The Weekly Epistle 7/12/23

Hi Living Hope,
Want to hear a quick joke about Jehovah Witnesses? I knew you would, so here it is. It is a short joke, so pay attention. Here goes the joke, “Knock, knock.” 

That’s it. If I have to explain it, then it doesn’t work. 

One time many years ago there was a “knock, knock” on the door of my apartment and there stood two Jehovah Witnesses. I was going to Bible college at that time and preparing for the ministry, so I was up for the challenge. They began immediately with their opening hook, “We are making just brief call to share an important message with you.” They mentioned a passage of Scripture in the book of Revelation and asked my opinion on it. 

My response to them was simple, “We disagree on one fundamental issue- I believe that Jesus is God and you do not believe that Jesus is God. We both can’t be right.” 

I then invited them to a further discussion in my home at a future date. If they could agree to a couple of ground rules for this discussion, then I would be willing to sit down to talk with them. Remember, I was attending Bible college, so I felt prepared to “take them on.” 

It didn’t go as well as I anticipated. At one point, one of them called me arrogant. But not for the reason you might think. I was arrogant because I had certainty of my place in heaven. “No one can be sure of their salvation,” he said with disgust. This is what keeps them motivated to walk through neighborhoods and preach their message to strangers. It is a work done for Jehovah God that might earn them favor with God. 

One problem with a works system for salvation is, “What is good enough?” Is it 51% good or 90% good? Or will God grade me on a curve? Is it doing my best “most of the time.” And what does “most of the time” even mean? Is good enough, good enough? There is no assurance at all. What a way to go through life. 

God wants us to know we are saved. The beauty of the gospel is that it is all about God’s grace and His faithfulness in keeping His adopted children to the end. “Nothing can pluck us out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29). And “nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:35-39). 

Scripture speaks of those who receive God’s gift of grace as “under no condemnation,” and “sealed,” “adopted,” “fully redeemed,” and that we “have eternal life.” We have it. We cannot lose it. That isn’t arrogant! That is a humble recognition of God’s grace and His faithfulness to keep us to the end. 

Is eternal security a loophole in God’s plan? Will some live recklessly? Does this teaching invite and almost excuse living anyway we want, once saved? That is a topic for another time, but scripture is clear that we should not presume on God’s grace. Check out Romans 6. 

A true believer wants to please God. A true believer wants to get right with God when sin interrupts that relationship. A true believer can walk in the assurance that our eternal salvation is based on God’s ability, not ours. Now about those who seemed to have fallen away. Remember this, we may draw a conclusion that they are not saved, but we are in no position to make a final determination about the security of others. We do not have all the information. 

Blessings, Pastor Brian