Friday, April 18, 2008

# 246: New Testament Warnings

In the New Testament, there are hundreds of verses that give us encouragement and hope; many more tell us of all the good things Christians have in Christ Jesus, and all the love, faith and hope which are available. Also, there is a large number of verses that explain the way to be saved. Those verses and more are absolutely necessary to know and to claim as our own.

Since most traditional churches quite often preach on these make-us-feel-holy verses, and rightly so, this blog doesn’t center its focus on these verses because most church-going Christians are aware of them.

But—and a big BUT—these same churches neglect preaching on verses that give us warnings, for reasons that we could fall away from the truth of the gospel without even knowing it. These churches are walking on thin ice. They fail to preach on these vital, hard-edged verses because they are contrary to the easy life we are so accustomed to living, and for that reason, some of them (the laity) do not welcome this type of candid preaching, and thus seek a church/es that is/are more congenial and pleasant in their message.

Then there are several large denominations and a multitude of non-affiliated smaller churches that go one step further to keep up their membership and collections. I truly believe this theology could be the most damaging and deadly in all of Christendom. The name of this doctrine is “Once saved (initially accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), always saved,” or more rightly called “eternal security,” regardless of how one lives. Baptist churches are one of the largest denominations who believe in this heresy. And guess who has been one of their leaders for many years? Billy Graham.

There are many holy and important verses these churches use to justify their pleasant but erroneous belief. Let me quote just a few of their first line of defense:

1) Romans 8:37-39. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Isn’t it strange that the apostle Paul doesn’t mention disobedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ as one of the powers that can’t separate us from the Love of Christ? Because it will, as this post will clearly show.

2) Also, John 10:27-29. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

3) 1st John 2:1. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin [did you notice the apostle John used the word “IF,” which means it may possibly happen, but didn’t use the word “WHEN,” which means it WILL happen in the future?], we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”

4) Romans 11:20. “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

5) 1st Corinthians 6:11. “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

6) Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this, he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”

7) Hebrews 13:5. “. . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

There are other similar verses which are not quite as poignant, which also give assurance of salvation.

Now, if a group of people didn’t know or neglected what else was taught in the New Testament concerning this topic, they could easily believe that once people first accept Christ as Lord and Savior, they would be saved for all time, regardless of how they lived; thus, obedience to Christ’s commands would not be a controlling factor.

But those wonderful assuring verses and more, which they hang on to, do not negate all the warnings we are given which tell us we must continue to be faithful/obedient until death to Him who loves us.

For that reason, this post, which is based on Biblical verses, will give undisputable evidence that Salvation is conditional, by displaying the eternal harm when these upcoming verses are not included side-by-side along with the verses which promise assurance of Salvation. It will present several dozen verses that will need no explanation, although I will make some eye-opening comments. Please, if anyone is a new Christian, don’t let these verses overwhelm you; take it slow. A holy life does not occur overnight, even though the holy desire may be there.

1) Acts 5:32. “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit , whom God has given to those who obey him.” Obedience to all of Christ’s teaching is an absolute in the Christian life.

2) 2nd Peter 1:10 “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do ‘these things,’ you will never fall.” Read 2nd Peter 1:5-9 to explain what ‘these things’ are.

3) Hebrews 2:10. “We must pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

4) Luke 7:23. Jesus speaking: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” This verse is emphatically implying that one is capable of falling away from being one of Jesus’ disciples.

5) John 14:15. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Obedience is stressed in at least four verses in the book of John in chapters 14 and 15. I will present only two.

6) John 15:9-10. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.”

7) James 1:12. “. . . he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

8) 1st John 5:3. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” Therefore, if we just say we love God but do not obey His commands, we are deceiving ourselves.

9) 1st Corinthians 15:2. “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." Therefore, a person can believe in vain.

10) Hebrews 6:4-6. “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they have crucified the Son of God all over again and subjected him to public disgrace.” Could this be the unpardonable sin? This is the only time the word “impossible” is used in this context except in Hebrews 11:6. “And without faith it is impossible to please God . . . ” And, of course, the faith the writer is speaking of is faith that is displayed by the appropriate action.

11) 1st Corinthians 6:7. “The very fact you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.”

12) Hebrews 3:6. “And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and hope of which we boast.”

13) Hebrews 10:38-39. “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”

14) Ephesians 5:1. “Be imitators of God . . .” Do we really have to be imitators of God once we are saved? Absolutely.

15) 2nd Corinthians 13:11. “Aim for perfection.” Is aiming for perfection a quick and easy accomplishment, or is it our lifetime ambition?

16) Hebrews 5:9. “and, once made perfect, he [Jesus Christ] became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

17) Hebrews 12:14. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

18) James 4: 4. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

19) Hebrews 3:14. “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firm to the end the confidence we had at first.”

20) Hebrews 6:11. “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.”

21) Colossians 1:23. “. . . to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusations—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.”

22) 2nd Thessalonians 3:14. “If anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”

23) Colossians 2:4. “I tell you this so that no one [many distinguished church leaders] may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.”

24) 2nd Timothy 2:17. “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth.”

25) 2nd Timothy 4:10. “For Demas, because he loved the world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

26) 1st Peter 5:8. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . .” Does anyone think Peter would have given his brothers and sister this warning if it wasn’t possible for the devil to gobble up Christians without their knowledge?

27) James 4:17. “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” This sin of omission is by all means the most prolific sin that will condemn mainly those who don’t feel it is necessary to continue to do good when it is appropriately needed, since they are already saved and can’t lose their Salvation.

28) 1st John 2:24-26. “See that what you heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you will remain in the Son and the Father . . . I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.” Some believe it is impossible to be led astray, especially when they believe their connection to Christ is secure for all times, regardless, because they say God is not an Indian-giver.

29) 2nd Peter 2:15. “They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.”

30) 2nd Peter 2:20. “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were in the beginning.”

31) Revelation 2:26. “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authorities over the nations.” The Will of God is to obey all the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles as presented in the New Testament.

32) Matthew 10: verse 1 and 8. “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to cure every kind of disease and sickness . . . [verse 8]: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Now here is one of the most intriguing questions of the ages: Was Judas Iscariot also given authority to perform these healings and miracles? The question is a resounding yes. Being keeper of the money bag (John 12:6), a noble and trustworthy responsibility, he, most likely, was second in line after Peter of the twelve. This man was as much a man of God at that time as any of the twelve, and yet, he gave up it all up for the sake of money. This example vividly tells that all one has with God can be lost if one does not continue to the end in the ways of The Lord.

The book of 1st Timothy has much compelling evidence of this heresy, displayed in the next eight verses, warning us what can happen when we are lax in our study of Scripture and depend mainly on church doctrine to tell us the correct way.

33) 1st Timothy 1:19. “Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”

34) 1st Timothy 2:15. “But women will be kept safe through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

35) 1st Timothy 3:9. “They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.”

36) 1st Timothy 4:1. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” The way things look, we are in that time frame at the present.

37) 1st Timothy 5:6. “But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead while she still lives.” I know several who live just to have a good time.

38) 1st Timothy 5:15. "Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan."

39) 1st Timothy 6:10. “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

40) 1st Timothy 6:21. “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.”

41) Matthew 24:10-13. “At that time many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. . . . Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Who said Christians/disciples can’t unknowingly turn away from the faith, once they have been saved?

42) Matthew 22:37-39: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ The second is like it; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” To be obedient toit these commands is a lifetime challenge which will continually affect one’s complete life. There can be no slacking off; Godly love is that demanding. These two commands hold up all that is taught in the complete New Testament. There is no Christian life without an active obedience to these two most important commands. There can be no higher goal. We will be continually aiming for perfection. This paragraph displays Christianity at its best.

43) Philemon 1:6. “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” When certain people who claim to be Christians are not sharing their faith, it is clear evidence of only one thing: They have little or nothing of spiritual value to share with those without Christ. This is an unpopular axiom, but nevertheless is true. Think about the depth of this unspoken though common-sense principle.

If you know any people, family members or friends, who are caught up in this “once saved, always saved” heresy, please—for their sake and yours—tell them about this Biblical blog. If your parents or whoever do not have access to the Internet, send me an email requesting a copy of this post. I will email it back to you the same day. This could be the most important good deed you will ever do in your life: hopefully showing someone or many a way of freeing themselves from the clutches of the great deceiver. May God bless you and yours. JC

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