Who said believers will not be judged? Heretic, hell-populating Bible Teachers will say that. Because their final court of appeal is not the Bible. But this: “Whatever sounds like music to people’s ears!”. Sad! Terrible! Deplorable! And what’s more the rise of such cultic false teachers is predicted in the Bible (see 2 Tim. 4:3 which goes this way: ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables’).
The Bible says, like others believers will be judged. Romans 14:10 is clear: “We all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”
I Cor. 3:13-15 does not teach believers living in sin will be excused on judgement day. If Paul meant that why would he write in SAME BOOK this: “Or do you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not men who practice homosexuality will inherit the Kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9). What I Cor. 3:13-15 is teaching is this: we will be rewarded as per the quality of ministry we do. This should concern the hyper-grace cult folks a lot. They have lowered and flouted Bible standards just as a fleshly way to attract crowds. They have made MBA Marketing Principles (‘always look to please the customer as your customer is god’) as their Bible.
However, for me the Bible is the final court of appeal, not MBA Marketing Techniques. I Cor. 3:13-15 does not teach that those stubborn-in-sin if they are believers will be somehow be saved. This is how I Cor. 3:13-15 reads (for those of us who are not familiar with those verses Apostle Paul penned): their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
David Pawson’s brilliance in explaining this verse – I Cor. 3:15 and what is above it – is simply unbeatable: “Once again, the whole verse needs to be quoted, including the first clause: ‘If it is burned up….’ If what is burned up? What a man has ‘built’ during his ministry to the body of Christ., whether ‘pioneer’ or ‘maintenance’ (here pictured as planting and watering). In other words, what is being judged here is a believer’s service, not his sins. There are great variations in quality of service. The fire of divine judgment will leave some intact (like gold, silver, and costly stones) but bring others to nothing (like wood, hay and stubble). But someone who at least sought to serve the Lord will survive, even though he is left with nothing to show for his labor or deserving a reward. That this is irrelevant to a believer’s sins, as distinct from his service, is immediately apparent from the very next verses: ‘Don’t you know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him’ (I Cor. 3:16-17). In this context, the sin is to divide the Church into jealous and quarreling groups who ‘follow’ different servants of Christ rather than Christ himself. Elsewhere he applies the same charge to sexual immorality (I Cor. 6:18-19). We may get away with poor service (but only just), but WE WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH SIN!” (David Pawson, Once Saved, Always Saved?, page 160-161).
If I Cor. 3:15 taught that the worst thing that can happen to a believer on the day of judgment was only a reward-in-heaven loss, but never a place-in-heaven loss, why would Paul write in the SAME BOOK, this: “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified” (I Cor. 9:27). Paul had a healthy fear that he would be disqualified from heaven, if kept yielding to his body’s desires (in our context – he kept watching porn, he kept indulging in sexual immorality, etc). This view is further underlined by this fact: the next chapter – I Corinthians 10 – warns New Testament believers that they could be ‘destroyed’ (go to hell), if they indulged in sin with impunity (vs. 9,10,11). So Paul did not subscribe to the meaning and implication the hyper-grace cult teachers ascribe to I Corinthians 3:13-15. So, when Paul writes, “he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved”, he did mean this: God will not send anyone to hell, because of low ministry quality. But he clearly did not mean what the hyper-grace cultists teach: “God will not send any believer to hell, even if they live in stubborn sin!” If Paul believed this lie, he will not have penned I Cor. 6:9-11 (HELL FOR BELIEVERS STUBBORN IN SIN), I Cor. 9:27 (HELL FOR EVEN STUBBORN-IN-PREACHERS) and I COR. 10 (THE GOD WHO DESTROYED HIS STUBBORN-IN-SIN PEOPLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WONT HESITATE TO DO THE SAME FOR NEW TESTAMENT PEOPLE OF GOD DOING THE SAME THING).
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission – www.dukev.org). This is a listener/reader supported Indian ministry to presentday people functioning since 2006.
Duke Jeyaraj responds to the oft-repeated hyper-grace teachers’ lie, “No judgement post-Cross”
“Won’t see God as an angry/punishing God anymore after the Cross..” “God is not fuming at sin now….”: This the unbiblical rubbish that hypergrace cult false teachers keep teaching. But the Bible does not teach that. Why did Paul preach about “coming judgment” after the CROSS (Acts 24:24-25)? He could have well skipped it, if he believed in the hyper-grace cult Gospel. But he did not. Jesus prayed for Ananias and Sapphira sitting at God’s right hand. Yet when they lied to the Holy Spirit they dropped dead. After giving them enough chances, God decided to end their lives (Acts 5). “My Spirit does not always strive with man….” Gen. 6:3. After striving with this believer couple who were under the NEW COVENENT God decided to send judgement upon them. This is not a stand-alone event. The angel of the Lord stuck down boasting Herod (Acts 12:20-23). This also happened after Jesus died on the Cross, rose again, ascended, sat next to the Father and started praying! So did the “angel of the Lord” who struck down Herod “insult” the “finished work of the Cross”? Please answer hyper-grace Bible-twisters! “God will DESTROY those who destroy God’s temple” wrote Paul to New Covenent believers (I Cor. 3:16-17). So GOD insulted Jesus’ finished work on the Cross, here? Please answer Hyper-grace teachers! James warned that believers who could not control their tongue were in the danger of going to hell – the ultimate place of God’s judgment (James 3:6). James did not believe in this hyper-grace false teaching: “No judgment post Cross!” The writer to the Hebrews writes, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge!” (Heb. 13:4). The writer to the Hebrews did not believe that post-Cross, there was no judgement for believers. Jesus told the believers of the church in Thyatira that he would “throw her (a self-appointed prophetess who mislead his followers to commit immoral sexual acts) into her sickbed with those who commit adultery with her…:” Jesus further said, “I will punish her by striking her children dead.”(Rev. 2:20-23). So the post-Cross Jesus here insulted his own finished work, according to Hyper-grace wolves in sheep clothing? The Bible says, in the New Testament, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…for our God is a consuming fire!” (Heb 12:28,29). He is a compassionate father but also a consuming fire. We must stress on BOTH these characteristics of God. Suffering, sickness, death is not always because of sin (Read John 9: 1 onwards to get this). But God can choose to allow these as acts of punishment after having given a person enough chances. Only God knows how many chances to give a person. Not preachers. Not you. Not me. But if a person is still stubborn in sin, God can move in judgement even now, post the Cross of Jesus. This we find in the Bible as I have shown above. So the message for the believer is this: REMAIN in Christ (John 15). “There is no condemnation to those who ARE in Christ Jesus (notice, it does not say here, “those who ONCE WERE in Christ Jesus!” (Rom. 8:1). Hyper-grace cult false teachers (unless they repent) are not only going to hell, but taking people there. That’s why we can’t simply keep watching this. God’s Word to us is this: “Pursue those who are singed by the flames of God’s wrath and bring them safely to Him.” (Jude 23 The Voice, NKJV for today).
(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is an engineer (Allahabad University) turned doctor of ministry graduate (of SABC). Duke is also the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a ministry to presentday people, that’s supported by those who read/hear/watch Duke’s messages, voluntarily. Find out more by liking www.facebook.com/dukebook)
This is just a popular perception put out by cultic, hell-populating hyper-grace pastors/teachers. But if we carefully look at the Scriptures as a whole, we understand this: Jesus warned that stubborn sin will take ANYONE to hell – not just the Pharisees, Hypocrites and the Self-Righteous! Have you read this statement of Jesus, a statement that he made to someone he healed: “You look wonderful! You’re well! Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse might happen.” (John 5:14, The Message). Because this man was a recipient of Jesus’ grace – he was healed even though he did not deserve healing – Jesus expected and demanded that he be grateful for that grace received by living a holy life, a temptation-beating life, a victory-over-sin life! Grace received must lead to holy living! That was Jesus’ point! That was the point of the Apostles as well. If we are truly grateful for God’s grace, we will say ‘no’ to ‘ungodliness’ and ‘worldly passions” (Titus 2:11,12). In fact the Grace of God enables us to say ‘no’ to sin, ANY SIN. Yes, self-righteousness, hypocrisy, a Pharisaical attitude, is a sin as is porn-watching, as is drunkenness, as is foul-language use, as is pride, as is lying, as is stealing, as is adultery. The writer to the Hebrews warned about this: we cannot ‘obtain’ the Grace of God and ‘maintain’ bitterness with people we have relationship-problems with (Heb. 12:15). This writer also says this: ‘those strengthened by grace’ (Heb. 13:9) should also keep their ‘marriage bed pure’ (Heb. 13:4), of course enabled by the same grace, lest they fall into God’s judgment (Heb. 13:4). Jesus or the Bible does not differentiate between these two sins – self-righteous and other kinds of sins! Let not hyper-grace pastors fool you in this regard tell you this in-effect: “Don’t worry about sin in your life, as long as you are not self-righteous!” You will go to hell along with them (should they not repent), if you believe this lie! What is the ‘something worse’ that Jesus talked about in John 5:14 can happen to those who love to remain in stubborn in? A life in hell – a place of eternal, ever-conscious torment (Rev. 20:10; 14:9; 21:8). I hope that none of us will go there and remember this YouTube comment posted on 21 May 2020 and made as an article on dukewords.com eventually shortly after that!
Hyper grace false doctrine cannot be sustained by it’s own philosophy. Let me explain: I am believer. I attack hyper-grace false teaching. The hyper grace proponent who sees this should only say, ‘Duke Jeyaraj, though he attacks hyper grace false teaching is the righteousness of God!’ They should not try to change me by commenting and counter commenting on Facebook because, according to them, I remain the ‘righteousness of God’ no matter what I do as a believer in Jesus. So, you see Hyper grace false teaching is a philosophically self-defeating. Thanks to Dr. Ravi ZACHARIAS who has trained me to employ arguments like this. Ever Grateful! #ThankYouRavi
ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION: “WILL GOD FORGIVE THE SIN I AM PLANNING TO COMMIT – THAT GOSSIP SESSION I PLAN TO HAVE, THAT FOUL-MOUTHED RANT I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE WITH, THAT ADULTEROUS AFFAIR I AM ABOUT TO ENGAGE IN, THAT HOUR OF SECRET PORN SURFING THAT I AM ABOUT TO LAUNCH INTO, ETC?”
The book of Revelation makes wonderful reading. The lessons already taught in the first 65 books of the Bible are pictorially confirmed by it’s book no. 66 – the book of Revelation. “There is nothing new in Revelation which is not taught elsewhere clearly in the Bible!” – this I believe.
We are ‘given a white robe’, we read there (Rev 6:11). That’s a symbolic way of expressing POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION. I call it ‘GIFTED SANCTIFICATION’. We come to Christ in repentance and faith just as we are, he makes us ‘white’ – holy and pure. But that’s just the start. Positional sanctification would and should translate into practical sanctification, if our repentance was genuine. By practical sanctification I mean a living a life of victory over sin in our day to day lives. John talks about practical sanctification this way: “No one who lives in Him makes a practice of sin” (I John 3:6).
The same book of Revelation talks about those ‘clothed in white’ in the very next chapter (7:13). The folks who wore white, deliberately chose to wear that color. We must make a choice to wear white clothes (spiritually speaking), that is, be pure, say ‘no’ to sin day in and day out, with God helping and we actively cooperating with him (quoting God’s Word, running away from temptation, praying to receive power at the hour of temptation, being accountable to a believer pal, etc). If we want only the privileges of positional sanctification without the responsibility of PRACTICAL SANCTIFICATION (‘GAURDED SANCTIFICATION’) we are like the man who walked into the wedding feast without wearing the ‘wedding garment’ already gifted to him before the wedding (Math 22:11). He had no excuse for not wearing the wedding garment (Math 22:12). We will have no excuse for living a practical holy life on the final day because God has given us everything we need to live that life – His Word, The Fellowship of the Church and opportunity to be accountable, The Holy Spirit, etc, etc (Eph 1:3). And the end of those who just want the privileges of ‘positional sanctification’ without the responsibilities of ‘practical sanctification’ will be same as that of that wedding guest whom Jesus talked about – being bound and bounced into eternal hell (Math 22:13). “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth (this part of the this verse is talking about PRIVILEGES); therefore I will punish you for all your sins (this part of this verse is talking about punishment sent by God for not combining the RESPONSIBILITY of living holy with God-given power with God-given PRIVILEGES!) – Amos 3:2.
So, my friend, let not anyone deceive saying, “Jesus has already forgiven the sin you are planning to commit.” The Bible declares that God will not forgive sin that we refuse to acknowledge, repent from, and ask Jesus forgiveness for. The Bible teaches that we only store up God’s wrath (we are on the road to hell, in other words) by refusing to repent (Rom 2:5). Another 2:5 – Revelation 2:5 I mean – warns of judgement of God which will come upon those CHURCH BELIEVERS who refuse to repent!
“Will Jesus forgive the sin I am planning to commit?” He will – provided you come to him in true repentance and ask him for forgiveness. But there is no guarantee that you will ever do that. Judas did not. He was saved. His name was written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But he also lived in sin even as he lived with Jesus. He used to, now and then, help himself with the moneybag of Jesus. He allowed greed to grip him, slowly but surely (John 12:6). The greed became a monstrous ball, and, before he knew it, Judas agreed to help the religious leaders of his day to arrest Jesus for the money he would pocket by doing so. He may have thought, “I will come back to Jesus after I am done and dusted with this sin!” (like we say, “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this hour of porn-surfing!” or “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this session of gossip with my close buddies!”). But he did not. Yes, Judas did not get back to Jesus after he committed wanton sin. He ended his life. He headed to hell (John 17:12). But Peter… Peter came back to Jesus after he committed sin. He repented genuinely. He took a U-turn. When he wept bitterly, Jesus did not ever say to him, “Don’t weep Peter. Don’t repent of your sin. I have already taken care of it!” (Math 26:75). Instead, Jesus allowed Peter to weep for his sin. Because doing so is good. It is better and wiser to weep over our sins now, in this period of grace when there is time, than to weep upon seeing Jesus return the second time to judge it when there will be no time given to repent (Rev 1:7). Jesus taught we must weep ourselves and our children (Luke 23:28). So, when we sin, we must feel for that sin and come back to Jesus in repentance (Luke 13:1-5).
We must consciously avoid deliberate sin. For when we keep committing deliberate sin without even repenting of it, there will come a point in our life, like it happened in the life of Judas, that we will, perhaps, commit a deliberate sin and never feel like coming back to Jesus in repentance. It’s then we come to a point in our life when ‘there will be no sacrifice for sins would be left but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of the raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ as the Bible teaches (Heb 10:26,27).
So, let’s say with Paul, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave (‘wage war with sin with the power of God,’ in other words) so that after I have preached to others (‘after I have been a believer all my life and preached God’s Word too,’ in other words), I myself will not be disqualified for the prize!” (I Cor 9:27).
Also we must remember that there are consequences when God’s children commit wanton sin. Let’s look at the case of believers committing sexual sin deliberately.
From the Bible we read about the following lethal results when people have lapped up sexual sin: Firstly, the LORD will leave you and you won’t know it. Like it happened for Samson as he lay on Delilah’s lap (Jud 16 20). Secondly, you can never be a leader who will influence people for good. Joseph, one who was famous among a set of 12 brothers for beating sexual temptation was told under Divine Inspiration that he would be “prince among his brothers” while the one who slept with his father’s wife, Reuben, was told “you will be first no longer” (Gen. 49:4,26). David, the great leader of Israel who had an adulterous affair, had to go silent when his son raped his daughter (2 Sam13: 2l,22). Thirdly, violence could become commonplace in your family. David learnt this bitter truth when the lives of three of his Sons – Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah were cut short violently at the prime of their youth. Fourthly, you would have given birth to spiritual enemies who will battle against you for the rest of your life. The sons born to Lot’s daughters out of his incestuous relationship with them became ancestors for the Moabites and Ammonites – two of Israel’s most bitter enemies in their later years. Fifthly, the advantages you may have gotten through sexual sins will melt away. Remember, David’s love-child born as a result of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba eventually died notwithstanding his plea that God would spare Him (2 Sam 12:14).Sixthly, God’s name will be blasphemed. “You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you!'” wrote Paul (Rom 2: 22,24). Finally, when you persist stubbornly in sexual sin you’ll go to hell. The Bible doesn’t mince words when it says “the sexually immoral – their place will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev 21:8). L-U-S-T is a four letter sin that will take you to a four-lettered place – H-E-L-L. Do these fatal figures concerning those who indulged in sexual sin make you shudder? It is meant to do just that. Reason? Shuddering can also be biblical way to beat sexual temptation! After proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel (including the command, “You shall not commit adultery”) Moses told them, “The fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning!” (Ex 20:14,20). The next time when you think of yielding to sexual temptations, take time to count the cost of yielding to them and you will find that thought not so pleasurable.
The effects of yielding to sexual temptation or any temptation are deadly – even the secular world stories reveal this. It is said that Bill Clinton lost the privilege of his face being carved with the other great American Presidents at Mount Rushmore and a noble Prize because of his incredibly foolish sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky (Source of information – Asian Age, Bangalore edition, 21 September 1998). It is a fact that the great Australian leg-spinner, Shane Warne, lost the honour of leading the Australian Cricket Team because of the phone sex scandals that surrounded him. Tiger Woods lost his sponsorship deals with MNCs because of his sexual sins. This list is endless. Your name does not have to be in this list. Let’s live a victorious Christian life and win over the habit of committing deliberate, callous, sin, with God helping us and we actively cooperating with him.
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a fulltime preacher n writer who lives in Hyderabad. Duke founded the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission in 2006. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Watch Duke’s message videos at http://www.youtube.com/c/VisitDuke. WhatsApp Duke via +91-8886040605).
A teaching that is called “Hyper-Grace” is sadly lapped up by unsuspecting believers world over (including those in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Singapore and literally world over). A google search on “Hyper-Grace” would throw up the prominent Hyper-Grace teachers in the world, presently. This is an unbiblical teaching that is, at best, a half-truth. But then, a half-truth is a full-lie (as someone said)! Hyper-Grace teachers are in the GRIP of “G-R-I-P”, I noticed. Let me explain:
G-GRACE GRAMMER GOOF-UP!
What I mean here is that, the Hyper-Grace Teachers tell us that a believer’s past, present and future sins stand automatically forgiven when he gets saved. This is simply not true, according to Scripture. A “brother” (that is, a believer) who had regular sexual relationship with his own mother was not considered “forgiven” or “righteous” but as a “evil person” by Apostle Paul (I Cor. 5:1,11,13). David Ravenhill wrote, “The fact is that the provision for my cleansing was completed at the cross but the process of my cleansing is conditional upon my repentance.” I agree.
Hyper-Grace teachers tell us that Repentance merely means changing one’s mind – it does not involve action. Some Hyper-Grace teachers unashamedly say, “I don’t preach on repentance (turning from sin), anymore!” Paul clearly taught in Acts 26:20 that the Gentiles should repent, turn to God, “performing deeds in keeping with repentance”. This was the description given in the book of Revelation about those condemned to eternal hell: “they did not repent” (Rev. 9:20, 21; 16: 9,11). All of us have a choice, Jesus preached: to repent or to perish in hell (Luke 13:1-5; Rev. 21:8). Some hyper-grace teachers are very quick to reject any so-called “pre-cross” statement of Jesus like the one I just quoted. But they do quote portions from the sayings of pre-cross Jesus which they think squares up well with their deceptive theology. For example I have heard them quote from Luke 9:53-55 (where Jesus rebukes his disciples, James and John, who wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy Samaritans). They should make up their minds to accept ALL the words of Jesus or NONE of it. And they should not forget, “ALL” Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for “teaching” (2 Tim. 3:16).
I-INCESSANT IDENTITY INSANITY!
The way Hyper-Grace teachers will invariably begin their messages is this way: “Today, I will tell you who you are in Christ – your identity in Christ!!” While it is good to know our identity in Christ, we must not forget the “responsibility” of holy living that Christ calls us to (I Thess 4:3 which says, “It is God’s will, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality”). Hyper-Grace teachers, call those who preach on holiness/progressive sanctification, as ‘hypocritical legalists’/’mixed-grace preachers’. But the Scripture does teach progressive, day-to-day sanctification. One of the 16 fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God is (progressive) sanctification which is expressed by these words: “Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.” We chose to live holy using our free-will, enabled by the Holy Spirit’s power(Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:13). Therefore we have nothing to boast about, except that we have been enabled by His Grace.
P-PERMANENTLY PLEASED POP!
The teaching they systematically spread is this: “God, your loving father, doesn’t see you in your failures and short-comings; He sees you in Jesus’ perfection and loveliness, always.” If that were true, Jesus, when he saw the failures and short-comings of the Revelation churches would have said, “Rejoice! I do not see your sin!” But, instead, he said “Repent!” (because he did see their sin, post-cross!) He said that six times (Rev. 2:5,16, 21,22; 3:3,19). We must not exalt one image of God found in the Bible at the expense of other images, leading to a blunder that could land us in hell. In Hebrews 12, we read that God is both these “CFs” – a Compassionate Father (verse 5) and a Consuming Fire (vs. 29)! God is not just a Father who dotes over us, he is a Master whom we must obey, the Scripture tells us repeatedly (I Cor. 6:13; Col. 3:24; Jude 4; Gal. 6:17; I Thess 1:6-8). He is not just a loving dad but also a faithfulness-expecting and purity-expecting Bride Groom (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27). We are saved by Grace, for good works and holy living (Eph. 2:8-10). Let us not forget that.
Let’s get busy with the work of rescuing those friends of ours in the g-r-i-p of the hyper-grace teaching before it is too late. Let us boldly go to places where false doctrines like hell-taking hyper-grace teaching is taught and “charge” people not to teach any doctrine that is contrary to Scripture (See I Tim. 1:3).
You must tell the Devil, “I am the righteousness of God”, when he brings temptation before you. That is the teaching of Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21. This confession helps you to overcome temptation. “I am the righteousness of God. So, I will not lie! So, I will not watch porn! So, I will not use those Fs and Bs!” Yes, we can use these exact words during times of Temptation.
What the verse that is found after 2 Corinthians 5:21? It is found in the next chapter. Chapter and verse divisions were put in our Bibles for our convenience and were not inspired by God. This verse teaches that way we will not be guilty of using the grace of God in “vain” (2 Cor. 6:1/compare with Titus 2:11-12, Romans 3:8, Romans 6:1-2,15).
This is correct teaching.
However, if you and I fall into temptation, we should not foolishly continue saying, “I am the righteousness of God” (as Hyper-grace, heretic, hell-populating false teachers tell us to). The Bible calls those believers stubborn in sin with this names: “adulterers!” (James 4:4). Notice, the Bible does not call believers stubborn in sin as “Children of God!” We must repent and confess our sin immediately (I John 1:7-9, Compare with Romans 2:4-5). Hyper-grace false teachers tell us that there is no need to repent or confess our sins, even if we sin. False theology. Dangerous theology. Hell-leading theology. Because Hell is the place for unforgiven people.
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. WhatsApp him via +91-8886040605).
While we appreciate our true-to-the-Word-of-God teachers, we must also be wary of “false teachers”. This is what the Bible says about “False Teachers”: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be FALSE TEACHER among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1, ESV). The ‘man of God’ you listen to Sunday after Sunday – if he teaches hyper-grace, immortality on earth and such salvation-affecting false teaching is a ‘false teacher’.
This verse says, false teachers are first of all ‘secretive’. That means they want to show that they are part of the main-stream Christianity while they are cultic. They vehemently deny that they are cultic (but they are secretly are indeed cultic, because ‘popular opinion’ and not the Bible is their final court of appeal; they don’t mind saying ‘The Bible is not the Word of God’). False Teachers are called ‘wolves’ elsewhere in the Bible (Matt. 7:15). Wolves (False Teachers) have a deceptive appearance. We can mistake them to be Labradors and pamper them (attend their church and support their ministry)!!! Beware! Don’t get fooled!!!!
This verse also says that false teachers bring in ‘destructive heresies’. The meaning? Unless they repent)(2 Peter 3:9), these false teachers are heading towards hell and taking people who follow them blindly also to hell.
In 2 Peter 2:4, just three verses below, Apostle Peter promises ‘hell’ for unrepentant false teachers.In the same chapter (2 Peter 2) – ‘They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!’ (verse 14, ESV).
This brings to the fore two more characters of false teachers: they work up a theology that excuses sin, that excuses the ‘eyes full of adultery’ ‘after all – the grace of God is ALWAYS there’ (to put it in their words) (notice the word ‘entice’). Yes, they use the Grace of God as a license for immoral living as Jude explains (in verse 4).
Not only that. These false teachers twist the Word of God motivated by ‘greed’ (a love for money) as 2 Peter 2:14 says. They preach a God of love but won’t tell you about the wrath of God which the same Bible talks about, lest you get offended and won’t sent them an offering or stay in their church.
They will tell you about a hell, but give you hope that even from hell you can come to heaven, so that your ears are tickled and you feel good.
They tell you that Jesus will never return back to earth, till a generation believes in Immortality on earth (that is not likely to happen, so Jesus won’t ever come back, or come back anytime soon, and so you can live in sin in-effect, according to them).
Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, calls them ‘accused children’ (he knew they were already hell-headed, but he would not simply watch as believers follow them, so he wrote these words primarily not to warn these false teachers but the believers who follow them without second thought)!
Wolves (False Teachers) have a deceptive appearance. We can mistake them to be Labradors and pamper them (attend their church and support them)!!! Beware!!!
A news report about American cyclist and cancer-survivor, Lance Armstrong set me thinking: “Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has already had his record seven Tour de France victories wiped from the record books, could now be stripped of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour. Armstrong was awarded the title Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2005 in recognition of his seventh Tour win, but moves are now afoot to have the honour rescinded, according to a spokesman for the order. In January, Armstrong, 41, admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record seven Tour de France championships from 1999-2005. He was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year after a devastating report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which accused the cyclist of taking part in one of the biggest cheating operations in sports history.” (thestar.com.my, 2 March 2013 post). If a sports person could loose the titles he won, because he was a willfully committing fraud to win those titles, then are we correct in affirming that we will lose our salvation if we willfully live in sin?
‘Can a saved person ever be lost?’- this all-important head-splitting question has boggled and divided Christians world-wide down through the centuries. Differences over peripheral and circumferential doctrines can be over looked. But as this question involves a doctrine at the heart of the Christian faith – salvation – this question needs careful unpacking, so that believers can come to an agreement over it – an agreement based on truth. In this article (which I first wrote while I was still in Bible college during the years, 1998-2001), I attempt to face the above eternal-destiny affecting question squarely and come up with my conclusion.
THE DOCTRINE OF ‘ETERNAL SECURITY’ – THE VARIOUS VIEWS STATED
Let’s put the doctrine we are debating about in ‘black and white’ in the words of Dr.Robert Raymond, a leading Reformed Theologian:
“Every true child of God, that is, every person whom the father chose in Christ before the foundation of the world and for whom Christ died, whom the Father effectively called by his word and Spirit unto repentance toward God and Faith in Jesus Christ, and whom he consequently justified and adopted unto his family, and who is consequently justified and adopted unto his family, and who is consequently growing in grace, will never come into condemnation. That person can never be finally lost and is eternally secure. By virtue of God’s preserving grace he or she will certainly persevere in the state of salvation and be finally and eternally saved.”
Theologians like Howard Marshall, however, warn that believers can backslide from the faith and consequently be damned if they don’t persevere in their faith. Now the stage is set for thorough check to see which position is biblical and correct.
THE DOCTRINE’S HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
Augustine was among the first to reach the doctrine of unconditional salvation. Calvin believed all saints could eventually persevere and their free will had no part to play. Arminius, a Dutch Pastor, challenged Methodist Church founder John Wesley saying that saints had no right to be certain of their salvation. Arminius strongly believed that a saved person could go to hell if he chose to rebel against God. John Wesley put it this way, in-effect: “God does give sufficient grace to persevere, but it is up to us to whether or not we receive this grace.” At any time, we can choose against God and be lost, he warned.
India’s President Pranab Mukherjee is setting a record of sorts by sending a record number of convicts to the gallows, like no Indian President has. The rate at which he is sending convicts to the gallows is akin to the rate Virender Sehwag scores runs or the speed with which Usian Bolt sprints! He rejected the mercy petition of Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the team of 10 that attacked India on 26/11/2008, to have him hanged. He quashed the mercy plea of Afzal Guru accused of playing a role in the 2001 Parliament Terror attack, to have him hanged, shortly later. The Times of India reported that ‘President Pranab Mukherjee has cleared the road to the gallows for four associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan by rejecting their mercy petitions’ (on 13 Feb., 2013). Pranab by his actions is promoting this principle: no mercy will be shown for those who commit callous crimes! In the same way there are some Bible Scholars who have arisen over the years to promote this teaching: no heaven for believers who deliberately live in sin!
Some of the twentieth century’s outstanding Bible teachers and scholars like Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Carl Henry and James Packer were hardened believers in the perseverance of saints – the doctrine of ‘eternal security’ that is. But in the last 40 years, a new crop of theologians like Clark H.Pinnock, Howard Marshall, and David Pawson have arisen to warn believers about the real danger falling away from the faith – if they would chose to do so. In defense of their opinion they give three lines of evidence – along logic, along philosophy and along Scripture. Let us take them up one by one.
SCRIPTURE EVIDENCE AGAINST ETERNAL SECURITY
(A) OLD TESTAMENT TEACHING
(1) Salvation was conditional from beginning
To the dejected Cain, who offered his second-best to him, God said, ‘it will be accepted if you respond the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out!’(Gen 4:7, NLT). Cain bunked the condition and was rejected. The New Testament writers warn us about his way. It is a way to cheat ourselves because it rejects God’s pre-condition for salvation. Cain refused ‘if condition’ and he left the presence (gen 4:16)
(2) Salvation was conditional in Abrahamic Covenant
The “As for you” of Abraham in Genesis 17:9 balances the “As for me” of God in Genesis 17:4. His faith must be accompanied by “obedience that comes from faith” (Rom 1:5).
(3) Salvation was conditional in the Sinaitic Covenant
Before God signs off the Sinaitic covenant it is punctuated by eternal ‘if’ clauses. In fact the list of curses for covenant disobedience is usually much longer than that of blessings for obedience (as in Vs 3-13 in Leviticus 26).
(4) The IF Condition in the Davidic Covenant
The ‘If’ clause here can’t be missed. The Lord’s words to David about Solomon confirm this: ‘Your son Solomon will build my temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him…And if he continues to obey my commands and regulations as he does now, I will make his kingdom last forever’(1 Chro 28:6,7 NLT).
(5) The IF condition in the prophets
The ‘If ‘clause here is crystal clear. Isaiah stressed this “if” factor in his message to Israel: ‘If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. But if you keep turning away and refuse to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken’ (Isa 1:19, 20 NLT). Prophet Azariah’s words to king Asa is perhaps most famous “if” statement in the Bible – 2 Chronicles 7:14. Jeremiah famous ‘temple sermon’ has this again: “If you stop exploiting foreign orphans and widows; and if you stop your murdering, and if you stop worshiping idols as you now do to your harm. Then I will let you stay in the Land I gave to your ancestors to keep forever” (Jer 7:6,7). Prophet Ezekiel preached the same: ‘But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right they will live’. In the last book of the Old Testament this ‘if’ message appears again: ‘if you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honour my name.’ says the Lord Almighty, I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings!’(Mal 2:2).
British Nobel laureate Rudiyard Kipling wrote these famous lines in his poem, If, in the days of old (in 1895): “If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster; And treat those two impostors just the same… If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue; Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch…. Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it; And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!” We would be wise to grasp that we can indeed lose our salvation if we not careful from the ‘if’ statements in the Old Testament which the above paragraphs have talked about.
Let’s invite Guy Duty to seal this argument from Old Testament for us: “There are 63 ‘if’ texts in the Old Testament to prove the Jewish Covenant are conditional. From God’s ‘if’ to Cain, to Malachi ‘if’ to his priests, the unified testimony of Scripture gives full approval to our doctrine of conditional salvation.”
Let us now turn our attention to New Testament:
(B) NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING
Three types of Scripture passages can be used to bust the doctrine ‘Eternal Security’.
(1) Exhortations to continue in the faith – an exploration
The following scriptures will seem ludicrous if there was no possibility of a believer falling away: ‘But all of you who endure to the end shall be saved’ (Math.10:22). ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples’ (John 8:31, RSV); “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is dead wood, gathered up and thrown on bonfire” (John 15:56); “Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger, stand true to the Lord”(1 Cor. 16:13); “For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end”(Heb. 3:14); “Don’t quit, even if it costs your life. Stay there believing. I have life-crown sized and ready for you”(Rev 2:10); “Keep tight grip on what you have ,so one distracts you and steal your crown” (Rev 3:11).
I would like to quote Renowned Charismatic Systematic Theologian, J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008) at this point. I picked up my first theology book much before I landed up in a Bible College. When I was a student in Allahabad Agricultural Institute (1993-97), my dad gifted me a ‘hurt’ copy of first book of Rodman Williams’ three-book systematic theology book series. I devoured it. I taught the precious Bible lessons I learnt from that book to small groups of interested fellow students in hostel rooms. This was how God trained me to lead Bible Studies. By now, it has been my privilege to lead Bible Book summaries of 54 Bible books. He says in-effect, “Although God’s grace is unconditional in the Bible, and there is nothing there in the Bible for us to believe in unconditional perseverance of saved people still living in sin.” Starting from 1 Corinthians 10:12 – ‘So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ – He lists the conditions for perseverance, arranging a gamete of Scripture verses under each condition. They are our abiding (1 John 2:24-25; Heb 2:1,3.Jn 15:3-4,6,7), our continuing (Col 1:21-23; Rom 11:11,22; 1 Tim 4:16), our enduring (2 Tim 2:10-12; Heb 10:34-39, Mt 24:12,13), our firmness (Heb 3:1-6, 2 Peter 1:10-11,5-7;2:1,20,21) and our faithfulness (Rev 2:10, 2:4-5, Heb 3:1-6, Heb 6:4-8).
Knowing such emphasis will attract an accusation “This is not salvation by good works,” he brilliantly quotes Peter. “We are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”, he teaches quoting Peter (1 Peter 1:5). We are saved by faith. And we guard our faith by faith. Yes, we are saved by faith and not works. But if that faith is alone and is not expressed through works, that faith is not real, saving faith (the message of the book of James is this very thing).
The second set of scripture passages which question unconditional perseverance of saints are found below:
(2) Warnings against apostasy/backsliding
2 Peter 3:17 says, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall your secure position.” Peter couldn’t have stated this better. 2 Peter 3:18, in fact, expresses the same warnings in the positive terms: ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ If there was no real possibility of a believer permanently backsliding, that one has to admit Spirit-inspired writers of scripture were joking here or I dare say, lying (trying to deceive)! In a discussion like this, we cannot leave out the famous passage in Hebrews 6:4-8. Commenting on this key text, Grant R. Osborne says, ‘In conclusion we must say there is no more powerful or detailed description of the true Christian in the New Testament, yet one has to be stone-blinded not to note that they were in the real peril of falling away.’ Grant Osborne summarizes brilliantly the danger of apostasy so persuasively and passionately presented in the book of Hebrews this way: pay attention, lest you drift away, 2:1-4; do not harden your heart, lest you fail, 3:1-19; fear not, lest you fall short, 4:1-13; press on, lest you fall away, 5:11-6:12; hold fast, lest you die, 10:19-39; be careful, lest you fall short, 12:1-17.
Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO said, “Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could — I’m searching for the right word — could, could die.” When one reads the above paragraph we would agree that the Scripture clearly teaches, “A believer is given the tremendous gift of Salvation when he repents and trusts Christ, but without actively remaining in Christ, the believer could die in sin to go to hell and burn there forever and forever!”
The third collection of Scriptures that shake the foundations of the ‘once saved, always saved doctrine’ –
(3) Cases of actual apostasy/backsliding
In the parable of the Sower, Jesus spoke of those ‘who believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away’ (Luke 8:13). Jesus clearly predicted, ‘At that time many will turn away from the faith. The love of most will grow cold’ (Math. 24:10, 12). Obviously it would be stupid of Jesus to talk of them ‘turning away from faith’ if they weren’t in the faith – they were genuine believers – in the first place – something Calvinists always rush to deny. 1 Timothy 4:19 is blunt: some have shipwrecked their faith! Demas – a fellow-preacher in Paul’s ministry team – deserted Paul and perhaps even the Christian faith for ‘he loved the world’ (2 Tim. 4:10). Peter described some teachers in the church who had known the way of righteousness yet turned their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them (2 Peter 2:20-22). If they had turned their backs of the sacred commandments then without a shadow of doubt they had their faces set on the commandments – they were believers – once upon a time! But they became apostate. Finally, Revelation 22:19 shows that some can have their names removed from the book of life. Another example of actual apostasy could be Ananias and Sapphira. F.F.Bruce writes, “We cannot be sure that they were not believers, unless we are prepared to say that no one who is guilty of a deliberate deceit can be a true Christian. The thrust of the Simon Magus narrative in Acts leads us to conclude that there was a possibility of serious sin by the members of the church which could lead to their exclusion from eternal life, but at the same time there was a possibility of their repentance and restoration. In the Bible the root word for faith and faithfulness is the same. One can’t have one without the other.”
Prophets of eternal security will rush to quote their favourite proof texts in response to the above. Those texts deserves a second look.
THE ‘WHAT ABOUT……?’ PASSAGES: EXEGETICAL NOTES ON TEXTS USED BY THE ‘ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED’ GROUP
Calvanists (the ‘once saved, always saved’ group) quote Jesus prayer that the father would keep the disciples (John 17:11, 15, 24), even as He had kept them as proof of eternal security of believers. But the very fact, Jesus is praying for them is proof that Jesus understood the real danger of them being lost for otherwise they would not need to be guarded. According to Howard Mars, John 17 should not be seen in isolation from John 15:16 and John 16 which warn the disciples about ‘falling away.’ John 10:28,29 and John 5:24 is another favourite ‘proof text’ for the ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine believers. But this should not be divorced from John 10:2 which records Jesus’ words thus: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” It is to be noted that all the verbs in this verse – especially the verb ‘hear’ – is in present indicative sense in Greek original. Robert Shank notes, “The honest characteristic of the Greek present indicative is that it denotes the action is in progress.” There the incredible promise – “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them away from me” – is only of whom Jesus can say, “My sheep keep listening to my voice, and they keep following me!” Wuest’s translation of John 5:24, where-in he correctly retains the present tense (‘having eternal life’) argues powerfully against using it as a text for a eternal security: “Most assuredly, I am saying to you He who habitually hears my word and is believing the one whom he has sent me, has life eternal …..” David Pawson brilliantly flows along this thought line when he showed in his video lecture summarizing the message of the book of Hebrews (in his ‘Unlocking the Bible’ series), that “these people (the Old-Testament believers of Hebrews 11) was still living by faith when they died” (Heb 11:13). This clearly shows that faith should be a present possession for a believer to make the eternal security promises work for him.
Greg Chappell, India’s former coach wrote the following lines about Virender Sehwag, “Despite my frustrations with him during my tenure as Indian coach I could not help but love him. He is, after all, a loveable rogue. And he can bat better than most. In fact, he is the most gifted ball striker that I have seen…..To say that Viru was one of the great frustrations of my time with the team is an understatement. Sadly, he continues to disappoint and is in danger of squandering his God-given talent. The person who is least likely to be fazed by all of this is Virender himself. What I soon learned about him was that Viru did not want to dedicate himself to taking his talent to its zenith. He was happy to turn up and play and accept what came his way. No amount of cajoling from me could shift him from his insouciant way. This often happens to those with the greatest gift. Because he had never had to work hard at developing such a skill, Viru did not know how to dedicate himself to disciplined training. It was only during periods of relative poor form that he was prepared to spend time getting things back on track. As soon as he made some runs he slipped back into old habits and appeared content to practise in the same old profligate way; until his form evaporated again… He wants the prize, but has been unwilling to pay the price” (The Hindu, Sept. 27, 2012). What Chappell wrote about Sehwag here, I believe, is someway applicable to what the Bible teaches to believers who don’t take efforts with God’s help to guard their God-given free gift of salvation. Believers are in the real danger of squandering their God-given gift of salvation by refusing stubbornly to remain in Christ while at the same time being lazy and lethargic in their battle against sin.
There are those who point to Bible passages where it says the Holy Spirit has ‘sealed’ us ‘eternally’ for redemption to argue for eternal security of one’s salvation. In response I would like to quote a Bible Teacher who wrote the following on gospelway.com:Some people mistakenly use such passages to claim that, since we have the Holy Spirit as a “guarantee,” we cannot lose salvation – “once saved always saved.” However, the “earnest” shows good intention on God’s part; but that in no way guarantees the faithfulness of the humans in keeping our part of the agreement. It is not uncommon, in human transactions, for a party to back out of a purchase or violate a contract after earnest money has been paid. The point here is that God will not back out, if we keep our part of the agreement. But if we humans do not keep our part of the covenant, God is surely not required to provide us eternal life. He can and will then withdraw His earnest, and we lose our reward. That was correctly put. Even David acknowledged that the Holy Spirit could take the liberty of leaving him when he was living in open rebellion against God. That’s why he prayed this prayer post his repentance from the Bathsheba affair: “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me!” (Psa 51:11).
THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST ETERNAL SECURITY
When shown outrageously clear proofs in scripture that once saved people were lost, Calvinists like J. Stanley Grenz of Regent College conveniently hide behind arguments articulated thus: “Those who forsake the faith may someday return to faith, because the indwelling Spirit will complete the saving mission. Or they may never repent of their apostasy, revealing thereby that they were genuinely converted.”
Howard Marshall takes on this view with tact. He says that if the Calvinists theory were true, the warnings in the Bible would necessary take such forums as: ‘Make sure that you are really converted, beware lest what you think is an experience of salvation by faith is really nothing of the kind.’ But the sorts of warnings are not there in Scripture. Put otherwise, the positive command is not to begin to be a genuine believer but to continue and persevere in the faith which one already has.
Calvinists (the group that teaches Eternal Security for salvation) allege that Armenians who emphasize human faith in one’s salvation destroys its purely gracious character. This is simply not the truth. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms faith is no work at all (Rom. 4:16). It is simply the surrender of the will to God, the stretching out of an empty hand to receive the gift of grace, argues Clark Pinnock. In an act of faith we pour scorn at our self-righteousness. Faith, as a means of salvation and security doesn’t encourage conceit and self-esteem – it actually excludes it.
PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT AGAINST ETERNAL SECURITY
The doctrine of eternal security teaches that God over-rides human free of the believer to secure him forever. This creates serious philosophical problems for the Christians who believe in an absolutely good God. If God has to by-pass human free will to secure salvation for believers, he becomes guilty of the greatest sin! Apologist Norman Giesler argues along these lines: Love is the greatest good for all free creatures, but love is impossible without freedom. So only if freedom were destroyed, overridden, God can provide eternal security for believers. That would be evil itself because it would deprive free man of his greatest good – freedom. Hence if God bypasses human free will to secure believers eternally, he would be committing a sin. And that is a philosophical impossibility!
Let me illustrate the above paragraph in a practical way. Those who teach that there is ‘eternal’ security for believers invariably imply that God has made us all mere robots sans a free will. But the Bible consistently teaches us that God has indeed given us a free will. In the Old Testament we read Joshua’s classic words: “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). In the New Testament we read Jesus’ shocking words to his chosen disciples: “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:67). Both these verses are among the many in the Bible that teach we have a free will. If we believed in the eternal security doctrine and that God secures our free will to serve him permanently, we, in-effect do not believe he has given us a free-will! God will make our free will permanent only on the day of judgment. On that day he might say to some of us, this: “You chose not to have fellowship with me while you were on this earth for these sixty-seventy years! Instead, you deliberately chose to rebel against me and play games with me. Now, I will make permanent, that choice your made using your free will. Today, I will freeze your free will choice to wallow in sin while turning your back on me. Depart then to eternal hell, a place in which humans cannot have fellowship with me, and live there forever and forever in everlasting torment!”
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF NOT BELIEVING ETERNAL SECURITY
It certainly challenges the believer to test ourselves to make sure, you are solid in the faith and we don’t drift along taking everything for granted [2 Cor 13:5]. David Pawson points out ‘There is a beautiful balance in the New Testament between our responsibility to keep ourselves in God’s love (Jude 21) and his ability to keep us from falling (Jude 24). We can be cocksure about the faith that God will not and cannot fail to do what he has promised. The bail is in our court. We will do well if this understand drives us to say with the great apostle Paul, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I’m not going to get caught napping telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself’ (I Cor 9:24-27).
Billy Graham was once asked by the media, what his first reaction would be when he got to heaven. In an instant, he replied, “I would be relived!” He agreed what Puritan, John Bunyan wrote in his classic book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” which went this way: “Then I saw that there way a way to Hell, even from the gates of Heaven.”
This doctrine which leaves the possibility of losing salvation open produces serious Christians who don’t play games with God. Though this study has not been exhaustive, one can say with confidence, in the light of the above study, that believers may lose their salvation if they chose to live in constant rebellion against God. The following scripture is a fitting conclusion to this absorbing theological debate of paramount importance to the Christian life:
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him If we deny him, he will deny us – 2 Timothy 2:12 NLT
In the Bible, we do have an example of a person who was once believed and was even baptised, only to be told by one of the Apostles that he could ‘perish’ with the money he dearly loved, if he did not repent (See Acts 8:13, 20-22). Perhaps, if you have gone away from God would you also repent, instead of hoping falsely that you will be saved on the final day, as you were once saved someday in the past?
(Written with the help of commentaries, study Bibles and personal reflection.)
Note – God bless Prathyusha Nakka, our ministry volunteer, for taking time to type this Hand-Written Term Paper which Duke wrote as a student of Masters in Divinity in Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore, 1998-2001. To know more about Duke’s ministry visit http://www.dukev.org. WhatsApp him at 91-8886040605
“God is always smiling at you…. Even if you are in stubborn sin….no problem! The Holy Spirit does not convict believers of sin!” That’s a message that the hyper-grace/nonsensical ‘new’ covenant pastors/preachers want their unsuspecting audiences to hear. But is this true? But is this biblical?
THE ANSWER FROM THE BOOK OF ACTS
After an elaborate discussion in Acts chapter 15 the council of the Apostles came up with this decision: ” For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28,29). Please note the phrase above which goes this way: “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (v. 28). What seemed good? Abstaining from sexual immorality (v. 29). So, it can be safely concluded that both the Holy Spirit and the word preached by the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (like Heb. 13:4, ‘let your marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral…’) will convict us of sin, if we believers become sexually immoral.
THE ANSWER FROM CORINTHIANS
Raad 2 Corinthians 12:21. It goes this way: “I am worried that when I come to visit that my God will humble me somehow before you, that I will have to grieve over all those who have sinned before and then refused to turn away from their addictions to impure practices, immoral sex, and reckless perversions” (2 Cor. 12:21 The Voice). If Apostle Paul was grieved at the stubborn sin of the Corinthian believers, what makes us think that God the father, God the Son, and God the Spirit who inspired his writings was happy when the same thing goes on in the modern believer – stubborn, unrepentant sin (2 Tim. 3:16)?!
THE ANSWER FROM EPHESIANS Paul writes this very clearly elsewhere: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption…” (Eph. 4:30). Again the context of this verse is sin in the life of the believer – sin for which there is no repentance – See the verse above and below: Eph. 4:29-31: “29Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice.” If the Holy Spirit is grieved over stubborn sin in the life of the believer, what makes us think that God the father will be smiling? He certainly is not!
THE ANSWER FROM THE BOOK OF JAMES
The hyper-grace cult teaches that the Holy Spirit only convicts the world of sin – he never convicts believers of sin (John 16:8). But the fact of the matter is that even believers can become worldly (See James 4:4). So when believers become worldly, the Holy Spirit will definitely convict them of sin (if they are sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit). And believers who are stubborn in sin are called, ‘adulterers’ in James 4:4 – not children of God. And those stubborn in sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9,10).
THE ANSWER FROM REVELATION
Come with me to the book of Revelation to understand this further. These are the words of Jesus to the church believers/leaders of Thyatira who tolerate sexual sin and won’t repent from it: ’20But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads My servants to be sexually immoral and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21Even though I have given her time to repent of her immorality, she is unwilling. 22Behold, I will cast her onto a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds. 23Then I will strike her children dead, and all the churches will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.’ (Rev. 2:20-23). If Jesus is upset over unrepentant sin among the believing folk and, at times, may even release punishment for it, here and now (not to forget the ultimate punishment of hell) as seen above, then what makes us think that God the Father is smiling at us when we are in stubborn in sin without any mind for repentance?
Do not believe the hypergrace/nonsense ‘new covenant’ teachers and go to hell with them!
If you are living in stubborn sin, repent right now! Otherwise we store God’s wrath – not pleasure – for us down the line (Romans 2:4-5). If you are wondering, where such a teaching is found in Romans – a letter written for believers, here are the verses I refer to: ‘Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed’ (Rom. 2:4-5).
In the book of Revelation, we clearly see that the Holy Spirit is convicting church believers of sin and calling them through Jesus for repentance. The phrase ‘he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ is often repeated by Jesus as he addresses different church believers in different locations, in the book of Revelation (Rev. 2:7,11, 17,29; 3:6, 13,22). And what was one thing that Jesus repeatedly told church believers/leaders (in sin, including the sin of sexual immorality, See Rev. 2:20-22)? This: REPENT (Rev. 2:5,16, 21,22; 3:3; 3:19). So, the Holy Spirit does the work of convicting believers of sin and calling them to repentance.
Do not believe the lies of the hyper-grace cult teachers and go to hell (which is where they will go, if they do stop teaching their lies).
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at www.dukev.org).