Friday, January 13, 2017

Hope Ends When The Prize is Obtained

When we are "born-again" we say "I am now saved." Scripture says "shall be saved (saos, safe)" in Acts 2:21. The "shall be" is understood with context. Even some versions of John 3:16 say "shall not perish" while others say "should not perish". either adverb is selected to describe the verb at the translators whim. It could even be "will not perish" or :will be safe". Thus, shall, should or even will describe a future event. It may be in an instant from now, or it could be much later.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  "But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation (soteria;  rescued)."
This passage indicates that those with faith and love have "the hope of salvation" (or being rescued).

We are born-again when we have the faith to obtain that hope. Since faith is a gift of God, then hope is from God. Being rescued is a future event. One can't be rescued until there is some event from which to be rescued. When death occurs our souls immediately are taken to either a protected haven or a place of danger, heaven or hell. We are rescued as our souls are taken to paradise in lieu of hell. Our hope during life is that by God's grace we are rescued to heaven! Those who are certain of their faith have very strong hope that they will be rescued from eternal death that they say "I am saved". Strong faith provokes great hope.
 Romans 8:23 (ESV) "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved (saos; safe) . Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Hope is unseen as these passages state. If we are already saved then there is no hope because salvation has already been seen (or attained). We have the hope that our bodies are adopted, meaning that we have been redeemed physically, not just spiritually or emotionally.  When our faith is strong we feel safe. This feeling of hope makes us emotionally safe because our soul and body has a promise to be rescued. My point is that those born-again have the hope of being rescued, not that they have already been, because if hope has already come, it's concluded and ceases to exist.

From a doctrinal standpoint. we can only be saved one time and technically, if we could be unsaved, then salvation could not have been in the first place. We can only be rescued from eternal damnation one time because if the rescue doesn't happen the first time, it's no rescue at all!

However, hope can and does dim as faith wavers. Even those with little faith will be rescued because it takes only faith to be saved, not necessarily great faith. Great faith only provides more hope and thus stronger assurance. Better said is that, "I am strongly assured that I will be saved because my faith is great!" Those with little faith have less hope and don't have the security (or feel as safe) as those who have less doubt.

For conditional security to even be possible, and I believe the possibility of apostasy is real, then we are not rescued when we are born-again, but when we experience the transition between existence and glorification. However, when born-again we are made safe because God gives us hope and puts a hedge around us to keep us safe (ala Job).  Born-again  in this view is when our hope commences because of our faith. As faith is a variable ranging from none to God's infinite faith in himself, then our safety depends on the extent of our faith.

It is all by GRACE even though there are things we must DO. God provides the faculty for faith, but we must exercise it, just as he provides our lungs, but we must breath in the air. We can hold our breath and die, but God still provides the ability to breath. God provides the ability to have faith, yet we must breath in the trust! If it is our will that we not breath, even though God loves us, we can still choose not to breath! The same goes for faith.

Eternal security implies that God not only provides our lungs, but breaths for us and takes away the ability to even hold our breath! This is symbolic of God providing our minds, and then thinks for us and prevents us from thinking on our own. In other words free will concludes with being born-again, but only God's will is for the Christian. Without our own will, God's will is that we be perfect. It's obvious that even after we are born-again, we still have free will because we still sin! If it was strictly God's will that Christians have,  then sin would never even occur to us and temptation by Satan would be for naught!

I am born-again and have the hope of salvation. If you are a Christian, you do too. Your faith may be greater than mine and you may feel more secure, and thus have stronger hope, but like me, you haven't been rescued as of now, and won't be until the bus crashes, so to speak.

Until then, I am wearing my seat belt so that my chances of rescue are greater. That symbolic seat belt is my hope of being safe when the bus crashes. I have hope that I won't die in the crash, but live a long life... an eternal life! God is my seatbelt. Jesus blood was shed in advance of that crash so that I WILL be saved... when the crash occurs. Until then my bus is lighted with trust and I have hope. When I am rescued hope will no longer exist because the thing hoped for has already come to fruition!

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