Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading a ton with one goal: to improve my understanding of justification and its implication of the doctrine of perseverance, according to both Calvin and Arminius, and to Scripture. There is much debate over the permanency and guarantee of salvation. And I continue to be puzzled.
This doctrine is close to my heart because of the countless high school and college students whom I have witnessed their faith, good works, and fruit, but who have walked away from Christianity. How do I reconcile their terminated relationships with the Lord? Is the expression “once saved, always saved” true or just an idealistic pitch? How do I reconcile, from my limited vantage point, that my friends fully accepted God’s gift of faith, were saved, forgiven of sins, and justified in Christ, but have now walked away from their faith in Him?
Ephesians 1:13-14 reads, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Were they really adopted as children? Were their sins (including the walking away) atoned for on the cross or not? Is justification a “one moment”, snap-of-the-fingers, unchanging truth?
Let the refining begin…