Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Once Saved Always Saved ?

Once Saved Always Saved ?

For over a few occasions, we have heard people preaching the ‘Once saved always saved’ message, which says that because we are saved by faith through grace, and not of our own works, therefore we have eternal security and nothing can remove us from it. Not even whatever wrongs we commit could disconnect us from the salvation of God - even if you wanted to, you can’t, for God had sealed you with His Holy Spirit. Sounds like a really good deal, but how reliable is that? Is that the full gospel that our Lord Jesus and His apostles preached? Can we really stretch God’s grace indefinitely and never come close to judgment? Also, how far does one go before he is seen before God as an apostate? I have personally felt a great burden in my heart in regards to this issue for a couple of years. Thus, I gave diligent study in this matter and would now like to present the truth from God’s Word, with all reverence and humility. We are wholly committed to help restore the fear of the Lord to the body of Christ and to prepare the bride for the Bridegroom.

Encouraging and positive messages are a great lift to our spirits and they strengthen us when we are weak. That’s why the bible is full of inspiring and positive words for us. However, the bible is not all about positive encouragement. In fact, it emphasizes the importance of “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28) Having the full counsel of God’s word is ever so needed in order for us to complete our Christian pilgrimage successfully. We need both the encouraging word to spur us on as well as the warning message to keep us out of danger zone, “less we drift away…and neglect so great a salvation”(Heb.2: 1, 3)

David says, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteousness altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps.19: 9-11)

A faithful believer treasures all of God’s word. He loves the exhortation, as well as appreciates the chastisement. He gets inspired by the word of God, but also reminds himself to heed the warnings therein. The entire counsel of God’s word is sweet, to the faithful believer. In fact, it comes with the promise of great reward to those who practice them.

Jesus warned us that in the end times “lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold” (Matt.24: 12). Paul, in his letters to Timothy reinforced that warning and said that in the last days, we would be living in difficult or perilous times. But this difficulty may not always arise out of great persecutions, but it could come as a result of a believer’s heart becoming self-centered instead of God-centered. As more and more people indulge in growing their own world of comfort over the kingdom of God, it will be more and more difficult to teach, preach, and practice the unadulterated truth of God’s Word.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2Tim.3: 1-4)

This is happening all around us, more so than ever before. What can keep us from becoming all these things that grieve the Spirit of God? We therefore pray that this message will cause every reader to see as God sees and be awoken to the truth about our salvation. God’s priceless gift of salvation is to be treasured and we should defend it diligently, especially since the devil is always seeking to rob us of it. This is not unfounded, as Paul himself feared that the saints in Christ might be deceived and led astray by the craftiness of Satan.

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it…such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ… into an angel of light…and also into a minister of righteousness”. (2Cor.11: 3-4; 13-14)

Therefore he never “cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts.20: 31)

Unscriptural Grace

Due to an erroneous teaching on the concept of grace, people have ended up with misguided ideas about the grace and goodness of God. There have been such unbalanced teachings on grace that it has resulted in believers overlooking the importance of living a life worthy of a holy and just God. Scriptural grace enables and empowers a believer to live a life of obedience. It imparts the divine ability of God to us and frees us from strifing in the flesh to fulfill the dead formula of the law. The law is thus an outside restraint while grace helps brings about an inward transformation. What the Law cannot reconcile between a holy God and us grace, enables. However, grace is not all about God and nothing of us. We need to learn how to appropriate the grace given to us so that we do not “fall short of the grace of God” (Heb.12: 15) or we might “receive the grace of God in vain”(2Cor.6: 1). Let us consider the words of the apostle Jude:

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)

Did you see the burden upon Jude’s heart? In talking about their salvation, Jude found it necessary to tell them to contend for their faith. To contend is to battle or to fight. Jude exhorted the believers to fight for their faith earnestly, because “certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4)

We are told to contend for the faith because certain people have crept into the body of Christ, and misrepresented the grace of God as an excuse for licentiousness (unbridled lust for things of the world, of the flesh). While their lips proclaim the grace of God, in their actions, they pervert the grace of God by indulging in self-pleasures, embracing lifestyles contrary to the word of God. Their belief is this: “after we become Christians we can do just as we like without fear of God’s punishment” (Jude 4, the Living Bible).

They often teach that God’s judgment for all things had already been completed on the cross – we need only look towards reward and need not fear the repercussions of wrongdoings. Teaching that nothing can be greater than the work of the Cross, they believe that a believer cannot commit any sin that will separate them from the salvation of God. Little or nothing is said about carrying the cross and following Jesus, or about God’s wrath and judgment, but only the grace of God.

They sound like they are preaching a very good deal about Christianity, but according to Jude these men actually “deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Yet, they are welcomed and accepted in the Christian fellowship because they have “crept in unnoticed”. They do not deny Christ by their words (for no one who openly denies Jesus Christ can remain unnoticed in a fellowship) but like Paul said these people “claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him” (Titus 1:16) We can be a professing Christian, but in our lives and behavior we actually deny Him.

Such a person, Paul calls them an imposter. “Having a form of godliness but denying its power…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim.3: 5,7,13)

An imposter is one who deceives others by assuming a character or pretense, like a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Not only do they deceive others, but they themselves also walk in deception because their evil hearts have rejected the truth. Like the generation of the church in Laodicea, they think they are “rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” but yet do not know that they are actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” before God (Rev.3: 17).

Jude warned of the terrible danger these people can cause, for they “defile the flesh, reject authority and speak evil of dignitaries…grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage…these are sensual person, who cause divisions, not having the spirit” (Jude 8,16,18-19). Unfortunately, many saints have been led astray from walking in the full counsel of God because of these teachings.

Like “clouds without water, carried about by the winds” (Jude 12), these people have nothing to give because they are empty in themselves, giving empty promises. As waterless clouds that do not bring rain, they bear a semblance of godliness; carry the appearance of a believer but in reality is without the life or substance of one because they live as “not having the Spirit”(Jude 19).

Jude also compared them to “late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead…” (Jude 12). In order to be “twice dead”, a person must have been dead once, made alive, then die again. This describes people who were spiritually dead without Christ, made alive through salvation but later die another spiritual death because they rejected Him in their hearts. And the Bible says that such “is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13) and they will go through a second death.

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstones, which is the second death”. (Rev.21:8) Only the over comers shall inherit the Kingdom.

Labeled as “spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves” (Jude 12), they shall be greatly shamed in the Day of the Lord, since Jesus is coming back for a “glorious Church, not having a spot of wrinkle…” (Eph. 5:27).

Danger Of Wondering From The Truth

There are several passages in the Bible that warn us against wandering from the truth, and it says very obviously that believers who wander from the truth end up away from Christ and His salvation, for words such as “rest in the assembly of the dead”, “turned aside after Satan”, are used to describe them

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20)

Notice that James was addressing Christians, for he called them “brethren” and the erring person he talked about was not any unsaved person but a believer, for the words he used were “anyone among you”. James was addressing believers who had wandered from the way of truth and he called them sinners. Believers who wander off from following God’s ways are considered a “sinner” like the unbeliever, and like the unbelieving sinner, unless they come to repentance, their destiny is death – “twice dead” and “reserved the blackness of darkness forever”. Proverbs 21:16 also warned “a man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead”.

Do not be surprised that believers can end up spiritually dead at the end of their walks. Like living licentiously, wandering from the truth of God is another deathblow to eternal security. The Bible warns us that there are widows who “grow wanton against Christ…and cast off their first faith” and “some have already turned aside after Satan” (1Tim.5: 11, 15). These widows were Christians before, but for whatever reasons, have wandered from the truth, deserted the salvation of God and followed Satan to his destruction.

As Peter said “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2Pet.2: 20-21)

Who are the people who have escaped the pollution of the world by coming to the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? The Christians. To be overcame means they failed to return or repent from their willful lawless ways. Thus, if a Christian chooses to return to worldly ways, and fail to restore his relationship with the Lord, the Bible says it would be better for him not to have known the way of righteousness before. For to God, it is worse to lose the gift of eternal life after having received it, than to not have received it at all in the first place. For those who received Jesus as Lord, who knew His will and did not walk in the fear of the Lord but instead lived in rebellion will receive greater punishment in the second death. “The servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few” (Lk.12: 45-48)

The book of Revelation also warns us not to be overcome but to be over comers. “He who overcome shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life…”(Rev.3: 5) The warning “will not blot out” implies that the name is already there in the Book of Life, and he needs to be an over comer for his name to remain there. However, if he turned to worldliness and stays there, he will suffer for that, because when Jesus Christ comes again, “anyone not found written in the Book of life was cast into the lake of fire”(Rev.20: 15)

For that reason, we are exhorted to “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” (Col.1: 23)

True Believers vs. False Believers

In the context of salvation, believing in Christ goes beyond merely acknowledging His existence. It commands a turn away from worldly ways and involves obeying the will of God and His word. True faith has its fruits to show for it, like how Abraham’s faith was evidenced by his works of obedience (James 2:21-24).

Let us consider another sobering scripture:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your Name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt.7: 21-23)

The scenario described in the above passage is a serious moment in the Day of the Lord when many believers will be denied by Jesus our Lord. They are certainly not unbelievers, because people who have not received the salvation of Christ are not granted to do supernatural works in Jesus name. What happened to the seven sons of Sceva is an example. Being unbelievers, they tried to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, but were overcome by the evil spirits instead. (Acts 19:13-17).

But how could a believer gifted with the anointing of God and doing the Lord’s work be ultimately denied in the presence of the Lord? It happens when their service in God’s ministry is self-motivated and not love-motivated. They join themselves to Jesus not out of love, but because they wanted salvation and His power. They practice the anointing of God upon them as a minister of God but as a person they “practice lawlessness”. Works alone cannot prove our love for Jesus, but it is the way we live that vouches for His presence in our lives. “He who says, ‘I know Him’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him”. (1 Jn. 2:4)

Judas Iscariot was in the ministry team with Jesus. He stayed with Jesus despite all the persecution, not quitting even when other disciples did (Jn.6: 66). He was even entrusted with the treasury. He cast out devils, healed the sick and preached the gospel. When Jesus sent out the Twelve, he was among them. However, Judas did not repent of his self-seeking motives (Matt.26: 14-16; Jn.12: 4-6), which were there from the start. He lied and deceived to gain advantage (Matt.26: 25), even took money from the treasury of Jesus’ ministry for personal use (Jn.12: 4-6). He never truly knew Jesus as the Son of God, even though he spent three and half years with the Lord. There was no transformation in his life. What did Jesus say about Judas? Jesus said “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matt.26: 24).

The sentence for those who practice lawlessness is that they “will be cast into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt.13: 42)

The Scripture further warns us in Eze.18: 24:

“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die”

God declared that in the event that a righteous man turns away from truth and practices the ways of the world, whatever righteousness he practiced before that would not be regarded in God’s sight. God would treat it as if they never existed, that He never knew him doing any righteous deeds (Matt.7: 23). The guilt of sin that leads to death shall once again be upon the person until he comes to repentance. Apostle John also exhort us “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward” (2Jn.8)

This is for us to consider: how many of us are like Judas? Do we make countless sacrifices for the ministry, preach the gospel, minister spiritual gifts, and yet do not walk in the fear of the Lord that we might receive a full reward?

Jesus asked, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things which I say?”(Lk.6: 46) The word ‘Lord’ means ‘supreme in authority or master’. Jesus is saying many confess Him as Lord, but yet do not place Him as their supreme authority. They basically live in a manner that does not support what they confess. They obey the will of God when it does not conflict with the desires of their own hearts. If however the will of God differs from what they have desired for themselves, they will choose their own path, yet still call Jesus “Lord”. Paul knew of such people in his ministry, for he said, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.”(Phil. 3:18-19)

It is quite unfortunate that very often success in ministry is measured purely by numbers. This has led many ministries to do whatever it takes to fill the Church with ‘members’. And in accomplishing the numerical targets, we have preached Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. The benefits of salvation have been so promoted that the gospel became diluted and reduced to an answer to life’s problems, followed by a guarantee of heaven. The message of the Cross, holiness and fear of the Lord has been neglected, and we need to restore it.

Jesus confronted the ministers of His day, saying “You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matt.23: 15). Converts are easily made, but it’s one thing to make them people with hearts after the promises of God and another thing to make them people with hearts after God. It is sad to spend so much time and money to make converts that ends up in hell.

Jesus said frankly to the multitudes, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mk.8: 34-35)

The rich young ruler wanted so badly to be saved. He came running to Jesus and knelt before Him, seeking for the gift of eternal life. Jesus said to him, ‘you lack something’ (read Mk.10: 17-22). The young man walked away from eternal life when Jesus told him about the cost - a truly surrendered life.

Danger Of Falling Into Apostasy

Let us now consider another group of people – the apostates. An apostate is a person who had once received the gospel of salvation, made a genuine profession of the faith but later knowingly repudiated the faith. They deny the Lord through a personal decision to turn away from what they once chose for themselves. That said, the Bible also warned us that anyone who continues in a sin and refuses to repent of it is in danger of becoming an apostate once his heart is hardened and his conscience is seared from the conviction of sin. Therefore, people who regard their salvation carelessly face a real danger of drifting into such a state, for they have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them (Heb. 10:29) and have become enemies of God with raging fire awaiting them (Heb. 10:27).

“Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. Anyone who refused to obey the Law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or more witnesses. Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people (Heb.10: 26-29).

Apostasy is not the same as spiritual backsliding. Backsliding is where a Christian falls into sin (and continues for a while there) due to a momentary weakness in the flesh. A true believer may at times wander away from the Lord, get trapped in the pursuit of worldly pleasures, stop attending Church or Christian fellowship and even reach the point where he is no longer recognized as a Christian, but should he repent, God’s forgiveness is never too far to reach him and he can be restored to fellowship again. That means that anyone who fears that they have fallen so far from Christ that there could be no hope of restoration and redemption for them, is not an apostate. An apostate is one who is devoid of such godly fear, for his heart is so hardened that he actually brought himself to renounce Christ and walk in unrighteousness.

Apostates are people who choose to live sinful lifestyles. They willfully disobey the commandments of God; disregard the work of Christ and His sacrificial blood shed for them. They know the truth, yet choose to rebel against it – sinning with their eyes wide open. It is a deliberate hardening of their hearts towards a loving and merciful God, who is slow in anger and abounding in mercy. In so doing, they not only insult the mercy of God but they have also deprived themselves of any atonement for their sins. In fact, the Bible says that even the sacrifice of Christ will not deliver them from their guilt because they have rejected Him as a sacrifice and shut the door of repentance behind them. Therefore, nothing awaits them except the wrath of God that comes with His judgment.

The Peril Of An Apostate

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God, but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:4-8)

This is one of the most solemn warnings of the kind of sentence awaiting an apostate, for it is impossible to restore them again to repentance. The word “impossible” should not be misinterpreted to mean “difficult”. God always says exactly what He means. Impossible means impossible, no less. However, it is very important to know that the impossibility is due to their own spiritual condition (the hardening of their hearts) and not because God is too petty to save them. Obviously, these people had once repented and turned to Christ, but had degenerated to such a state that it becomes impossible to ‘renew them again to repentance’.

What could these people have done to disqualify them from renewal and restoration? Firstly, the Bible says they were once enlightened. That means they had once believed and understood the gospel, but later returned to the darkness of sin and hardened their hearts against God. Then, they have also tasted the heavenly gift and were once partakers of the Holy Spirit, which means they have participated in the ministry of God with the Holy Spirit, working with Him and being witness of His glorious power. They have also witnessed the power of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, for they have seen signs, wonders and miracles which all attest to the power of God. Thus, by returning to their sinful ways and living in rebellion against God’s word, their sins are crucifying Christ all over again on their own account. Their ways have put them together with the people physically guilty of crucifying Christ, who made trial of God and found Him an unworthy savior of the world, but declared him to be only a deceiver worthy of death.

The story of the earth and the rain further illustrates this. The ‘rain that often comes upon (the earth)’ is the grace of God that is given freely on everyone who calls on Him. Though all believers receive this grace like how all earth receives the falling rain, not all believers bear fruits of righteousness like how not all the land will produce herbs useful for mankind. The believers who use the grace of God to work out their salvation diligently are like the land that bears herbs – both will be blessed by God. But the believers who received His grace in vain and bore fruits of unrighteousness are like the land that bore thorns and briers. Both will be rejected by God and destined for destruction.

Assurance Of Salvation

Are we then to walk in fear and anxiety in regards to our salvation? Are we not serving a God who is faithful, loving and full of mercy? Of course we are, but take care that we do not live with in a false sense of security, taking the grace of God for granted and assume that we have eternal security for us irregardless of how we live and do “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1Cor.10:12)

God has promised us that He has “given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1Jn.5: 11-12) Our assurance of salvation is thus found in our abiding in Him, Christ in us is the hope of glory. Jude also tells us only Christ “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 21). However, in the same breath, he also said “keep yourself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”(Jude 24)

Yes, if we truly abide in His love and walk in the fear of the Lord, there should be no fear of us losing our salvation. For “there is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear” (1Jn.4: 18). For that reason, Paul warned, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? – Unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor.13: 5). Jesus Himself gave us the invitation if we have strayed away from Him, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with Him, and he with Me. To him who overcome I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcome and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3: 20-21). Are we in Him, and He in us?

Dear brothers and sisters, are you an over comer or are you being overcome by the world? The author of Hebrews warns us “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb.2: 1-3) Have you drifted away and neglected the wonderful love of God?

Final Exhortation

We are clearly warned from the Scripture that as the end of this age approaches, we can expect a rise of apostasy, fuelled by the increase of false teachers and prophets.

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first… (2Thess.2: 3)

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…(1Tim.4: 1)

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears (Acts 20:28-31)

Paul laboriously repeated this exhortation to the believers, reminding them to watch themselves and not be led away from the truth. The danger of “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing”(Matt.7: 15) is real. Beloved of God, we must all be diligent in carrying out the will and commandments of the Lord and walk in reverence of Him so that we can enjoy true spiritual fellowship with God.

In closing, let us read the exhortation of Peter “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the terror of the wicked” (2Pet.3: 17).

We urge you to examine the scriptures we have shared in this message seriously and decide for yourself what the word of God means to you. The Bible views salvation as both an event and a process. For that reason Paul exhort us “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil.2: 12). Therefore, live a life worthy of the Lord, and do not neglect so great a salvation – the love of God.

May our loving and gracious God cause His face to shine on you always. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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