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The Battlefield is in your mind: You choose sides by what you think about - Part 4 Created 13 March 2014

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We're still looking at how things may affect, influence or determine your thinking, and whether or not that is a good thing in terms of spiritual life.

Collectively, in Christian circles, all of these are simply called "sin".

We know that New Testament believers (Christians) are held subject to NO law except "the law of liberty"[1] in which God leads and guides them to do His work. These are the ones who have repented and have been saved through faith which is by His sovereign grace alone. Yet, the fact that there is no "law" does not mean that Christians do not sin. For these, simply, sin is disobedience to God's Word and His way. It is disregarding the things He places on our hearts to be doing on His behalf.

Now, consider the similarities between 'sinfulness' and 'fruitlessness'. Neither are acceptable: Jesus did not curse the fig tree because it was sinful, but because it was fruitless. The man with the one talent was not punished because he sinned but because he showed no increase from what he was entrusted with. Jesus said that the Father will cut off from the Vine and burn those branches which did not deliver (enough) godly fruit. So, whilst sinfulness is not the same as fruitlessness, neither are acceptable in the presence of God. In fact, it very much appears as if sinfulness and fruitlessness are treated in exactly the same way by God. I can only speculate that fruitlessness in a way equates to faithlessness because a person of genuine faith will reflect such faith in the things he does and does not do[2]. Thus, the faithless will be fruitless. And the faithFULL will be FULL OF FRUIT.

What does this mean considering the "Once saved, always saved" doctrine? See my answer in Footnote [3].

Okay, so let's agree that bearing godly fruit is a big deal. Now here's a question regarding your and my past time activities or hobbies: are they contributing to or detracting from delivering godly fruit? In practical terms, does the 5 hours I spend on cycling with friends every week contribute to or detract from me delivering godly fruit? The answer, I guess, lies in whether or not my cycling brings me and/or another closer to God's sovereign way every time I do it? In other words, is there godly fruit from my cycling, or am I fooling myself, like my Buddhist friend and Francis of Assisi alike, by thinking that my good behaviour alone or sense of morality is preaching the gospel, which it is not?

Note, there is no in-between option in terms of faith. There is no 'taking a break from your faith' when out and about cycling. You are either all-the-way-in, or you are all-the-way-out. It's not anything you or I have the option of taking in 'bite-size chunks' or the choice of 'opting out for a while'. Thinking so is just fooling yourself. So, cycling that produces godly fruit is a good thing. Cycling that does not produce godly fruit is not.

Considering the similarities between sin and not bearing godly fruit then, how about attending a rock concert or watching Rocky, the movie? Neither may be sinful. Still, neither are likely to increase within you or me that character that is in line with God's character, or doing His will. Thus, neither of these are producing within me any godly fruit.

How about playing soccer or attending the opera? Answer: Do they create within you to a greater extent of the character that is in line with God's character, or not? If the answer is no, then they're not actually producing any godly fruit. Thus, they're really more of a distraction than any thing else. They are wasting time which you and I, in reality, do not have to waste. They leave you with the impression that there's nothing wrong or sinful about it but (conveniently) fail to consider that by virtue of them not producing any godly fruit they're putting your fruitfulness at undue risk nevertheless. Thus, they're there to steal the fruit that was meant to honour God. Can that ever equate to anything good? I don't think so.

This is the problem with entertainment in general - movies, music, plays, games, sports, reality TV shows, concerts, video games and the like; it is not that they are outright sinful but that they may very well keep you and me from producing godly fruit. In driving terms, what that means is that they don't get you going backwards in reverse, but they get you idling in neutral while thinking 'at least I'm not going backwards, so I'm okay'. Take note that while you're not going backwards, you're not going forward at all. God is looking for you and me to be going forward all the time. Thus, you may very well not be producing godly fruit as a result of these activities. You may not be converting your one talent into two. You may very well being fruitless. You may very well being faithless. You may very well be in danger of being cut off from the Vine.

And that, I do not believe, is an over-statement.

Think about this scenario: You've been advised that you have one year to live. What will you spend your time on? The answer to your question likely will tell you what you consider most important in terms of your character and how it relates to eternal life. Now, if, perhaps, you will not be spending it on all kinds of entertainment and frivolty, why would you assume that it is okay to be spending time on such activities now? You have no idea how much time you have left, have you? Neither have I.

So, consider again whether or not there's "anything wrong" with mindlessly watching TV sit-coms, or attending rock concerts, or watching popular secular movies, or surfing the 'net, or Play Station or X-Box, or any other thing that keeps you from 'going forward' in your calling. Do not consider it in the context of sin, but in the context of fruitfulness. Remember, neither reverse gear nor neutral get you going anywhere fast! They are your enemies in terms of bearing godly fruit.

Thus, if it is true - as I believe it is - that that which is not godly is ungodly, then I suppose most of us will have to have a re-look at what investments from an eternal perspective we are making, or not making. What fruit is evident from our faith? And what is keeping us from delivering what God is looking for on our tree?

Then we may know what Jesus said to the interested: bear fruits worthy of repentance (Mat 3:8)

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Footnotes

[1] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Rom 3:27). See also James 1:25. [back]

[2] But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (Jas 1:22-25) [back]

[3] Once saved, always saved? Let there be no doubt that God can do all things (Job 42:2). And, let there be no doubt that non-one can snatch you out of His hand (provided you were in His hand in the first place) (Rom 8:38-39). Thus, no-one can be forced out of their eternal salvation. In that sense, no-one can lose their salvation. But if a believer who once chose God - by their own determination - chose to reject Christ, then they will have their desire fulfilled. In other words, whilst no-one can snatch a person out of God's hand the person may decide to jump out of His hand and be lost! Perhaps you have heard someone say this, "If I cannot do good works to get saved, then how can I do bad works to be unsaved?" The statementv reflects a poor understanding of what it means to be born again and is taught from a 'first believe, then repent' point of view, which is wrong (Mark 1:15). The idea that this ('first believe, then repent') was the God-ordained order for salvation before Jesus died but not after, is refuted by Heb 6:1-4 where the 'foundations of the Christian faith' are laid out chronologically. In it, repentance precedes faith towards salvation. The realisation that Jesus is the Saviour equates to mere mental ascent and not faith towards salvation. Further in the same chapter (Hebrews 6) the Bible goes on to explain in very clear terms (not according to human logic or deduction) that if a person has been born again ("tasted the heavenly gift") and choose to deny Christ - like Adam, the first time round - their (regenerated) spirit will die immediately for which there is no further regeneration (Heb 6:4-5). Thus, no further option to be born again, again. Therefore, indeed, a person may lose their salvation, if they chose to. In addition hereto, we know that the unforgiven will not enter heaven. So, those - whomever they may be (saved or not saved) who will have committed the unpardonable sin will not be able to enter, but will be subject to eternal condemnation: Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation (Mark 3:28-29) [back]

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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptual. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

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