First, allow me to preface this rebuttal post with a few concerns on the subject of eternal security. The writer of the blog (Click Here To Read The Blog) mentioned is a personal friend of mine for many years, attended the same theological institute and share the historical cardinal doctrines as put forth in scripture. This post will address, examine and elaborate on the doctrine of eternal security in the hopes of clarifying the reader to its validity as portrayed in the text both from a biblical and theological perspective.
The elephant in the room is not really considered a touchy subject for the Reformed position as my friend suggest if its meaning is properly conveyed. The Westminster Confession defines the Perseverance of the Saints (eternal security) as: “They whom God hath accepted in His beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.” In other words, to preserve is how God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them. This divine initiative is the beginning point whereby God effectually calls those elect and will complete this good work in the end (Philippians. 1:6). With that said, there are many who repudiate or recant this profession of faith (1 John 2:19). This outward declaration is possible as Jesus mentions that they honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me (Mark 7:6) and never knew him (Matt.7:21-23). This assurance can be seen in numerous scriptures in regards to God persevering the believer. Now, we do fall away from Grace and lapse into sin (ex. 1 Sam.11-12; Luke 22:55-62) but never totally away from grace. C.H. Spurgeon said it best, “The believer, like a man on shipboard, may fall again and again on the deck, but he will never fall overboard.” The judgment of charity in not knowing the state of one’s soul is a disadvantage we have no matter how well we may evaluate an individual. Even as Peter denied the Lordship of Christ saying “I never knew the man,” in his protracted fall he remembered the words mentioned to him and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). The New Testament teaches us that the Holy Spirit raises us unto eternal life, giving us the earnest of the Spirit and seals us as our names are written in the lamb’s book of life (Luke 10:20).
To preserve is how God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them.
The writer attempts to seek a biblical balance in accepting the doctrine but with the conditions of free will attached and the ability to walk away from saving faith. This form of Semi-Pelagianism and Augustinian theology deals with the aspect of the order of salvation (ordo salutis) and the relationship between true regeneration and faith. The humanist view on free will states that our ability to make choices are spontaneous which my friend seems to be alluding. According to this view, there is no prior prejudice, inclination or disposition in regards to our choices. If there is no reason for the choices we make than how can our actions have any moral significance to it? If no intents or motivation, then can a choice truly even be made? Jonathan Edwards describes free will as the mind choosing. The mind and will are inseparable when moral chooses are made in relation to our conscience. It’s not independent but in conjunction with one another. Edwards said that free moral agents always act according to the strongest inclination they have at the moment of choice. We’ve all done things that we regretted or allowed external forces to coerce us as even the apostle Paul experienced (Rom.7:15). Paul’s intentions are expressing something we all experience and an innate desire to please God but doesn’t always come to fruition.
Human desires fluctuate and John Calvin argues that man does not rationally choose or pursues what is good because of the fall and corruption of our nature but we have a desire for good things. The natural faculty of reason remains intact after the fall but the soundness of our thinking has been effected by sin. Every choice we make is free and every choice is determined. This is not determinism but the causes and reasons determine our personal choices. So the question is are we really free in our ability to make the choice? This self-determinism (compatibilism) says that the choices are necessarily determined, yet compatible with human freedom and responsibility. Heres the point, we choose according to our desires and the sinner hasn’t lost the faculty of choice in his fall it goes deeper into the root of the heart. We sin freely because we want to sin. Our natural ability wants to speak, think, walk but not to fly like some bird in the sky. But throughout history, we have had a compulsion to fly, enter in the Wright brothers and the construction of the airplane. The moral ability wants to be righteous but because of original sin, this kind of perfection is unattainable as we remain in a state of spiritual inertness (Eph.2:1). The bondage to sin resulted in a moral liberty being lost and our desires are always in compliance with our nature. God is even confined by his very nature and has no capacity to sin, He is always wholly righteous and good. God doesn’t have libertarian freedom and doesn’t grant access to an indispensable attribute to his creatures that he himself cannot possess.
This post has barely divulged into the topic of eternal security and the freedom of the will but by his grace, his gifts and calling are not repented of (Rom 11:29) according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5). The assurance that I can never be separated from the love of God is one of the greatest comforts of the Christian life.