Just. Preach. The Gospel…

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Timothy 4:1-6

“The Time of my departure is at hand…” Isn’t that true of all of us? We are drawing very near the time of the second coming of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. A good many of us are in the winter of our life. I know my time is running out. We only have so many days, hours, opportunities, in which to offer ourselves and the gifts God has given us to serve him with. Moses said “Teach us to number our days…”.

Consider the simplest and greatest gift of all, the Gospel … did we give the gospel to others around us? Do you remember how beautiful and profound was the news given to you, that you could be forgiven of your sins, and have a share in the Kingdom of Jesus?

We will all soon be summonsed up before the Bema seat to give a full account of our lives. What did we do with the talents and gifts God gave us? Did we exchange them in the great spiritual marketplace, the world?

I have spent too much time lately in strife and conflict , and have too often fallen into the trap of being put on the defensive, and being tempted to go on the offensive as well. Why? What a waste of time! The LORD knows who is who and what is what. God can vindicate us or if it pleases , He can condemn us. As Paul teaches u,

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. ( I Corinthians 4:3-5)

I realize there were and are important issues at stake, such as correct doctrine, integrity in ministry, the defense of the gospel, the nurture and care of the church. I will always be committed to those issues, as I believe it to be my calling. I believe the fruit of the Spirit is also a huge issue.

But we do not want to waste time defending ourselves or our name when it is maligned, nor should we wish to attack those who have sought to discredit us or the church .

How about remembering what it is all about and all of us just committing to preach the gospel?

There are so many hurting and broken people all around this decaying and dying world we live in. We constantly see the sexually confused, those who struggle with demons and despair, the fearful and those twisted and crushed by their sins.

When was the last time we told anyone that Jesus loves them? That Jesus died for their sins and that if they were the only one on earth ,He would have come and died for them? When was the last time we told someone to get back up from a fall and press on in Jesus, and that we would stand with them in prayer?

A lot of people in our part of the body of Messiah put much stock in knowledge, for we have been exposed to deep teachings in a day of shallow pablum and even worse in the name of Christian teaching. I also believe that the knowledge of God is vital and of utmost importance .

But what about Love? Where is the love? I have seen people on every side of several issues, who can lie about or misrepresent their brothers or sisters without batting an eye. In many cases, they know the Greek or Hebrew in a lot of verses or prayers, but prove to be cruel and presumptuous, argumentative and combative on social media.

It is easy for any of us to lose our first love. It’s so easy to forget the gentleness and forbearance of Christ, His grace, mercy, and patience when we were still lost, and seemingly hopeless. We stand against Heretics, hypocrites, false Apostles, false prophets, etc etc and etc. .

What about people? Do we remember that Jesus came and died for the people who were and are lost? Let us resolve to dedicate ourselves to sharing the gospel, in any way we can. In simplicity, even if it means giving a tract to someone, or on the internet, or even in church! (Churches need to be evangelized because many have been brought in without salvation or repentance, and do not realize it).

Loving and serving people can be evangelism, praying for them is an awesome witness, so can street witnessing, or publishing on line, or discipling people, or reaching to the one few others even notice. Standing with someone through some ordeal, praying for release from addiction, or disordered sexual desires, or constantly teaching the simple things of the gospel such as justification by faith, Grace, the cross.

We have to get back to preaching the gospel, sharing Christ, and loving people in Jesus name.

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To The Moriel Board…

This is a response to Jacob’s plea for “closure” on the Bill Randles issue. I too would like closure but feel that I should respond to a few items.

* Jacob , it was only a few weeks ago that you brought your Metatron teaching to Devore. You may indeed be trying to communicate that the ideas about a godhead, and a Trinity do not originate with Christians, but within Judaism. I get that. You did indeed say that the Kabbalah is an occult book, but then in your teaching you state that Jacob (the Patriarch) wrestled with the Metatron!

* I did not need to articulate the reason why you verbally abused, mocked and ridiculed the Menelaws. Everyone knows that it was in the midst of the debate with David Nathan. Jacob, why do we have to drag everyone thru the same slough over and over again? I actually stood with you against the errors of David Nathan and still maintain that the issues were never properly dealt with. I myself said that the Menelaws gave a “softball” interview to DN, in my public letter

But there is no reason to rail so harshly on others, it was embarrassing and that is why I chose to identify them as friends. I do not hate them, Dave Nathan, not even tbckawaii, Treena, or any of the other very abusive railers in this fiasco. I certainly do not hate you either Jacob, I am very sad that all of this has happened, and still hope for some kind of way we can glorify God in this mess.

* Craig White is not a pastor, leader, teacher, itinerant evangelist… none of the above. Craig is a simple Christian man, who has tried to educate himself on the subject of prophecy, and then has taken what he has to try and share his findings. He has some insights, and yes He has said some heretical things. The fact that I had him at my conference four years ago, says nothing about whether or not I am a promoter of heretics or heresy as you have accused me.

I did fail to vet him thoroughly, but rather than fire up the heresy witch-hunt machine, I have chosen to try to dialogue with him and to reach him. He shouldn’t have said that sometimes the expression “Son of Man” refers to the Anti-Christ. As soon as Scott pointed it out to me, I took it off of our website. I thought we had removed it from You Tube but have had trouble doing so.

* Peter Danzey- You told me, in your confidential letter to Petia, which you encouraged her to share, “As widely as possible” , that you had evidence that Peter teaches that the two witnesses are the Father and the Spirit and that thy have to die on the cross before our salvation could be completed. You had “evidence for every syllable!You were going to send me the teachings Peter had been doing. Remember?

Your 38 pages of back and forth with Peter which contained Discussions from four years ago, (we all agreed that Peter had a wrong notion four years ago), , and the recording of a teaching Peter did in April on Genesis 18, in which he believes that the Trinity appeared to Abraham and Sarah out side of their tent…felt like bait and switch

I would have denounced Peter if you had proven him to be teaching any of the erroneous and outrageous things he was said to have taught, but I got nothing from you, that I didn’t already know. Last Time I checked, it isn’t a sin to think that the Trinity were the three who visited Abraham and Sarah in their tent. I do not personally believe it, but that is a far cry from saying the Father and Spirit have to be crucified for our sins.

* I have a teaching on Revelation 12 Jacob, it’s called “the Woman clothed with the Sun” and I do not know what you are talking about trying to associate me with Robert Breaker and his views on Astronomy or whatever. It is sad for you to go there, as my views on that subject are orthodox and well established in public.

* Jacob, I hope you do get closure. Believe me when I say this has been a painful experience for me as well, and for a lot of people who have looked for sound doctrine and some kind of an example from all of us. I still care about you, and certainly do not wish you anything but a blessing. It is very hard to take the fact that you referred to me more than once as “Judas”, and even in a public teaching, But Jesus has forgiven me so much, who would I be to ever withhold forgiveness from you?

One final thought, Jacob. I am blessed to remain as Pastor of a small, but vibrant, loving, spirit filled church. I do not deserve it, but I get to be what God called me to be, long before we met, and I am so grateful for that. I love the people who left for various reasons, they were and are fine people, Christians, but none of them has ever told me that they left because of doctrine. I have no doubt they are enriching churches all over Cedar Rapids and that makes me very happy. Shalom.

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God Never Denies himself…OSAS pt 6

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny him, he also will deny us, If we believe not, yet He remains faithful; He cannot deny himself…” ( 2 Timothy 2:12-13)

This passage in second Timothy was given to strengthen Paul’s “son in the faith” to endure hardship, and to press on in his ministry through all opposition. These are arguments for endurance, because Paul knew that Timothy was an earnest but timid person.

The admonition above comes in the midst of other strong exhortations; Timothy was to remember that he is like a soldier in a war, or an athlete seeking to master his own flesh, or a farmer waiting and working for the Harvest. He is also to keep in mind that Jesus Christ, the seed of David, was raised from the dead, and that Paul himself has been falsely accused and imprisoned, for the sake of the Word.

The Portion of scripture chosen above, is written in a poetic prose, some believe it to be a verse from one of the hymns sang in worship by the earliest Christians, as Phillipians 2:5-10 and I Timothy 3. in the hymn about the ” mystery of godliness”.

” If we be dead with Him… We shall live with Him

If we suffer…we shall also reign with Him

If we deny Him…He will also deny us

If we are faithless, He remains faithful…

He cannot deny Himself…

This early Christian hymn may have been inspired in part by the Words of Jesus in Matthew 10: 32-33 “Whosoever therefore will confess me befoe men, I will confess Him before my Father which is in heaven and whosever will deny me before men, Him will I deny before my Father in Heaven…” .

There is a way of interpretation of this admonition which can serve to give false comfort to those who do not want to endure in faith in Jesus, but who still would like to indulge the concept of “Once saved always saved”.

Some teachers say that when the verse says, “If we are Faithless, God remains faithful…” that it refers to God being faithful to you and I, even when we abandon faith in Him! They teach it as though no matter whether you remain in faith or not, God will remain faithful to you, and will not let you perish, even if you abandon faith in Him altogether.

This is a dangerous presumption, and contrary to the rest of Scripture. It goes against what we know of God, and even against the rest of the text.

The emphasis of the verse, is “God remaining faithful to himself…” due to his inability to deny himself. Let me explain this simple theological concept.

God , being God, can never contradict his Holy nature. There will never be a time when God stops being perfect Love, Perfect holiness, Perfectly true, unchanging, Righteous, the Father, the Judge, the Lawgiver, etc. Nether do we worship a God who has “Parts”. All of God’s perfections are perfectly united, and indivisible, He will not throw out holiness for love, for example.

God is not “part this or part that” He is absolute in all of his attributes.

It is to himself, that He remains faithful.

The only Righteous thing we fallen sinners can do in this earth is to believe in Him, and in the one He sent. Faith is Righteousness. There is no agreement from God for those who do not remain in faith and who apostasize. He does remain faithful….to Himself.

The rest of the song proclaims, “If we deny him, He will deny us…”. How could the song be interpreted in a way that accomodates both notions?

1) Even if we apostasize, He will be faithful and save us…

2) If we deny Him, he will deny us… ?

This is a song which the Holy Spirit preserved to encourage us to perservere in faith, no matter the hardship, to keep on believing. It could not possibly be offering some kind of encouragement to those who have given up on a faith they once had, but abandoned.

God is faithful, He keeps his promises, and will not abandon us when we go through hard times. He is also mindful of how weak we are, and remembers that “we are but dust”,. Furthermore God is good. He went to great lengths to save us and will not just let us go.

But it is a dangerous presumption to teach from this passage some kind of unconditional security, which covers for us even if we abandon God altogether. God is faithful to save and to judge, his faithfulness goes both ways. Too many people are willing to see in scripture only what they want to see, and only what buttresses their favorite doctrine, rather than facing scripture as it truly is.

I want to be clear that I do not believe this verse is referring to those periods of weak or faltering faith that every Christian experiences. This is not what he is refering to when he say,”If we are faithless…”. All Christians have had times of serious trial, eclipses of truth (momentary) , times of faltering and wavering faith in our journey. faith goes against the grain of what we all once were and the way we once thought, so it is difficult and God understands this. God is definitely faithful to the weary and heavy laden. The weak, and faltering sheep, he will not throw away.

The Faithlessness he refers to in this hymn, is settled and established unbelief, it is apostasy, the repudiation of a former faith once held.

God will not uphold unbelief, he cannot, his own nature is against it, and He will never deny himself. It is a sin to not believe in and trust God. God’s holiness and Righteousness is what He will be faithful to, for God is God centered. he loves his righteousness above all, and rightfully so.

…the Righteous LORD loves Righteousness” Psalm 11

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Believing Is The Only Requirement For Salvation…against OSAS pt 5

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” ( John 6;28-29)

Salvation cannot be obtained by our personal merit. Thank God , because there is not one of us who could ever merit salvation. We cannot earn it, nor can we who have received the gift, ever lose it due to lack of merit. The scriptures make it obvious, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight…”.

None of us can earn our salvation, nor can we in anywise put God in debt to us, all that He gives is freely given, it is grace. Salvation is Grace, undeserved favor.

If we couldn’t do anything to earn it, neither can we forfeit it by what we do. I do not believe that there is any particular sin that a believer can do which would cost him his salvation.

I cannot emphasize these blessed and simple truths enough, because those of us who set out the case against ‘unconditional assurance’ , (ie Once Saved Always Saved) are always accused of preaching ” good works”, or works based salvation.

Thank God for scriptures like Ephesians 2:8-10,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ( Ephesians 2:8-10)

There is nothing I could ever do to earn my salvation, nor to lose it, nor to add to it or take away from it, thank God. Therefore there is nothing I can personally boast in, all of the glory for my salvation goes to Jesus, who, “…has Loved us and bought us from our sins with his own blood”.(Revelation 1:5)

Salvation is not unconditional however. There is one, and only one condition, and that is that we must believe. “He that believes…shall have eternal life”. “This is the Work, that you believe on Him whom the Father has sent”.

Over and over again, we are told by the Apostles that we must believe to be saved. All the Father requires is belief, steadfast, loyal faith. He knows we are weak, unsteady, liable to sin, fall and defect, yet all he requires is belief.

Is the requirement to believe, in the bible a “one time” experience, or is belief seen as an ongoing loyalty which sustaines to the very end, (the goal) of Salvation ?

Popular Bible teacher Charles Stanley presents a very common misconception about saving Faith when He assures people,

Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy.” (Stanley Charles, Eternal Security- Can You Be sure? Thomas Nelson pg 93)

The Apostles never taught anything like that. Instead they taught believers to “Hold fast the profession of their hope … to the end…”

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. ( Hebrews 3:6)

The danger to the soul, according to the teaching of Hebrews , is ‘unbelief’. The example from the Old Testament was the incident with the 12 spies. All of Israel heard the gospel of the land flowing with milk and honey. All of them rejoiced, until they came to Kadesh Barnea, where they saw the Giants.

From then on, only two out of that entire whole truly believed! The rest fell short of entering into God’s rest, because they cast aside their confidence, in unbelief.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; ( Hebrews 3:14)

What does this say about people now, who once believed passionately in Christ and the gospel, but who no longer “hold fast”? I know people who set out believing in Christ, but who no longer maintain faith. Are they still saved? As we pointed out in the last message, “whoever goes on believing shall be saved…” , not whoever ever believed at one time!

Saving Faith is not mere mental assent to a set of propositions. It is an ongoing commitment of a loyalty to a Revelation from God, much like the vows at a wedding. it is “faithfulness”, a response to what God has done and revealed. Jesus called it “abiding in the vine” in John 15.

Neither Jesus or the Apostles ever held forth anything similar to Charles Stanley’s proposition that one can be saved on a temporary belief, which one eventually defects from. Believers “go on believing” whatever it takes. If that belief calls for self renunciation, so be it. When the belief requires personal repentance, true believers repent. None of those things are “works” they are simply elements of the one and only condition God has set on salvation, Faith.

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Whoever Goes On Believing, Goes on having Eternal Life…

This is an excerpt from my book, “Born From Above: a commentary on John 3″- available at

The third chapter of John allows us to overhear a conversation between Nicodemus, the chief rabbi of Israel, and Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was not trained in the rec- ognized rabbinic schools, but He was approved of God by signs and wonders as well as by the irrefutable doctrine He taught. Nicodemus came to Him, and spoke for other leading rabbis when he acknowledged that Jesus had come from God.

The topic? The New Birth, as the entry into the long-awaited Kingdom of God. Here at this point in the discussion, at John 3:16, Jesus is teaching Nicodemus, (and us) how it is that God could righteously give we sinners a new birth.

God so loved the world that He gave His monogenes. His only unique Son, as a sin offering. God made a righteous way to grant new life to unrighteous men and women, Jesus paid the price for us.

John 3:16 is a much beloved verse of the Bible, perhaps the single most translated prose ever written. But its very familiarity sometimes has the effect on people that they assume that they already know it. But the Bible is alive and there is always more light, and helpful enrichment in every verse of scripture.

For example, consider the phrase “whosoever believes in Him”. As in the story of the brass serpent lifted up on the pole, anyone who looks up in faith to the “only begotten Son” hanging on the tree will not perish but have everlasting life, (be born again).

Salvation is not just for a particular group, but Jesus died for all. Anyone who hears the gospel and looks believingly unto Jesus shall receive the gift of the new birth, which is also called eternal life.

David Pawson, the man I mentioned earlier who wrote an insightful book about John 3:164 makes the point that the word believes is in the present continu- ous tense. The Greek language has more tenses than the English language. (I am no Greek scholar, mind you, but I can read the work of others).

The present continuous tense doesn’t often translate into the English, because we don’t have one. For example, in Jesus’ teaching on prayer, Luke 11:9-10 quotes Him as saying:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seekand ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

Those verbs are also in the present continuous tense, they literally say, “Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on finding, knock and keep on knocking, for everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives . . .” Knowing the Greek tense clears up a lot of misunderstandings in scripture. Another example is from 1 John 2:15, which says,

Love not the World nor the things of the world, if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him . . .”

Because the word love (agape) is in the present continuous tense, it could just as easily read, “Don’t go on loving the world, nor go on loving the things of the world . . .”

Going back to our
text in John 3:16, we see that the word believes, is also in the present continuous tense. It could just as well be understood to say,

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever goes on believing in Him, might not perish but have everlasting life.

So also the Word ‘Have’ is in the same tense. “…shall go on having eternal life”.

Interestingly, Pawson points out that the love God loved the world with, is in the aorist tense, which means that He did it once–For God (once) thus loved the world.

When did God love the world? When Jesus died on the cross. The act of God in love for this fallen rebellious world is a once and for all event, it will never be repeated, nor would it ever have to. God loved the world once, and for all time, in the offering of the cross.

God doesn’t have a broad and ongoing relationship with the world, approving of this good aspect, but disapproving of that bad one, yet ever hoping for improve- ment.

The Holy God has announced that as of the cross, the world is under judgment, the sentence is passed and His attitude towards it is utterly unrelenting, the world is doomed.

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:31-32)

But “once” and with perfect and ongoing effect, God loved the world . . . by giving sinful men a way out of their dilemma, through the cross of Jesus.

Back to the text again, Pawson pointed out that the word believes is present continuous tense. We are to go on believing in Jesus that we might ever have “eternal life”.

There are many who are so confused about this that they claim that a person could so backslide that they renounce Jesus entirely and die in their sins, but they suppose that they will be allowed into heaven, because at one point, somewhere along the line, they “believed in Jesus unto salvation”.

This false doctrine flies in the face of much of scripture however, for example;

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. (Colossians 1:21-23)

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

True, all that Jesus requires of those of us who come to Him for salvation, is that we believe in Him, remaining in faith in His work on the cross and as our High Priest.

But faith isn’t static, it is an ongoing dependency, an abiding in Jesus, a constant feeding on His finished work, His person, eating and drinking His words. This is the only true personal relationship with God.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:1-4)

4 David Pawson, Is John 3:16 the Gospel? Terra Nova publications.

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Continuing In Faith Is Not A Work…OSAS pt 4

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”( John 6: 28-29)

I have already received quite a bit of helpful feedback as a result of posting these articles. This is a subject that interests a lot of people ,(and rightfully so, for what could be more important than the nature of Salvation? ).

Several times in the 205 comments I received on Freerepublic.com, indicated that my position that it is possible to apostasize, to defect from Christ, is akin to preaching “works based salvation”.

Here are a few samples of the comments some very intelligent people have posted,

There is nothing you can do to be worthy apart from HIS imputed righteousness. There is no church attendance, prayer, communion, ritual, stations of the cross, etc. that will ever get you to heaven. You will either believe Him and what He declares, or you will not go to heaven.

Or this one,

IF we can lose our salvation, and must maintain it ourselves, then God’s word is not true- and can’t be relied upon- Christ maintains our salvation forever- one can not walk out of salvation- if we could, then our salvation is of works, our works, our maintenance- and Christ’s death on the cross for the redemption of sins was all in vain because it is not adequate to keep us in His family eternally, and contradicts these verses-There is nothing you can do to be worthy apart from HIS imputed righteousness. There is no church attendance, prayer, communion, ritual, stations of the cross, etc. that will ever get you to heaven. You will either believe Him and what He declares, or you will not go to heaven.

Both of these statements are true in and of themselves, and I believe them also, completely. The fallacy is that the writers assume that because I believe that one must continue in faith, and that salvation is an ongoing process, I must be preaching “works.

Here is another example of this;

I doubt that any of us here (including LDS folks, JWs, Baptists, Methodists, Catholic, ‘fundamentalist snake handlers or whatever) would disagree with the statement, “We are saved by grace. “What we argue over is:1. What it means
2. How it is accomplished!

Way too many Christian organizations preach:

1. Saved by Grace
2. Kept by ‘something’ with the bottom line being, “Yeah; the Lord saved you – but what are YOU now going to do to KEEP it? 

Notice that the assumption is that my position is still works based. In this example they grant that I am teaching that salvation is by faith in Christ, but that I am teaching works to “Keep it”.

If there is anything the New Testament is clear on, (and even the Old Testament for that matter, it is that “By the Works of the Law no flesh shall be justified”. Over and over again this truth is amplified,

“Boasting is excluded, by what law? Of Works? Nay: but by the law of faith.Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28-29)

“…If Righteousness came by the Law, Christ died in vain…” (Galatians 2:23)

Jesus dd it all, He “By himself purged our sins, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High…”(Hebrews 1:3) There is not a thing we can to to add to or take away our salvation. All we are required to do is to believe in Jesus, the one whom God has sent.

Why does God require faith? What is it about faith that pleases God?

For one thing, there is no pride or vainglory in simple faith. We have nothing to boast of as Romans 3 tells us, anyone can believe, no matter how morally or spiritually bankrupt. Faith is likened unto looking at the bronze serpent on the pole, as Jesus reminded us in John 3,

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

The rebels in the wilderness were dying of their own rebellion. God had sent venomous serpents to kill them for murmuring against God and Moses. But Moses interceded for them, and God gave them a way out. Moses was told to make a brass serpent and raise it up on a pole, and whoever would look up at it, would be healed and would not die.

Who couldn’t do something so simple? Look up at a symbol, of the death of death, raised up on high. Thats all?

Another reason I believe God chose faith as the means of Grace, is because where did the human race go wrong? In the Garden the serpent tempted us to quit believing that God is all wise, and good, and Righteous. This is the source of all of our pollution and corruption. We no longer believe and trust in God.

Faith is the way back. Not just nebulous faith, but an ongoing and abiding faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh who came to save us by dying on the cross for our sins.

Having said that, it is important to note that Faith is not Works. The only work is to believe in the One whom God sent. To put it another way, ‘abiding in Christ’ is not a work of the Law, it is an exercise of saving faith. Continuing on in the faith that we started out in, based on the gospel is not a work, it is saving faith. We are saved by faith, not of works.

What is saving faith anyway? Is it a one time mental assent? Does the fact that I once ‘truly ‘ believed in the gospel qualify as saving faith?

According to the Bible, Saving faith is our response to a revelation from God, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God…” , and is something we continue in. Scripture does not anticipate the final salvation of anyone who fails to continue in faith.

We will look into this deeper next time

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I am Saved, And I Am Being Saved… OSAS pt 3

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. ( I Corinthians 1:18-19)

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, I Will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” ( I Corinthians 1:18-19 NASV)

There are many misunderstandings about Salvation which lead to the various positions people of good will and good faith labor under, concerning this issue.

One major problem is that the very nature of salvation is vastly misunderstood. Scripture presents Salvation as a process. There is a past, present and future aspect of Salvation.

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

Paul presents the gospel here in it’s simplest form, and declares that by receiving this gospel, we stand in salvation…but then he adds a condition, “If Ye keep in memory …” that gospel. The Apostle then holds forth that it is a possibility to have believed in vain.

He does a similar thing in Collossians,

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Collosians 1:21-23)

What about these “Ifs”? Are they not conditions? “If we continue in faith…and be not moved away?… What? If not, What?

One solution to this question comes also from Paul, in the passage in I Corinthians 1 above. I am no Greek scholar and do not pretend to be, but I can read concordances and commentaries. The Greek language has a continuous participle, which would render the word “Perish” , as “are perishing”, and the Word “Saved” as “Being Saved”. We are in a continuous process in salvation from the day we commence to the Day of the LORD.

Again Paul in Romans 5;

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. ( Romans 5:9-11)

In this much loved and assuring passage, we are simultaneously told that Now (presently) we are justified, and yet “We shall be saved” (Future) … There is a past, present and future aspect to Salvation.

Instantly , when I accepted the Revelation of God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, I was saved, (Justified). I then commenced an ongoing process of (Sanctification) discipleship, which I continue in to this day, and I await the final Salvation, when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. Then my Salvation shall be complete at the resurrection of my sin riddled body.

Until then, I am Being Saved… according to the Apostle Paul.

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; ( 2 Corinthians 1: 9-10)

Next we will look at what Jesus taught us about salvation…

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