Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Salvation

VIEWPOINT



Obtaining salvation is as easy as accepting Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins, and following the will of God. Many people ignore the fact that there is a second and third part to this requirement - repenting and obedience. Some even go as far as omitting the first one. Salvation is not obtained by merely professing that we love Jesus and then ignore all the advice He gave for how to live our lives (Luke 6:46
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

). Some call repenting and changing your actions as trying to gain Heaven by works.

FACT



Christians understand salvation as the offer of deliverance from the condemnation caused by sin and eternal life for any persons who have faith in Jesus Christ.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



Salvation is not permanently unconditional.

This subject is a toughie, and it should not be. This is not about what my opinion, or yours, may or may not be. It's just that this one really confuses me. However, until someone convinces me that everyone looks at God's Word and evaluates all these statements so that they are all saying the same thing without contradicting each other, it only seems right to take this stand:

You can lose your salvation if you refuse the free gift by being disobedient.

Jesus accepts all repentant sinners, and with one exception (the Unpardonable Sin), regardless of the severity of their sins. This is made clear in the Bible. We know this because we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

). However, when Jesus preached to, spoke to, or healed people, He sent them on their way with an admonition to "leave your life of sin" (John 8:11 NIV

11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

). Now, at the point when Jesus spoke to the adulterous woman, she was not condemned by Him. She is saved at that point. But, was she then told that she had no more worries? Did He tell her "Go ahead and continue your life without change, I 'got you covered. You will never lose your salvation."? If we are to retain the salvation of Christ, are we allowed to just continue in our old sinful lifestyle? Not on your eternal life, brother (Romans 6:1-2
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

).

This is not just some solitary stand in this line of thinking. Besides the Bible (1 John 3:9
9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

, 1 John 5:18
18We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

), there are many places to see that salvation is different than many (most?) think. At a site called SO4J, you can find a very intriguing list of 10 ways unsaved people think they are saved. On this site, there was a statement that kind of puts things into perspective:

These people who say "I'm a Good Person" usually compare their so called "goodness" to other people's "goodness," rather than to the Holiness & Perfection of God. They say things like, "I'm better than most people," "I do more good than bad," "I'm not Hitler." They have Human Pride. They also have a False Perception of God - and have made themselves a False Idol of who they think that God is, saying things like - "My God is a loving God who would never send anyone to Hell." (emphasis mine)

And, for those of you who think that Jesus will save everyone, even Paul knows better than that and he tells us so in Hebrews 9:27-28:

27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Notice the phrase "to take away the sins of many". It does not say "to take away the sins of everyone" or even "to take away the sins of everyone who claims to love Him". Harsh? Yes. True? Absolutely. We must compare our lives with the standard from God, not the one from the loving pastor who needs to keep his flock in the pews. God will measure by His tape measure, not ours. So, what does it mean to be one of "those who are waiting for Him."?

The truth is out there - is anyone listening?

The struggle with this topic is that there are good points made on both sides, though many are incomplete and do not represent the whole truth. In the church my wife attends, the pastor teaches the flock "once saved, always saved". Others feel that salvation can be lost if one steps outside the will of God by deliberately sinning or disobeying.

That last phrase is the point of the statement from Hebrews above; that many determine the will of God by seeing Him as they need Him to be, not as He is and as He told us in His word. Those who will be saved are the ones waiting for the Jesus of the Bible, not some softer, gentler Jesus who will save everyone. It's not so much that these people are bad people, they just don't seem to see that God still requires them to be good people who "leave their life of sin" when they accept His gift. And here is the kicker: not good by their own standards, but by His. Our strength will not be enough, we need His strength to be able to obey God. We can only get that strength through true faith and the Holy Spirit.

No one can be righteous:

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."

13 "Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."

14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know."

18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:9-24 NIV)

For those who read this and claim that we can't be good so we don't have to try, there is Romans 2:13
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

. Yep, New Testament. The NIV version of verses 19-20 in Romans 3 (the box above) is often viewed as a "release" from living as God stated we should by obeying His laws. A better view is in the CJSB (Complete Jewish Study Bible):

19 Moreover, we know that whatever the Torah says, it says to those living within the framework of the Torah, in order that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world be shown to deserve God's adverse judgment. 20 For in his sight no one alive will be considered righteous on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, because what Torah really does is show people how sinful they are.

Few people look close enough to see the difference when Paul is speaking of the oral law (Talmud) and the law of God (Torah). The first is legalistic, saying that Talmud (salvation by works) and the other (Torah, the first 5 books) alone are necessary to remain in the will of God. But, many "Christians" misunderstand the words of Paul and feel that we are somehow "free" to ignore both the tradition (Talmud) and the commands of God (the Torah), and that we have no requirements to follow in order to receive salvation. On the surface, this is a partially true statement, as far as it goes. There is nothing we can do ourselves to be saved. However, what is left out of this thought is whether or not we can lose our salvation by deliberate disobedience. We cannot gain salvation by our actions, but we can lose it by them!

Even our entertainment sees it

A movie came out a while back called A Perfect Stranger where a modern lady was invited to have dinner with Jesus Christ. Yeah, yeah, but if you watch the movie, you will see that there is a segment showing a way of explaining human righteousness. The actor portraying Jesus took the salt and pepper shakers and placed them about a foot apart. He said to pretend one was Hitler (the "worst" of human nature) and the other was Mother Teresa (the "best" of human nature). He asked where the lady felt that she would fit into the picture.

She replied that she would probably be somewhere past half way toward Mother Teresa, some seven or eight inches from Hitler. The Jesus character then compared God's righteousness to the one-foot scale of human righteousness as being somewhere thousands of miles away, beyond Mother Teresa. Of course, we can't quantify that, but it puts things into perspective. We cannot determine our righteousness by comparing it to that of God, or even our evil neighbors, and we definitely cannot ignore what He asks us to do in this life.

Where do we fit?

So, if you are living outside the framework of God's law, (supposedly "no longer under the law"), does that mean that you can now boast that you are no longer subject to judgment? Nope, the last part of Romans 3:19
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (Romans 3:19 NIV)

above denies that. Does this whole passage say that we no longer have to seek the will of God and do what He commands (as in follow His law)? If you believe you are outside the law, how do you explain the condemnation of those who, even after the death and resurrection of Jesus, break it to their eternal damnation (1 Cor 6:9-11):

9Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

And, if you say that you do not break those laws (not a wrongdoer), so you are not subject to that punishment (the real meaning of "no longer under the law"), doesn't that mean that you are living within the framework of the law (Torah) by keeping it? And, by doing so, you are therefore still "being guided by the law"? Not for gaining salvation, of course, but with regard to identifying and avoiding sin, which is exactly what God wants us to do.

Can we keep sinning and be saved?

Now don't go off and just say that you can always ask for forgiveness and stay within salvation. If you ask forgiveness for something you know you are going to do again tomorrow, are you repenting or asking for permission? Here we are speaking of what's going on in our hearts when we repeat the sins willingly - without repentance. In order to be within salvation, you must still follow the law and avoid sin, but must add faith.

When Paul says we are no longer under the law, he meant first that the law is not what saves us, and second, when we do not break the law, it has no hold over us, as we are then under Christ. But Paul even argues that the law (the Torah, not the Talmud (the Jewish Oral Law)) is necessary to point out our sin and to show obedience to God (Acts 24:14
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

, Acts 25:8
8 Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."

, and Romans 3:31
31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

). For those who think that this is being too strict or legalistic, look at 1 Cor 9:20-21:

20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.

Many try to use this as proof that Paul says that the Gentiles are not under the law. However, when you read what he says in Romans 2:13-15
13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

, you find that he knows that true believers have the law in thier hearts and act accordingly. They are not under the law because they do not break it, therefore are not sinning (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

), and therefore do not owe the penalty of death.

Well, which is he?

How would you explain these two verses to a stranger? Would you say that Paul is under the law, or not? He says both in there. If you would say that Christ's law is not the same as the law of God, what about His answer to the young rich man
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments."

18 "Which ones?" he inquired.

Jesus replied, "'You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Matt 19:16-19 NIV)

? It is obvious that most do not understand the 1 Corinthians 9 passage in context, and instead use it to say that we do not have to follow any law. That would be wrong.

Paul assures everyone listening that he is still following the will and law of God, even though he is identifying with those who do not (Gentiles) in order to introduce them to Christ. Many should be careful to keep the meaning of the words of Paul within the scope of God's will, not try to seek ways around what they really mean. Paul is not saying that one no longer has to follow God's laws; he is saying that just because you do, that is not what will get you saved. He also says that not following His laws will insure that you are not saved (1 Cor 6:9-11
9Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

), even if you have faith (Rom 3:31
31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

). Looking at it this way will give you a better, more complete picture of salvation.

How do we find the right way?

The fact no one can be righteous doesn't mean we can then just stop seeking the will of God. We can't just sit back and think "I made it!" if it means that we accept lies as truth and make up idols (things, but ideas as well) or images that replace the image of the true God by making Him weaker or more tolerant. If our "gods" do not reflect the image of the real God, then we should discover the difference and change our view. Where can we find that difference? The Bible - read as it was written.

There are things Paul says in his letters that we know we should change in our own lives so that we are not pursuing the carnal man. And, yes, even murderers can repent and be saved. Of course, they will still have to pay the natural consequences of their actions, like going to prison and pay their debt to society. But, if they are seriously repentant, their eternal salvation is secure. But even Paul says that we must leave behind the carnal man and grow up (1 Cor 3:1-3 NKJV):

"1And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?"

Still on the milk?

Every where I turn, I see people holding on to the milk versions of Christ and God. Many (most?) "Christians" don't seem to see, or even want to think about, the stern, just side of Them. These people feel that once they push the magic repentence button one time, they are safe from harm (and any responsibility) no matter what they do or believe. Only One can list all the do's and don'ts of life, but even Paul suggests that we need to study the Word of God and start acting like mature men and women of faith instead of those with a carnal nature.

Remember the passages in Scripture such as 1 Cor 6:9-11
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

(from above). Notice that Paul did not say , "unless you really love Jesus". If you were washed (cleansed), sanctified (made holy), and justified (received the righteousness of Christ), do you think you will stay that way if you dirty yourself (willingly sin), spit on the holiness (consider it a get-out-of-jail-free card, reject Sabbath, follow pagan ways), and reject the justification of Christ (go right back to your old ways)? Does this sound like everyone who repents, but does not change, will be in "Heaven"? Now, this probably means people who practice these acts on a continuing basis, but how are we to know where to draw that line for ourselves?

Love everyone, but be realistic

I know some homosexual people who are wonderful people, and claim to have been saved, but 1 Cor 6:9-11
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

does not leave room for doubt (at least for the males, but I'm pretty sure the same is true for the females based on Romans 1:26
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

). What about those self-proclaimed lesbian or gay pastors and preachers? Regardless of the love we have for Jesus, and our neighbors, there are always some changes each must make in his life in order to inherit eternal life. Our loving them does not change their destination if they blatantly defy God by direct disobedience to His word and will.

Does this mean that, if these people still practice homosexuality, they were never actually saved? Or does it mean that, since they confessed and gave their lives to Christ that they are saved despite their continued homosexuality and that Paul was wrong? Maybe it means that they were saved, but continued to practice homosexuality and lost their salvation after that?

Uh-oh. Now, I've done it

At this point we get into trouble with those who say you cannot lose your salvation. If you feel that way, then please explain to me what Peter meant in 2 Peter 2:19-22
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud."

.

Verse 20 tells me that they were not saved in the beginning before they found Jesus. Then, they got saved by truly believing. They then relaxed back into their sinful ways, so they are now worse off than "just" not saved. They gained and then lost their salvation, and it will now be harder to make the necessary changes to gain it back ("worse off").

Then, in verse 21, there is reference to a "sacred command" that they have "turned their backs on", causing the worse condition. What command was that? I found a very good explanation at BIBLEREF:

What does 2 Peter 2:21 mean?

This verse is part of a larger thought contained in verses 20 through 22. Peter appears to be referring to the ones enticed and deceived by the false teachers in the church. One of the lies of the false teachers was that Christians should freely participate in indulging their sinful desires. Peter describes the effect of this teaching on those who had escaped from the practice of the world and entered into the community of the church.

These were people who heard and understood the gospel of Jesus but who had apparently not yet fully trusted in Christ. According to scripture, merely knowing about God is not the same as having a saving faith in Christ (James 2:19). These potential believers were misled by the false teachers and overcome again by their worldly practices.

Peter writes that it would have been better for them never to have heard the gospel, and never to have been told about the way of righteousness, than to know "the holy command" - the gospel, the command to trust in Christ - and to turn away from it.

Why would it be better? Partly because once that message has been heard and rejected, or corrupted, it is very unlikely someone will return again to believe and trust in it. Their attitude towards the gospel is now warped, distorted, and stained. They have added a series of roadblocks and hang-ups to their path towards genuinely accepting Christ. These complications make it all the harder for them to submit to God, and experience eternal salvation with God the Father.

Finding the right gospel

Now, the only thing we have to do is make sure that the Gospel we follow is the same one given by the Lord and the first century apostles - not one distorted by "false teachers in the church" that allows the indulgence of our sinful desires.

This is not just a reference to sexual immorality and debauchery, but acceptance of pagan practices into the Christian community because we like it better than following the stricter way of God's word. You can see more on this at the page called Why aren't more Jews Christian? which discusses how the message of the first church has been changed to meet our "sinful desires". The bottom line here is - you can lose your salvation by blindly accepting a false message. So why do so many believe that you can't?

"Let's play with the words..."

Somewhere we need a way to understand the true meaning of these scriptures or, as some evidently think, we must accept that the passages contradict themselves or other passages. If you believe in the Word of God, and feel that we no longer have to follow any of God's laws, there must be something convincing you that someone is twisting or something important was missing in a teaching. Somebody is wrong here. God does not contradict Himself.

Of course, there is always the question of whether a person is actually saved to begin with. That person may not have completely given themselves to Christ, so was never actually in Christ to begin with. Without playing games with the words, can you genuinely give yourself to Christ, then through some action of your own, alienate yourself from Him and His salvation?

"Can't be done."

I spoke with a pastor today in a Bible study who claims that this is not even possible. He feels that, once you are saved, you are in. He said that nothing you can do, outside of committing the Unpardonable Sin, will cause you to lose your salvation. This view doesn't make sense in light of 2 Peter 2:19-22
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud."

which makes it clear that losing it is very possible. Of course, that requires us to define the Unpardonable Sin(s). Matthew 12:32 says:

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

So, it is speaking against the Holy Spirit. Mark 3:22-30 (ESV) says:

22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." 23And he (Jesus) called them to him and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. 28Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" - 30 for they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."

The Unpardonable Sin

OK. Now, what is the Unpardonable Sin? Looking through the passage above, it seems that when you attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (speak against the Holy Spirit), you go over the line. So, let's review Paul's statement in 1 Cor 6:9-11
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

above. Does everyone on that list of offenders have to commit this Unpardonable Act?

Questions, questions

Is it possible that they all "repented" in order to get salvation, and then felt, or were told by a weak pastor, that it is OK to continue their life of sin because Jesus has forgiven all their sins - present and future (a fallacy, by the way)? Are they not really "saved" because they did not have good intentions? Do some think they can be like those Mobsters in the movies that attend church on Sunday, go out and murder someone as a part of their jobs, confess the next day, and keep their salvation? What does that say about the Heavenly Kingdom? Are we to expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and share it with those who ignore the rules of God?

How close to the edge can we walk?

Not all sin leads to death. 1 Jn 5:17-18 (NIV) says:

"17All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them."

So does it behoove us to discover the difference between those sins that do and those that don't lead to death, or better yet, should we strive to "not continue to sin" at all? When I see a list of actions that will keep one from the Kingdom, I must accept that this is a list that will prevent one from attaining the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. To me, it is better not to walk that line and take the chance of failing.

"I'm destined to be saved..."

Some give the smug answer that everyone who is actually saved was chosen by God. So, I guess now, since we have no way of knowing otherwise, we have to accept that everyone who thinks he is saved was chosen by God and we cannot doubt them simply because of their actions (Romans 8:28-30):

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

So, does that void the rest of the word of God?

What about the gay pastor? He says he is saved, quotes Romans 8 to prove it, and supposedly that settles that. When do we get to use the common sense that God gave us to read what He said, and expect the reality to follow what He actually told us? Is Paul lying when he gives us the list
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11)

of those who won't be allowed into the Kingdom of God? All of those on the list are lawbreakers. Or is it a lie that some who were once "saved" will not be allowed in if they continue to violate the rules that Paul says keeps some out of the Kingdom? Should we be wary that there is some translation of the truth we are not being told by those shepherds we trust?

God's way is still in effect

God's love and mercy are available to anyone who will accept them - on His terms. The Bible tells us those terms. For those who do not want to have to follow any rules, even those handed down by God, they say "You are just trying to obtain salvation by works. You think that Jesus' sacrifice was not enough. We are no longer under the law - it says so in Romans 2:12 and Galatians 4:21." They say that we no longer have to obey the law because "they are written on our hearts" and then quote Heb 10:16-17:

"16This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." 17 Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."

What is written in our hearts?

How does this writing into our hearts make the law mean anything less than when it was written in stone? This is not a softening of the meaning of the law. It does not mean that we can decide which we will follow and which we won't. It is saying that we will inherently know when we are disobeying God's laws, if we are diligent enough to find out what they say in the first place.

The "sins and lawless acts" that He "will remember no more" are those we committed before we repented of them - not "any sin we will ever commit" if we ignore the law in our hearts. And, if we feel it is acceptable to break a law, then that law is no longer written in our heart. You can't have a law written in your heart, then break it, and expect God to ignore it.

"But, I didn't feel prompted..."

Then again, you hear some say that if the Holy Spirit does not convict them that an action is a sin, then it is OK to do. They don't receive a prompting, so evidently He is not against it. A real world example is an unmarried woman my wife and I know who claims to be Christian, loves the Lord Jesus very much, who is also very promiscuous with married men, but hates God because He is mean. She even has a current boyfriend who is married. They often meet in a motel for intimate relations in "secret", but that is not the worst part.

When my wife seriously discussed this with her, her answer was very surprising. She said that she did not receive a prompting from the Holy Spirit, so she says that she knows that this activity is approved by Jesus, even if God hates it. How do you respond to that? For those of you who feel that I am too direct, what would you say? My wife cautioned her to keep listening to the Lord. According to Peter
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud." (2 Peter 2:19-22)

, she has already turned her back on that "sacred command" and is no longer listening. Remember what we discussed above about the Unpardonable Sin? Claiming Spirit approval of actions declared by God to be sin falls dangerously close to that category if not right into the middle of it.

If you feel that way...

For those who feel this way about prompting by the Spirit, please look again at 2 Peter 2:17-22
17These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud."

, which speaks of ministers and pastors, but refers to others as well. According to Peter, if you turn away from the "sacred command", then you are not paying attention to the Holy Spirit. If you do that often enough, you will no longer hear His voice or feel His prompting.

Peter was also saying this to those who listen to the "false teachers" who teach that it is all right to return to their "sinful desires" because they are "now saved". If you know this is happening in the world, how do you recognize it and keep it from infecting your life? Read the word, pray, read the word, question your pastor, read the word, pay attention to who says what is OK, read the word, and after all that, pray and read the word.

Once saved...?

For those who think "once saved, always saved", explain 2 John 1:7-11, Matthew 6:1, and Revelation 3:11:

"7I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." (2 John 1:7-11, Emphasis mine)

1"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)

11I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Rev 3:11)


If we are "saved beyond the possibility of losing it", then do these things mentioned above, would we not lose our salvation? Someone is wrong here. Why would we be warned about something that some claim cannot happen?

Why don't they tell us?

Why is it you almost never hear the explanation of these passages in the "peaches and cream" sermons in the churches? Why is it so hard for the pastors to tell the whole story of salvation? Hopefully, it is not in order to keep up the size of the congregation (and the offerings) by not telling them the whole truth. Maybe they don't want the people to go to another church that will tell them what they want to hear. Remember what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:3:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Trouble brewing

God tells us the whole story, why won't these modern pastors? After all, we will not be judged by the words and opinions of the sermons we hear, but by the whole word of God, and the actions we take because of that Word. If we listen to these pastors' lies, we wind up worse than they are:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. (Matt 23:15).

And, if you think that this only applies to the Jews, then you'd better hope that you are right. However, my Bible says that "Salvation is from the Jews." (John 4:22
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

), which means at least some of them have it right - and those are the ones we should listen to.

A final thought from the words of Jesus

There are a few phrases from Jesus that you seldom hear. Based on the kind of word being passed to the churches today, it seems appropriate that we should remember them here. In Luke 17:1, Jesus said:

1... "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come."

While that is scary enough, there is another concept that few seem to think about. With all the churches that are so proud of their evangelism and their missions to spread their favorite teachings, whether true or not (see page called Why aren't more Jews Christian?), across the world, why would Jesus still have some concern about the end times:

7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8, emphasis added).

Are we spreading a good foundation for the faith for which He will be looking, faith in the real Jesus? If so, why does He sound so doubtful? It's almost like He knew what the last days would bring - many who claim to accept Jesus as Lord, but do not do what He says (Luke 6:46
46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

).



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