Does Your Anchor Hold within the Veil (by Ken Hamrick)

Heb. 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…” (NKJV)
Col. 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (NKJV)
1 Cor. 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (NKJV)

To hear that someone we thought of as a brother in the Lord—a pastor, a teacher of sound doctrine and a contender for the faith—has now renounced his faith… well, it weighs on my soul, as I’m sure it does with many of you. So we bring this burden before the Lord, praying for this man’s salvation. But we can’t help asking with exasperation, how could this happen?! After all, we try to spoon-feed sinners as much truth about God as we can get into them, in hope that some of it will take root on good ground. But here’s a man who knew much about God (or so it would seem); so where’s the fruit now? When someone of such stature falls away, it gives pause to all of us to examine ourselves. What anchors my soul?—and will it hold “‘in every high and stormy gale,’ ‘when all around my soul gives way?‘”[1] The time for such tough questions is while the sea is still calm. What anchors your soul?

It will not do to simply answer, “Christ is my Anchor.” Our fallen friend would have answered the same not long ago. Indeed, Christ is the only possible anchor for anyone. But how is He anchoring you? If your anchor is but Christ written on a page, then it will anchor you no more than a book about anchors, tied to a chain, would anchor a real ship. Please don’t misunderstand me. Our faith does stand on the written word of God; but only because that written word is true—and it is that truth and not the written words that anchors our soul—and not a mere set of propositions, but the truth of Christ in us. When we embrace the truth as revealed in the Bible and confirmed by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, God then indwells us and Christ becomes the Presence in the temple of our soul. Without true faith, He will not come; and without Him in us, we have no anchor and no hope. It should now be painfully evident that it is possible to embrace the written word of God without fully embracing the God of that word. God will not embrace a double-minded man, nor indwell half a heart.

Have you considered the depth of your own faith? The Bible tells us, in 2 Peter 1:10, to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure…” and in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” So the question is, are you in the faith? Don’t be content to rest in the fact that you went to the altar or made a decision for Christ. It is possible to make a decision that does not come from the depths of your heart, and does not include the kind of genuine faith that saves through Christ. Examine yourselves… Faith is more than believing that Christ is the Son of God, and that He died for the sin of the world, and rose on the third day, and that all who believe in Him will be saved. Believing these things about Him is not the same as believing in Him. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!” (James 2:19). Even the demons believe these things about Him and know that they are true. Belief must be more than informational—belief must be submissional.

In other words, we must embrace Him with our whole heart, desiring to forsake self, sin, and the world. We must want with our whole heart to live in Him and die to our old self. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.‘” Anyone who prays the “sinner’s prayer,” while saving his life for himself rather than surrendering his life to Christ, is only fooling himself. When a sinner surrenders to Christ, his “old man,” his self-life, is “crucified in Christ” and put to death. In this way, the believer forsakes and leaves behind all that he used to be, and “rises again” to new life in Christ. This is what it means for the sinner to deny himself and take up his cross and follow Christ.

A. W. Tozer said, in The Pursuit of God:

[…] For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.[2]

Tozer explained, in The Pursuit of Man, the vital importance of a real encounter with a present and personal God; and how the sense of the Presence of God empowers believers, and protects their faith from the attacks of the enemy (bold mine):

Wherever faith has been original, wherever it has proved itself to be real, it has invariably had upon it a sense of the present God. The holy Scriptures possess in marked degree this feeling of actual encounter with a real Person.[…] It was this that filled with abiding wonder the first members of the Church of Christ.[…] They were in the very Presence of God. And the power of that conviction to arrest attention and hold it for a lifetime, to elevate, to transform, to fill with uncontrollable moral happiness, to send men singing to prison and to death, has been one of the wonders of history and a marvel of the world. Our fathers have told us and our own hearts confirm how wonderful is this sense of Someone there. It makes religion invulnerable to critical attack. It secures the mind against collapse under the battering of the enemy. They who worship the God who is present may ignore the objections of unbelieving men. Their experience is self-verifying and needs neither defense nor proof. What they see and hear overwhelms their doubts and confirms their assurance beyond the power of argument to destroy.[3]

Tozer goes on to contrast real experience with “reason upon texts” and “the conclusions of logic” (bold mine):

Nothing can take the place of the touch of God in the soul and the sense of Someone there. Real faith, indeed, brings such realization, for real faith is never the operation of reason upon texts. Where true faith is, the knowledge of God will be given as a fact of consciousness altogether apart from the conclusions of logic. Were a man to awaken in the pitch dark at midnight and hear someone moving about in his room and know that the unseen presence was a loved member of his family who had every right to be there, his heart might be filled with a sense of quiet pleasure; but should he have reason to believe that an intruder had entered, perhaps to rob or to kill, he would lie in terror and stare at the darkness not knowing from which direction the expected blow might come. But the difference between experience and no experience would be that acute sense of someone there. Is it not true that for most of us who call ourselves Christians there is no real experience? We have substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions, but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there. Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard.[…][4]

For too long, we have dismissed experience and “feeling” as irrelevant and unnecessary to faith. With good intentions of stressing that faith does not depend on emotion or experience, we have filled the congregations with people who have no encounter with God. We have taught people to trust the promises of God and to not worry about experience. But we have taught it in such a way as to bar many of them from a true faith that would naturally result in knowing the presence of God. It is true that we are saved by faith and not by good works or by experiencing God’s presence; however, a faith that does not result in both of these is missing something vital, and ought to drive us back to the cross to make our calling and election sure.

The problem is not in the dependability of God’s promises, as if one might believe in Christ and still not be indwelt by His Spirit; but rather, the problem is in assuming the trustworthiness of our own heart in coming to Christ. The absence of a real encounter with God should give us a godly distrust of our faith, and should not be dismissed as unimportant. But instead of being driven back to that place of decision to make their salvation sure, converts are taught to give no weight to “feeling” or experience. To be saved and believe in Christ only requires a decision… but it requires an honest decision from the depths of one’s heart. And the God who looks on the heart is not swayed by mere words. A man can be saved without saying a thing; and a man may remain lost though he say all the right things. Jesus told us, in Matt. 7:21-23 NKJV, that there will be many who call Him “Lord, Lord,” but will be told by Him, “I never knew you. Depart from Me…” That verse should be sobering to everyone who calls Him, “Lord.”

God desires truth from us—“truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6 NKJV). Human beings are sinful by nature, and we easily deceive ourselves rather than face difficult truths. Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Let us all search our own heart, and face the truth of who we are in our inward being. This is the most important matter in life, for “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation… ?” (Hebrews 2:3 NKJV). This is why we are told, in Philippians 2:12, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

By teaching that God works merely in the manner of an accountant, taking His divine pen and record book, and moving the sinner from one column to the other—as if the saving transaction occurs only in some far-removed court in heaven, we have lost the link between God and the reality of the here and the present. By teaching that God simply imputes to us the righteousness of Christ without regard to our reality, we have propagated a faith that is just as putative and nominal. As such, if we take the pen and record of our mind, and move Christ into the category of Son of God, perfectly righteous man, Savior who died for the sin of the world, One who rose from the dead on the third day, etc., then God, in turn, will move us in His record book from the sinners’ column to the saints’ column. Slam! goes the gavel, and it’s a done deal.

But the God of the Bible is more than a God who imputes—He is a God who consummates. His method is not that of an accountant who cannot see past his books. Rather, His method is that of a Holy Spirit who fills our hearts and lives, becoming one with us in spirit and identity. He meets all the demands of justice within reality by joining to Himself not only our penalty but our person—so that I can say in truth with Paul, (Gal. 2:20 NKJV) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me...” The imputation in the court of heaven is not putative and nominal, but is firmly grounded on the reality of Christ indwelling the sinner so that the two become one new man in Him. Therefore, it misses the mark to tell new converts to trust that they are saved based only on the promise of God to make such an imputation. “God cannot lie, so it doesn’t matter whether or not you feel any different—just trust Him to keep His promise to save those who believe,” is the common exhortation. But any sinner who trusts in heaven’s imputation without experiencing God’s consummation has put his trust in the wrong place: his own faith.

It is true that God will save any who believe in Christ. However, it is also true that God resists the proud (Ja. 4:6), and “If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear” me (Ps. 66:18 NKJV). Just as He is more than a God who imputes, He requires us to have more than a putative faith. Just as He embraces the believer with the whole of His Spirit, He requires us to fully embrace Him with ours. He will not accept half-hearted measures or a faith that holds back. We should warn sinners of this instead of reassuring them. It is possible to have a disingenuous faith, and to show outward signs that are seemingly commensurate with conversion. Do not trust in imputation alone—no imputation is possible unless Christ is in you. Is He in you? Have you met Him in this way? Do you know His presence? If He is in you, then you can no more deny His existence than you can deny your own. But if you do not know a God who is present—a Christ who is in you—then you had better examine yourself before God to see if you are really saved or not. Either Christ is in you or you are lost.

Ken Hamrick, 2014

 


[1] From the hymn, “My Hope is Built,” lyrics by Edward Mote, found at http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/y/myhopeis.htm.
[2] A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, (Camp Hill, PA: Christian, 1993), p. XVII.
[3] A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of Man, (Camp Hill, PA: Christian, 1993), pp. 6-7.
[4] Ibid., pp. 8-9.
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Comments

  1. Greg Harvey says

    Excellent. Every SBCVoices reader should take the time to work through what Ken is getting at with this piece. The anchor is precisely the distinction between claiming to believe and having faith. The part I struggle with is exactly how much weight to give to experience. Especially when there is continuing and reverberating difficulty. It is very difficult not to fall for simple explanations that emphasize personal failure as an explanation.

    I’m of the opinion that the Accuser will use every trick in his book to attempt to convince us that faith is a scam. But that the rejection of faith is like every other temptation: something we fall for by rolling it around in our minds until it overwhelms us. The defensive strategy very likely is to pray for specific guidance in action and then to obey what we know to do no matter how small or big.

    Most of that guidance will be based in the faith tradition that we grew up in. Which might emphasize personal evangelism, prayer, or service depending on the specific congregation and the mentor most involved in our early discipleship. “Keeping it real” can take on an entirely different vibe when it comes to buttressing our faith if we really can appeal to God to personally practice faith in a way that both affirms belief and strengthens the chain that holds us steadfast to our Anchor.

    • says

      Thank you, Brother Gregg. The Anchor within the veil in the heavenly holiest place is also the Anchor within the veil of the temple of our souls. There is no chain to hang onto—the Anchor is in us! …or not, in which case, no strengthening of the chain will avail.

      The best defensive strategy is prayer that returns to the cross in humble repentance, seeking only God’s face and not relenting until we find Him. Such communion with God empowers for such things as evangelism and service; and without it, these things are powerless.

      Be blessed!

  2. volfan007 says

    A. W. Tozer is one of my favorites. I’m reading his devotional book, now, for my devotion time; My Daily Pursuit. Excellent book.

    We must preach to the heart, as well as to the head. God must be experienced, as well as knowing about Him. And, I fear that we have a lot of people, out there, who have a head knowledge about God, but they don’t really KNOW God.

    David

    • D.L. Payton says

      volfan
      Well said, i agree. for me it is much easier to preach to the head rather that the heart. I must copiously guard that at all times when preparing and perching. I hd never though of this in terms of the Accuser,(i.e. Greg Harvey but perhaps Satan uses that weakness to dilute my sermons. I will think about that.

  3. says

    There is so very much that could be picked apart in this post, but I’ll restrain myself. If I can further restrain myself, this will be my only comment on this particular discussion.

    I am afraid that even faith is not enough. My faith was genuine, deep, and committed, While I loved the “academic” side of biblical study, that is not where my faith began nor was it the source of my faith – though it did provide me escapes to keep from questioning faith and Christianity too closely.

    I “became a Christian”, was “born again” at a young age with various pivotal moments along the way in which I “recommitted” myself – one particular moment I remember well during my teenage years, another in college, which then led to my “surrender to the ministry”. The many people who knew me along the way were fervently convinced of my faith. I remember one of my seminary professors saying to me, “Chris, it is clear you are filled with Jesus, I can smell him all over you!” Another time, while on the mission field helping a local church, a local pastor said to me, “The Bible tells us that his Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are sons of God, so I know you are truly my brother in Christ, the Spirit has assured me of it.” There are plenty more such stories.

    Along the way and through the years my practice of prayer and personal, devotional Bible study varied but increased as I got older. During all these years I had many occasions to believe I had “genuine encounter[s] with God”. One particular event stands out most clearly in my mind when I went to a church late one night, struggling with an issue I have long since forgotten, and found great comfort in what I then believed to be God’s presence with me.

    Of course many of you will say those people were mistaken and my experience was self-deception. As it happens, I absolutely agree with you. They were mistaken. There is no indwelling Jesus to smell all over a person, no Spirit to bear witness to anything. There is no new birth to bring about transformation.

    Instead of God, new birth, religious experiences, etc, we have self-deception. We are masters at deceiving ourselves and this is just as true about religious experiences as anything else. Christians believe those belonging to other religions have deceived themselves when they claim to experience a God other than the God of the Bible. I am inclined to agree, but note that Christians deceive themselves just as much.

    You talk about the necessity of religious experiences and emotions. This reminds me in some ways of what happens in churches that practice speaking in tongues. People are primed for it, trained in it, told to look for it, to seek it. Many elements are in place to help people manufacture the experiences. Emotions can be easily manipulated and we can easily be made to feel things that just aren’t true.

    For example, I once “felt God’s presence” and felt most fervently that my heart belonged to him. We all agree that I was wrong. As it happens you are also wrong. Your emotional experiences of God came from the firing of neurons in your brain, not from an actual encounter. But people are tricked into confusing their emotions with reality, and people don’t usually take kindly to being told their experiences are not what they believe them to be.

    At any rate, I doubt this comment will change anyone’s mind. The defense mechanisms built into Christianity are very difficult to escape. All I can say is I have found – and, yes, felt – tremendous freedom dwelling in a world of reason and reality. Christianity, like all religions, is a myth and true freedom is found in a world wide open to possibility and wonder. Christians like to deny that non-Christians have any basis for such experiences, but this just points to the depths of their self-delusion. Rest assured the world is now a much bigger and more exciting place. To quote Delmar and “redeem” a religious expression, come on in boys, the water is fine.

      • Jess says

        Chris Roberts,

        My friend, there a lot of people in your shoes. I have seen the very thing you are talking about more times than I care to count. I’m talking about folks who only thought they were Christians, and convinced others of their relationship with Christ, only to find out years later that they only had a verbal profession instead of a positive possession.

        You are in better shape now to receive Christ than you were in the beginning, you see in the beginning you had religion blocking you, now you can have The Lord. My prayer is that God will call you to him through Christ.

        There is nothing to be ashamed of, a lot of people are in your shoes except you are one up on them because you don’t have religion keeping you from Christ. When God begins calling you no one will have to hit you over the head and say to you God is calling. You will know of a surety it is God. I’m praying for you, my friend.

    • says

      Chris,

      You claim your faith was “genuine, deep, and committed;” but I say the proof is in the perseverance. The well-meaning people who confirmed the genuineness of your faith for you were wrong. No one should ever usurp what is only the role of the Holy Spirit—to bear witness that you are a child of God. No one has that right or ability. I trust that you did find what seemed to you to be “great comfort” in God’s presence; but the fact remains that His presence to you was not so real that you could never again deny His existence. To those of us in whom God’s presence abides, we could never again deny His existence any more than we could deny our own. The devil may tempt us to think that we might be outside of His grace, but he can utterly ineffective at tempting us to think that God does not exist—for we have met Him and we KNOW He exists!

      You jumped to an unjustifiable conclusion when you concluded: “There is no indwelling Jesus[…], no Spirit to bear witness to anything. There is no new birth to bring about transformation. Instead of God, new birth, religious experiences, etc, we have self-deception.” It is unreasonably narcisistic to think that you, yourself, are the measure of every case. It is good for you to see the self-deception in you. But to then conclude that you have thus seen the self-deception in every man is a claim you have know way of establishing.

      You rightly acknowledge, “We are masters at deceiving ourselves and this is just as true about religious experiences as anything else.” And yet, your new-found illumination is discarded as soon as you declare with certainty that Christians are deceiving themselves. Proving that many counterfeits exist does not establish that no real article exists. Throwing off your self-deception does not give necessarily give you undeceived clarity regarding other people. Many so-called Christians are self-deceived or outright deceivers of others; but that does nothing to prove that there are not genuine believes filled with the presence of the real God.

      I did not say that emotions are necessary, but that a real encounter with God is necessary. Rather than an emotion, it is a “fact of consiousness,” as Tozer put it. It is the sense of God’s presence that is undeniably real—and since you now deny it, then you never had it. But you can have it, if you seek Him with all your heart, repent, and lay your whole life, mind, heart and pride down at the foot of His cross.

      You stated:

      For example, I once “felt God’s presence” and felt most fervently that my heart belonged to him. We all agree that I was wrong. As it happens you are also wrong. Your emotional experiences of God came from the firing of neurons in your brain, not from an actual encounter. But people are tricked into confusing their emotions with reality, and people don’t usually take kindly to being told their experiences are not what they believe them to be.

      No doubt, you fervently hope that’s what it the case. Or else you are in a sorry state indeed. You hope I am “also wrong”—also deceived like you were deceived—since that would make you now in the right. But you are confused. You admit you were self-deceived before, and now you forget your penchant for self-deception even now. Neurons fire no matter what happens, friend—even when the experience is based on real facts. You can deny the factuality of our experience, but you have no rational way to disprove it. The existence of God and His redemptive presence within His people will be well proven on Judgment Day, when it will also be revealed that it was already adequately proven by God to unbelievers and skeptics “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Rom. 1:18b-19). You say you don’t believe that God exists, but God says you’re a liar.

      You claim to dwell in a world of reason and reality, but in reality, you dwell in inner conflict and irrationality. If you were the least bit rational, you would at least be agnostic, acknowledging that you cannot know that God does not exist. Instead, you proffer a world-view that is no less faith-based than the one you scoff.

      Chris, you are not the measure of all men—and neither were your attempts at genuine faith the measure of genuine faith itself. Your failure to find God in reality was not every Christian’s failure, and neither was it God’s failure. The answer is not to reject God by holding up your pitiful faith as the standard by which to judge, but the answer is to reject your own sinfulness by redoubling your efforts to seek God as the standard of truth and righteousness. We’re all praying for you. Drop your pride of intellect and your self-centered judgment of God, and come home to the only One who can save you from the wrath that will indeed come.

    • Volfan007 says

      Why wasn’t my reply to Chris restored, as well? There was nothing wrong with what I said….in fact, it was a true, concerned response, which went right along with the theme of this post.

      David

      • volfan007 says

        I’m still waiting on an answer. Why was my comment thrown off with Chris Roberts? Then, when Chris Robert’s comment was restored, mine wasn’t????? Will you please tell me why?

        David

    • Bill Mac says

      I will say something thing about this. I think too often Christians will set up a false dichotomy and that may lead people to doubt their faith. For example, I am an old-earther. I have no problem reading Genesis with a less than literal YEC perspective, and it does no damage to my faith. But some people will tell me that OE and Christianity are not compatible (yes, you know some will). If I thought that was true, then I would have to leave the faith. But it’s a false dichotomy. The same thing with inerrancy. I’ve heard lots of people say that if you don’t believe all of it (the bible), you can’t believe any of it. Well, that’s just silly. Of course you can, lots of people do. They may be wrong but you can’t tell them what they can and cannot believe. But we’ve had people, on this board, say that if you don’t believe in inerrancy, you can’t be a Christian. Again, a false dichotomy. Something similar has occurred regarding complementarianism. These kinds of statements are damaging to people’s faith. Hold your views strongly, but don’t make yourself the pope. We don’t hold the keys to the kingdom.

      • says

        Brother Bill,

        What you’ve said is true up to a point. But faith and skepticism cannot exist together except in contradiction. The more that skepticism is part of our view of Scripture, the more it weighs against the validity of our faith. It’s not that one must accept the face-value, plain reading of the Biblical testimonies of every supernatural miracle in order to be saved; but rather, it’s a question of how much skepticism one can have while still maintaining that minimum saving seed of “child-like” faith that accepts without doubt the claims of a supernatural, miraculous God. In any case, as stated in the opening post, either Christ is in you or He is not. If He is, then you are saved even if you do not hold to inerrancy or a recent miraculous creation; and if He is not, holding all the right doctrines will not help you.

        • Bill Mac says

          Ken,
          I don’t disagree. My point is, if you take non-essentials, and say “if you don’t believe _____________, you can’t be a Christian”, then we shouldn’t be surprised if people say, OK, cya.

    • Dale Pugh says

      Chris, your self-deception deceived others as well. There’s nothing new about that. It happens all the time. Fortunately, your experience is not the standard by which all of Christianity is to be measured. The faith itself begins and ends with Jesus Christ, not Chris Roberts.

  4. says

    Why was my comment deleted? It was more than civil, and since this post makes plain reference to me, allowing a response – even one you do not like – is only fitting.

    • says

      Maybe this is a conversation that needs to be had. I did have you on my mind when I wrote this, but there are many more than just you to whom it applies. I think you searched to the bottom of your own heart and found that God was not there—and you are blessed to find that out rather than be left in self-deceit. But you err in thinking that since God does not exist in you, then He must not exist in anyone else—or anywhere else. In that assumption, you have made the trustworthiness of your own heart the standard by which to judge God. For those of true faith, God’s existence is not in question, though the faithfulness of our own hearts often is. Personally, I have failed God in many ways, so that the devil has many times tried my faith by telling me that I’m not saved. But I have no doubt whatsoever that, if I am not saved in the end, it will not be because God does not exist, but only because I did not come to Him with full sincerity of heart. But regardless of whatever lack of clarity comes from my own sin, my repentance restores the utter certainty of God’s presence within me and my place in Him. I hope you will sincerely consider these things, and consider the possibility that you might have prematurely come to a false conclusion. BTW, since I work nights, it will take me a while to get back to the keyboard—at least four hours this time—so please bear with me.

  5. Greg Roberts says

    Ken.
    I was just wondering what claim you had to assurance since you might not persevere. It seems that Paul used the same words in both 1 Corinthians 9:27 and 2nd Corinthians 13:5 – ???????? adokimos
    I DOUBT HE WAS WORRIED ABOUT HIS SALVATION. Might our brother be one of those alluded to in 2 Tim 2:18″ and they destroy the faith of some”.
    peace
    Greg Roberts

    • says

      Brother Greg,

      The authenticating revelation of the Holy Spirit is my assurance that the Bible is God’s inspired word. The presence of God is my assurance that He is in me. The Witness of the Holy Spirit to my spirit assures me that I am His child. The promises of God are my assurance that God will never leave me, that Christ has paid my penalty and is my righteousness.

      As for 1Co 9:27, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified,” it seems to me that Paul is expressing a refusal to be complacent and fall into a presumptuous antinomianism. How do you read it? As for 2 Tim. 2:18, only God knows.

      • volfan007 says

        I don’t think that the disqualification of 1 Cor. 9 had anything to do with Paul being fearful of finding out that he was truly not saved. I mean, in Phil. 1, Paul said that he was convinced that God would finish and complete what He had started in the heart and life of Paul. Paul was sure of going to Heaven….as, we find in other places in the NT. I believe the “disqualification” mentioned here had more to do with not running his race in a good way….that pleased God. I don’t think it has anything to do with salvation. It has everything to do with living for God in such a way that God is pleased.

        We can know and be sure that we’re saved…right now….we can be absolutely sure of it. Why? Because, God has promised to save us, when we call upon Him in faith to save our souls. And, we don’t have to worry that sometime in the future that we’ll wake up, one day, only to discover that we really weren’t saved, after all. No sir. I don’t believe that, at all. I believe in the preservation of the Saints….not just in the perseverance of the Saints. God will keep us saved…..no matter what.

        David

        • Tarheel says

          “…not *just* perseverance of the saints.”

          Let it be forever and henceforth declared that VolFan has affirmed perseverance of the saints!

          You’re part of the way there, my friend!

          • volfan007 says

            Tarheel,

            lol….I have always believed in “once saved, always saved.” It’s in the Bible. I do depart from my Calvinist Brothers a little bit, because I believe in the “preservation” of the Saints. I believe when someone gets saved, today, that we’re saved, forever. I don’t believe that there might be somewhere down the road, when we say, “OOps, I guess I wasn’t saved, because I didn’t make it all the way to the end.”

            I do believe that there are people, who make false professions of faith….most certainly. And, there are Apostates, who not only fall away from the Faith, but who also try to lead others the same way. And, of course, they never really had it to begin with….they had a religion, and a philosophy, but they didn’t really have Jesus.
            But, someone, who is really saved, now, can be sure of their eternal home, now and forever.
            DAvid

  6. Max says

    With all due respect to the various contributors to SBC Voices, Brother Hamrick’s article should collect “Post of the Year”! While theological debate points fly across the blogosphere, we have been reminded that personal experience is never at the mercy of another man’s argument. Unfortunately, there is a growing mistrust (in church!) of testimonies of personal experience. For those of us who have had such experience, when Truth (the Word) is connected with the Spirit of Truth, it becomes Revealed Truth. I know that I know because I know the one who is Truth.

    He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
    He walks with me and talks with me
    Along life’s narrow way.
    He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
    You ask me how I know He lives:
    He lives within my heart.

    • says

      Brother Max,

      Tozer took the idea of personal experience being superior to an argument only as far as a real encounter with (and personal knowledge of) God. The presence of God in the believer is something to which Scripture testifies throughout and without any dispute or room for disagreement. But many today try to justify experiences which go far beyond the mere presence of God, such as various charismatic experiences, as also being unassailable by any argument. Tozer would not agree with that use of such reasoning regarding experience. Personal experience must be solidly grounded on Biblical truth, as the two work together. As you so rightly testify, “when Truth (the Word) is connected with the Spirit of Truth, it becomes Revealed Truth. I know that I know because I know the one who is Truth.” Amen!

  7. parsonsmike says

    Ken,
    I am glad to see your wonderful post posted here on Voices.
    Although we disagree on a few things here and there, you remain an excellent and conscientious writer.
    To see more of Ken’s posts, go to:
    sbcopenforum.com

  8. says

    Ken,

    Christ truly is our Anchor! Love the thoughtful article.

    Faith has been revealed since the creation, and faith has been once for all delivered to the saints in Christ. Christ was seen in his incarnation in this current age and we will see him again in the age to come. The grace that saves the lost man is demonstrated through a distinct faith and that faith is given to those the Father calls his elect, and that faith is completely realized as those that are given to Christ see Christ face to face in the new earth. The grace that saves, is not faith… it is grace;…. the faith that is given is a distinct faith that God provides for those being saved. Faith makes known the reality of Christ to those being saved, and God continually increases that faith, even as we ask; but not because we ask. God loves us, and we cry abba, father, because we recognize him now, confess him, and love him. Our rebirth is a demonstration of our allegiance to God, and we obey him and are being changed by him day by day.

    “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2 NASB)

    God’s word is truly amazing, and it does elicit much emotion in my life. As God’s truth has revealed…when anyone that has only tasted of the heavenly, and then rejects it, and then confesses that he is more free than ever before “for” rejecting it,… that person is confessing what he has always wanted, therefore that freedom would seem to be very appealing. The opposite reality is,…. Truth sets the captive free, they are free indeed, and begin to know the joy, the emotion, the love, the relationship, the discipline, and the comfort of a loving Father. What an amazing love God gives to his children!

    The reality is that the atheist believes that he has been set free, and the true believer believes they are set free. Someone is deceived, yet both stand judged and live in eternity.

    Thanks for the article,
    Chris