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Not What the Inspectors Expect

Have you ever found yourself making a statement like, “Just look at how he is behaving.  I know he can’t be saved,” or “I know he isn’t saved, acting like that.”?  What would lead you to make statements like that?  Are we saved by our actions and deeds or are we saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?  Lordship Salvation and Calvinism have infiltrated many good churches and have even covertly corrupted the way that many believers think about salvation.  What do I mean?  The “P” of Calvin’s T.U.L.I.P. teaches that the saints will persevere.  It is in this teaching that Calvinists say they believe in eternal security.  But is it the believer that perseveres in their salvation by a godly life, or is it God Who preserves the saints by His power?  The Apostle Peter says in his 1st epistle, chapter 1 and verse 5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  We will take a look at a few commonly held misconceptions of the day as they relate to the life of the believer and unpack them.

One of the most common comes to us from 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Here, Paul says,  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  I can’t tell you how many people, laymen and preachers, who use this verse to say that a believer just simply will not be sinning anymore.  I have heard people repeat this verse and place emphasis on certain words to illustrate their point.  They look to prove that the verse is saying that a person is a new creature: he has all new wants and desires; all of the old things are gone away: those old things are the desire to sin. But can that really be the case?  Speaking of himself, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:14-25, “14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  I would suggest someone show Paul 2 Corinthians 5:17, except for the fact that he wrote it!  If that verse means what most people say that it means, then what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 7 is in stark contrast to it. That verse has such a richer and deeper meaning than these (mostly) well-meaning people are applying to it.  2 Corinthians 5:17 is a positional verse that describes what has happened to the person that has gone from being an unbeliever to being a believer.  The old conditions of death and an eternal punishment in hell are now gone and have been replaced by many new and wonderful things.  Just a few of the new “things” in the believer’s life include the fact that they have received the new birth, they have eternal life, their sins have been forgiven, they have been passed from death unto life, and many more.

I also hear the book of 1 John often touted as a way of ferreting out unbelievers.  “Look at how John talks about if a person isn’t doing this or that, then they don’t have the truth in them…” is a popular thing for people to say who are of the erroneous belief that John was giving us a litmus test to uncover fake Christians.  So just what is the book of 1 John all about?  Notice that John uses the word “we” quite often; he included himself, a believer, in this group.  We know believers can’t lose their salvation, so what is John talking about?  John is giving us a way to tell if we are in fellowship with the Lord.  You can’t hate your brother, be in darkness, or living in any other type of sin and really expect that you are in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, can you?  You may be out of fellowship, but your salvation is secure.

At this point, the critic is probably screaming, “Then how do you know if someone is saved?  There has to be evidence?”  You can know a person is saved by what they are trusting in to be saved.  The only way a person can be saved is by believing the Gospel.  When is a person saved?  The instant that they trust Christ at Saviour.  How much evidence is available then?  Only the person’s profession of faith and the Word of God that guarantees He will save them.  How much more evidence is needed at that moment?  God can never go back on His Word and salvation can never be lost, so that evidence is good forever.  “Well, a believer is going to grow and have good works,” you say.  They certainly should.  However, that is not automatic and no two believers will mature at the same rate.  Read Paul’s epistles.  Count how many times he gives instructions to his readers in Christian living, or uses phrases like “know ye not.”  If these things were automatic, then these believers would already be doing them, they already would know what he was explaining, and most of those epistles wouldn’t have needed writing in the first place.  Believers have two natures:  we have our new nature, which is born of God, it is perfect and never sins.  But we also still have our old nature which never gets any better, it never improves.  Paul said in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”  What did he mean by that?  These two natures that we have share the same body and they fight for control of it.  The one that wins is the one that you feed.  Misunderstanding the two natures leads to more defeat in the Christian life than just about anything else that I know of.

How did Paul deal with sin in the life of believers?  As I have stated earlier, I see so many today who will bring in to question the very authenticity of one’s salvation if they do not believe that person is ‘living right.”  But exactly what do they consider living right?  How many times is a person allowed to mess up before they are declared “not really saved?”  Suppose that someone sees that other person when they are having an “off day” and judges them to not be saved!  This type of “fruit inspecting” is dangerous and unscriptural.  It can do much harm to the faith of those who are already weak in the faith.  So just what is the answer?  How did the Apostle Paul handle this sort of thing?  I can tell you most certainly that he did not call into question the salvation of the backslider.  It has been my experience that most of the people who will question a man’s salvation based on their observations and their opinions always seem to forget the church of Corinth.  The city of Corinth itself was known for its debauchery.  Those who trusted Christ as Saviour and were now part of the Body of Christ came from this environment.  This was a church made up of men and women who were carnal; they were often found to be walking after the flesh as opposed to walking in the Spirit.  This church had at least 14 major issues that the Apostle needed to deal with in his first epistle to them.  Fornication was a major problem as well.  One such issue Paul refers to as “such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles.”  It was bad. So what did he do?  He covered all of the problems and then he reminded them of the Gospel. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”  What does he mean when he says, “unless ye have believed in vain.”? He is saying here that they believed in vain if Christ was not risen from the grave.  But then he goes on to make a rock-solid case that Christ did rise from the grave; that they did not believe in vain.  If anything, Paul is reinforcing to them that they are saved.  He is reminding them about what they believed when they got saved and reassuring them that Jesus is the Christ Who died to pay for their sins, was buried, and rose again.  He goes on to say that we too will be resurrected with new bodies.  Then when he gets down towards the end of the chapter he begins to talk about Christ’s return for His Church.  Why would he do that?  He made a strong case that He came and did everything He said He would the first time, according to the Scriptures.  And now he is driving home the point to them that this same Jesus is going to come again just like He said He would.  The point being that it might just matter what we do in between those two events.   How different this approach is from the majority today who will berate a backslidden brother or even someone that may be doing something that they just happen to not agree with, and attempt to convince them that they aren’t saved because of it.  This sort of thing causes people to either attempt to work for their salvation or just walk away in frustration; either way it robs them of their joy and liberty in Christ.  Paul gave us our example here of how to help the carnal Christian.  He also exhorts us in Galatians 6:1, “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.”  He goes on to say in verse 2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”  If there is any doubt as to what the law of Christ might be, we can find it in John 13:34 and right there in Galatians 5:14.  It can be summed up in one word: love.

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Categories: Misc

Grievous Wolves

December 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Acts 20:28-29 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

A hungry wolf spotted a lamb drinking from a stream, and decided to make a meal of it. First though, he thought he should have a reason for devouring it. “Little lamb, why are you muddying the water I’m drinking?”

The lamb replied, “Oh no, sir, that can’t be. I am downstream from where you are drinking.”

Undeterred, the wolf snarled, “Well, then why did you call me bad names this time last year?”

To which the lamb replied, “That can’t be; I am only six months old.”

Angrily, the wolf said, “Well if it wasn’t you, it was your father,” and fell upon the lamb.

With his last breath the lamb bleated out, “Any excuse will suit a tyrant.”

The New Testament refers to people who attempt to infiltrate and pick off members of the Body of Christ as “grievous wolves.” The Apostle Paul warned the church that wolves would come in and would not spare the flock. Any excuse would suit them.

Those who wander away from the Good Shepherd, those who are out on the fringes – they are the ones who will be easy for the wolves to pick off.

Christian, where are you? Are you wandering out on the edges, flirting with the world? Does the grass seem greener in other pastures? Beware, for the wolves are lurking. You would do well to stay close to the protection of the Good Shepherd.

Shared from Dr. Jim Scudder Jr.’s Devotionals

Categories: Misc

Difficult Passages…Matthew Chapter 7

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Ted Horton

There are several passages in Scripture that have proven to be difficult for people over the years.  Some of these passages are often pulled out of context or simply misinterpreted and used to promote false doctrine.  One such example that I have seen come up several times in the last couple of weeks is Matthew chapter 7, verses 21-23.  The verses in question read as follows, Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

I will give you a couple examples of how I have seen this brief portion of Scripture mishandled in the last several weeks.  The first was in a meme that shared only verse 23 and stated, “Jesus didn’t tell them to depart from Him because they kept the law, but because they were law breakers.”  Also, there was a young lady arguing that salvation could be lost.  This was one of the places that she went to.  She believed the text showed that the people were Christian because of their good works, yet Christ was rejecting them; hence, they had lost their eternal salvation.

Let’s take a look at what is going on in this story and what is really being said.

Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Here Jesus makes the profound statement that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  That word Lord is the Greek kurios, and means:  supreme in authority; controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): – God, Lord, master, Sir.  Jesus says that it is not enough to simply recognize His Lordship, as many teach today.  There are well known preachers and televangelists who teach that to be saved you must make Jesus the Lord and Master of your life; this simply is not true and is illustrated here by Jesus’ own words.  You can be saved and make Him your Lord and Master, but simply making Him Lord and Master is not what saves as evidenced by His words that “not everyone” who calls Him Lord will be saved.  At the end of that statement we find the word “but.”  But is a great word.  It is a coordinating conjunction that shows contrast.  When we see or hear the word but, we know that what is coming next is about to be totally different from what we just heard.  Jesus told us that not everyone who acknowledges His Lordship will be saved, but. . .  Now He is about to tell us who will be saved.  He says, “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”  Okay.  Great.  To go to Heaven we simply have to do the will of God the Father.  So just what is that?  We have to look no further than the Gospel of John to find that answer.  In John 6:40 we read, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Matthew 7:21; John 6:40 and the rest of the Bible teach to be saved that we must believe on Christ.   Acts 16:30-31, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Matthew 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  Jesus is foretelling that there will be many who stand before Him in judgment that are surprised to find that they will not be entering Heaven.  They try to justify their worthiness of Heaven by the good works that they performed in life.  Look at this impressive list.  1.)  Prophesied (or preached) in Jesus’ name.  2.)  Cast out devils in Jesus’ name.  3.)  Performed many wonderful works in Jesus’ name.  I find it interesting that in this impressive list of accomplishments that not one of them says, “Lord, I believed (trusted) on you as my only hope of Heaven,” or, “Jesus, I put my faith in you as my Saviour to get me into Heaven.”  It’s also interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t disagree with anything that they claimed.  However, everything that they listed as a reason to be saved was something that they had done.  What does God think of our works, no matter how good they may be?  Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”  No matter how hard we may try, we simply cannot atone for our sins.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  We have no part in our salvation; all that we can do is place our faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross.  Romans 4:4-5, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Matthew 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Jesus doesn’t dispute or deny the boasts made by these men.  In fact, today we see many professing Christians who are claiming Jesus as Lord, and are in fact, doing many great works in His name.  But no amount of good work, in Jesus’ name or otherwise, will merit your entrance into Heaven.  Jesus didn’t say that they hadn’t done all of the many wonderful works that they claimed, but He did say to them, “I never knew you.”  It’s important to note that He says He never knew them.  He didn’t say He used to know them and now He doesn’t or that He forgot about them; He says He never knew them.  This is important because it proves that these weren’t people who were saved and then lost their salvation.  These were people who were never saved and tried to get into Heaven by working their way in.  Jesus called those people who had done these many wonderful works, “ye that work iniquity.”  Their great works were worth as much as lawless works of iniquity.

Matthew 7:21-23 is not a story about people who were saved and lost their salvation, not is it a story about people who were cast into hell because they didn’t keep the law.  This is a story about people trusting in their good works to save them.  Good works will never save you and they will not keep you saved.   Philippians 3:9 says, “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 which is of God by faith.”  When you trust Christ as Saviour, His payment is put to your account and you are given His righteousness; you go to Heaven on what He did.  Trust Him alone as your only hope of Heaven today.

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Categories: Misc

Is Salvation Really Free?

I saw a post on Facebook just the other night that read “Noah wasn’t saved by grace, he was saved because he obeyed.”  The author of that statement went on to say that we must trust Christ as Saviour AND work to say saved.  He then went on to dust off the old familiar chestnut, “faith without works is dead.”  Well, is salvation by faith or is it by works?  Is it by a combination of the two?  Just what is really meant by the oft repeated, yet seldom understood, “faith without works is dead?”  We will try to gain some insight into these questions below.

First, let’s look at the statement, “Noah wasn’t saved by grace, he was saved because he obeyed.”  What type of salvation are we talking about specifically?  Genesis 6:8 reads, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”  So scripturally speaking, this post has already found contradiction.  If the writer was referring to soul salvation, he was most definitely wrong.  God only saves sinners on the basis of grace.  Regardless of dispensation, salvation is by grace through faith.  If, and this is a big if, because most posters of this meme use it to support a works based salvation, he was referring to temporal salvation, then he could be correct.  Had Noah disobeyed God and not built an ark, he would have been washed away in the flood; hence, he would not have been saved (physically).  Often times in the life of a Christian when we do not obey God we are not saved from the consequences of the sinful choices that we make.  This does not mean that we are not saved (soul-salvation, saved from hell, etc.).  Saved and salvation can refer to a physical or temporal salvation, and it can also refer to the standing of our eternal soul when we trust Christ as Saviour.  We must look for context.  The people of Nineveh who believed Jonah’s message were saved eternally and by the king’s decree the entire city repented, and changed their wicked ways and were saved physically (Jonah 3:10  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.).

The next question to answer is the charge that we are saved by grace and works, or by grace and then we work to stay saved. Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”  This means that it is one or the other; grace and works are mutually exclusive.  An old friend of mine used to say this verse is akin to saying that if it is nighttime outside your window, then it can’t also be daytime outside your window.  If you are saved by grace then you CANNOT be saved by works, works cannot play any part in the salvation.  The inverse is true also:  if you are saved by works then grace cannot play any part in the salvation.  So, since Scripture plainly says that it has to be one or the other, which is it?  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  There will not be one person in Heaven who deserves to be there, or who will be able to say that they helped God out in any way, shape, or form in their getting to Heaven.  Someone out there, right now, is saying, “Ooh, ooh, but what about Ephesians 2:10?  What about that?  It says you have to do good works.  What about that?”  Let’s take a look at what it says.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 is a progression.  Verses 8 and 9 deal with us getting saved and then verse 10 is after we are saved.  Notice this is talking about Christians as Paul says we and includes himself in the group.  Christians are God’s workmanship and are made to do good works.

Finally, we will look at the statement, “faith without works is dead.”  James 2:17 reads, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  James 2:14 says, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”  We have to ask the question, “save him from what?”  If a person has faith in Christ as Saviour, can that faith save him from going to hell, then the answer is yes.  If a person has no good works and is trusting in his faith alone to earn him rewards in Heaven, will his faith save him from chastisement, then the answer is no.  Remember, James was written to believers.  The context of James shows us that he is speaking of believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Notice James 2:12, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”  This could only be referring to the judgment of believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  In James 2:14 we find no believer will be saved (exempted) from the believer’s judgment of works.  No works will bring about no reward (profit).  James speaks of justification by works before men.  Paul speaks of justification by faith before God.  Dr. C. I. Scofield makes the following observation in the Scofield Bible:   “These are two aspects of one truth. Paul speaks of that which justifies man before God, namely: faith alone, wholly apart from works; James of the proof before men, that he who professes to have justifying faith really has it. Paul speaks of what God sees — faith; James of what men see — works, as the visible evidence of faith. Paul draws his illustration from (Gen_15:6) James from (Gen_22:1-19). James’ key phrase is “ye see” (Jam_2:24) for men cannot see faith except as manifested through works.”  James himself teaches salvation by faith when he says in chapter 2 and verse 23 “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”  James goes on to teach that years later he demonstrated that faith by obeying God in offering up Isaac.

Jesus finished the work of salvation on the cross.  We can be saved only by trusting His finished work.  Why not trust Christ as your only hope of Heaven?  Then, once that is settled, choose to serve Him and receive blessings, rewards, treasures in Heaven, profit for eternity.

Categories: Misc
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