Volume. XXIX, No. 2
Sunday, 13 July 2014


Will You Make It To Heaven?


My Dear Reader,

When you take your final breath in this life, where will you spend eternity? Formerly the response of most people in areas of Christian influence has been, “I hope to go to heaven.” In our day, when an increasing number have been educated under atheism, many respond by claiming there is no life beyond the grave. For thousands who have been raised under Islam, they have been taught that the decision is made by the deity alone. One must do his or her best to please the divine, hoping that he may choose favourably for him or her. Still others who have grown up in a religion of merit anticipate going to heaven if she or he has performed sufficient good deeds to merit eternal life in heaven. Should they fall short of that standard, they believe they will spend some time (years?) in an intermediate place to suffer and be purged of any remaining unremitted sin(s). If she or he has committed any cardinal or mortal, sin she or he will spend eternity in hell. Where we will spend eternity is a serious matter. Eternity is forever.

In this series of articles, we have looked to the Bible for answers to questions about salvation and eternity. We have considered the two major positions within Christian circles that differ on God’s role in salvation and human effort in becoming saved and/or remaining saved.

We come to the fifth of the five points in our continuing series of studies giving an overview of the Five Points of Calvinism: “Perseverance of the Saints” or “The Preservation of the Saints.” Again, remember that this is the response given to the third of “the five points” of Arminianism. Below I have posted the summary of the two positions on the endurance of saving faith.

Falling From Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith. Therefore they fall from or lose their standing in grace. All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ — that once a sinner is regenerated. He can never be lost.

Perseverance of the Saints

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

Source: Graceonlinelibrary.org

If a person has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, how long will his or her salvation endure? From the Arminian side the answer is that a person can be saved, truly know it, and remain saved IF she or he continues to believe and hold to Jesus Christ until the very end. One of the Scripture passages cited by them is Colossians 1:21-23: And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.... Such endurance will secure salvation for that person. She or he will go to heaven. But if she or he falls into sin and/or stops holding on to Jesus Christ until the end of life, she or he will lose the salvation they had and be lost, spending eternity in hell forever (Heb 6:4-6: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance...).

Others who hold to a modified Arminian position contend that the person who chooses to believe in Jesus, once he or she has chosen Christ, is saved forever and can never be lost regardless of what he or she does after making a profession of faith. That is termed Eternal Security based on John 10:28, And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Just this week I heard a preacher on a radio broadcast in Clearwater, Florida relate how a man had explained the gospel to a group. One of them asked, “Do you mean that if I say I will receive Jesus as my Savior but then go out to live a life of sin and never live for him or do anything to please him, that I am saved and can never lose my salvation?” The teacher responded, “Well that is a rather crass way of saying it, but yes that is true. Jesus loves you so much that once you have confessed him, regardless of what you do after that, He will take you to heaven when you die.” The man hit that table and said, “That’s for me.”

The Calvinist position differs from the Arminian positions. The Calvinist contends that because God initiates our salvation, He is the one who sustains the relationship for all eternity. Philippians 1:6 declares: Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in your will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. The believer is assured that he or she will never perish (John 10:28), but that is demonstrated by his or her response in obedience to the voice of Jesus: My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me... (John 10:27). The Holy Spirit is given to us as a seal to accompany us and assure us that we will safely get to heaven (Eph 4:30). How do we know that a person is truly saved? The Calvinist does not deny what is said in Heb 6:4-6 but continues in the passage to see the larger context. The verses that follow illustrate the teaching with the example of a field that is planted with seed. The only way you can tell how the crop will turn out is not determined on the day the planting has been done. You must wait to see what grows in response to the rain God provides, whether useful herbs or condemned thorns and briers. In verses 9-11 the writer explains that he is persuaded that his readers are saved by what he sees in their lives. He calls them to continue in active obedience, showing the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end. While the believer is fully forgiven for eternity because of the work of Christ, he or she is not yet perfected in present life experience. We still sin (1 John 1:8-10) and dare not claim to live free from sin. Yet our life pattern should be marked by a growing relationship with our Lord (1 John 3:5-9). A person does not produce good works in order to become saved; rather, the good works are an expression of his life because he is saved (Eph 2:8-10). Last week, Preacher Mok reminded us of the Apostle Paul’s dual emphasis from Phil 2:12-13 that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but with the full assurance that God is at work in us to accomplish His will and good pleasure. The believer in experience perseveres in his relationship with the Lord and at the same time is preserved by God.

One preacher explained assurance in these terms: “The Calvinist does not believe, ‘once saved, always saved, no matter what you do’; rather, he believes, ‘once saved, always saved, and what you do will demonstrate that you are saved.’” When a person makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, we should rejoice, but at the same time realize as another preacher has said, “Time and the devil will show whether the person is genuinely saved or not.”

So, when you take your final breath, do you know where you will spend eternity? If you have never been saved, call upon Jesus. He will save you forever. If you know Him, share the good news of salvation with someone the Lord brings across your path.

Hoping to point you to Christ,
Dr Carl Martin
(New Life BPC, London)

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Boong Atijatuporn. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan.
*Welcome to Hope BPC: Preacher Hai Seng Lim.
*Hospitality Roster for Preacher Hai Seng Lim from 12 - 19 July: There are a few slots left for lunch or dinner invites.
*ACM Proxy Nomination forms available on the foyer table for those who are unable to attend.
*Daily Manner for July-September quarter available now. Donation: $1 per copy.
*Please note: No Choir Practice till August; no Neighbourhood Bible Study till 3rd week in August; & no Ladies’ Fellowship Share & Prayer till early August.
*Please note: No Wednesday Prayer Meeting & Bible Study on 23 & 30 July. From 3 Sept, Rev Ed Paauwe will teach “Homiletics”class for 10 weeks.
*Adult Sunday School resumes on 27 July.


Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Holland); Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo & family (Qld/Adl); Deaconess Purdee Yeo (Arica, Chile); Preacher Hai Seng Lim (Adl); Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Waikerie/Adl); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo/Adl), Raymond Chia & William Song (S’pore); Sisters Mary Ting (Sabah) & Serene Wong (S’pore); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.  
Church activities in the past week.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Safe caesarean section for Sis May Lau; Safe arrival of Mia on Tues, 8 July.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Queenie Lau, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.
God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis WolHee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).
iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & VBS Ministry in Hope BPC: Pr Hai Seng Lim.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry (Sihanoukville).
New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.
Laos Missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
Future ministry - God’s provision & guidance for Bro David & Sis Susan Weng.  
Journey mercies: Preacher Hai Seng Lim (Melb); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo/Adl), Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl) & William Song (Adl); Sis Mary Ting (Sabah) & others travelling during university & school vacation period.
 Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
 Health in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
 PR application: Bro William Song; Sisters Xiao     Hui Chye & Yashu Qin.
 Scholarship application: Sis Katrina Loh.
 Vacation Bible Study: organizers, helpers & children.
Chile Missions with the Bjurs Ministry: Deaconess Purdee Yeo - healing, God’s guidance & protection.
 Believers suffering persecution in Islamic & Communist Countries.
Postnatal recovery: Sis May Lau; good health & development of Mia.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063