Can a TRUE Christian fall from grace?
We just want to teach The Word, and help people see what The Book says, and, just as important, what it doesn’t say. Understanding The Book is really not that hard, and the best way to study is to compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter says:
II Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
That means that you cannot build a doctrine on one verse of Scripture here and there, because then you can build anything. But it’s our prerogative to use all the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation, and see that they fit. Seeming contradictions may arise, but when you study you find they’re not contradictory at all. Usually it’s because in one instance God is dealing with the Nation of Israel, and in another what may seem contradictory is His dealing with the Church Age. And there is a vast difference.
Alright, now let’s come on down to verse 33. Since Christ died, and God let Him, God permitted it to happen. He directed that it had to happen in order to purchase our Salvation. There would have never been a person saved, not even in the Old Testament economy, without the work of the Cross. It had to be to satisfy a Holy and Righteous God. Now, let’s read:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Now, what does that word `elect’ mean? Chosen. When you elect someone you designate them to be whatever you intend them to be, and the word `election’ in the Greek is exactly that. It is an act of choosing, and that is what God has done with everyone of His believers. Now, I think I’ll finish the chapter, and then I want to take you back to some of the statements that Jesus made Himself during His earthly ministry: that He has chosen us, and that no man comes to God on his own prerogative. Sometimes we like to think, “Well, I can just decide to go with God anytime I feel like it.” Oh no you can’t because you have to be back again in that chosen aspect, but on the other hand we have the Scriptures, “Whosoever will.” So reading that verse again:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Not our neighbor, boss, husband or wife. We don’t have to give an account to any of them. It’s God, the Triune God, the Creator God, the sustaining God, He’s the One Who determines who we are and what we are in the realm of the Spirit. Now, verse 34, so if He is the One Who has chosen us, if He is the One Who has forgiven us, if He is the One Who has taken us unto Himself, then:
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again,…”
Now, do you see how Paul is constantly hammering that everything revolves around that finished work of the Cross? The fact that Christ died, His divine Blood had to be shed, because always remember:
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
So without the shedding of Blood there is no remission. You can’t bypass the Blood, it had to happen. So He’s the One Who died, and rose from the dead, and He’s the One Who is at the right hand of God interceding for us. He’s the One Who is watching over us, and He is the one who promised, “If God is for you, who can be against you?” And never lose sight of that, but don’t ever interpret that to mean that nothing bad can ever happen to a believer. Don’t ever get the idea that the things of this world can’t attack the believer. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and he does that often, and he can confuse the issue, but we have these promises, if we’ll rest on them, that God is still in total control. God’s Sovereign!
Now we’re coming into a series of verses that will probably disturb one group of people of various denominations, and that is that group of people who feel that you can not be assured of your Salvation. They think that you have to hope you make it, you have to work like the dickens to hang on, and you have to be sure that you don’t ever sin in such a way that you will lose your Salvation, and end up in Hell instead of God’s Heaven. These verses are just going to fly in the face of that kind of thinking. I can’t help it, because all I’m going to show you is what The Book says. Now, verse 35:
“Who shall separate us (and that means just exactly what it say) from the love of Christ? shall tribulation,…”
That word tribulation is used something like 29 times in the New Testament, and maybe with one exception that word is associated with the activity surrounding the believer. You go back into the Book of Revelation, in fact, let’s turn to that book right now. Someday we’re going to teach this part of Revelation – the letters to the seven churches in the opening chapters. Revelation Chapter2 verse 9. This is a letter to the church in Smyrna (verse 8) and Smyrna actually means to smell “just like myrrh,” and myrrh does not exude its fragrance until it’s crushed. This is exactly what the church at Smyrna was indicating, that the more persecution crushed those believers, the more they exuded their testimony. And you see that’s why Satan had to give up persecuting the early Church because he couldn’t get ahead of it. The more he persecuted the more it thrived, so he took the opposite attack, and that was to join them, and then Christianity began to slide. Let’s read:
“I know thy works, and tribulation (God knew about their tribulation, and the Church at Smyrna was going through horrible pressure), and poverty, (but thou art rich)…”
They were poor in material things because the persecution was taking them away from their income. It probably took them away from their job situation. It took all their wealth away if they had any. That was part of the persecution, but spiritually they were what? Rich! The Church today is just the opposite of that day, and that’s what the letter to the Church at Laodicea was all about. Now, reading on:
“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews (believers), and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (they were impostors). Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer (did believer’s suffer? You bet they did): behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison (for their faith), that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days (I think that ten days refers to ten distinct periods of time during the Roman Empire when the Church came under horrible pressure, but these believers didn’t give up); be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Now, back to Romans again. So we’re going to suffer tribulations, and as I mentioned before, it’s only been in the last couple hundred years that western civilization, at least, has been able to guarantee the rights of the individual, and the freedom of worship, and so forth. But for the most part this has been unheard of. We’re living in an extremely different time than most Christians had to live in, because we do have a government, that so far at least, guarantees our rights to assembly, and to religion. Verse 35 continuing:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness (Paul went through times of nakedness, and cold, he was thirsty, and hungry, and how did Paul die? Beheaded by the sword), or peril, or sword?”
And there is nothing said that we will be spared the sword, but none of this will separate us from our Lord. Can the Devil bring in enough persecution to force a believer out of his place in the Body of Christ? Never! God has guaranteed that because of the work of the Cross we are secure. Not because of what we have done, not because of what we merit, but only because of what He has done, and let’s never lose sight of that. We never maintain our assurance of Salvation and security because of who we are or what we are, or what we have done. That is never part of the picture. Everything that keeps us secure is that finished work of the Christ. Verse 36:
“As it is written, `For thy sake (the sake of the Christ of the Cross) we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
I read an account not too long ago about someone years back when Chicago was still the capital of the meat packing business. They would slaughter the cattle, sheep, and hogs all within one huge complex. A visitor was being taken on a tour and he just couldn’t help but notice that as he went from the hog killing area, with all of the squealing and all the commotion that goes on with hogs, to the sheep killing area, what happened.
Utter silence, and I’ve witnessed that myself. I’ll never forget that when they take sheep to the slaughter they have a goat. And that goat leads those sheep up to the place where they are to be killed, and then the goat slips out a side door. And then he goes back and gets another bunch. It’s simply amazing, but those sheep go to their slaughter in utter silence.
And this is the analogy that Paul draws of the believer. We may someday just come to the place where we, too, will go like sheep to the slaughter. Are we going to scream and squeal like a bunch of pigs? No, because that’s not the way God works. Do you remember what Isaiah said about the Lamb of God?
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Why? Because there was no need for Him to scream and argue, and so it has been with Christians down through the ages. Take a lot of the hunks and macho people of today, most of them think Christianity is for women and children. But they have it all wrong, because back in the days when persecution was running rampant it took ten times more man to stand up for the slaughter, to be burned at the stake, and to be put on the rack. You all know what the rack was, that was when their bones were all broken without killing them. That’s when it takes a real man, and I bet most of those so called machos could never hold a candle to those saints. But Paul says this is all part and parcel of what God has imparted to us, the promise that even though we may have to go through these things, and many have, it will never separate us from the love of Christ.
And remember this life, even if somehow we could live to be 100, what is that compared to eternity? Eternity, never ending forever and ever and ever, and yet the human race will not consider that. All they look at is, what can I enjoy in the here and now? But you see this Book looks at everything in the light of eternity, and so this is why we have to take this blessed assurance that regardless of what may happen, nothing can separate us from our spending eternity with our Creator God. Well, let’s move on to verse 37.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Were those sheep, being led quietly to their death, conquerors? That’s the analogy. We’re led like sheep to the slaughter, but this verse says, “…yet we’re conquerors.” That’s fantastic isn’t it? So we don’t have to mind being meek, and quiet, and coming under persecution, and doing without squealing like a hog. Because in the end we’re still going to be more than conquerors, How? Through the One that loved us, that’s where it is. You and I in the energy of the flesh can do nothing, we are nothing. Now verse 38 Paul says:
“For I am persuaded…”
What does it mean to be persuaded? Totally convinced. I think it was King Agrippa back in Acts Chapter 26 where Paul had been witnessing to him and what did old King Agrippa say to Paul?
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, `Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'”
But I don’t believe that King Agrippa ever believed the Gospel and became a Christian, and do you know why? Because Agrippa could never be convinced that what Paul was telling him was true. And that’s where a lot of people are today: they hear the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), they hear this Book taught, but they can’t be convinced. They simply can’t believe it. And I’ve had people approach me and say, “Well, what have you got?” And I’ll tell them, but most will come back with, “But I can’t believe that. I can’t believe that’s all it takes.”
I’ll never forget a young man in my class at Wilburton, OK. I think he’s still receiving our tapes, and if so, I hope he hears this. He was one of these kids who from the time he was 5 or 6 years-old had no home life, no parents, he just literally made it on his own. He came up after class one night, and said, “Les, do you mean to tell me that I can have all of this free for nothing?” I told him, “Yes.” He said, “I can’t believe that.” And then he told me of how he had to scratch and fight for every little bit of food that he had as a kid growing up. He said, “I just can’t believe that.” And I told him, “I’m sorry, but until you can believe it you can’t have it.” And so the young man left. But I’m hoping that sometime in the interim he will still come to his senses and see that, yes, all of this is ours for the taking, if we will only believe it. Now, continuing on with verse 38:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
Now, why do you suppose that the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to start with death instead of life like we would normally put it? Stop and think for a moment, what’s he driving at? Death is the easy way out. That’s why we have so many suicides, they think that’s their easiest way out. They can’t cope with their problems, they can’t cope with their circumstances, so they take their life, and that ends it as far as this life is concerned. But what about life? Oh, we’re living in a world that’s filled with heartaches and turmoils. A life that’s lived with all kinds of oppositions to the home and family. Hey, life is difficult. Life is not easy. In fact, I was reading a book someone sent me a while back, and I almost had to quit reading it because all the writer was pointing out was all these things that make life difficult. True, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to be thinking about, so you see death is easy by comparison. But Paul tells us that even all the difficulties of life can’t separate us from the love of God. Now, as we come to close of this lesson I wish I had more time for the next few words in verse 38: that is principalities and powers, nor things present, or things to come.
The word `principalities’ here in the Greek is `Arche.’ It deals with people who are in a high position. The word `power’ is from the Greek word `Dunamis’ from which we get `Dynamo,’ and it means energy. Paul is delineating here that principalities, the position, and the energy that comes from that position are going to do everything that they can to take us away from the love of Christ. But they can’t do it. I wish I had time to take you to Ephesians in Chapter 6 to enlighten you even more. There the word `powers’ is used a little differently than in Romans. There it’s not speaking of energy, but again, power as Jesus gave to the Twelve when they went out to perform the miracles. But, nevertheless, the powers that be in the realm of Satan are positioned and they are loaded with energy that seemingly never runs out.
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Let’s get back to Romans Chapter 8. I’d like to go back to those last 6 or 7 verses and pick out some things I neglected to bring out in the last lesson. But before I do I would like to say that I hope you’re studying the Word with us, and learning what The Book says and what The Book doesn’t say. The Scriptures are not just some gobbledy-gook, but rather written by the hand of God so that anybody can understand it. You don’t have to be highly educated, or have a great theological education to comprehend the Scriptures. Now, of course, that’s what precipitated the Dark Ages, when the church had gotten so powerful that they had pulled the Scriptures away from the common man and brought it into the monasteries because they felt only the monks and educated could discern the Word of God, but that’s not what God intends. He wants all of us to become students, to learn how to study this Book. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote to Timothy that we are to:
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I want to come back and cover some of these verses that we looked at in the last lesson. And someone had a question about verse 31 so let’s turn to that verse now. Here is a verse that is so paramount to our Christian experience as a child of God, that we have to understand that those of us who have been called, we’ve been elected, we’ve been justified, we’ve been glorified, and that being the case:
“What shall we then say to these things (what’s Paul talking about? That we’ve been justified, glorified, forgiven, and all these things that Paul alone teaches. How can we say that? Well, we can come to the conclusion if that’s all true, then)? If God be for us, who can be against us?” And that’s where God wants us to rest, there is no one that can condemn us because of verse 32.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,…”
And as we saw in the Book of Philippians The Lord Jesus Himself was obedient unto that kind of a death. Just like Isaac of old. A lot of those things back in the Old Testament were just a preview of what took place in the New. As Abraham laid Isaac upon the altar, is there anything in Scripture that indicates that Isaac struggled? Did Isaac fight back? But in complete obedience he let Abraham, his father, lay him upon that altar. Well, that was just a preview of how God the Son would react to the same situation, that He gave Himself up as we see in Philippians:
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Romans 8:33:
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?…”
I stressed a little bit in the last half hour that these verses just absolutely hammer home the idea that once God has put the finger on us, has elected us, and we have responded and we have entered into His tremendous Salvation, then who in the world can touch that? Nobody can touch it, because it’s something that God has done, and don’t let anyone ever tell you, “How can you be so conceited as to tell me that you know that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, when no one can know.” When someone talks like that, they themselves are totally unaware of true saving faith. Because if you have enough faith to believe the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), if your faith is sufficient to bring you into that Salvation, then you should have enough faith to take God at His Word, and the rest of it. And that is that you’re His. No one can take us out of His hand, and we’re going to see that in just a little bit. Verse 33 again.
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Would God elect someone who somewhere down the road would chose to reject Him? I can’t see it happening, and the reason I’m using that example is I had a fellow tell me that one time. I said, “Look, the Scripture says that God will never cast us out.” He said, “Oh, I know that, but I could cast myself out.” I said how? He replied, “By committing some horrible sin.” I said, “Look, you can’t touch yourself so far as being in that position in the Body of Christ any more than someone else can. We are totally, and I can’t emphasize this enough; we are totally under the power of the Sovereign God, and nobody can supersede his power.” These closing verses of Romans 8 are like the crescendo of a great orchestra. A crescendo is when that sound just builds and builds, and it’s got your attention. It’s been building throughout these first eight chapters of Romans, but now here comes this crescendo. I think Paul, if we could have heard him in person, would have just shouted it. “Look, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ!” We see this in verse 35:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (we covered that in the last lesson. Verse 36)? ….we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Oh, not of what we have, not through any ability that I or you have, but what makes us conquerors? Christ Jesus. He became everything. What does the Book of Colossians say?
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
And that is where we live and move, and there is nothing in us that can merit any favor with God, it is all of His Grace. And remember that Grace could never have happened if it had not been for mercy. We no longer have to cry for mercy because God poured out His mercy on Christ there on the Cross. His mercy has already been poured out. Since His mercy has been poured out, now He can give Grace. “Unmerited favor.” We don’t deserve any of this. Now, let’s look again at verse 38:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
Go to Ephesians Chapter 6. I felt we had to do this part over since we didn’t have time to cover it in the last lesson. Paul writes:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Not down in the gutter, not on skid row, but in high places. Now, that should wake us up. We’re up against something that is beyond the normal. It’s up here with tremendous power, and position. These powers are in high positions and let’s compare the same Greek word `powers’ back in Matthew Chapter 10 so we get an idea of what Paul is really driving at when he says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers,”
“And when he (The Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry) had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power…”
Now, that word `power’ is the same word in the Greek that we found back in Ephesians, and it was authority. So these principalities and powers have authority, and don’t you ever doubt it. Don’t you ever forget that Satan is powerful. My, he can transform himself into an angel of light. He is the one, according to II Corinthians 4:3-4, that prevents the lost from comprehending the Gospel. So this word is designated `authority.’ Another one is in Acts Chapter 26, and we see that same kind of a meaning. And this Scripture is going to be in regards to Paul, and it’s the same Greek word again.
“I verily thought with myself (back in his pre-Salvation experience), that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests;”
What does that mean? Paul was put in position to do what he was doing. Authority. Now, bring that back to what we saw in Ephesians:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,…”
And they have authority. And that authority is Satan, and he is doing everything that he can, not only to frustrate the life of you and I as believers, but also to keep lost humanity in darkness. And he will have that power until God breaks that power. Here again is why we have to come back to the very fact that God is the One Who opens our heart, God is the One through the working of the Holy Spirit Who gives us an understanding. Now, return to Romans 8 for a little bit, and then we may look at a couple of verses in John.
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (all of creation, there is nothing that has ever been created whether it’s on the demonic side or on the righteous angelic side), shall be able to separate us (or take us) from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Someone might say, “Well, that’s Paul, and I don’t have time for his teachings.” Well, let’s go back and see what Jesus Himself says. Let’s turn to John’s Gospel Chapter 6. And here Jesus is speaking:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;…”
Who is making the first move? God is. Don’t you ever believe anyone when they say, “Oh, seek this and that, and after God.” because it’s impossible. You and I can’t seek God, because it not in us; no unbeliever is going to go running after God, it’s not in him. If he suddenly has an appetite for the things of God, then God put it there first. And it’s the same as Jesus is saying here:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me (as a result of God moving him) I will in no wise cast out.”
Now, Jesus said it in His earthly ministry that anybody that God has chosen, that God has elected, that God has sent to Him would in no wise ever be cast out. And that means what it says. Now, let’s look at John Chapter 10. Ordinarily I don’t like to raise my voice, but when I find out that there are people who totally don’t understand this, and think I’m way out in left field, then that’s why I have to show you what The Book says: It isn’t what I think.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (and man has been added by the translators so I prefer to leave it out. Neither shall any) pluck them out of my hand.”
Now, compare that word any with what Paul has said in Romans Chapter 8, and what do you also include? The whole sphere of creation. Not just man, but neither the angelic powers, the Satanic powers, nothing can pluck them out of His hand. Now, can you believe that? Well, if you can believe that God in Christ died, and rose again for your Salvation, then you should be able to have enough faith to believe these things. You’re His, and no one can take you away from Him. Now, you see the first thing I’ll be accused of is, “Well, you’re going to tell people that they can do what ever they want to do just because they will never be lost?” Never have I said that. Grace is not license! Don’t ever get the idea that the Scripture teaches that since we’re safe, that since we’re secure we are free to do what we want.
So we believers live in constant awareness that we don’t want to fall, or commit a sin. But we also have enough common sense to know that we could. I would hope that I would never fall into any great sin. We’re all guilty of these mundane sins of everyday living, and thoughts.
But so far as falling into a great sin such as David did. Did David fall into sin? Was David a believer? Yes. Did David lose his Salvation? No. But oh, what did David know how to do? Beg for forgiveness, and of course he was back before the Age of Grace. But if you want to see a man, David to me was a “man’s man.” David was as manly as any person that ever lived. Yet as a man’s man, we read in the psalms where he poured out his heart in sweat drops begging for forgiveness after he was convicted of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and of murdering her husband Uriah. He was a true child of God, otherwise it would have never bothered him. You can go all through Scripture and all the great people failed miserably.
Abraham for example, with his beautiful wife Sara, goes down into Egypt and what happens? “Sara, as beautiful as you are, they’re going want you in their harem. There’s nothing that I can do to stop it unless they kill me, so for goodness sake don’t tell them that you’re my wife, but rather my sister.” That was sin. Did God kick Abraham out? No! Abraham had to come to the place of recognizing his sin as a believer. Look at Peter in the New Testament. In fact, I had a question from a listener the other day, “What did Jesus mean when He said to Peter there in the Book of Luke?”
“And the Lord said, `Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:'”
What did Jesus know that was just down the road in a matter of hours? Peters denial. And here, great big Peter, to probably a teenage girl, cursed and swore that he didn’t know Jesus. He didn’t have a thing to do with Him, and what happened? The cock crowed, and what happened to Peter? He wept bitterly. Why? He was convicted of his sin. Did that act throw Peter out? No! But he was reconciled immediately when he confessed his sin, and so it is with a believer in Paul’s doctrines of Grace. Paul never gives us license to sin. John’s little epistle at the back of your Bible tells:
I John 2:1
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin (we’re going to, and if we sin), we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
And then back in the Book of Revelation Chapter 12. My, don’t ever think for a minute that believers aren’t subjected to sin. I’ve never seen a true believer that just makes up his mind that he’s going to go out and get drunk, or commit adultery, or cheat someone, but it can happen. But a believer has to be constantly on guard.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, `Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren (believers) is cast down (Satan), which accused them (believers) before our God day and night.'”
Now, if it’s impossible for believers to sin, then Satan wouldn’t have had anything to accuse them of, but he did, and he does, and he will until we’re in The Lord’s presence. Because as long as we’re in this body of flesh we are going to be prone to fall. I like this simple analogy: most, if not all of you, have raised children, and when they were little and learning how to walk, did they just start walking? No, they fell, and what did a good mom or dad do? Kick them in the rear, and say, “What’s the matter with you?” No. We picked them up, and lovingly set them on their feet, and got them started again.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
You see we’re all human. Every human being is just as prone to fall into sin as the next one, but hopefully if we’re spiritually taught, and have kept these things, this won’t happen. But it can happen to anybody. John is delineating that there were some sins that would not cause God to take them out of their physical life. But some sins He will, and I’ve seen it happen, and I’m sure you have where a believer will refuse to come away from his sinful lifestyle. You can deal with them, and deal with them, and all of a sudden, “Bingo.” Just a sudden heart attack, or sudden car accident, and they’re gone. Well God takes them home lest they keep on bringing reproach to His Name. And that’s exactly what John is dealing with, and so he says:
I John 5:b
“…There is a sin unto death: (a believer can come to that place where God will take his life. Now then look at the very last part of that verse) I do not say that he shall pray for it.”
In other words no believer or Church Body ever has the right to pray for the death of an erring believer, because that is never permissible, that’s in God’s hand. Now let’s look at verse 17.
I John 5:17
“All unrighteousness is sin: (whether that sin be a little one or a great one) and there is a sin not unto death.”
Now what’s implied here in verse 17? That some sins are gross enough that it will cause God to take that believer out ahead of time. Now let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 5, and here’s where we have it. This man is evidently committing a sin unto death if he does not repent of it, and turn around. If he’s going to continue on living with his step-mother in a marital relationship, then God’s going to take him out, and that’s all there is to it. Now verse 5.
I Corinthians 5:5,6
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit (soul) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
II Corinthians 1:21,22
“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest (or the down payment) of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Now there is another verse that is a perfect parallel with that and for that we have to go to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1. Some of these days we’ll be teaching this tremendous letter verse by verse. It’s dealing with our position in the Body of Christ as believers.
“In whom (in Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, (and the word of truth is) the gospel of your salvation: (I Corinthians 15:11-4) in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Now that is part and parcel again of our salvation experience. We have been sealed, we have been marked by the Person of the Holy Spirit Himself. Now verse 14.
“Which is the earnest (and that means just exactly like we use the term today. He is the down payment. A sufficient down payment to make sure that the transaction is completed.) of our inheritance (which we will have by being joint-heirs with Christ, and that’s going to hold it) until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
“And you, being dead in your sins (absolutely, we were as under the control of the old nature, our spirit was completely out of fellowship with God and so that’s what Paul says we were in the world. We were dead in sin) and the uncircumcision of your flesh (by virtue of being Gentiles) but hath he (God) quickened (has regenerated our spirit. He has crucified old Adam and has given us a new nature. A divine nature) together with him, having (already) forgiven you all trespasses.”
Now let’s look at Colossians 3:13. And again, Paul repeats this twice in two chapters to drive it home. And oh, most of Christendom has a hard time swallowing this, I know they do. But here it is again.
“Forbearing one another, (remember, he’s writing to believers congregated in an assembly) and forgiving one another, if any may have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Now look at that verse very carefully. Is there any demand in that verse that you forgive your enemy before you can be saved? NO! That’s already done by the Grace of God. You’re forgiven. But now since you and I are forgiven, what should we be ready to do? Forgive whoever we have ought against, whether it’s in the Church or neighborhood or whatever. There is nothing stipulated in Paul’s Gospel, nor his writings that first we have to forgive everybody before we can be forgiven like the Lord Jesus said during His earthly ministry under Law. For example, The Lord’s Prayer isn’t appropriate for us today. The Lord’s Prayer was under Law. It was to Israel. And it says “forgive us our trespasses (when?) as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Now that’s Law. And absolutely a Jew could not be forgiven until he went and forgave his neighbor. But that doesn’t hold true today. We’re forgiven by the Grace of God. And if we’re forgiven, then why in the world can’t we forgive our neighbor? That’s the teaching. So twice in two chapters he says we have been forgiven of all our trespasses and all our sins. Now let’s go back to Ephesians 2:1.
“And you (writing to these Ephesian believers) hath he (Christ) quickened (made alive. Same concept. As soon as we believe the Gospel, God imparted to us that new divine nature. He gave us the regeneration of the spirit. It’s divine, eternal life that we are now partakers of) who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world (everyone did) according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. 3. Among whom also we all (he included himself) had our conversation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (doing what comes naturally like everybody else.) 4. But (the flip side) God (not me, not I, but God) who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:) 6. Hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (see our position now as believers?) Now verse 8.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; (plus how much? NOTHING! There’s nothing else listed here. It’s by grace through faith) and that not of yourselves; it is the (what?) gift of God:” How much work do you do for a gift? NONE! But, people are having all this stuff laid on them. There is nothing in here that says you’ve got to do such and such except believe that Christ has already done it. It’s finished! And we can’t add to it.