“That not of yourselves” in the area of a journey of faith erases self-works or salvation through merit or performance. It excludes self-righteousness, boasting, or worldly standing. It makes a journey of faith universally accessible to every Spirit-born Christian (Jn. 10:27-29).
Because by definition a God-composed life-script contains the element “that not of yourselves,” no one has to possess an advanced degree in theology to be able to walk through a journey of faith following Jesus.
In the perfect plans of God, Mary Magdelene can be privileged to be the first person to discover the empty tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea on Resurrection morning.
The security of knowing that Spirit-born Christians are eternally saved enables us to confidently listen in the Spirit, begin to obey God in small things to build trust, and to venture out into our first steps in a walk of faith.
If our salvation is in the slightest doubt, based upon our performance, then no one would summon the courage to risk entering into an uncertain biblical quality journey of faith in the first place. No one would assume the eternal peril of losing our salvation inherent in the inevitability of challenges to our faith contained within a God-composed adventure of faith.
If continued salvation is based upon our merit and performance, then no one would exercise the freedom to honestly question God’s leadership as the spiritual journey gets steeper, tighter, and more costly (Jer. 12:1).
But if we start out knowing upfront that God has already taken into account our weaknesses, which can have no effect upon the security of our salvation, then we are liberated to go out into an adventure of faith relying and leaning totally upon God.
If our salvation is insecure and partially dependent upon the quality of our performance and merit, this places people in the murky gray-area of human judgment and self-evaluation in the exclusively divine area of spiritual salvation. Paul judged not himself (1 Cor. 4:3). Salvation by grace through faith opens the door through the cross and the resurrection, free of vain imaginings and doubtful judgments as we listen to Jesus, study the Bible, walk in the Spirit, and discover God’s higher ways.
This is one of the secondary themes of this book. As Abraham walks from Haran to Canaan, God is displacing whatever horizontally conventional plans Abraham had according to the norms of the cities of Haran and Ur, with God’s unimaginatively higher destiny that God had planned for Abraham.
A journey of faith involves risk of failure. But God would not ask us to place our eternal salvation at risk by entering into a journey of faith following Him, if by doing so that journey of faith could in any way jeopardize that salvation. Placing our salvation at risk by entering into a journey of faith would call into question the character of God at the most fundamental level. God invites us to pick up our cross and to follow Him precisely because the Spirit-born Christian now possesses eternal salvation.
This is part of the loving outreach of God through the Bible to us. A risk-filled adventure of faith leading to the discovery of “all truth,” and the great biblical salvation doctrines of the grace and mercies of God, are integrally linked together.
Every positive character in the Bible follows a God-composed life-script they could not possibly imagine or self-generate on their own. This bears constant repeating because this is a feature of the Bible that withstands the corrosive cynicism of radical skeptical unbelief in our modern culture.
My contention in this book is that a biblical, God-composed journey of faith through the second half of the cross is so outside of and contrary to horizontal, worldly conventional thinking that it can only originate from a supernatural Author God.
If Jesus therefore is “for us” within a God-composed journey of faith through all of the circumstances and events of life, divinely tailored for us according to a formula that will mold and craft us into a blessing to ourselves and to others, then who or what can be against us?
The second half of the cross, in the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible, is as orthodox as orthodoxy can get for the highest reasons. Immanuel…”God with us”…cannot get any more orthodox than as portrayed in the biblical stories of God personally and intimately enlisting people into their callings of destiny. The biblical narrative stories of faith point out the right road of eternal life in harmony with God, with us, and with others, which repeatedly and consistently begins each journey of faith at the foot of the cross.
Again, if our salvation is a probation conditionally based upon our performance, then we could not confidently surrender all to Jesus and follow Him up into the highest mountaintops or down into the darkest valleys.
Without knowing beforehand that I am saved for all eternity, I cannot confidently take the risk to follow Jesus to places I do not necessarily want to go, or in directions I do not initially fully understand. Without being eternally secure in my salvation, I cannot in confidence hand over the control of my life to Jesus to lead me into the sometimes challenging, difficult, and character-stretching life-lessons…that inform the writing of this book.
Without being confident in my eternal salvation, how can I honestly and openly share my natural doubts and frustrations with God in prayer? When I am figuratively in Pharaoh’s prison like Joseph, or have a King Saul chasing after my life like David, or am in the process of getting up to carry on after being nearly stoned to death like Paul, how can I take my honest, questioning complaint to God if my salvation is unsecure and constantly in doubt? How can I cry out to God in desperate need of help if by doing so I am acknowledging my shortcoming in keeping up my end of the “bargain” in a merit-based salvation program dependent upon self-generated works, at the edge of “losing” my salvation?