(Continued from FAQ Page…)
Before one can fall from a ladder, he must have first been up on one. Before one can “fall from grace”, he must first be in a state of grace from which he falls. One enters into the state of grace and forever remains there as of the moment of salvation.
When one understands Who it is that places us in a state of grace, one can then understand what can and what cannot be lost as a result of falling from grace. As we will see, falling from grace needs to be addressed, but it has got nothing to do with the integrity of one's salvation.
Once fallen it is important to learn what must be done to rectify the situation. On this point, “religion” and the Bible can differ greatly.
Salvation can NEVER be earned or deserved through human effort or “religious” ritual independent of God. Salvation, once received, can never be lost through human failure or sin, as the loss of salvation would require a power source greater than God (Mark 3: 27/Matt. 12: 29) to neutralize the grip (John 10: 28) with which God holds onto His children.
The loss of salvation would mean that God was wrong when He inspired the human authors of Scripture to teach the principles of John 3: 18/ Romans 8: 1/Romans 14: 4/Eph. 4: 30, etc., etc., etc..
In my experience, I have observed that it is the ones who come into the true Christianity after having spent time under the bondage of false Christian doctrine, that have the greatest difficulty accepting the permanency of their salvation. Such believers go to their graves with the “hope of salvation”, but never come to the point during their post salvation spiritual life here on Earth in which they experience the assurance and freedom that true post salvation doctrine brings to the soul (John 8: 32).
It is from such religious bondage that an advancing disciple can be set free (John 8: 32).
The devil has a “religious” plan in place to see that this does not happen. “Religion”, but not God, has developed a seemingly never-ending list of sins that can result in one going to Hell, or at the very least, spending time in Purgatory for sin(s) that the Bible teach has already been paid for in full by the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Never the less, just because one will not lose his salvation does NOT mean that a born again believer can entertain sin and then not expect to receive divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth, and/or the loss of rewards in Heaven (1Cor. 3: 12-15).
The Doctrine of Eternal Security teaches us that one’s salvation cannot be lost, but in no way is to be interpreted as a license to sin as many do.
Here in the Church Age, s-a-l-v-a-t-i-o-n (deliverance from a status of spiritual death to spiritual life) and the eternal life (John 3: 16) necessary to live with God in Heaven, are unmerited and irrevocable (Romans 11: 29) gifts from God that are among things that one receives as the result of one making a one-time decision to believe in a presentation of the true Gospel Message.
Eternal life and the opportunity to start one’s walk with God begins here on Earth on the day one is saved. It c-o-n-t-i-n-u-e-s on in Heaven after one departs this Earth. Meeting God face to face in Heaven IS not the time that he/she should begin to get to know our Creator.
Everyone will come face to face with God in Heaven (Romans 14:11), but rather or not any one of us does so as a welcomed child of the Father, or as an unbeliever just before being sent to the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15) is the result of a choice that WE make (John 3: 18) HERE on Earth, when presented with the TRUE Gospel.
Once saved, the believer THEN as the opportunity to know God better and better as he/she develops an intimate relationship with God. Knowing of God, and knowing God (how He thinks and functions) can be two very different things. Knowing the heart of God requires intimacy and dedication to the Word of God.
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven (Matt. 7: 21).”
(Doing the will of the Father in this case refers to believing in the Person (who He is) and the (atoning) Work of the Lord Jesus Christ that the TRUE Gospel teaches).
Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name; and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?” And I will declare to them (those who did these deeds), “I never new you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (activity contrary to Scripture, or activity that has got nothing to do with obtaining salvation) - Matt. 7: 23 NASB/ parenthesis mine.”
Note that these souls thought they had done all that God required and then some! These people never fell from grace, as they were never in the state of grace in the first place.
They were obviously religious and at least thought they had done great deeds in the name of the Lord, but were NEVER born again (John 3: 5, 7). The final and eternal destination of ALL such souls is the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15).
One meets his Maker if and when he/she is born again HERE on Earth. Once born again, he has the opportunity to continue to know Him better and better through the TRUE post salvation spiritual life.
If one is not born again, he/she may acquire a lot of knowledge about God, but does not know God, nor is he/she known to God in the capacity of one of His children.
The post salvation spiritual life not only glorifies God, but serves as experiential evidence of the relationship that will CONTINUE when a born again believer departs this Earth.
No walk, no experience!
So-called “Christians” who do not develop the TRUE post salvation spiritual life will not experience either the confidence or the freedom that ONLY an intimate walk with God HERE on Earth will bring to him/her.
The resulting void that rejecting the call to post salvation discipleship creates a void that the devil will gladly fill with fear, doubt, insecurity, and religion!
IN keeping with the plan of God, one’s 24-7 walk with begins when one is born again here on Earth.
Until the Rapture (1 Thess. 5: 15, 16) takes place, the only thing that changes at the moment of physical death is the type of bodily form one enters into, and his/her location. The body remains, if available, goes to a grave or urn, etc., but not the soul. The souls of ALL unbelievers (in the Gospel) goes to the Torments of Hades until the day of judgment of the unbelievers when they are brought up to the Court of Heaven and then sent to what the Bible calls the Lake of Fire for ALL of eternity (Rev. 20: 13, 15). The souls of all believers (in the Gospel) to Heaven and reside in interim bodies until the Rapture and all the post-Rapture in Heaven take place.
The experience of the born again believer in Heaven is to be a continuation of the 24-7 walk that we developed with God over the course of our post salvation spiritual life that began HERE on Earth.
The Biblical term “born again” has been taken a beating over the years, and in more recent history has been a label implying that one has gone “a little nuts” in his/her religious life.
What the phrase actually refers to is the regenerating (Titus 3: 5) Work of God the Holy Spirit that takes place in spiritual realm at the moment of salvation.
The unspoken message behind the false practices of religion is that simple faith in the Work that the Lord Jesus Christ performed on the cross is not enough to either obtain or retain salvation.
One would not feel the need to entertain the products and practices of “religion” if he/she truly believed in a presentation of the TRUE Gospel Message.
Many sectors of the so-called Christian Community are so deeply entrenched in Man-made “religion”, that the TRUE Gospel is barely recognizable having been distorted with all the do’s and don’ts of religion.
Upon choosing to believe in a presentation of the TRUE Gospel, the formerly dead human spirit of the one involved is regenerated (Titus 3: 5) by the Work of God the Holy Spirit.
There is no power in Heaven or Earth that can reverse the regenerating Work that God performs at the moment of salvation.
It takes very little spiritual discernment to observe who within the Christian Community have advanced in the realm of discipleship to the point that they are experiencing the freedom spoken of in John 8: 31.
The freedom spoken of in John 8: 31 includes the freedom from the yoke of bondage that the demands and requirements of Man-made religion place on the soul, with the full endorsement of the devil.
“Religious” people have a long history of unwittingly promoting the lies of the devil in thought, word, and deed (John 8: 44) while doing what they believed to be the will and/or the work of God.
Its takes very little discernment to identify those within the Christian Community who have learned what the true post (after) salvation life is all about, and those who will spend most of it in fear of losing what cannot be lost and never moving forward in the plan of God.
There are those who “go to Church” on a regular basis, but are no further along the road of discipleship than they were 6 months, 6 years, or 6 decades ago.
“Going to Church” will contribute little (if anything) to the production of divine good in the life of the attendee if what he/she hears does not edify the soul, or if what truth he/she does hear is not being applied to the moment to moment, day to day, choices he/she makes.
Other than the sin of disbelief, the Lord Jesus Christ paid the entire sin debt of the whole world. The omission of atoning for the sin of disbelief was NOT an oversight, but of divine design (John 3: 18).
God the Father cannot be true to His own word by requiring A-N-Y additional payment for ANY sin that has been stamped PAID IN FULL by the very blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So-called penance and absolution issued by an unauthorized intermediary (1 Tim. 2: 5) is an affront to the integrity of the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Good deeds, restitution, and the forsaking of sin (John 8:11) should be present as evidence that true repentance (change of mind and accompanying behavior) has taken place, but such things are NEVER the means of atonement.
The spiritual issue here is NOT so much what one does, but for what reason he/she is doing it. What we do (or don’t do) speaks louder and carries much more weight that was we say or claim to believe.
In order to send a born again believer to the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15) or to so-called Purgatory in order for the sinner to pay for ANY post salvation sin, God would have to nullify, at least in part, the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ that He completed “finished – John 19: 30 (NASB)” on the cross that already paid for that sin in full!
If God could or would do such a thing, we would have good reason to question anything else that He has declared to be a done deal, opening the door to the devil’s plan of deception.
When “religious” people take the position that certain sin(s) can result in time being served in Purgatory, Hell, or the lake of fire, I ask, “Did not the Lord Jesus Christ already pay in full the debt of such sin? If it has been paid in full, then how can God demand further payment?
Such “religious” teachings are not merely erroneous, but amount to blasphemy as attack the plan of God the Father, the Work of the God the Son on the cross, the work of God the Holy Spirit that took place at the moment of salvation, and God’s promise to see the believer through to his arrival in Heaven.
With the exception of the sin of disbelief, the atoning work encompasses every sin that had ever been, is now, or ever will be committed by ANY human being.
Falling from grace is the result of post salvation sin, but falling from grace does not mean the loss of salvation. Falling from grace results in divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth and the forfeiture of specific rewards and privileges in Heaven, but never the loss of salvation (1 Cor. 3: 12-15).
The divine discipline referenced in Heb. 12: 6 takes place here on Earth. The purpose of divine purposed is to direct or to return the believer back onto the straight and narrow road here on Earth.
There is no point of divine discipline after the soul has left the body, as Scripture offers no reason to believe that anyone can alter his/her eternal destination and/or how he/she will experience it, once he/she has departed the body. Divine discipline here on Earth can range in anything from having to live with a guilty conscience, up to and including physical death (Acts 5/1 Cor. 11:30).
Loss of reward in Heaven (1Cor. 3: 15) has to do with forfeiting some (or all) of the rewards and accompanying privileges that the same believe could have otherwise received in addition to permanent residency (John 3: 16) in Heaven that ALL believers will experience (1 Cor. 3: 15).
There is ONE ritual that Church Age believers are commanded (not an option) to participate in on a regular basis, and that is the celebration (not the reproduction) of the Lord’s Supper (Communion). But like every other POST (AFTER) salvation activity, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is NOT for the purpose of r-e-t-a-i-n-i-n-g salvation.
The 1 John 1: 9 confession of sin (to God) is a perquisite for taking part in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper/Communion ritual. The reason for this is that one must be in fellowship (2 Cor. 13: 14) with God in order to entertain this sacred ritual. When one has a known sin that he/she has not confessed (1 John 1: 9) and/or forsaken (John 8: 11), he/she is out of fellowship with God until he/she does.
The periods of time out of fellowship can be as brief as the few seconds it takes to confess the sin to God in prayer, or for as long as the rest of one’s post salvation spiritual life here on Earth.
God cannot fellowship with sin (Habakkuk 1: 13).
Going through the motions of celebrating the Lord’s Supper (Communion) without the required preparation of examination (1 Cor. 11: 28), confession (1 John 1: 9), and forsaking (John 8: 11) ALL known sin(s) is what it means to participate in celebrating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, opening the door to the most severe form of all divine discipline (1 Cor. 11: 30).
Examination without the required follow-up is like someone who goes to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with his health, but then does nothing to address it.
The purpose of the 1 Cor. 11: 28 pre-Communion examination is NOT to consider IF one has sinned, but HOW one has sinned.
Some of us can’t even attend Church services without committing mental attitude sins of passing judgment on the spiritual status of others in attendance, or on others for not attending.
Many of us sit there having an ongoing sin issue of the sin of refusing to forgive others. We may keep these “secret” sins of ours off the radar screen of other people, but God knows our hearts, and it will to be to God that we are going to account for ourselves (Rom. 14: 10).
All sin(s) must be confessed, and then as least have the desire to forsake the sin if he/she is going to receive Communion in a “worthy manner”. The genuineness of the desire will manifest itself in the changes that one makes in his/her own walk with the Lord.
If one does not make any noticeable forward progress in his/he walk with God over a period of time, it might be wise for him/her to consider if he/she is participating in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) in what Scripture calls an unworthy manner.
Note that for the advancing disciple, there is no alternatives. The advancing (edified) disciple knows of both the command (not an option) to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and the need to do so in a “worthy” manner.
Not to celebrate communion is an act of willful disobedience to the “do this” commands (not options) of 1 Cor. 11: 24, 25), but doings so in an unworthy manner is a serious offense in the eyes of God inviting the most severe form of divine discipline (1 Cor. 11: 30).
“But let a man examine himself, and (only after doing) so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup (participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper/Communion) – 1 Cor. 11: 28 NASB/parenthesis mine."
In some groups, such willful disobedience involving a sinful lifestyle can result in one not being welcomed to take part in the corporate worship services (1Cor. 5: 2, 13) until he/she repents (2 Cor. 2: 6, 7/Gal. 6: 1).
If every sinner were to be shown the door, there would be no one left in the pews or behind the pulpit. Excommunication is a severe measure and should only take place when one’s sin is negatively impacting and influencing others to follow suit, and after being given prior notification and warning.
When an excommunicated believer repents, he/she is to be welcomed back into the fellowship of the local Church. If confession and forsaking of sin is good enough for the Lord, it should be good enough for the Church.
“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but up to seventy times seven…(Matt. 18:21 NASB).”
There are a lot of Luke 15: 25 “elder brothers” in the congregations, but God help them if they should find themselves in the need of reconciliation with His Church.
The doors to the true Church, like the open arms of Christ, are open to all sinners, but not to their sin!
Gathering together (Heb. 10: 25) and celebrating the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11: 24, 25) on a regular basis are not “options”, but are two of the more than 300 commands of New Testament Scripture for which we will all give an individual accounting of to God (Rom.14: 10).
Note that gathering together and the celebrating of the Lord’s Supper can be accomplished via the many means of modern day communications. No physical altars or officiating priests were needed in the first few centuries of the Church Age, and none are needed now. Such things are products of religion.
It is important to learn what IS in jeopardy and what one needs to do when (not if) one falls from grace. It is equally important to know what is NOT in jeopardy when one falls from grace so that the devil will not be able to destroy what remains of one’s post salvation spiritual life.
The blessings of the “common” grace of God applies to every member of the human race.
Common grace does not require one to be born again in order to be a recipient, as the blessings of common grace are shared by both the believers and the unbelievers during their appointed time here on the planet. The blessings of common grace, however, are limited to one’s time here on Earth. One can take NONE of them with him/her when one departs.
The origin of common grace began prior to the creation of the human race when God restored (Gen. 1-34) the surface and atmosphere of planet Earth in preparation for it to be inhabited by its next scheduled inhabitant, Man. Everything that Man would need to sustain the natural life of the body that he would receive was provided to Man by the common grace of God.
God created the first human body (Adam’s) from out of the dust of the Earth (Gen.2: 7), and the second human body (Eve’s) from the rib of the first (Gen. 2:21). God also provided both the male and the female with the necessary reproductive organs to later re-produce the bodies for their offspring of all the future generations to come.
It was God who created both the bodies and the souls of Adam and Eve (John 3: 6), but that time forward, the bodies of the human race are the product of the reproductive process that God created for that purpose. God, however, continues to the sole Creator of the soul (Jon 3: 6).
The soul is the part of Man that was/is created in God’s likeness (Gen. 1: 26). The soul is “like” God in that its life will NEVER come to an end. It is unlike God in that each soul has a beginning, that being the day on which God creates it and places it in the body of His choosing.
Life after death is NOT a matter of if, but a matter of where and how it IS going to be experienced for all of eternity future.
It is God (and not our biological parents – John 3: 6) Who continues to create each soul and place it into the specific body of His choosing, as the human race continues to reproduce the bodies of the next generation of the human race.
Adam, and later Eve, became human beings when God placed their souls in the bodies that God had already prepared to receive them (Gen. 2: 7). We become human beings when God created our soul and placed it in the body of His choosing when it came forth at BIRTH. We differ from Adam and Eve in that our bodies were not created as were theirs, but are reproduced by the process that God established.
In the plan of God, the biological life of the fetus is supported by the process that God incorporated with the reproductive process during the developmental stage of the fetus.
When the fetus receives its first breath of natural life at birth (Gen. 2: 7), the soul that God creates (John 3: 6) is simultaneously placed in the body that now has its own natural life, independent of the mother.
When the natural life of the body expires, the soul departs the body and enters the eternity future. It is the soul that distinguished Man from the other natural beasts with whom we share the planet. It is the soul that (should) cause Man to look to a future beyond the death of the body.
The details of one’s birth reveals much about the individual plan and part that He has in mind for each soul that He creates.
Whatever the physical, geographic, economic, political, cultural, race, gender status may be that one finds himself in, it all began where God intended for that soul to be.
God will make or allow whatever changes are necessary to accomplish His will, but even sociologists will agree that for the most part, there is seldom any major changes in the social-economic environment into which one is placed at birth.
If the plan of God called for any one of us to live in a different time slot in history, or in a different social, political, or environmentally different dispensation that the one we find ourselves, we would have been created and placed in a body and circumstances to accommodate it.
God was and is fully aware of all the “benefits” and “limitations” that each soul would encounter in the specific body that He chose to place us in, in light of the gender, racial, and political issues of the time period in which He placed us.
God provides everything that one needs to fulfill His will, but not necessarily ours. This includes the precise body of His choosing. Rather or not we choose to use what God has given to us for His glory or for our own selfish goals is another matter.
Our biological parents may or may not have had a “baby” in mind at the moment that what would become our humanity at birth was conceived.
God, however, chose when He would create us (our souls) and into which specific body He would place us. The body of His choosing reveals much about the specific plan that God had/has in mind for every soul that He creates.
God was fully aware of all the medical advantages that would be available during the dispensation in which He placed every soul He creates.
Nothing happens to the bodies of any one of us without first passing through the filters of God’s direct, permissive, or over-ruling power and will.
The Fall of Man did not take God by surprise. God knew all about EVERY sin that was ever going to be committed BEFORE the creation of the world. When we confess ANY sin to God, we are not telling Him anything that He doesn't already know, and He has already made it clear what His response to our confession will be (1 John 1: 9).
The plan of salvation for the human race was disclosed to us in stages, but the full plan of God had been in His mind before the Earth (Eph. 1: 4, 5), let alone Man, was ever created.
The Divine Decree contains every human action or inaction that has taken, is taking, or will take place throughout the course of human history. God in His omniscience, knows of the future with just as much clarity as He does the past.
God knows ALL of the choices that EVERY human being would make BEFORE they took (or will take) their first breath of natural life at birth. The reason that we are held accountable is that it is we that makes these choices, even though God already knew what the choices that we have made, are making, and will make during our time here on Earth.
When necessary, God intervenes in the course of human history. But for the most part, He allows Man to make many of the choices, both wise and evil, and their blessings and/or consequences to play themselves out. If there were no real blessings and/or consequences, then there would not really be “free will”. The exercising of free will is at the heart of spirituality.
One of the greatest “interventions” that the plan of God called for was His provision for the salvation of Man. Without it, we would all be headed for the Hell that each one of us deserve.
Man, apart from God, could and can do NOTHING to either obtain or retain salvation.
It is only through the pre-salvation work and timing of God the Holy Spirit that a spiritually dead and hostile Rom.8: 7 soul can be made to understand (Rom. 8: 7) a presentation of the TRUE Gospel Message that God prepares the soul to receive.
God makes the Gospel understandable, but He does not make us believe it.
This pre-salvation preparation is what the Bible is referring to when it teaches that we do not choose when we come to God, but can only come to Him when He chooses to call us (John 15: 16). This truth and commission was given to His earliest disciples, and continues to be the case today.
One can become “religious” at virtually any time one wants, but can only be saved when choosing to respond to the call and Work of God the Holy Spirit.
There are death-bed conversions, but no one knows if the circumstances of one’s departure will afford any one of us a last minute opportunity to be saved. Every day there are people who get up and left the house for “just another day”, only to find themselves in Heaven or in the Torments of Hades before the sun went down, with their earthly departure being that last things that every crossed their minds. No one knows if has rejected his last opportunity to believe (John 3: 18) in a presentation of the Gospel and be saved (Heb. 3: 15).
If and when one chooses to believe in a presentation of the TRUE Gospel Message, his spiritually DEAD spirit is THEN and THERE regenerated (Titus 3: 5). This regeneration is what the Bible is referring to when it speaks of being born again (John 3: 5, 7).
Just as one cannot be saved apart from the Work of God, neither can one build, maintain, or deploy an edified soul structure (Matt. 7: 24-27) apart from God (John 15: 5).
It is only via God the Holy Spirit that God can produce divine good through a born again believer (John 15: 5). It is only divine good, and NOT deeds of human good that brings glory to God here on Earth and rewards to the believer in Heaven. This is why NO amount of human good can ever “earn” its producer a seat in Heaven, and why ALL acts of human good (although they can have great value here on Earth) are totally REJECTED at the 1 Cor. 3: 12-15 evaluation of deeds.
It is only via the power and desire of God that one’s salvation remains intact, assuring us that ALL born again believers will in fact arrive in Heaven upon departing this world (Romans 14: 4).
The Bible speaks of the futility of trying (with human effort) to retain what human effort could not even obtain in the first place (Gal. 3: 3).
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit (what God did), are you now being perfected by the (the religious, self-righteous, or humanitarian deeds) of the flesh (human effort) - Gal. 3: 3 NASB/parenthesis mine)”
One of the reasons that “religion” appeals to Man is that it appears to offer Man the means to “earn” or deserve salvation on the basis of all that Man does (or refrains from doing) to establish and maintain a temporal, and later, an eternal relationship with God through the products and practices of religion.
Religion did not fail to develop its own definition, prevention, and solution for one “falling from grace”. Such products of religion sounds good to Man, but do not pass the scrutiny of the Word of God.
We should thank God that it is all on Him and not on our end to do (other than believe) or not do anything in order to either obtain or retain salvation.
Note that there IS much to be done if one is going to enter into and execute the TRUE post (after) salvation spiritual life. It is via the TRUE post salvation spiritual life that one glorifies, but the post salvation spiritual life has got NOTHING to do with retaining salvation. In fact, the post salvation spiritual life does not even begin until the issue of one’s salvation has already been and forever resolved.
We do not serve God in order to be rewarded, but God has revealed that He intends to reward in Heaven those who choose to live for Him here on Earth.
Bringing post salvation glory to God will result in receiving heavenly rewards, but does nothing to improve the integrity of our salvation (1 Cor. 3: 15). One can never be any more (or any less) saved than he became the moment he first believed in a presentation of the true Gospel Message.
Hopefully by now, we have a clear understanding of what is not in jeopardy (salvation) when a believer “falls from grace”, and what IS (fellowship/rewards)!
With that part of this study being addressed, we must now focus on what causes one to fall from grace; what one can expect as a result; and what one can do about it.
One falls from grace as a result of post (after) salvation sin. We sin by acts of commission (what we do) or acts if omission (what we fail to do) when what we do or don’t do violates any ONE of the more than 300 commandments documented in New Testament Scripture that apply to the dispensation of the Church Age.
One sins as a result of entertaining evil thoughts, words, and/or deeds.
On the surface, that seems to be a no brainer, but when one begins to discover what all of the 300+ commandments encompass, the principle of Romans 3: 23 jumps off the page.
The plan of God calls for Church Age believers to conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8: 29).
This is certainly not a one-time event, but a life-long process based on building, maintaining, and applying an edified soul structure (Matt. 7: 24-27) to the events of one’s daily life under the tutorship and power of God the Holy Spirit, as one obeys the command to grow in God’s grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3: 18).
Adding the principle of James 2: 10 to the mix, it becomes clear to an advancing disciple how falling from grace is a DAILY activity that requires ongoing 1 John 1: 9 attention if one is going to “walk” with God.
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23 NASB).”
“…For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles on point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10 NASB)."
“…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9 NASB.”
When people observe us, do they see the likeness of Christ in our attitudes, speech, and behavior, or more of the devil? This is only one of the many questions that one must ask himself as he/she obeys the command of 2Cor. 3:15 to conduct self-examinations (and make the necessary adjustments) on a regular basis.
According to the Biblical definition of sin, most of us sin every day, sometimes carrying over a mental attitude sin(s) from unresolved issues of the previous day (Eph. 4: 26), or by grumbling or complaining (Phil. 2: 14) about what we anticipate the day ahead to have in store for us.
Perhaps you weren’t aware that such things also amount to a breach of several more of the 300+ Commands of the New Testament.
“Be angry (that’s normal), and yet do not sin (plot, plan and/or seek revenge/refuse to forgive, etc.); do not let the sun go down on your anger (get over it) Eph. 4: 26 NASB parenthesis mine). Otherwise, we breach at least three more commandments (Eph. 4: 27/James 4: 7/ 1 Peter 5: 8).
“…do not give the devil an opportunity (Eph. 4: 27), as he, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. (Why?) The devil your adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5: 8).
It may very well be that it was something or someone else who hurt or offended us, but it is we who “falls from grace” if and when we choose to respond to our hurt or anger by entertaining a mental attitude or overt sin.
One would be correct that such commands are way beyond human capability of compliance. But the TRUE post salvation spiritual life (requiring such compliance) is not to be executed with human power, but from the (John 15: 5) that is available to us when we choose to submit our thoughts and accompanying behaviors to the mentorship and leadership of God the Holy Spirit.
When facing challenges, Christians often pray for the strength to face various situations. The truth is that, when in fellowship with God, we already have access to the greatest (John 15: 5) source of power in the universe. What we must learn to do however, is God’s ways of doings things.
Until we do, one will find the course of the post salvation spiritual life to be one frustration and non-productive when we desire success the most.
The administration of secular justice requires that the Man’s law defines what constitutes a crime and what the appropriate punishment would be for violators convicted of breaking each law.
The Bible defines what constitutes a violation of God’s law(s), but according to James 2: 10, the breaking of any ONE of God’s law(s) renders the offending party to be in the same category as the one who has broken them all!
This runs contrary to human viewpoint that allows us to rationalize or even self-justify our sin by comparing our “lesser” sin to the “greater” sins of others. Contrary to what “religion” has to say, sin is sin and God does not look (with approval) on ANY sin. Any sin James 2: 10 places ALL of us in the same sinking, stinking boat, and is the same spiritual needs to address the sin in our own lives.
All unbelievers are in need of salvation (John 3: 16, 18), and all believers are in a daily need to re-establish fellowship with God via the 1 John1: 9 process. Once the sin has been confessed (to God), the believer must then re-set the stage by forsaking (John 8: 11) the sin(s) confessed if he/she is going to avoid continuing on with the same sin that took him/her out of fellowship in the first place.
Many of us spend much of our post salvation spiritual life in a revolving doorway, going in and out of fellowship with God. Although our salvation is never lost, we make no forward progress the development of true discipleship.
The one and ONLY Biblical remedy for falling from grace is to make a 1 John 1: 9 confession (to God).
The purpose of this remedy is to restore the fellowship (2 Cor. 13: 14) and intimacy that one in fellowship has when walking with God. This remedy is NOT for the purpose of restoring salvation, as salvation is never in jeopardy.
Believers who are out of fellowship with God will NOT live a Christ centered life. They will live a SELF centered life, whose only (if any) interest in God and /or the things of God will be to obtain or hold onto whatever benefits their “religious” life and activity might bring their way.
Being out of fellowship (2 Cor. 13: 14) with God can be best understood by comparing it to an ongoing marital dispute in the human environment. Until the issue is resolved, there is no harmony, limited conversation, no desire for intimacy beyond selfish gratification, disinterest, and even hostility in view between the human partners. Never the less, the marital status, at least for the time being, remains intact.
Breach of fellowship with God results in limited conversation (prayer), loss of interest, no desire for intimacy, and a dysfunctional post salvation spiritual life (no divine good being produced),on the part of the human partner. Never the less, salvation status remains intact and is NEVER in jeopardy.
While out of fellowship with God, the offending partner is subject to divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth, and the future forfeiture of reward at the 1 Cor. 3: 12-15 evaluation in Heaven.
“For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives (Heb. 12: 6 NASB).”
“If any man’ work (deeds) is burned up (rejected as having any basis for heavenly reward) he shall suffer loss (of rewards); but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3: 15 NASB/parenthesis mine).”
“He who believes in Him is not judged (as far as salvation in concerned); (but) he who has not believed has been judged already, (Why?) because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3: 18 NASN/ parenthesis mine).”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word (the TRUE Gospel Message), and believes Him who sent Me, has (already received) eternal life, and does not come into (the) judgment (awaiting ALL unbelievers – Rev. 20: 13, 15) but has (already) passed out of (spiritual) death) into (spiritual) life (John 5: 24 NASB/parenthesis mine).”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 1 NASB).”
Comparing Scripture with Scripture is an important part of accurately interpreting and applying the Bible. Selective Scripture “picking”, to the exclusion of other passages, can make the Bible say just about anything that a clever speaker or believers wants it to say.
When comparing Scripture with Scripture, one can see that NO condemnation does not mean NO discipline or that there aren’t consequences for post salvation sin; only that the loss of salvation is NEVER one of the consequences.
Once one recovers from his/her fall from grace via the 1 John 1: 9 process, he/she may also have to forsake the same sin (John 8: 11) if he/she is to avoid returning to his/he own vomit (2 Pet. 2: 22) and find him/herself to have quickly fallen from grace once again.
Because of the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of God is inexhaustible, always providing an open door to the intangible confessional of 1 John 1: 9. It is open 24-7.
Never the less, repeat offenders can expect an increasing amount of divine discipline here on Earth and an ever decreasing amount of reward(s) in Heaven, even though one’s salvation is never in jeopardy.
The primary purpose of discipline is to point to or to redirect one back onto the straight and narrow path. The more defiant and rebellious one proves to be, the “shorter the leash” and the “stronger the tug of correction” will be experienced.
Did you ever notice that certain conditions seem to follow you from relationship to relationship, job to job, etc.,? Could it be that God desires you to identify and address an underlying issue(s) that He wants YOU to address?
Some of us aren’t even out of bed in the morning and already have fallen out of grace of God by what we have thought or said. Most of us don’t get very far into the day before we wake up and find ourselves in the immediate need of the 1 John 1:9 confessional.
For many, just the morning commute is enough to test the willingness to refrain from evil thoughts or actions that the Bible defines as sin!
Knowing of our vulnerability, the devil and/or his agents will likely approach us during periods of time when we have fallen from grace, offering us what God appears to be withholding from us, providing we are willing to pay the price.
Scripture (Luke 4: 6) is clear, and even a quick scan of this world, confirms that God is NOT the only one who can bless those who are willing to serve the interests of the one making the proposal.
In summary, to “fall from grace” means that one has removed him/herself from being in a position to receive the maximum temporal blessings and the maximum heavenly reward(s) from the hands of God. He/she has instead, placed him/herself in a position to receive divine discipline and to forfeit heavenly reward(s), but never the loss of salvation.
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