Spiritual security of the faithful

Women need a feeling of security, say many writers in the field of marriage and counseling. That observation seems to hold true in our experience. That security often means physical and financial security. Though today it’s socially anathema to say it, a woman often looks for a husband who will provide these things for her. She wants to feel protected.

This was Naomi’s prayer for her daughters-in-law, after the death of her sons: “May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Ruth 1.9.

At the same time, we all need security. Let’s first define our terms. The dictionaries give something like this: “1. freedom from danger, risk, etc.; safety. 2. freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt. 3. something that protects or makes safe; defense.” No one can live on the cusp of danger.

The Hebrew terms provide something firm or solid to depend upon. It gives the idea of confidence. Another (like the verse in Ruth, above) means rest, undisturbed by threats, harm, or want. Another word means refuge or protection. The New Testament terms also communicate similar ideas.

People can have a false sense of security. “Now when they are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape” 1 Thes 5.3. Many people feel secure by accumulating money or possessions, apparently ignoring human history that these can be lost in a moment. Others feel secure in believing the lies of religion. The people cited in 1 Thessalonians believed a lie about the coming of Christ. All this reminds us that security must be based upon truth.

Some people believe that spiritual and eternal security are guaranteed once and for all. This theory ignores so much of the New Testament, it’s hard to know where to start. Salvation is not iffy, but there are ifs laid down as conditions. Paul wrote that by the gospel “you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” 1 Cor 15.2. If grace saves, and if one falls from grace, doesn’t that means that one falls from, or loses, salvation? Gal 5.4. Seems plain enough.

So security in the spiritual sense means having something or someone to rest upon, to depend upon, for protection, for support, for needs. Sounds like Philippians 4.19 fits that bill, does it not?

On to one of those New Testament words. Luke likes the asphaleia group, the “condition of not slipping, a firm step,” says Spicq in his lexicon. So here is stability and then security and safety, and also certainy and assurance. As in Luke 1.4: “so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.” Some versions translate the word “certain” (or “certainty”) as truth, and that’s not a bad translation. But Luke seems to be hinting at the confidence we can have in the facts of the Jesus story, certainty in God’s revelation. In that is security. We can be sure of it. It’s the security of something or someone that has been locked down, Acts 5.23; 16.24. Or the desire for security as Judas told the guards to hang on to Jesus, Mark 14.44. Apparently, he wants to be sure of his reward.

And we want to be sure of our eternal reward. And we can, when we nail down the certain truth of the gospel.

Such security comes through in evangelism and can be passed to others. Peter said it like this, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ” Acts 2.36. The phrase “beyond a doubt” comes from our word group, meaning “for certain.” You don’t have to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to have that certainty, nor to pass it to others. You just have to know and trust that God is revealing the true facts of the gospel and that when he makes a promise, he keeps it. Nothing as secure as the Lord.

¶ This unattributed quote said, “New technology and social media are difficult to learn but those of us in business have no choice.” Applied to the spiritual realm, we always have a choice, of course. But we are confronted regularly with new technology. It has always been so. They present challenges when people seek to learn and use them effectively. They may well be, however, the only way we reach some people.

Paul said it best, “I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some” 1 Cor 9.22b. The Amplified Version expands it as “in any and every way.” CEV is good here: “I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can.” In context, he was talking about identifying with others. That thought can be easily extended to using methods of technology to reach people where they are. So shall we catch up to speed on the new technology?

¶ Technology is a tool, not a god. By it ought we not seek to glorify him and serve others? Don’t let it dominate you. Satan will use anything he can to ensnare us. Nothing else, he’ll just get us to waste our time with it. And miss eternity by it.

Of that we can be sure.

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