For Lord’s Day, April 1
“Once saved, always saved.” Is that something you can take to the bank for yourself? Absolutely. You cannot lose your salvation. This is where the Larger Catechism, Q&A 79, will guide us in worship this Lord’s Day evening. Meditating on our secure salvation should serve as a great comfort to us after we just dealt with the fact that our sanctification in this life is imperfect (LC Q&A 78).
But this doctrine of eternal security because of our unconditional election in the Covenant of Grace often is harassed by Arminianism, which teaches (logically) that since man’s salvation is based ultimately on his choice rather than God’s choosing, then man can later choose to opt out and thus lose his salvation. Misunderstanding what choice is, the Arminians believe we can only be saved if it is by our own uninfluenced choosing. Such an idea runs rampant in American churches, causing Christians to doubt the surety of their salvation in the end. A.A. Hodge has a helpful critique of this Arminian way of thinking in his commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 17, “Of the Perseverance of the Saints” [the “P” in TULIP]:
The Arminians themselves believe that the saints will be rendered secure from falling from grace when they go to heaven, and yet that they will be none the less perfectly free as to their wills. If the two are consistent conditions in heaven, they can be none the less so on earth.
This is a quote worthy of our meditation to fully appreciate a very good argument against the idea that you choose your own salvation and thus you can lose it (a conclusion which I have heard an Arminian vehemently proclaim). If God Himself will keep you from sinning in heaven and yet you will willing not sin, there is similarly no contradiction that in this life it is God alone Who made you perfectly willing through His gift of faith to be saved by Christ.
So, in the glorious, sovereign person and work of Jesus Christ, “You can’t lose” (Evening Sermon). For, as sons of Abraham, “You are never alone” (Morning Sermon).
Also, related to the above devotion, you might find helpful the following article that demonstrates the harmony of God’s predestinating and empowering our freely willing Christ for salvation: Determinism and Responsibility, by Gordon H. Clark (available on our Resources page along with many other helpful articles on doctrine and practice). Dr. Clark points out in this article that what he highlights is what Calvinists need to understand well to handle the key Arminian argument of contrary choice being necessary for man’s responsibility against the Reformed and Biblical doctrine of Predestination and Unconditional Election. It is a brief, excellent resource.