(At the request of the editor of a magazine we referenced in this article, we are removing all references to a recent event concerning them.)
Imagine this scenario.
I get a letter from the Honda Financial Services each month. That part is not imaginary. At the end of 2012, I purchased a Honda CR-V for my wife and me. We paid most of the price in cash, and financed the balance for two years. So, even though the Honda people receive my payment by a bank draft without my having to do anything, they still send me a receipt each month. At this point, I still have about four months to go on this contract.
But suppose I received a letter from Honda saying something like this:
“Dear Customer: It has been our pleasure to receive your bank draft for $428.51 each month over the past year and a half. We here in the corporate offices of Honda Financial Services have come to a decision and want to inform you that we wish to continue receiving this amount from you after the contract has expired. We know that you are enjoying your Honda automobile and therefore will want to do your part to maintain this wonderful relationship. However, our legal department informs us that we should alert you to the reality that if you discontinue making these monthly payments, we will be forced to repossess the car. Have a nice day.”
Even after it’s paid for, I must keep making the payments if I wish to continue owning their car. Miss a payment and they take it back.
All right. It’s just a little fantasy. Or perhaps a parable. Now, consider this.
What if the Lord in Heaven said to us, “I have given you salvation. It is eternal. Salvation is a free gift. You did nothing to deserve it. In fact, quite the opposite. After all, the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. You no doubt have read that in Romans 6:23. Now, that’s all well and good, but there is something in the fine print which you might have missed.”
He continues. “In order for you to continue to enjoy this free gift from Heaven, it will be necessary for you to keep up your end of the bargain. We will expect you to do certain things–read your Bible, go to church, tithe, that sort of thing–and to refrain from certain things–smoking cigarettes, drinking alcoholic beverages, going to dances, and gossiping in order to maintain this salvation. Failure to keep up your continuing payments on salvation will result in a cancellation of the policy.”
So much for salvation by grace through faith.
You either believe “Jesus paid it all” and “salvation is of grace” or you believe in a salvation by works.
We cannot have it both ways.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for a salvation not dependent on my continuing to make monthly payments lest it be repossessed.
Salvation is either eternal or it isn’t. It’s either of grace or of works, but not both. We are either sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption or we are on our own here.
I read somewhere of the little child crossing the street with his daddy. The child was crying that he could not hold on tightly enough and was afraid. His father assured him that “I’m holding on to you and you’re secure.”
That’s the point. Thank God a thousand times for saying what He meant and meaning what He said: “And they shall never perish.”