Friday, January 6, 2012

Perseverance of the Saints 3

Today, we return to our subject of the Perseverance of the Saints. But this time we will prove our point from the efficacy or virtue of Christ’s work as Mediator, which is comprised of three parts: His satisfaction for our sin, His intercession for His elect, and His preservation of those for whom He has made satisfaction.

Let us first consider Christ’s mediatorial work of satisfaction. When Christ cried out “Τετέλεσται,” (It is finished), He declared that He had both fulfilled God’s law perfectly and had fully borne in His body God’s infinite wrath against sin. Nothing more remains to be done about sin. All the sins of God’s elect have been atoned for and Christ’s perfectly obedient righteousness is imputed to them. To say that future sins can cause one to lose his salvation is tantamount to saying: (a) Christ did not make full atonement for the sins of the elect; (b) Men can commit sins that God was not aware of when Christ died; (c) Christ’s death for sin only counts against the specific sins which the sinner must acknowledge individually.

When God raised Christ from the dead He was vindicating Christ’s perfect righteousness and acceptable sacrifice of Himself as a complete satisfaction for sin. If there were even one sin left to be atoned for, Christ would not have offered a complete satisfaction for sin. Hence His resurrection from the dead assures the Perseverance of the Saints. If one of the elect could actually perish if would have to be because of sin. No one perishes for any other reason than sin. This would mean that Christ would not have died as an atonement for all of that person’s sins.

Let’s look at a few relevant Scriptures:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 ESV)

Notice that John claims we are cleansed from ALL sin.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10 ESV)

and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:10 ESV)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14 ESV)

The second part of Christ’s mediatorial work is His intercession for those for whom He has made atonement. Here again we have an unbreakable chain. For one of God’s elect to actually perish it would require either Christ not making a full satisfaction for sin (which we have already refuted) or worse yet, having made a satisfaction, He cannot make effectual intercession for them. In other words, Christ can pray to the Father and have His prayer denied. If this is not blasphemy, nothing is.

When Christ stood at Lazarus’ graveside, He thanked the Father for hearing Him, and with the utmost confidence affirmed that He knew that the Father always hears Him (John 11:41, 42). Let that sink in. Christ intercedes only for those for whom He has made atonement. If one for whom He intercedes can finally fall away and perish, then Christ can intercede in vain, i.e., the Father does not always hear Him. This is not rocket science. In His high-priestly prayer in John 17, Christ explicitly states that He prays only for those whom the Father has given Him.

We present several relevant passages:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1 ESV)

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
(Psalm 2:8 ESV)

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
(John 17:11 ESV)

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
(John 17:24 ESV)

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
(Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

Finally, let’s look at Christ’s mediatorial work of preserving those for whom He made satisfaction and for whom He intercedes. For one of His elect sheep to finally fall away and perish, would mean that Christ is impotent to protect and preserve His own. Can anyone say that?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (John 10:27-29 ESV)

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:39 ESV)

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