Thursday, May 28, 2009

Losing out with God

2 Peter 2.19- 22 NASB 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves£ of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Every so often I get this question, "Can a person who has had a genuine relationship with Jesus lose his salvation?"

The answer to this question is much more simple than the centuries of church bickering would lead one to conclude. In the passage above we see three truths that show us that every believer is in danger of falling from grace (Gal 5.4) if he or she doesn't take seriously the relationship with Christ that they committed to in their salvation prayer. Peter is writing to false teachers who (v20) escaped the "defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Savior". Clearly this indicates that these men had salvation experience because one cannot know Christ without salvation. These men became "entangled again and overcome" v(20). this shows that momentary sins do not cancel out our salvation- when we become entangled there is always hope of deliverance from such sin... as long as we are not overcome by that sin. Falling back into a sinful act grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4.30) but it doesn't cause us to lose salvation- The only way one can be saved is to trust in the work of Jesus on the cross for salvation, and as long as we continue to strive toward the mark (Phil 3.14), watch our life and doctrine closely (1 Tim 4.16), press on to live in holiness under the Lordship of Jesus (Heb 12.14)and trust in his work rather than our own for full deliverance we remain in Him. Certainly there can be no meaning to Christ's warning to his disciples to "remain in Him" (John 15.6)if there is no possibility of being fruitless branches gathered up and "cast into the fire to be burned". So while we are to strive for a sinless life, momentary failures do not discount us for salvation.

The second thing we see in the verse is that because they had been "overcome" by their sin again- they were worse off in the end than in the beginning. now if they were condemned to Hell as sinners in the beginning- what possible way could they be worse if they still had salvation? Obviously - they couldn't be worse off... unless they had lost out with God. Now they stand doubly condemned- where once they sinned in ignorance (Rom 2. 7-8), now they are sinning boldly in defiance of God's provision of Christ (Heb 10.26)and their condemnation is all that can await them.

The third and final point I see in this passage is that losing out with God is a disgusting act- like a dog returning to his vomit. Having three dogs I can say that this is a disgusting act that makes no sense. That which we have once rejected as no good for us, shouldn't be embraced as our own without the accompanying reaction of disgust. And when a person's faith is shipwrecked (2 Tim 2.15-17)it is a pitiful thing in the eyes of the Lord. His will for our lives is to be fruitful and to live out the abundance of his riches and grace in this life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angels and Demons

If your hoping I am about to review the recent film- sorry to disappoint. I am, however, willing to offer a review of what the enemy of our souls is up to. And you won't need a producation company to follow me around with a camera.

Lying Liars LieThe enemy of our soul and his demonic spirits are working against your life right now by speaking lies. They are lying about you to you. They are lying about God to you. They are lying to you about what others are saying. And they are lying about the things God has asked you to do.

Looking to LootThe enemy is also seeking whom he may destroy and devour. He is not content to tempt you (silly Christian!) He wants to completely derail you from the things that God has assigned for you to do. Pacing outside the doors to your heart he looks for every opportunity.

Losing LoserThe enemy is a loser. I mean this in the most accurate scriptural fashion. If you are listening to his lies then you are a loser too. The Word tells us that he is spinning in some of the final swirls before the "final flush" into captivity (for 1000 years). Surely he knows it because he, as you and I, can sense that his time is short.

If you are not aware of his efforts you may fall pray. And the God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet Rom 16.19


I am surprised as I sit and meditate on my reading from 3 days ago. I find myself turning to the 15th chapter of John and chastise my self for ignoring the reading plan that I had devised for myself. yesterday , I felt that the Lord was telling me that this chapter is important for me right now. Today I reread the chapter again and again. "What is here, Lord?" I queried Him as I read the words on page. Like a teenager looking for car keys I scoured the pages and then I came upon it. It had been there all along... verse 5.

I guess I had been frustrated at the slow pace of ministry growth and having some questions about my own worth. "Am I washed up?... Am I supposed to feel this frustration?...etc?" i was looking for some great paradigmatic shift; some new secret formula; some hidden trick to ministering in Jesus' Name (centuries old and forgotten by the masses); but what I got was verse 5.

And verse 5 set me free. "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit."

Jesus has set the stage there for freedom and fruit. I need only to live in such a manner that I do not grieve his Holy Spirit so that He remains in me, and draw close and remain (abide, live) in Him (Jesus). And there will be fruit. Guaranteed

it is as simple as loving the Savior with all your heart mind and strength. I don't know how fruit happens- only that it does. I eat apples and never wonder why they hang out on the boughs of the tree so beautifully. Nope. Don't care why- God does it. He just makes sure that the tree that is tapped into the supply bears fruit.

Is it just me? Or does that set you free too?

Friday, May 08, 2009

National Day of Prayerlessness

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV): "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Yesterday, we passed through the National Day of Prayer. Or, perhaps this year, it should be called the "National Day of Prayerlessness". It is fitting that the people of God call out to their creator and sustainer, even more so to do it in concert with one another on a selected day. National prayer goes back to 1775 when the Contintental Congress designated a time of prayer for the birthing of this "new nation". Abraham Lincoln called for a resolution to pray as a nation in 1863. Congress passed a law giving the President the right to select a national day of prayer under Truman.

And yet, these days it seems that there are fewer people praying. Even the people of God have lost their understanding of prayer. We have mastered the art of asking God for things and lost the art of surrendering ourselves in prayer! So perhaps it is fitting that President Obama failed to send even representation to any of the National Day of Prayer observances yesterday. In a nation that doesn't pray- it might be seen as a dangerous throwback to the archaic notion that our nation needs the help of God in the economic Tsunami that we are desperately trying to survive. (After all, we can print more money... right???!)

Those of us common folk see things a bit differently. Reports are that many are coming back to church, because of their difficulties and stresses. Perhaps there is a hue and cry in the hearts of the broken and beatdown that the Washington DC elite have insulated themselves from (are any of them facing forclosure???). Many people are starting to turn back to God- in spite of his bad press these last few years. But there probably won't be much in the way of relief from the economic hard times for a little while. The nation that ignores God so famously cannot turn to him once a year and expect blessing. The demand of God is to follow him with all our hearts.

And that is why the scripture says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord". So the Question needs to be asked...If a nation's God is money, power, and political influence... what is its reward?