JAMES 5:19-20 ABrethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
The sinner here is not someone who has never known the truth. This is one of Christ=s own.
This verse says it all - one who knows the truth, CAN wander from it,
And that soul will ultimately die, unless he turns back to Christ.
The verse is shown below
from the New Revised Standard Version.
James 5:19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
that you know where I=m coming from - Let=s
JOHN 10:28, 29 Jesus said
AI give them eternal life, and they shall never
perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is
greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father=s hand.@ NIV
JOHN 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
ABeing confident of this
very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the
day of Jesus Christ;@
You gave your heart to
Jesus. You honestly desired to be
changed, to have a new heart, to be righteous from the inside out. You were baptized in His name - and the name
of His Father, and the name of the Spirit.
You are now part of the body of Christ, His church, His bride. Your name is written in Heaven, in the Book
of Life. No one, not even Satan himself,
can take you away from your Savior. You=re safe. You=re secure forever. Right?
Well, yes - and no.
It=s easy to see that as long as you want a relationship with Him, Christ your Savior will allow nothing to sever that relationship. But what happens if you should turn your back on Christ and go back to a life of rebellious sin without regard for God or fellow man? Does God ever have grounds for divorce??
GOD IS ULTIMATELY CONCERNED WITH OUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE.
God created Adam and Eve
in His own image. Man was given free
will. Without free will there can be no
love, for love by definition must be freely given. Men are not androids, programed to act within
narrow defined parameters.
To God, this freedom of choice was so important that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son rather than create man without this freedom. The Father knew of course, that one day Lucifer would rebel against Him, never to return. He knew that Adam and Eve would choose to doubt His love, disobey His command and eat of Athe tree.@ He knew that only a portion of their descendants would finally be reconciled. He knew what it would take to win them back. And yet He created beings with the freedom to choose.
WILL WE BELIEVE AND TRUST HIM, OR NOT?
Obedience is an outward
sign, a result of our trust relationship with God. If we love and trust our Father, we will obey
Him because we believe that He knows what is best for us. When we disobey
God, we are really saying,
AI don't believe you@,
AI think you are keeping
something good from me.@ (This is the rationale
that Satan used at the tree in the garden.) You see, being saved is not just
a legal manipulation. Being saved
means that we come to trust God completely. We have entered a relationship
which allows God to make changes in our thoughts, desires, and actions.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE
AI=m saved,@ He says. AI will live forever. Someday I will live in a beautiful city with streets made of gold.@
Yes, that can all true. He can live forever in a beautiful place. But there is much more to salvation. We are saved from sin - not just from death and unpleasantness. We are saved from the selfishness within our own hearts. Christ Himself through His Spirit comes to live in us. We live mind to mind with our Savior. Through us He pours out His gentleness, His kindness, His patience, His unselfishness, His power, and His truth - His love. We enter into a living, dynamic relationship with a living being - our Lord.
Some people very much
want to live forever in Heaven, but they are not so concerned with day to day
righteousness. They want the rewards
but not necessarily the relationship.
Yet it is the relationship which leads to the final reward. We cannot have one without the other.
A MAN CHOOSE TO LEAVE GOD?
ABeware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an
evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but
exhort one another daily, while it is called
AToday,@ lest any of you be hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin. For we have become
partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence
steadfast to the end,@
There=s that word again -
Aunbelief.@ What did Jesus say,
AIf you believe.@ The above text suggests that one can believe
in Christ, and then be deceived into unbelief.
The Israelites who died in the wilderness, could not enter into the
promised land because of
disobedience was proof of their disbelief.
(Hebrews 3:19) If we believe, we will obey. If we refuse to obey, it is because we do not
truly believe in the rightness of God.
ABut he that shall endure
unto the end, the same shall be saved.@
I JOHN 1:7
AIf we walk in the light
.... the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.@
ATherefore consider the goodness and severity of
God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if
you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.@
I JOHN 2:24
ALet that therefore abide in you, which ye have
heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from
the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in
The words HOLD, WALK, CONTINUE, ABIDE, REMAIN, all suggest an ongoing relationship, rather than a one time decision. The word Aif@ stresses an ongoing choice between options.
II TIMOTHY 2:12
AIf we endure, we shall also reign
with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.@
AYou are already clean (saved) because of the
word which I have spoken to you. Every branch
in Me that does not bear fruit He
takes away; If anyone does not abide
in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and
throw them into the fire, and they are burned.@
Here clearly are
believers who have been
Asaved.@ They have been forgiven of their sins. They are clean. Yet Christ tells them that they will be cut
off the tree like a withered branch, and
Acast into the fire,@ unless they continue to abide in Him.
Again notice the words
ENDURE, AND ABIDE are commands to continue. Again the word
Aif@ suggests alternatives,
and free choice.
I CORINTHIANS 9:27 Paul himself said, A. . . lest by any means, when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a
cast away.@ (rejected)
If anyone was in a
Asaved@ condition, it was
Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles -
stoned, imprisoned, whipped, shipwrecked, all for the cause of Christ. Yet here Paul says there is a chance that
even He could be
Acast away,@ if He does not continue
to abide in Christ, and thereby keep His commandments.
ROMANS 11:17‑20,21,22 Speaking to a Gentile convert, Paul said,
A...some of the branches
were broken off, and you ... were
ADo not be haughty but fear, for if God did not
spare the natural branches He may not spare you either.@
A. . . toward you, goodness, if you continue
in His goodness. Otherwise you also
will be cut off.@
First please notice that Asome,@ not all, of the Anatural branches@ (biological descendants of Abraham) were Acut off@ Abecause of unbelief.@ God has not broken His covenant with Israel. His covenant with Abraham continues to this day for any Jew who comes to belief in Christ. Paul here tells the Gentile convert that He has been grafted into the tree (the true Israel - the believing descendants of Abraham). He has become part of the church. He is blessed of God. He is saved. His name has been written in Heaven. Yet just like the unbelieving Jews, he can and will be cut off if he does not continue in the faith.
I TIMOTHY 4:1
A. . . some shall
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits@
I TIMOTHY 5:15
AFor some have already turned aside after
2:4 (Speaking to the church of
Ayou have left your first love.@
II PETER 2:20
AFor if, after they have escaped the
pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse
with them than the beginning.@
II PETER 1:9-10 Peter tells the brethren to give all diligence to their growth in knowledge and virtue, Afor he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.@ (He lacks faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity.) ATherefore , brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if your do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.@
Peter here seems to be
saying that if one does not
Agive diligence@ or attention to
Christian growth, he could stumble and fall away and thereby loose his election
or entrance into the everlasting kingdom of Christ. In other words - he could loose his
AFor if we sin (continue to sin) willfully (with
a rebellious attitude) after we have received the knowledge of the truth there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.@
(This verse was
improperly translated from the Greek because there is no present participle in
This verse describes the
condition of the rebellious and callous individual, who goes on sinning without
even trying to stop. There is nothing
that God can do for this person, because he does not hate his sin, and he will
AWhen I say to the righteous
he will surely live (eternally), and he so trusts in his righteousness that he
commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that
same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die (the second death).@
Here is the man who
believes that his salvation is a fact, which nothing can alter. He has been
righteous and will receive his reward.
Because he believes that his reward is certain, he becomes careless. He does not feel his need of continued
heavenly support. He does not stay
close to Christ or pray for victory. And
what happens? He
Acommits iniquity@ - of course. The text
is clear - he will die in his iniquity, with his sin unforgiven.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A RIGHTEOUS MAN TURNS AWAY
EZEKIEL 18:26-27 AWhen a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die (the Asecond death@).
Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteous, he will save his life (eternally).@ (Ezekiel 33:13-16)
No man can be righteous
without the indwelling Holy Spirit, so this
Arighteous man@ must be in a saving
relationship with God. Yet if he turns
away from righteousness he will die (eternally) .
AReturn to Me, and I will
return to you, Says the LORD of hosts.@
THE MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
REVELATION 1:1 -
3:22 John the apostle was given a
message for each of seven churches. Each
message was given by Christ
Himself. Each message gives a command,
and each message gives a promise of reward for those who follow the command.
To Ephesus, the
message is given by the One
Awho holds the seven
stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands@ (Rev. 2:1,
1:13,20). The command is given:
ARepent and do the first
works...@ (Rev. 2:5). The promise:
ATO HIM WHO OVERCOMES, I will give to eat from
the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God@ (Rev. 2:7).
The implied message would be that whomever does NOT overcome, will NOT eat of the tree of life.
To Smyrna, the
message is given by
Athe First and the Last,
who was dead and came to life:@ (Rev. 2:8). The command is given:
ABe faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life@ (Rev. 2:10).
The additional statement is made:
AHE WHO OVERCOMES shall not be hurt by the second
death@ (Rev. 2:11).
The implication - that the one who is NOT faithful, and does NOT overcome, will NOT receive th crown of life, and will die the second death. The second death is the Alake of fire@ (Rev. 20:6,14).
Remember that these
messages were not given to unbelievers.
They were given to the churches.
To Sardis, the
message is given by
AHe who has the seven
Spirits of God and the seven stars@ (Rev. 1:16,20).
ABe watchful, and
strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die@ (Rev. 3:2). And the promise:
AYou have a few names even in Sardis who have not
defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are
worthy. HE WHO OVERCOMES shall be
clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of
Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels@ (Rev. 3:4-5).
If Christ does not
confess the name of a sinner before His Father, that sinner will be lost. His name will be blotted from the Book of
Life, and he will die the second death.
(Rev. 20:15). No one will enter
the New Jerusalem who=s name is not found
written in the Book of Life (Rev. 21:27).
the message is given by
AHe who is holy, He who
is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts,
and no one opens@ (Rev. 3:7,
1:11,18). The command is given to
AHold fast what you have,
that no one may take your crown@ (Rev. 3:11).
AHE WHO OVERCOMES, I will
make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out not more. And I will write on him the name of My God
and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of
heaven from My God. And I will write on
him My new name@ (Rev. 3:12).
Acrown@ here referred to is the
Acrown of life.@ To receive this crown is to receive eternal
Akey of David@ is the key to life -
eternal life (Rev. 1:18).
To Laodicea, the message is again given by Christ, Athe Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God;@ (Rev. 3:14). To command: Abuy from Me gold,@ and Awhite garments,@ and Aeye salve.@ Hear my voice and open the door@ (Rev. 3:18-21). The promise: Aand I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me@ (Rev. 3:21). ATo him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcome and sat down with My Father on His throne@ (Rev. 3:21).
Anyone who refuses to
open his heart to Christ will not receive eternal life.
THE LAMB=S BOOK OF LIFE
REVELATION 21:27 ABut there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.@
ANevertheless do not
rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice
because your names are written in heaven.@
HEBREWS 12:23 ABut you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant . . .@
PHILIPPIANS 4:3 AAnd I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.@
REVELATION 12:18 AAll who dwell on the earth will worship him (the beast), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.@ (Rev. 17:8)
AAnd anyone not found written in the Book of
Life was cast into the lake of fire.@
REVELATION 22:19 A . . . and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy (Revelation) , God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.@
AHe who overcomes ... I
will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life.@
Our name is written in
Athe Lamb=s book of life@ when we come to God in
repentance and faith - when we enter into the covenant. We receive
forgiveness. The words
Ablot out his name,@ and
Atake away his part@ tell us that it is
possible for us to loose salvation and eternal life. Once saved - always saved is not taught here.
- LAST MINUTE SALVATION
A mafia don keeps a priest close by for
Aemergencies.@ Can the mass, administered by a priest just
before, or even just after death, gain a place in Heaven for one who committed
murder after murder in life, with no thought of reform?
The thief on the cross asked for and received
assurance of a place in Christ=s kingdom (Luke
23:42,43). Does this mean that any one
of us may ask for and receive forgiveness and salvation in the last moments of
Only God knows the heart. If the person who is dying is asking for absolution just so that he/she will go to the good place instead of the bad place - then the answer is no. On the other hand, if that person is genuinely sorry for his sin, if he has truly caught a glimpse of the great love of God, if he greatly desires a relationship with God and with His Son for all eternity, then the answer is yes.
The human mind cannot live with the thought of
burning torment without end. The
individual seeks reassurance that, no matter what happens, no matter what he
does or does not do in the future, he will never go
Athere.@ This is why the
Aonce saved - always
saved@ doctrine is so
important to those who believe there is a place called
Other studies at this web site will explain that
God will not send anyone to a place called
Ahell,@ to be tortured for eternity. See:
AThe Condition of Man in Death,@ and
AHell - Who? What? When?
@ Please be assured - God does not believe in
cruel or unusual punishment any more than you do.
CONSIDER A FEW EXAMPLES OF PERSONS
WHO WERE IN A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND THEN FELL AWAY.
SOME REPENTED AND WERE RESTORED AGAIN,
SOME WERE NOT.
PSALM 51:11 Atake not Thy Holy Spirit from me.@
v. 12 ARestore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.@
I SAMUEL 10:6,9 Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. He was converted.
v. 9 AGod gave him another heart.@
I SAMUEL 31:1‑6 Saul committed suicide rather than be captured by the enemy.
I SAMUEL 28:6,16 The Lord refused to communicate with Saul.
v. 16 The Lord had departed from Saul.
I SAMUEL 28:7‑25 Saul consulted with the spirit medium of Endor.
I CHRONICLES 10:13,14 Afor asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it:
He (God) slew him.@
He close to the Lord when he began his reign as king. Then he married many heathen wives and they turned his heart away from God and he built alters to their false gods. In his old age he returned to God but not in time to save the kingdom of Israel from the result of his influence.
He walked with Jesus for three years, and accepted him as the Messiah. Then he betrayed him.
Saved seven times. (Mark 16:9)
The parable of the Prodigal Son:
He was free to leave
again if he chose. (Luke 15:11‑32)
THE CITIES OF REFUGE
When a murderer fled to a
Acity of refuge@ he was safe from the
Aavenger of blood@ only so long as he
remained inside the city. (Numbers 35:26‑27). If he ventured outside,
the avenger could kill him. So we are safe from Satan
Athe destroyer@ only so long as we
remain in Christ our Refuge.
WHAT DOES THE SANCTUARY
SYMBOLISM TELL US?
The sacrificial system pointed forward to Christ
Athe Lamb of God@ who was sacrificed once
for the sins of the whole world. Each
time an Israelite sinned he could bring a lamb to the Sanctuary (later the
Temple) and obtain forgiveness. He would
confess his sin over the head of the Lamb, symbolically transferring that sin
to the Lamb. If coming to Christ once is
sufficient for all our sins- past, present, and future, then the sacrifice of
one lamb - once in his life - should
have provided forgiveness for life, for the Israelite. But this was not the case.
Unconfessed sin in the life of an Israelite on the Day of Atonement meant separation from God's people. So in fulfilment of this prophecy, unconfessed sin in the life of any person at the end of his/her life (or at the last Day of Atonement - the day of Christ=s return) means that he/she will be Acut off@ from God=s people (at least for the period of the millenium).
Christ=s death on the cross won for Him the right to
forgive anyone who comes to Him in faith. His death covers all sins of
ignorance (Lev. 5:17-19, John 9:41). Yes, Christ died once for all sin, for all
time, but each time we sin knowingly we must ask for and claim that forgiveness
in the name of Christ. We cannot ask in
advance to be forgiven for our future sins.
(This was the Roman practice of buying indulgences - forgiveness in
advance, which caused Luther to lash out at the Roman Church.) Before we can be forgiven, we must hate our
sin, we must be sorry for the pain we have brought to the heart of God, and to
our fellow men.
IT IS A DAILY CHOICE.
A Then He said to them
>If anyone desires to
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and
I CORINTHIANS 15:31 AI die daily.@
ONCE SAVED - ALWAYS SAVED?
MATTHEW 18:23‑35 THE PARABLE OF THE DEBTOR
Sins are forgiven and
covered when confessed and forsaken.
So long as the sinner remains in Christ, his past sins remain covered
and forgiven. If however, this person
returns to his former life without Christ, his sins, past and present will be
open in the books of Heaven. He will
meet the record of his entire life on judgment day.
This lesson is taught in
the parable of the unmerciful servant, who after he had been forgiven his
entire debt, (been saved) dealt harshly with his debtors, and the Lord
then required him to pay all that had once been forgiven him.@
If forgiveness were
obtained by doing something to coax God into forgiving us, then it would also
be true that we can do things that would cause God to change His mind. But if forgiveness is discovered as an
unchanging quality in the heart of God, then the way to lose forgiveness is
to separate oneself from this forgiving God.
(See the study on
The Wrath of God at this website.)
(1) I can become so rebellions, so drawn by the cheap attractions of sin, that I don't care about forgiveness.
(2) I can become so self-righteous, so impressed with my good works, that I don't think I need forgiveness.
(3) I can be so smitten by guilt that Satan convinces me to think God could never forgive such a sinner as I.
(4) I can become absorbed in the cares of this
life and become so busy that I forget about God and my relationship with Jesus.
But in each case I am the one who has changed. God has not changed.
This, of course, is the weakness of the Aonce saved, always saved@ doctrine. It is based on the premise that once God has decided to forgive a sinner, He will never change His mind. The problem is, God does not change His mind; we do! The sin problem doesn't center in God's opinion of man, but in man's opinion of God.
God is forgiveness. He cannot be untrue to Himself. There was never a point in time when Divinity decided to forgive sinners. AFor I am the Lord, I change not.@ (Malachi 3:6) God forgave man before he ever sinned. God forgave all man before mankind was created. But man must accept that forgiveness, and enter a covenant relationship with God, before he can receive its life giving power.
There is another
deception into which many Christians fall. It is the sin of presumption.
Many come to believe that God is so forgiving that He will continue to forgive
them, no matter how long they continue to repeat their sin. As long as they ask
for forgiveness over and over, they can sin, over and over. This deception is deadly, because they have
ignored the need for repentance. David
AIf I regard sin in my
heart, the Lord will not hear me@ (Psalm 66:18).. Confession is not enough. Repentance is also necessary. To repent means
Ato turn around.@ It means to stop doing what you were
doing. Those who believe that
confession is enough, never really plan to change. They never ask God for
the power to change. They deny Christ entrance into their hearts and their
AYou are the slaves of
the one you obey.@
If I willfully,
blatantly sin then I am Satan's slave. If I say,
Aforgive me,@ but then I refuse the saving power of God,
which would change my life, I deny God Himself.
I refuse the essence of forgiveness which is healing, and I am lost.
BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED, THROUGH FAITH
WE MUST BELIEVE
we lose faith, we loose salvation.
A. . . but these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have
life in His name.
ASo they said,
>Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will
you and your household.="
MARK 16:16 "He who believes and is
baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.@
AJesus said to him,
"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord,
I believe; help my unbelief!"
AWell said. Because of
unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but
fear. For if God did not spare the
natural branches, He may not spare you either.
ABeware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an
evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called
"Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of
sin. For we have become partakers of
Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.@
ASo we see that they (Israel) could not enter
(into Canaan) in because of unbelief.@
ABut without faith it is
impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of
those who diligently seek Him.@
If you do not believe
that your Heavenly Father can help you, will help you, and in fact desires very
much to help you, then you will not reach out to Him. You will not pray. You will not ask, and God will not enter your
mind without your permission. He will
not violate your free will.
We must believe that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. We must believe that He can and will forgive our sins. We must believe that He can and will live in us, and give us power to overcome any inherited or cultivated tendency to sin. This faith opens the door to God=s healing forgiveness.
If I deny the power of
God to overcome every sin, I am saying that God's power in my life is
insufficient. I have closed the door.
There is no need to be
lost. Paul wrote,
AI can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me@ (Philippians 4:13).
AWith God nothing is
impossible@ (Luke 1:37).
AWhat He has promised, He
is able to perform@ (Romans 4:21).
AYou are of God, little children, and have
overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world
Forgiveness is more than a legal maneuver. Salvation is more than a ticket to the city with golden streets.
God can and will change your life. But you must respond. You must choose whom you will believe. If you once had faith and somehow lost that confidence in God, go and find it again. Search, read, pray until you find it - until you find Him.
And remember, faith too is promised (1Cor 12:9).
ACTS 16:31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." NKJV
JAMES 2:19 You believe that there is one God.
You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! NKJV
In what way does the belief of a child of God differ from that of a demon? Demons will not be saved in the kingdom of God - yet we read that they Abelieve.@ Demons know who God is. They know He does exist. They know He is all powerful. They also know that they have lost the battle for this world. Christ will soon banish Satan to the pit. The belief held by the child of God goes beyond knowing what is and what will be.
First: The child of God believes certain things about the character of God. He/she believes that God is love, that God is kind, patient, and merciful.
Second: In the child of God belief leads to obedience. His/her obedience says, I believe that God is just, and holy, and good, and knows what is best for me. The child of God has surrendered, because he/she believes in the goodness of God.
Suppose I return to a
life of sin after I have been baptized, after I have made a commitment to
Christ. Many Christians would say this
action on my part indicates that I was never
They believe that if a person is saved he IS changed and will never
return to his old life.
What does this mean to
me, if I=m out there sinning
again? If I=m sleeping with someone
without benefit of marriage - was I never really saved? If I become addicted to drugs and begin to
steal - was I never really saved? What
if I am envious of a coworker? Want if I
gossip frequently? At what point do I
know that I was never
Areally@ saved, so I=d better go back and do
it right this time? If I commit
Abig@ sins, then, for sure, I
was never really saved. But what if I
Salvation is a process. I am being saved. Day by day - hour by hour, I am growing in grace. I have entered a relationship with my Savior. I may slip and fall many times, but so long as I continue to pray, to ask for forgiveness desiring to become like Christ in character, I have not left that relationship. (Let=s face it, because of temperament or training, some folks find it easier to act like a Christian than others do.) If I were to die before I have reached full maturity, Christ=s righteousness would cover my imperfections, and I would be welcome in Heaven.
I have said that I consider myself to be in a saved condition - now, because I have entered into a saving relationship with Christ. I could comfortably say, AI am saved,@ or even AI have been saved.@ I do not, however, believe that I am irrevocably saved. I may revoke my salvation, if I choose to leave my relationship with Christ.
Just as marriages
sometimes die through neglect, so my relationship with Christ could die if
severely neglected. Suppose I just
choose to pursue things other than spiritual growth . (I=m not openly rebellious
towards God. I haven=t consciously turned
away from Him.) The end result is the
same. Doubts creep in, slowly almost
imperceptibly. One day I realize my faith
is gone. I can choose to go in search of
evidence to restore my faith. Like the
prodigal son I can return to the Father=s house.
But the longer I say away, the greater the likelihood that I will ever
HOW CAN THE UNIVERSE BE SECURE?
How can the universe be
secure for eternity if human beings, or angels for that matter, can choose to
rebel? That=s why the resolution of
the sin problem has taken so long. God
wanted all intelligent beings to see for themselves the results of doing things
any other way than His way. He wanted to
answer every possible question which has, or ever will be asked concerning His
character, His law, His mercy, and His justice. God allowed the horrible
results of rebellion, He then gave His only begotten Son, because He is
committed to free will. For without free
will, there can be no love.
EPHESIANS 2:8 AFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.@ NKJV, NAS (similar wording in NIV and NASB)
Ayou have been saved@ in this verse are used
by many Christians to support the doctrine of
Aonce saved - always saved.@ The words
Ahave been@ are translated from the Greek
Aeste@ (#2075). The word is translated 82 times as
Aare,@ 5 times as
Abe,@ 1 time as
Abelong to,@ and 1 time as
Ahave been@ in the KJV. The word is present tense, and does not
necessarily point to something which happened in the past. The verse could be paraphrased -
Athis is how you are
saved - through faith.@
Compare the Phillips: AFor it is by grace that you are saved, through faith@
New English: AFor it is by his grace you are saved,@
Amplified: AFor it is by free grace (God=s unmerited favor) that you are saved@
AFor by grace are ye
saved through faith;@
In the parable of the
sower, the seed which fell on stony ground, and the seed which fell among
thorns did sprout and begin to grow.
Christ explained that the person represented by the rocky ground, first received
the word (seed) with joy, but later the young plant died because it did not
put down a root (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8).
The word did have an effect. It sprouted and began to grow. The person represented by the thorny ground, received the word (seed) Awith joy.@ Only later was it choked out by the thorns (the cares of life, persecution, temptation and trial). The soil represents the condition of the heart or mind, and this is personal choice. (ADo not harden your hearts@ Hebrews 3:8.)
THE AORIST TENSE
In the English language we have Apresent tense@ (I run.), Apast tense@ (I ran.), Afuture tense@ (I will run.)
In the Greek there is
another tense, which we don=t have in the
English. It is a difficult tense to
translate into English. A verb written
in the aorist tense means that a process, or an action has begun, which, if it
continues, will end in a completed action or effect. Let me give a few examples.
A... in whom (Christ) also, having believed, you
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.@
Asealed@ is in the aorist
tense. Roughly translated it means,
Ayou were sealing to be
Ayou began the sealing
process and will be sealed (perfect tense) if you continue the process.@
Asaved@ as translated from the
Greek, in the New Testament, is written in the
Aaorist@ tense, the
Apresent@ tense, the
Afuture@ tense, and the
Yet in almost every instance, the translation simply reads
LUKE 18:42 To the blind man Jesus said,
AReceive your sight. Your
faith has saved you.@ NRS
Here the word
Asaved@ is in the perfect
tense. The man was perfectly
healed. And here I have to point out
that the Greek for
Amade well@ and the word for
Asaved@ is the SAME word. This should help us understand what it truly
means to be saved. It is to be healed.
Anot by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved
us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.@ NKJ
And here in Titus 3:5,
Asaved@ is written in the
aorist tense, meaning Christ is
Asaving us to be saved.@ The process begun WILL
result in a
Asaved@ (perfect tense)
condition, if it continues.
My point here, is simply
to say that just because a word translated from Greek to English has an
Aed@ on the end, does not
mean that it signifies a completed action.
PERFECTION: IS IT NECESSARY FOR
If you are covered by
the righteousness of Christ, then you ARE perfect in the eyes of God.
If you are abiding in
Christ, if you have a relationship with God, and you are being transformed into
the image of His Son, then you are indeed in a saved condition. If you were to die today, you would be called from the grave by Christ, in
Athe resurrection of the
just.@ Because one has not reached full maturity in
Christ does not mean he/she is not righteous in the eyes of God, through
Christ. A newborn Christian is indeed
covered by the blood of Christ so long as he/she remains in that saving
A friend recently
pointed out to me that the New Covenant promise of Ezekiel 36 will NOT be
fully realized until we reach the promised land.
EZEKIEL 36:24-28 AFor I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. THEN I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.@
If you=ve been worried because you=re not yet a Aperfect@ Christian, take heart. God will keep His promise.