Many months ago I was visiting my sister and at her church we sang “This I believe” a song by Hillsong Worship based on the Apostles' Creed. The chorus stuck in my head and it popped back in today, here it is:
I believe in God our Father
Last month, I attended a wedding of a friend, up in Scotland and a very happy occasion it was. This wedding though gave me much pause for reflection as five days later I attended a funeral of a lady at my church. The contrast between the celebration of something new and the sorrow of something gone was stark.
I remember reading a blog post by a Scottish Presbyterian about how he appreciated funerals more than weddings (and it would be a Scot who said this) because there could be no idolatry at a funeral, only reality. While understanding this point, I profoundly disagree.
Weddings are a celebration of beginnings, they are full of hope and beauty and potential, often so very joyful, full of laughter, dancing and champagne. Funerals are an end, always too soon, with no hope outside of Christ and the promise of heaven to those who believe. There can be no dancing at funerals, little laughter and despite what people say there can be no "celebration" either, not in death.
My thought from attending both so quickly was how they so perfectly encapsulate life – so much blessing; so much sorrow and there is sorrow within blessing and blessing within sorrow. Perhaps all of life is lived between weddings and funerals.
Some theological issues can be studied; others have to be wrestled with. The question of whether or not a man or woman who is saved will always be saved falls into the latter category.
We have two seemingly contradictory pictures in the Bible. On the one hand there are the commands to watch out lest we fall: "Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position." (2 Peter 3v17) or "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2v12). And there are example in the Bible, and from the church throughout the ages, of people who having once professed to be Christians, and seemed to walk with God, then turned away from it all.
And yet on the other hand we have the statement of Jesus: "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6v39-40).
We find a promise of Christ, that he will lose none of those given to him by the Father, seemingly at odds with both other verses in the Bible and our experience of seeing people fall from faith. This requires us to study further for a logic principle of the infallibility of the Bible is that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.