By Doug Bell
2 Corinthians 1:
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
21 And it it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,
22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Most Baptist believe in ‘Once saved, Always saved.’ This is not really a good theological term. The Bible knows it better as the doctrine of the “Perseverance of the Saints.” Those who don’t hold to this belief say it is dangerous to tell people that they can be saved and not lose their salvation. But, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sanctification (like Justification), is a work of God. The Lord doesn’t save us and leave us to do the rest on our own. And while we do cooperate with God, we “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Php. 2).
We must remember that before He left, Jesus told His disciples in John 16:
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
But, part of what the Holy Spirit would do is also in our verse above!
22 “and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
This vs. is much like the verses in Ephesians 1:
13 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Notice the similarity of these verses! Both speak of being “SEALED” with the Holy Spirit as a “GUARANTEE!”
What are we to make of this? These verses are Both telling us the same thing. When God saved us, He placed His Holy Spirit in us as His ‘Guarantee’ that He would make sure we would give us His Complete Salvation! Remember, there are three parts to salvation: 1.) We were saved forensically (Justification) 2.) We are being saved from the power of sin daily (Sanctification) and 3.) we will be saved and then unable to sin (Glorification). So why do we believe in the ‘perseverance of the Saints?’ It is this, God has promised that He would make sure we would ‘persevere (endure) to the end!’
6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Not only this, the Holy Spirit is God’s “SEAL!”
This word comes from the Greek meaning a ‘down payment.’ Or better, “Earnest Money.”
Before the days of legal contracts, people would put earnest money down on property. And this money meant, if I back out of our deal, you get to keep the ‘earnest’ money. Showing I am buying this property “In Earnest!” So, God is saying if you aren’t saved and go to Heaven, you get to KEEP the Holy Spirit. Can the Holy Spirit be in an unsaved person in Hell? That is IMPOSSIBLE! That is why by giving us His Holy Spirit, God is saying we can never be lost.
He GUARANTEES it, and HE will make sure that we ‘persevere to the end!’
17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.