|Vol. 14 No. 11 November 2012||
T. Pierce Brown (deceased)
As far back as I can remember, our brethren have effectively denied the doctrine called “Impossibility of Apostasy,” “Security of the Believer,” “Perseverance of the Saints” or “Once Saved Always Saved.” The doctrine was the natural outgrowth of the Calvinistic doctrine of “Hereditary Total Depravity,” and an integral part of what is sometimes called the TULIP theory. Without examining each of the five parts of the theory, the idea of the whole thing is that since man is totally depraved, universally lost, God sent His Son to die for a limited portion of mankind who must respond to the irresistible grace of God, then must persevere and be saved eternally, else God’s whole plan is negated and His promise invalidated.
The purpose of this article is not to refute the theory, which is false in every point, but to point out a Bible truth that is sometimes overlooked in the process of pointing out the falsity of the Calvinistic theory. There is a sense in which it is true that once saved we are always saved! The failure to realize that truth has caused much unnecessary worry on the part of many Christians.
That is, I have had persons come to me with this problem: “I committed a sin before I became a Christian, and I want you to pray for my forgiveness, because it still bothers me.” I have replied something like this: “I cannot, for God has no record of it. He has forgotten it, and if I reminded Him of it, He would not know what I was talking about.”
The point is, once you are saved from some sin, you are always saved from that sin! It does not matter how bad the sin was. Even those who murdered the Son of God did not have to bother with it again, once they accepted the pardon offered in Acts 2:38. The Hebrew author says in Hebrews 10:17, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” If we are forgiven of a sin, we are saved from it forever.
The fact that you are saved from the penalty of a particular sin does not mean you cannot be lost for another sin in case you do not repent of it and get forgiveness on God’s terms. Nor does it mean you will not suffer some consequences of your sin as David did. Yet, it is amazing and sad that many persons carry a guilty feeling long after the sin should have been forgiven and forgotten.
There is a difference between a feeling of sorrow that the sin was ever committed and a feeling of guilt that would cause one to keep needing to ask for pardon. There is no doubt that Paul remembered with regret his past antagonism to the Lord. There is not the slightest hint that he felt a need to ask forgiveness of it after he arose and was baptized and had his sins washed away (Acts 22:16).
When Paul said, “But I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (1 Corinthians 9:27), he showed that a person who was once saved could be lost. Yet, he had no fear of being rejected (cast away) because of his past sin against Christ. Once saved from the guilt and punishment of that sin, he was always saved from it.
Roy J. Hearn (deceased)
The agnostic is a type of infidel who says that he does not know that there is a God, as Christians believe, and honestly says, “I don’t know.” The atheist is the more arrogant when he says, “I know that God does not exist.” In so saying, he holds a most ridiculous position. In order to know that, he must know everything that can be known, for if there is one thing he does not know, God may be the very One he does not know. Thomas A. Edison, in his day, is credited with saying that in scientific fields man had not “touched the hem of the garment.” Tremendous advances in scientific knowledge since his day have proved him correct. Neither has man yet learned all there is to know. To know there is no God, the atheist must have been everywhere in the universe, else God may be in the one place he has not been. If there are limits to the universe, man has never been able to see such, much less travel to the end. Hence, before any man can deny the existence of God, he himself must be a god; he must declare that he has been everywhere and absolutely knows everything.
Infidels deny that the idea of God ever entered the world through human reason, and that there is no such thing as divine revelation, and certainly not by experience, then how could the idea of God ever be conceived by man? If there is no God, and a man is the highest being in existence, the idea of God never would have entered the mind of man, nor would the word God be in his vocabulary. Let us now turn to a consideration of what may be termed “philosophical arguments” for the existence of God. (Do not let that term frighten you!)
The General Argument
This is also called the intuitional argument. L.S. Keyser says, “The General Argument is the argument for the divine existence which is based on the universal belief in God and the universal religious instinct. That all nations and tribes believe in supernatural beings cannot be denied. Scientists themselves have made detailed investigations and report the above statement to be true…”
In all ages man has believed in a Supreme Being and engaged in worship. As a rule, all human hearts desire to know God. Man looks up, hence, there must be a reality to answer man’s craving for God. “Every counterfeit has a genuine.” Have you ever seen a counterfeit seven dollar bill? So, the many idol gods are not the originals, but counterfeits patterned after the idea of the one true God. W.L. Oliphant, Christian, in his debate with Charles Smith, atheist, gives the following information:
Dr. James Orr, Professor of Apologetics, Glasgow, Scotland says, “Man’s earliest ideas of God were not his poorest. No savage tribes are found who do not seem to have higher ideas of God with their superstitions” (The Problem of the Old Testament, 496). Dr. R.H. Nassau stated, “All religions had but one source and that a pure one. From it have grown perversions varying in their proportions of truth and error” (Fetishism in West Africa, 23). Dr. William A.P. Martin, of Peking University, dealing with the evolutionary theory of the origin of religion says, “It indicates what might be the process if man were left to make his own religion; but it has the misfortune to be at variance with the facts. A wide survey of the history of civilized nations… shows that the actual process undergone by the human mind is precisely opposite to that which the theory (of evolution) supposes; in a word, man was not left to construct his own creed, but… has always been active in attempts to corrupt and obscure a divine original” (The Chinese, 163).
Egyptian history reveals that as the centuries passed, the number of gods increased from a few to hundreds, so the digression was not from many gods to one, but from the original one God to many. An Egyptian inscription that supposedly belongs to a period fifteen hundred years before Moses is quoted by Dr. F.F. Ellinwood, “He has made all that is; thou alone art, the millions owe their being to thee; he is Lord of all which is, and of that which is not” (Oriental Religions and Christianity, 250). Add to these the Great White Father of the American Indian, the Supreme Being of the Aborigines of Australia, the monotheism of the ancients of Greece, Babylon, China, India, Arabia, Persia and every other ancient civilization and there is the idea of one Supreme Being, before the idea of many idol gods developed.
Much more evidence could be given, but these few convey the idea that there can be only one conclusion. In the beginning of the human race, God gave to man a revelation of Himself, and man has corrupted this. So man is intuitively religious and worships something, be it his own intellect. All roads lead to God.