Is Salvation Probationary? -- By: Willard Maxwell Aldrich
BSac 91:361 (Jan 34) p. 87
Is Salvation Probationary?
[Editor’s Note: This paper was submitted last year in the Theology Course. The Professor, Dr. Lewis S. Chafer, recommended it for publication. Mr. Aldrich is an alumnus of Wheaton College and is a candidate for the Th.M. degree in May.]
In taking up the question of the security of the believer, I am doing it not with the least intention of marshalling all the arguments into a complete discussion of the subject, for this has been done time after time before, but my purpose is to set forth certain arguments for the believer’s eternal safekeeping which have impressed me in my study of the question.
By way of opening inquiry this leading question might well be asked, “Upon whom does safekeeping depend? Upon God as giving and maintaining salvation, or upon man as though salvation were a gift to be received and rejected at will?” If we conclude that it is of God, as does the Apostle Paul in the words of Phil 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ,” then we must find evidence of a disposition on the part of God to keep the Christian safe in spite of the Christian’s sin and his tendency toward a lack of faith in Christ-the remedy for sin.
There is little doubt concerning the salvation of the one who continues believing and manifesting the fruits of his faith, but the question of security must deal, too, with the saint not thus manifesting his spiritual life, if not, then all we can say is that a man is safe so long as he believes. So far as we know a believer must continue in the faith in order to remain saved, and we take it that a final and complete apostacy argues that the
BSac 91:361 (Jan 34) p. 88
person has never really been born again. If continued belief is a condition of security and if God has promised that He will do the keeping, then it must follow that to establish from the Scripture that it is God’s purpose to keep secure everyone He has saved also proves that God will supply all the means necessary to that end-including man’s faith. Let us proceed, then, to the discovery of God’s avowed purpose in the matter.
Our first step in seeking to demonstrate God’s purpose and provision for the safekeeping of the saint is to show that man’s obligation with respect to obtaining eternal life consists of the one act of faith in the person and redemptive work of Christ. This runs directly counter to the belief of those who teach that saving faith is a meritorious and probationary process, the outcome of which is certain only at the death of the saint. Such is the affir...
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