Discuss eternal security in light of monergism and synergism.
Eternal security. Why do we always get such touchy subjects to blog about? Anyway, we’re talking about eternal security in light of monergism and synergism. To refresh from last time, monergism is “the belief that regeneration is entirely the work of the Lord, and that until regeneration, there is no free will. Synergism is “the belief that regeneration is initiated by God through grace, but the individual cooperates.” These views have several implications. For example, how does a monergist (or synergist) view affect one’s view of eternal security? A monergist would most likely think that since God is the one who saved you and you had nothing to do with it, you’re good to go for eternity. Synergists, on the other hand, really pounds home the idea of moral freedom, so they most likely think that one choices can affect and/or destroy one’s eternal security. It seems that they are at odds again. Lets look at some passages that are used in the eternal security debate.
In Defense of Eternal Security
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
In Denial of Eternal Security
“Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
There are, of course, other passages used in the debate, but I will focus on these four. Lets start with Romans 8:35-39.
One of my favorite verses, this verse states that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse seems to settle the case. However, if we look at any of these verses on their own, we could say the same. What does this mean? Well, this verse lists several things that cannot separate us from God; ourselves is not on that list. So what this verse might be saying is “Nothing can force you away from God, but you are able to walk away.” The Greek word for separate, “χωρίσει,” can also mean divorce, (in which one of the members of the marriage chooses to break off the covenant, not necessarily an outside force.) Perhaps the gist of this verse is “nothing else is able to touch your relationship with God, but you are capable of divorcing yourself from him.” I’m not sure, I don’t like picking sides when I don’t understand much of the implications, but that could be one interpretation of the verse. This makes it fit in better with the other passages.
This verse is new to me: I have never heard it before. Defining terms is a good way to start seeing how it fits into the puzzle of eternal security.
- God’s call- does this refer to God’s invitation of salvation, or salvation itself? For this discussion, I am postulating that it means God’s call of salvation, which I think it very well may mean.
- Irrevocable- no catch here; just means “cannot be recanted.”
So, I think this verse says that the call of salvation cannot be recanted. Now, this would seem that, say, one leaves the faith, the offer of salvation is still on the table. But Hebrews 6:4-6, which I shall leave for you to look up, says that once enlightened, if one leaves the faith, one cannot reenter into it. So I suppose that this means the offer of salvation is irrevocable, but once the offer is taken up, it is fulfilled, so its not “offered” anymore. Hope that makes sense.
This is a rather scary passage. “He will cut him [the ex-believer] to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” This parable, from the mouth of Jesus Himself, seems to make it clear that if one “gives up” waiting for Jesus and acts like the world, he is as good off as the world when Jesus comes. This has painful implications for many, many Christians that live in apostasy in America today! If Jesus came back today, would you be ready?
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
This is again, frightening. If you don’t hold onto the gospel, you’ve believed in vain. This is similar to the parable told by Jesus. We can’t grow apostate, or you’re as good off as an unbeliever. Again, apostate Christians are not a small group, especially in America. What do verses like these mean for these Christians? Well, I don’t think it can be much clearer; get back on track! I think that apostate Christians, if they haven’t denounced the faith, aren’t subject to Hebrews 6:4-6, meaning they are still allowed to come back. If you are one of these people, don’t hesitate! Don’t be caught like the servant in the parable. You can still make things right again.