(Continued from Part One)
Old habits die hard.
Man made religion, including Man made Christian religion, have deep roots that are totally resistant to change, let alone removal. The phrase,"Christian religion", be it of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, or non-denominational variety is an oxymoron in that "Christian religion" consists of all that Man has either added to or distorted what was actually taught and documented in Scripture. An oxymoron is a phrase in which incompatible words are joined together in a single phase. Genuine Christianity and Christian "religion" are antithetical. Christian "religion", a Man made and demonically promoted product of the Church Age, violates the "don't add or take from whatever the Bible has revealed" principle. Such things are held in high esteem (Luke 16: 15) in the eyes of "religious" people, but are of no account (Isa. 64: 6) in the eyes of God.
Old habits die hard.
The study of the Word of God is a primary element in the life of discipleship, yet it is inevitable that the more one studies Scripture, that inconsistencies will emerge between what is actually taught and what has become doctrine or is practiced in MANY sectors of the Christian Community. Willing to concede that one has accepted and practiced FALSE doctrine and practices in the past is a GIANT step forward in the development and maintaining of an edified soul structure.
Old habits die hard.
I have not met an edified Christian yet who has not been influenced in one way or another, or at one time or another, by the mark that Man made and demonically (Eph. 6:12/1 Tim. 4: 1) promoted "religion" has made on the Christian Community at large. The ability to distinguish what is "religious" from what is "spiritual" is a major requirement if one is reach maximum success in the execution of his/her post (after) salvation spiritual life.
Old habits die hard.
The challenge that an advancing disciple faces is what is he/she is going to do with the information he/she discovers. It is one thing to discover the truth, but it is an entirely different matter to apply it in the midst of all the pressure (Luke 14: 26) that the devil and his forces of evil can generate.
Old habits die hard.
There has NEVER been a time when the either the entire human leadership or the entire Christian Community were in full agreement on all points of doctrine. The original apostles did not always concur in thought and/or practice, and neither did the various sub-groups that formed ad will continue to be formed throughout the course of the dispensation of the Church Age.
If you think your are going to find a denomination, local assembly, or pastor teacher that has not, is not, or will not function in some degree of error, you know little about the Church History or the human limitations that we all have in the spiritual realm. An unbiased study of the lives of the apostles reveal their human weakness as well as their spiritual strengths. An honest look in the mirror will do the same. Although each one will claim to have "the" spiritual answers to all questions, there has NEVER been and never will be a pastor, denomination, or believer who has ALL the (right) answers, all the time. There are some, however, who have more truth to offer than others. If one chooses to justify his/her non-participation in a local church or ministry because one does not get anything out of it, there is a need to learn if the problem is with the information (or lack of information) that source provides, or if it is with oneself being unwilling to apply and thereby benefit from the information that is being provided.
Sometimes the necessary changes is only a matter of getting with the program that one's existing means of worship offers, whereas for others it will mean locating a ministry where one can worship God as He desires to be worshiped. which includes receiving an ONGOING supply of the spiritual food (information) that one needs to hear. One can play Church almost anywhere, but one cannot obey 2 Pet. 3:18 unless he/she is connected with the source and means to do so. Without an edified soul structure (Matt. 7: 24-27), born again believer remains saved, but not reach the same level of post (after) salvation success as the ones who do.
As one develops the TRUE post salvation spiritual life, there will come a time when he/she will make whatever changes he/she needs to make in order to c-o-n-t-i-n-u-e growing in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Pet. 3: 18). Be it clergy, parent, friend, or layman, NO ONE can be used of God to bring a fellow believer(s) to a level of spiritual maturity that is greater than the level of spiritual maturity that he/she has first arrived at for him/herself. If ones choice of pastor no longer does not provide you with the information you need to hear in order for you to c-o-n-t-i-n-u-e to spiritually mature OR if you are not responding to the information that IS being provided, its time for a 2 Cor. 3:15 SELF examination to discover why and to make the necessary changes.
When it is God who is motivating such changes, the end result will be confirmed by the fact that one can see forward progress in his/her knowledge and application of the Word of God.
Spiritual maturity DOES involve acquiring accurate Bible knowledge, but like a reading a book about physical exercise , it will not develop the desired objective until it is applied and maintained.
As we continue ( a life-long, never-ending process) to acquire more or more accurate information, are we to stay on the same old course, or do we choose to make the necessary changes (Luke 14: 26)? The correct answer is obvious, but yet only a minority of those who claim to be Christians ever choose to do make any significant changes. The end result is that they are no more spiritually mature than they were decades ago, and in cases have become back-sliding believers.
It is much easier to play Church once a week (or so) on BOTH sides of the pulpit than it is to "feed the lambs (John 21: 15-17)" as a pastor, and/or take on the inevitable challenges that the true 24-7 life of TRUE disciple will bring to the door of an advancing disciple.
* * *
One of the "titles" of the Lord Jesus Christ was/is "The Word of God (John 1: 1, 2, 3). What we know (or don't know) about the written Word of God is equal to what we know or don't know about the living Word of GOd (The Lord Jesus Christ). No wonder Satan works so long and hard at perverting the interpretation of the Bible.
“I (the Lord Jesus Christ) stand at the door (of your soul structure) and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine (be in fellowship) with him, and he with Me (Rev. 3: 20 NASB italics mine).”
Note that He stands and knocks. He does not kick down the door or force anyone to let Him inside. Our ability to hear Him knocking has got a lot to do with ow much competing noise we have going on in our soul structure. The "hostile", self-centered. fallen nature within us will do all it can to see to it that we do not hear Him knocking. The devil and His Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil will do all they can to do the same. The "wax buildup" in our spiritual ears, as a result of our previous rejections of God and/or the things of God, will make His knocking increasingly harder to hear.
Such visitations take place when He brings the Gospel to the door of an unbeliever at the divinely ordered time(s), and on a daily basis when He brings post salvation doctrine into the soul structure (Matt. 7a: 24-27) of an advancing disciple.
There is a purpose for each and every day of one’s post salvation spiritual life. Every day, one should be building, refining, or maintaining one’s OWN soul structure (Matt. 7: 24-27/2 Cor. 13: 5), and/or ministering (sharing the Gospel with unbelievers/sharing post salvation doctrine) to fellow believers. No matter what else is going on in the course of ANY given day, this is the primary reason that God created YOU and placed YOU on this Earth.
Any day that passes in which a believer misses the boat, is a day that from divine viewpoint, tsuch a believer wasted the time and opportunities that God had given him/her. This is true no matter what other forms of “success” he/she may have secured.
There is a very popular picture portraying the Lord knocking at a door. This has been seen by countless numbers of Christians, but I wonder how many take note there is no door knob on the outside. The door to one’s soul structure must be opened by someone in the inside, and only at a time when the Lord is there knocking (Heb. 3: 15).
We, for a variety of reasons (legal, social, cultural, familial, health) can choose to adhere to the guidelines of law, health advisories, traditional morality and/or religious, but we can only be born again in response to the call of the pre-salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit. It is He who makes a presentation of the Gospel understandable to an otherwise “dead” spirit, affording one the opportunity to believe.
Once born again, one THEN has the daily option of identifying and executing the specific objectives of each day of his/her true post salvation spiritual life OR to live a Self-centered lifestyle. What one can NOT do is serve two masters at the same time.
Pause for a moment, can consider what has been your own response to the Lord's knocking at on your door? Has your own personal agenda or the worldly activity around you been so loud that you can’t Him knocking? Do you hear, but choose not to answer the door? Or is the ntimate time of personal time with the Lord the highlight of any given day?
If one who claims to be a Christian does not hear the knocking or the Lord calling him for a personal time of fellowship and edification on a daily basis, it is time for a 2 Cor. 13:5 SELF examination.
God will not leave a note on the door or leave you a message on an answering machine. He does not force you to listen, but this IS the same Lord to whom each one of us will give a face to face accounting (Romans 14: 12) of what we did or didn't do with the DAILY opportunities that God gives each one of us to grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3: 18/Matt. 7: 24-27) and to apply what we have learned to what we think and do (James 1: 22).
* * *
Learning all the 300 applicable commands of the New Testament can seem like an impossible quest, but just as simple as applying the Matthew 7:12 Golden Rule of doing unto others what we would want them to do for or to us if our positions were reversed would bring about major changes in much of what many who claim to be Christians do and say on a regular basis.
When given the opportunity to do so, the edified (Matt.7: 24-27) and prepared (1 Pet. 3:15) believer is called to verbally communicate the Gospel to unbelievers that God brings to him/her in the midst of his/her daily activities, and to verbally communicate a principles of post salvation doctrine to fellow believers with whom also God arranges our interaction. Being prepared requires an edified soul structure, as we can not pass onto others what we have not first obtained for ourselves. Being unprepared not only places one in a position where he/she cannot glorify God, but where one can unwittingly be used by the devil to promote false gospels and false information. One's silence can often interpreted as agreement/approval. Silence may be "politically correct", but the Christian ambassador is called to function via a totally different set of guidelines.
What we choose to do to prepare ourselves for such opportunities, and what we actually do with such opportunities is what determines the level of post salvation success (as God defines success) that any one of us may achieve, here in the devil’s world. There are many who achieve much worldly success, but are totally unsuccessful (Rev. 3: 12) in the eyes of the One to whom we will all give an account of ourselves.
"...you ( you = those who have secured earthly, but not divine success) say, "I am rich,
and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and (but) you do not know that you
are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.....(Rev. 3 : 17 NASB italics/mine)."
When dealing with the spirituality of others, there IS a time to speak and there IS a time to remain silent (Eccl. 3: 7). More times than not, the time to speak is when an inquirer comes to you for input! The reason that this is so is because unless God has prepared the soul to receive the information, communicating it will prove fruitless, and may even provoke a hostile (Roman 8: 7) reaction. The time to remain silent (less frequent) can be the scenario spoken of in (Matt. 7: 6) or when the subject matter of the doctrine requires that ministering to another person would be more appropriately shared in a more private environment.
The preaching/teaching of the Word in and out of season (2 Tim. 4: 2) principle is not a license to go about thumping people over the head with a pulpit sized Bible. The timing is right when God has prepared the recipient. God often uses the most difficult set of circumstances as it is ONLY then that many of us are willing to listen.
“Telling it like it is” should ALWAYS be exercised from the pulpit when addressing a general congregation, audience, or readership, but offering unsolicited, individual advice, especially in the presence of other people can prove to be counter-productive.
It is God that will use the example of our daily lives to set the stage for sharing the Gospel and/or post salvation doctrine. We can not share what we do not have. This is where the preparation part (individual study time) in the Word of God bears its fruit.
God will make use of the daily "testimony" of our individual example, as well as all the CORRECT information that we have stored in our soul structure, but the devil and his Eph. 6:12 forces of will will use our bad example, ignorance, and false doctrines in our soul structure to destroy or diminish our potential success.
Although it is we who communicate the information, it is God that makes it understandable to the ones receiving it, affording them the opportunity to either to saved (in the case of unbelievers) or edified (in the case of fellow believers).
Once communicated, via example and/or words, the disciple's part in the process is complete. The disciple has been successful in doing his part, even if the information he communicates is totally rejected by the recipient.
The response (if any) is a matter between the recipient and God, and NOT a personal matter between the communicator and the recipient. God makes the information available, but does NOT force anyone to either believe or apply it.
God is glorified in the midst of this activity before human and angelic (Luke 15: 10) beings. God is the one who receives the glory because it is HE who does the work. It is our function, duty, and privilege to be used of God in this manner, but the saving and/or edifying Work is His.
* * *
The Bible (1 Cor. 3: 12-15) makes it clear that not only is there a difference between human and divine good, but that ONLY the deeds of divine good are going to rewarded in Heaven. ALL the human good that has EVER been, is now, or will ever be produced will not regenerate a spiritually dead human spirit, or generate as much as a millisecond of the "eternal" life that one "must - John 3: 5, 7) have to live in Heaven! If such things could be the result of "religious ritual" or acts of human good, then there would have been NO need for God to Son to have left Heaven to be nailed to and suffer on a cross to atone for the world's sin.
Many forms of human good (that being good deeds produced via human talent, ability, desire,and power) “independently” of God has its practical value, place, and purpose here in the devil’s (Luke 4:6) world, but must be distinguished from the power source (John 15: 5) and purpose (to glorify God) of divine good.
I place quotation marks around the adverb “independently”, as in truth, NOTHING takes place “independently” of God in that nothing happnes anywhere in the universe at any time without either the endorsement of either God’s direct will, or without the allowance of His permissive will.
Truly, accepting ALL that God allows to take place via His permissive will ca at times be one of the greatest challenges to one’s faith.
In light of what human good can provide (here on Earth) for both the one producing it and the ones who benefit from it, it is easy to understand how those who are void of spiritual discernment will measure one's “success” on how much earthly prosperity one receives and enjoys here on Earth. As far as Earthly success is concerned, this a reasonable means to evaluate the Eartly success that one secures. But the issue under examination in this study is NOT secular or temporal success, but what God declares"success" to be, based on the production of divine good that HE produces through believers, here in the Church Age.
It has been a long standing strategy of the devil to elevate the production of human good to equality with divine good to the point that the devil would have us believe that it is through the production of human good that one makes and keeps himself “right” with God. Just that fact that Hell-bound atheists and worldly-religious (Psalms 96: 5) persons can produce just as much human good (sometimes more) than their Christian counterparts in the same category of human good, is evidence in itself to dismiss the contention that human good generates eternal life or reward.
Human good has its own Earthly rewards and compensation for ANYONE (believer or unbeliever) that produces it, but human good has got NOTHING to do with the production of divine good. Human beings, apart from the power of God (John 15: 5), do not have the power source necessary to produce divine good. While God allows believers to be used in the process by being the communicators, it it God that does the Work. The part that the human good we produce plays in a believer's post salvation spiritual life,one's spiritual life is that the different forms of human good that we produce on a daily basis is what God uses to places His ambassadors in the location and environments where we they are to do their part in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. THIS is what is the 24-7 spiritual calling of the advancing disciple, no matter where he/she is and no matter what else he/she may be otherwise doing. NO EXCEPTIONS. God is just as interested in the saving or edification of human souls in ANY environment, as He is in ANY other.
Being put in the spiritual batter’s box and getting a hit are two different things. Keep in mind, however, that the ambassador is accountable for having communicated the information as God gives him/her opportunity, but is NOT accountable for the response that the recipient chooses to make. The pitcher (the devil) has to play within the rules of the game. He must throw his pitches pitch within the strike zone, or deceive you into thinking it is. The bottom line is that he is there to make you as unsuccessful as possible within the parameters of spiritual warfare that God determines. The ambassador "strijes out" when he fails to communicate.
If there is any doubt(s) as to the location of where God wants you to be serving Him at any given time, all one has to to is close your eyes, count to three, and open them again and THERE you are! If you are alone, its time for preparation. If you are among other people, you're looking at your "mission field" at that moment on any given day. It makes NO difference what your are otherwise doing or where you are! If you are not given an opportunity to verbally share the Gospel with an unbeliever or a principle of post salvation doctrine with a fellow believer, you are always given the opportunity to speak the personal choices you make and the attitudes your exhibit.
These "locations" can include our homes, work, career, recreation, and social activities. Our LOCATION on any given moment on any given day is where we ARE. NO exceptions.
Discipleship is NOT something we do from time to time. It is something that we are (or should be) 24-7. It makes no difference in what other or simultaneous activity we are otherwise engaged. Just the attitudes that one who claims to be a Christian exhibit as he/she go about his/her daily activities will be used by God and/or the Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil to draw or to push others away from God and/or the things of God.
Divine good, here in the Church Age primarily involves evangelism (sharing the Gospel) and/or the edification (building/maintaining the Matt. 7: 24-27) our own soul structure and the edification of the souls with whom we interact. Many believers and ministries, based on such principles as (James 2: 15, 16), use such things as providing shelter, food, clothing, hygiene, medical attention, etc.), to set the stage for the opportunity to have God produce divine good throu0gh them as they engage in human good. While there are benefits of both the human good and the divine good that such ministries provided, only the divine good will produce spiritual benefits by the recipients and eternal rewards by the producer.
Saving (or better, preserving) the natural life of another human being is among the greatest forms of human good that one human being can do for another. But of greater value, is divine good that saves another soul from Hell. Contributing to the quality of another's life here on Earth is a great human good, but of greater value is contributing to the quality of the life that the same soul can experience upon his earthly departure.
"I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your
soul prospers (3John 1: 2 NASB)."
"All respects" refers to every area of one's life. John is praying that the recipients of this letter will prosper in ALL areas of their lives and have the health to enjoy it. He notes that of greater importance is the prosperity of the soul as God produces divine good through the life of the believer.
If the devil were to offer you whatever your heart desires throughout your time here on Earth, would you reject God or the things of God to obtain it?
The TRUTH is that many of us are offered a lot less in terms of gain every day, but choose to function in the ways of the world just to get it! A little lie here, and a half truth there can work wonders here in the devil's world, not to mention walking away with more than what you were entitled to by capitalizing in on another's mistake. Don't kid yourself. If you can't be honest over a few cents, what makes you think you would be honest when there is a whole lot more to be "gained" ? In God's eyes, it is often the one who walks away with less who has achieved more success.
* * *
Many parents are willing to make extreme sacrifices and spend a whole lot more on promoting the earthly prosperity of their children in comparison to what they are willing to spend or sacrifice in order to promote God and/or the things of God. Good enough seems to be good enough when it comes to God and things of God, but good enough never seems to be good enough when it comes to the pursuit of or retaining of worldly success.
How often (if ever) is the subject of the children's spiritual prosperity the topic of conversation when so-called Christian parents get together?
When I hear people speaking of their temporal success, I often privately pray that they are doing (or will do) as well in the realm of spiritual success and prosperity (3 John 1: 2/Rev. 3: 17). t
We should, without any qualms, enjoy whatever temporal prosperity that we legitimately acquire during the relatively SHORT time we are here on Earth. The length of one's life span here on Earth is determined by the individual plan that God has in mind for each one of us. The earthly life span of Adam was 93o years. This was 30 times longer than the Earthly life span of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet BOTH lives did not end any sooner or last any longer that what the plan of God required. God did not conslt us when He chose to create our soul and place it in the body of His choosing that was reproduced by our biological parents and brought forth at birth (John 3: 6), and is not going to consult us when the appointed time for our departure arrives. Where we are going and what that experience will be can not be altered once we leave this world. We can not take ANY of the earthly blessings with us, but we can send out (to Heaven) ahead of us a treasure (Matt. 6: 20) that we can enjoy of all of eternity. 1 Cor. 3: 12-15 tells us that much of what we can enjoy for all of eternity is based on the production of divine good.
Note that God, as opposed to what He told the rich man in (Luke 18: 22), does not tell the (Rev. 3: 18) congregation to give up all Earthly prosperity they have, but to merely recognize that God's definition of prosperity and theirs are quite different. Clearly, at least some of one's Earthly prosperity is to be shared with others (Heb. 13: 16). Truly preferring to give rather than to receive reflects the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2: 16) dominating the soul structure of the ones who lives accordingly. Giving only to receive in return is NOT a gift; it is an investment. Preferring to receive rather than to give reflects the SELF centered fallen nature (Romans 7) dominating the soul structure of the one's who live accordingly. Advancing disciples are called to give s-a-c-r-i-f-i-c-i-a-l-l-y to God and to others.
How much money someone has or can quickly put his/her hands on is one of the key factors by which human viewpoint measures one's success, yet there are so many Earthly rich people who have been the least successful in the eyes of God Rev. 3: 17).
The love of money is the root cause of many forms of evil (1 Tim. 6: 10). Like hypocrites, many believers frequently recite what is commonly referred to as the "Lord' Prayer", asking God to, " deliver us from evil ", but then wonder why God, in response to their own prayer, places them in circumstances reveal where on the list of their priorities that money (or the desire for it) truly is.
Those who are not called to lose prosperity, will never-the-less be tested from time to time to see where their priorities are. One cannot serve God and money (Matt. 6: 24). Note that God does test us for Him to learn what He in His omniscience already knows. The purpose of the test is to reveal to one tested where he/she stands on any given issue in his/her walk with God.
No matter what earthly blessings one experiences, there is a day coming in which we will leave it ALL behind. A wise man will put aside what he can for a rainy day, and if possible, prepare himself for a secular retirement, but unless our plans line up with God's will, such things will NOT go as planned. The wise man will enjoy all the legitimate Earthly prosperity that he can, but with the knowledge that he or it could all be taken away, or his circumstances could make it that he cannot or will not enjoy the prosperity he has or will secure.
"And he said, "This is what I will do; I will tear down
my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and goods.
Then I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years
to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry." But God said to him, "You
fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what
you have prepared?" So is the man that lays up treasure for himself, and is not
rich towards God (Luke 12: 18:21 NASB)."
Unlike many human beings who offer much criticism but little (valid) advice, God goes on to tell this (Rev. 3/Luke 12) group of believers/listeners what they should do to achieve success, and God defines "success" to be. Failure in this regard does NOT diminish the integrity of their salvation (1 Cor. 3: 15), but eliminates them as being the recipients of the eternal rewards that are reserved for those who engage in TRUE discipleship.
"Seek the kingdom of God, and these things
will be added to you (Luke 12: 31 NASB)."
"I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire
that you may become rich and white garments that
you may clothe yourself and that the shame of your
nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve
to anoint your eyes, that you may see."
-Rev. 3: 18 NASB
Luke 12: 31 is a matter of putting God and the things of God first. The buying of Rev. 3: 18 is not with money (Acts 8: 20), but with time devoted to the study of the Word of God. Rev. 3: 18 "rich" refers to spiritual prosperity. While garments are uniforms of glory that successful believers will wear over their resurrected bodies whereas the shame of nakedness refers to those who live in Heaven but without a uniform of glory. Eye salve is the discernment to perceive spiritual truths that comes along with spiritual maturity.
* * *
The popular, but erroneous “being good and doing good concept” to secure and/or retain salvation” principle is what distinguishes TRUE Christianity from “Christian” religion, as well as distinguishing Christianity from the demonic-inspired religions (Psalms 96: 5) of the devil’s world. Being “good” and doing “good” (to the extent that this is humanly possible) will coincide with be the results of being spiritually mature, but never the means to be saved or the basis on which a believer is to rewarded.
It matters NOT (to Satan) what "religion" one follows, “Christian” or otherwise, as long as one does not discover the ONE and TRUE God in the process. It does not matter because unless one finds the ONE and ONLY “way-John 14: 6), he/she is headed for Hell or what the Bible calls Hades and then the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15). All the human good in the world will not cause the (Titus 3: 5) regeneration of a dead spirit, no will it merit ANY reward in Heaven. This is contrary to human viewpoint, but so are many principles of genuine spirituality (Isaiah 55: 8).
Spirituality and religion (religion = all that Man has added to what can be Biblically substantiated) are antithetical, making the phrase, “Christian religion” an oxymoron (oxymoron = a phrase containing two words whose basic meaning conflicts and/or contradicts each other.
TRUE Christianity teaches that one’s standing with God is based on one’s belief in what God did (past tense) on the cross through the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He (God) is doing now, and what He has in store for those who believe. Success, from God’s point of view is based on these same principles.
Religion (including “Christian” religion) is all about what it says that Man must do and don’t do in order to be in good standing with the Lord. This makes sense to human viewpoint, but plays right into the hand of devil.
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The TRUE post (after) salvation spiritual life has much to do with post (after) salvation discipleship, but has got nothing to do with either obtaining or retaining salvation. The true post salvation spiritual life does not even begin until the issue of salvation has already been forever addressed! What takes place (or fails to take place) in the course of one’s post salvation spiritual life has much to do with HOW one will experience eternal life, but has got NOTHING to do with obtaining or retaining salvation.
In an attempt to distract the believer's focus of attention, the devil works long and hard to counter-attack this fundamental truth by promoting false doctrines that raises doubts concerning the integrity of one's salvation. Until this issue of salvation has been permanently resolved in the soul structure of a born again believer, his/her focus of attention will be on "getting into Heaven" instead of the TRUE post salvation spiritual life. For the believers who grasp this principle, the devil promote the false concept that since one has now been forever been saved, he/she is free to live as he/she pleases without any consequences. Although it is TRUE that salvation cannot be lost, there ARE serious consequences that divine discipline (Heb. 2: 6) can being into (or end) the life of a believer here on Earth, as well as result in the forfeiture of eternal rewards.
The “religious” life starts (in most cases) shortly after birth through the involvement of parents when the one involved hasn’t got a clue as to where he/she is or what’s going on). The path of most "religions" (including "Christian" religion) requires that those who desire to have its blessing must continue to jump through all the hoops, in order to be a member in good standing and to receive the services (religious rituals) they offer. He/she then must continue to do the do”s and refrain from the don’ts to remain in good standing with the religious community.
Needless to say, that all religions equate being in good standing with their religious community with being in good standing with God. Those in “good standing” usually have some form of funeral or postmortem activities that are performed in his/her behalf to ensure entry to the eternal state with God. In truth, the soul departs the body at the moment of physical death, leaving NOTHING that can be done to alter the location and/or the environment in which the departed (past tense) has a-l-r-e-a-d-y begun to experience.
Most religions offer a “complete cradle to the grave package”, yet even though they jumped through all the hoops of their chosen religion or denomination, most “religious” persons, when asked if they are going to Heaven will reveal their ignorance of the TRUE Gospel by responding with the usual, “I hope so” answers, based on their behavior, religious rituals, and/or good human deeds.
Edified, spiritual persons will respond with, “I know so!”, basing their admission and residency in Heaven on their belief in what God has done, is doing, and will do.
Until one is born again (spiritually), he/she is spiritually DEAD. The true post salvation spiritual life does not begin until AFTER one is born again via the Titus 3: 5/ Eph. WORK of God that a-u-t-o-m-a-t-i-c-a-l-l-y takes place in response to one hearing and believing in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in the true Gospel Message. This can take place and in any environment, including being nailed to a cross in the capacity of a condemned man for having committed a capital offense against the existing secular government (Luke 23: 42).
Questioning the irrevocable (Romans 1: 19) gift of salvation and the integrity of the (Titus 3: 5) regenerating work of God that takes place at the moment of salvation are among the greatest obstacles that people with a pagan or “Christian” religious back ground have to overcome.
New believers aren’t any more (or less) saved by coming to experience the freedom (John 8: 31) from their fears and bondage that their former association with religion brought to them, but many “religious” believers have great difficulty coming to this level of faith. Ripping out the false concepts deeply rooted in one’s “religious” soul structure must precede the building of an edified new one.
Without an edified soul structure (Matt. 7: 24-27), there will be little “success” achieved in the post salvation spiritual life of such a believer, and will encounter many Matt. 7: 24-27 crashes when the inadequate material (fasle doctrines) fail to endure the storms of life, leaving the shaken soul wondering if he/she had ever really been saved.
(Continued in Part 3)
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