Reconciliation and Eternal Security
Christians are called to the ministry of reconciliation. In Romans 5:10, Paul shared this wonderful truth: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” In part 4 of our series on the book of Romans, Chris teaches the beauty of lost sinners being saved and reconciled to our holy God.
In Christ, we are saved from God’s wrath against sin and find peace in the Holy Spirit. But you may struggle to feel this peace if you’ve been stuck in sin, even after trusting in Christ for salvation. How can you be assured that you are still reconciled to God? Because of Scripture’s teaching on the eternal security of our salvation! Learn why you can be confident that your salvation through Christ lasts forever in this week’s study of reconciliation!
If you missed the previous parts to this series, you can catch up in our Archives.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. All month, we've been asking you to consider how you might support the broadcast ministry of the Friends of Israel. If the Friends of Israel Today has been meaningful in your spiritual life and in your having a better understanding of God's word and program for Israel, the church and the nations, we're asking you to consider supporting the work. We'll have more on that later.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we're going to continue our series on our study in the letter to the Romans that Paul has written, and it's amazing to see how Paul gives definition to some deep theological concepts here like sin, the need of a savior, salvation, the study of Christ, justification, sanctification and security. And today actually, we're going to look at how Paul develops the deep theological concepts of both reconciliation, how we've been reconciled to God and our eternal security.
Steve Conover: We look forward to that. But first in the news, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance put forth a working definition of antisemitism in 2016. Since then, the IHRA definition has been widely adopted by more than 43 countries in global organizations. The IHRA definition serves as a blueprint to guide policymakers in formulating strategies to combat the hatred of the Jewish people.
Chris Katulka: Here's my take. I was honored to stand among my Jewish friends in Camden County, New Jersey this past week to appeal our County Commissioners to accept the IHRA definition of antisemitism, since New Jersey has one of the highest records of reported antisemitic acts in America. I'm happy to announce that County Commissioners unanimously accepted the IHRA definition in order to push back against the rising tide of antisemitism in our state and in our country.
Chris Katulka: We're continuing our series on the letter to the Romans, one of Paul's most significant letters in the New Testament. And I've been reading this quote because it impacts me every time that I read it, and it reminds me of the importance of this amazing letter that Paul wrote. And this quote actually comes from Martin Luther, who of course is the very famous Protestant reformer who actually held the letter to the Romans near and dear to his heart.
And he says this, "This letter to the Romans is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It's the purest gospel. It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word, but also to occupy himself with it daily." And I hope that our listeners have been doing that. He says, "As though it were daily bread of the soul, it is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes."
Romans is definitely as we've been going through this over the past few weeks, it's definitely very rich. It's deep in meaningful theology, giving definition to many of the doctrines that we hold near and dear. Paul defines sin for us. He defines the need for a savior, salvation, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, and even security. And he even tackles the issue of Israel's place in God's plan of redemption.
Now, as we've been studying through Romans, we've been trying to look at it through a Jewish lens. Remember, Paul was Jewish. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, but in the beginning of the series we talked about the phrase that Paul likes to use throughout the letter to the Romans, "To the Jew first, and also to the Greek," in light of the fact that God shows no partiality when it comes to sin and salvation. We discussed the fact that of all the people though to understand the gospel, the good news of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, of course it should be the Jewish people, but of all the people to also understand God's judgment for not calling on his name just as the prophets cried out in the Old Testament, well, especially the Jewish people. The message of sin and salvation shows no partiality.
It's also not just for the Jewish people, but also for the nations, for the Gentiles. We all need a savior to deliver us from our sins. And last week we looked at Romans chapter five. We discussed how through the blood of Christ, we've not only been forgiven from our sins but also justified. We've been declared righteous before a holy God. "Are declared righteousness as believers," doesn't come from our own merits. There's nothing that you can do to earn God's favor, but it all comes from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Now, if you didn't get a chance to listen to last week's program, be sure to visit foiradio.org to catch up on this series that we've been doing on Paul's letter to the Romans, plus nearly nine years of Friends of Israel Today teaching. Again, that's foiradio.org. So again, let's go back to Romans chapter five, starting in verse eight, which says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son. How much more since we have been reconciled will we be saved by his life? Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation."
The Apostle Paul actually considers his ministry, I love this, he considers his ministry one of reconciliation. In Second Corinthians five, starting in verse 14, Paul writes, "So then, if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creature. What is old has passed away. Look, what is new has come and all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us a ministry of reconciliation." In other words, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people's transgressions against them, and he has given us a message of reconciliation.
Paul says, "Our ministry is a ministry of reconciliation," and reconciliation is the act of reuniting, mending, bringing balance to a broken relationship. Man's relationship with God as a result of the fall when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, man's relationship with God was severed, it was broken, but Paul says that through Jesus Christ, we not only have forgiveness but reconciliation. If you believe in Christ and follow him, Paul is saying to you and I, we carry the message of reconciliation between God and man. That can only come through Jesus Christ.
The ministry of reconciliation for a Christian means so much. It is both inviting people into a relationship with God and living lives as reconciled people. Paul says in Romans chapter five, verse 10, "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, how much more since we have been reconciled will we be saved by his life?" That's why Paul opens Romans chapter five by saying that, "Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we now have..." Listen to this, "We now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Reconciliation is peace. If you noticed over the past few weeks, the word wrath actually appears several times in the letter to the Romans. In fact, it appears some 13 times throughout the letter, and the term is used overwhelmingly to describe God's just judgment for mankind's sins. Again, Paul is thinking prophetically here. It's a wrath that's coming in the future. You can read all about that wrath in more detail in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. However, Paul is saying that our ministry as Christians is a ministry of reconciliation because reconciliation is a sign that we have peace with God, which is the complete opposite of God's wrath. As we're clothed in the righteousness of Christ and stand justified before a holy God, we now have... Think about this, we now have peace with him and Paul is urging Christians to celebrate this peace.
In the Old Testament peace, or better yet maybe you know the word shalom, is a gift actually of the end times, when God fulfills his covenant promises to his people. You can read all about this life-giving peace in passages like Isaiah chapter nine, verses six and seven, Ezekiel chapter 34, verse 25, Ezekiel chapter 37, verse 26, Micah chapter five, verses four and five, Haggai chapter two, verse nine, and Zechariah chapter eight, verse 12. It's all a prophetic peace that God promised to the Jewish people when he will establish his kingdom on earth, but Paul is saying it's a peace that we can grab hold of today by the spirit of God. In a very comprehensive way, peace describes God's goodness to his people, as one commentator said.
Now, this peace is available for both Jews and Gentiles who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that's why Paul says in Romans eight, six, "For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the spirit is life and peace." It's a peace to be celebrated by Christians who live lives yielded to the Spirit. The wrath of God is inevitable. It's coming, but through Jesus Christ, God's son, we have been reconciled to God and he has gifted us with the spirit which produces... Think about this. It produces life and peace knowing with confidence that we are accepted by him. That concept alone, to know that you're accepted by God is life giving.
Now, maybe you're listening to this and you're thinking to yourself, "Well, I don't really feel confident as a Christian that I have peace with God. Man, I've sinned so much. How can I ever know that he accepts me for who I am?" But when we come back, we're going to continue our discussion on reconciliation because if we've been reconciled to God and we have peace with God, how can we be confident that that piece, that shalom is available to us even when we fall? Stick around.
Steve, for almost nine years, I've had the privilege of hosting the Friends of Israel Today radio program and serving alongside you.
Steve Conover: I know Chris. It's hard to believe. It's been my joy to create these programs with you and our team and to be part of the radio ministry since 1995.
Chris Katulka: And this is why it's an honor for us to both ask you, our listeners today, to join in on the ground level to help broadcast biblical truth all around the globe. Whether the Friends of Israel Today is airing on a local radio station or through our online podcast, never before has it been so needed to have the truth of God's Word broadcasting on the airwaves,
Steve Conover: Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Friends, we need your help to continue to produce and broadcast the good news of our Savior through the radio ministry.
Chris Katulka: The Friends of Israel Today radio program is supported by donors, listeners, and friends like you. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to produce and broadcast the program you're listening to right now, and when you make a gift of any amount today to share biblical truths about Israel and the Messiah, we will send you a gift, a beautiful 10 commandments ornament, handcrafted from Jerusalem soil by talented artists in Israel. This offer is only good in the United States through September 30th. We have a limited supply, so please give today. Every donation makes a difference.
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Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We're continuing our discussion on Romans five and we're looking at the Jewishness of the letter to the Romans. Remember, Paul has said several times in Romans, "To the Jew first, and also to the Greek." And in our previous segment, we have been studying Paul's development of the amazing truth that if you've placed your faith in Christ, you've been reconciled to God. There is peace between you and God, and as a result, our ministry to others is a ministry of reconciliation. We want to share with the world, both Jew and Gentile, how they can be accepted by God and find peace with God. But maybe you're thinking to yourself, "Oh, I've sinned so much. How can I, even as a Christian be confident that I have peace with God? That he accepts me with all my wrongdoing?" Well, let's pause for a moment and find comfort in the unwavering truth that God's love for us isn't tied to conditions. It isn't bound by prerequisites.
Remember what Romans chapter five says, that, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." His love is steadfast, it's consistent, it's eternal. Embrace the comforting words of Philippians chapter one verse six that Paul wrote. He says, "He who began a good work and you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Remember, perfection is not the attribute that we inherently possess. Only Jesus Christ, the pure and faultless lamb of God achieved that ability. Yet in our imperfections, even when we falter or we drift from the Lord, those who have sincerely entrusted themselves to Jesus can be certain that they can have confidence of their standing with God. So how can we be so sure?
Well, it's actually profound. From the moment that we entrust ourselves to Christ, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The moment that we've placed our faith in the Lord Jesus, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This isn't a mere symbolic gesture. It's a divine testament to our eternal security, a reflection of God's unwavering commitment to us in Christ.
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter one, verses 13 and 14 when he writes this, "And when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, when you believed in Christ, you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit who is the down payment of our inheritance until the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory." The passage that I just read, it encapsulates the essence of our conversation, of what we're talking about, our discussion. By believing in Christ, we are sealed or marked by the Holy Spirit. The Greek term for sealed signifies a mark of identity, proving both ownership and the owner's protection.
The Holy Spirit seals you and then look what it says. It says, "The Holy Spirit becomes the down payment of our inheritance until the redemption of God's own possession." That Greek word for down payment is actually the word arrabon, which is commonly used in reference to business and trade. Not really so much in faith, but the word that Paul uses here, he uses it to describe a payment, a deposit by a purchaser to secure a property or an article that was being bought.
So imagine you're going to Walmart and you put a down payment on a new TV. You secured the TV for yourself, but it's not completely yours just yet. The fullness of the purchase will happen when the TV that you want is completely paid for and you walk out with the product, but while you were waiting for the payment to be fully made, that TV had your name on it. It was yours. They couldn't give it away. Well, the payment has been fully made in Christ's death and resurrection, but the fullness of all that God promised will not become a reality until he returns.
That's why the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God is the down payment for your eternal life until Christ returns. God sealed you and even, think about this, he secured you with the Holy Spirit, promising that he's not going to let you go. You can be confident that you are secure in the love of God because he has sealed you even when we fall, but this is my opportunity to say this, eternal security isn't an excuse for a reckless life as a Christian.
Paul says in Romans 6:1, "What then shall we say? Are we to remain in sin so that Grace may increase?" May it never be, absolutely not. Eternal security isn't our free pass to sin whenever or however we want. A genuine believer will falter and fall, but they won't exploit God's grace. Our eternal security should inspire all gratitude and a life that resonates with his love. It isn't merely a doctrine. It's a testament to God's boundless mercy and grace. It's a gift that we could never earn but humbly accept.
Steve Conover: Thank you, Chris. As we close up your message on Romans, I want to go back to something you said in the first segment about reconciliation. The way God pursued us to reconcile us while we were in sin should, as you said, cause us to celebrate. I think that joy, having a grateful heart is part of what can help us become peacemakers with our brothers and sisters in Christ and those in the world. It's not about someone's worthiness, is it? That should motivate us to make peace with them, but in seeing others as valuable simply because they were made in God's image.
Chris Katulka: They were made in God's image, and that's why I love that Paul considered his message and his ministry one of reconciliation, one of peace. That's how he offered himself to those, whether they were Jew or Gentile. To understand that you and I were at wrath with God, and now because of what Christ has done, God has reconciled us to himself and that gives us the ability to have a relationship with him. But the amazing thing is all of us don't deserve it. That's why none of us are worthy and all of us look to the same savior who actually is the one who connected us with God once again, to reconcile us that we might be accepted by him.
Steve Conover: Amen. That's beautiful. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: I was recently called to the tax office for an audit. The man working that day was a very religious Jew. Upon checking my records, he found I didn't know anything more. He then gave me a slip of paper with a date on it. I said, "You are a religious Jew. Why do you use the date of the Christians?" The man laughed and said, "You are the first one who ever told me this joke." "This is not a joke," I told him. It is approximately 1,981 years since Jesus came. Why do we use this Christian date when we have our own date? 5741.
"How do you know that?" They may ask. I can never remember our date. I told him, "It is good then that I have reminded you of it. Without even knowing it, you are following after Christ every single day, but we must follow after his way." My comment surprised him. I continued, "Are you sure you are saved? That your sins are forgiven?" He replied, "You speak too much. Our conversation was about taxes and now you want to know all about me." "No," I told him. "I only want to help you open your eyes so you will realize all is not taxes. We must also tell people how to be saved. If we are called before the Lord tomorrow, we must give an account of our lives."
He then asked, "Do you think I called you here so you could preach to me?" "Yes I do. Maybe it was not your will, but it was his will." "How do you know this?" I answered, "I owe nothing on my taxes. I must be here to give you my testimony about the Lord our savior, but I'm a religious Jew. I know nothing about your Jesus." "How can you speak about a new faith?" I responded, "I have not come with anything new. As it is written, there is nothing new under the sun.
I then read Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 27, and he said, "This is good because it is written in our own Bible." One of the other clerks in the office came over and told him, "He will tell you that you must be baptized and become a Christian." They were surprised when I opened the Bible and showed them Ezekiel 36:25, where it says, "We are to be baptized in pure water." I then told the second man, "If you want to be obedient to the Lord, you must be baptized." And then he asked, "Are you baptized?" "Yes. How could I speak to you about the Lord if I myself was unclean?"
The Lord has promised those who come to him, "I will put a new spirit within them and take the stone out of their flesh and give them a new heart." The Lord is always ready to forgive, but sooner or later the end will come. You'll not be able to say, "Lord, I never heard about you." No, the Lord warns you many times, "If you will remove the dust from your eyes, you'll be able to see the right way. Now that you know all this, do not be satisfied only to use his date, but start to follow in his footsteps." I can truly say they were glad to hear this.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us this week. Next time we're together, we're taking a break from our study in Romans to look at our latest issue of Israel My Glory Magazine.
Chris Katulka: That's right. I'm excited because it fits in perfectly with what we were just talking about, our eternal security, the fact that we are sealed, and that's exactly the title of our latest issue of Israel My Glory, “Sealed.” So I'm looking forward to opening up our recent issue of our award-winning Christian magazine.
Steve Conover: Be sure to join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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Apples of Gold: A New Spirit
Zvi always found a way to speak of his Savior – even in the tax office! Because of a simple question about dates, he opened the door for spiritual conversation with the auditor. When another clerk tried to turn Zvi away, God was just broadening Zvi’s audience to witness to these men. God used a conversation about taxes to reach into the heart of another Jewish person in need of the saving message of His grace.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Your gifts help us to continue proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.