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The Hymn of Security, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2023 4:00 am

The Hymn of Security, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 16, 2023 4:00 am

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You can't lose your salvation, he says. Not now, not ever. Not in death, not in life. Not by holy angels taking it or demons taking it.

No impossible. No dimension of time, no being, and no state of being. You may understand that God is holy without sin, that you're a sinner and that the penalty of sin is death, and you may have repented of your sin and turned in faith to Christ who paid for your sins. And yet, with all of that, have you ever found yourself, from time to time, doubting the security of your salvation? Well, be encouraged, because even though what you think about salvation might change, salvation itself doesn't. That's the theme of John MacArthur's message today, and the thrust of our current study, called Guaranteed for Eternity, here on Grace To You. So join John in the book of Romans as he begins the lesson. Romans chapter 8. In Jeremiah chapter 31 and verse 3, God said to His people Israel, I have loved Thee with an everlasting love. And that is how God expresses His love here in Romans 8.

It is an everlasting love. Watch verse 35. What shall separate us from the love of Christ? What's going to do that to you? What's going to pull you out?

Well, let's look at the list. How about tribulation? It's an interesting word, thalipsis in the Greek, it's when you're cornered and out of options. It has to do with tremendous pressure. How about distress? That's another interesting word. That has to do more with inward difficulty.

The word in the Greek, stenokkoria, two words, narrow and space, and it means to be caught in a narrow space, to be hemmed in with no way out. You're out of options. And I think it has perhaps to do with temptation, wherein like in 1 Corinthians 10, 13, it says that we're going to be taken through, the only way out is through. When you're in the middle of temptation, God will make a way of escape that you may be able to what? Not get out of it, but what?

Bear it. How about persecution? Diogmas, abuse for the testimony of Jesus Christ, physical or mental suffering at the hands of those who reject Christ.

Can that do it? How about famine? To go without food, to be utterly deprived, to be slammed in a jail cell and left to die because of your faith in Jesus Christ. How about nakedness? That means not literally nudity, but to be without any clothes, to be so poor and destitute you can hardly clothe your own body.

You have no food, you have no clothing. How about peril? He uses the word peril there which basically means to be exposed to treachery, to plots of peril. He was always being plotted against.

And the sword is makairah, the assassin's dagger, and it means death. I mean, all of these things are very heavy things. Outward rejection, animosity and bitterness, inward temptation and struggles and distress, the persecution that comes, the destitution that may come on one who embraces Christ who has nothing to eat and no clothes, and the peril or the danger of being exposed to treachery and plots of those who hate what you love and even death. These are the worst possible attacks. Could they drive us to reject Christ? Could they drive us out of His love and affection? Could they drive us to doubt Him? Could we falter during those times and could we get weak and could we wonder things and could we maybe fall into a sin and the Lord would just shut us off and boot us out? By the way, this isn't just theory. Everything in verse 35 Paul experienced.

Did you know that? All you have to do is remember 2 Corinthians and the whole list is there, the whole list. I have been in labors more abundant, stripes above measure, prisons more frequently, death often, of the Jews five times received I-39 stripes, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I was in the deep, in journeyings often, in perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils by my countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, peril in the sea, peril among false brethren, weariness, painfulness, watching often, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold and nakedness. Every one of those and a lot more that are listed there in Romans are also listed in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. This is not theory, this is Paul's life. And he's saying, did tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword sever me from Christ? Did it cause him in my moments of weakness to say he's not worth the trouble, I'm going to abandon him? Shall that break the bond of Christ's love which holds me?

What's the answer? Verse 36, as it is it is written, what does that have to do with anything? For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are a count of the sheep for the slaughter. And he quotes Psalm 44 22 out of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. And what he is saying is, hey folks, this is old stuff. This doesn't take us out of the love of God, this just shows us we're in it.

I mean, this isn't anything strange. For thy sake we're killed all day long. I mean, this is the history of those who love God. So Paul says, it isn't that this drives us from Christ, this just reminds us we belong to Him. You see, it says in 2 Timothy 3, 12, as I've pointed out many times, all that live godly in this present age will suffer persecution.

I mean, it's just the way we know we're really there. Now if it say, what if it drives...that kind of stuff does happen to people and it drives them away from Christ and the truth of the matter is they were never saved. And that is what 1 John 2 19 says, and you ought to know this verse because it's a very important verse. It says in verse 19, they went out from us, 1 John 2 19, 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 from us that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. You understand the point? When somebody goes, that doesn't mean they lost their salvation, that's proof that they never really had it.

They never had it. Oh no, verse 36 says, for Thy sake we're killed all day long. I mean, that's just all day long stuff. That's nothing new. Notice the little phrase, for Thy sake, for Thy sake, expresses a willingness.

It does. It expresses a beautiful willingness on the part of God's truly redeemed people to bear the cross. And it's just what the Savior said. Those who are My true disciples are willing to take up the cross. For Thy sake, we are willing to suffer.

For Thy sake, we are willing to pay a price to count the cost. It's exactly what Jesus was confronting in Luke chapter 9 verse 57, it came to pass that as they went on the way, a certain man said to Him, Lord, I will follow Thee wherever Thou goest. Well Jesus said to him, foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, the son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Now that's a good way to discourage a follower, telling them you have nowhere to go and not no resources. And another guy said, followed along, Lord says, follow me. And he said, Lord, I just need to first go and bury my father.

What he didn't say was his father wasn't dead. He wanted to hang around with God as inheritance. Jesus said, let the dead bury their dead and you go and preach the kingdom of God. And another said, I'll follow Thee.

Let me first go bid them farewell to at home at My house. And Jesus said, no man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. You see, the person who puts his hand to the plow and looks back not only isn't in the kingdom, he isn't fit to be in the kingdom. So when a person puts the hand to the plow and splits, they're not in the kingdom and then out.

They're not even fit to be in. You come with a commitment to follow whatever the price, whatever the cost. The true believer perseveres through these things like tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. The true believer perseveres in that.

He moves through that. And that's why it says in Hebrews 3, for we have become partakers of Christ if we are holding the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Verse 14, very important verse. How can you tell one who's become a partaker of Christ because he holds on steadfast to the end?

See? He holds on steadfast to the end. He doesn't bail out. And so is a willingness to go all the way if need be to the death that would come to those who name the name of Christ in some circumstances. So, let's go back to Romans 8. Paul says, what's going to separate us from the love of Christ? And he lists these very serious things that could tempt us to abandon our faith or draw us into sin.

Shall these things? No, quite the contrary. This is something that just fits us perfectly. This is just the way it's been written about God's people. For His sake we're killed all the time. We're always being accounted as sheep for the slaughter. It just means we're like sheep on the way to be slaughtered.

That's nothing new. And then comes his answer in one word in verse 37, no, no. No, these things don't separate us from the love of Christ.

No. In fact, in all these things we are what? More than conquerors through Him that loved us. Not on our own strength, through Him that loved us. In all these things, what things?

Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. Those things will never cause a true believer to leave his faith. They'll never cause God to let go and the reason you stay saved isn't because you hold on, it's because He holds on. And He's not going to break His grip through those things and you from your side are going to persevere.

He doesn't let go of His grip and you don't either because you're steadfast to the end. That's the mark of a true believer. And so in all these things, not only does it not blow us out of our salvation, instead of that we become super conquerors. The word here is a tremendous word, hupernicomen. We use the word Nike to speak of a missile. It's from this word, conquer, nikau, the verb, Nike, a conquering. And we're super Nike's, super conquerors, winners of a sweeping, surpassing, overwhelming victory. We don't just win, we win big.

I mean, when we get hit with tribulation and we get hit with distress and persecution and we get hit with famine and nakedness and peril and sword, we don't just squeak through. We come out roaring. Super conquerors say, how can you be a super conqueror? You either win or lose.

Well, no, it's more than that. We don't just win. We come out super conquerors for two reasons. Reason number one is that when we come out, the whole thing makes us better than when we started. Because everything that happens in our lives is refining us, right? Not only that, let me give you a second reason we're super conquerors. It's because every one of those things works for us a far greater eternal weight of glory. Ultimately there will be a greater reward each time we go through those kinds of things which do not separate us from the love of Christ but refine us. We not only come out better people here and now, but we come out the recipients of greater reward then and there. And that's the super conquering aspect. It's a great thought.

It's a great thought. And so, I mean, Paul really diffuses that argument. You think that those kind of things are going to separate you from the love of Christ? Just the opposite.

Just the opposite. When a true believer goes through those kinds of things, all of a sudden the spirit of grace and glory rests on him. And he sees things that he never saw before about what he ought to be. He sees his weakness, yes, and he sees the strength of God. He wants to run from his own sin and run to the holiness of God with a greater sense of direction than ever before perhaps. And out of that comes a purer devotion to Jesus Christ and a greater eternal weight of glory. They don't separate us.

And who makes it possible? It's all through Him that loved us. Through Him that loved us. He holds on. He holds on. The bond never breaks.

It never breaks. Paul wrote this, I think, during the winter in Corinth, and neither Paul nor the church at Rome, I'm sure, could have understood how short a time would elapse before they would stand in need of this comforting truth. Because when the persecution flames began to hit and they saw people split, it might begin to cause them to wonder about the doctrine of salvation, right? And all they had to know was that the true believers would come through that super conquerors. And if people bailed out and abandoned the faith, it was only evidence that they went out from us because they were not of us.

How helpful is that to understand? And so, when you see someone who appears to have believed and abandons the faith, know this, that like that seed planted in the rocky soil, there was no real root there. It sprung up for a little time and when the heat was on, it withered and died. Paul would himself be killed with a sword of sorts. His readers of this epistle would be men and women whose blood would soak the sands of the Roman amphitheaters. And they would go to the death singing the praises of Jesus Christ, wouldn't they? You see, there's no person in the universe that can lay a charge against God's elect and alter the salvation God has promised, and there's no circumstance that can sever the bond of love that binds together a believer and the Savior.

He doesn't let go and we don't either. Those dear Romans who had to suffer as martyrs must have been comforted by this. Those who were mauled by wild beasts, those who were soaked in tar and burned at Nero's parties like torches in his garden, those that fought with men and beasts and demons from hell were always safe in the securing arms of the love of the Savior. What a thought. Now, after affirming that no person and no circumstance could ever, ever, ever, ever take away our salvation, Paul sums it up.

Verse 38 and 39. And commenting on this is like gilding a lily. It's like taking a brush and trying to paint a sunset to add more color to it.

There's just not much that you can really do even to explain the wonder of this, but let me give it a try. Here is his final summation, for I am persuaded. Stop there. You got to know what this means. It's a settled conclusion. He's not saying, boy, I sure hope so. I have come to an absolute settled conviction. This is a fact. It is a fact, like 2 Timothy 1-12, I am persuaded that he is able to keep that. I know that. I have a confident assurance. I am persuaded that, and here it comes, neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor power nor height nor depth nor any other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Just a burst. And the list is...I mean, I had to go look at this list. I am persuaded that neither death, the great enemy, the gates of Hades, death can't separate us. All death does is do what? Bring us into His present because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And then he says, not death or life, life with all its dangers, life with all its difficulties, life with all its troubles and trials and temptations, life with everything that it can throw at us, all the pain and all the sorrow and all the hurt and all the anxiousness of life, can it do it?

No, no, not life, no state of being, not death and not life. And then he says, nor angels. Probably thinking of good angels here, holy angels. You say, well, would a holy angel want to alter our salvation?

No, but that doesn't matter. He's just saying it couldn't happen if they did. And he said the same thing in Galatians 1 when he said, though, an angel from heaven preached another gospel.

Let him be accursed if it isn't the truth. It's just hyperbole in a sense. I mean, it can't happen, but if it did happen, even an angel, a holy angel couldn't do it. Ah, but the demons, nor principalities, he says. And that seems to be a term that he probably uses here, though it is used for both good and bad.

It seems most dominantly to refer to evil angels, at least that's its usefulness in Ephesians 6. Not good angels and not bad angels. No state of being and no supernatural being can change it. And then he says, nor things present, nor things to come. Not anything here and now and not anything there and then. Not anything in this age and not anything in eternity. No dimension of time, not now, not ever.

You can't lose your salvation, he says. Not now, not ever. Not in death, not in life. Not by holy angels taking it or demons taking it.

No, impossible. No dimension of time, no being, and no state of being. And then at the end of verse 38 he says, nor powers. And that's kind of an interesting little word. The commentators struggle with what it means.

Let me give you MacArthur's view. When it is used in the plural, in the New Testament, the form of dunamis, when it is used in the plural, most frequently it refers to miracles or mighty deeds. And it may well be that that's what Paul has in mind. No miracle, no mighty deed, no supernatural thing, nothing beyond our control can ever separate us from Christ. No state of being, no being. No time and no power. And then he throws this in. Nor height, nor depth.

What in the world does that have to do with it? What is height and depth? The word hupsoma was used to speak of a star at its zenith. And when a star was at its zenith, they said the star was at its height. So it has to do with going out into the infinity of space. And depth is the word bathos, and it was astronomically used to speak of a star at its low point. So what he is saying is this. Nothing at the end of an infinite outer space out there, and nothing at the other end either.

From one end of infinity to the other, because height is infinite and depth is infinite. And so the sum of this stuff is mind-boggling. Where are you going to lose your salvation if it can't happen in death and it can't happen in life and holy angels can't do it and demons can't do it and things present can't do it and things to come can't do it and nothing from the infinite edge of space up there to the infinite edge of space down there can do it? Oh, but there will be someone who will say, oh yes, but, but I can do it myself. So he says, nor any other creation. See, it's like Romans 3 where he says, for all have sinned. He talks about all of the sinfulness of man. He says there is none righteous. And he knows somebody will say, except me. So he says there's none righteous, no, not one.

Here he just throws in, nor any other creation. He shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. It's the love of God in Christ our Lord that holds us. In verses 31 to 34, it kind of majors on the love of God. Verse 35 to 39 majors on the love of Christ, we're hidden with Christ in God, right?

Oh my. And we shouldn't be surprised at this. You know something?

We shouldn't be surprised at this. Listen to John 17, 23. Jesus prays about us to the Father.

He says, I in them, thou in me, they may be made perfect in one. He prays that the people He redeems will be taken to perfection. You think He gets His prayers answered? He's praying that the people He redeems will make it to perfection.

I think He gets them answered. That the world may know thou hast sent me and has loved them as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world. Oh Father, He says, I want the ones you've given to me to be with me in my glory. Do you think God answers that prayer?

Of course. So we're not surprised that we're secure. As we come to grips with this truth that when God saves us, we are secure in our salvation. What do you think are the most practical effects of believing that? How should being secure in our salvation change the way we live from day to day?

Well, I think, first of all, there is joy. I always go back to what John said in his epistle, 1 John 1.4. These things I write unto you that your joy may be full. And what was the thesis of 1 John? It was to tell believers how to know they were genuinely converted.

It's a series of tests to validate salvation. So the first blessing that comes when you know you're saved is joy, the confidence that you're in God's hands and that He will never let you go and nothing can ever snatch you out of His hands, not even the devil himself. So it's a wonderful thing to be able to live in the joy and the peace would be the second thing, the peace that everything between you and God is settled forever, that you have been reconciled to God. Christ has become, as Paul says in Ephesians, our peace who has reconciled us to God. Just incredible blessings, joy and peace.

What else could you ask for? Well, as we draw this short series to a close, I just remind you it's been titled Guaranteed for Eternity and it's been a study of Romans 8, 31 to 39. And there are many things in life that are uncertain, but the security of your salvation is not one of them.

If God didn't want us to rest confidently in Him and enjoy that assurance, I think He would have never written Romans 8, 31 to 39 because it's a lockdown guarantee. Now, if you have had times of uncertainty about the permanence of your salvation or know folks who have, this is a great series to review. Again, the title Guaranteed for Eternity. You can download the MP3s from our website,, free of charge. Also, the manuscripts of the same series, Guaranteed for Eternity, can be downloaded as well at

And if you want this on CD, we have a two-CD album that we can make available and ship for free here in the United States. Again, the title Guaranteed for Eternity. Take advantage of all the ways you have to review this material again at your own pace and enjoy the full joy and peace that God intends you to have in knowing your salvation is secure. Yes, and friend, this study comes from Romans chapter 8. It's a chapter you've probably turned to many times for comfort.

And if you haven't looked there, it's a chapter you definitely need to dig into. So let me remind you, John has written a commentary that looks in depth at the first eight chapters of Romans. To order that commentary on Romans chapter 1 through 8, contact us today. Our toll-free number is 800-55-GRACE. You can also order the commentary at our website, The Romans 1 through 8 commentary costs $19, and there are 32 other volumes in the MacArthur New Testament commentary series, and each one costs $19, and shipping is free.

To place your order, call 800-55-GRACE or go to And remember, at you'll find thousands of free Bible study resources. If there's a passage in the New Testament that has always confused you, or you simply want to know more about it, John has a sermon on it. Or you can check out our blog. You'll find articles on compelling topics like why you need to be part of a local church and how to find contentment, and many others. And if you have benefited from John's current radio series, perhaps let a friend know about it and encourage him or her to tune in to Grace To You on this station. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, inviting you to be here tomorrow when John begins a series on the parable of the prodigal son and the amazing truths that many people miss in that story. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Friday's Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 05:36:34 / 2023-03-16 05:47:39 / 11

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