Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Are you sure you are saved? Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 8:26 am on Friday, December 21, 2007

Before I finally get into the book, I want to make one more important clarification concerning Jonathan Edwards’ understanding of salvation, without which everything else in the book will make little sense. Edwards was a devout Calvinist, hence believed that

  1. There is nothing you can do save yourself. God must draw you to Himself (doctrine of total depravity)
  2. At the point of true conversion Holy Spirit enters the person and begins its regeneration (sanctification) work in him/her.
  3. Just accepting the gospel and/or saying you believe in Jesus does not mean you are truly saved. The only proof of true salvation is that Holy Spirit started the regeneration work in you
  4. There is nothing you can do to lose your salvation, once you have been truly saved. Holy Spirit will always finish the work he started in you (doctrine of perseverance of the saints)

Let me also state that I consider myself Reformed and completely support these views. What’s interesting is that very often I hear people say they are Reformed or attend a church that adheres to Reformed doctrine, but pay only lip service to these beliefs. They may say, Oh yeah, of course we cannot save ourselves, only God can do it – by sending his son to die on the cross. But that is not what total depravity means, it means that no good moral behavior or saying you completely accept the gospel can guarantee your salvation. Salvation is fully of the Lord, to the degree that He decides who should be saved and who should not. Moreover, he decides this before you are even born and has a chance to do anything good or bad.

These doctrines do not bear many practical applications for everyday life. So what if you cannot lose your salvation – you still try to live a good life as commanded in the Bible (even though it is probably the Holy Spirit in you who urges you to do that). So what if God elects people to salvation – you would never know whom He elected anyway, so cannot pick and choose whom to proclaim the gospel to. But one important application of these doctrines is that there might be people in your church, right now, who have been attending as long as you did, who are not saved. Even scarier, there could be people in your bible study group, who are not saved. The scariest thought, maybe you yourself are not saved! How can you be sure?
Let’s find out what Jonathan Edwards can teach us in this matter.

2 Comments

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Comment by Chen Huaizhi

December 21, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

Hi Vitali, Amen to your firm affirmations of Reformed (Bible) Doctrines of Grace! I do however think that these doctrines have very practical applications. For e.g. total depravity will stop me from trying to pls God by myself, even when I’m saved but instead steer me to a gospel-centred life. Election before the foundation of the world has much to contribute to our humility.. :-) looking fwd to further post!

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Comment by Jung Oh

April 19, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

I fully agree to whay you are saying, and I still need the baptisim of Holy Spirit. I am still not dead spritually, so I need to be saved even if I have attended church for last 50 years and acknowledged all truth in Bible, and truly want Holy Spirit come to me. It is His work and I am waiting him in my heart so that I may die and live in His Spirit.

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