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Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
Some scholars object that believers may turn against Christ’s love, that they can choose to separate themselves from Christ’s love. Such an objection fails to comprehend Paul’s teaching. He contemplates the worst things that can happen in life, such as starvation and martyrdom, because these are precisely the circumstances that could propel one to commit apostasy. Paul stares apostasy in the face by considering what could cause believers to forsake Christ. And he argues that they will not do so because the love of God and Christ will not let them go. Nothing in the created order can sever believers from God’s love. Their assurance is strong and steadfast, resting on God’s unalterable and irrevocable promises.
~ Tom Schreiner, Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, p. 278
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
With the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has already set the future inexorably in motion;
The fact that the future has already begun with the coming of God himself (through Christ and the Spirit) means two crucial things for Paul: that the consummation is absolutely guaranteed, and that present existence is therefore altogether determined by this reality. That is, one’s life in the present is not conditioned or determined by present exigencies, but by the singular reality that God’s people belong to the future that has already come present. Marked by Christ’s death and resurrection and identified as God’s people by the gift of the Spirit, they live the life of the future in the present, determined by its values and perspective, no matter what their present circumstances.
~Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter To The Philippians, p. 50-51
here, as in all His earthly ministry, Jesus was a willing sufferer. He had set His heart on accomplishing our redemption. He loved us, and gave Himself for us, cheerfully, willingly, gladly, in order to make atonement for our sins…Let this thought abide in our hearts, and refresh our souls. We have a Savior who was far more willing to save us than we are willing to be saved.”~ J.C. Ryle
HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes
Who or what is going to sustain my salvation today?
Is it my will to keep pressing forward? However, I know my will. I know how easy it is to get distracted and will to walk along so many other roads other than the one which has me following after Christ.
How thankful I am that it is not my will. God’s will to save me is so much stronger than my will to be saved. He keeps me going, keeps bringing my mind and affections back to Him. No matter what path I find myself on, He always directs me back to realizing who I am in Christ and what I am called to do. I am so thankful that God has a will to save me.
if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, (Col 1:23a)
Seeing and cherishing Jesus and all that He is for you, gives you the motive to keep moving in being obedient to God. We not not creatures of intellectual assent only. We are driven by what affects us. The gospel is the message of the most heart moving reality in the universe. God came to save rebels by sacrificing His own Son on their behalf.
The love found in the gospel compels us to believe the truth, “God has saved me from my sins.” This truth is astounding! God, the one we offend, does the work of salvation. It is not us coming to Him. No, He came to us. This God has saved us. God, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has accomplished the task of saving those who believe in Christ. It is not a job which is in progress neither is it questionable if He has done it or not. It is finished! He has completed the work of saving us from the sin that ruins us and condemns us.
But here is the dilemma of our everyday lives: it does not feel like it. The gospel is a message of victory by One who loves us beyond our comprehension. But right now sin, our sins, stand before us like a looming storm. All we can seem to see is the black, billowing clouds of guilt and failure on the horizon. Why move forward when there is such hopelessness before us?
Because that is not truth! the gospel is true! Christ is real and His promises as true! “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14).
We can move forward because of hope! This is not a wishful hope. The Bible knows no such things. This is a certain hope!
The certain hope of the gospel keeps us moving forward. Even if it is one step at a time. We can walk amidst the sin and muck of our and our fellow believers lives because we have the hope. The hope that God has saved us from sin. We are ransomed. We are made holy before Him. And we known that the work He started He will complete, Christ did not die to only fail in leading us through the storm. When we see the storm of sinfulness of this life, we look to the gospel and hope!
And we can then keep moving forward in following after our Savior.
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:22-23)
The gospel is such a treasure. We who were at one time far off have now been reconciled to God. Not because we tried really hard to get to God and finally did. But because God came to get us while we were still ungodly and wicked. And he came to get us by sacrificing himself upon the cross. Jesus, the Son of God, reconciled us by His death. And this death is “in order” to present us holy, blameless, and above reproach before him.
But this faith is not a stagnate claim of fire insurance. We must “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast” to retain the benefits of it. That is the call, to “continue.” To keep going on and on along the same path, not stopping to some other distraction. We are to continue “stable and steadfast.” Not tripping over thoughts of “maybe I should try another road of beliefs.” No, our eyes are fixated in completing what we have set out to do. But what is this journey we are to remain stable and steadfast on? The answer for Paul is simple, “the hope of the gospel.” the gospel message of Christ’s reconciling ministry is to be the road of their faith which they continue in, stable and steadfast, without shifting.
So to the gospel is the root of our assurance. The hope of what is ours in Christ is the rock of our salvation. When our sins and failures amass before our eyes, and other gospels present themselves before us, we are to continue in the hope! I don’t know about you but when I start to think God is distant because of my sins other gospels come to me. “read the word more. pray more. make sure to reduce the amount of sin your life by 5% in the coming month. etc” But these are not the one gospel which I heard. The gospel of Christ’s work, reconciling me to God as a blameless, holy son, is the message that I am to remain steadfast.
So when doubts and questions about my salvation and standing with God come, I am to continue. Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the gospel. Because the gospel is the source of my assurance.
“who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
God’s power, to be effective at all, must guard us from sin and unbelief. If his power plays no role in our faith, then it seems that his power accomplishes nothing in our making it to the end- since it is precisely unbelief and failure to hope in God that causes us to fall away from God. If God’s power does not protect us from unbelief, it is hard to see what it does. How is God protecting us until the end if his guarding plays no role in our continuing faith?
…God’s power protects us because his power is the means by which our faith is sustained.
~Schreiner & Caneday, The Race Set Before Us, 247,
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. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:39-40)
…our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:7b-9)
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thess 5:24)
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thess 3:3)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
“When we take the history of a child of God, compressed within the short period of a single day — mark what flaws, what imperfections, what fickleness, what dereliction in principle, what flaws in practice, what errors in judgment and what wanderings of heart make up that brief history — how we are led to thank God for the stability of the covenant, that covenant which provides for the full redemption of all believers, which from eternity secures the effectual calling, the perfect keeping and certain salvation of every chosen vessel of mercy!”
~Octavius Winslow (HT: Ray Ortlund)
Take heart child of God. No matter what attacks Satan masses against you today. No matter what siege the world lays to your soul today. No matter the war the flesh wages against you today. At the end of this day and ever day after this, you will still be a child of our Heavenly Father!