10. SALVATION IN CHRIST AND THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER (Chapter 10).

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Chapter 10 Continued from Chapter 9

“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)

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A series of Bible studies on

SALVATION IN CHRIST

AND

THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

PART B’: Which believer risks losing his salvation… (#1)

DANGERS OF LOSING ONE’S SALVATION: Case Studies (#1)

ΜΠΑΛΤΑΤΖΗΣ-Σειρά Βιβλικών μελετών (10).

After having exposed the general information concerning the dangers to lose one’s safety we start the examination of concrete cases about which the Bible speaks. I am aware that this second part of my New Series may become a source of disagreement. Let, however, the Bible speak:

1. “I will spew (spit – NIV) you out of my mouth”

The Laodicea believers’ indifference, self-satisfaction and complacency had led them to spiritual idleness and to almost no vital relationship with Christ. Their zeal should be reignited! They should repent.

What about such lukewarm Christians? Such people will be spewed out of God’s mouth according to Rev.3:14-19: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit (spew-spit) you out of My mouth” (Rev.3:16). What does the phrase “I will spew you out of My mouth” mean? Salvation, security, rewards, crowns and assurance or REJECTION? The Lord tells the lukewarm Christian that HE loves him, rebukes him and chastens him in order to repent and become zealous. What is, however, going to happen to someone who does not become zealous and DOES NOT REPENT? (v.19). Is he going to be saved if he does not repent on time for his lukewarmness? The Lord seems to be ‘disgusted’ on account of the indifference and self-contentment that prevailed in the Church of Laodicea…

This word is valid both for lukewarm churches as well as for lukewarm people! That is why the Bible is not limited only to promises but is full also of warnings! The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…! (1Tim.1:9). Yes! Warnings for those who walk disorderly; who halt between two opinions; who are paralyzed by indecision (1Kings 18:21); who are lukewarm and risk to be vomited (Rev.3:16); who have not decided to take up their cross and follow Jesus faithfully; who are not led by the Spirit; who are short sighted and do not have the fruit of the Spirit in their life. They are warned not to be deceived. They will be spewed out of His mouth IF they are and remain lukewarm!

All those who will be rejected are not false brothers or hypocrites! Their life is such that it cannot assure them eternal life! Those who are lukewarm… are not accused as “unbelievers” but as lukewarm! Lukewarm are not only those who have no zeal but also those who do not take a stand against evil, against injustice and against sin, in general!

Conclusion: You see, dear reader, we are referring to Christians who, despite their ecclesiastical or church activities, walk indifferently or without true spiritual zeal and are not led by the Holy Spirit! They can lose the salvation that was graciously offered them by our Heavenly Father through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, unless they repent! It is the Lord Himself who calls them to repentance, because they have not responded worthily to the Lord’s call!

NB: In John’s Gospel as well as in his epistles, the word repentance does not exist. It is, however, FULLY implicit. Repentance or repent, however, appear in an intense and threatening manner in the book of Revelation, where it calls the churches and even certain persons to repent, otherwise they will suffer the consequences of their impenitent spirit! In certain cases the Lord fixes ‘deadlines’ for His longsuffering, something which is in accordance with Rom.2:4-6. In other cases such as in Titus 3:10-11 God orders his servants to stop trying to revive spiritually stubborn people: A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:10-11).

True faith cannot exist without repentance. True repentance produces works, zeal and spiritual revival! This is the reason why John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ they both began their ministry with the statement: REPENT AND BELIEVE… (Mark 1:15). The key is the law of repentance, producing fruit worthy of repentance. It is not just by chance that our Lord told His disciples twice in a row: “No, I tell you! But unless you repent, you will ALL perish as well! ……… No, I tell you! But unless you repent you will ALL perish as well!” (Luke 13:3-5). You see, the Lord does not make any exception!

What counts is not whether we produce 30 or 50 or 100%. WE ARE SAFE ONLY IF WE REPENT, CONFESS AND REJECT OUR SIN! YES, AND IF WE PUT OUR TRUST IN CHRIST! Those who do not repent have no place in Christ’s family. “… If I wash you not, you have no part with me” (John 13:8). Let him who wills to understand, understand!

Someone might assert that God will use chastisement, in order to rescue the lukewarm or the disorderly walking. TRUE! Be careful, however: God’s chastisement does not obligatorily lead to repentance and to rejection on account of our rebellion (Isa.1:5). “Why should you be stricken any more? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (Isa.1:5). God’s chastisement functions only to those who accept God’s chastisement and humble themselves before God and man… Notice please the following verse: But judgment shall return to righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it (Ps.94:15). The absence of uprightness leads to rebellion (Isa.1:5). Should we forget what Paul said about his mission? He declared solemnly that his mission was to testify: “… Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We conclude, therefore, that the basis of our salvation is our Lord’s sacrifice, but the key to our security is repentance:

No repentance? No correction!

No repentance? No spiritual progress!

No repentance? No Christ!

No repentance? No eternal life but everlasting death!

2. “… Ready to die…”

There is a very interesting verse in the book of Revelation, which reads as follows: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God” (Rev.3:2). This verse reveals beyond any shade of doubt that the apostle John speaks about Christians, who were still spiritually alive but risked dying, unless they were strengthened by other Christians or by their “Church leaders” who were strong… and who neglected to take care of weak Christians whose life was at stake! Attention! Dead people cannot die. Only those who are still alive can die!

What does the verse in question mean? Security or pending spiritual death or in progress? So, weak and unstable Christians, UNLESS STRENGTHENED, are ready to die! [I believe that this is the reason why Paul in his spirit wanted to go again and visit the brothers in every city where they had preached the word of the LORD, and see «how they do» (Acts 15:36) lest by some means the tempter have tempted them, and their labor was in vain (1Thess 3:5)].

In Romans 14:15 (but also in 1Cor.8:11) we see the same spirit about weak brothers in Christ: “But if your brother be grieved with your meat, now walk you not charitably. Destroy not (do not bring to perdition – GR.) him with your meat, for whom Christ died.” …“Destroy not (do not bring to PERDITION – GR.) him with your meat, for whom Christ died”.

What the Apostle John taught at the church of Sardis, constitutes, on the one hand a risk for the weak and unstable Christian and on the other hand, a very serious warning to the strong Christians who, because of either of their knowledge or spiritual freedom, or because of their lack of discernment or still because of their lack of love will cause an offence and a fall into sin of the weak and unstable brother! According to the Bible the weak brother will PERISH BECAUSE of brothers who are stronger and who did not do their duty to the weak brother for whom Christ died: “And through your knowledge shall the weak BROTHER perish, for whom Christ died(1Cor.8:11), unless the weak brother reacts positively on time by his own initiative according to the will of God. It is crystal clear! Of course, this does not relate to the problems of certain foods only but to any bad or careless behavior. Therefore, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the strong brothers. On the other hand, all the weak brothers will not perish because they are weak! They risk, however, losing their salvation…

3. “… Lord, Lord…”

Our Lord Jesus Christ declared, Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Mat.7:21-27).

Please, my dear reader, pay also attention to the extremely important principle of Christian life that apostle James declares in his epistle: “But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves(Jas.1:22).  Yes, deceiving your own heart, and having a VAIN religion (Jas.1:26). God is concerned with our heart and walk and not with our talk.

We gather, therefore, that they are NOT accused as unbelievers but as people who walk disorderly, disobediently! So, I repeat, this passage does not refer to non believers but to believers! It refers to believers but not to true Christians! All believers are not true Christians! Their faith made them call Jesus Christ as LORD!

The working of miracles, of preaching, of prophesying, of exceptional talents is not necessarily connected with piety, is not necessarily connected with moral character.

What about the prophet Balaam, or the magicians of Egypt?

How do you understand?

  • 1Cor.13:2: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”.
  • Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say”?
  • Rom.2:13 (“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified”
  • 2Cor.11:15 “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works”?
  • 1John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us”?
  • Luke 9:49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name; and we forbade him, because he follows not with us”.

One thing is sure for such people: Even if they say that they have joy, hope, zeal; even if they say that they had or have visions, have spoken in tongues (what kind of tongues and of what origin?), had been raptured etc., they have never been true Christians!

On the contrary: Those who have built their house on the rock are going to be saved! What is the meaning of the words: “On the rock” and “on the sand”? Please stop and think, and do not forget that: “He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1John 2:4). Are such liars going to be saved if they do not repent on time? In the aforementioned passage and in a parallel passage (Luke 13:26-27) we see another side of the same problem:Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. The expression “We have eaten and drunk in your presence”, most probably, refers to their participation at the Lord’s Table! It cannot be excluded that they even participated in the Lord’s Table while they lived in sin or had not had put in order their relations with brothers with whom they had potential serious spiritual problems! Are such “workers of iniquity” going to be saved if they do not repent on time? A question arises: Do we have to do with nominal Christians or with disobedient Christians? I know that some of my readers will object saying that the cases I am referring to were never Christians! Yes and No! Some of them began well but they were corrupted “on the way”… and ended badly, just like Demas, who was one of Paul’s coworkers! Were they true disciples, worthy of Jesus Christ? (We will come back at this point in detail later).

I am convinced that many people will say that my ‘assumptions’ have no value but what the Lord has said, I never knew you!  Absolutely correct! The words of the Master have value and not mine. However, my words, based also on the Bible do not call into question the words of Christ, but on the contrary they confirm them: Jesus Christ has not disputed their answers and has not accused them as liars or non-believers but as workers of iniquity! Let me repeat: If you speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and have all faith to remove mountains and bestow all your goods to feed the poor and give your body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits you nothing (1Cor.13:2). Let he who wants to understand, understand!

I have seen believers during my long experience in Christ that, either for a position of power that they have acquired or they were given, turned to the love of money or to the domination over the church. Despite the protests of the church or of some believers they insisted stubbornly in their iniquitous way! All their previous justice has no more value! It is as if they had never been “just” or if they had never believed in the Lord. It is good to remember what the prophet Ezekiel has taught us, “But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: IN his trespass that he has trespassed, and IN his sin that he has sinned, IN them shall he die……… When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits (practices) iniquity, and dies in them; for his iniquity that he has done shall he die. (All these cases, are they not also included in the phrase “I never knew you”?) Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does (practices) that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die (Ezek.18:24-28). “[………] When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby (Ezek.33:11-19).

***

The basis of our salvation is our faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice! The key, however, to the security and of the believer’s progress is SINCERE REPENTANCE! REPENTANCE AND THE CONFESSION ON TIME BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

 

John BALTATZIS

baltatzis@skynet.be

 

                                                            To be continued…

ΔΙΑΔΩΣΤΕ ΤΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ ΣΕ ΦΙΛΟΥΣ ΣΑΣ