Learning About Life The Long Way Round

A Corkonian clown sent me a text message late last night asking for my opinion on a beautiful Scottish lady. Two thumbs up I’d say there. It turns out she is from Yorkshire though so explain that accent, if you will. I only know one person from Yorkshire and he is a short Christian man that I love dearly. The last time he talked to me he was telling me about his sore arse after a prostate test. His general impression was that living into pensionable age wasn’t worth it. Live fast. Die young. Leave a beautiful body. Well maybe I am taking liberties with the moral of the story.

He also asked me if I thought you could lose your salvation. That question means this post is firmly inside the Cross Shaped Waffle category and so if you are a minority reader who neither professes Christian faith nor appreciates my scantily assembled thoughts on living that faith out in a meaningful, life-enriching way you might just want to go and watch this: $240 worth of pudding.

The quick answer, in disagreement with my short Yorkshire friend is that you cannot lose your salvation. I should begin by admitting that the way the question is put to me decides the answer. I understand salvation to mean being saved from something. That goes in my ear as a weird Christian jargon word and processes through my huge head and pops out in my meaning-factory as “liberacíon“. To be saved is to be liberated. Once you are liberated at such a dramatic cost, your liberator will not let you get enslaved again. That is the way I see it.

There is a strange story Jesus tells about a strong man in one of the ancient records of his life. The religious establishment are spreading rumours that Jesus does what he does with dark magic. They say it is by a Satanic alliance that Jesus does miracles. And Jesus responds by saying that there was a strong man who was fiercely armed to protect his territory. This strong man was safe. But then a stronger man came and turned that arsenal against him, overcame him, bound him and liberated the things that he had stolen.

I know you are a busy reader so I’ll compress an hour long sermon into a sentence. When Jesus was accused of being Satan he said he was the very person who was coming to overthrow Satan and set his captives free. I think salvation is when the stronger man breaks into our individual captivities (it might be regrets over the past, struggles with addiction, self-loathing, pain and anger over the evil that has beset your life or your rapidly greying hair- guess which one is mine- but we all have them) and frees us from them. The bound deceiver who held us under those burdens is not strong enough to take us back. To rob from Narnia, the White Witch may have magic, but Aslan has “a magic deeper still”. The price paid at Easter is so great that it is inconceivable to me that we would lose the rights we gained.

Of course, ask the right question and you get the right answer. If you say can we lose our salvation, I say no. If you said can we reject our salvation, well that might make me stroke my non-existent beard…

Your Correspondent, Paying no mind so no mind is lost

10 Responses to “Learning About Life The Long Way Round”

  1. Taylor says:

    Hey dude,
    So, while I’m intimidated by your intellectual prowess, I’m going to throw out my thoughts and questions for you on this one. I would agree that when we are given freedom, there is nothing that can us snatch out of His hand. It gets more complicated as you go from there, but that’s solid. But what is He really saving us from? Are you saying that we are saved from our regrets and pain? Is that why Christ died, for our suffering? Is that the heart of the atonement?

    I can’t remember if we talked about this when we were visiting… but I do remember thinking about it while in Ireland.

    Ok, back to work for me. Over and out.

  2. zoomtard says:

    I think ultimately there is an evil in the world that like a parasite has infected each and everyone of us. I think this darkness is a profound existential question that all thoughtful people have to struggle with. Why is it here? Where did it come from?

    I think it all finds it source in a person. The Bible tells me that this person is called the Satan, the deceiver.

    I think Jesus\’ coming was an invasion of enemy occupied territory. I think he definitely offers us liberation from the regrets, the pain, honestly, the torture that life can but I think that darkness finds it source in the supernatural evil that prowls the Earth. Jesus not only saves us from the evil that has been afflicting us but he saves us also from the evil we contribute to the world, which introduces conflict between our environment and our fellow humans, dissonance within our Selves and most importantly, separates us from our Creator God.

    Am I orthodox enough?

    Intellectual prowress? Pah. Shuttupaya mouth!

  3. jimlad says:

    There is an unforgivable sin, but the people who are in danger of committing it are those who rely more and more on their own righteousness (or in general terms: their own self generated worth) hence implicitly naming themselves God, as God is the one who has ultimately defined everything in the universe (despite our job to name the animals). If we get to the point where besotted with ourselves, we cannot possibly recognise our true God, we have reached the point where we have certainly rejected him.

    So if someone worries about “losing” their salvation, they can simply say to God (who is not themselves) “Abba Father, never let me go”. Then God, who is God and therefore beyond resistance, will answer their request with love.

    So I agree with you. God is too powerful and loving to allow us to fall away from Him. Perhaps those who do escape Him, He never knew because they chose not to accept Him for who He is: Powerful and loving beyond any and all of us. Once we do accept this, we put ourselves in God’s hands, and though our own arms are weak and we continually struggle with the problems you talked of when we rely on ourselves, His hands will not drop us.

  4. zoomtard says:

    So when you say “if we get to the point where we are besotted with ourselves”, having a website where you publish your half-considered thoughts for public consumption isn’t self-besotment (?), is it?

  5. jimlad says:

    It depends on one’s motives. When talking of meaningful mystery it is hard to have fully formed thoughts. I think your publication of such thoughts is helpful both to yourself and to others but I suppose that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing it egotistically. Can do anything in our current state without our actions being influenced by selfish pride? Our college taught me to be less besotted with my own intelligence, so that I became open to conversational thought with its accelerated inspiration. From my perspective, having experienced my personal defects, communicating half thoughts seems less egotistical because the potential of those thoughts can be developed in many more directions, even if it opens me to criticism.

    It isn’t hard to find examples to show that we are besotted with ourselves (I am talking about cases where we derive our own importance instead of humbly accepting God’s loving and gracious opinion) but if we are completely self-infatuated it becomes impossible to find any genuine examples. Think about it another way. Imagine I was near-perfect, better than anyone else. But since I was made perfect originally, any imperfection gives God the right to give me over to evil desire, cause me to harden my heart against Him and make me the lowest of the low. But instead God takes someone who is completely against Him and inspires me with the Cross. Now I can accept Him and grow, but being no longer confused I can also see the complete truth and choose to ignore it by focusing on myself. At any moment God has the right to make me do this because of my tendency in that direction, but He leads me instead to safe pastures. So if beyond this I still refuse God; if I choose to name myself God in the face of blinding truth, I will no longer see my sin or be lead by Him. That is unforgivable. That is rejection (not loss) of salvation. That’s what I meant by being self besotted

  6. Ortho says:

    I dunno Zoomtard, I think you’re treading on dangerous ground with your self-besottment :). Is the disagreement over the issue of ‘losing your salvation’ not something to do with personal responsibility? Does Revelation not talk about Jesus spitting people out of his mouth because of their lukewarmness, and that he will reject some people who call him ‘Lord’? Do we not have some responsibility to stay committed to Jesus, not necessarily earning our salvation but being sincere in our faith rather than accepting Jesus as Lord for one happyclappy month and then living the rest of our lives as if we didn’t know Him? Not so much self-besottment maybe as a dangerous laziness…

    Considering my backsliddenness of late I do prefer your interpretation however. Maybe I am just playing devil’s advocate in this case…

    OP

  7. Amy says:

    ooooo…that’s all very good & thought provoking…I have pondered this question many a sleepless night.

  8. jimlad says:

    I’ve just read my response to this blog again. Thing is, I don’t think I can possibly reject God. I don’t feel that I have the power to do so, because God holds me so strongly. I feel that God’s hold on me must be absolute because I am constantly reminded of how much I resist God and go completely the opposite direction, which doesn’t just happen when I give in to temptation. I notice it happening even when I think I am walking towards God and doing real good. I seem to be completely evil in my own strength.

    The thing is, I have been placed within God’s grasp. Those who are rejected on the day of judgement are told that God NEVER knew them. I can’t see any reason that I should be known and not they. It seems that I am simply more blessed. Yes, the fact that I think this way means I haven’t committed the unforgivable sin, but why do I think this way? Since I have every indication that I am completely evil in my own strength, it is obviously by God’s grace alone that I am saved.

    Eh? Any thoughts outside this box would be appreciated.

  9. jimlad says:

    When I choose God and not myself, I must already have been inspired by God. I guess that when God’s Spirit is working in me He still allows me free choice though. How I could resist God when He has made me good is beyond me. how I could accept God when I am evil is beyond me. If both are true, how evil could overcome good is beyond me.

    Eh?

  10. jimlad says:

    Maybe I’m thinking too much like a physicist again, in terms of forces rather than morality…