Chapter 5 Continued from Chapter 4
“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 A’: SALVATION IN CHRIST (#4)
During one of our spiritual discussions with my wife, before she left to be with the Lord, she expressed reverently and with deep gratitude a little phrase, “Everything depends on God!” I hastened to respond, “Amen!” After a few seconds and, on second thought, I added, “Yes and No!” She looked at me astonished and asked me, “What do you mean?” I answered, “In reality, everything depends on us and not on God! God’s love has done everything for us. He has sacrificed Christ for us and has deposited for us in our spiritual bank account all kinds of blessings. It depends on us to make use of them in our life. God is ready to bring them into being in our life provided we ask them with all our heart and are always and in everything sincere towards Him! If we do not repent and do not keep repenting sincerely for our sins, if we do not believe in His words and do not trust our lives in Him, how would it then be ever possible for Him to bestow His blessings on us? If our heart condemns us for a known sin and/or for sinful compromises in our life, we hinder Him from hearing our prayers and from doing us good! Consequently, everything depends on our attitude [our heart, that is, our will – (Prov.23:26)] towards Him and towards our fellow men! Among these things, the efficient functioning of our faith is also included!”
My purpose within the framework of this series is among others:
- 1. To emphasize the basic and the unique importance of repentance, and the absolute need to keep a conscience void of offense before God, which, according to God’s principles and commandments, does not accuse us of a known sin in our daily life?
- 2. To emphasize the inevitable necessity to exert our faith completely in God’s Word and put all our trust in God’s character.
When repentance and faith function well:
- 1. Man is forgiven, justified, saved, adopted and is given eternal life:
Here are some verses of basic importance:
- To him all the prophets bear witness that every one that believes on him will receive through his name remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
- Repent therefore and be converted, for the blotting out of your sins, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).
- But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name (John 1:12).
- For ye are all God’s sons by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26 and John 1:12).
- Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life (John 6:47).
- He that believes on the Son has life eternal, and he that is not subject to the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him (John 3:36).
- For by grace are you (have been – Gr) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8).
- I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, *I*, but Christ lives in me; but in that I now live in flesh, I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who has loved me and given himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness is by law, then Christ has died for nothing (Gal.2:20-21).
Saving faith is always a penitent faith; sincere faith saves and consoles; a weak but sincere faith receives an Almighty Christ. Jesus has never rejected weak faith but only fake faith. All those who have put their trust in Christ will enjoy incorruptibility and immortality (1Cor.15:42-54) but also a glorious future during which they will not only become like Jesus Christ (1Joh.3:2) but also will reign with Him (2Tim.2:12). He will wipe away all tears from their eyes……… (Rev.21:4).
- 2. When man believes sincerely, he receives the promise of the Holy Spirit (Gal.3:14) and is sealed by Him (Eph.1:13). God’s laws are written in the mind and the heart of the believer (Heb.8:10 and 10:16). True faith is crowned by the fruit of the Spirit and it is active and productive: it mortifies one’s heart to the things of this world.
True faith produces spontaneous obedience and changes radically the way of life; it cannot be idle; it leads man to a commitment without reservation. It does not remain silent. It speaks God’s Word and testifies to the wonderful things that God has wrought in his life (Ps.116).
- 3. True faith is victorious; true believers are never defeated
True faith excludes doubt, discouragement and ‘impossibilities’. True believers resist to blood, striving against sin (Heb.12:4). True faith does not accept defeat… because the Word of God cannot be bound and Christ’s purposes are never cancelled! Churches decide and work on a majority vote, but true and correct faith in God even of one believer constitutes the majority, the majority which sooner or later will prevail. The Word of God does not return to God void, but it accomplishes all His will and prospers in the thing whereto He sends it (Isa.55:11).
Someone said, “The committed Christian does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of the sheep!” Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal.1:10).
- 4. True faith is the key to peace, joy, stability…
True faith provides peace of heart and mind! True faith in God casts out fear (1Jean 4:18), because God loves with a perfect love, reigns and cares for us. Thus, God’s Word is proved: “[…] IF YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE, surely you shall not be established” (Isa.7:9).
- 5. True faith makes believers “prisoners of hope”
True faith is never in despair; it makes us “prisoners of hope” (Zec.9:12). Faith creates hope; no faith means no hope, but just vague wishes, possibilities or probabilities. Those who have true faith can hope even when there seems to be no hope. Faith does not accept defeat (Rom.4:18). “Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom.10:11 and Rom.5:5). “Hope is never ill when faith is well” (John Bunyan).
- 6. True faith grants man a sixth sense
- Faith can “see” even invisible things and wait patiently for them: “for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb.11:27). Faith can see and feel things that the common human soul and the eye cannot perceive; it renders invisible things visible; it can even “see” in the dark moments of life and trust His Faithful Guide! “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went” (Heb.11:8).
- Faith precedes vision and understanding; it transcends our understanding; faith is man’s sixth sense… “Jesus said to her, Said I not to you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Faith is not in need of diplomas in theology in order to speak, preach, witness and act; it can prophesize according to the measure God has bestowed (Rom.12:6).
- 7. Faith is the only thing that pleases God’s heart
True faith rejoices God’s heart because man honors Ηis truthfulness and love (Héb.11:6). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb.11: 6); God, therefore, is not ashamed to be called their Father (Heb.11:16). Simple but true faith gives a good testimony: All those who had or have that faith obtain a good report (Heb.11:2), although some of them have not received the promises in their lives (Heb.11:39-40). Consequently, “[…] If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established” (Isa.7:9).
- 8. True faith trusts God’s love, His good plans and leading; it is never in haste.
- Believers do not know the way but they know Who leads and accompanies them: “Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay on his God” (Isa.50:10). He is safe!
- True faith trusts God for who HE is; the believer does not pay attention to what happens all around him or to his feelings… He is “blind” and “deaf” to the things of this world, but pays attention to and has his eyes open to God’s things. This is the reason why God calls him ‘perfect’ (Isa.42:19).
- True faith is never in a hurry and in anxiety: “[…] you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isa.52:12).
- “Therefore thus said the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste” (Lest he misses his duty and be ashamed) (Isa.28:16).
- Paul says in Romans 9:33: “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.” The true believer does never act in haste in order to avoid being ashamed. Consequently, Whoever does not believe on him shall be ashamed. It is unavoidable!
- 9. True faith makes always good choices
- “Chooses rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb.11: 25). True faith does not pay attention to the mockery of unbelievers against believers. “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: why God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city” (Heb.11:16). The present world is not worthy in the believer’s eyes… (Heb.11:16). He sets his affection on things above, not on things on the earth… (Col.3:2).
- True faith chooses not to be afraid of bad news. The believer lives in a state of true and stable optimism: “LORD, you will ordain peace for us: for you also have worked all our works in us” (Isa.26:12). Consequently, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov.4:23).
- 10. True faith adds one virtue after the other
- “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; 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 (2Pet.1:5-7). One can add no other virtue in his life unless one admits humbly in repentance that it is missing in his life and asks it with all his heart in sincere faith.
- “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.” But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (Jas.1:5-6).
- “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col.2:6-7).
Only true faith receives God’s promises; true faith has no faith in faith but in Jesus Christ, the Almighty. Faith does not look at itself and does not admire itself. It admires Jesus Christ! “But he that lacks these things (virtues) is BLIND, and cannot see afar off, and HAS FORGOTTEN THAT HE WAS PURGED FROM HIS OLD SINS” (2Pet.1:9). What a warning!
- 11. A righteous man’s fervent prayer of faith is efficient
It is written: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jas.5:16). Elsewhere it is written that “What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them” (Mark 11:24), provided that our heart does not condemn us (1John 3:20-22). Prayer is the key that opens the gates of heaven. Without confession, a pure heart and a clear conscience which does not condemn us, our prayer cannot be heard. That is why it is written: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps.66:18). The Lord condescends to judge his people according to their righteousness and according to their integrity that is in them (Ps.7:8). “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity that is in me” (Ps.7:8). This is closely related to the following verses: “For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judges me is the Lord” (1Cor.4:4); “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1John 3:20-22).
- 12. True faith transforms the valley of Achor (Trouble or problem) into a door for hope
True! God uses the valley of Achor (of Trouble) or the valley of Baca (of Tears) as a door of hope (Jos.7:25, Hos.2:15 and Ps.84:6-7) for our spiritual strengthening. How many times we see that in the multitude of our anxious thoughts within us God’s comforts have delighted our soul (Ps.94:19)! And how true are the following verses:
- “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes… I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me. Let, I pray you, your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to your word to your servant. Let your tender mercies come to me, that I may live: for your law is my delight” (Ps.119:71, 75-77).
- “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;And patience, experience; and experience, hope:And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us (Rom.5:3-5). The apostle Paul passed through many tribulations! He was in perplexity but not in despair! His moments of crisis were transformed into blessings and new doors for evangelism! Sound and sincere faith always waits for the accomplishment of God’s promises. The man of God is nourished, reassured and comforted by God’s promises! On the contrary, “There is no peace, said my God, to the wicked” (Isa.57:21).
- 13. True faith makes man obedient and faithful
- “Faithfulness in little things is a big thing” said J. Chrysostom.
- Without consistency, there is no moral strength.
- “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1Cor.4:2).
- Reverential fear of God is the key to faithfulness in any situation. “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deut.5:29).
- “Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our stayed with him” (Joh.14:23)!!! Unbelievable but true!
- “But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (Jas.1:25).
- “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom.2:13).
- “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat.7:21).
- 14. In conclusion
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28).
And we know that all things work together for bad to them that hate God…
All these thoughts push me to pray daily so that God our Father fill all those who belong to Him with a spirit of faith, with obedience to faith, with a good conscience and with the presence of His Holy Spirit; to warn those that are unruly, to comfort the feeble-minded, to fill with zeal the lukewarm and above all to fill all of us with a spirit of faith and with purity of heart; also, to destroy all the works of Satan.
To be continued…