Believers must aspire to holy living.  The Apostle James said "Faith without works is dead."   A widely misinterpreted scripture to be sure. Are these works feats accomplished in the world measured by worldly means?  Like the braggart Pastor: "See, I must be good. I built a church of 3,000 souls?"  Or are these works associated with fruits, really, of a changed heart.  Jesus said "This is the work of God: That you have faith in the One He sent."  James' assertion is then that the evidence is there if the faith lives.

As followers of Christ believers try to be holy -- living from the inside out. But belivers fail. We will never live sinless lives. So Christ came and paid the price for us - we have been redemed from our debt and covered in His holiness.

All sin is deadly for those who aren't covered by Jesus Christ.  But what kinds of failure are deadly to Christians? 

Answers lie in the basis of choice, that free will persists -- especially after "salvation":

  1. Man is created in Gods image, giving him among other attributes, free will.
  2. Since: Gods will is His own.  So man's will his own.
  3. Therfore man, at one time unsurrendered to God and willfully living against Gods Law -
  4. Surrenders to God his free will, becoming subject to and a bondsman in service to God.
  5. Bondsmen are accepted as lifelong members of the Master's house.
  6. But because free will must be always be and remain free,
  7. To remain, Bondsmen must persistently submit service to the Master.

"Sin" is defined: "to miss the mark."  This naturally bears the important implication is that one is trying to hit the mark. This is our "just service" to the Lord. 

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1

I want to sin less.  I repent when I miss the mark, and am promised Christ understands and always forgives.  It's this posture of recursive, humble penitence that assures salvation. 

It was asked: What about the Christian who's life was lived for the Lord, until he made a sinful and deadly mistake -- for instance the one who died in a car accident in an adulterous fling while away on a "business trip."   Many assert that he failed to "run the good race" that he failed to "work out his salvation" ... and that he will be seperated from God in eternity.  Seriously.  It was never about what he did, but what Christ did.  Grace not works.  But this goes in one ear and out the other, since the urge to perform good works as a means of acquiring salvation is so endemic in the Church.  The answer is we don't know.  The fellow is dead, it's up to God.  This same argument follows those who die by thier own hand.  It's particularly disgusting that "good" Christian people pass judgment after the fact against those who've suffered in a way powerful enough to render them hopeless to the point of suicide.  We just don't know what God will do.  What we do know is that if we are somehow even remotely responsible, the consequences are horrific.  "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin."  "Woe unto those who would damage one of these little ones..."

So what about those who've seen the light, undestood and accepted the gift of grace that is known as "Salvation" but "fall back" (John 6:66)  become "entangled" (2 Peter 2:20) ?  Will they loose their salvation and life in the end?

Yes, but only by deliberate choice.  Free will isn't suspended when one comes to Christ.  Faith is a choice reflected in obedience to God's law and His word -- both Logos AND Rhema.  But our service can be broken.  Once broken though there is no return to service.

Separation from saving faith involves an intentional act.  Leaving God's service contains a mixture of three intentions.

Condemn Righteousness  -- Enigma of Judas Iscariot and how Peter survived those denials...
Refuse Righteousness -- Mariage and divorce, to hear and refuse the Good News
Presume Righteousness -- Korah's rebellion, Those who enter not by the narrow gate


Refuse Righteousness

posted Jul 12, 2013, 8:53 AM by David Gerhart

It’s entirely plausible that all of the marriage metaphor in scripture exists so that Christ’s bride can be sure.  

Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

And that this is an (unappreciated) cautionary comment for those who would assert that the union of God with men in Salvation can be dissolved. 

Hebrews 13:5 “[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’*.”

*Deut. 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

But a marriage only lasts as long as the mates remain together.  Some men, like they do in marriage to women, sometimes “forsake” their bride, but Christ wont. 

John 12:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." 

David Wilkerson quoting Paul wrote: 

"That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10). What is Christ's doctrine? The grace of God teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). The doctrine of Christ will conform you to the image of Christ. It will expose every hidden sin and every evil longing. 
Can we agree that Salvation is an event and Sanctification is a process? 

Having listened to so many teach the full range: Strict Calvinist to Liberal Armenianist... One must disagree with both. 

The model for loosing one’s salvation: 

1Cor. 7:15 “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. ...” 

John 6:66 "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."

And to obtain formal divorce...  

Mark 10:5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.” 

So, in this version of the truth – since it is faith, not works (like being sinless) that enables Sanctification – to have been Saved, and then RENOUNCE ones salvation is the only means by which Gods grace will be removed.

Presume Righteousness

posted Jul 12, 2013, 8:52 AM by David Gerhart

Korah's rebellion.  Presumed the righteous position given Moses.

Ananias & Sapphira Acts 5.  "You have lied to the Holy Spirit."

There is no one good but God.

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone Mark 10:18 

Condemn Righteousness

posted Jul 12, 2013, 8:52 AM by David Gerhart

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[a] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12

Judas died by suicide.  Was he at one time "Saved?"  He was not reconciled with Christ in the end, because Jesus tells us so.  So the often debated issue -- as an Apostle of Christ, who participated and experienced the life of Spiritual Power -- how could he not be Saved?

Is Salvation forever (once Saved always Saved) or is Salvation something we can loose by living an unholy life?  

Here’s the assertion: there is a mechanism for “Quitting” ones salvation (“walking away” lacks the correct scriptural connotation.) In John 13:18 Jesus quoted prophesy regarding Judas’ betrayal: “He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.” (Which is Ps. 41:9.) The Psalm conveys it clearly... note the importance of "Friend", "Bread" and “Heel". 

See Mt. 10:14 “Shake of the dust ...” And Lu. 9:5 “... as a judgment against...” These convey a stance that can be taken in condemnation of sin - or in condemnation of righteousness. The latter being ... an act of quitting the faith and frankly, blasphemy (expand here around the unforgivable sin.) 

Compare Peter’s failure and the action of Judas – these seem purposefully interposed so that both sides of the coin are illustrated. Recall Heb. 13:7 “ ... Consider the outcome of their way of life ...”

So, “Condemning Righteousness” hinges on Ps. 41:9 (among other scripture.) Judas was a believer for a time (among the 12 that were sent out, he did those “works.”) He then quit his faith in favor of his own agenda, actually plotting against his “Friend” (Mt. 26:50 and see Ps. 41:9 again). It ends for him in suicide (a selfish, prideful, flight from consequences.) Whereas Peter repented in humble contrition and received forgiveness. Both acts furthered the work of God on earth. One we’ll see in Heaven someday, the other not.

Finally, I believe this position is securely affirmed in Heb. 6:4 “For it is impossible for those ... if they fall away (are entangled and overcome) to be brought back to repentance...” because this theme is repeated in 10:29 "... trampled the Son of God under foot ..." Just as our Spiritual rebirth regenerates our life -- if that life is ended, quit ... killed off -- it is impossible to be reborn into that life again.

So, no – I don’t hold with Cal Chap doctrine OSAS, "no matter what I do." I contend that our free will remains; to choose to quit faith one must “Shake the dust off of one’s feet.” Equally, "back-sliding" is not evidence of the destruction of salvation.

Overt and Covert Willfulness

posted Jul 12, 2013, 8:52 AM by David Gerhart

Active and Passive willfulness ... are both wrong for Christians.  We submit to the will of the Lord.  If our will either by direct overt choice, or by indirect, coververt "willingness" leads to wrong things we must stop, repent and place ourselves back on the narrow way.

Entagled, Overcome, Polluted

posted Jun 29, 2013, 12:31 PM by David Gerhart   [ updated Jul 6, 2013, 1:24 PM ]

Entangled and Overcome

2 Peter 2:20 “For if after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”

One of the most misinterpreted scriptures to be sure.

Greek Lexicon word 1096 for “overcome” includes the root meaning “to be made, finished.” Overcome means surrender, having lost the battle.

An alcoholic is offered a drink.  There are two possible outcomes founded on a single choice.

By definition, an alcoholic always chooses the drink.  This is sin.

A righteous man, knowing it is sin to drink will choose to abstain.

In each choice the offer recieves a response and there are three dimensions to this choice.

Acceptance or Refusal
Honor or Condemnation
Obedience or Presumption
Put it another way... A believer has to “escape” salvation, become “entangled again in sins” and finish by “surrendering” – to a permanently reprobate mind, having asked for a divorce in spirit from the Lord. One refuses the conviction of the spirit long enough, and yes ... there are consequences – but not the second death. One has to divorce oneself from God to return. 

The Saved will ...”escape” become “entangled” and finish with “repentance.”

These are the fulcrums on which Salvation is based: Faith to believe and confession of Christ.

So, not counting angels on the heads of pins... there is one theological issue to avoid: Having to do with the timing of Judas’ death – as some contend no one could “Saved” until after the Propitiation made on the Cross. Therefore, Judas could not have been “Saved.” (Yes, but John 3:16 ...)

On the question of the “Once Saved Always Saved” doctrine, a response claims the scripture “Work out your salvation...” applies  forcefully to evidence. As a Berean – dig out scripture the true manner of things.  Scripture is so often misapplied -- leading to a more-or-less works-based theology, which one mustn't ascribe.

Christ said “This is the work of the Father: that you believe in the one whom He sent.”   Trust completely in Grace, because we can’t be perfect; cannot be sinless. It takes only one sin to kill. But believers sin less, the closer they draw to Him.

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