Perseverance of the Saints

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #11:

Ezekiel, chapters 29-30
Job 10
John 10:1-10
1 John 2:18-23

“And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a man mortally wounded” (Ezk 30:24). The Lord is CLEARLY sovereign over who is in power. Does he still exercise this sovereignty? Something to consider in the midst of the US’s current election season…

“I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 10:1). Job is so confident to open his mouth and whine about his bad circumstances. The truth is that I’m a pretty big whiner too, and my circumstances have never been as bad as Job’s. But Matthew 12:36 is there to call us to account.

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (Jn 10:4). The second half of today’s text in John clarifies that Jesus is talking about himself here, and those who he will save. Jesus has “his own” sheep. He brings them out AND goes before them. His sheep recognize and “know” his leadership.

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1Jn 2:19). This is a bedrock verse for what theologians call “the perseverance of the saints.” This is a nail in the coffin for the standard definition of the Sunday school doctrine of “once saved, always saved.”

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #12:

Ezekiel, chapters 31-32
Job 11
John 10:11-21
1 John 2:24-29

“For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord God” (Ezk 32:32). The Lord, showing no mercy.

“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?” (Job 11:7-8). The study of theology is by definition the study of God… of the things of God. The theologian should be mindful, at the very outset of theological effort, that the subject matter is not fully knowable.

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (Jn 10:18). Jesus has not only the authority to give his life and resurrect his life, but he also has the command to do so from God the Father. Greek heads… is “command” a fair word to use in place of “charge?”

“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1Jn 2:27). What should we make of this verse? Are we to say that we don’t need pastors/sermons/authors/exhortation? Whatever is to made of this verse, it certainly gives the Catholic doctrine of the necessity of the church and Papal authority a run for their money.

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