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Saved, but not serving? Created 15 December 2016

Can you lose your salvation? Yes.

Whilst the answer to this question is easy, because there has been so much contrary teaching, getting to the answer might be a lengthy affair. So we need to look at a number of misconstrued truths, myths and other questionable teachings before we can get a clearer picture. Let us be certain though, God is patient - extremely patient. From my experience, He is not only patient in bringing us to repentance, He is also patient in healing and cleansing us. Peter says the same thing: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) (by the way, did you note the "all" in the verse above?). We need to know nevertheless, that God's patience does not last forever - at some point a line will be drawn.

What am I saying here - that you should 'get your hands dirty' to in order to get saved or in order to prove your salvation to others? No. What I am saying is that if you do not find yourself getting your hands dirty subsequent to your salvation experience, that salvation experience may not have been genuine. Alternatively, you may be saved, but you may very well be at risk of hardening your heart for the things of God, which is the same thing as unbelief.

Misconstrued truths:

Myths:

Questionable teachings:

Misconstrued truths

“Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you”. Quoting Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The writer of Hebrews quotes Moses in Deuteronomy 31 (which is repeated in Joshua 1:5), assuring the Israelites that after he (Moses) has passed on, God will remain with them to conquer the Promised Land. This saying is true; God will never abandon His people. To quote David, “The Lord is my shepherd[1] , and Jesus, “the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep[2] . So, the Shepherd not only remains committed to His sheep, He also gives up His life for them. But to suggest from these true words that a Christian can never abandon Jesus, is not accurate. Speaking to existing believers in Him, Jesus says, “whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. … whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.[3] Was Jesus merely making conversation, or was He clear about the meaning of faith; that there is a particular behaviour that accompanies it, and such behaviour does not deny Him.

‘There is eternal security in your salvation experience.’ Quoting John 3:15 and other similar Scriptures, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.This saying also is true. But there is a condition to such salvation; continuing faith. The operative words used in John 3:15 is “eternal life” whereas instead we should be looking at the condition for eternal life - “whoever believes”. Note that the Greek word for faith is translated “believes”[4] , which in English is stated in the Zero Conditional or Present Perfect tense. For example: "If you heat ice, it melts"; 'if this is true then that will eventuate'. We see that John 3:16 and 18 confirms this understanding [5] . Paul does the same in Romans 4, to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Note the Zero Conditional tense. When faith stops, righteousness stops. Faith is not a once-off thing; it must be continuing.

'You did not choose Jesus - He chose you.' Relating to the doctrine of Predestination and quoting a number of Bible passages[6] , such as "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love". This saying is true. But to suggest that because He chose you, you had not choice but to go along with His plan of salvation is not accurate. See what Jesus says to unbelieving Jews, But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.[7] (John 5:40). Your salvation no doubt requires your co-operation. Indeed, it is God's initiative to choose you, or call you. But it still requires your willingness to go ahead, without which there is no salvation. The English word "willing" is from a Greek word which denotes 'an exercise of your will' or 'to be inclined towards'[8] . The NLT Bible translates this passage, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me - the one he sent to you.“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. These words spoken by Jesus denote a certain hardheartedness on the part of the Jews. They are set in their ways, not willing to receive truth. Hebrews - which we will get to - speaks of such hardheartedness as "an evil heart of unbelief". So, whilst God did choose you, you still had the option to not co-operate with His plan for salvation.

A believer did nothing whatsoever to get saved. The doctrine of Sola fide is well known in Protestant circles and the very reason why Martin Luther, John Calvin and others objected (read a related article here) to Catholic teachings concerning the need for good works[9] . Thus, in opposition to Catholic doctrine, "faith plus nothing" is promoted amongst Protestants. These preachers stick closely to Ephesians 2:8, by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. This saying is true. Salvation is a gift. It simply cannot be earned. Any attempt to do so is not only fruitless, it is as "filthy rags"[10] in the eyes of the Lord. I don't see Scripture say that any person can earn their salvation through works, and I do not read the logic of sin and salvation in the Bible in that way.

Related image But to emphasise that only faith saves, it is then preached that any act whatsoever on the part of the person receiving Christ equates to "works", and is a vain attempt to impress God. That is not correct. Jesus, John, Paul and others clearly taught that you need to repent before you come to God in faith. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Jesus), repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Paul), the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (the writer of Hebrews)[11] . First repent and then believe.

Repentance is 'laying down your own will for your life and submitting to the will of God instead'. Because we are born as sinners, that means a heart's regret for your own rebellion and a turn-around from your past ways. So, we see that there is something you can do when coming to God in faith - it is to repent. But, have a look at what Jesus says in John 6, 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Can you see that the initiative is with God, and the response is with Man? Still, there is a response - "heard and learned". If these verbs (heard, learned) equate to 'works' - as they do to those who promote "faith plus nothing" in the narrowest interpretation, then such doctrine is faulty.

So, we see from the Bible that, in coming to Christ, a believer will have done at least 4 things, which are expressed as verbs: 1) not harden their heart, 2) hear from God (pay attention), 3) learn from God , 4) repent. This is not to suggest that one can work your way to heaven, only to show that the "faith plus nothing" doctrine is erroneous. As the Father draws a person, and when these verbs align, a person comes to Christ: And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:65).

Myths

Faith = Knowledge [of Him] and Trust [in Jesus]. People love formulas. They simplify things. This formula is mostly correct. But it is incomplete, and its incompleteness is misleading. Very misleading. Faith requires obedience or adherence to His ways. The New Testament speaks about the Israelites' disobedience as a demonstration of their unbelief. Disobedience equates to rebellion and sin; who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Where disobedience relates to unbelief, obedience relates to belief (faith). This is thee same belief or faith that justifies a person.

Once saved, I never need to repent again. This teaching is based on mainly two ideas: 1) once the decree of righteousness has been pronounced over a believer, he or she can not ever again become unrighteous, and 2) by way of presumption, 1 John 1:9 was not meant for born-again believers, but unbelievers instead. First, 1 John 1:9 and the rest of the Bible was written for believers - period[12] , (see a related article here).

As Christians we read the entirety of Scripture as relevant to us. Though God has spoken to people in different ways over the ages and whilst He has introduced different ways of relating to us - called dispensations - we know that He speaks to us today by His Spirit and by His word. Thus, we should not summarily discount any part of Scripture as relevant to our edification else we follow our own ways. Image result for once saved always saved

Second, in writing to the church of God which is at Corinth (1:2), if the born-again sinner of chapter 5 was not in danger of losing his salvation, then Paul would not have written this: deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [13]. As God spoke to each of the churches (ekklēsia (Strongs 1577)) in Revelation 2 and 3, He also spoke to the ekklēsia (Strongs 1577) of Corinth in the passage above - these are ordinary people who are already born-again[14]. But Paul, concerned over one church member in particular, instructs them (in the interest the man in question) to hand over the man over to Satan so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; Paul would rather see the man suffer in the flesh than suffer eternally. Did that born-again man need to repent and turn from his error, and was Paul's initiative aimed at getting him to do just that? Yes.

Once saved, always saved. It is a common thing to hear preachers quote several Scriptures which seem to indicate that. This mindset is based on mostly sound logic coupled with an erroneous starting point; that God saved the believer unilaterally and thus will never ‘unchoose’ them. We have already established that the salvation experience requires a believer's co-operation. Since this is true, the above proposition is untrue. Salvation requires the co-operative will of the believer - though very much encouraged and supported, no person is forced to get saved. Consider Adam - who had no concept whatsoever of rebellion against God. Yet, by a decision of His will (for God neither enticed him nor compelled him), Adam rebelled (sinned) against God and lost his 'birth right' having been intimately connected with God. We know that in the same way that God 'gave birth' to Adam in the beginning by breathing into him - so as to restore things to its original purpose - He also gives birth to every born-again believer in Christ. Christians are born of the Spirit[15]. But Christians also have a will to decide to rebel or turn against God.

The writer of Hebrews addresses this issue head-on: In Hebrews 6, he teaches in no ambiguous terms that if a person has received the gift of regeneration and they would turn from God, there is no way back - ever: 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Can a born-again believer turn from God? Yes. Is such a turning away final and forever? Yes, you cannot crucify Christ twice.

The writer of Hebrews continues his exhortation to believers to remain faithful in chapter 10 where he states the need for believers to have endurance in faith, and the express possibility of a believer alienating him/herself from God:

36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

One might paraphrase Hebrews 10:39 as follows: 'But we are not of those who withdraw unto eternal destruction, but who remain faithful for the salvation of our soul'.

Can an existing, born-again believer stop believing (stop being faithful)? The writer of Hebrews says Yes.

What is the consequences of such unfaithfulness? The writer of Hebrews says 'destruction, even in the eternal sense'.

Having once believed, there is no need to continue believing in Jesus; it is sufficient to having once believed. We have already established that the Bible considers righteous faith as a continuing thing by presenting such faith in the Zero Conditional or Present Perfect tense; him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4), I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16-17). So too is Romans 10:9-10 written - not in the past tense - but in the present tense: if you confess (present tense) with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart (present tense) that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (future tense). 10 For with the heart one believes (present tense) unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (present tense). One of the reasons why people get stuck on this issue is because they look at salvation from a purely legalistic point of view; that righteousness is a legal decree, which bestows a right towards salvation on the recipient. But when we see that salvation is a state of being, and not merely a decree, then we can see that such a state of being can run the risk of alienation from God. This does not happen as a result of Jesus' disinterest or lack of effort, but despite it. We see from the section below that a believer - on their own account - can "drift away". It should be clear from our works who and what we are faithful to[18].

Everyday sin cannot get a believer to stop believing. The writer of Hebrews - speaking to born-again Christians - warns of the slippery slope of sin, and calls for faithfulness - a term used to denote ongoing faith. He says, "Be careful of":

Can you see the regression?: from drifting away, .. to neglecting your salvation, .. to hardening your heart, .. to unbelief, ..., to do not enter His rest. Clearly, the writer of Hebrews warns existing, born-again believers not to "depart from the living God". That is what I am trying to do here as well. Did you notice that the key here is faith, as is the case with righteousness in any context; whether to come to Christ, or are in Christ already, the key to righteousness with God remains faith. Thus, it is not only to start believing. One has to continue believing. And such believing is evident by way of obedience to Him (His Word and His Spirit).

The writer of Hebrews says, under His new covenant, He writes His laws (His ways, His love, His timing, His passion) on our hearts.

... this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:10-12)

It takes. It takes time to have this law written on our hearts. But, once a law is written, a born again believer transgresses it no more. It is then that we "know" Him: Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)

Earlier in the book, the writer of Hebrews says, to the Christians of the time, 'do not allow your faith to deteriorate into unbelief because that is evil'. In the passage directly prior he draws a parallel between such New Testament believers and the rebellious Israelites in the desert who had been 'saved' from their slavery in Egypt: Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest (Hebrews 3:10-11).

Jesus does not require His people to do any works whatsoever. By "works" I mean 'fruitfulness'. Ungodly works are those things one might do to try and earn your salvation. Such things may be done even after meeting Jesus because of some or other guilt trip or not having a clear grasp of His grace. They are useless to the unbeliever coming to Christ.

Fruit on the other hand are those things you do subsequent to (or as a result of) your re-birth in Christ. They are deeds in service to Christ as Him working through you by His Spirit in addition to the measure of faith and gifts He has afforded you. Image result for obey the Holy Spirit

But some see 'delivering fruit' as a "works program" regardless, and call it 'manifestly Old Testament and tantamount to legalism'. Thus, they do much to not do anything in service of Christ in fear of offending Him. But such attitudes speak of legalism themselves. They rely not on the guidance of the Spirit[17] but on the letter of the law - the law of their salvation, which is "Faith plus nothing at all". Those who are led by the Spirit [to do good works] are sons of God, to quote Paul.

Note this: Jesus taught in John 15[16] that His disciples were “already clean” - You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (v.3). From that we may derive that they were already saved. Notwithstanding, He goes on to teach that the Father will cast into the fire those who are in the vine (read those who are saved), but do not deliver fruit: If anyone does not abide in Me [read stay in Me and work with Me], he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:6).

Jesus will never disqualify any believer if they have once believed. We have established that Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. We know that Jesus will not at all allow you to be snatched out of His hand. No-one is able to do that and the Father will not allow it[19]. Period. There is a lot of comfort in that. Paul states it even more emphatically: I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39). But if we are to read from this passage that "nothing can separate me from the love of God", as is preached, then we will be in error. Because that is not what the passage says, and that is not what Jesus said either. Jesus said "no one". Paul said, "any other created thing". But that is not 'nothing' as in, 'there is no possibility'. Both Jesus and Paul are referring to things - even death and life, whether it be in the future or in the present; neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing. This does not include your own doing, or a decision of your will, as we have seen from the passages above.

John the Revelator states something which is hard to accept: that believers themselves can defile their garments (read bring about their own unrighteousness) and be wiped out from the Book of Life: You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes (present perfect tense) shall be clothed in white garments (future perfect tense), and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. The entire Revelations 2 and 3 is very disturbing to anyone trapped in a false sense of comfort. Again, Jesus is referring to the church (ekklēsia[20), which is a grouping of born-again believers, and He is saying 'you better get your house in order, or there will be consequences'. Note again, Jesus is not speaking as if something has already happened, He is speaking in the present perfect tense (zero conditional - 'if this, then that')

Questionable teachings

Predestination: In my view the doctrines of Predestination and Free will are not mutually exclusive. They co-exist. Thus, I believe in both. The doctrine of predestination is preached mostly in Protestant congregations. Whilst I agree with the concept of God predestining (certain) people, I do not agree with the notion that they get saved whether they want to or not. The way I like to see it (make up your own mind) is to compare life to say a sports match where the coach/manager gets to pick their team before the match begins. God picks 'His team' based on what He already knows about them - their temperament, their persistence, their steadfastness, their attention to detail. But how the game is played, and whether or not the individual players on His team will feature in the game ('perform') is a function of a decision of their will. If they listen to His teaching, then they will come to Christ[21]. If they obey His Spirit, they will be cleansed[22] and they will deliver godly fruit[23]. If they retain their first love for Him, they will be with Him. If they overcome, they will not be disqualified [24]. If they grow, their election will be secure and they will never stumble[25].

All these things require not only a salvation faith, but a savings (continuing) faith. I hope to demonstrate that without the kind of faith that is obedient and ongoing, there is no salvation in Christ.

Some differ from this view. As a reader you need to understand both views. That's why I reference another view and try to answer the problems which they raise. The Protestant apologetic website - gotquestion.org - sums up the question about losing one’s salvation with the following selected phrases (let me be clear, I am not attacking gotquestions.org - I just happen to believe that their teaching in this particular matter is not correct):

We note that the above represent powerful Scriptures, and that they are all true - thank God! But, they are incomplete and thus portray a wrong picture of what salvation is. We need to see the completeness of Scripture before we can see the completeness of this question and answer. I am not saying I have the complete answer, only that what is being presented is not complete.

Let us be clear, God wants “all to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). How then does Paul say, “... whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). Theologians read this verse to mean that God had selected only some people to be saved. But, “all” in 1 Timothy 2 means all - agreed? “All” does not mean ‘some’. So, reading Romans 8:29-30 to mean that God predestines only some, in my view, is not correct. The extension of this doctrine is evident in statements such as - ‘I had no choice to get saved in the first place - God made that decision and I had no part in it - thus, I cannot unchoose myself either’.

But let’s have a look at what is meant with the term “called”. Strongs dictionary translates this word to mean 'invited', 'called by God for salvation' or 'appointed to a certain function'. Called may very well mean ‘called to fulfill a certain function’, or ‘called to a certain time’, or ‘called for a certain purpose’. So, to hang a doctrine - Predestination, meaning, 'I had no choice in getting saved' - on a verse which may reasonably be interpreted otherwise, is not good practice. The Greek word translated “predestined” - proorizo - is from the root Greek word horizō which means ‘to appoint’ or 'to limit' or 'to mark out the boundaries'. So, it is reasonable to conclude that certain Christian office holders or (early) Church members may have been appointed in their role before time began much like John the Baptist was - the span of their influence or power or abilities being limited in advance so as to work within bigger plan for mankind. But that does not mean that all Christians across the span of history had no choice whatsoever in coming to God in faith.

So, the argument that ‘God chose me - I did not choose Him, and thus He will not unchoose me’ has a false premise. It stands only by a very narrow interpretation of the Greek word proorizo, so as to mean ‘fully determined beforehand’. Again, as noted, this cannot reasonably be because proorizo is also translated ‘to establish boundaries beforehand’. If this interpretation is used, then it means that God determined the boundaries of believers’ faith, and/or their roles and/or their purpose before time began. But it does not mean that He chose only some. Thus, believers’ faith had limitations as he says through Paul in Romans 12:3-8.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (there is a limitation placed on the faith of every person). 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

So, as far as I can see, the idea that 'God cannot unchoose you' because He was the only party involved in getting you saved in the first instance is not a sound one. Instead, Scripture teaches that from John the Baptist to Jesus to Jesus’ disciples to Paul and every other evangelist after Jesus, all urged people to repent and believe so that they may be saved. Why would they be urged if they had no part in the process?

As noted, Jesus addresses the issue in John 6:44-45 - No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. It should be clear that the initiative is of the part of the Father (“draws”), and the response to His initiative is on the part of the believer (“heard" and "learned”). There are two parties involved to coming to Jesus, not just one.

Since there are two parties involved in the process of salvation, the idea that ‘God will not unchoose me because He chose me in the first place without me having had any choice in the matter’, is baseless. And so too is every conclusion derived from this doctrine - such as ‘I cannot lose my salvation’.

Related image But what about Romans 9 where Paul makes it clear that God chooses whom He wants - either for glorification or for destruction? My view on the passage is this:

The key to this passage - a favourite of Predestination treachers - is not in what it says, but in what it does not say. It does not say that His wrath is forever on the Pharoh and it does not expressly say that the destruction spoken about is in the eternal sense (the Greek word apōleia may be otherwise interpreted).

All this doctrine does is create a false sense of comfort, or a sense of passivity towards the things of God. Indeed, one may be saved for now. But if you do not find yourself serving Jesus on the back of you having been created anew, well, then you are not being saved, meaning, you are not in the process of growing closer to His character. What that means is that you open yourself up to falling into sin and eventually denying the Lord, whether by actions, by lack of actions or by words: But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:33). Paul makes it clear that despite being Christians alraedy, we are still in the process of "being saved": For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). If you are not being saved at this point in time you are in danger.

And that should be of tremendous concern to you. Note, I’m most definitely NOT saying you can or should work your way to heaven as the means to becoming righteous. I am also not propagating the law of Moses. But I am saying that those who love Jesus, hear His word and does what He says. Period. Such doing overcomes the world (read worldliness in us) and it produces fruit acceptable to the Father.

Allow me to end with these words.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Does Jesus produce good works? Yes. Does Jesus' disciples produce good works as well? Absolutely. In the end, it should be quite clear that only faith justifies a person, and only faithfulness keeps a person in the process of salvation.

No evidence = No faith.

No faith = No salvation.

Saved, but not serving? I don't think so.

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (Jesus)

Footnotes:

[1] The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1) [back]

[2] I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. (John 10:9-12) [back]

[3] “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33) [back]

[4] 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in 1a) of the thing believed 1a1) to credit, have confidence 1b) in a moral or religious reference 1b1) used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul 1b2) to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith 1bc) mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith 2) to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity 2a) to be intrusted with a thing || from 4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):-believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with. see GREEK for 4102 [back]

[5] that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:15-18) [back]

[6] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-5), This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (John 6:39), For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30) [back]

[7] But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. (John 5:38-40)
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[8] 1) to will, have in mind, intend 1a) to be resolved or determined, to purpose 1b) to desire, to wish 1c) to love 1c1) to like to do a thing, be fond of doing 1d) to take delight in, have pleasure Synonym : See Definition 5915 apparently strengthened from the alternate form of 138; to determine (as an active option from subjective impulse; whereas 1014 properly denotes rather a passive acquiescence in objective considerations), i.e. choose or prefer (literally or figuratively); by implication, to wish, i.e. be inclined to (sometimes adverbially, gladly); impersonally for the future tense, to be about to; by Hebraism, to delight in:-desire, be disposed (forward), intend, list, love, mean, please, have rather, (be) will (have, -ling, - ling(-ly)). see GREEK for 138 see GREEK for 1014 [back]

[9] In Catholicism, justification is granted by God via the act (ex opere operato) of baptism firstly,by which the subject is formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis),instead of appropriated plainly by a living faith as under sola fide, and normally from the sacrament of reconciliation after if a mortal sin is committed. (Wikipedia) [back]

[10] But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6) [back]

[11] First repent and then believe. [back]

[12] 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-18) If you call yourself a man or wona of God, needing to be equipped, then all Scripture is meant for you. The idea that the term "Scripture" referred to the Old Testament only, is laughable because the very salvation which Christians rely on is based on the New Testament, inclusive of the collective message communicated through all writings contained in it. You cannot eliminate certain passages or books from the Bible because it does not suit your particular doctrine. That's heresy. [back]

[13] It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named[a] among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) [back]

[14] 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven Synonym : See Definition 5897. from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):-assembly, church. see GREEK for 1537 see GREEK for 2564 [back]

[15] 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:6-7) [back]

[16] “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:1-8) [back]

[17] For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14) [back]

[18] They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16) [back]

[19] And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29) [back]

[20] The Greek word ekklēsia, literally "called out" or "called forth" and commonly used to indicate a group of individuals called to gather for some function, in particular an assembly of the citizens of a city, as in Acts 19:32-41, is the New Testament term referring to the Christian Church (either a particular local group or the whole body of the faithful). (Wikipedia) [back]

[21] 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. (John 6:43-26) [back]

[22] Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) [back]

[23] who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4) [back]

[24] “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans[a] write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[b] I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”(Revelations 3:14-22) [back]

[25] But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11) [back]

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Time spent reading the Bible and meditating on it is likely better time spent than reading any other thing, including this website.

If you do read what is written here, please consult the Bible and test what is written. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not from God.

Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

 

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