14. SALVATION IN CHRIST AND THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER (Chapter 14).

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Chapter 14, Continued from Chapter 13

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

An Email Ministry for the Glory of God

 

A series of Bible studies on

SALVATION IN CHRIST

AND

THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

 

PART 2: Which believer risks losing his salvation… (#5)

DANGERS OF LOSING ONE’S SALVATION: Case studies…

ΜΠΑΛΤΑΤΖΗΣ-Σειρά Βιβλικών μελετών (14).

Now we will continue examining certain other cases:

16. Those who preach “Another Gospel”

Have you read carefully the following passages?

  • “For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him…” (2Cor.11:14);
  • “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be ACCURSED (Gal.1:7-9).

Paul the apostle declared with extremely strong words: Another Jesus and another gospel (for example, of Judaism) destroy the mercy and grace of God and proclaim another savior and other ways of worship. These words were never addressed to the other apostles, but to churches and its members whose faith was not consolidated in Christ in genuine faith and piety. Examples: Some believed that Jesus had but one nature! Hymenaeus and Philetus erred, ‘saying that the resurrection is past already and overthrew the faith of some’ (2Tim.2:17-18). Nowadays, the Jehovah Witnesses, for example, assert that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael!

Can we say that they are not believers? No way! They believe, but they err! Some of them are “vain talkers and deceivers…” [(Tit.1:10), Ancient Greek: («‘ματαιολόγοι’ = vain-talker, idle-talker and ‘φρεναπάται’ = mind-deceivers or mind-misleaders)]. Some of them had begun well and then went astray!

There are errors and errors: Errors of perdition (2Pie.2:1) and other doctrinal errors, which do not lead to perdition. The severity of each error, we, human beings, cannot distinguish always exactly, but only He Who is Omniscient and who knows the heart of man! I say this because God does not judge us according to our errors, but on the basis of the choices of our heart (Prov.4:23)! A lot of things could be written on doctrinal errors, but it is not necessary to include them in the context of this study. What counts is to hold a good conscience, which some having put away have made shipwreck in the faith (1Tim.1:19).

Thanks to God’s mercy and grace such people wake up one day and abandon their deadly errors! God’s love and patience are amazing!

17. Those who profess that they know God but…

“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). They are men whose words and works do not concord! It has to do with men whose attitude destroys and shames the Gospel of the grace of God! Such people, I put the question, are they not counted to be among believers? They profess to know God! They believe in and preach and celebrate Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! But what is the product of their life? You may object by saying that such people are not true Christians! Agreed! “He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1John 2:4). But tell me, dear reader, have you never heard or come across such people who are called believers and are even priests or pastors who are homosexuals and pedophiles, or lovers of money, or, or? They are as the Word of God describes them: “abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate”. They neither go in themselves in the kingdom of God, neither suffer they them that are entering to go in because of their conduct (Mat.23:13)! I would exhort my readers to read chapter 34 from the book of Ezekiel and chapter 23 from the Gospel of Matthew!

Such people believe and teach, as a rule, what the Bible says! Will they be saved if they do not reject their error and repent in time and put their trust in God?

18. Those who are false apostles, deceitful workers…

The Bible also speaks about people who were considered ‘Christians’ and especially leaders of their churches who were: “[…] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2Cor.11:13-15). Such people were in reality pure and simple intruders and they had never become true, genuine believers! They understood that they could transform ‘piety’… into a source of gain (1Tim.6:5), exploiting the simplicity, credulity and naivety of believers in order to fill their bellies and pockets. Yes, but in the eyes of many people, and for a long time, they are ‘Christians’… Their fruit proves them to be Satan’s instruments whose intention was and is to cheat and destroy the work of God, the Church of God!

If I have included this case, it is because in the eyes of many Christians, they are spiritual leaders who… trail behind them great multitudes of people! “[…] they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom.16:18). Some of them are missionaries, evangelists and doctors/professors of religion who preach pompously. They are applauded by those who hear them! And others understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1Tim.1:7)!!! In our days particularly, in addition to their good and flattering words and fair speeches, they add jokes, ‘prophecies’, ‘healings’, and many other things that I would not even mention. If all the prophecies that I have heard up to this date concerning the increase and the qualitative development of the churches had been realized now we would have been flooded by excellent believers! Let us beware of dogs and of evil workers (Phil.3:2)! Was it in vain when Jesus told us: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Mat.7:15-16). Was it in vain when Jesus told us: Take heed and beware of the leaven (doctrine) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Mat.16:6)?

Is it ever possible that God’s salvation be their portion unless they truly repent?

19. Those “Christians” who are ashamed to confess Christ openly…

Will a believer be saved when he is ashamed to confess Christ and His words? NO! Christ will be ashamed to confess him before His Father and before His holy angels! He who does not confess Him now, will also be rejected then… The Word of God is very clear on this point:

  • “Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26).
  • “But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God(Luke 12:9; Mat.10:33).
  • “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself (2Tim.2:12-13).

You see, dear friends, there are believers who are ashamed to pray openly, to speak about Christ openly because they are afraid that they will be ridiculed by others or because they will be considered as “fanatics” or as not being open-minded people! I wrote in one of my previous spiritual studies: There are churches which are afraid to be accused of  “proselytism” (even simple evangelism), converting people to Christ (not to a religion). And what can we say about Christians, who during open TV debates say that all religions are good and should be respected?

The truth is that all men are to be respected and we as Christians must love them and pray for them… but all religions are not to be respected! He who has ears to hear, let him hear, he who understands let him understand! They are afraid to say that Christ is the only way of salvation, all the more while there is still freedom to propagate the Gospel! John 14:6 says that only Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! Those who are afraid to confess boldly the name of Christ and speak on behalf of Him are ambassadors who are either afraid or ashamed of the heavenly country they represent! Isaiah says: “His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10). They are people in whom the Holy Spirit cannot work and, consequently, they cannot speak!

Of course, this statement should not be confused and attributed to people who because of reasons of wisdom and prudence, according to the commandment of the Bible, do not want to throw their pearls before dogs and swine: “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Mat.7:6).

May the Lord give them the courage and the necessary boldness to confess Christ, but to us all, also, the necessary discernment!

20. Spiritual leaders who work for filthy lucre and lord over God’s heritage…

What should we say about the verses: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1Pet.5:2-3)? Tell me please, those who take oversight of the flock by constraint (as if they were doing a chore – an unpleasant task) and not willingly (with delight) but for filthy lucre (on account of avarice, which is the root of every evil, which is equivalent to idolatry) and not with a ready mind and who lord over God’s heritage, are they going to be saved, IF THEY FINALLY DO NOT REPENT and PRODUCE WORKS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE?

          Some spiritual shepherds shepherd the flock of God as proprietors over those entrusted to them (1Pet.5:2-3), either in evident authoritarian ways or in camouflaged ones, manipulating the people so as to impose their will and implementing the Church’s constitution and bylaws according to their personal preferences or according to the denominational line of the organization they serve and from which they depend financially. They know very well that if they deviate, for conscience sake, administratively or denominationally they will lose their salary or their pension. That is why they make all kinds of dishonest compromises. In addition, they always find excuses to justify the non-keeping of their promises towards the members of the church. They even proceed to dishonest elections! The Word of God does not accuse them as nonbelievers, but it accuses them as abusers or usurpers of their pastoral position, in an arbitrary way, or as lovers of money in a direct or an indirect illegal way for their personal interest.

          In this category we might include those who behave like Diotrephes:

“I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not acknowledge us. Therefore, if I come, I will call attention to the deeds he is doing – the bringing of unjustified charges against us with evil words! And not being content with that, he not only refuses to welcome the brothers himself, but hinders the people who want to do so and throws them out of the church!” (3John 1:9-10).

How many… Diotrephes are there nowadays! They ‘elect’ or rather impose the persons of their choice as elders and deacons in a direct or indirect way… and keep out in a direct or indirect way… those who do not agree with them, even if their opponents do it understandably with respect and out of love! So they circumvent in a direct or indirect way the constitution and by-laws of the church according to their preferences or according to their personal interests in order to do what they want… Certain manage Church’s financial resources as they like or for their own profit… these kinds of spiritual leaders who – possessed by the spirit of being first – lord over the flock and behave as dictators, will they be saved if they do not repent in time (1Pet.5:2-3)? In addition, they hinder the true gifts of the Spirit to become manifest and function in the church!

Here is what the Word of God says: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat.24:48-51).

Conclusion: We all will be judged on the basis of the perfect law of freedom (“So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (Jas.1:25, 2:12 = spiritual freedom within and outside the church). We have to do with believers, but who walk disorderly. Their end is described clearly in the Word of God… There is no need for our comments!

A parenthesis: The problem, however, does not lie only in their conduct and manipulations but it is in great part due also to the congregation. Let us pay attention to what the Word of God says:

  • Jeremiah says: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (5:31). Yes, “My people love to have it so”, because they prefer the easy solutions and avoid being troubled…… Whether, however, the people like or not to be “bothered”, true Christians should break that unhealthy situation and help members of the church to be revived, as many as possible. If not, they will reap the consequences… Silence in such cases means complicity!
  • Isaiah says: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (30:10).

As regards false prophets and false teachers, 2Pet.2:1-3 states that their end is destruction, if they do not repent: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not » (2Pet.2:1-3). We have, therefore, in this case not only false teachers but also merchants of Christ!!!

Yes! Merchants’ of the Word of God… The Bible says that: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not” (2Pet.2:3). At this point, I deem necessary to elaborate on something that I simply mentioned on “case 18”:

  1. A.  Either because they could not get a normal job like everybody to earn a living. So they have taken refuge in church environments where there are many naïve and credulous people. They preach the Word of God mixed with short stories and… “miraculous” operations, thus ensuring their subsistence!
  2. B.  Either because they believed in the Word of God and they even became preachers. Most probably, they began well their spiritual life, they accepted the Word of God by faith and later when they became priests or pastors, or, or, or… the love for money imprisoned them and they became instruments of the devil using the Word of God as a means to win their living and/or to become rich… (1Tim.6:5 – NET). They became merchants of Christ… Such people, what kind of testimony do they have in their heart? Shall they be saved if they do not sincerely repent and do not reject their sinful life? In Gal.5:9 it is written: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

They have given the possibility to the “leaven” to leaven their whole life…

 

John BALTATZIS

baltatzis@skynet.be

To be continued…

ΔΙΑΔΩΣΤΕ ΤΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ ΣΕ ΦΙΛΟΥΣ ΣΑΣ