There are those who teach that once a man is saved, he cannot do anything to remove himself from that position. Faith, we know, is a gift of God given to us as believers. Why then should we need to protect it as we are asked to do many times in scripture? Paul states something in Colossians that is often overlooked. Listen:
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:5-7 lKJV
Why would Paul tell us that after receiving Christ by faith, that we should walk in Him? Is that not a given if He has taken over from us our will? Where would Paul get that idea from that this might not happen?
Jesus said in John 15, “If you remain or abide in Me.” Is that walking in Him? What is the implication from that passage of Scripture where Jesus teaches for one who does not remain in Him or walk in Him? First, He says: that he will bear no fruit, and then he is to be cut off and thrown into the fire to be burned.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay . But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him . But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
Hebrews 10:36-39 NASB
That abiding faith, also, seems to go without saying, if we walk in Him continuing to abide in Him. But if one does not, God has no pleasure in him.
Even those who claim literal interpretation or understanding are unbalanced however, in their emphasis of grace passages to the exclusion of passages warning against a life of sin and the need for a love of and obedience to God.
The early church did not have the New Testament that we have. They had the O.T. and letters which they passed around. And they had the Didache. Here is an excerpt from that document said by many to have been written by the Apostles.
[“]Watch” over your life: “Let your lamps” be not quenched “and your loins” be not ungirded, but be “ready,” for ye know not “the hour in which the Lord cometh.” But be frequently gathered together seeking t h e things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time; for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate; for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began. Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and “many shall be offended” and be lost, but they who endure” in their faith “shall be saved” by the curse itself. And “then shall appear the signs” of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then t h e sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead.[“]
But even though the basic teachings of Scripture agree with this and are so foundational and simple in one sense, yet, they become complicated by words in which we are warned not to engage ourselves in argument over. Paul told Timothy, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but has a morbid interest in controversy and disputes about words.” Paul goes on to tell what this leads to: some of which is “constant friction between men of depraved minds deprived of the truth.” So Paul implies that the only answer to not being depraved is to not be deprived of the truth. If we all know the truth, then we will not dispute over words. Until then we must teach and be taught truth. Being teachable is our only avenue to unity. Discussion for unity in belief is not controversial.
Paul says here that what Jesus says should be believed. What Jesus said is so often overlooked today however.
Unity is love in action. Is this not what the Lord is seeking for us (His bride) in His John 17 prayer? Also, The Lord told us that His Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. Truth cannot help but bring unity. Seeking the truth and being teachable should be the primary goal for born again believers. That goal, if achieved, would bring us into unity. The barriers between us would fall and the Lord would be seen in us to the point that the “world” would know that He is Lord. Remember, this was His prayer for us.
Today the church has caused skepticism to flourish not because men don’t want to know the truth—remember, there is still that void in each of us that only God can fill—but because there is a divided church, there is cause for men who do want truth to doubt. Contention among believers gives cause for the world to scoff. God’s love flows from His Word to contrite and seeking hearts. We are to be about causing others to seek God’s word and His truth. The coming Tribulation is a teaching of the Didache, and that Tribulation will call the bride to preparation unlike at any time in man’s history. Unity will abound among believers who have eyes to see and who do not fall away. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
There is no other event in the life of this worldwide body that can have the effect on God’s people needed to bring us into unity. There is no other event that can cause our focus to turn from this world, with which many of us are now in love, toward one another and toward the Savior as a unified body. There is no one other event that will cause us as a body to realize that this world is not our home and to cause us to long for the coming of Messiah. There is no one other single event that will bring the church to its knees in unity with God and with one another. There is no other one event that will allow Christ to be seen in us to the point that the world will see through us that God loved (all of us) enough to send Jesus. And there is no other one event that will cause us all to long for our blessed hope—the coming of the Lord in spite of the persecutions before us.
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18, nasb) Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (Eph. 5:25–27, nasb)
Jesus says in Matthew 24, that He that endures to the end will be saved. James says: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12, nasb) The book of James presents us with an obvious question that no one ever seems to address: when is it that we are approved? At what point in our lives does this crown of life of which he speaks come to us? Is it presented at the end of our lives? If it is presented at the time of conversion, then James must not be written to believers, which makes no sense. Yet if our approval comes at the end of life, what does that imply? Paul states: 2 Timothy 4:7 I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! (NET)
John, in his Gospel says that we who believe are given the power to become the sons of God. What do we conclude from that? Paul says that the whole creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God. If we view James 1:12 in the light of Revelation 3:11, we are given an explanation of Jesus’ meaning contained in the crown of life. The crown of life (Zoe Strongs 2222) is spiritual life, as opposed to (bios 979) physical life. So this crown of life is eternal life. And when we look at Revelation 3:11, there is a warning for us during this life to hold fast to what we have that no one take our crown. James says that the crown of life comes to us when we are approved. James also says that the Lord has promised this crown “to those who love Him.” In 1 Corinthians 2:9 and 8:3, Paul emphasizes our love for God, saying that if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. In Revelation 2:4, Jesus says to Ephesus, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” This church was told by the Lord that it would cease to exist in the presence of the Lord if it did not corporately repent of this condition. What is the difference between corporate repentance and individual repentance? Jesus tells us in His final words to the Ephesian church, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life [2222 Zoe], which is in the paradise of God.” Examine your heart. Do you love Him enough to repent and follow Him?
Jesus constantly calls for overcoming in His messages to the seven churches. To the church in Philadelphia, He says, “Let no man steal your crown.” Does this mean that it is already possessed or that the failure to endure and overcome will cause one to lose even the possibility of possession? Often the trials we face in life are brought on by men. Is it possible that Jesus is saying, “Let no man steal or turn you away from your love for Me, and thereby take your crown?” He says this to those who have lost their love for the truth of the word: “I have this against you, you have left your first love. He tells them that if they do not repent, He will come and remove their candlestick. The candlestick represents, in Revelation 1, the very existence of this church before Him. If removed, they are no more. But our love for God goes beyond our love for what He did two thousand years ago when He died on a cruel cross for our sin. Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:22–24, nasb) How often do we hear that the Father’s love to us is unconditional, yet here is a condition a line in the sand that the Father’s love does not cross. If we love Him, we will keep His Word. The falling away from the truth of this Word (the love of this personal God who is the Word) is implicit in the Scriptures. Jesus makes it clear that if anyone comes out of the world and keeps His Word that the Father will love Him. He further states that love for Him, the Word made flesh, is the motivation for overcoming. So when He tells the church of Ephesus that they have lost their first love, this is serious. And to us He says, “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches” (Rev. 2:29, nasb). We are constantly told that the context of the Scripture is key to literal interpretation, so how are we to understand Jesus’ words to us in John 10:25–29? This is an obvious promise to us of the free gift of salvation purchased for us by Christ on Calvary. “No one can snatch them from” either His hand or the Father’s hand. The “them” in this verse, of course, is us; we are the sheep of His pasture. We know His voice. He knows us, and we follow Him. No one can snatch us from Him or the Father, but what if we of our own free will refuse to follow Him, the truth, the Word? This is Paul’s concern in Galatians 1:6 (nasb): “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.” This is the same concern Peter has when he writes us in 2 Peter 2:19–22 (nasb), “For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.” These concerns were no less than those of our Lord’s seen here earlier in the messages to the churches in Revelation. So is what Jesus tells us in John 10 wrong? No, never. He knows from the beginning who it is who will endure until the end of his or her life. Men who try to turn this passage of scripture into eternal security for those who have not yet walked the way that is straight and narrow that leads to eternal life, who like Paul have finished the race and kept the faith, are blind guides leading the sheep astray.
OBut remember, love is not just a feeling. It is a commitment. When we marry, we commit ourselves to sacrifice for the other person. Our relationship to the Messiah is much like marriage. We commit ourselves to follow Him and to love and serve Him. It appears from Scripture that just like in marriage, if we “fall out of love,” we get tired of serving. “It’s just too hard.” When we stray from the truth; then God doesn’t listen to us anymore. He doesn’t answer our prayers unless we repent, in effect God will grant a separation, a time for thinking and repentance, if we refuse to repent, the separation will be followed by divorce. He already taught us this process with Israel in this age. Its full effect will be made known in the age to come. Individuals who were offered, and who were even told by men that they had eternal life will be excluded. Is this not what James states, that if a brother strays from the truth, and we turn that one back to the truth from the error (sin) of his ways, we will save his soul from death? James 5:19-20. This is his final point in his only letter recorded in scripture. Who do some think they are today; those who would neglect so great a salvation?
Lord I pray that you would guard us all from that neglect.