Twice dead? Not without being born twice.

In his description of sneaky false teachers, Jude uses these words:

These men are dangerous reefs at your love feasts, feasting without reverence, feeding only themselves. They are waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit—twice dead, uprooted; wild sea waves, spewing out the foam of their shame; wayward stars for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved.” (Jude 12,13 – NET)

Nearly every reputable translation (as well as some not-so-reputable ones) uses the simple phrase “twice dead” when it comes to these fruitless trees. This is a description that should not only be concerning to anyone who falls into this spiritual category, it should be concerning to anyone who teaches or believes that once an indidvual is born-again, he or she can never abuse God’s grace to the extent that God’s grace is no longer afforded to that individual. The simple fact of the matter is one cannot be twice dead without being born twice. Someone who has never been alive spiritually cannot die spiritually one time, much less twice.

God’s grace through Jesus can indeed keep us from falling away from the gift of salvation – all you have to do is read how Jude ends his letter; but to say that keeping ourselves in the love of God is equal to not being able to forsake that love is to say something that holds no more water than the clouds that get mentioned right before the trees.

#calvinism, #false-doctrine, #jude, #once-saved-always-saved

Goodness AND Severity

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11:22)

Right at the heart of a discourse on the subject of God’s “right” to use both Jew and Gentile to accomplish his will, Paul again reminds the people of God about their calling to actually be the people of God.

Being the beneficiary of God’s goodness has its benefit, no doubt or discounting that – it grafts us into the body of God’s elect! But this election by grace also carries with it a responsibility to live by grace…which is a little different from the way many people in the religious world tend to view grace when it comes to our initial start in the race of faith and our finishing the course (Titus 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

With that consideration in mind, it is important to see that being the elect of God has nothing to do with being once saved always saved, for in the middle of his discussion of the Jewish people’s election (or as one might say, “God’s original elect” – barring individual examples like Abel, Enoch and Noah, of course), Paul warns the gentile members of the church at Rome that if they were to forsake their calling, and ultimately the goodness/grace of God, then the same pruning knife that removed the original branches would also remove the branches that had been grafted in. And one does not have to be a professional arborist to get that picture.

We should never forget about the power of God’s grace to begin and finish our salvation. I know Paul, a Jew and the chief of sinners, refused to let that point slip by him as he considered his own people in the flesh. But neither should we forget about the destructive power of sin and the consequences of certain behaviors as we consider our self and our own people in the spirit. I know this a much-needed daily lesson for me.

#election, #holy-living, #once-saved-always-saved

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8-11-2015 The Israelites’ Example

God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, leading them through Moses. “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land(Hebrews 11:29 NKJV). The Apostle Paul said they “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:2 NKJV). But they refused to enter the Promised Land, and rebelled against God. Concerning those “twenty years old and above” (Numbers 14:29), God swore “that they would not enter His rest…who did not obey…So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19 NKJV). (1) No one was saved without being baptized; (2) Baptized believers could become unbelievers; (3) “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV). No “once-saved-always saved” here!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptized, #israelites, #once-saved-always-saved, #rebelled, #slavery, #unbelievers

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8-7-2015 Christians Can Be Lost

God told Adam that if he ate of one particular tree, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17 NKJV). The Devil told Eve, “you shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4 NKJV). Jesus said of the devil, “there is no truth in him…for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44 NKJV). The Devil’s lies deny the plain truth of God’s Word! The Devil’s lie to Eve, was saying, “it doesn’t matter what you do, God won’t punish you for it!” It’s like saying, “once you’re saved, you’re always saved!” Paul told Christians who wanted also to keep the Law of Moses, “you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4 KNJV). God’s Christian truth is: “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward” (2 John 8 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#devils-lies, #once-saved-always-saved

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(#197) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:19-21-Are We Pampered Servants?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 29:19-21: “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond. Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. He who pampers his servant from childhood Will have him as a son in the end.”

The term “servant” indicates someone who works for someone else, and though Moses was “a servant” in God’s House, Jesus took “the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7), He was “a Son over His own house, whose house we are” (Hebrews 3:5-6), that is, the church of Christ (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus’ obedience under Moses’ Law (Hebrews 5:8-9) is our example for obeying Jesus’ Law (Matthew 28:18-20).

It is a disobedient servant who will not follow carefully-worded instructions, so that “though he understands, he will not respond” with obedience. No one has become a servant of Christ by confessing to be saved before being baptized (buried) into the death of Jesus (Romans 6:1-7); no servant of Christ ever added mechanical instrumental music to the singing required in worship (Ephesians 5:19-20); no servants of Christ ever murdered to expand the church (John 18:37; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6); no servants of Christ enjoyed the recreation of fleshly appeals (Romans 13:13-14)!

There is no hope for “a fool” (one who disobeys God) unless he/she repents and obeys God’s Will. One who is conceited must become humbled in order to learn obedience to God: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18). The person who is “hasty in his words” is trying to justify him- or herself, rather than listening to what must be changed to please God. “He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13). No one can “testify” their way to salvation without doing what God says!

A pampered servant will soon “think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3). This is why all those who have been taught that once they’re saved, they’re always saved, and cannot lose their salvation become spiritually arrogant, thinking they are “bullet-proof!” “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Paul addressed that attitude (and doctrine!) when he wrote: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:16-17). Truly, as Paul wrote, “if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #fleshly-recreation, #fool, #god, #hasty-in-words, #instrumental-music, #jesus-christ, #murder, #obedience, #once-saved-always-saved, #proverbs, #saved-before-baptism, #self-justified, #worship

Is A Christian’s Salvation Ever On The Table?

For those who still care about little things like sound doctrine, the topic of apostasy, once-saved-always-saved and falling from God’s grace is still a vital subject to consider from time to time…we are talking about Heaven, Hell and eternity after all!

There are two opposite extremes when it comes to the issue, both of which have done great spiritual harm to many souls.

The first extreme is that a Christian can never so sin that it leads to he or she losing the reward of their salvation – hence the term “once-saved-always-saved.” This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous admonitions of God’s word concerning repentance, sin setting up shop in a believer’s heart and the importance of learning from the major errors of God’s people in the past are actually only hollow warnings for God’s “true” child will never fall into these traps. Unfortunately the very mentality that says there are no traps has become a trap (Jeremiah 16:10).

The second extreme is that a Christian must walk on eggshells and live in constant anxiety concerning one’s judgment and the punishment of Hell. This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous scriptures of comfort concerning the assurance that one can have with God and his or her salvation are only hollow promises. Unfortunately the mentality that revolves around this doctrine ends up robbing people of the blessing that relies upon God for his or her perfection and exchanges it with a worrisome and burdensome and impossible task of making one’s self perfect.

The truth of God concerning the doctrine of one’s salvation and the peril of sin lies in between the two extremes found above. Any sin can send a person to Hell – no denying that (Romans 6:23). But God’s grace is also a huge concept – a concept that’s large enough through the blood of Jesus to capture sins that we don’t even realize we’ve committed. Do we need to confess our sins to be forgiven? Absolutely! But must all of our sins be confessed in “numerical” order? Who could ever honestly do such a thing like that every time? The simple truth is that if a person strives to avoid a lifestyle of darkness, strives to walk in God’s essential light lit path, strives to have a willingness that confesses sin of the known and unknown nature, and strives to avoid a self-righteous, I’m above sin, I don’t sin mentality that relies upon the justification and cleansing power of Jesus’ blood then that individual’s salvation is secure in God. Want to lose your security? Then do the opposite! (1 John 1:4-10)

Is a Christian’s salvation ever on the table? Sure it is! But only when we put it on the table and give it up for the world, for the gift of God’s salvation is something that no man can take from us if we keep our heart set on Heaven.

Let your desire be for peace with all men, and to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord; Looking with care to see that no man among you in his behaviour comes short of the grace of God; for fear that some bitter root may come up to be a trouble to you, and that some of you may be made unclean by it; And that there may not be any evil liver, or any man without respect for God, like Esau, who let his birthright go for a plate of food. For you have knowledge that even long after, when he was desiring the blessing for his heritage, he was turned away, though he made his request frequently and with weeping; because the past might not be changed…But you have come to the mountain of Zion, to the place of the living God, to the Jerusalem which is in heaven, and to an army of angels which may not be numbered, to the great meeting and church of the first of those who are named in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made complete, And to Jesus by whom the new agreement has been made between God and man, and to the sign of the blood which says better things than Abel’s blood.” (Hebrews 12:14-17, 22-24 – BBE)

#apostasy, #assurance, #christianity, #doctrine, #extremes, #falling-from-grace, #once-saved-always-saved, #religion, #salvation, #security

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Once we become a Christian, immersed in the waters of baptism (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4), cleansed in the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), and sanctified from the world by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), can we ever be lost?

We know that if we walk in Christ, bringing glory to God, as we find in Scripture, we will remain in the arms of God (Ephesian 2:19; 3:20-21; 4:1).

There are those who teach that a true Christian can never be lost. I agree (Romans 8:1).

However, the question remains as to whether we can leave the Lord by exercising our freewill? Scripture says that we can (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31).

The following articles examine this very important question:

No Condemnation in Christ

Once Saved, Always Saved 1

Once Saved, Always Saved 2

Once Saved, Always Saved 3

I hope you will diligently study these passages and pray about them.

 

#apostsy, #forthright, #hebrews, #impossibility-of-apostasy, #lost, #once-saved-always-saved, #salvation, #saved