But we limit that God with conceptual chains, some golden and some not. Atheists bind the concept in iron chains so tight, it couldn't breathe and died in their hearts. But everyone tries to bind God into a spot they can recognize. The pagans bound him in shackles to graven images; Catholics seem determined to bind Him in golden chains to Mary (another topic we won't be going into.) Unitarians seem to bind Him (note the word "seem", please) to the logic of a) How can He be three if He is one, and b) how can Jesus be God if He is subordinate? (I have some thoughts on that, but prefer to let them percolate for the time.) Trinitarians seem to bind to "This is what we were always taught"- which is as simplistic a description as the others so far. What I found in looking into these things though, is that we have a God big enough for all of them to be true. Where we run into problems is where God's Word meets our conception of it. And to show what I mean, I have a verse I want to examine.
Rom 10:9 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
This is a logical if-then statement. IF one condition is present, THEN the other will logically follow. And here is where those who believe you cannot lose your salvation hang their hats. But note one little word- WILL.
Now if you look up the word in the concordance, you won't exactly find it. The concordance goes right from nekros- dead- to sozo- to save. But, every single translation contains some form of will or shall. A better Greek scholar than I will probably tell you there is some letter or inflection that brings in the implied time qualifier, and since they all have it, I trust it.* So that leaves us with a concept that often gets overlooked- you WILL be saved.
As in, at a point in the future.
So wait a minute, Chris, are you telling me that you are NOT saved when you confess Christ as Lord?
Yes and no.
Lets take a look at John 10.
Joh 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and you did not believe. The works which I do in the name of My Father, these bear witness about Me.
Joh 10:26 But you do not believe for you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Joh 10:28 And I give eternal life to them, and they shall not perish to the age, never! And not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck out of My Father's hand.
Joh 10:30 I and the Father are One!
So once you believe, TRULY believe, no one can steal salvation from you. So you're saved, right? Again, yes and no.
You see, I think there are two main places that even believers screw up their conception of God, and put their personal "golden chains" on Him. One is the time factor. God CREATED time. He is not affected by it's flow. This is the concept that Calvin missed in demanding that God picks you before He makes you, and you have no choice in whether you will ultimately be saved or not. God does know you, He does pick you, but He is NOT chained to the concept of time; He knows what you will choose, when you will be ready to choose it, and who and what to bring into your life to bring you to that point- a point He has seen AND will see. He can see you as saved, in His presence, long before you, stuck in the flow of time, will come to it. Because for Him, it will happen, it has happened, it is happening.
The other place that we put the golden chains on Him is on the goal. Christians can be asked, what are you saved from, and most will know the answer- from Hell. But what does that mean? One pastor put what I'm getting at like this: When you believe, you buy a ticket to heaven. More appropriately, a reservation. You redeem that reservation when you are called in judgment before the Lord. So you aren't "saved" on earth because what you are being saved from- hell- is not on earth. You are saved when you go before the Judge, Jesus says, He is mine; his name is in the Lamb's Book. Thus, you WILL be saved. It hasn't happened. But it is certain- it is an if/then.
So here's something so certain that we say with confidence we are saved- but we aren't, not yet. But we are. Confusing? There's my point. We don't understand all the mechanisations that go into God, or His relationship to the Son and Spirit (and let's not bring in the couple of places where SEVEN spirits of God are mentioned!). Is there a difference in Person between Father, Son, and Spirit, or in equality? Answer is, if you look at Psalms 2 or Acts 5, you'll see that the difference between God and Man is such that IT DOESN'T MATTER- kind of like whether you were run over by a 100-car train or a 99-car train. The one thing that does matter is Romans 10:9.
*And maybe that's why the concordance doesn't contain the time qualifier will/shall. Because it is assured; it doesn't matter.