I have encountered many souls who tell me that they “feel” it is too late for them to think about God and/or the things of God.
This of course, is one of the devil’s lies. The devil knows that as long a person thinks he/she is beyond salvation, there will be no purpose in seeking change.
However a man thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23: 7).
Both Old (Isaiah 55: 6) and New (Heb. 3: 15) Testament Scripture encourages the soul to seek God while He can be found. Time(s) for God to be found is when God is calling one to salvation and or/repentance.
As long as the mention of God (or the things of God) sparks even the slightest interest in such things, it is not too late to make change(s) for the better (Isa.42:3/Matt. 12: 20).
As long as God gives any given soul the opportunity to hear and to respond to the Gospel Message, it is not (yet) too late for him/her to born again (John 3: 5, 7). It is ONLY by doing so, that one can be assured of a home in Heaven.
It is God and not the individual who determines when, where, and how the Gospel Message is going to be presented to any given soul. This can take place at ANY time, in ANY location, and in any set of circumstances that God chooses to use.
As the old saying goes, there are not too many atheists or skeptics in a fox hole under fire!
Q. How can one be so certain that God will forgive our sin(s) and give us eternal life?
A. Because He said so (1John 1: 9/John 3: 16/Romans 8: 1), and because our sin was already been atoned (PAID IN FULL) for on the cross (1John 2: 2), satisfying (Isa. 42:3/Matt. 12: 20) the justice of God.
For God the Father NOT to grant forgiveness or to fail to provide a believer with eternal life would be to deny His own Word, and deny what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross.
Here in the Church Age, it is God the Holy Spirit that works behind the scenes, arranging for the presentation of the Gospel Message to any given soul through Spirit-filled, advancing disciples. Church, providing it is the type of church that God designed, is only one of many locations that God can use to present the Gospel Message. Other than being one of many locations where one can be presented with the Gospel Message, attending church is a actually a post (after) salvation activity, primary designed to be the means for a already born again believer to be spiritually edified (Matt. 28: 19). Apart from God (John 15:5) one can doing nothing in the spiritual realm. Until one IS born again, he/she is spiritually dead and "apart" from God, regardless of how otherwise "religious" he/she may be. Just as a physically dead man can do nothing (or have anything done in his/her behalf) in the natural realm, so it is for a spiritually dead man in the spiritual realm.
It is God the Holy Spirit, Who enables (John 15: 5) the one being presented with the Gospel Message to understand (1Cor. 2: 14) it. One can not truly believe in something that he/she does not understand. Once making the Gospel Message understood, God provides the understanding recipient the opportunity to make an informed decision to either accept (believe) it or to reject (disbelieve) it.
It is NOT the function of an advancing disciple to "make" any given recipient believe.
God enables the recipient to understand it, but rather or not any given recipient will choose to believe it or not, is a decision that he/she must make for him/herself.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3: 18 NASB).”
In the old cartoons one would hear the pursuing police character shouting out to the fleeing suspect to, “stop in the name of the law.”
This expression meant all that the law, its authority, all that the law stood fore, and the legal requirement for all under the law to comply with its demands.
Believing in the name of Jesus (John 3: 18) goes w-a-y beyond simply acknowledging the “historical” Jesus who walked among us in First Century AD.
Most atheists and followers of the religions of the world (Psalms 96: 5) do not dispute the Biblical claim that a person named Jesus walked among us in the ealier years of 1 AD. After all, even the secular and scientific world base our understanding of time either before (BC) or after (AD) the birth of Christ!
Some will go as far as to concur that Jesus spoke for God, but stop short of acknowledging His divine nature, and/or acknowledging that He was the one and only way to God, as He claimed to be (John 14: 6).
Believing in the name of Jesus (in the John 3: 18 sense) means that one acknowledges Who (God the Son) and What (the Lamb of God) Jesus was/is, and the atoning Work that He accomplished while on the cross.
Since the Fall of Man, we all come into this world spiritually dead, as a result of the fallen nature and its spiritual death status being passed down to our humanity at conception (Psalms 51: 5) through the male partner (1Cor. 15: 22). This is why Mary could, and Joseph could not, be used by God to bring about the incarnation of the Son of God.
It is only (if) and when one becomes such a Church Age believer that he/she is saved. All unbelievers (in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ )will spend all of eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire. All believers during the Old Testament dispensation were judged in accordance with what information had been made available to them as of that time, which included the coming of the Messiah.
Scripture (Hebrews 3: 15 NASB) teach that “Today, if you hear His voice…” is the day for the hearer to listen to and respond to the opportunity to be saved, because NO unbeliever can be assured of a future opportunity to do so.
There are “death bed” conversions, but no one is guaranteed that he/she will receive such an opportunity. Secular statistics inform of that tens of thousands of souls depart this world each and every day, with their departure having been the last thing on their minds when they went to bed last night or got up this morning.
Every time one chooses NOT to listen or to respond, more and more “wax” is built up in the “ears” of his/her soul, to the eventual point that he/she can no longer hear the voice of God calling him/her. The unsaved heart grows harder and harder becoming more hostile (Romans 8: 7) towards God and/or the things of God. This hostility can become overt in the reactions that hardened souls project when the subject of God or the things of God becomes the subject matter of a conversation. What is a pleasant fragrance to fellow believers becomes an offensive stench to those who don't want to hear it. Since they are without the means to attack the message, they attack the messenger (Matt. 7:6.).
The same wax building and hardening of heart can take place in the spiritual lives of those who have been born again, are Heaven bound, but choose NOT to respond to the call to identify and/or to engage in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship. They, too, can project hostility when spiritually challenged to participate in the things of God.
Backsliding, born again believers do NOT lose the salvation that he/she has already received (Romans 8:1), but there ARE other consequences (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15) that the wise will want to avoid.
Parents are usually the ones who initially decide what (if any) “r-e-l-i-g-i-o-n” that their offspring is going to be introduced, inducted, and participate.
One did NOT have ANY choice about who his/her biological parents would be, or the type of parents (godly/ungodly) they would become.
What type of parent(s) (godly vs. ungodly) one has can be greatly used by either God or the devil to promote their opposing agenda. Here in the Church Age, God's agenda calls for one to be saved (1Tim. 2: 4) and then to engage in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship. The devil's agenda to distract one from the one and only means of salvation (John 14: 6). If one is saved, the devil's agenda is then to destroy (1Pet. 5: 8) the quality of the born again believer's post salvation spiritual life.
Both godly and ungodly offspring can come from the same home. Godly parents, by word and example, set the stage for their children to follow, but there is NO guarantee that once they are "out from under" they will choose to follow.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22: 6 NASB)."
The "old" of Proverbs 22: 6 is speaking of spiritual maturity, not any given biological stage or age. If a child chooses to reject the Proverbs 22: 6 "training" he/she received from his/her godly parents, the child has then set the stage for a very different outcome. A spiritually wayward offspring is a painful heartache that godly parents may have to endure. Of the first two recorded offspring of Adam and Eve, one become the first recorded murderer in the human history, and the other the first victim of homicide.
To the surprise of many, it was over "religion" when one's offering was accepted and the other's was rejected by God (), even though both were sincere in their efforts! Sincerity will get one no where when he/she is sincerely WRONG!
Within the earthly family of Mary and Joseph, not all of the siblings (four half brothers and at least two half sisters Mark 6: 3/Matt. 13: 55, 56) of the Lord Jesus Christ initially believed in Him (John 7: 5). Scripture (Matt. 10: 36) teach that a one's spiritual enemies will be the members of his/her own household (Matt. 10: 36). The type of godly family that God designed can be a great influence, but putting ungodly family ties over God of the things of God is one of the things that can disqualify the born again believer from the life of discipleship (Luke 14: 26). It is at this point that many would-be "followers of Christ" turn away.
Luke 15: 52 teach that within every home, there can be those who are born again and those who will reject the Gospel Message. Among the family members who are born again, there will be those who will identify, execute, and stay with the post salvation spiritual life and those who will not.
"At the end of the day, " it is the responsibility of each and every soul to determine his/her own spiritual destiny (2Cor. 5: 8/Rev. 20: 15) by exercising the free will that He has given to every soul He creates.
God cannot command someone to do something (2Pet. 3: 18) and then not provide the means to do so (Phil. 4: 19).
Spiritual ignorance is a choice that one makes. Deut 4: 29, Prov. 8: 17, Matt. 7: 7, Luke 11: 9, Acts 17: 27 teach that one will find God when he searches for Him with all his/her heart.
Devoting 1 hour to God and/or the things of God out of the 168 hours that gives us each week is hardly searching for God with all one’s heart. Discipleship is a 24/7 lifestyle. It is never too late for a born again believer to get his/her priorities straight.
Every born again soul is guaranteed a home in Heaven (John 3: 16/Romans 8: 1), but rather or not any given born again believer will experience the additional rewards (1Cor. 3: 14, 15) and (Revelation 2/Revelation 3) privileges is another matter.
The Rev. 20: 15 lake of fire is going to be filled with many “religious” individuals who engaged in relatively good human behavior and produced a lot of human good during their time here on Earth. If being religious, engaging in relatively good behavior, and producing human good were the ticket to Heaven, there would have been NO need for incarnation and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are some genuine atheists as a result of having chosen to reject the concept of eternity that God places in every soul that He creates (Eccl. 3: 11). But most of the human race is “religious,” choosing to follow one or more of the many (Psalms 96: 5) religions of the world. Contrary to what God desires (1Tim. 2:4), only the minority (Matt. 7: 13) of each generation of Man ever finds the one road (John 14: 6) that leads to eternal life.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the (not "a") way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14: 6 italics mine NASB).”
Of the souls that are born again, only the minority of them will identify, stick with, and execute the post salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture. The majority of each generation of “Christians” has exchanged the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship outlined in Scripture. Many will substiture the post salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture with one or more of the many Christian Religions and all the traditions of men that go along with it.
For many such "Christians," their focus of attention on God and what they believer to be the things of God begins and ends with the one hour or so they spend "in Church" out of the 168hours that God gives them to glorify Him each week. For the rest of 168 hrs. each week, there is NO overt difference between their goals, priorities and activities and the goals , priorities and activities of anyone else around them.
Discipleship, being the ongoing study and application of the Word of God, is initially for the edification of the born again believer, him/herself, but with the long term effect of participating in the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19, 20) that God gave to His Church to accomplish. Discipleship is a 24-7 lifestyle that is in place no matter where the advancing disciple is and no matter what other activity he/she is involved with on a DAILY basis.
Preparing for and executing the life of discipleship is a life-long process. You do not suddenly wake up one day with "all the answers" or the ability or willingness to share them with others. But like any journey, it begins with taking that first step and then continuing to put one foot if front of the other until the journey ends. It is never too late for the born again believer to take that first step. Even the saved man on the cross next to our Lord tried to edify the other one (Luke 23: 40,41).
"But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do yo not even feat God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receieving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong (Luke 23: 40, 41 NASB).
If one hears the voice of God calling him/her to salvation it is NOT too late. If a born again believer hears the voice of God calling him/her to the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship, it is not too late.
All born again believers are forever eternally saved (Romans 8: 1), but only the born again believers that identifies and executes the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship bring the maximum glory to God.
Glorifying God in the midst of an ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm was and remains to be the primary purpose for which God created the human race. Yet the primary focus of Fallen Man has always been on the "here and now" that is here today and gone tomorrow, and not things eternal.
While to some degree, making the devil’s world (Luke 4: 6) a “better place to live” will be a byproduct of the Christian discipleship, it is NOT the primary mission that was given to the Church.
The primary mission (Matt. 28: 19, 20) of the Church was/is to proclaim the Gospel Message to unbelievers and to make disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God) out of those unbelievers who are born again.
The Psalms 96:5 “religions” of the world do NOT base their beliefs on the Gospel Message. Accordingly, we do NOT all worship the same God, as “…apart from Me you can accomplish NOTHING (John 15: 5).
The “gods” of the (Psalms 96:5) religions of the world and the God of the Bible are NOT one in the same.
Q. If born again believers, to whom these words of John 15: 5 were spoken to and/or about can do NOTHING apart from God, where does this leave everyone else who have never been born again?
A. Nowhere in the spiritual realm!
There are many so-called “Christian” religions that promote a distorted Gospel Message, by defiantly (Proverbs 30: 6) adding to it requirements based on the “traditions of men” in order to either “complete the salvation process” or to retain or to restore the eternal life that the born again believer has already received.
“For that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God (Luke 16: 15 NASB).”
Relatively good human deeds and relatively good human behavior will be characteristic of the earthly life of a born again believer that engages in post salvation discipleship, but good human deeds and good human behavior are NOT what provides one with eternal life.
Nor do such things entitle a born again believer to the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 rewards or the Revelation 2/Revelation 3 privileges that are reserved for born again believers who chose to become advancing disciples while here on Earth.
Many sincere, but misguided evangelists and pastors promote the call to salvation and the call to discipleship as ONE in the same. They are NOT the same.
The call to salvation comes first. It takes place when one is presented with the Gospel Message. . It is only IF and after the call to salvation has been answered, that the call to discipleship comes into the picture. The results (Eph. 4: 30/Titus 3: 5/Romans 8: 1/etc.) of having answered the call to salvation are immediate and complete, being the Work of God the Holy Spirit. It is only AFTER the issue of salvation has been forever settled that the call to post (after) salvation discipleship is presented the born again believer.
Success or failure in the life of discipleship neither enhances nor diminishes the quality or the integrity of the eternal life that the born again believer has already received. Success or failure in the life of discipleship is what determines the quantity and quality of the glory that one brings to God throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life. The quality of one's post salvation spiritual life is what determines what (if any) 1Cor. 3: 12-15 rewards and the Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 privileges the born again believer will receive in Heaven and enjoy for all of eternity.
Many who are saved (as a result of being born again) will not choose to identify, execute, or stick with the call to discipleship (Mark 4: 19)
"But the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in an choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Mark 4: 19 NASB)."
Such born again believers will join (or return to) the rank and file type of Matt. 13: 21, 22 “church-goers” who may/may not produce a fair amount of the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 wood, hay, and straw (human good), but who produce little (Matt. 13: 21, 22), if any, of the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 “silver, gold, and precious stones (divine good) in their own lives or in the lives of others.
Promoting the call to salvation and the call to discipleship as being one in the same can prove to be counterproductive. One of the reasons that many souls do not want to consider the call to salvation is fear of all that they assume or have been told that God is going to require of them to retain the salvation He offers. Contrary to what some Christian religions teach, God makes no such requirements.
While God IS going to require much more in order to learn of and to execute the post salvation spiritual life, discipleship is NOT for the purpose of improving or retaining the salvation that a born again believer has already received.
Equally counter-productive, can be all the misleading promises of earthly peace and prosperity, as this is NOT always how the post salvation spiritual life here on Earth is going to be experienced (Heb. 11: 37/2Cor. 4: 8, 9).
As one advances in discipleship and engages daily in the realm of spiritual combat (Eph. 6), he/she will learn soon enough that the life of discipleship is NOT one that is adversity-free, but one in which the advancing disciple can experience the peace that surpassed all understanding (Phil. 4: 6,7) while in the midst of all the adversity and hardship that living a godly life will (2Tim. 3: 12) generate.
When the cost of discipleship manifests itself, the misinformed believer feels that he has been lied to, and in his pain, holds God responsible for not doing all that others said He would.
Don't get me wrong. There are divine blessings for the born again believer to receive and experience while here on Earth. But there are some blessings that some born again believers may experience that others will not. Sometimes hearing of all the blessings that other believes have received can be like salt in an open would to others who are going through times of great adversity.
There being a home in Heaven is a promise that all born again believer can count on, but if one has been led to believe that the life of discipleship here on Earth is going to be a “walk in the park,” he/she has been greatly misinformed (2Tim. 3: 12).
In many ways, some of the battles that he/she is going to experience are the result of choosing to enlist in the army of God. The post salvation spiritual life of Scripture is one of daily spiritual combat (Eph. 6). The closer an advancing disciple comes to reaching his/her spiritual objective (spiritual maturity), the more frequent and intense the spiritual combat will be.
The reason that this type of teaching is foreign to so many who claim to be Christians is because they are not even on the battlefield, let alone engaged in spiritual combat. Many are up to their necks in adversity and self-induced misery as they struggle with the Mark 4: 19 NASB, " worries of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things" that should have NO place in the life of Christian.
Because of their earthly prosperity, many Christians THINK that their prosperity has come from God and that they are are in need of nothing, but do not know that from God's perspective they are, "...wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Rev. 3: 17)." Luke 4: 6 makes it clear that God is NOT the only source of prosperity here on Earth.
It was the devil who stated, "For it (what this world has to offer) has been handed over to me, and I give it to whoever I wish (Luke 4: 6 NASB). The Lord Jesus Christ did not dispute the devil's claim. All one has to do is to look around him to see that the ungodly are "blessed." The prosperity of the wicked has been a thorn in the side of many believers, but God has an answer for that (Psalms 73).
Prosperity WITH God is truly a blessing, but prosperity WITHOUT God is one of the devil's traps. The devil offered the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory of all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4: 6), but He had the wisdom to turn him down. Sad to say, many who claim to be Christians have sold out to the devil's world for a lot less. Regardless of the source, be it God, the devil, one self, an inheritance, legitimate or ill-gotten gains, all of our Earthly prosperity can "grow wings and fly away" for a variety of reasons, and all that we may have left on the day we depart this world becomes the possessions of someone else.
Earthly prosperity without God has been the downfall of many who pursue or receive it.
Its never to0 late for an advancing disciple to get the (Rev. 3: 18 NASB) eye salve so that he/she can see and pursue what really matters here on Earth and what contributes to how one will spend all of eternity.
For the advancing disciple, there will be internal battles as God works to conforms him to the likeness of His son (Romans 8: 29). There will be external conflicts with people who hold to the ways of the (devil's -Luke 4: 6) world. One can NOT be in harmony with those who hold to the ways of the world and walk with the Lord at the same time (James 4: 4). Advancing disciples are called to be a peace with everyone (Romans 12: 18) as much as possible, but there are times, when acting as Christ's ambassador (2Cor. 5: 20), that things must be said and done that will result in conflicts.
God has a specific plan for each individual born again believer that He desires to be identified and executed that the devil does not want to see materialize. Accordingly, there are going to be daily conflicts with the devil (1Pet. 5: 8) and/or his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil. The devil does not have the divine attribute of omnipresence (the ability to be anywhere and everywhere at the same time). For that reason he relies on his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil to do his bidding in dealing with the billions of human souls that are alive on this planet.
The devil will also make use of all the blind guides (Matt. 15: 14) out there who think they are doing the work of God, when in in fact, they are unwittingly leading others into apostasy (false teachings/practices).
That last place that one would expect spiritual combat to be taking place would be "in Church." But since it IS " in Church" that God has chosen (Matt. 28: 19) to be the primary place where "disciples" (students and appliers of the Word of God) are made, it has always been a primary target in the realm of spiritual combat during the Church Age. Not being able to detect the presence and capability of the enemy sets the stage for disaster.
Scripture (Acts 17: 11) commends the ancient believers in Berea for verifying by the Word of God what they were being taught. If the Apostle Paul's teachings were to be subjected to such strict scrutiny, should we not do the same when it comes to what we are being taught from the pulpits of our day? At the time, the Bereans only had the Old Testament to work with, as much of what would become New Testament Scripture was still a work in progress. As of 96 AD, what we now know as the Bible was completed with writing of the Book of Revelation. This completed a process that began around 1500 BC.
Here in the USA, people go to great extremes to insure the quality of the food we consume. We are to be good stewards of all that God has given us. Never-the- less, the bodies we presently indwell are relatively temporary (2Cor. 5: 1) and are headed for dust (Gen. 3). Should we not be more concerned with the food that we feed our souls that are going to live forever in one environment or another?
In the times in which we are living, the Bible can be as close as the apps on our smart phones. To whom much is given (Luke 12: 48), the more accountable (Romans 14: 12) he/she becomes.
It is never too late to choose to follow the lead of the ancient Bereans,
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The Lord Jesus Christ did NOT come to bring interpersonal (Matt. 10: 35, 36) or international (Matt. 24: 6) peace to this world. He will do so in a future dispensation (Rev. 20: 6).
The type of peace that was announced by the angel at the First Advent (Luke 2: 14), was/is peace between God and the souls that are born again, as this is what “pleases” God.
While much, more IS going to be required IF one chooses to pursue the life of discipleship, discipleship has got NOTHING to do with obtaining or retaining salvation. Discipleship is a post (after) salvation activity that does not even begin until after the issue of salvation has already been settled.
Many Christians shy away from teaching this fundamental truth of the faith (eternal security) in fear that it would encourage weak believers to adopt a care-free attitude towards sin. Eternal security is NOT a license to sin, as there ARE other earthly (Heb. 12: 6) and eternal (1Cor. 3: 15) consequences that post salvation sin can generate.
One can “eat his cake (be saved) and have it (sin and evil) too,” but he/she is going to experience the discomfort of “indigestion” (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15). The cake can be tasty and inviting (Heb. 11: 25) at the moment, but the long term result will cause the one eating it to have deep regrets, if not in this life, certainly in the life to come. It is never too late to convert to a "better" diet.
Once a person is born again, the “cleaning up of his/her act” is the business and function of God the Holy Spirit who now indwells his/her body (1Cor. 3: 16).
God the Holy Spirit may use variety of sources to edify a born again believer, but the issues raised are matters between the advancing disciple and God.
The indwelling Spirit and the fallen nature that remains within us (Romans 7), will contend with each other for the immediate control of the mind, for however a Man thinks, so he is (Prov. 23: 7). The omnipotent God could just wipe out all sources of sin and those who practice evil, but if He did, He would take each one of us out, as well, in the process (Romans 3: 23/Matt. 13: 29). He does NOT violate the free will that He has given to each and every soul. There is a new world coming in which all sin and evil will no longer exist (Rev. 22), but until then, dealing with sin and evil will be a daily part of the human environment (1John 1: 8).
It is never too late to put on and use the Eph. 6 armor of God for success in the realm of spiritual combat.
Everything we think, everything we do, and everything we say is the result of the choices that we make.
On a moment to moment, daily basis, the free will that God gives to every soul that He creates will make choices to listen to the voice of the indwelling Spirit, the voice of other people, and/or to the voice of the fallen sin nature. When we choose for God, we glorify Him. When we choose otherwise, we offend Him.
As (if) one spiritually matures, his/her past interest in sin and evil will fade away and be replaced with a genuine desire to live for, and to please God. This is one of the applications of Psalms 37: 4. It is the right desires that God will to the one who puts God first in his/her life. This verse does NOT teach that God will give us everything we desire.
Neither John 14: 13 nor is Psalms 37: 4 to be understood that God will give us everything that our heart desires. Thank God that He will not give us anything that our heart desires, if what we desire, runs contrary to His will of our lives (Luke 22: 42).
When an advancing disciple reaches spiritual maturity, he will have no OTHER desires (Psalms 73: 25) independent of what God desires for him/her. It is then that God fufill all the desires of one's heart.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire n-o-t-h-i-n-g on Earth (Psalms 73: 25 NASB).”
Very few born again believers ever reach this stage of spiritual maturity, but it is never too late to become one of the few that will. To their dying day, most "Christians" are more interested in what God will do for them, as opposed to what they can do for God.
God is not there to fulfill the plans of the advancing disciple. The advancing disciple is here on Earth to fulfill His!
Born again believers that choose to engage in discipleship will develop the desire to learn of and to execute the post salvation spiritual life.
When do, they will appear as a potential threat on the devil’s "radar screen" The closer that come to the goal of spiritual maturity, the more frequent and the more intense the adversity they will encounter.
In addition to the external sources of distraction and adversity launched from the kingdom of darkness (Eph. 6: 16), the advancing disciple will have to deal with the opposition from their fallen nature that remains with them (Romans 7).
This hostile, sin nature that was passed down at conception (Psalms 51: 5) does NOT go away when we are saved. In fact it will increase its evil pressure that it places the soul, keeping pace with whatever spiritual growth that the advancing disciple makes.
the Apostle Paul was towards the end of his thirty year ministry when he wrote of this ongoing battle between the man he became when he was born again and the fallen nature that remained within him.
Even though it is God’s desire that all men be saved (1Tim. 2: 4), and that He has provided the means (1John 2: 2/ John 14: 6) for this to take place, many (Matt. 7: 13) will not be saved (Rev. 20: 15), having not believed (John 3: 18) in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as God desires that all born again believers become disciples (Matt. 28: 19), many (Matt. 7: 13) will not. Born again believers who do not become or emain disciples do not lose their salvation,but will forfeit the additional rewards (1Cor. 3: 15) and privileges (Rev.2/Rev. 3) that they could have otherwise received in Heaven.
All journeys begin by taking the first step. One should want to take that first step BEFORE it is too late. The journey to salvation is only a single step away, whereas the journey of the post salvation spiritual life goes on and on until we depart this planet.
As of the Church Age, eternal life (John 3: 16) or eternal damnation (Rev. 20: 15) is self-determined by the one’s chosen response (John 3: 18) to the Gospel Message.
For those who never hear of the Gospel Message, or leave this world before having reached the age or stage of moral accountability, I believe that they are judged on the basis of what information they did receive, beginning with the concept of eternity that God places in every soul that He creates (Eccl. 3: 11).
Until one is born again, he/she remains as spiritual dead (separated from God) as the day he/she came into this world. Coming into this world spiritually dead is a status that has been passed down to the generations of Man since the Fall of Man in the Garden Eden.
The need to overcome this spiritually dead status is why the Lord taught Nicodemus (and every one of us) that one MUST (not an option) be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3: 5, 7).
The name of every born again believer is written in the Rev. 20: 15 book of life, whereas the names of “religious” persons (that have not been born again) are NOT! Anyone whose name is NOT written in the Rev. 20: 15 book of life will be thrown into what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15).
The "million dollar" question then is how does one living here in the Church Age get his/her name written in the Rev. 20: 15 book of life. The "million dollar" answer is that one gets his/her name written in the Rev. 20: 15 Book of Life by being born again. If one has been born again, his/her name is in the Book of Life. If one has NOT been born again, it is not.
If one has not yet been born again, and today he/she hears the inaudible voice of God calling him (Heb. 3: 15), then today is the day for him/her to be saved and have his/her name wrtten in the Rev. 20: 15 book of life. If one has already been born again, and he/she hears the inaudible voice of God calling him/her to the life of discipleship, then today is the day for him/he to choose to respond.
For the born again believer, the issue of salvation (going to Heaven) has already been settled for all of eternity, but the daily opportunities associated with the post salvation spiritual life have only just begun.
The invitations and the opportunities afforded to born again believers are there for the duration of his/her post salvation spiritual life, but the amount of accumulated “ear wax” in the ears of his/her soul can greatly reduce the ability for one to "hear" the voice of God speaking to any given soul.
This ear wax consists of all the distractions that the devil’s world has to offer. It is never too late for one to choose to have this accumulated ear wax removed. This ear wax can contain what appears to blessings or prosperity (Luke 4: 6). The devil will use either one or both, as long as the end results is what he desires.
Each and every day the born again believer has an open invitation and opportunities to engage in and to improve the quality of his/her post salvation spiritual life by learning and applying the Word of God.
It is the quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life that determines what glory (if any) any given born again believers brings to God, and what (if any) rewards and privileges he/she will receive in Heaven. As long as a born again believer remains here on Earth, it is not too late to do so.
The invitation and the opportunity to repent (change one’s mind, leading to a change in behavior) and to receive the benefits of having done so is open to all born again believers throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life here on Earth.
Advancing disciples will NEVER (this side of Heaven) learn and apply all that the wisdom of Scripture has to offer. There will always be the need to repent (change our minds) if we are going to be obedient to the command (2Pet. 3: 18) to continue to grow in God’s grace and knowledge.
The last time that one had to make adjustments in either his/her doctrine or accompanying practices was the time one stopped grow-i-n-g (an ongoing process) in the knowledge or the application of God’s Word.
In the earlier YEARS, a disciple may grow in leaps and bounds, whereas in later stages of spiritual maturity, it will be more a case of “tweaking” or better applying the knowledge that he has been accumulating over the years.
I have been a student of the Bible for scores of years now, but still find this to be true. An advancing disciple will NOT be the same person he/she was a year ago if he/she is grow-i-n-g in the knowledge and application of the Word of God. It is a continuing process. It is never to late for a born again believer to begin or to continue growing in the knowledge and the application of the Word of God. Just as appetite is a good indicator of status of one's physical life, an appetite for the Word of God is a good indicator of the status of one's post salvation spiritual life.
If one feeds on the food for body once a week, his physical life would not be in very good shape. If one feeds on the Word of God once a week, his spiritual life would not be very productive either. Yet for many who claim to Christians, that's good enough!
The open invitation and opportunity for one to confess (1John 1: 9) post salvation sin, and to receive the earthly and eternal benefits for having done so, is open to all born again believers throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life here on Earth. There will always be sin(s) to confess (1John 1: 8). It is the nature of the beast to sin by what we think, say, and do. This sin nature with its inclination to sin, we be with us until we leave it behind when we depart this Earth.
The opportunity to forsake what the Bible labels as sin, and to receive the Earthly and Heavenly benefits for having done so, is open to born again believers throughout the course of their post salvation spiritual life. To forsake sin means to turn away from it in the future. When the woman caught in the act of adultery, she was not condemned, but was told to sin no more (in that way) in the future (John 8: 11). To confess, but then not to forsake any given sin, will impede one's future progress in the post salvation spiritual life. Such a believer will spend much of his/her post salvation spiritual life going around and around in a "revolving doorway" going in and out of fellowship with God, and never moving forward in the plan of God.
The same sin(s) that such a Christian commits today are the same sins that he/she was involved in 5, 10, 15, 20, 50+ years ago! In this the devil is well pleased.
Depending on rather or not any given society is in a state of spiritual revival and growth or moral decline, the laws of Man, what any given society accepts as its norms and standards, and the rules of Man-made religion will or will not be in line with the Word of God. When a society is in the revival/growth part of the cycle, such things are generally in line with what the Word of God promotes. When a society is in the moral decline part of the cycle, the principles of the Word of God are set aside and human viewpoint dominates.
The cycle of revival and decline can be traced throughout the course of any nation's history. If one lives along enough, he/she will remember a time when his/her nation or society was either more godly or less godly than it is right now. There can come a time when one's nation can receive the maximum level of divine national discipline and be removed from among the community of nations.
In times of revival and/or spiritual growth, the norm will be for individuals to conduct themselves and to interact with others accordingly. During times of revival and growth, worldly-minded people will receive the scorn of a godly society. In times of moral decline, the norm will be for individuals to engage in one or all the evil activities that are associated with a society in moral decline. During times of moral decline, those who choose to live a godly life will be persecuted by those who hold to the evil side of human viewpoint (2Tim. 3: 12).
Unlike the changes in the norms and standards of society, the changes in the laws of Man, the changes in the rules of Man-made religion, the immutable God the Bible, to whom every one will give an account (Romans 14: 12/Rev. 20: 13), does NOT change. The Biblical standards that He intended to be a part of he Church Age in the first century AD, He intends to remain in place for the duration of the Church Age. The Church Age began at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Israel around 34 AD and will remain in place until what theologians refer to as the Rapture (1Thess 4: 16, 17) takes place.
What the Bible labeled as SIN in the first century AD, is SIN now!
What was NOT a part of the activity within the Christian Community then is NOT to be a part of the Church activity now if the Christian Community is be the type of Church" that God designed. In truth, if all the traditions of men (products and practices established by men) were to be removed from the present day "Christian" community, what would remain would be barely recognizable to many who go to "Church" on a regular basis.
It will be on the basis of what the Word of God, and not what the ever-changing laws of Man, what the ever-changing norms and standards of society, or what the ever-changing rules of Man-made religion has to say, that every soul will give an account of him/herself to the God who inspired the Bible.
As the "footer" in of this website says, "Just because the world at large is going down the toilet doesn't mean that we have to go with the flow." It is never too late for one to make the Bible his/her final tangible source of authority and direction.
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There will always be that “one sin” that seems to get the better of each one of us from time to time (Heb. 12: 1). Because of our individual vulnerability, it will always be off stage waiting in the wings, for the opportunity to take over our thoughts and actions. Satan and the Ephesians 6: 12 forces of evil know when to push our buttons for maximum effect in the realm of spiritual combat.
We all have areas of strength and areas of weakness. An area of strength is an area of our lives that we have chosen to submit to the control of the God the Holy Spirit. When submitted to the control of God the Holy Spirit, our thoughts and actions will be those that promote
Our areas of weakness involve various sin that we have not yet identified and addressed. When attitudes and behaviors are under the control of the fallen nature within us, it IS natural for us to lie, cheat, steal, gossip, offend others, and to be self-centered. This is what Scripture () is talking about when it speaks of the "fruit" (products) that our fallen nature produce. To our own hurt, fallen Man has mastered the art of self-justifying just about anything that we choose to do.
Because what is an area of strength for some us will be an area of weakness in others, what that one sin that seems to so easily entangle us as an individual or group will be different from one person or group to the next. A sin that is of great interest and temptation to some of us is of no interest or temptation to others, and vice versa. Human viewpoint would have us believe that some forms of sin are not as "bad" as others, but James 2: 10 tells us otherwise.
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2: 10 NASB)."
We all, however, have a least one area of sin that we are personally vulnerable. An honest 2Cor. 13: 5 self evaluation will disclose this. It has been something that has been with us all along, leaving its mark along the way.
For me, it’s pride and independence. Ungodly pride (as opposed to self-esteem) can lead to all kinds of negative thoughts and actions. Going against the norm can is "normal" for me. The devil will use every opportunity he can to appeal to my vulnerability to pride and independence.
The more spiritually mature anyone becomes, the more and more he/she will come to realize that in the spiritual realm, NO ONE has anything to be proud about. We are NOT saved by anything that we (independently of God) have done, or had done for us by other people or clergy. We have been saved by the (unearned) grace of God (Eph. 2: 8), by placing our trust and confidence in what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us while on the cross.
Human beings, at best, can only produce human good. Human good has its place and purpose here on Earth, but it has nothing to do with spirituality.
The fact that atheists and non-Christians can produce the same human good as do born again believers is evidence in itself that it is not God who is producing it. As far as anything spiritual is concerned, human beings (saved or unsaved) can do nothing apart from God (John 15 5). Whatever post (after) salvation divine "good "that born again believers involve themselves in is NOT of our their own doing, but it is God doing His work through them (John 15: 5/1Cor. 3: 6-9.)
The entire human race is in the same stinking, sinking boat of sin (James 2: 10) and in equal need (John 3: 5, 7) of salvation. There is nothing in any of us that gives us cause to be proud, or worse, to commit the sin of looking down our noses at anyone for anything! Looking down our noses is one of the sins that is on the Proverbs 6: 17 short list of sins that God hates and detests!
As for having a spirit of independence with its willingness to to go against the grain, God has never removed these desires from me. For me, the best part of any day is when I am in solitude and/or engaged in spiritual activity interacting with people. Telling it like it us, regardless of where the chips may fall, has been my method of operation throughout the course of my lifetime. Telling it like it is can get one in a lot of "hot water" with any establishment when it "rocks the boat."
The religious establishment, including the establishment of Christian Religion (as opposed to Christianity) is no exception. The political establishment can be ruthless. The religious establishment can become very evil. There is no greater threat to the independence that then when political and religious establishments collaborate.
Paul, before his conversion, persecuted the developing Church with great passion and commitment with the intentions of removing it from the face of the Earth. But after Paul's conversion, God did not remove, but redirected his passion and commitment that resulted in him becoming God's chosen apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jewish believers), establishing many of the earliest locals assemblies of the Church, and composing many of the books of the New Testament.
Fallen Man "naturally" desires to be independent of God because of the "hostile" (Romans 8: 7) nature that is passed down to each generation. Fallen Man does not naturally desire to be controlled by God. Fallen women do not naturally want to be controlled by husbands. Children do not naturally want to be controlled by parents. Criminals do not naturally want to be controlled by the law. The list can go on and on, yet all of the above would have to concede that without voluntary respect for authority, no relationship or establishment can function or be what God intended it to be.
Abuse of authority or independence in the wrong hands can lead to disaster.
The desire to be independent from the devil's world can be a great character strength, but the desire to be independent of God is a great character flaw.
Independence (the heart of all rebels) was what motivated the devil, who once had a position of honor in Heaven (Ezekiel 28: 14), to rebel and do his “own thing,” pursuing his own glory and benefit. Before ANY revel (or tyrant) can establish himself, he/she must first free himself from the existing authority over him/her. Rebellion is a risky business. If one fails, he/she comes under the wrath of the one he/she rebelled against.
If our child told us that he/she wanted to be "like God" when he/she grew up. it might sound like he/she is on the right track. What would be a better indicator would be for the same child to say that he/she desires to walk with God.
The devil wanted to "like God (Isa. 13: 14)! "The devil wanted to establish a productive kingdom, but one that was independent of God. What the devil meant was that he wanted to have a prosperous kingdom like God has in Heaven. The devil desires to be the one worshiped. The devil wanted to be the one that no one could challenge what he wanted to do.
Isa. 13: 14 records the “declaration of independence” of the devil, but this same attitude has bee expressed by every “rebel” and/or "tyrant" that has ever lived. Before a rebel or a tyrant can establish him/her self, he must first set himself free from existing authority.
“… I will ascend to Heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars (angels) of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the resources of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds (place/position of power and authority), I will make myself like the Most High (Isa.12: 14 NASB)."
The “throne” of our individual soul structure is NOT a “two seater.” There can only be one ruler on any given throne at any given time. Every "throne" (system of authority) here on Earth receives its delegated authority from the throne in Heaven (Romans 13: 1). Every throne on earth is either subordinate to or in a state of rebellion against the ultimate thrown (authority) in Heaven. Born again believers (Romans 14: 12) who are in positions of delegated authority (governmental/marital/parental/labor, etc.) and those in positions of subordination will both give an account of what they did or failed to do in those positions.
God was, is, and will forever be on the throne in Heaven, but during our time here on Earth, rather or not He, we, or someone or something else is “on the throne” of our own lives is a CHOICE that we make! Whoever or what ever in on the throne of our lives at any given moment is the ruler of our lives. God the Holy Spirit indwells the physical bodies of all born again believers while they are here on Earth, but He is not always the one on the throne of our soul structure. When (not if) we sin we have at that time replaced God with some one or some thing else.
One can not be submitted to the authority of God and sin at the same time. Before one can act independently of God, he/she must first reject the authority that is over him at the moment. Discipleship requires that God be on the throne of our lives. For many who claim to Christians, the one on the throne of their lives is the one they see in the mirror. It is never too late to put God on (or back on) the throne of our lives. One might be amazed at the changes that takes place!
Regardless of who or what we place on the throne of our lives here on Earth, it will be before the throne of God that every born again believer will give an account of himself (Romans 14: 12), and it will be before the throne of God that every unbeliever will bow before being thrown into what the Bible (Rev. 20: 15) refers to as the lake of fire.
As far as salvation (going to Heaven) is concerned, one’s personal areas of spiritual strengths do NOT make born again believers any more saved that he/she became at the moment he/she was born again. As far as salvation is concerned, one's personal areas of spiritual weakness do not make any born again believer any less saved that he/she became at the moment of salvation.
How we choose to manage our areas of strengths and weakness will go a long way in determining HOW any given born again believer will experience Heaven. As long as he/she is here on the Earth, it is never too late for a born again believer to start to make better decisions.
Many born again believers “put off” executing the type of post salvation spiritual life that is required for discipleship. Some do not even know what it actually entails. Such believers seem to find the time to do just about everything else, but seldom do they have the time for God or the things of God.
There are many Heaven bound, born again believers that will NEVER engage in Biblical discipleship.
Such spiritual negligence opens the door to divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) while here on Earth, and impacts the quantity of whatever (1Cor. 3: 12-15) rewards an (Revelation 2/Revelation 3) privileges that he/she could have otherwise received in Heaven.
Spiritually mature believers do NOT execute the post salvation spiritual life in order to be rewarded or privileged. The spiritually mature believer would do the same if there were no rewards and privileges to be received. For the spiritually mature believer, the desire to execute the post salvation spiritual life is NOT a burden, but becomes the driving force and the primary purpose for his/her presence here on Earth. It is never too late to develop this desire.
Discipleship is the study (Matt. 28: 19/2Pet. 3: 18) and the application (James 1: 22) of the principles of the Word of God to all that one thinks, says, and does, on a daily basis. Discipleship is NOT the means to get saved or to retain salvation. Discipleship is ONE of the things that might be the result of having already been saved. I say "might be" because not all born again believers will choose to engage or remain in the life of discipleship. Many will choose to adopt (or to return to) the realm of Christian "religion with all its traditions of men instead.
One can choose to become more or less “religious” at almost any time, but one can only be born again (John 3: 5, 7) by responding to the calling of God the Holy Spirit (Heb. 3: 15).
“Today, if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they (the ancient Jews did) when they provoked Me (Heb. 3: 15 NASB).”
After one is saved, God the Holy Spirit is the One who makes Bible Doctrine understandable, leading to the opportunity to develop the life of discipleship. All born again believers will be given this opportunity, but not all born again believers will choose to respond.
The more becomes aware of what the Bible actually has to say, the advancing disciple will be motivated to make the ongoing changes that discipleship requires of him. However, the cost of discipleship (Luke 14: 26) will prove to be more than many born again believers are willing to pay. Such believers will choose to adopt (or to return to) the comfort zone of one of the many alternatives offered by one of the many Christian religions.
It is much easier and convenient to be “religious” than it is to be spiritual. It is never too late for a born again believer to choose Christianity over Christian Religion. The difference between the two is one of the first things that many advancing disciples will discover.
Salvation requires a ONE time decision to believe in a presentation of the Gospel Message. God the Holy Spirit can use many different means in many different locations and environments to present the Gospel Message to an unbeliever.
Discipleship requires many, many, ongoing and daily decisions to continue to learn (2Pet. 3: 18) and/or to apply (James 1: 22) the Word of God to ALL that one thinks, says, and does throughout the course of each and every day.
Preaching the Gospel Message was one of the two major missions that God gave to his Church (Matt. 28: 19, 20).
The nearest "temple" of the Church is not to be found in a building down the street. It is to be found in the nearest mirror (1Cor. 3: 16). An individual becomes a temple of the Church that God designed when and when he/she is born again.
The Church that has been built on the traditions of men consists of holy buildings, tangible altars, and officiating priests.
The Church that God designed is made up of the collective temples (bodies) of every born again believer of the Church Age. Church Age believers do not "go to Church," but are that Church that gathers together (Heb. 10: 25) for such things as celebrating the Lord's Supper (1Cor. 11: 24, 25), the worship of God as He desires to be worshiped (John 4: 23, 24), and to be taught the Word of God. (Matt. 28: 19).
Unlike as it was (past tense) during the Old Testament dispensation, the location and the type of building (if any) is of NO spiritual significance (Matt. 18: 20). Every born again believer is a Church Age priest (1Pet. 2: 9). The last altar (of sacrifice) that God acknowleges was the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This true Church can be found among and within the many different Man made, “denominations” that have been created throughout the course of the Church Age. Becoming a member of a Church that Man has designed does NOT make one a member of the Church that God designed. Being a member of the Church that God designed does NOT require on to be a member of a church that Man has designed.
The Church Age began at the Feast of Pentecost around 33-34 AD in Jerusalem, weeks after receiving its “marching orders (Matt. 28: 19, 20).” These marching orders indentified the primary mission and the work that its Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave it to accomplish. The Church Age (not the Church) will come to its prophesied “end (Matt. 24: 14)” when what theologians refer to as the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16, 17) takes place.
This “end” is neither the end of the Church, nor is it (yet) the end of the world, as we presently know it to be. It is the”end” of Church Age, and the Church’s presence here on Earth, until it returns with Christ at the Second Advent.
Without a doubt, if the Rapture should take place in the middle of a “worship” service, there will be many (Matt. 7:13) left behind, sitting in the pews and standing behind the pulpits in what is generally considered to be a part of the Christian Community at large. It would be at at time that the reality of presence of the true church WITHIN the Christian Community at large, and WITHIN the local assemblies of the Church that fallen Man has built will finally become evident to those left behind.
Christian “religion,” with the applause of the devil, has come up with a variety of alternative agendas that is focused on human good, while neglecting the work that the Church that God designed was given to do.
The devil applauds because he appreciates all that Man tries to do that contributes to making his kingdom (Luke 4: 6) a better place to live, while neglecting what impacts eternity.
“For what does it profit a man to gain (or to be given) the whole world, and then forfeit his soul (Mark 8: 36 NASB italics mine)?”
God uses many different means for His church to present the Gospel Message to unbelievers.
This is why God places advancing disciples is all walks of life. This is why we have different interests and engage in different activities. It is WHEREVER an advancing disciple finds him/herself that he/she is to function as Christ’s ambassador.
One can be presented with the Gospel Message sitting in “Joe’s Bar” just as well as when he/she is sitting in St. Joseph’s Church, if that is when and where God the Holy Spirit decides to present it to him/her.
One of the mysteries of life is that none of us knows for sure when one is going to depart this Earth, or when one might through accident or illness be rendered unable to make a conscious decision to believe and be aved .
Q. Saved from what?
A. Saved from the wrath of God awaiting those who names are not recorded in the (Rev. 20: 15) book of life.
Another mystery concerning the unknown timing and manner of departure is that one does not know if and when, as a born again believer, he/she might be rendered unable to make conscious decisions to improve the quality of his/her post salvation spiritual life.
It could have been yesterday. It might be today!
Tens of thousands of souls depart this world every day, with their departure having been the last thing on the minds of those departed, or on the minds of those who knew them on a personal level.
Once departed, Scripture offers no opportunity for an unbeliever to be saved, and offers no opportunity for a born again believer to improve the post salvation spiritual life that he/she has left behind.
In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), God the Father is the One who was looking down the road with the desire to see the return of his wandering son. He desires that the son returns, but does not force him to do so. When the son returns the Father rejoices.
Note that there were still consequences (earthly inheritance) for the wandering son to experience (Luke 15: 31), but he was more than willing to accept these losses just to know that he could come home enjoy the environment that even the servants in his Father’s home are given (Luke 15: 17).
There are consequences (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15) for sin that a born again believer commits, but God always desires that one repents, confesses past sin, and then forsakes future sin, reaping the benefits for having done so.
Jesus taught that there is more rejoicing, “… in heaven when one sinner repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15: 7).”
Unlike when confessing our sins to people, one of the comforting things about confessing to God is that we are NOT telling Him anything He does not already know, and that we already know what His response to our confession will be.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1: 9 NASB).”
The 1John 1: 9 “guarantee” of forgiveness is based on the fact that the sin being confessed has a-l-r-e-a-d-y been atoned (paid) for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1John 2: 2).
For God the Father to refuse to grant forgiveness or require ANY further payment for a sin debt that has already been stamped PAID IN FULL by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, then God the Father would be rejecting the atoning work that the Lord Jesus Christ “finished – John 19: 30) while on the cross.
The omniscient (all knowing) God knew of every single sin that every single soul had committed, was committing, or would commit during his/hr appointed time here on Earth B-E-F-O-R-E any one of us were even born!
Having this knowledge was what enabled God the Father to pour the sin debt of the entire human race onto the Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father did so during the last three hours of darkness while God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) was on the cross. God the Father did so as God the Son bled on the cross, making atonement. The atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ is what satisfied the justice of God that requires an accounting for EVERY sin. It was by satisfying the justice of God that enables a Holy God to forgive our sin without compromising His divine nature (Habakkuk 1: 13).
“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And you can not look upon wickedness with favor (Hab. 1: 13 NASB).”
The justice of God demands payment for every sin (James 2: 10). The justice of God was satisfied through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. The reason that it was ON THE CROSS was because it was there and then that the payable sin debt of the entire human race was poured out on the bleeding/atoning humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. If He could have made atonement by shedding HIs blood at any time and in any place other than at that time on the cross, then God could have just allowed such events recorded in Matt. 2: 16, Matt. 4: 5, 6, Luke 4: 29.) to result in the shedding His blood, and the Work would have been done. If the shedding of His blood at any other time or place than the cross accomplished the atoning Work, then such events recorded in (John 19: , 2 ) would have satisfied the justice of God.
The devil understood the significance of shedding of the Lord's blood ON THE CROSS. That was why he wanted to see Jesus slain BEFORE reaching the cross.
The one and only sin (by divine design) that was not atoned (paid) for was the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18). Because (by divine design) there was NO atonement, there is NO remedy for that sin here on Earth or for all of eternity future. That is why NO ONE will EVER be released from the what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15).
This answers the age-old question of how and why a loving and merciful God can and will toss all those whose names are not written in the book of life into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15). Not to have one’s name written down in the book of life is the result of a choice that the unbeliever made. It is only by spending all of eternity in the lake of fire that the sin of disbelief be accounted for, satisfying the justice of God. ALL other sins were atoned for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Post salvation sin does NOT place the salvation that a born again believer has already received (Romans 8:1) in jeopardy. However, there are still other consequences (e.g., Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15) for engaging in post (after) salvation sin while here on Earth.
One might ask why God holds us accountable for sin that He knew we were going to commit during our time here on Earth. The answer is that at the time such sin(s) are committed, it is/was the result of a CHOICE that we made to do so.
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Many factors play a part in how we “feel."Making spiritual choices on the basis of how we “feel” can lead to spiritual disaster. The woman, later named Eve, after being deceived "felt" like the eating of forbidden fruit would improve the life that she shared with Adam (Gen. 3: 5, 6).
The advancing disciple will learn NOT to make his/her spiritual choices on the basis of how he/she (or others) “feels,” but on the basis of what the Word of God has to say on the matter. It is never too late to learn and to make what the Bible has to say the final word in all spiritual matters.
The classic example of it never being “too late” was demonstrated by one of the two criminals who were being executed on the cross on each side of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only hours away from his physical death (John 19: 32), this man was given assurance from the highest authority of his eternal destiny.
“And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in *Paradise (Luke 23: 43 NASB)/.
*Paradise was a section of Hades where ALL people of faith, prior to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, descended to at the moment of physical death. Fulfilling His own prophecy, He would spend three days and three nights there before rising from dead (Matt. 12: 40). These facts dispute the traditional teaching that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. He was crucified (on Passover) earlier in the week. That is another lesson for another day.
There was no time for the man on cross next to our Lord to engage is ANY ceremony, religious ritual, or activity. There was no earthly future for him to fulfill any promises to reform. There was no time to make good to the people who were victims of his self-confessed (Luke 23: 41) criminality. There is no record of the man asking God forgiveness, only that the Lord Jesus Christ remember him when He (Jesus Christ) comes into His kingdom.
Yet, by the statements he made (Luke 23: 40-42) to and about the Lord Jesus Christ, he indicated that he had been BORN AGAIN at some point in time during his life here on earth, or as many interpret the passage to communicate, he was BORN AGAIN at that time. Either way, he was in fact BORN AGAIN and upon that basis (Romans 8:1) He was assured of his eternal security.
Jesus would NOT have given the man any such assurance if he had not been BORN AGAIN. The Lord made it clear during His time here on Earth that one MUST (John 3: 5, 7) be born again to enter the Kingdom of God.
By being born again he fulfilled the ONE and ONLY requirement (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18) to receive eternal life and the assurance (Romans 8: 1) of spending eternity with God.
For the record, there does come a time when it IS too late to be born again.
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8: 24 NASB).”
To die in your sins, means to depart this world in the capacity of an unbeliever whose final eternal destination will be the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15). There is not ONE verse of Scripture that speaks of ANY future opportunity for a soul to saved once he/she departs this world at the moment of physical death.
The same Gospel Message that assures all believers of residency in Heaven equally assures all unbelievers (John 3: 18) of *residency in the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15).
Soul life NEVER dies. The lake of fire is NOT a place of extermination. It is a place where ALL unbelievers will spend all of eternity with NO hope of release.
The universal bowing” of every knee” in acknowledgement of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14: 11) does NOT spare those who depart this world in the capacity of an unbeliever from the lake of fire.
The knee of the born again believer already bowed while here on Earth when the soul acknowledged the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The knee of the unbeliever will bow and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ just before he/she is tossed into the lake of fire after his/her name is not found written in the Book of life (Rev. 20: 15).
It IS too late to be saved once one has departed this world, but it never too late while here on Earth, providing one still has the opportunity, the capacity, and the willingness to choose to believe in the Person and the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Death bed” conversions do take place, but no one is assured that the circumstances of his/her departure will provide him/her with such an opportunity.
Once born again, the issue of WHERE one will spend eternity future has been forever settled (Romans 8: 1). What remains to be determined, however, is HOW any one given born again believer is going to EXPERIENCE eternity future.
Will it be WITH or WITHOUT the rewards and privileges spoken of in such passages as 1Cor. 3: 12-15 and Revelations 2 and 3? The answer to that question is based on the quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life.
The post (after) salvation spiritual life BEGINS the moment one is born again HERE on Earth. The post salvation spiritual life ENDS when one departs this Earth. In the case of death bed conversions, the post salvation spiritual life can involve only a matter of minutes, whereas the post salvation spiritual life of others can involve decades or even scores of years.
The QUALITY of one’s post salvation spiritual life does NOT improve or diminish the salvation (eternal life) that one has already received, but the QUALITY of one’s post salvation spiritual life is what determines HOW one will experience eternity future.
In closing, my prayer for any unbeliever reading this presentation and/or otherwise hears the (Heb. ) voice of God calling him/her to salvation, will read the Gospel Message, choose to believe it, and be saved BEFORE it is too late. My prayer for any born again believer reading this presentation is that he/she will take the next step along the road to spiritual maturity, continuing to improve the quality of his/her post salvation spiritual life BEFORE it is too late.