Tuesday, March 10, 2009
New Creations Don't Become Old Ones
In II Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (ESV)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (NKJV)
A logical question to ask is, "Do new creations ever become old ones?" This is what would happen if a person was once saved, but then later lost or rejected his salvation. Most Arminian traditions believe this is a possibility. This is what I believed while growing up.
I have to admit that it is troubling to think of a new creation reverting back to his/her old creation status. Just the language Paul uses of "creation" suggests permanence.
We can be thankful that John clears this up for us. In I John chapter 2, John is specifically discussing the issue of false teaching/antichrists. In I John 2:18-19, John writes, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us."
Although John is discussing antichrists, what he is saying relates to the topic of salvation in general.
The language of verse 19 is particularly important. John makes it clear that if people went out (departed) from them (the church), then they were never of them (Christians). Why? The reason is simple: if they had been Christians, they would have remained in the church (when I use the word "church" here, I am referring to the universal church as opposed to any one local congregation). John continues by saying that these people went out that it might be shown that they were not Christians.
We can conclude from John's passage that people who once claimed to be followers of Jesus, but then later reject Him, were never saved in the first place. If they had been saved, they never would have departed from the faith.
This is encouraging because it shows us that if we persevere, we will never reject and/or lose our salvation. The bible makes it clear that those who persevere will be saved.
Mark 13:13, "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. "
Hebrews 3:14, "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end."
Let us all persevere in our love for God and neighbor, never fearing a loss of our salvation.