Eternal Truth, Security in Christ
by Pastor George D. Cutler
Regardless of all the doctrinal positions about the possibility of a person falling away and losing salvation, there is a place of security in Christ. Although one can and often does manifestly fail, rebel and sin; Christ can’t nor will ever fail, lead His elect astray, leave, forsake nor do wrong by them in any way. His promises are true, as He will always be faithful to each of them. His love is unconditional and His promises are secured and never based upon faithfulness other than His own. There is absolute surety in knowing that He is and always will be faithful to His committed purpose. Thus the only dependence in the Gospel of Grace is the faithfulness of God to His oath and promise.
In human relationships, a man and woman are married and build their relationship and trust through their faithfulness to one another. If one becomes unfaithful, the other will not be able to trust the unfaithfulness one, as the breach of trust has proven such one to be unreliable. As a matter of fact, such unfaithfulness in many instances results in forfeiture of the relationship. The elect continually are unfaithful to Christ as the flesh functions in the portrayal of sin yet He is always there for them and remains faithful to them, even while they are having spiritual adulterous affairs. Manifestation-wise, God always remains “faithful,” simply because He can’t deny Himself. In order to accommodate His hand of provision, He is never limited by or influenced by human faithfulness and willingness nor the lack of it.
Hence, security in Christ is completely tied to the fact that the salvation of God’s elect was actualized by His Decree in the eternal realm, which renders manifestations of the default of it to be impossible. Jesus can never be viewed as unfaithful in the apportionment of His blessings of salvation and His chosen and designated ones can never be cut off from Him through acts of their sinful nature. Knowledge of the eternal workings of God serves as the impetus for clinging to His promises that were intended for designated ones. But this knowledge resides in the revelation of the Mystery as revealed to the Apostle Paul, as there does not abide the clarity of this information in the volumes of writings outside of His epistles. A vivid example of this is viewed through what Jesus said in Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” When this is taken strictly in the vein of what is known in the New Covenant, ones relationship and security to Christ are based upon ones faithfulness to Him. Here it is construed that God will never be unfaithful but will reject those who commit spiritual adultery; as He cannot bless evil hearts unless or until they turn to Him through repentance and then remain faithful.
Such is viewed in light of the limited knowledge that is associated with the conception that one must make choices from which God responds to. However, when the light of the Grace Covenant is viewed, it clearly evinces that all things were predetermined and actualized in the eternal realm. Those not embracing this truth erroneously link passages of Paul’s writings to the languages of other covenants. Unfortunately, II Timothy 2:12 is misconstrued in that manner and it is most regrettable that some will focus on this verse in what it may seem to be implying to them without considering the actual contents of the passage. Here we view II Timothy 2:12 from the King James Version, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” And from the Greek text “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we shall deny Him, He also will deny us”. A cursory review of the full context shows the intent of Paul’s statement as one looks at the antecedent verses’ (10-11) similar statements of association. In verse 10, the word ”endure” or “suffer” literally means to “remain under, remain constant and undergo something”.
This is stated in referenced to the fact that Paul endured or remained under afflictions, distresses and persecutions, as they were companions to his ministry. Accordingly, endurance in ministering is linked to the process that God is pleased to incorporate with the preaching and teaching of the gospel unto the obtaining or manifestation of salvation but it is no way tied to the glory that is the possession of salvation. No serious Grace proponent would ever be inclined to attribute the actions associated with living in Christ as accomplishments in the pursuance of salvation. As this is viewed in light of the larger context of what the Apostle Paul clearly taught in his epistles, it is obvious that all things were arranged and actualized in eternity before the creation of the world. The only condition that can be invoked by the subordinating conjunction ei (ee) rendered “if,” is the stipulation that one must be elected in order to have died and will live with Christ, as these were once and for all predetermined transactions. Hence, the endurance which Paul references has nothing to do with gaining merit through works but the fact that the elect are identified with, saved and empowered by grace.
It is in this view that the latter phrase of verse 12 can be properly exegeted, namely “if we shall deny (Him), He also will deny us.” Again, this statement is not espousing the conditional aspect of ones action precedent to ones association with God, as it would consign the Creator to a role of responding to whatever the creature does. In this light, those whom God will manifestly deny have not been determined as a consequence of them denying Him. God’s denials of them are the results of the fact that they were never chosen and elected and were thus denied in eternity by Him. Here note that the Greek phrase eiv avrnhso,meqa (ee ahr·nees·om·eh·thah) rendered, “if we shall deny (Him),” is construed by some as a conditional future, i.e., that in the manifested future, the condition of someone denying Him forms the basis upon which certain results will follow. Of course, it could never be the case of the elect. Note that the Greek verb avrnhso,meqa (ahr·nees·om·eh·thah) translated “deny,” is in the indicative mood, future tense and middle voice, inferring: 1). factuality and futurology of the actions of those disclaiming, disowning and renouncing Him, 2). that the middle voice of the verb consigns this designation not to the elect but to those outside of Christ who do not know Him (1Timothy 1:16; 1 John 2:22).
Note the corresponding latter Greek phrase kavkei/noj avrnh,setai h`ma/j\ (kahk·ee·nos ahr·nees·eh·teh ee·mahs) rendered, “He also will deny us”, as it is structured in the verse. The key to understanding this context entails comprehending the usage of the Greek adverb kavkei/noj (kahk·ee·nos), which is frequently rendered “also,” as it is comprised of the conjunction kai (keh) (but, also, and, even or and only so) and ekei/noj (ehk·ee·nos), which is a demonstrative adjective rendered “that He.” Here we observe the nominative case inferring the subject or the controlling word in the context. Thus obviously He will deny those whom He has not foreknown, who in turn do not know Him and therefore will disown and deny Him. In light of this, Paul’s conveyance is that if we are God’s people, He will not deny us whom He foreknew, thus we cannot deny Him who has caused us to know Him. As stated earlier, the conjunction “if” serves as a subordinating function that expresses the stipulation of distinguishing the difference between those who are His and who are not His. Accordingly, it appears that Paul is not expressing a “conditional future” but a “factual future”. The factual conveyance is borne out by the terse statement of II Timothy 2:13 from the Greek text, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He can not deny Himself.” Thus regardless of believers’ failure to fully exercise their faith that has been gifted to them, it does not deter the purpose and will of the Lord.
This is expressed by the Greek phrase evkei/noj pisto.j me,nei (ehk·ee·nos pees·tos mehn·ee) rendered “He remains faithful”. The verb me,nei (mehn·ee) rendered “remains,” is in the indicative mood, present tense and active voice, denoting the fact that He (Christ) remains faithful, trustworthy and reliable. This statement clarifies who alone is faithful, trustworthy and can be counted on to effectuate and preserve the elect’s glorification. Oh what comfort to know that in spite of what even regenerated humans may or may not do, “He (God) remains faithful.” The motive and basis for the faithfulness of Christ and thus the security of eternal glorification is that avrnh,sasqai ga.r e`auto.n ouv du,natai (ahr·nees·ahs·theh gahr eh·ahf·ton oo thee·nah·teh) rendered “He cannot deny Himself.” An intrinsic part of the Godhead and all it manifests is that He (God) is faithful, trustworthy and fully reliable and His purpose and will are unalterable. This requires God to count on no one other than Himself. The word “cannot,” ouv du,natai (oo thee·nah·teh) literally means that “He is not able to” or “His power cannot resist His will.” God’s attributes are such that He is faithful, and for Him to deny or disown these characteristics would be to deny the fact that He is God. It is in this light only that one can rest in the factuality of glorification with Him, as actualized by His Decree in Eternity.