Monday, November 25, 2019
Law vs works, Once Saved Always saved or?? Important post!
There's an enormous battle raging during these last days for the souls of men and women! And children! In all my days I've never seen such hate, vitriol, and strife over a doctrine that has infiltrated the church. Satan has done his work well. He is pulling apart the church in these last minutes of the last days and trying to drag as many believers out of the light as he can.
That Doctrine is Once Saved Always Saved. I know some of you here don't agree with me on this, but I'm begging anyone reading this to do their own investigation into the Scriptures. I'm not professing to be an expert on the Bible, but I have read it through multiple times with an open mind and heart, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me. One of the first things I noticed was that the Bible made it clear that God requires something out of us after we say we "believe in Jesus". This was contrary to everything I was hearing at church. I was a new Christian at the time, so I just figured these theologians and pastors knew what they were talking about. But the more I read the Bible, the more the Lord spoke to me and told me the truth.
There are two extremes to this doctrine On the one side, there are the people who say that all you need to do is "believe in Jesus, believe He is the Son of God who died and rose again" to be saved. And yes, there is a verse that says exactly that, which they often cite. But one thing I've learned about the Bible is you can't just pluck out one or two verses and form a doctrine around them. You must use the entire Bible as your source and if any of the rest of the verses contradict the one you are using, then you must alter your theology. These people truly believe that as long as they "believe in Jesus" they are going to heaven, no matter what they do. They can swear, drink, fornicate, commit adultery, lie, cheat, steal...etc... and they are covered by the blood of Jesus.
The other extreme are those who are legalists, who believe that you must follow a set of rules after you get saved in order to continue being saved. You must go to church, read your Bible, pray, tithe, dress a certain way, witness, etc. (All of those are good things by the way) The problem is NONE of those things will assure anyone of salvation. These people also follow a set of rules of dos and don'ts. Don't drink, swear, cheat, lie....etc. For a year in middle school I attended a Baptist school that was very strict like this. We couldn't even play solitaire because playing cards was a sin!
So what is the truth? Once we believe in Jesus, are we supposed to follow a set of dos and don'ts to keep being saved, or are we allowed to live anyway we want and Jesus covers all our sins?
One thing Jesus revealed to me recently is that there is a huge difference between the Law and Works. The Jewish law (which is what the Apostle Paul was referring to) was a set of don'ts and a list of sacrificial rituals to preform. Essentially it was a negative thing, a prison of sorts, that confined how one lived and what one had to do when they sinned.
Works are things like Giving to Charity, Being kind to your enemies, Putting others ahead of yourself, volunteering at a homeless shelter, teaching Sunday School, forgiving, being hunble..etc. Basically works are anything you voluntarily do for others in the service of Jesus. Works are not a prison or a list of dos and don'ts. Works are something a Christian does because they love Jesus and their fellow man. Works are a positive thing and most importantly works are evidence of true salvation. But you can NEVER earn your salvation through works.
Paul spoke about us not being under the law anymore, and that we cannot attain salvation by works. However, he mentions often throughout his epistles (as other Apostles do) that we should bear the fruit of the Spirit, that we should be kind, generous, loving, forgiving, give to charity, help our brothers and sisters, etc.. Obviously Paul was telling Christians that our behavior matters. If all that mattered was our belief and then we could do whatever we wanted, why would he bother? Why would all the apostles bother in telling us over and over how we are to behave? Jesus, Himself, spent a lot of time talking about people not sinning. Why would He do that if He knew that after He died and rose again, all people needed to do was believe?
Law is working your way to salvation
Works is evidence of salvation
A man and woman get married. They are madly in love. They both vow to love, cherish, obey and put the other first all their days. But a month after the wedding, the wife notices her husband is coming home late a lot. He no longer does the sweet things he used to do... such as bring flowers home, or plan a romantic evening out, or just sit and talk with her before the fire. He stops complimenting her and surprising her with gifts. In fact, she begins to believe he is cheating on her. When she confronts him, he is indignant.
"I didn't sign up to do all those things forever!" he says. "Certainly you didn't expect me to. I have my own life to live, places to go, people to meet, women to sample."
The wife begins to cry. "But you promised to love me forever."
"I do love you! Of course I love you. I just need my freedom to do as I please. I don't want a divorce, honey. I still believe in our marriage."
Tears stream down the wife's face even as her anger rises. "But this isn't a marriage. How can you love me if you treat me this way?"
"Treat you this way! Marriage is not about doing nice things for each other or spending time together! That's works! I married you. That's all that's required. Marriage is just a belief. I believe in you, honey!"
If anyone watched this exchange, they would say that the man obviously doesn't love his wife, but just wants to stay married.
How many women out there would buy this? Works in a marriage involve things like gifts, flowers, planning moments together, compliments, sharing life, spending time together, comforting one another, supporting and helping one another etc. It's what both men and women expect from the other when they get married. The woman was right in saying that the husband didn't love her. Why? Because those "works" would be things he would do that would flow naturally out of his love for her.
Works are things that flow naturally out of our love for Jesus. When we believe in Him, we are essentially getting married to Him, vowing to love Him and follow Him all our days. As that love grows, we want to please Him, to show Him our love. We do that by obeying Him, by listening to Him, by spending time with Him, by doing the things He leads us to do, by keeping His commandments. It has nothing to do with the law or working one's way to salvation. And everything to do with having a loving committed relationship with Jesus.
No wife would accept a husband's declaration of love without some sort of proof, without the husband proving it by his actions. Why do we think Jesus would accept any less?
My biggest fear is that so many "Christians" believe they can treat Jesus like the husband treats his wife in the above scenario and still make it to heaven. The Scriptures are clear that they will not. I could cite passage after passage, but I've already done so a dozen times. I encourage you to read the New Testament cover to cover.
I realize this is a volatile subject for 3 types of people.
1. People who love to sin and want to continue to sin but still make it heaven
2. Parents or people with loved ones who have drifted from the Lord
3. People who are nervous about being saved and are wondering if there is enough evidence of their love.
I have answers for all 3
1. Repent and follow Jesus. Otherwise you're in big trouble
2. Pray and fast and pray some more. God makes provision for family and loved ones
3. This is the most important thing of this entire post!
It all boils down to having a relationship with Jesus. You must spend time with Him, in the Bible, in silence before Him, in conversation, in prayers. When you do this, you fall madly in love with Him and that's all that matters. Any works you do will blossom from that. God isn't up there counting our works. He's up there looking at our hearts and seeing how much we love Him and His Son.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1