Tag Archives: Perspective

Higher Ground | Bible Gleanings – February 25-26, 2023

Everything seemed so small from such a high vantage point. We were transported by a lift to a mountaintop 1,800 feet above sea level at the SkyLift in Gatlinburg. And at such a great height, even the tallest towers in town appeared smaller than a child’s plastic building blocks. The lights that blazed below seemed to flicker like a match from high above. Everything that was mighty and remarkable became puny and small simply because of a change in perspective.

Likewise, the frivolous cares of this world may seem enormous when we are earthly-minded. Making headway in this world, achieving ambitious goals, and fattening our bank account all seem like towering buildings worth beautifying when our head is stuck below the clouds. However, the Lord calls us to scale higher ground. We need to become heavenly-minded, and stand atop Scripture’s mountain of truth in order to see earthly things as they truly are: puny. As Paul commanded, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

The value of man’s verdicts and opinions shrinks when you climb the mountain of biblical truth on the subject of judgment, for you will realize that the only judgment that counts is God’s: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). The merit of “living life to the fullest” shrivels when you ascend the hill of the Bible’s teaching on eternity, because it teaches that soul-preparation is what ultimately matters. As Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). The profit of amassing wealth and possessions wanes when you journey to the summit of the Bible’s warnings about temporal things, because it says, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim. 6:7). Even your greatest tribulations will deflate when you reach the pinnacle of the Scripture’s promises about heavenly rest, one of which says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

How would climbing “higher ground” affect your perspective of earthly things?

“I’m pressing on the upward way,

New heights I’m gaining ev’ry day;

Still praying as I’m onward bound,

“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

My heart has no desire to stay

Where doubts arise and fears dismay;

Though some may dwell where these abound,

My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand

By faith, on heaven’s tableland;

A higher plane than I have found,Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” —Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922), “Higher Ground.”

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word:

Compelling Questions for Those Who Believe Salvation Can Be Lost

I want to say from the start, I am not making the case here for the doctrine of the perseverance of the believer, even though I firmly believe it to be taught throughout Scripture. In fact, I could take up all the space on your screen with both a firm biblical argument for this doctrine, and a corresponding polemic against the opposite view if I needed to. At the present time, however, I am just looking for solid answers to some genuine questions I have for the individuals who do not believe in the doctrine of the believer’s perseverance. This doctrine is sometimes referred to as eternal security or the perseverance of the saints.  I will not post any Bible verses or any of “my interpretations” whatsoever in this post – I simply want answers to a few questions.

It’s pretty crucial because if any doctrine is to be proven biblical, and therefore true, then it should be fully developed in Scripture. In other words, it shouldn’t just be one thing and nothing else. It should be the game of basketball and not just the ball or the goal. If you hold the view that a believer can lose his or her salvation, you should be able to explain the whole doctrine with all of its facets and implications. It’s not enough to just say, “You know the Bible teaches you can lose your salvation, right?” You should be able to explain how this teaching, if true, relates to every other teaching in Scripture – and that’s where my questions come in. I want to know what the implications are for some other areas in Scripture if this teaching is biblical. I also want to know how it relates to other areas of the believer’s life. These questions have to be answered clearly, with examples, and with plenty of Scripture, otherwise there can be no real case for this view. It has to be more than just the ball – it must be the whole game.

With that said, all of my questions are listed below with brief commentary. Feel free to answer these questions in the comment section, or however you wish.

  • What must a believer do in order to lose his salvation?

In other words, what must take place for the believer to lose his salvation? If this teaching is true, then believers should definitely guard themselves against doing the very thing which causes him to lose his salvation. So what must the believer do to lose his salvation, what line must he cross, or what requirement must he fulfill to no longer be a believer?

  • Can salvation be regained? If so, how?

If there are passages which mean that salvation can be lost, then equally there must be passages which speak to it being regained. I may be wrong, but if God clearly prescribes what one should do in order to be saved, and if Scripture teaches salvation can be lost, then surely it states in some way that it can be regained. If it cannot be regained, then just say so. But if it can be lost, then surely it can just as easily be regained.

  • Can a believer lose their salvation multiple times, and can they regain it multiple times?

This is banking off the previous question, but if there is a way for the apostate to gain his salvation back, then can he lose it again? And if he can lose it again, then can he regain it again? Is there an endless cycle here, a certain number of times, or no such thing at all?

  • How does a believer remain saved, so that he doesn’t lose his salvation?

This is probably the most pressing question – if salvation can be lost then what must a believer do to ensure that he doesn’t? In other words, what must a believer do to maintain his salvation so that it cannot be lost? Or is it an absolute mystery, where you cannot know whether or not you have lost your salvation?

  • Who or what decides when a believer loses his salvation?

As an extension of the previous question, is there an action or person which decides that the believer becomes an apostate? Said another way, does the believer do something which causes him to lose his salvation or does God decide that unbeknownst to him?

  • What are the mechanics of how a believer loses his salvation?

This is something I would really like to know. What actually happens when a believer loses his salvation? I have a lot of questions following this one because of how extensive the effects of the gospel are for the believer. Is the Holy Spirit withdrawn from him and is he now dead in sins again? What happens to the progress he made during his sanctification? Does God remove the righteousness of Christ from his account, and credit his sin back to him? Does he have any recollection of what his life was like when he was saved? What spiritual state is the once-a-believer in, now that he is once again unsaved? Is everything about his salvation now reversed, or is he better or worse off than he was before?

  • What did Jesus actually accomplish through the atonement at Calvary if salvation can be lost?

Did Jesus die for all sins except for the one sin which causes the believer to lose his salvation (whatever it may be)? Is the atonement temporary, or eternal? What exactly is salvation for the believer who loses it? In my view, it is by all accounts a significant wreckage if salvation can be lost if it was purchased by Christ for the believer. Wouldn’t it be a waste of Christ’s crucifixion if the believer can lose what Christ bought for him?

  • Where, specifically in Scripture does it state that a true believer can lose his or her salvation?

While all of these questions are pressing, this is probably the most significant. If salvation can be lost, there should be clear exegetical proof from Scripture as a whole. It shouldn’t be a few verses here, and a few verses there. This should be a clear message throughout all of Scripture. Additionally, there should be plenty of examples of this in the Bible – nothing occurs in Scripture without an existing personal account.

So if you hold this view that a believer can lose his salvation, then feel free to answer below or e-mail me.