I have recently been questioned about my Armenian beliefs concerning our salvation.
You have heard me say before that the LGBTQ community is opposing God’s word over their sin when they fail to admit the sin and do nothing to overcome it. But let me ask: are we not in a sense doing equally as bad if we as believers admit to our sin but then have less initiative because of our belief that I am saved, I may lose some rewards; but it’s just too hard to overcome it. Jesus defeated sin. And He will deliver us from sin.
All doctrine is important, but if we choose one to be most important it would need to be the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology).
Jesus coming into this world changed the way that God would deal with our sin. No longer was there required any sacrifice on the part of the sinner, as had been under the sacrificial system of the law, which was then required in order to receive God’s forgiveness and a right standing before Him.
When Jesus came He offered up Himself as the perfect lamb for sacrifice. He offered His own life for every man’s sin for all of time. Interpreting this act should then be easy, but nothing about doctrine seems easy for the Church?
Today there is a doctrine called Universalism. Believers in this (salvation for all men) base their belief in Jesus’ act or His payment for all sin. And from there they proceed to ignore the truth of His Word making pronouncement that all men everywhere from all of time are saved. No need for man to accept Jesus. But with that distortion of Scripture can any of them be saved? Although I do believe that every man’s sins were included in Christ’s sacrifice there is no scripture which makes salvation universal and without the need to accept and follow Christ.
Then we have some, who teach that because that sacrifice was perfect that once it is applied to the heart of an imperfect but believing man that he is positionally forever forgiven of all sin, past, present and future. Does that understanding meet Christ’s provision for, and God’s expectation concerning man’s sin?
When I think about these things I can’t help but think of Jesus first telling us of the New Covenant in His blood. And of His instruction to as oft as we perform this to do it in remembrance of Him.
In the case of Communion, Paul tells us that if we come in an unworthy fashion to this remembrance that we heap judgment upon ourselves. That understanding alone coming from Paul should cause us to consider that there may be more to be understood within our beliefs and God’s application of them to the salvation that Jesus has bought for us in this His covenant with us. Certainly it implies a belief quite different than what we seem to hold to in most cases. Salvation is about the New Covenant and our new heart. We as men tend toward what we want to think surrounding Jesus death for all of our sins. What might we miss as part of this act of remembrance? Could it be that we need further deliverance? What might cause us to ponder the nature of these beliefs? — Scripture?
I really don’t think that those who believe in what is now called eternal security ever intended to teach that man has no responsibility to God beyond his belief. But, their belief is centered around God’s gifting of this salvation thru Christ, and of our having this salvation because one’s belief has moved from the head to the heart.
The question becomes — what does God ask if anything of us. What does belief in Christ for salvation mean?
Because Christ came with salvations offer, does God change His outlook on sin, and on our responsibility to Him with regard to our sin? It almost seems that eternal security promotes a total dependence in our day upon God’s grace, which we certainly need, but a dependence at its extreme is removing all responsibility from man. One brand of Doctrine even believes that everything is from God and nothing from man as it concerns salvation.
On the other hand most doctrine has within it the recognition that sin will continue on in each life and within some doctrines sin is an ongoing if not daily expectation.
So, if in addition to the sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament there was also the call for repentance; then is there no expectation for our repentance involved on God’s part when or if we do sin today? Does repentance or the lack thereof have anything to do with Paul’s warning us concerning our remembering or considering the Lord’s sacrifice until He comes?
1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (KJV)
Before saying this he tells us what we are to do to keep this judgment from coming upon us:
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (KJV)
What are we actually doing in this remembrance where we examine ourselves? — is it not to remember what Jesus did for us in order to provide for our forgiveness and deliverance of our sin until He comes. What then must we be doing in this examination of ourselves? Would it be logical that we are turning again in thanksgiving for Jesus sacrifice and confessing any known and or unknown sin in our lives at that time before we partake again and again of What Jesus did for us to secure our salvation.
We are warned in scripture that we are not to neglect so great a salvation.
John tells us this:
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV)
To whom is this power given to become sons of God?
The next verse tells us:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)
This power to become is given to those who are born again of God. We now have this power to become and it’s given us as a gift. But does every man who is born again exercise this power to become? If so, why did Jesus tell us?
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (NASB1995)
Paul has this further to say regarding our walk in the Holy Spirit whom Jesus has given to us:
Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; [each one] looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (NASB1995)
Two things that I will point out here. First the Holy Spirit will use mentors in our life to help us with His power in order that: number Two; we will crucify the flesh as we journey.
James confirms this mentorship as well as the dangers faced:
James 5:19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (NASB1995)
Those Paul says: “who have crucified the flesh”: do they in any way align at all with Jesus messages to the seven churches in Revelation? Jesus has a different promise to each of the ones who overcome in each of these churches. Here is just one example:
Revelation 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (NASB1995)
It is apparent that we must take part as Paul would tell us in the working out of our salvation in fear and trembling. We can in no wise take credit for the payment that Jesus made for our sin. Concerning that payment — it is finished. Satan was defeated by the cross, our part is applying all of what transpired on and around Calvary to the death of our flesh, and to our walk in the Spirit. In Christ alone are we offered the Blessed Hope of resurrection.
There is one more point that needs to be made. Jesus stated that there will come a falling away. Paul called it an apostasy. No matter who you may believe this to be for Jews or Gentiles. Apostasy most often means falling or removing oneself from the faith. It just seems difficult to believe that one could do that who never possessed the faith. So what is our part? Remain in Christ. He is our only hope of deliverance and of salvation’s freedom from sin. Do not be deceived God is not mocked.
The love of many shall grow cold…” Is the testimony of many of His people in this day.
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So sad to see it happen.