Is the gift of salvation more important to you than the God who gave it to you? Any new birth that does not lead to dedicated and selfless discipleship is a still birth.
There are those who believe that once a person gets “saved” they cannot lose “their” salvation. This is foreign to Old and New Testament theology.
The church is infested with people who say. “Jesus is my Savior” but who live their life as if they are their own Lord. This is because pulpits are infected with foolish preachers telling people all they have to do is come to the altar, repeat a prayer and invite Jesus into their heart to get saved. The Bible talks about the foolishness of preaching. This is in reference to how God has chosen to communicate His heart and message concerning His salvation that He gives as a gift to people. There is a huge difference in the foolishness of preaching and foolish preachers who create their own version of what God clearly communicates.
True salvation is activated when a person “believes in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead” and confesses with their mouth “Jesus is [my] Lord.” At the point where the person surrenders to the Lord Jesus Christ and submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ they lose all personal rights to their life.
“19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” [1 Corinthians 6]
As the saying goes, “Jesus is Lord of all or not at all!” The Bible does not teach ‘accept Jesus as your Savior by inviting Him into your heart.’
“9 [That] if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
This “confession” is not a prayer. It is a solemn declaration of surrender and submission! Prayer may play a part in the surrender and submission but the declaration of surrender is where salvation is activated. A person’s deep belief in the brutal sacrifice Christ endured that culminated in His outrageous victory over death, hell and the grave through His bodily resurrection is what the confession is based on.
Do you see the connection between a person’s heart and mouth? The mouth openly declares what the heart internally believes.
The whole “God is love” crowd that believes that the love of God gives permission for promiscuity and irresponsibility has created a false sense of security in the community of the saints.
Saint means a holy person so how can a holy person continue to live unholy lives with impunity?
“12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.”
The writer of Hebrews, who I believe to be Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, throughout his letter warns Jewish believers in Jesus not to abandon Christ by returning to Judaism. You may be thinking that going back to a different form of the worship of God [Judaism] is not the same as going back into a life of sin. If that is your train of thought consider this next text carefully.’ This is not his first warning. In fact Hebrews is full of warnings such as this one, “1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” [Chapter 2]
The gospel of salvation is as old as the sin of man. In fact, it goes back into eternity past as Jesus is the Lamb [that was] slain before the foundation of the world before there was a man who sinned.
Let’s go back to the Hebrews 3 text and look at Paul’s dire warning to ‘believers’.
- Take care, brethren – This call to take care is to ‘brethren’ which confirms Paul is talking to people he considered his brothers and sisters in Christ. Taking care means understanding by seeing the danger of deception. It also means to be mindful of your surroundings so that you can take appropriate action for your safety.
- That there not be in any one of you – Individuals affect the corporate body positively or negatively. Obviously the concern here is the infection of Christ’s Body through individual lifestyle choices that are demonic and destructive.
- An evil, unbelieving heart – What separates Christianity from Judaism is the heart. Going back into the Sermon of the Mount we see Jesus comparing what had been taught concerning outward appearances and actions to what He was teaching concerning what is going on in our heart. God sees and judges people’s heart! The Spirit confronted and convicted me some years back when He said this to me, “Your problem is you believe in a God you do not believe.” Ouch! Do you believe the God you say you believe in? We do not get to pick and choose what we believe out of all that God has said and continues to say. Jesus said to the Jews who believed Him, “31 If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8] Lasting freedom exists in continuing in His truth!
- That falls away from the living God – I asked this question in the beginning of this blog – Is the gift of salvation more important to you than the God who gives it to you? According to Paul it is absolutely possible for a Christian believer to fall away from the living God who gave them life and eternal life. Therefore, if it is possible to fall away from God is it possible to hold onto ‘your’ salvation while you are falling away from God who gave it? I think not!
- Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is called “Today” – I tell people often, “Tomorrow never comes because when the day we see as tomorrow comes it is called today.” Individual believers have the responsibility to encourage each other daily by warning them of the dangers of disconnecting from God’s heart. You don’t hear that taught in ‘today’s’ seeker sensitive church cultures. Many ‘brethren’ only receive goose bump giving encouragement. Paul does not subscribe to superficial, pseudo-spiritual seeker sensitive spin.
- So that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin – The deceitfulness of sin hardens people, Christian or not. Paul is saying here that there is a deceitfulness attached to sin and that deceitfulness is as dangerous as the actual sin. Why? Because the author of sin is the devil who lives to deceive. The devil is a liar and has been from the beginning. If your pastor [preacher] does not warn you away from the deceitfulness of sin he is an agent of the prince of darkness, and like the prince of darkness is parading around like an angel of light. Can you say, “DECEPTION”?
- For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end – The proof we had a beginning of faith in Christ [faithfulness to Christ] is we live until the end faithful to Christ. There is not one ounce of truth to the “once saved always saved” or “Jesus is my savior but I am my Lord” in the Bible. “Those who endure to the end will be saved” means the saved endure to the end. There is an old saying that is, “How we finish is more important than where we start.”
The genuine gospel is not as appealing as the counterfeit gospel to those who want to say they are Christian and not live as Christ lived. I will end with these three ‘encouraging’ texts.
1 John 2
“3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
“So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.”
“18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, wrote both of the first two clear and concise texts. It is interesting to me that John says Jesus said His Father gave Him commandments to keep. That is how Jesus is able to require His disciples to keep all of His commandments and to teach others to keep them all too. Keeping God’s commandments are for the purpose of convincing the world we love our Father. Maybe the reason we are not convincing the world is because we are resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Several key points to consider in closing – 1] We prove we abide [are] in Christ when we walk the same walk Jesus walked. We cannot claim to be in Christ living like the devil who rebelled against God. 2] Jesus commanded His disciples to move on, “let us go from here’ and then encouraged them by saying, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ 3] His being with us as we move on from where we are enables us to live the life He lived. If we do not live the life He lived we should be concerned that we probably have fallen away from Him.
Remember, God may not ever leave or forsake us but all the New Testament writers warn us not to fall away from God in their own way.
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin