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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss927.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter X: Examining The Believer's Salvation Security In Scripture
A. The Scripture's Teaching On Salvation Security
- If we say the divine effectual call and efficacious grace do not exist and salvation faith is authored by man, the Calvinist asks if we oppose God's grace in salvation security : he holds the saints persevere in faith since God chose them to be saved, and thus effectually called and justified them, cf. Calvin, Institutes, book III, ch. XXI, 1; L. Better, The Ref. Doc. Of Pred. 1932, reprint (Phil.: The Pres. And Ref. Pub. Co., 1972), p. 182. For us to remove God's predestination as the basis of who is justified has the Calvinist charging we allow men to lose their salvation when their human faith fails!
- The Calvinist's concern is credible in view of how Arminians have handled the subject: Jacobus Arminius' beliefs reflected in the Articles of the Remonstrants left room to teach one might lose his salvation, and most Arminians have since asserted one can indeed lose it, cf. H. Bettenson, ed., Docs. of the Chr. Ch., 2nd ed., 1943, reprint, The World's Classics (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1966), p. 378-379; L. S. Chafer, Major Bible Themes, rev. John F. Walvoord (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1974), p. 220.
- We thus view Scripture's teaching on the Seal of the Holy Spirit since this seal provides the believer's salvation security, and thereby evaluate the Calvinist and Arminian views on salvation security:
- In the Ephesians 1:13-14 verses on the Holy Spirit's sealing ministry, the Arminian camp takes the KJV's "after" in verse 13 to mean the Spirit's sealing ministry occurs some time after belief in the Gospel, the time of the believer's alleged baptism into the Holy Spirit also alleged to be occur along with "speaking in tongues," cf. Asa Mahan, Bapt. of the Holy Ghost, p. iv, 40; F. D. Bruner, Theol. of the Holy Spirit, 1972, p. 59-60; John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Charismatics 1978, reprint (Gr. Rapids, Mich.: Zond., 1979), p. 13.
- Yet, "after" does not appear in the Greek text, but comes from the aorist participle, pisteusantes, rendered "after that ye believed" KJV (UBS Grk. N.T. , 1966 ed., p. 665; Analy. Grk. Lex., Zond., 1972, p. 326.
- The participle could then exhibit a logical arrangement, not a temporal one that reveals events occurring simultaneously where faith is the logical base for the sealing (F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Grk. Gram. Of the N.T., 9th German ed., rev. And trans. By R. W. Funk, 1961, reprint (Chicago: Univ. Of Chic. Press, 1973), p. 174-175. We hold to this translation for the following reasons:
- 2 Cor. 1:22 shows all the Corinthian believers were sealed and given the Spirit's earnest as described in Eph. 1:13-14. Yet, with Paul's rhetorical question expecting a negative answer in 1 Cor. 12:30b, he revealed not all these believers had even spoken in tongues! (Ibid., UBS Grk. N.T., p. 607; Machan, N.T. Grk. For Beginners, 1923, reprint (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1966), p. 197; The Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., p. 1637, ftn. to 1 Cor. 12:29-30.) This works against the claim the Spirit's seal arose only from a spiritually enriching event subsequent to salvation!
- Eph. 1:5-14 is a single, grand doxology to the Triune God, so it should be viewed as a literary unit, cf. E. K. Simpson and F. F. Bruce, Eph. and Col., NIC on the N.T., F. F. Bruce, gen. ed., 1957, reprint (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1979), p. 24-36. To allow for a time lapse between one's faith in the Gospel and the sealing ministry of the Spirit disrupts this literary unit, for it causes the Spirit's sealing ministry to be an event outside of the doxology's salvation theme. (Ibid., p. 35-36)
- So, Eph. 1:13-14 shows the Spirit's unconditional salvation security occurs when one trusts in Christ!
- Though the Arminian may reply that the seal lasts only as long as man's faith in Christ does, such a claim undermines the expressed intent of God to keep one saved as the Spirit also acts as the "Earnest" unto the rapture, Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:23. Salvation security is unconditonal by divine intent.
- In summary, both the Arminian and Calvinist views of salvation security stand in need of correction:
- Arminianism errs in teaching one can lose his salvation, for the Spirit unconditionally seals the believer from the point of faith in the Gospel until he reaches glorification with Christ beyond all possible sin.
- Calvinism also errs: the fact the Spirit seals the believer at justification for salvation security implies there is no salvation security in any divine predestination or this sealing would not then be needed!
- Also, faith, as authored by man, is without human merit, Rom. 3:27; 4:5. God alone saves and keeps the believer justified regardless of what happens to experiential lapses in one's fickle, human faith!