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Coming to Terms


There is a popular expression that goes, ‘words matter’ that is often used when someone says something hurtful. It is true. Every word we use has meaning and it is not good when we are careless with our words. If we know our words matter how much more should we expect the words of God to matter? Do we think God would use words in a lazy, unthoughtful way? Or do we assume that we can hang importance on every word God uses like Paul believed:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 2 Tim 3:16

I believe that we can assume every Scripture- every word, is inspired AND matters. This is true with the subject at hand- the security of our Salvation so let’s look at some of the words God uses in relation to our Salvation.

1) Adopted: Paul uses this word to convey God’s desire to pick us and that we can’t be disowned.

He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Eph 1:5
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” Rom 8:15

The word ‘adopted’ needs to be understood through the lens of that time- specifically under Roman law. There were no provisions in Judaism for adoption as the law required for other family (brothers for example) to care for the widows and carry out family responsibilities. Under Roman law adoption was needed to allow for the passing of family legacy and power. Due to the massive expense of adopting, normally only the wealthy and powerful adopted and it was almost always for the purpose of strengthening the family line. Therefore, when Paul uses this word, he is doing so to get the point across of how important we are to God that He would pay the highest price possible (blood of Christ) so that we could share in His inheritance. Those adopted, versus those born into family, were chosen and this was a solid relationship. Under Roman law, a parent could disown a child, but an adopted child could not be disowned which is why Paul tells us not to have a spirit of ‘fear.’ How could anyone live, knowing Salvation could be lost, without fear? If I could lose my Salvation, I would be a constant wreck, wrought with fear and anxiety. Paul tells us it isn’t true so, ‘fear not!’

Another interesting caveat was that slaves had to be freed and made Roman citizens to be adopted. Christ came to redeem (free us from being slaves to sin and become citizens of His Kingdom so that we could be adopted. What an amazing analogy Paul used!

2) Born again: The term Jesus used to describe the Salvation experience.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “How can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. John 3:3-7

Jesus uses a very definitive description of the process of Salvation. It is a great description because of the symbolism of being born physically (water) and spiritually (via Spirit). We need to ask why Jesus used this description is we can lose our Salvation. One can’t ever be unborn physically and stands to reason we can’t be unborn spiritually. Words do matter and the King of the Universe could have used many other descriptions if we could lose our Salvation.

3) Sealed: The term used by Paul to relate our status as Believers

In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:13-4
And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Eph 4:30

When Paul wrote Ephesians it was commonly understood what ‘sealed’ meant. It referred to the practice of sending important messages via a messenger. Only the person it was addressed to could open the seal which was a wax substance pressed by the ring of the sender. The ring was unique to the sender and represented their authority. Once a seal was broken it could not be resealed.

Now, think again as to why this would leave us with confirmation that we are secure in our Salvation. The message is us within Christ (envelop) and the sealer is the Holy Spirit. Who is the recipient? God, who will be on the Judgment seat. When will we be unsealed? The day of our redemption. Furthermore, the Spirit guarantees this just as the seal was unique to the sender and thus guaranteed it was legitimate.

Words matter and the descriptions used, such as these three, help confirm the permanent Salvation we have. Tomorrow we will complete this series with another fly in the ointment for those who contend Salvation isn’t eternal- proof we can’t be ‘resaved’ just as a seal can’t be resealed IF it were possible to lose our Salvation.

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