Backsliding, Divine Chastisement and the Divine Agreement Part 2

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Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
September 22, 2009

Last Updated :
September 22, 2009

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

Divine Chastisement - A Token Of God's Love For His Children,
Symbolism In John Chapter 15, The Bible Is Self-Interpreting,
Our Fiery Trials, We're Purged And Purified To Make Us Better
Witnesses And Vessels For The Lord, Jesus Will Never Cast Us
Off Or Forsake Us, Are You A Faithful Fighter For The Lord?,
Fight The Good Fight Of Faith, Jesus' Personal Invitation

It is encouraging to note that in the previous verses from
the Epistle to the Hebrews, we are told that it is precisely
because God considers us His own dear children, that He finds
us worthy of His Divine Chastisement. In other words, if God
did not love us, then like some worldly parents, He would not
care what we do, and He would not even bother to chastise us.
However, because He is truly concerned about our welfare, He
will not hesitate to use the Rod of Correction when He deems
it necessary. Furthermore, we see again that the purpose of
the Lord's chastisements are that we may live, that we may
profit by them, that we may be partakers of His Holiness, and
that we may be healed. In short, God's Divine Chastisement is
truly motivated by genuine love, and not simply by temporary
wrath, as occurs with some worldly parents.

As I lay in my bed early this morning at 2:30 AM, pondering
the contents of this current article, I was reminded of the
following words of the Lord that are found in John chapter

"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 . . . If a man abide not in me, he
is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather
them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:2, 6, KJV

I will admit that for a number of years, I have been troubled
by the previous verses; because according to some Christians,
they indicate that we can lose our Salvation. They claim that
this is what Jesus means when He talks about being cast into
the fire; presumably hellfire, or the Lake of Fire. However,
this morning as I lay in bed, I gained a new understanding of
what the verses mean, which perfectly meshes with everything
we have discussed thus far.

It seems to me that the main problem with those Believers who
claim that Jesus is saying that we can lose our Salvation, is
that they are taking the verses in a very literal sense, when
that is not what Jesus may have intended whatsoever. If one
takes the time to read this chapter from the beginning, he
will see that the Lord is referring to Himself as the Vine,
and we, His followers, as branches on the Vine, which bear
fruit, probably grapes. Now obviously, in a real world sense,
Jesus is not actually a vine, anymore than we Believers are
actually branches on a vine. Neither can we bear fruit, such
as grapes, because we are not plants. Therefore, it seems to
me that the Lord is speaking in a purely symbolic sense. In
order to maintain continuity in the verses then, if the vine
is symbolic, the branches are symbolic, and the fruit is also
symbolic, then the fire must likewise be symbolic as well.

Assuming that this is indeed the case, then our next task is
to determine what the fire represents. As I have stated many
times before, the best way to understand God's Word is by
allowing it to interpret itself; that is, by comparing one
verse with another, until we arrive at a conclusion. In this
particular case, based upon verses such as the following, I
have determined that the fire which Jesus mentions in these
verses isn't actually real fire, such as hellfire, or even
the Lake of Fire, as some Christians erroneously assume, but
that in reality, it actually represents Divine Chastisement;
that is, personal trials and tribulation which the Lord will
sometimes use to purify us -- like gold -- when we misbehave:

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:10, KJV

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man,
the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are
brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the
furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus
saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold,
therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As
they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin,
into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to
melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury,
and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather
you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall
be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the
midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst
thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out
my fury upon you."
Ezekiel 22:17-22, KJV

"Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought
them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace,
saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I
command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your
Jeremiah 11:4, KJV

"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will
refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold
is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them:
I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is
my God."
Zechariah 13:9, KJV

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers
temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith
worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
James 1:2-4, KJV

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than
of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might
be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing
of Jesus Christ:"
1 Peter 1:7, KJV

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial
which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened
unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed,
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached
for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of
glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil
spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
1 Peter 4:12-14, KJV

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Revelation 3:18, KJV

As the previous verses indicate, the primary purpose of being
cast into the fiery furnace of Divine Chastisment is not so
that we will be destroyed or lost, but rather so that we can
be purified of our sins and rebellion -- the dross -- and be
converted into even finer gold fit for the Master's use. In
other words, as we saw earlier, "rather let it be healed".
And, as Jesus said in John 15, if due to our backsliding, we
become unfruitful branches, and ineffective witnesses, we are
cast into the fires of tribulation, not to be destroyed, but
rather to be purged, in order that we might eventually bear
even more fruit for the Kingdom of God. I have mentioned in
previous articles that this very same process of falling
away -- or backsliding -- and being purged of our sins, is
likewise mentioned in the Old Testament book of Daniel, as
we see here:

"And they that understand among the people shall instruct
many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by
captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall,
they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall
cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of
understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to
make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is
yet for a time appointed."
Daniel 11:33-35, KJV

Earlier in this article, we saw clearly how Jesus said that
once we come to Him, He will never cast us out, He will never
leave us or forsake us, and no man will ever be able to pluck
us out of His hand. If this is indeed true -- and I believe
that it is -- then in John chapter fifteen, when Jesus says
that men gather the unfruitful branches and cast them into
the fire where they are burned, it simply cannot mean that we
lose our Salvation; because no man -- not even the men that
are mentioned in John 15 -- can pluck us out of His hand. It
only stands to reason then, that people who interpret those
verses as meaning that we can lose our Salvation are clearly

When personal tribulation does come our way, such as through
Divine Chastisement, the real issue that we each need to
consider is whether we allow ourselves to remain down and in
a state of defeat, and constantly being kicked in the head by
Satan, or whether we learn our lesson, and allow the Lord to
pick us up by our bootstraps, and get us marching again for
Him. Our biggest error is not in falling, it is in choosing
to remain on the ground wallowing in self pity. Two related
articles which you may wish to read are "The Lord Will Lift
You Up!" and "The Battle Is Not Yours Alone!".

So how about you? Are you a real fighter for Jesus, or do
you prefer to suffer shame and everlasting contempt due to
your failures to the Lord? As the old axiom goes "Quitters
never win, and winners never quit" . . . by the Grace of
God. As the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good
profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV

In conclusion, if you personally haven't yet signed onto the
Divine Agreement, I urge you to do so today. As Jesus tells
us in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation, He stands
at the symbolic door of our hearts, patiently waiting to
enter into spiritual communion with us. Will you let Him in?

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me."
Revelation 3:20, KJV

And please remember that just because we accept the Lord into
our lives does not mean that all of a sudden, everything will
be a bed of roses. If you sincerely and faithfully serve the
Lord in any capacity, you will eventually have your own share
of battles to fight. Some battles may be a result of sins in
your own life, while others may be persecution from worldly
non-believers. When that happens, just remember that Jesus is
always there with an outstretched hand, ready to pick you up.

I pray that this article has been a blessing, as well as an
inspiration to many.

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