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The Knowledge of the Truth
Eternal Security Exposed
Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). That is a given. Likewise, "thy word is truth" (John 17:17), for which reason the Law of God is also defined as "the truth" (Psa. 119:142). However, despite the widespread knowledge of these truths, seldom is the "the truth" intellectually recognized in the Body of Christ as activated agape love through faith. Still, biblical truth is truth. In fact, biblical truth, or godly love obtained by faith, is not a lie. And this, John the Apostle vividly illustrated when he Scripturally emphasized how a professed Christian is a liar:
By John's account, if a Christian Brother professes to love God and willfully walks in hate, he is a liar, practicing "the lie" of bigotry. Vice versa, the Christian who loves their brother abides in the light (1 John 2:10), or comes to the light of absolute truth: "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God" (John 3:21).
The Scripture states, "He that saith he is in the light, and hates his brother is in darkness even until now." Contrasted with those who have never gone beyond their initial profession, developed Christians produce the works of unfeigned love. Seasoned and aged, these have followed the Scripture in believing unto righteousness (Rom. 10:10).
Without exception the faithful have "known and BELIEVED the love that God has toward us. . . " (1 John 4:16). Despite their neighbor's heritage, the mature in Christ fully respect their neighbor as an equal. Certainly there is no room for doubt, "God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him"!
Without exception the faithfully mature radiate the love of an God who is not a respecter of persons (Eph. 6:9). Remarking on this very issue, Luke attested to God's love for every man and woman, regardless of their race or heritage: "But in EVERY NATION1 he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:35). By the way, the saved will also come from every nation, kindred and tongue (Rev.7:9-17).
Unquestionably, racism is an abomination to God. A fact that Miriam, the sister of Aaron, personally learned when she spoke against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian2 woman. God, who made all nations from one blood (Acts 17:26), disciplined Miriam by temporarily making her a snow-white leper (Num. 12:1-10).
In further elevating our understanding that godly love through faith is a cardinal truth of the Word of God, John clarified the following:
The Christian who knows the Spirit of Truth has experienced Christís agape love flowing out to others. To put it mildly, this is a prerequisite of really knowing God (1 John 4:8). Fully understanding this principle, John contrasted the Spirit of Truth with the Spirit of Error. Revealing, that, the Spirit of Truth always manifests a valid concern for the brethren, whereas the Spirit of Error doesn't. Thus, godly love in action, or the lack of it, is an excellent Scriptural test in realizing if a matter is of the Lord.Peter, like John, also equated activated love as truth: "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying `the truth' through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently" (1 Pet. 1:22). Obviously, Peter related that the truth isn't just Christ or the Word of God, but also Christ's will of unfeigned love. For it is within this framework, and only within this framework, that the Spirit of Truth chooses to purify our souls.
Now multitudes in the Church need to include "the truth" as actuated love in their definition of truth. Paul penned,
In the above, Paul alluded to the hope of righteousness through faith, and this by obedience to the Spirit. Following through, Paul went on to equate "faith which worketh by love" as the truth, when he wrote: "Who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?"
Is there more on the subject of brotherly love being akin to "the truth" in the New Testament? James wrote, "But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and `lie' not against the `truth'" (James 3:14). Here, when a person experiences bitter envy, it is bitter envy toward another, not God. Similarly, when a person experiences strife in their heart, it's contention toward another, not God. Catching our eye, then, here is another confirmation to the Scriptural definition of truth, because to "lie" against the truth is to treat others dishonorably through envy and strife.
Superseding the truth of Scripture, for some, the Doctrine of Eternal Security can be an inhibiting doctrine to the growth of faith. To clarify the validity of this view, it becomes a necessity to examine exactly what biblical truth is.
Eternal security? James wrote: "Brethren, if ANY OF YOU do err from `the truth,' and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a SOUL from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
Principally, James zeroed in on the issue of backsliders, for both terms, "brethren" and "you," can only apply to believers: "if any of you do err." Here, James is specifically telling us that the SOUL of a brother is at stake, none other. In other words, a believer who determinedly puts aside "the truth" of Scripture, being faith that works by love (Gal. 5:6-7), jeopardizes their salvation. James put it this way:
If we encounter a destitute brother or sister, and just say, "God bless you," especially when we can help and our help is needful, our faith is in vain. Being inactive, dead faith is a non-abiding faith that won't justify anyone.
In retrospect, James' "truth passage" is another confirmation to "the truth," especially since a multitude of sins become covered by a brother who wholly converts to the truth; that is, to the truth of selfless love,4 stemming from laborious faith. Peter agreeably wrote, "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover (hide) the multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8)!
Now James' text doesn't center on unbelievers erring, again, it is the brethren (Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth."). Thus, James' "truth passage" only concerns believers,5 as Peter's following mention of the Holy Commandment of faith, and those who effect righteousness through it, also does: "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandment delivered unto them"(2 Pet.2:21).
The way of righteousness? Only believers who have continued through faith in Jesus Christ, have known the way of right living. So then, no unbeliever has ever known the "way of righteousness." Nor has any unbeliever ever had the way of righteousness, or the ways of faith delivered unto them.
Harmonizing with these two certainties, is the fact that it is far better for a fallen reprobate never to have known the way of righteousness, than to turn from the Holy Commandment of faith after effecting righteousness through it. For which reason, Peter, directly before his pertinent mention of the Holy Commandment, wrote: "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (2 Pet. 2:20)
Again, it must be realized that itís impossible for the above to refer to unbelievers at large, or even to unbelieving Jews. Surely no unbeliever, or unbelieving Jew, has ever escaped the pollution of the world through faith in Jesus Christ, much less through the knowledge of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Certainly, then, "the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 2:20), can only be "the knowledge of the truth" (Heb. 10:26). Note the overwhelming similarity: "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins"--"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ . . ."!
The Bible discloses that God has at least two desires for humanity that are extremely important to Him: "Who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4).
Not only does the Lord want the salvation of humanity, He also wants the enlightenment of humanity through Christianity. From this posture, then, the knowledge of the truth in Hebrews 10:26, although it was initially written to Christian Jews at Jerusalem, is not solely a Christian Jewish concern, but an entire Body of Christ concern.
Never can a mature Christian, who has been victorious by God's indwelt power to love, turn from the faith of Holy Commandment as an ultimate lifestyle, and still expect the reaping of salvation. In more express terms, being lost before they were saved, "their latter end is worse with them than the beginning." The Holy Commandment, the most important commandment ever delivered to Christians, is unknown in the Christian community. Therefore, I the Author urge you to learn its rightful identity and its extreme importance to the Christian walk.
Although a believer can learn "the knowledge of the truth" intellectually, it's not truly realized unless one obtains it by the personal experience of growing faith by activated agape love. In consideration of this fact, it's wise to keep in mind that all haven't known the knowledge of the truth intellectually, though they may have personally experienced it.
And here lies a good reason to caution those who havenít experienced it; who are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." That is, that they might stop denying the power of God's love in action to increase their faith (2 Tim. 3:5, 7), and begin to grow in the Grace of God (2 Pet. 3:18).
Obviously, we are not to be ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, as evil men like Jamíbres and Janínes had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5-8). Now there are many power-doctrines within the Church that are popular, swaying many. But there is only one doctrine that works by Godís indwelt power to love. And that is the Doctrine of Christ, which, in sum, is to have genuine faith in the historical Christ of the Bible that works by love. More on this later.
Scripture teaches us that believers are taught of God Himself to love one another (1 Thess. 4:9). As a matter of fact, continuing godly love or the lack of it, is the great determinant of eternal security. Accordingly, love is from the beginning, and as Christians, we must continue in it (1 John 3:11). John wrote: "Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:24)
If we continue to utilize the light of the Word from the beginning, we will continue in the Father and the Son by the use of Christ's indwelt love. Diametrical to continuing in the Father and Son, however, are those whose lamps intentionally remain unlit; who have not worn mercy and truth around their neck, nor have they written these in their heart (Pro. 3:3).
Christians have an adversary who is out to ensure that they don't continue in the Father and the Son. That adversary, who is the Devil, can consume those who think that they're godly through religion. Peter taught: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith . . ." (1 Pet. 5:8-9). Here, the strict confines of Peter's writing centers on "your adversary" the Devil, who, incidentally, is not a "devourless" toothless lion. No, He is not a lion who just roars; He is able to devour!
Above all, we must be sober and watch. The Devil wants to expend the sheep. Because of this fact, we must resist the Devil by the steadfastness of our faith, while being aware of His every strategy, which includes affliction brought about by others (1 Pet. 5:9-10).
By responding in forgiveness to the unkindness of others, we resist the Devil in practicing "the truth" of our faith. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that Christians can't stand up for what is right, or pursue justice when treated inequitably. Yet, in our pursuit of justice there can surface a fine line separating justified resentment from open animosity. Advisedly, then, if we harbor ill feelings, those feelings must be discarded before a root of bitterness takes hold. Never is our quest for justice to be embittered.
Satan loves to ensnare our attitudes regarding others. He fully well knows the meaning of "the truth." Additionally, His focus is on a good wage, namely, the robbery of our salvation. Paul tells us, "Looking diligently lest any man fail the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15).
"Looking diligently" can only mean to evaluate our associations with others continuously, while looking for those things which are unaccommodating to God, such as hate, disdain, pride, contention, bitterness, envy, indifference, condescension, lying (habitual), selfishness, greed, speculative slander, unwarranted distrust, etc. For these, given time and validity, can and will defile the Christian. No wonder Paul wrote, "For the grace of God . . . Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12).
The grace that Paul alluded to in both Hebrews and Titus, is the Grace of God delivered to believers, not unbelievers. Like mindedly, Paulís below passage is also addressed to believers:
Both Paul and Peter used identical themes in their dire warnings. We know this because both the Holy Commandment and "the knowledge of the truth" were never delivered to, or received by, unbelievers.
Corresponding with this fact, only believers have the directive to walk in the Spirit, not unbelievers. In perspective, it's impossible to be saved by grace without the faith once delivered to the saints. For we are saved by grace through faith, which is not the common and accepted understanding of "grace alone." Paul wrote, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). As we will soon see in this work, even our faith is very much a part of the manifold Grace of God.
Now what happens if a believer through bitterness should fail God's Grace? Or fail to have an active faith? The answer in part: it depends where a person is in their walk with the Lord. The answer in full: such a person is standing on dangerous ground.
In essence, every Christian must heed the warnings of the apostles, lest a root of bitterness becomes a mature tree of bitterness, fully bearing its evil fruit, defiling many (Heb. 12:15).
The mature and fully grown in Christ are such because they have used the Father's Holy Commandment of faith that works by love (1 John 3:23). Again, they may not have understood it intellectually, but they have known "the way of righteousness" through their limited knowledge and experience, which isn't to "err from the truth."
Much Is Required
In the Parable of Ten Talents Christ distributed various talents to those in charge of the Masterís goods: The clergy, and all who are called to do a special work within the ministry (Matt. 25:14-30). In that parable, the Lord gave according to each person's "several ability." Contrasted, Christ only allocated one pound to each in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19). (The common denominator of both parables is that all ministers are responsible for upholding God's talents, or abilities of faith, as every Christian is to do the same in upholding God's pounds.)
Despite the common resemblance of both parables, there remains a vast difference between Matthew's Parable of the Ten Talents (ministry), compared to that of Luke's Parable of the Pounds (everyday believers). Even the value of a talent compared to that of a pound is more than notable.6
In the Parable of the Pounds, everyday Christians have a special duty to employ their faith as they receive the proceeds of the Gospel. Strikingly, in that parable none received the charge of "his goods," as does the ministry in the Parable of the Ten Talents.
Of course, the Lord never entrusted unbelievers with His goods, nor has He ever distributed valuable spiritual abilities to unbelievers for the edification of the Church. More than likely, then, Matthew's Parable of the Ten Talents speaks to wicked and idle ministers, and to their demise if they don't repent (Matt. 25:30).
The wicked servant in the Parable of the Ten Talents was afraid to do the will of the Lord. He was lazy, or slothful as the Scripture puts it, hiding his talent where it profited neither him nor others. Haplessly, his attitude was that the Lord would reap no matter what (Eternal Security Doctrine), even to the point of reaping where He had not sown (Universalism).7 Manifestly, his evil attitude revealed an inner belief rooted in a lack of knowledge, being that the Lord was a hard taskmaster, and too hard to serve (Matt. 25:24).
By biblical criteria, the wicked servant with one talent was an unfaithful servant (Matt. 25:26), whose end was to be outer darkness. With all certainty, "outer darkness" (Matt. 25:29-30) is a much sorer punishment than being beaten with few stripes (Luke 12:42-48). We are to make no mistake, the torment of "outer darkness" far surpasses that of being left behind with the unbelievers in the Tribulation.13 Eternal Security?
Matthew's wicked ministerial servant utterly failed his calling by neglecting to obtain more of the power of God. This slothful servant should have taken the Lord's talent to the money exchangers, which spiritually is an expression of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Or where one can truly earn interest by obtaining more faith through the growth of Christ: "Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money (My power) to the exchangers (God), and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury" (Matt. 25:27).8
Of all concerns, the ministry has the greatest responsibility, and will be far more answerable than the bulk of the Church (James 3:1). Among other things, a talent by investment is to increase the quality of the fold. So, when a congregation fails to grow spiritually, then that pastor is lazy in spiritual things, and he will be treated as such. In clear-cut terms, the Lord will not tolerate any ministerís indifference to the salvation of others, especially when it's their specific responsibility and duty, being the bread and butter on their plate.
God does not give talents on the basis of self-worth. Rather, He gives them for diverse duties requiring various strengths. With this in mind, no one is to feel short-changed in having just one talent. Actually, most ministers begin with one, which shows us that the real limitation in having one is the lack of its reproduction (Author's opinion). True, to wield the Word of God effectively more than one talent is required. The appalling fact, however, is that all don't seek the duplicating of their talent.
What is the sum of the parable? God's indwelt power isn't to be missing in any ministerís calling of the Lord's work. More importantly, all ministers must value the many truths of Godís Word, esteeming His Word above all else. Finally, no minister is to assume that God is too strict, or too difficult to serve. Quite to the contrary the prophet wrote: "taste and see that the Lord is good." In other words, personally experience the goodness of the Lord; personally experience Christ's agape love!
As evidenced by the wicked servant's self-admitted account, the Scripture lacked God's interpretation, supplemented by his own. Obviously, this slothful servant didn't use his one talent for the benefit of others in His relationship with the Lord. This, then, openly showed that he wasn't willing to share his allotted godly love, and by that, grow in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Matthew's lazy and wicked servant didn't continue in the Word from the beginning. No wonder God said through the prophet: "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness" (Jer. 12:10).
How important is all this to the ministry? "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents. . . . And cast you the unprofitable servant into outer darkness . . ." (Matt. 25:28, 30).
Although this teaching may be interpreted as speaking harshly to the willfully ignorant of the clergy, it applauds the bulk of the ministry who laboriously hate spiritual indolence: "To him that has shall all the more be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath" (Matt. 25:29).
If God Permit
The possibility of falling from grace largely pertains to mature Christians, especially since they're accountable to a much greater degree. In light of this fact, some have never ventured beyond the principles of the Doctrine of Christ: "And this will we do if God permit" (Heb. 6:3).
Greatly evidenced in the Scripture, there is a greater manifestation of the general anointing. It is the Heavenly Gift that all believers don't receive. One evidence for this is, "if any man have an ear, let him hear." Another is, "to whom much is given, much shall be required." Another is, ". . . for many be called, but few chosen." Another is, ". . . the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:14-15). Still, another is, "and have tasted of the heavenly gift . . . and have tasted. . . . the powers of the world to come." Finally, another is, ". . . if God permit."
The following is descriptive of the Heavenly Gift in question:
"The above anointing" teaches "all things," just as the general anointing also does (John 14:26). However, the above anointing goes far beyond guiding "into all truth" (John 16:13), because it is the truth. Or as John put it: "it is no lie." Thus, the one who receives "the anointing" has no need that any man teach them, because an extra measure of holy agape love teaches them.9For which reason, "that which you have heard from the beginning"10 must remain in the one who is anointed (1 John 2:24), as does "the anointing" itself (1 John 2:27)!
An extra allotment of love is the teacher who enlightens, being the Holy Spirit in a fuller measure. Forthrightly, such is a greater measure of God's gift in the bonds of grace (Eph. 4:7), of which, the Scripture is fully supportive:
It can only be a mature, but fallen believer, who seeks to be renewed again unto repentance. Only this kind can be "once enlightened." Besides this unalterable fact, it can only be a "once enlightened" fallen believer who can cause open shame to the Son of God, not the unbeliever. Here again, is the confirmation that Eternal Security is a very misleading doctrine.
Simply the natural man, or the man who was never reborn as a believer, canít know the things of the Spirit of God much less taste of the heavenly gift, seeing that he canít even discern these. Moreover, the natural man is never made to be a partaker of the Holy Spirit, while tasting the good Word of God; nor can the natural man discern the powers of the world to come: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1st Cor. 2:4).
Thus the following can only pertain to born again Christians who fall away: "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning" (2nd Pet. 2:20)!
When the Scripture speaks of crucifying the Son of God afresh, it means "afresh." Who can credibly deny that the word "afresh" doesnít mean "one more time"? Or "anew"?
Now it doesn't take much to condemn either the Romans or the Jews for Christ's crucifixion, or both. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that all have crucified the Lord through their sin (Eph. 2:1-16). Therefore, to crucify Christ afresh is to crucify Him twice (Jude vs. 11-12), and this, in the confines of an enlightened, but distasteful, willful, failed Christian experience.
After wholly walking in the Spirit, to turn from that walk interminably is to do despite to the Spirit of Grace. This, then, is the sow returning to the mire after her washing, which isn't just an ordinary fall (2 Pet. 2:22), but a fall from God's sweet, sweet, grace. Speaking of 2 Peter 2:22, this is not a soap and water washing. Quite oppositely, it is the washing of sin by the blood of our Lord given by faith in Jesus Christ. It is this washing alone that enables one to learn ďthe ways of righteousnessĒ and to ďescape the pollutions of the world,Ē obtaining the gift of salvation. Aside from Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life, there is no washing that can accomplish this. It is what makes Christ the friend of Christians. To believe otherwise is to support another washing, meaning, to support another way of salvation other than Christ. Note: If we do a word study on the word ďwashingĒ in the New Testament, we find this to be an absolute truth.
Undeniably, all will stumble many more times than anyone wants to admit. Yet no one who is "once enlightened" can taste of the good Word of God and spit it out, while rightfully claiming God's blessings. Thus, no one being a greater "partaker of the Spirit," can remain in God's favor while shedding the blood of Jesus Christ twice. In plainer terms, only a reborn can taste the powers of the world to come,12 and then crucify Christ afresh! "For it is impossible. . . . To renew them again unto repentance," especially since the word "impossible," means, "impossible."
Paul's phrase, "if they shall fall away,"13 shows us that these were Christians in a righteous state before falling from God's Grace. Additionally, the word "renew" in Hebrews 6:6, further denotes that these werenít just believers, but regenerated believers who initially repented. Unaccommodating to the view that these were not fallen believers, is the fact that the impenitent have never been regenerated, nor have they ever fallen away. Surely the natural man has never experienced regeneration, much less has he experienced an Christís overpowering loveĖĖone of the powers of the world to come.
Grace is the gift of God which frees the Christian from the grips of spiritual death while tolerating the old sin nature, that we might overcome. Of course, if a Christian continuously tempts God they will eventually reap what they sow, for God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7, Heb. 3:17-18).
Even if it were impossible for a fallen believer to lose their eternal salvation, to neglect the holiness aspect of grace always results in severe repercussions. This, Paul overtly illustrated this in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. There, the magnitude of Lord's mercy saved the soul of the fornicator, while Paul turned his flesh over to Satan for its destruction (1 Cor. 5:5).
Under God's Grace, Christians are the branches and Jesus is the vine (John 15:5). In truly discerning this, What branch ever grew while lacking nourishment from the vine? What branch ever lived while refusing to abide in Him? Paul tells us:
Unambiguous is the Holy Spirit's counsel to believers. Christians can be cut-off. Indeed, to perpetuate a lifestyle without the growth of faith is to risk the severing of one's faith, being oneís branch. The whole of this reality, then, should lead us to the only wise alternative of Scripture--we must abide; we must continue in the Father and the Son: "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love" (John 15:9).
To continue in the Father and the Son doesn't mean immediate perfection, but a willingness to continue in His Word, or a willingness to choose growth through discipleship: "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed" (John 8:31). However, to choose not to continue in His Word, or that process of faith, is to build again the transgressions of the law:
Paul tells us that Christians can't endlessly turn from the ways of faith, lest they risk rebuilding sin by the law, and this, by once again becoming a transgressor of the law. More concisely, if a Christian falls to the point of being a transgressor in Godís eyes, then they have returned to their initial state of being lost (2 Pet. 2:21-22).
Without question, the Lord accounts overcoming to all Christians, who through time, continue to fulfill God's law by love: the faith of His Word in action. Paul, in noting the necessity of growth through faith, wrote, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." Paul, being dead to the law, lived unto God through the law. In other words, having freedom from the lawís oldness of the letter, Paul fulfilled the law through the use of love from an indwelt Christ (Gal. 5:14).
Again, some have an inaccurate concept of ďthe knowledge of the truthĒ in asserting that Hebrews 10:26 addresses unbelievers and/or just believing Jews. The appropriate counterview to that misconception, is that unbelievers donít have a ďfearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.Ē In plain, unassailable terms, without a former belief judgment canít be looked for, neither can it be realistically seen by any unbeliever. True, if a believing Jew were to revert to the works of Judaism after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there would remain no more sacrifice for sins. Then, he or or she would lose their salvation. However, this is not the whole story of Hebrews 10:26, for it remains that if any Christian were to abandon their faith in Christ for the self-justification of law works, or any justification other than Christ after knowing and understanding these things, they also would lose their salvation. So then, as stated earlier, Hebrews 10:26 is not just a Christian Jewish concern, but an entire Body of Christ concern.
Ultimately, the willingness to partake of ongoing love is fundamental to the security of every Christian, not to mention the how of watching. And to tell the truth, is to tell it like it is, though it may disagree with the views of those we passionately love in Christ. And this will we do in fuller measure, "if God permit."
The Grace of God In Truth
Surely Christians are saved by grace the moment they believe (John 5:24, 6:47). But does that negate "by grace are you saved through faith" Eph. 2:11)? In other words, as longtime Christians, are we saved apart from the measure of faith dealt to every Christian (Rom. 12:3)? Apart from Godís love shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5)? Apart from being born of love (1 John 4:7)? Apart from the "more excellent way" (1Cor. 12:31)? God forbid! Forever joined, "faith which worketh by love"is very much a part of the Grace of God, enabling us to overcome sin by the growth of grace. So much so, that faith and love both hold the potential to increase within us (2 Thess. 1:3), just as Godís Grace also holds the potential to grow in our lives (2 Pet. 3:18).
No wonder, then, that we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren (1 John 3:14). Simply, the use of godly love, that work, is very much a part of Godís Grace, whereby we pass from death unto life. (This sorely needs to preached in the Body of Christ!)
Within the Body of Christ there is a gross misunderstanding of Godís Grace. Fostering this misconception is the widespread belief that grace is grace, a separate entity apart from faith and godly love. However, grace is not a separate gift apart from faith and godly love. In fact, combined, these exemplify the Grace of God in truth, being His workmanship within us.
Although it may seem strange, the actual biblical interpretation of "grace" far exceeds that of the gift of salvation. For grace, among other things, is the divine influence on the human heart; a process of such magnitude that it is by no means restricted to the understanding of man. Peter wrote of this process, "But GROW in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).
To reiterate, faith and godly love are not segregated gifts apart from grace (Rom. 4:16, 12:3; 2 Cor. 8:7), but one gift. In simpler terms it is in vain for God to impart grace without a measure of faith and His love (Jude V. 3; Rom. 5:5, 12:3).
Aptly, when Christians come boldly to the Throne of Grace in a time of need, it is to obtain more faith and love, not more salvation (the general understanding of grace). Paul wrote, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). Understandably, then, an extra measure of faith and love represent the "grace to help in time of need" (our spiritual strength), and the fuel for good works that God has before "ordained that we should walk in them.
Another popular interpretation of the word "grace" is the "unmerited favor" of God; however, this only illustrates one facet of grace. More than embracing this view is the fact that Jesus "was full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), but not full of the unmerited favor of God covering His sin. Thus, Jesus, being sinless, was full of faith and love, the favor and truth of God. Conversely, Christians, because of their sin, partake of the unmerited favor of God, that they might be filled all the more with faith and love, the manifold Grace of God:
In the above, every man has received the gift! So then, every person in Christ has the ability to exercise Godís love, being the ability to exercise charity (1 John 4:7). Indeed, every person in Christ is to use Godís love that we may be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God," and this, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Now itís impossible to be saved by grace without faith, for we, as longtime Christians, are saved "by grace . . . THROUGH faith," that process, none other. Certainly, then, there is no such thing as grace that doesnít contain a measure of faith.
To be more precise, "through faith" means that we are to have godly works toward the high prize of our calling, or works generated by Godís love (1 Pet. 4:8-10). Paul wrote of these godly works when he penned, "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" (Rom. 2:7). Fittingly, Romans 2:7 also suggests that there is more to works than readily meets the eye, such as "patient continuance," which is a faith work involving the process of bearing fruit to God.
Biblically, there are two ways of doing righteousness in the New Testament. Here are the two ways of righteousness, or two ways of doing biblical works for the Christian:
1.) The first type of righteousness is by the self-generated works of the law, which doesnít enable one to bear fruit: "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law . . ." (Rom. 9:31-32).
2.) The other is the righteousness obtained by faith in Jesus Christ, which does enable one to bear fruit: "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness (right living) which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9).
Righteousness through faith, which is really living right by faith, represents the works of Godís Grace that God before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). In other words, righteousness through faith is not representative of self-generated law works, but faith works. (Christ working and growing withinówhat a difference!) In fact, these are the very works of which Christ says to Thyatira, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations." Additionally, these are the very works of which John wrote, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds (works) may be made manifest, that they are worked in God" (John 3:21).
In retrospect, our works of faith or deeds worked in God come about by partaking of Christís power to love (Eph. 3:7, 17; Rom. 5:5), and this, so that our works may be made manifest that they are worked in God. Thus, the works of faith, even though these are works, are also the gift of Godís Grace. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
Through faith? Living right by faith? Laboring to enter His rest by faith? Many foster the idea that works have nothing to do with the Grace of God, and again, this is true concerning "law works," but not true concerning the works of godly faith and love (John 6:29). On this very accord, Christ told Sardis: "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." Fittingly, Sardisís works that arenít perfect before God are the works not perfected by Godís love for others (1 John 4:12). Hopefully, Sardis wonít claim that grace is void of any and all works (Rom. 11:6), and complete her godly works in God, just as the Lord instructed.
Never does the Scripture state that Christians are saved by grace alone. Conversely, it states: "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Certainly, then, no longtime Christian will be saved who willfully transgresses and refuses to abide in the Doctrine of Christ as an overall lifestyle (2 John 9-10). Thus, it is my conviction that the time comes in every longtime Christianís life wherein they are no longer justified by their initial faith alone (James 2:24), but by an abiding faith in the Lord; or by having a God shaping faith, fueled by good works in obedience to Christ (2 Tim. 3:17; James 2:24). For this is the true meaning of abiding in Christ, that fruit might be borne to God (John 15:5; 1 John 2:27).
No, the Grace of God is not a license to abandon our role of abiding in Christ. Meaning that faith, like abiding, is also a process. So after we are saved, we must at some point learn how to abide and continue the Christian walk, and join that process.
In the case of Christís Bridegroom Return (sometimes referred to as the Partial Rapture), it isnít redemption or rewards by the works of the law, it is, however, a sooner redemptive reward by the works of love through an active faith (Rev. 2:24-25, 3:10). We especially see this in Christís mention of rewards upon His Quick Coming (Rev. 22:12).
In full demonstration of this process, "faith which worketh by love" is a faith that cooperates in our ultimate justification through abiding in Christ, whereas dead faith doesnít (James 2:24). So ironic is this nondebatable fact, that, in the strict confnes of Godís Grace, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (again, not works of the law, but the good works of faith), which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). It is no marvel, then, that we are to provoke one anther to love and good works, and even more so as we see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25). Fittingly, Jesus remarked how works will determine oneís resurrection (John 5:29). Likewise, so did Paul (2 Cor. 11:15).
Unquestionably, by grace Christ expects Christians to learn the ways of righteousness: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12).
Here also lies an expansion of the meaning of Godís manifold grace. For the Grace of God itself teaches us to deny all forms of ungodliness, and this, by faith, that the Grace of God in truth might be just that, the Grace of God in truth. (And, how has the Grace of God appeared unto all men? One obvious answer is by His Spirit, who always convicts people of their right and wrong behavior in giving peace for well-doing, and a nagging sense of uneasiness for wrongdoing.)
In Scripture, there are two unalterable elements of Godís Grace that go hand-in-hand. First, it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6). Second, faith, after its inception, can only remain effective by the use of Christís indwelt love. Thus, to fathom the significance of faith and love is to know the Grace of God in truth. It is to know the "how" of abiding. The same abiding that is "the exceeding grace of God in you," "created in Christ Jesus unto good works." In suit, "Let us labor therefore to enter that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Heb. 4:11).
Now does all this mean that the cross of Christ, His blood atonement and death, arenít sufficient to save us without works? To justify us without works? God forbid! The blood atonement and death of Christ (on the cross) for our sins, cant be added to, or subtracted fromóthere is nothing greater than Christís blood atonement, death and resurrection for our salvation, a finished work.
Nevertheless, the Grace of God in Truth encompasses more than the cross and Christís blood atonement, death and resurrection. Meaning, the Grace of God also embodies the exacted will of God for our lives, that is, after we have become Christians (Eph. 2:10). In this vein, again, our faith saves us the moment we believe in Christ as our substitute sacrifice (John 5:24), yet that is not the whole story. Because Christ still reserves the right to abrogate the promise of eternal life; that is, if a longtime Christian refuses to abide in Him and bear fruit (Matt. 5:13; John 15:2-6; 1 John 2:24-25).
As evidenced by the following, the Church at Colossia held this exact understanding, that, faith, in the union of love, is very much a part of the Grace of God in truth: To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:
Thessalonica also knew the workings of Godís Grace in truth: Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet [you are worthy], because that your FAITH GROWETH EXCEEDING, and the CHARITY of every one of you all toward each other ABOUNDETH. (2 Thess. 1:2-3)
By casual examination of Paulís letter to the Colossians,5 one would never recognize that Paul was imprisoned when he wrote it. Then, jailed in Rome (Col. 4:18), Paul was far from being disheartened in a state of self- pity. Rather, Paul rejoiced in his sufferings (Col. 1:24); he didnít wallow in hate for his captors. Like-mindedly, those in bonds with Paul also shared a valid concern for the saints at Colosse: "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you" (Col. 1:3).
To know the Grace of God "in truth," is also to know the unabridged Word heard from the beginning. John wrote, "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that you should love one another" (1 John 3:11). The "beginning" being the beginning of the Gospelís fruit, wherein Christ literally came to indwell men, manifesting His love for one another in the genuine believer.
Comparatively, The Royal Law, though itís only found once in the New Testament, also contains the "in truth" message: "If you fulfill the Royal Law, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, YOU DO WELL" (James 2:8). The Law of Christ, though it also appears only once in the New Testament, certainly composes the "in truth" message: "Bear you one anotherís burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2).
Finally, The Law of Liberty, which also appears once in the New Testament, more than incorporates the "in truth" message of our actions toward others: "So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of Liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (James 2:12). In sum, if we are to have Eternal Security after we are saved, then we must abide; we must bear fruit; we must pick ourselves up after falling every time, no matter how many times we fall! Simply no person can turn their back on their faith in Jesus Christ as an overall lifestyle, and maintain Eternal Security.
The Night-trib View Is That Christ Returns in The Spiritual Night Of The
If You Do These things You Shall Never Fall
Empowered, Paul wrote a beautiful illustration of this very process,
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you `being ROOTED! and grounded in love,' May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Eph. 3:14-20)
To be strengthened with might in the inner man is to uphold the principles of God in nourishing the new man. Of course, this process isn't relegated upon reading the Word alone, just as it isn't based on hearing the Word alone. Now the Lord increases us individually, and this, according to the power that works within us.
Accordingly, we must subject ourselves to God's entire will: a meaningful prayer life; a willingness to fellowship; a willingness to love (especially those in the Body of Christ); the open confession of our sins to God; study; the implementation of accurate doctrine; and last but not least in this author's list, to the humility that Christ would have each of us to have in bearing our cross in the presence of others, etc. And these, so much so, that our faith becomes Word-based, and not faith-based.
Faith is a big word, especially if we're to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, and be filled with fulness of God. To achieve that end, we are to walk even as He walked (1 John 2:6!) in adding God's principles to our faith:
. . . add to your faith virtue; (vibrant, courageous strength); and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (Greek: AgapeĖGodís love in action within you!). For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . for if you do these things, YOU SHALL NEVER FALL. (2 Pet. 1:5-10)!
May I provoke you? Think of all the conflicting doctrines within the Church today. Think of all the different views of eschatology within the Church today. Now that youíve done that (I trust that you have), know that it is God's stipulation that if we add the above principles to our faith, our knowledge won't be unfruitful, and we'll never fall. Again, God bless!!!
FOR COMING BY
A Light For The Coming Night!