OUT OF THE WOODS

by J.F.T. Woods

Q. Arenít there scriptures that teach that a Christian can lose salvation?

How about Ezekiel 3:20, "When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him . . . he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered..."?

A. Iím glad you asked! How well I remember being devastated by this verse when I was a senior in Bible Institute. The night before, I had attended a meeting where emotionalism was mistaken for spirituality. Feelings ran high, and I went to bed that Sunday night feeling very "close to God." When Monday morning came, I read that verse and hope died. My joy in salvation vanished, and I became terribly depressed. My effectiveness in ministry was history.

Five years and a thousand heartaches later, I learned from Romans 5, through Walter Wilson, M.D., that while I could not possibly stand before God in my righteousness, I could not fail to stand before him in his.

Ezekiel 3:20 concerns the Jew under the Law. Todayís believer is not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14). The law demanded perfect human righteousness and condemned every sin "The soul that sins, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4,20). God provides a "gift" righteousness, a divine righteousness, fully paid for by His Son on the cross and available through faith to all who desire it (Romans 5:15-21). The only salvation God offers us is "eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). Christ is saviour, not probation officer!

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