A certain theologian advocates eternal security, declaring, “those who have been genuinely saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. shall not be in danger of God’s condemnation or loss of salvation, for God’s grace keeps them forever saved and secure.”
I see merit in his statement, but have some questions. (1) Who of us dare say whom are saved and who is not saved? Isn’t that God’s domain? (2) Since friendship with Christ is a covenant–an agreement between two parties–what is our part in the covenant? (Calvin is dead wrong to exclude believers from the covenant, teaching it exists only among the trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. That notion has no support in Scripture.)
Friendship with Christ: Jesus tells us that true friendship includes sacrifice, i.e. “laying down one’s life.” (John 15:13). Life (Gr: psyche) implies dying to self or laying down one’s ego for his friends. Jesus adds, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Our friendship with God is a great gift, but not one based just on a past decision made to trust him. It rests foremost on God’s steadfast love, but includes obeying his command. What command?–the mandate he gave at His table which he repeats twice in this discourse: (15. 12, 17). “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus laid down his life for us. If I am his friend, I will obey him by loving my fellow believers which includes laying down my life, i.e. my soul, my ego, for them.
My best friend and I became pals years ago. We continue to enjoy that bond, but it means calling and meeting each other; helping when and if needed. But what if I make no effort to nurture our friendship? Would we remain friends? Clearly not, since Jesus defines friendship as a two way street. Friendship in his covenant is with Jesus on the vertical plane but includes loving others. This what we mean by “the horizontal church.”
”If you abide in Me…”Three things I see in this phrase, (a) Abide is a remaining or continuing in Jesus; (b) The little word “if” means I must do my part. (c) Abide is in the present tense. We remain in Him today not just yesterday or 40 years ago at conversion. Salvation is past, present and future. “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) and “Today. if you do not harden your hearts…” (Heb. 3:16)
Jesus’ Prime Directive is his order for a new order: “Love one another as I have loved you. -–John 13: 34. Many professed believers are apparently in for a shock. ”Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy… cast out demons…and perform wonders in your name?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.” Matt. 7.21, 22” Again, in his parable of the sheep and goats, Jesus rejects professed believers he terms “goats.” In shock, they ask, “Lord when did we see you…. and not help you?” He answers, “when you refused to help the least of these my brethren, you were refusing to help me.” Their sin? Disobeying Christ’s prime directive.
Don’t get me wrong. I have full confidence in God’s ability to ”work in me to will and do his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12). Without his daily grace, I am lost. But I shun the arrogance that says, “It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, I’m going to heaven.” I’m a sinner whom God has reconciled himself to by Christs death and am “being saved by his life (within me). (Romans 5:10) And so I “…work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.”–Phil 2:11. I also try to be “diligent to make my call and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:10). So,
Your comments and thoughts are important to us. Thanks.
P.S. From Genesis to Revelation, we God’s relationship with his people is reflected in marriage. I would hazard then, what is true for friendship, may go double for marriage. I’m just saying.