Friday, August 3, 2007

Eternal Salvation Response

(This response was sent to a young woman on the other day. She had recently left the COGIC church, but still had some old beliefs. Specifically, she held to the notion that one could lose the grace of God (salvation) after one had recieved it. I wanted to encourage her so I wrote this response. Hopefully it will cause you to think as well!)

I used to believe that you could lose your salvation once you had gained it. But as I have studied Scripture more and more, there was an undeniable proof that I was wrong.

1) Matt 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand.

You see, Christ gives HIS sheep eternal life. Then HE makes the statement, no man can pluck them out of my Father's hand. If we belong to Christ, if we belong to the Father, then we can fully believe Rom 8:39 ...Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. You see that, nothing can separate us from Him. Moreover, all of Chapter 8 deals with the election and perseverance of the saints.

2.) 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

Understand, just because someone sincerely claims to be a Christian, just because someone pastored a church, was a missionary in Africa or just showed up to church when the doors were open doesn't mean that they are HIS. It can be best illustrated in the "Parable of the Sower". I won't recite the whole story, but suffice it to point out this portion:

Matt. 4:16-17
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

You see there are many individuals who will hear the WORD, will show some joy over it, but after time they will fall away (at some point- could be days, months, or even years). These have not truly believed. That is why John says that, "they went out from us, to show they were not of us." That is not referring to leaving a certain church body or area, but rather the true faith. There is a professing atheist by the name of Dan Barker who is a perfect example. He said he was saved at 15 started ministering after that, got ordained became an Asst. Pastor and worked alongside others who claimed the Gospel. Then he fell away because he wanted to believe the lie of evolution instead of the true gospel. He would tell you he was truly saved, but John clearly says different.

As far as Paul's statement about keeping himself*, if you look in 1 John 2:5 you will see why he (Paul) can make that statement. "But whoso keepeth his word (God's), in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." What "word" would Paul be keeping? The "Words" of God of course. He would keep the commandments not out of necessity of fulfilling Moses' Law, but in honor to Christ. He would keep his body in subjection as a matter of God's glory, to not do so would mean he had known the grace of God but rejected it. It also points to the fact that we must be Holy as God is Holy. We are to be separated from the sins of this world. No true Christian will take the grace of God and abuse it for the sake of sinning. Those who do were never God's to begin with. Also, Paul said "follow me as I follow Christ.." For Paul to follow Christ he would have to "lay aside every sin and weight that would take him off course! We have liberty in Christ, but we are behooved to never try to take advantage of it.

*(1 Cr 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.)

God and the Hottie of R&B

(I know this news is old, but I came across it recently. I post it with my remarks because I want people to understand the difference between what she said at that time and to what the Gospel speaks of. I don't know if she has recanted what she said. I can only pray that she has and has repented before the Lord. Sometimes out of ignorance people say what they actually believe is true. For Ms. Blige, I fully believe it has to do with the faulty "Name and Claim IT/ Prosperity Gospels" rampant among many churches nowadays. Regardless, she has a Bible and if she studied it enough, she would have a problem with what she was thinking.)

'God wants Blige to wear bling'- Mary J. Blige says she has found religion, but she makes no apologies for her earthly materialism. In fact, she says God has willed her to wear bling.
“My God is a God who wants me to have things,” the singer tells May’s Blender magazine. “He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that’.”

Since when did Christ’s death, burial and resurrection mean that the gift of God was a blessing for us to have “things?” This is one of the biggest problems with the church in general today. Christ did not die for us to have “stuff.” He did not die to give us a home, two cars in the garage and perfect health. He did not die for women to get tummy tucks so that they could find a man or vice versa. Yet this young lady has falsely believed that God cares about her having the latest “it-things.” Is it wrong if we have stuff? No. But the purpose of God was not so that we could be rich in order to consume it upon our lusts. Yet as the scriptures say, “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouths speak great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage Jude 1:16.” [Side note* read the whole the chapter] Undoubtedly, people will look up to her and agree, setting themselves up for spiritual failure.

Ms. Blige wants to look good and have all that stuff because she wants to be “MISS IT”! Her desire is to be the center of attention. She has created an idol of her own believing that her god wants her to be popular. True servants of Christ don’t want to be glorified; they want to give glory- to God! When John the Baptist did his work, he stated, “I must decrease so that He might increase!” Paul stated in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Nowhere in scripture are we told that God wants any of us to be the hottest thing on the planet (this year or any other). If some of the most honorable men in the Bible did not look to earthly riches for their joy, why should we?

Christ’s sacrificial death goes farther than even our own desires dictate. As stated earlier, Christ’s death was not so that we could be empowered by the things in this world. In fact, scripture clearly shows (and life even testifies) that the things in this world are temporal. Even natural science agrees. Things in this world are short lived and must come to an end. Even the nicest toys will break one day. And they always do. They, unlike our Lord can never stand the test of time!

So what does Christ’s death provide? What are we “saved” from? We are saved from God himself. With all the hoopla today about how “special” we are, few Christians understand how disgusting we actually are to God. In our sinful state, we are mortal enemies of the Most High. James 4:4, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world IS the ENEMY of God” and again in Romans 5:10, “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 there it is. Christ’s death on the cross provides salvation from the wrath of God (upon His enemies) that will inevitably come. Remember, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. We are all going to die and we will all stand before Him in judgment, regardless of our possessions.

Mary J. Blige believes that God has told her He wants her to be the “hottest” thing out there. But according to scripture, she is wrong. The scriptures say that “he that is to be the greatest must be the servant of all.” She has not properly studied the Word of God and it is evident by her remarks. She says that God wants her to have “bling,” but the Scriptures say that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. Unfortunately her doctrine is false and people who believe like she does jeopardizes the possibility of their faith. Even worse is the image of the gospel she is presenting. How many people will believe what she says and take it to heart?

Lastly, I bring up this story of Ms Blige because it immediately had me think of another one. A young man in Pakistan was found out to be a Christian. The Muslims took him, beat him down and molested him. When the police (who were Muslim) found out, they did nothing to arrest the men who committed the crime. When the boy was taken to the hospital he was refused treatment and medication (the doctors were Muslim). With little work and no money, the family presses on in Christ. The boy has suffered for being a Christian and continues to suffer because he is a Christian with no money. This stands in stark contrast to Mary J. Blige believing that God wants her to be the “hottest” and that her god wants her to “bling.” But I say this, the scriptures have only one interpretation, either we are to glorify God in denying ourselves or God saves us to look good. You decide.

Unity At What Cost?

While it is true today that many individuals in all sorts of religions are clamoring for a unified stance, the position has been taken up by many in the Evangelical circle. However, is unity what Christ called us as Christians to engage in? While it is certain that the body of Christ must be unified in order to move in the work of God (to operate as an actual “body” does), at what point does an organization, an individual church body, and a member in particular take grasp of what is before them and compare it to scripture?

If God has spoken to us these last days through His Son (Heb 1:2) and if John 1:1 (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…) and 14 (and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…) are correct (and we know they are) then it is safe for us to fully believe elsewhere in the Scriptures that Christ fully stated that He “came not to bring peace, but the sword” Matt 10:35. Let us also look at this text, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

In other words, since the Word of God is profitable for all instruction and reproof, then we can simply deduce that when Christ spoke of not bringing peace, but a sword He was letting us know of the division to come. In fact, the next verse states that children will rise against parents and mother in law vs. daughter in law. The truth is, there is and will be little unity with those that are against what Christ is doing from those who desire see His will completed according to the scriptures. Furthermore, scriptures state that two cannot walk together unless they agree. How can we walk as Christians with those who say that the essentials are not to be worried or fussed over? Can a law-abiding officer of the peace walk alongside a known and recently reported child molester? Can he do so knowing full and well that when he leaves it will be to the demise of another child? No, he would arrest that person to keep him from doing harm to another individual. Likewise, can we as Christians have unity for the sake of unity with those who would denigrate the truth of God as a lie?

Christians Around the World!