Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool: Time vs. Eternal Salvation, Part 3 (October 30, 2023)

As we continue looking at the topic of “eternal salvation” versus “conditional time salvation,” we are continuing to expound upon “eternal” salvation. As I always remind you, whenever we see the word “saved” or “salvation” in the Bible, we must ask ourselves, “Saved from what?” Today, we learn that eternal salvation is unconditional, whereas time salvation is largely dependent upon our choices in life.

Join us as we continue the discussion today. May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor


By Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Zion Primitive Baptist Church

Mat. 1:21:  . . . for he shall save his people from their sins.

Acts 2:40:  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

B.  Eternal Salvation is unconditional.

By necessity, then, if eternal salvation is solely of God, it must be unconditional on the part of man.  We understand that God the Father chose His people in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), that “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).  Children of God are called “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:2).

We understand that Christ went to Calvary to die for those same people who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.  See John 17:1-2:  “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”  When He died on Calvary, He died for a specific people, not some undefined mass who might or might not make it to heaven one day.  “Moreover whom he did predestinate, . . . them he also justified: and whom he justified” (Rom. 8:30).  This justification occurred by His death on the cross.

But what is most important for us is the application of this eternal salvation to our lives here in this world.  We have already seen that an unregenerate man – even though he may be a child of God – cannot receive, or even understand, the spiritual things that God has done for us.  We have to conclude, then, that each and every child of God who has been chosen in Christ, and for whom Christ died, MUST be regenerated at some point in their existence here on earth.  To put it another way, at some point between conception and death, each and every elect of God WILL be born again!  The question becomes, “How does this occur?”  The Bible answer is that it occurs by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, and without any means of man whatsoever – i.e., it is unconditional.

The Arminian view is that a person must “accept” eternal salvation (in the form of the new birth) in order for it to apply to that person.  If he never “accepts” it, he will die and go to hell.  Many who are called “Calvinist” or “Reformed” hold the view that, before even the elect child of God can be regenerated, he must hear the gospel message, and will of necessity receive and believe it upon being born again.  Both of these views are sometimes called “gospel means of regeneration”, or simply “gospel regeneration”.  But what do we read in Scripture about the new birth?  

(*NOTE:  I want to point out that this is a different issue than the question whether all the elect of God will hear and believe the gospel; many of those who believe in sovereign grace hold the position that God will somehow get the gospel message to every elect child of God at some point in the lives, and that they will then believe it if they truly are children of God.  That is a topic to elaborate on at a later time, but suffice it to say that Primitive Baptists do not generally believe that the gospel will necessarily get to every regenerated elect child of God.)

In the third chapter of John, we find a man named Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night.  He salutes Him, but before he can even really begin questioning Jesus about His ministry, Jesus jumps right into the theological truth of regeneration: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  He emphasizes this fact a couple of verses farther along:  “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).  Jesus then explains to Nicodemus how the new birth occurs:  “The wind bloweth where it listeth [wishes], and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

Notice what Jesus is saying here:  the new birth does not occur at the behest of men!  Rather, it is subject ONLY to the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, every single new birth occurs in exactly the same way:  “so [thus, in this way] is EVERY ONE that is born of the Spirit!”  This means that, if we find any example anywhere in the Scripture where one was regenerated apart from hearing the gospel, or any other means of men, then everyone who is ever born again is regenerated without any means of men.  We such an example in the first chapter of Luke.

After the angel revealed to Mary that she was to be the earthly mother of the Christ, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was carrying John the Baptist in her womb.  When she came into Elizabeth’s presence and greeted her, “the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:41).  Elizabeth further explained what happened:  “For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:44).  Remember, the “natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14), and since “joy” is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), this means that the babe in her womb – John the Baptist – must have been born again, otherwise he would have had no joy! 

John the Baptist was regenerated without ever having heard the gospel message.  He had not even formed the capacity to think or speak words, and he certainly had no ability to “accept Christ” or otherwise exercise his own will in any way that would have been effective in achieving his own eternal salvation.  The Bible does not teach “innocence” until a certain “age of accountability”; rather, David says that even infants are corrupted by the sin of Adam:  “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5).  The only conclusion we can reach is that John the Baptist was regenerated in his mother’s womb, apart from any of his own efforts or any other means of men, including hearing the gospel.

The bottom line is that eternal salvation – which includes regeneration – is accomplished by the direct, immediate, and sovereign action of the Holy Spirit, and is unconditional.

To be continued. . . .