distant land. There he wasted his fortune, and then found himself on hard times (v. 13). Penniless, the young man was forced to seek employment feeding pigs (vv. 14-15). Eventually, he came to himself, acknowledged his foolish ways and headed back home (17-19). His grieving father saw him in the distance, ran to meet him, embraced him and then gave a lavish party in his honor (vv. 22-23).
Now study the text carefully. The headstrong son “struck out on his own” and in so doing, severed his relationship with his father. The Bible says the lad journeyed to a “far country.” Now watch it. He was “in” (saved); then he was “out” (lost). He had once enjoyed the privileges of sonship, but later found himself an estranged, destitute, swine-feeding servant. Did the young man leave; did he, in essence, “break out of the fence?” Obviously, he did. What was his status while he was gone? Jesus said he was “dead” (v. 24), lost, separated.
Calvinism says, “You can’t leave…you can’t be lost.” Bossy left, at least, every once in a while. (A cow cannot leave a pasture she was never in in the first place). The Prodigal left. (A son cannot return to his father if he has never left in the first place).
Some of you reading this
very message have left the faith.
You’ve either departed (1 Timothy 4:1; 1:6; 3:1; 4:21; 5:7;
Whatever your sin, you can come home again. Your Father is anxious for you to return. Come now.