If YOU Are Able, then HE Wasn’t Necessary. . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 27 Monday, June 27, 2011
If I had to name the single theme that pops up the most often in my email box, it would be the question, “How can I be sure I’m still saved?” Not, “How can I know I AM saved?” but rather, “How can I be sure I’m STILL saved?”
The question reflects the two different types of Christianity that exists in these last days.
The first type is the Christian you see at church every time the doors are open.
The one that volunteers for everything, teaches Sunday school, belongs to the choir, has his finances in order, doesn’t drink, smoke, chew or cuss and whose idea of a good time is coffee with the pastor.
If you see yourself reflected in the above paragraph, you can stop right here.
Today’s OL will be of no use to you, so you needn’t waste the time. (I’d be better served if you used the time to email me and tell me how you manage it).
The second type of Christian is the one some of us know ourselves to be. We prayed for salvation and for a time, we were on Cloud Nine.
That was us in church every time the doors were open. It was us that volunteered for the bus ministry, went out door-knocking on Saturdays and tried to make having coffee with the pastor the high point of the week.
But the more we were around the Christians from church, the more we came to think that we were different.
The kind of Christianity we see demonstrated by other Christians is one of sinless perfection; a person who explodes into profanity when he hits his finger with a hammer is not a ‘real Christian’ or he would have been able to check his language.
A Christian who drinks or goes out for a drink in a restaurant or bar isn’t a real Christian. Christians don’t drink. A Christian who is going through a divorce isn’t a real Christian. A real Christian would tough it out, remembering Christ’s admonition about divorce.
A Christian who still smokes isn’t a real Christian. A real Christian would have been delivered from that nasty habit by the saving power of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Real Christians are never out of fellowship with the Father. If they see someone who is, that someone was either never really saved in the first place or has through his conduct, lost his salvation. And they seemingly have the Scripture to back it up.
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26-27)
According to this verse, once a Christian is saved, if he sins willfully, there remains no new sacrifice for sin. Especially considering the next part of the verse; “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
Seems pretty cut-and-dried. Until you read it carefully. Jesus Christ was sacrificed ONCE, for all time, as full payment for sin. If you sin willfully, there is no new sacrifice available.
But notice the penalty carefully. A certain and fearful — watch this – looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.
That judgment and fiery indignation WILL devour the adversaries. But the Scripture says the saved Christian who willfully sins will find himself FEARING the loss of his salvation. This passage was written to reassure the Hebrews of their eternal security.
Do you see it? The presentation is that the Christian that sins willfully after being saved will ‘certainly’fear for his salvation. Then the writer of Hebrews shifts to the remedy for such heresy.
“But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;” (Hebrews 10:32)
Having outlined the case made by the legalists, the writer of Hebrews shifts away from the ‘legalist’ argument to present the argument from the perspective of grace.
Recall when you were first saved, the battle that went on during those first days. The enemy kept hammering and hammering and hammering. Recall how God’s grace carried you through.
The writer of Hebrews is assuring us that grace is still available, even if it seems to you as if you have blown it for all time.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
Note the keywords here; confidence, reward, patience and promise. They all hang on one act — “after you have done the will of God.”
AFTER you have done the will of God, be patient because you can be confident that you’ll receive the recompence of great reward – as promised.
Sure. That sounds easy enough. But what is the will of God? There is but one place in all the Bible that spells out God’s will for mankind during this present age.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
In summary then, the Christian does God’s will by coming to repentance. The word translated as “repentence” comes from the Greek word, “metanoia” which literally means to change one’s mind about, in this instance, one’s sin nature.
Repentance is what we do, and how we act, after we are grasped by and transformed by the understanding of God’s gracious willingness to accept us as we are and our own willingness to let the Lord make the changes He sees fit.
So the promise is that a saved Christian that stumbles and falls is not lost. Instead, he has need of patience WITH HIMSELF – once you’ve turned your life over to His care, you can be confident that you will receive the Promise, as articulated by the Lord in John 6:37:
“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”
It would appear impossible to argue from Scripture that a person is saved by grace through faith and not works, but that a saved person’s works can undo the salvation he once had without reinventing new definitions for grace, faith and works.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
The other side points out that it is ‘impossible for those who were once enlightened’ TO fall away. Both miss the message.
What this Scripture teaches is that it is impossible, if one DID ‘fall away’ to ‘renew them again to repentance’, since that would mean crucifying’ to themselves the Son of God afresh,’ putting Him ‘to an open shame’.
Renewing AGAIN to repentance would mean that the first Sacrifice was insufficient, and His Power to save is subordinate to our power to sin.
That is the open shame. Jesus is defeated. Satan is victorious. It means that Satan’s power over you was greater than the power of God. He that was in you was not greater than he that is in the world, after all.
And thanks to YOUR inability to maintain your salvation by your good works, (or if you prefer, thanks to your ability to lose your salvation by your bad works) He that was in you has now left. Does that fit with the Scriptures?
Hebrews 10:10-11 tells us,
“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right Hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.”
Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, assumed the form of sinful man so that He could pay the penalty for sin forever. On the Cross, He was reviled, beaten, crucified naked, and bore in His Body the sins of all mankind on their behalf.
If His one sacrifice for sins was ‘forever’ but was insufficient to keep those Whom He had saved, then His shame at the Cross is not over.
He must continually be ‘sacrificed’ for sin. It means that He was not able.
Moreover, if it is impossible, having once been saved, to be renewed unto repentance, then the lost Christian is in much worse condition than the lost sinner. The lost sinner still has a chance to be saved.
On the other hand, the lost Christian is, on the authority of Scripture, lost forever. He had his chance, Jesus saved him, but then he blew it and now he is lost forever. And according to Scripture, Jesus can’t save him again, since that would require putting the Lord of Glory to an open shame.
How many sins does it take to get out of fellowship with God? The answer is one.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
How much obedience does it take to get right with God? The obedience of One is sufficient to make us righteous, if we trust Him for our salvation.
There is no ‘license’ to sin. There is only sin. Our natural state is that of a sinner. Evil is the absence of good. Note that the default position in this world is that there is first evil. Evil is dispelled by good — not the other way around.
Sin has consequences — their is no ‘license to sin’ in Scripture. Smokers get lung cancer. Alcoholics get liver disease. Drug abusers overdose. Divorce brings its own misery. Getting saved eternally doesn’t mean you are exempt from the earthly consequences of your sinful actions.
Paul wrote to the Phillipians;
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)
“Work out your OWN salvation” with the Individual with Whom you have a personal relationship. Through His Spirit, Jesus will guide you into all truth, but it takes time.
Know that YOU will NEVER be good enough, but have faith that He is.
The enemy wants to blind you to the fact that you ARE a new creature. If he can hold your salvation over your head, extending it, and then pulling it away, then that gives him power over you.
It bears repeating; the simple truth of God is that the truth of God is simple. The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith.
And THAT not of ourselves. It is the Gift of God.