Destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved.

1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthian Christian who slept with his father’s wife we have here a compelling argument for the durability of the Christian’s salvation. We see that not even this “mortal sin” (if you subscribe to such a thing) is able to keep this Christian from losing his salvation as Paul’s judgment calls for him to punitively lose his life but not his salvation.

Critics of the “Eternal Security” doctrine like to erect the exhausted straw man that this doctrine permits Christians to make a profession of faith and revert to a life of profligate and licentious living while fully expecting to enter into the joy of the Lord. However, those who read the scriptures carefully should know better; James reminds us that a true faith is authenticated by its accompanied good works. In fact, if a professed Christian is living an unrepentant, unmitigated life of sin and rebellion, chances are this person isn’t really saved at all (see 1 John 2:19). Since this is the case, why, I must ask, do critics always claim that this is the necessary consequence of God’s promise that nothing can separate us from His love (in Romans 8:38-39)?

My theory is that these critics are secretly self-righteous. They cringe at the idea that all their good works mean absolutely nothing in respect to attaining their salvation or keeping it for that matter. For long they have followed doctrines that denigrate the sufficiency of Christ’ sacrifice on the cross; a transgression that is in itself just as sacrilegious as murder. Christ uttered the words “It is finished” on the cross at Calvary, to which they respond:

“What is finished? Surely you don’t mean the payment for my salvation! After all, I have to earn that by accumulating various (Church-prescribed) works of righteousness; the same ones that You describe as “filthy rags” in Isaiah 64:6. I know that in Titus 3:5 You state that I am not justified by the works of righteousness which I have done but according to your mercy but I refuse to embrace that truth because that would make my good works irrelevant to my salvation and that is something I cannot embrace. So God please continue to grant me this conditional salvation that is tethered to my church’s mandates so that I perpetually remain in a state of “grace” and pursue powerless works of righteousness (that incidentally were insufficient in the first place) as I decide to utterly disregard your truth for that of my Church’s. Amen.”

We do good works but not to attain or maintain the gift of salvation, but rather, to demonstrate our gratitude by doing His will and to prove to the world that we are in fact His followers.

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