Over the past several weeks we have talked at length about the holiness of God, the depravity of man, and the LORD's plan of salvation to reconcile the broken relationship between them. For what purpose does God rescue men from their sin? What are the implications of His deliverance? Let's take a look at the Baptist Faith and Message's statement regarding God's Purpose of Grace...
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and
glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in
connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely
wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His
Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall
into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and
comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet
they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
When we look at the paragraphs above, there are three concepts that are readily apparent and form the structure of today's message. These are grace, election, and eternal security.
It has been said that "Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting what you don't deserve." The simple theological definition of grace is "God's unmerited favor". The LORD graciously favors mankind, not because we are worthy of His grace nor have we earned it, but because of His great love for us.
The grace of God is sufficient to help us endure the hardships and persecutions of this life. It helps us to face loss and grief, to carry on even in the midst of suffering, and to face each day with a calm assurance and longsuffering spirit. This same grace gives us strength to overcome the obstacles that are set before us and elevates us to victorious living.
Because God favors believers (grace), He chooses them to be His own. This choice is called election. The Lord has chosen Christians to the recipients of salvation, to be the partakers of His blessed goodness, and to be His ambassadors on earth. Those who have been born again are called the "elect" - a people chosen by God to receive the benefits offered due to His grace.
Perhaps the greatest of all of God's gifts is that of salvation, which we discussed the past two weeks. In Christ we can have forgiveness for our sins and the promise of eternal life. This great salvation is given to us by God's grace, through our faith, and is secured by Him alone. Scriptures teach that those who are born again can never be lost, because the assurance of salvation is not dependent upon man but rather upheld by Almighty God. This is the doctrine of eternal security.
"Once saved, always saved" is the clear and plentiful truth found in Scripture. Yet, it can be and has been misleading over the centuries. There are many who've walked an aisle some time ago and made an insincere, half-hearted commitment to God, but they do not live for the Lord and show no evidence of ever having been changed. This is not the Biblical model of salvation, and Jesus himself said that there are many who think they will get into heaven that won't. The truth is that if you are saved, your life will reflect that salvation, and the fruit you bear will provide the evidence that you are eternally secure in Christ.
God, in His infinite knowledge, choses those whom He foreknows will sincerely chose Him. He graciously favors them, calls them His elect, and secures their salvation by the strength of His almighty hand. As such, you can go through life confidently knowing that you've been saved. Praise the Lord!