WFW: A Different Angle To OSAS
I am posting this early Tuesday night for The Word For Wednesday, hosted by Jean, because I will be gone on another day trip tomorrow, and I don't think it's fair to keep my readers waiting so long to hear from me... so while I'm gone, I would appreciate your thoughts; please leave me some comments! :D
-----------A few months ago, I was on a message board typing up a response to a post, when I came across someone claiming the following: "I am not a Gentile, hence, I was never lost." His stance was "Possession precedes loss; Israel was the Lord's possession, we never were." First, let me say that, in my view, this is simply another way of claiming "once saved, always saved." I have encountered a few of these people in the past, but this case was different. I tried to explain to this person that if we were never lost, then there would be no need for Christ to come and make us a vessel of honor. Still, nothing could persuade him that he was never lost when the Scriptures are pretty clear on the matter. So today, I wanted to share some of what I learned through my studies on this topic. 1 Peter 1:1 states, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia..." Compare this with John 7:35 which says, "Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?" So we see that this is speaking of the Gentiles here. However, Peter says in the very next verse, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." Here, Peter is saying that the Gentiles were sanctified through the blood of Christ. In fact, when the Holy Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2 (vs. 5-11) records, "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." When Peter said that the Gentiles were elect and sanctified, he could say so with a clear conscience; not only was he present on the Day of Pentecost (and he also gave a speech to the people), but he was also called by God to reach a certain Gentile household -- the household of Cornelius, the Gentile (Acts 10). Later, when the persecution broke out against the Christians, the Bible says, "they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts 8:1). This is why James 1:1 states, "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting." They were scattered around the world -- into the regions of the Gentiles so that they could preach the Gospel to them! And even those places where they were not scattered heard the Gospel; this was the case of the Ethiopian eunuch -- he was returning from Jerusalem, but the Lord had Philip minister to him. Tradition has it that the eunuch then spread Christianity throughout his country! When Paul was converted, God called him to preach to the Gentiles: "But the Lord said to him [Ananias], "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel." (Acts 9:13) Even Jesus preached the gospel to the Gentiles; when He was in Samaria, He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4), and the whole town was converted as a result! I also told this man, "salvation was originally for the Jews, but when they rejected it, God turned to the Gentiles. It's not because we were never lost; it's because of God's mercy toward us. When Paul and Barnabas were preaching to the Jews and they rejected it, Paul said, 'We turn to the Gentiles; for so the Lord has commanded us...' The very next verse says, 'and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed'(Acts 13:48)." So what is the bottom line? If the Gentiles were never lost to begin with then the disciples wasted their time on them. Furthermore, if the Gentiles were never lost, why would Jesus need to come to redeem both Jews AND Gentiles? Despite my sharing some of these facts on the message board, the man would not listen, nor do I think he cared. I prayed, and this was the answer that came to me:
Ephesians 4:17-24 "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." The word "alienated" speaks for itself, but just to be sure, I looked up the Greek meanings (some of which are): "away, foreign, separation." This does not simply mean that the Gentiles did not belong with Israel; for it says that they were alienated "from the life of God." To prove this point further, Paul states that the Ephesians "have not so learned Christ" precisely because they did not walk as the Gentiles walked. The context of this Scripture make it perfectly clear that the Gentiles were lost. In short, Paul is saying, "Don't be lost like the Gentiles are."I also searched for this word in the NT, and here is one more Scripture that I found to be quite pertinent (though I did not include it in my response): Ephesians 2:10-13 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Christ ransomed us from the alienated life of sin. "Ransom," which means "being bought back" implies that you once belonged to the person prior to your ransom, but something stole you from Him. But what is important to remember is that since we were ransomed, we need to follow Paul's example and not walk as the Gentiles walk "in the futility of their minds." In other words, we must not walk as what we were before we were ransomed -- slaves -- because we have been made free: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1) This is why the OSAS doctrine does not stand up to scrutiny; for if we were slaves to sin prior to our ransom, we are not to walk however we want afterward. Yes, we are free; but because Christ paid the ultimate price -- Himself -- to ransom us back, we owe Him a huge debt. The least that we can do is walk in the Light as He is in the Light. Romans 6:16-18 states, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." What this is saying is that to be slaves of righteousness, to be pleasing to the Lord, is to obey from the heart what He says! This is the point that most OSAS adherents miss; they think that since we were ransomed, now we don't have to do anything ever again -- we are forever and ever saved, amen. But the truth is that if we really love God, we will do what He says -- not whatever we want (that is called pride). To serve God, we must be humble enough to show by our actions that we really love Him; that is what true faith is (see James 2). This is also why Paul says that "by grace you ARE BEING saved"; it is a process. We can't have our feet in both camps; we must decide who we stand for: God or ourselves (which is ultimately to join sides with the enemy). If we do whatever we want, we have automatically defaulted to the wrong side. Here is a little more of what I shared with the OSAS man (and I do plan to get into more on this later):
So, yes, we are Gentiles who were saved by God's mercy from our status as vessels of wrath; but to believe on Christ makes us one with Israel. That doesn't mean that we are responsible for that nation's sins; but we ARE responsible for our own sins. Sinning makes us "lost." Don't you remember Jesus' parable about the 100 sheep? He said that the if the Shepherd LOSES one sheep, He leaves the fold and looks for it until he finds it. He didn't say that this was Israel; His point was that when one person is lost in his sins apart from God, He will go and search for that one until He finds him. To say that you have never been lost is to say that you have never sinned, and the Bible says that if you say that, you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you (1 John 1:8). When Paul speaks of the law in Galatians 3, he says that it classifies ALL under sin, not just the Jews.I never did hear back from the osas adherant. I assume that I stumped him. However, there is soooo much evidence to support that we were lost, but Christ bought us back -- as the song goes, "We once were lost, but now we're found." "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Romans 2:28-29).