Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Give back the Helmet

We picked up a game for the kids at a garage sale. It's a Christian themed game called "Armor of God." Overall, it's a pretty good game. You go around the board trying to collect the 6 pieces of spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6. There are "battle" cards that either give or take away pieces of armor depending on the situation. For example, "you got in trouble at school, but then confessed to your parents. You get the Breastplate of Righteousness." or, "you didn't read your Bible, give back the Sword of the Spirit." It's a kid's game, on the kids' level, so it doesn't have to be perfect.

However, my daughter drew a card and got stuck trying to read a big word, so I took it to read it for her. It read:
You are embarrassed to
let your friends know
that you go to church
on Sundays.

Give back the
Helmet of Salvation.
I just smiled, gave the card to my wife and said, "let's pick another card." My daughter ended up with the sandals or something like that, and we kept playing. I kept the card when we cleaned up and put the game away.

So what's wrong? Can you really lose your salvation by being afraid to tell your friends you go to church? The card is based on a faulty interpretation of Matthew 10:32-33:
32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
At first glance, some would jump to the conclusion that for Jesus to deny someone before the Father means that they will lose their salvation, but the passage is saying something quite different. The real question is, what does it mean to have Jesus confess or deny us before the Father?

2 Timothy 2:11-13 says:
11 It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Here enduring is contrasted with denying. If we endure, we receive the reward of reigning with Him. If we deny Him, He denies us - denying us the reward of reigning with Him. This is just what Luke 9:26 says: "For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." It's not about losing salvation, it's about being ashamed before the Father on the day of judgment. Look back at 2 Timothy 2:13. If we are faithless, if we blow it, if we are ashamed and afraid to tell people about Him, He remains faithful to us because of His character. He gives us grace when we blow it because He is gracious, loving and forgiving.

My favorite passage about our security in Christ is Ephesians 1:13-14, which says,
"13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory."
We are saved by grace through faith, and the moment we believe we receive the Holy Spirit, who seals us and is the pledge - the down payment - on our salvation. God does not break His promises, and His purpose in this promise is His own glory. You can't give back the Helmet of Salvation any more than you could turn a butterfly back into a caterpillar. At the moment of faith, a fundamental change happens inside you, and "you are a new creature; old things have passed away. Behold! New things have come!" (2 Cor 5:17)

I don't think that card will make it back to the game.

Note: Here is a slightly longer article on the topic of eternal security.

1 comment:

Keith Walker said...

You can't give back the Helmet of Salvation any more than you could turn a butterfly back into a caterpillar.

I like that.