I received the following from a dear friend after he read the Daily Thoughts this week on Solomon and I sent him the following reply.
The thoughts you put forth on Solomon commanded my attention. From the once-saved-always-saved sect I came from, this truth is real. It is emphasized that we are “Kept by the power of God”, yet we must persevere; a mystery indeed, yet like sovereignty and responsibility, it is all still very true.
So Solomon’s end seems similiar to King Saul; were they saved for heaven? I am asked occasionally. I tend to answer “take heed brethren lest by unbelieving heart you fall.” Indeed press on in the faith.
love you much, Mack ]
Good morning, brother;
Insightful thoughts here from you on this issue of Saul and Solomon.
We always want to know definitely, don’t we, the end about some of these things and people in the Bible; I am not sure the Bible answers it always dogmatically for us. One key, I believe, is to view the person in the final light of the way the Bible pictures them; what kind of picture does it paint of one’s end? In other words, how does Scripture seem to want us to view the person’s state at the end of their life? Regarding men like Judas and Demas, the Bible does not leave their end as a positive thing in our minds; it (the Bible) wants us to see them in a final negative light.
Saul seems clearly to be this way; at first, he was given a new heart, not in a regenerational way that made him truly know and loved God savingly, but a heart to rule and govern Israel as a temporal leader. But his final end is abrupt and worsens as the end comes- God gives him a demon, etc, and he dies violently in a context of judgment, not mercy. He does not die the death of the righteous, but of the wicked. We are never led by Scripture to view Saul in a redemptive way.
Solomon, on the other hand, though he had this great mess-up and stumbled, it seems that Ecclesiastes was his final legacy, where he shows all the vanity he gave himself to for a period of times, and then gives evidence through his writing that he returned to God and viewed it all properly.
But a more definitive word about Saul and Solomon is a lynch-pin that, I believe, nails it for us. In 2 Samuel 7:15, the Lord directly speaks to David about both Saul and Solomon and tells us the difference between them.
Speaking of Solomon, God says to David, “But my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” (2 Sam. 7:15)
This seems to clarify it for us with finality. God loved Solomon in a saving, redemptive, and permanent (if we can use that word) way that He clearly did not have for Saul. If words have meaning, God’s own testimony is that He removed or took away His love or positive mercies toward Saul.
This does not eliminate all the mystery, but I feel it clarifies the final end of both men. And you are right in your final analysis. Whether we understand it all or not, our response must be, “Press on to know the Lord regardless of what anyone else does.” This reminds me of Luke 13:23-24, when someone asked Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Most Christians today would give a definitive reply, “Yes or no, I don’t think so. ” But Jesus’ reply is completely different. His simple answer is, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.” If someone asked us, “How many people do you think will be in heaven?” would we say to them, “Just make sure you strive to enter into that narrow door.”
Hope this helps somewhat. Great is the mystery of godliness, and great still is the mystery of much of the Bible.
Love you too, brother.
Your brother and friend,