Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 7, 1997
Last Updated :
July 30, 2012
The Lord's Desire For Our Repentance Healing And Salvation, Age Of Grace And Personal Choice, God's Faithful Ambassadors, Lack Of Works Does Not Signify One Is Not Saved, Be Doers Of The Word, Return To Your First Love, Backsliding, We Are His Forever, Salvation Is Not Based Upon Our Works, God Alone Provides The Increase In Souls, All Of The Apostles Forsook Jesus In Gethsemane, Jesus Was Offered Up One Time For All Men, Once Saved Always Saved, God Keeps His Promises And Is Not A Liar Or A Deal Breaker, Confusion Regarding Salvation, Jesus Promised Us His Peace, Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart, Peace With God Through Jesus Christ, Church's Control Over Its Members Through Different Legalistic Requirements, The Burden Of The Mosaic Law, Our Burden In Christ Is Light
As I explain in some of the aforementioned articles, insofar as Salvation is concerned, God wishes for all men everywhere to repent of their sins, and to be saved. While at times He may be forced to execute His righteous Judgments in order to shake us up a bit, His ultimate goal is for all of us to be healed, and to be saved. This is made quite evident by verses such as the following:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV
"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV
"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:51-56, KJV
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:5-13, KJV
The irony of this situation is that while God wants all men to be saved, and while He will even put His desire in our hearts, He will still respect our personal choice. In this current Age of Grace, He will not force Himself upon any man. So how is it that we fit into God's overall plan? The answer is quite simple: We are still here in the flesh. As such, we are the vehicles which the Lord has chosen to use to deliver the Message of Salvation. We are His preachers, His royal ambassadors, and His mouthpieces. God has given us a very important Message to deliver to the world, and it is our responsibility to deliver it faithfully by whatever means are available to us according to our own faith. This Great Commission of reaching the world for Jesus Christ is revealed in verses such as the following:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! . . . So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:13-15, 17, KJV
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2, KJV
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."
2 Corinthians 5:20, KJV
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Ephesians 6:19-20, KJV
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Matthew 24:14, KJV
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Matthew 28:19, KJV
"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke 24:46-47, KJV
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 1:8, KJV
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house . . . Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
Acts 20:20, 31, KJV
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2, KJV
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
Returning to the Parable of the Sower, except for the first fellow -- the seed which fell by the wayside and the Devil snatched it up -- it appears that in all of the rest of the examples that Jesus gave, the people were saved. As with the Parable of the Talents -- where we could say that receiving the talents was symbolic of accepting the Lord -- each person went on to invest in the Lord's Work in varying degrees of service.
The main point I wish to emphasize is that, in my opinion, a lack of works does not necessarily mean that a person is no longer saved, or that he was never saved to begin with. It simply means that he is currently in a backslidden state, and not doing anything for the Lord. His works did not save him to begin with, and they certainly cannot keep him saved. The Lord still loves him; he is still the Lord's child; just like backslidden Israel; but his faith is dead, because he is not putting it into action, as we see by the following verses:
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."
Matthew 23:1-3, KJV
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
James 1:22-25, KJV
"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
James 2:20-26, KJV
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
James 4:17, KJV
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:20, KJV
If we can be honest with ourselves for a moment, haven't we all been in this same condition? I know that I have. There have been times in my life when I have left my work on the wall in order to attend to more worldly pursuits. However, I have always returned to my first love for the Lord and His Word. Maybe some of you still find yourselves in a somewhat backslidden condition as well. In such a case, the Lord still loves us, and we are still His beloved children. However, we may not receive a lot of recognition -- or Rewards -- when we arrive in the Heavenly Kingdom, unless we repent and return to our first love. Consider these verses:
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Revelation 2:4-5, KJV
Personally, I am by no means convinced that our lack of works means that we are no longer saved. This is contrary to the Scriptures, which indicate to me personally that once we are His, we are His forever. Can a parent truly disown the child which is born of their own flesh? How much less will our Heavenly Father forsake His children who are born again of the Spirit? Consider the following verses:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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."
Romans 8:38-39, KJV
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
To reiterate, our Salvation is dependent upon faith in Jesus alone, and not on our works as I make clear in such articles as "Are We Once Saved, Always Saved?" and "Message to the World". Jesus is the only one who saved us to begin with, and He is the only one who can keep us saved. Consider these words which were written by the Apostles Paul and Jude:
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,"
Jude 1:24, KJV
In short, it is the Lord who gives the increase. It is the Lord who saves souls. It is the Lord Who keeps souls saved. As Jude writes, it is the Lord who keeps us from falling. It has nothing to do with our own works. If Salvation is truly dependent upon works, then the Apostles would have all lost their Salvation, because the night Jesus was betrayed, they all forsook Him. It wasn't just Peter alone, as we see by these two verses:
"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad."
Matthew 26:31, KJV
"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
John 16:32, KJV
To suggest that the Apostles regained their Salvation when they rededicated themselves to the Lord is ridiculous. This would be akin to saving themselves again by their own good works instead of through the Grace of God. As the Apostle Paul also writes, to believe that we can constantly lose and regain our Salvation condemns Jesus to being crucified afresh each time we fall from Grace, as we can determine by these verses:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Hebrews 6:4-6, KJV
In the next few chapters, Paul clearly affirms that, unlike the high priest who had to continually offer sacrifices for the sins of the people from year to year, Jesus was offered up one time. That is all that was and is necessary in order to safeguard our Salvation, because His is an Eternal Pact with our Heavenly Father. Consider the following verses:
"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did ONCE, when he offered up himself."
Hebrews 7:27, KJV
"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Hebrews 9:12, KJV
"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hebrews 9:26-28, KJV
"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all."
Hebrews 10:10, KJV
The Apostle Peter likewise believed that Jesus died one time for the sins of all men, and that there is no need for Him to do it again and again, in order to atone again whenever we fall, as we all so often do. Peter writes as follows:
"For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
1 Peter 3:18, KJV
The point is, the Scriptures convince me personally that once we have come to Christ and are washed in the Blood of the Lamb, we are saved forever, and that is it. Jesus died one time, and He is not going to do it again. Furthermore, the Lord's mercies are renewed every morning; and as we saw a moment ago, He promises to never leave us or forsake us. This is affirmed again by the following verses:
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV
"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13, KJV
So even when we are weak in faith -- as the Apostles were that dark night in the Garden of Gethsemane -- doubt our beliefs, and perhaps even backslide for a time, the Lord still promises to keep His Word. He keeps His end of the bargain no matter what. He says "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out", as well as "they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand", and that is exactly what He means. Do you believe it? To reiterate, yes, sometimes we do fall; but God's promises through Christ remain sure and steadfast. He is not a deal breaker or a liar. As Moses said in the Book of Numbers:
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19, KJV
Following are some additional verses which confirm this same point. They also reveal that if anyone is a liar, surely it is unfaithful and unbelieving men who attempt to cast doubt upon God's eternal Word:
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
Romans 3:4, KJV
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;"
Titus 1:2, KJV
"Ye [speaking to the unbelieving Jews] are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1 John 2:22, KJV
"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
1 John 5:10, KJV
"If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:10, KJV
As a result of the aforementioned teaching which erroneously claims that good works are directly linked to our Salvation, there are many people today who are confused regarding their Salvation. Because they have been made to believe that their Salvation is based upon their own good works, they're always wondering whether or not they are still saved. They worry about whether or not they have been good enough, or whether or not they have prayed enough, or whether or not they have tithed enough, or whether or not they have offered up enough prayers to the Saints. They are never certain exactly where they stand with our Heavenly Father. It's utter madness!
In the Gospel of John, Jesus promised to give us His peace. How can we possibly enjoy this peace when we are constantly in a state of uncertainty, and worrying about whether or not we are still saved? It is ridiculous. However, you will be happy to learn that the solution is really quite simple. As the Prophet Isaiah and King Solomon both inform us, we need to simply trust in the Lord. We need to utterly place our faith in the Promises of His Word, and believe it when He says that He will never leave us or forsake us once we come to Him. It is this kind of faith and trust which engenders peace in our minds and hearts. Consider the following verses:
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27, KJV
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3, KJV
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Romans 5:1, KJV
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ephesians 2:13-18, KJV
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7, KJV
"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 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:"
Colossians 1:19-22, KJV
Please notice that the Lord specifically says "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid". Sadly, this is precisely the kind of fruit which results from this erroneous doctrine which attempts to link good works to our Salvation. It does in fact make people worry, doesn't it? Not only that, but this is precisely how some churches -- such as the Roman Catholic Church -- maintain tight control over their members. In other words, they make the laity dependent upon the church and its doctrines for their Salvation and for forgiveness of sins, instead of depending solely upon the Blood of Christ as it should be.
Some of these churches stress the importance of good works, while others enforce all kinds of legalistic requirements, such as requiring church attendance on one particular day over another. They have all kinds of do's and don't's; and if a person somehow manages to observe them all, maybe, just maybe, he might make it into Heaven. Ironically, as you may know, Jesus accused the Scribes and the Pharisees -- who were the prominent religionists of His day along with the Sadducees -- of the very same thing. In other words, as I explain in other articles, they used the power and weight of the Mosaic Law -- that is, the Laws of Moses -- as a tool to keep the common people under subjection, as we can see by the following verses:
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
Matthew 23:1-4, KJV
"Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."
Luke 11:45-46, KJV
Please note that in the previous verses, the word "lawyers" is derived from the Greek word "nomikos". In the context of the New Testament, this word actually refers to teachers and interpreters of the Mosaic Law. In contrast to all of the legalistic requirements which were imposed upon people by the self-righteous religionists of Jesus' day, consider what Jesus actually had to say:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
As we saw earlier in this series, the Apostle Paul also wrote "ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ".
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
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