Elusive certainties

by Michael E. Brooks

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV).

Much of the time when we are in Bangladesh or Nepal, or when we are planning for a visit, we find that our plans are uncertain and likely to fail.

Weather, economics, political conditions and our own health and concerns make it difficult to know whether we will be able to meet all planned schedules, or how our visit will turn out.

As many have said, “That is life — the only things certain are death and taxes.” Holy Scripture confirms that humans are frail beings and their earthly existence is brief. Plans must always be tentative, based on the will of God (James 4:13-15).

But Peter reminds us that there is certainty in life. Not in man’s plans or abilities, but in God’s. The verses quoted above speak repeatedly about the certainty of salvation for all those who live by faith, obediently trusting in God.

Three times Peter assures us of the certainty of salvation. Our inheritance is “incorruptible and undefiled and . . . does not fade away.” It is “reserved in heaven.” And it is “ready to be revealed.”

The children of God are his heirs (Romans 8:17) and their heritage is reserved for them by the Omnipotent God. It will not fade, nor be stolen, nor be diminished in any way.

Not only that but the heirs themselves are secure. Salvation is reserved for those “who are kept by the power of God through faith.” In this phrase Peter clearly refutes the doctrine of “Eternal Security” (“once saved, always saved”) as taught by modern religions.

He identifies the one condition of salvation — faith. It is assured “through faith.” Without faith in God (obedient trust) and his Son Jesus, no one is “kept” by him unto salvation. But so long as faith exists and leads one to obedience of God’s will (Matthew 7:21), salvation is assured.

The apostle Paul agreed. He was persuaded that nothing could separate the Christian from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews notes other certainties. “It is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

God’s justice is certain. But so is his love, grace and mercy. We are his children. We are his heirs. Our heritage cannot be taken from us, nor can we be prevented by anything outside our own will from claiming it.

May God be praised.

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