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.



Forgiven...?

VIEWPOINT



There are conditions and steps to forgiveness. Anyone individuals who do not recognize and adhere to all three of these steps of acceptance, repentance, and obedience are fooling themselves and will not see salvation.

FACT



God sacrificed His Son for those who accept His gift (John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

), repent and live in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38
38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

), and respect the Father's will (Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

).


BLUE VIEWPOINT



People say there is nothing we have to do to gain salvation. They say that there is nothing we can do to gain salvation. They say that once you are saved, there is nothing you can do to lose it because you have been forgiven.

This is a subject that many people do not understand. They do not understand because they are told by their pastors not to worry about anything because they have been forgiven. Those pastors are setting the stage for a huge disappointment.

I hear you out there with your indignant objections. Hear me out and you will at the very least think about it from a view closer to that of the words in the Bible. You remember the Bible; the book that you all claim to believe in, but a vast majority of you refuse to follow very important parts of it. Especially about the subject of forgiveness. It is as Jesus said:

29Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." (Matthew 22:29)

Sorry to be so abrupt. Now that I have your attention, let's talk.

Forgiven

Every Christian who has heard the story of Christ's sacrifice, believed it, repented, was baptized, and then committed themselves to live in the Holy Spirit, has been forgiven. This forgiveness covered every sin they had committed up to that time. It also gave them the righteousness of Christ, along with the Holy Spirit, to help override that sinful nature we inherited from Adam and Eve so that God would see us through Christ's righteousness. If we died at that point, we would be assured that we would inherit eternal life. Right?

Splitting from the narrow path

Here is where most pastors and Christians have been sidetracked from the words of the Bible. They have been led to believe, and subsequently teach, that once this commitment has been made by Christians, they are saved and cannot lose that salvation. How am I doing in describing what you have been told? Do you believe this way?

The way things are being presented now

The reason they believe this is that pastors and people have added at least two concepts to this forgiveness package that cannot be found in the Bible. In fact, the Bible tells us that these added concepts are not true, regardless of how many churches teach them.

The first concept is that once you are forgiven and accept the Holy Spirit, you have been forgiven for every sin you will ever commit. The second is that, now that you are saved, the Old Testament law does not apply to you or your actions as a Gentile believer. Because of this condition, you are taught to believe that you can no longer commit sin. Again, how am I doing? If you find an error in this logic, or these statements, let me know and I will present your thoughts to the world. Before you do that, just hang in there a little longer and you will see the point of this page.

Lack of foundation

There is no Biblical foundation for either of those teachings. There is clear Biblical foundation for teaching exactly the opposite.

Forgiven?

How many times can we be forgiven? Many times. Why? Because we continue to sin. When we do, we need to be forgiven again because we have acted against God and, once again, owe the penalty for sin. But, it doesn't stop there. We must extend that forgiveness to others. Jesus said this when He taught the apostles how to pray the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13
9"This, then, is how you should pray:

" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.' "

) followed immediately by Matt 6:14-15
14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

.

First, we have been forgiven, but not for future sins. Think about that statement. Many believe that they are saved now. As in right now, they believe are assured eternal life at this moment. And this is all because they accepted Christ's gift once, repented, and believe. However, the Bible tells us that we are going to be saved when Jesus brings His salvation with Him (Hebrews 9:28
28so 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.

). We have not yet reached the destination, so we must press on as Paul did in order to obtain the goal (Philippians 3:12-14
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

).

Future tense, not past

All the salvation verses speak of the fact that He "will appear a second time" and we "will be saved" when He comes again. This future tense is because, before we die, there is always the possibility that we can turn back to the world and lose that hope of salvation (2 Peter 2:20
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.

). Are you aware that there are conditions for that salvation? Yeah, yeah, your pastor says something different, but when you look at the actual words of the Bible, you will see. One good reference is Hebrews 10:26
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, (NIV)

or better yet, the NLT version

26Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.

. One example is all it takes to show that this is the truth. If there is one you can easily see, there are more you can find if you care to look.

What about repentance?

Consider a gay person who "comes to Christ". We know that many homosexuals claim this because some churches have even allowed self-professing gays to become pastors. They may even be genuine in their commitment to believe, accept the gift, study the Bible and go to church. They claim to believe in what the word of God says, so they consider themselves saved, right? But, what does the word of God say about homosexuals? One example is:

9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Now this doesn't say, "...unless you really believe or really want to be saved" or anything else that would make it conditional. The flaw in their thinking is that they do not follow the will of God (His law, see the next box a few paragraphs below). It says that none of those acting that way will inherit the Kingdom of God. Note that there is one step that was forgotten when they "came to Christ" - repentance and rejection of the old lifestyle. (Luke 17:3-4
3So watch yourselves.

"If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent', you must forgive them."

)

Not just homosexuals

When you read this passage in the box above, look at the number of different activities that are included in the list. It's not just homosexuality that will keep you out. If you are deliberately committing acts that the Bible calls sinful, whether you know it or not, and do not repent and forsake the sin, you cannot be forgiven and therefore are not in the "ecclesia". Ecclesia means "called out ones", as in called out of being as the world is. If you do not forsake the world, then you have not committed to Christ and are therefore not forgiven.

This is only one example, with many facets, but it demonstrates a principle that we must consider. Any sin must be forsaken for the process to work, but even that will not guarantee salvation. Let's say that this same homosexual person actually does forsake the sin and repents when they accept Christ. At that point they are forgiven, but they are not yet saved. That will only happen depending on the conditions at the Second Coming of Christ.

"love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12
12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (NIV)

)

In the Matthew quote in the line above, the NIV uses the word "wickedness", but the word in other versions include "lawlessness" (ESV), "sin" (NLT), and "iniquity" (KJV). The final point on this matter is the word used in the Greek - anomian - which is usually translated "lawlessness" or "transgression of the law". You can't be criticized for breaking the law if the law no longer applies to you - as is taught in most churches today - but it does.

Think about what the Bible says will happen if they are enticed back into that homosexual, sinner, or any other wicked lifestyle. Their love for the Lord cools, and their wickedness (lawlessness) returns. They are then "re-classified" as a homosexual or sinner, albeit a believing one. That will not change the conditions of whether they will be accepted into the Kingdom of God. They will still not be included because, according to Paul, and the book of Leviticus chapters 18 and 20, no homosexual or anyone who acts in the manner of the list given will inherit the Kingdom. That would be straight from the law of God. Don't think so?

Read 2 Peter 2:20
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.

, think about it, then put it into your own words. If they were lost in the beginning before they were saved the first time, what does it mean to be "worse off at the end than they were at the beginning"? They were lost before being "saved", and what is worse than being lost?

The law is gone for Gentiles?

Now, for the second issue of whether the law applies to Gentile Christians. Staying with the same example that we used above, why is Paul so clear about the exclusion of homosexuals from the Kingdom of God? What would make him so positive that this activity is so wrong? The simple answer is that God said so very clearly through Paul in the book of Romans and in His own words in Leviticus:

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. (Romans 1:26-27)

22Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Leviticus 18:22)

13If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)

That would be directly from the law, otherwise known as the will of God. Unless you have another, softer, meaning for the word "detestable", this would be a bad thing. Since the OT was Paul's only reference because there was no New Testament at the time, this OT law was his source of knowledge. Where else could he get knowledge about the will of God and pass it on to others? He was raised on God's law and was one of it's major enforcers, especially after he "met" Christ on the road to Damascus.

Paul enforced the law of God when he started churches

Paul never broke the law (Acts 25:8
8Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."

) because he knew what that would do to his relationship to Christ and the Father. So, he was enforcing God's law with not only his statement in 1 Corinthians 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 men10nor 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.

above, but he used another of His laws in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

, while judging an issue of one man breaking a law that came from Leviticus 18:8
8Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father.

, and the church that approved the activity. For those of you not familiar with the Bible, Leviticus would be in the Old Testament.

Odd activity for a man who supposedly said the law no longer applies to Gentiles

That's pretty strange activity for the Apostle to the Gentiles that most pastors say wrote the book of Galatians in order to tell us that the law does not apply to Gentile Christians. The book actually says no such thing, but that is not where the pastors leave it. It merely says that depending on the law alone for salvation, without faith added, will not work (Hebrews 4:2
2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

). Notice that he did not say, "did not have faith instead of obedience", but "did not share the faith of those who obeyed". But, for some reason, the pastors must interpret it in a way that removes any requirement for obedience to God. That is called "lawlessness" (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

) by one who wrote part of the New Testament well after Jesus died for us.

Forgiveness does not preclude obedience to the law

So, the common view of the forgiveness of Christ is far more lenient than what the Bible actually says. If you are forgiven and live your life staying close to the Holy Spirit and the word of God, you will be fine. It's when you move outside the lines and begin to violate the will of God again that you put your salvation in jeopardy. As you saw above, you can "undo" the forgiveness if you do not follow the guidelines. If you see how that applies for even one example, shouldn't you learn as much as possible about where those guidelines are and stay within them?

Those guidelines come from the will of God. Where do you learn what that is? The Old Testament. Paul used it as a guideline for the churches of his time. These churches were full of Gentiles, but that made no difference as long as they were still in the will of God (Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

). When Paul saw them stepping outside the guidelines, the law, he pulled them back in. Why would he do that if they were already saved beyond any loss?

Faith and obedience

Now, he let them know that just following the law would do them no good, but he never told them to just forget it because it supposedly didn't apply to them. He made sure that they understood that obedience to the law was required for participation in the gift of Christ. Not the oral or traditional law of the Jews, or the Abraham covenant token of circumcision for his descendants, but the fundamental law of God that guides His people's lives. That is where the pastors step outside the guidelines.

We have an advocate

Forgiveness is unlimited. There is an abundance of it available for those times when we sin and are truly sorry for having done so. However, because of the lists of the types of people who will not enter the Kingdom, we know that there are limitations on how we obtain it, and how we keep it. But, the forgiveness we receive is not the same as salvation.

We are not saved, yet

Salvation does not come to anyone until Jesus returns (Hebrews 9:28
28so 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.

). Even here he says that Jesus' sacrifice was to "take away the sins of many", not all. Walking around thinking that you are saved, therefore can ignore the laws of God (His will) could have you standing outside the door and knocking. Worse yet, swimming in the Lake of Fire. Paul even admitted that he was not yet saved in Philippians 3:10-12:

10I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

If you are forgiven, "press on" to stay that way

No, you do not have to become a Jew. No, you do not have to follow those rituals and ceremonies that pertain only to their history. The will of God is to guide His people to give Him glory. Become one of His people. He told us how to do that in His love letter to humanity. This was the goal of Jesus' ministry on earth (John 6:38
38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

), and should be ours as well.

Don't let false teachers lead you to the wrong path. Forgiveness comes only after repentance (Acts 2:38
38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

), forsaking sin (Isaiah 55:7
7Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

), and staying in the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

). Contrary to the teachings of today's churches, if you leave anything out of this formula, or violate it after you come to know Him, you will lose, by your own will, anything you have gained from the forgiveness of Christ. That would amount to being "worse off at the end than [you] were at the beginning" (2 Peter 2:20
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.

).





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