Chapter 13 Continued from Chapter 12
“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)
An Email Ministry for the Glory of God
A series of Bible studies on
SALVATION IN CHRIST
THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
PART B’: Which believer risks losing his salvation… (#4)
DANGERS OF LOSING ONE’S SALVATION: Case Studies…(#4)
Now we are going to examine certain other cases:
11. Brothers in whom there is “a wicked heart of unbelief”…
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews gives a warning: “See, brethren, lest there be in any one of you a wicked heart of unbelief, in turning away from the living God. But encourage yourselves each day, as long as it is called To-day, that none of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we are become companions of the Christ if indeed we hold the beginning of the assurance firm to the end; in that it is said, To-day if ye will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation; (for who was it, who, having heard, provoked? but was it not all who came out of Egypt by Moses? And with whom was he wroth forty years? Was it not with those who had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?” (Heb.3:12-17 – Darby, and 1Cor.10:10; Jude 1:5)
What does a “wicked heart of unbelief” mean? It means a “wicked heart of unbelief” in a believer! Sooner or later it will lead him to apostasy. It is the lack of confidence in God, which has been the cause of the original apostasy and the source of all evil we are suffering today. What is going to happen if the husband does not have confidence in his spouse or a child towards his parents? “Apostasy” will occur between them! Distance between them. It is impossible for a man to enter into the land of peace and rest… with a lack of confidence in God or to the people who love him! Have you noticed how differently Caleb and Joshua were treated! Why? Because they had ‘another spirit and had followed God’s way fully’ (Num.14:24)! Yes, and to the end!
Elsewhere, in the same epistle to the Hebrew brothers it is written: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip away” (Heb.2:1). Solemn warnings! Were they written in vain? He says “we”! That is also the meaning of Heb.3:6: “but Christ, as Son over his house, whose house are we, if indeed we hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end”.
Let us also pay attention to the following warnings:
- “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have worked, but that we receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses, and stays not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that stays in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son” (2John 1:8-9). Our works will not be lost but only if we sin without repenting for them, etc.
- “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God” (3John 1:11)
Do these warnings tell you something?
12. Those who do not believe God’s promises and warnings
And what about the description that Heb.3:17-19 gives us? “But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief! God waited for them and suffered them for forty years! They had seen so many “wonders” and “miracles” in their life but the position of their heart did not change! Their heart was UNLOYAL right from the beginning. Jude, the apostle, warned Christians: “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” (Jude 1:5). And over and over again in Heb.4:1-3: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For to us was the gospel preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it…” Repent and believe sincerely is everything! This position leads to action and acts: Faith working by love (Gal.5:6). It is impossible to enter the ‘land of peace and rest’ with a lack of confidence towards God.
Unbelief and disobedience are punished!
13. Those that «fell away»
And what about the passage Heb.6:4-8: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned”.
So we see that we have to do with believers, and not with heathen! What is the meaning of ‘crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh’? With believers who were IN God’s grace and they risked falling away from it. On the contrary, we see what wonderful things are written for those who are diligent to obey and do God’s work: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end: That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6:9-12).
AMEN… TO THE END! Yea, by faith in His promises and with patience: Patience united with the hope of redemption (v.19).
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews comes again to the same point (in chapter 10), addressing them with stronger warnings: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb.10:26-27). Heb.10:22-39 describe so clearly the danger of living negligently, of living with an evil conscience, drawing back and turning away from Him that speaks from heaven (v.12:25)! Why shall they fall away? If they had loved God FROM THE HEART they could not have evil desires in their heart. “FALL AWAY” would be impossible!
Let there be no misunderstanding! The prophet Jonas, king David and the apostle Peter, for example, did never “fall away” in spite of their grave sins! They were weak BUT they were sincere, they were honest! They fell down but they got up because they loved the Lord. There was but one desire in their heart: To love God, to do His will and to serve Him! “The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath” (Prov.11:23). The purity of their heart was proved beyond any shade of doubt! Their case reminds me of what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers: “For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it worked in you, yes, what clearing of yourselves, yes, what indignation, yes, what fear, yes, what vehement desire, yes, what zeal, yes, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2Cor.7:11).
The apostle James declares in a humble way that “For in many things we offend all…” (Jas.3:2). What does this expression mean? In fact, we all offend in many things! Does it mean that we all have “fallen away”? By no means! We love the Lord with all our heart and we want to do His will! We have but one desire and one thought: To please the Lord! But we must humbly admit that there are certain things that we fail to do properly, according to God’s will, not because of lack of love and steadfastness towards the LAW of Christ and His Word but because of lack, no doubt, of the necessary wisdom and spiritual circumspection… That is why he begins his epistle by saying: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him” (Jas.1:5). Such people do not risk “falling away”!
14. I will not blot out his name out of the book of life…
In the book of Revelation of John the apostle, we also read (at least 7 times) that will inherit all things, all His blessings, only those who “overcome” (Rev.21:7)! They overcome, but what? Certainly their personal sinful tendencies, the temptations of this world, the erroneous teachings, the problems and the tests of life! This presupposes that they are living under Christian principles. This also means that the life, in particular of the Christian, is a war, a warfare (Job 7:1 and 14:14). Many are defeated or surrendered over to the enemy but those that remain stable and achieve victory will be rewarded as “winners”.
Have you ever stopped and thought of what is going to happen to those who do not win but are defeated? Will they only suffer a simple chastisement or a simple reproof? In Rev.3:5 it is clearly declared that “He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” We can easily conclude that if the believer does not overcome, his name will be blotted out of the book of life! We conclude that this verse means that the names of believers are written in the book of life. Some of these names will be deleted and that only the names of those who overcome and have become elect, only those names will not be blotted out! Those who live a continuous “up and down life”, those who lead a life which can be compared with some members of the Church of Corinth, who sinned but did not repent, these are those whose spiritual future is at stake and risk seeing their names blotted out of the book of life, unless they repent in due course and put their trust in God! Such are also the people who risk being devoured by our adversary the devil who walks about as a roaring lion! Why? Because they are not vigilant and have not taken the irrevocable decision to live for their Savior! Here is a kind of confirmation of the statement “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life”:
- “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev.2:11). Consequently, the possibility to have his name blotted out of the book of life and be hurt of the second death exists! The word “win” does not refer to ‘good works’ but to the commandment: “Repent you and believe the Gospel”. If one sincerely repents, sincerely, rejects anything that is contrary to God’s will and lets his heart repose in God’s love and care, the same does not face such a risk!
- Isaiah, through whom the Holy Spirit could speak and announce eternal truths, wrote: “You assist those who delight in doing what is right, who observe your commandments. Look, you were angry because we violated them continually. How then can we be saved?” (Isa.64:5) (Version NET). In the Greek version it is expressed as follows (my translation): “You come and meet those who rejoice and work justice, those who remember you in your ways; behold, You were angry because we sinned; if we remained in them (in our sins) would we be saved?”
There may be some who have doubts concerning the above interpretation. The Bible tells us: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.” (Philp.3:15). None is, therefore, obliged to accept my interpretation! I think, however, that it should be pointed out that the question of the deletion of the name of some people from the book of God, from the book of life, appears even in the books of the Old Testament and particularly in the books of the Exodus verses 32:33, Deuteronomy 9:14, Psalms 69:28, 109:13, in the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians and in Revelation 1:8, 17:8, 8:12, 8:15, 9:27, 10:19. I would like to quote below certain verses of this series and let he who reads understand:
- Exod.32:33 “And the LORD said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” (This verse speaks about the removal of persons already registered in the book…)
- Rev.10:19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (This verse speaks about the removal of persons already registered in the book…)
- Rev.21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
- Rev.20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
- Phil 4:3 “And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.” [Demas was he not one of Paul’s coworkers (Philm.1:24; Php.4:3)? What happened after he abandoned Paul and, in particular, the work of God?]
15. Those who have been “beguiled … by the serpent”…
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the city of Corinth: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2Cor.11:3). So we see that there is a real danger for Christians to be beguiled by Satan and be corrupted… by false teachers and satanic wiles (Eph.6:11), through another Jesus, another Spirit or another Gospel that they have already received. How? Through false teachers, etc., which aim at hindering believers: This is the reason why we are exhorted:
- To be “wise to that which is good and simple concerning evil (Rom.16:19)!
- To be attached wholeheartedly to the Lord and not to make them turn to other things, persons, icons, etc. (Ex.20:4, Deut.5:8-9);
- To be attached to the simple and healthy teaching and turn to voluntary worship, to admixtures of philosophies, psychology, sociology and lose the simplicity that should characterize a true Christian (Col.2:23);
- Το stick to the simple way of worship in spirit and in truth that the Lord had recommended and required: In spirit and in truth (John 4:23), i.e., the worship emanating from the heart and not from ceremonies and feasts, expensive, luxurious and stunning body armor or even icon worship of dead saints, worship of Mary (Jesus’ holy Mother), modern secular ways of worship, with clergy etc. Let us limit ourselves and not talk about other unscriptural ways of worship…
Are such people who are beguiled and corrupted going to be saved if they do not come to themselves and repent on time and put their trust on God? ON THE CONTRARY, do you think that believers who have loved the Lord with all their heart, that have sworn (made a covenant with Him) to keep His righteous judgments (Ps.119:106 and Ps.50:5), that have taken up their cross and followed Jesus and have presented their bodies as a living sacrifice, who are not conformed to this world but are being transformed by the renewing of their mind, will be beguiled by Satan and lose their salvation?
No, No, No! God’s promises concerning the protection of HIS FAITHFUL are they of no value? Which man will fulfill Christ’s requirements and Christ will not keep His “promise” to protect him up to the end? That man has the testimony of the security of his salvation!
Let us mention only three of them:
- “O love the LORD, all you his saints: for the LORD preserves the faithful, and plentifully rewards the proud doer” (Ps.31:23);
- “My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me” (Ps.101:6);
- “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pet.1:5)!
To be continued…