Sunday, October 14, 2012


Recently a friend and I discussed the difficult subject of how actions contirbute to our salvation (not to say that we can be saved by our own doing). I felt I could not possibly convey all that I believed on that in one e-mail, even if it was very lengthly.

I thought it would be helpful if I studied the subject more closely and wrote out a blog post on this so that I could gather my thoughts.

At the first church I ever remember going to, the pastor would give an altar call/the sinner's prayer at the end of every sermon. While that's deffinitely not always bad thing, it isn't always a good thing either. So I naturally came from the point of veiw that once you say a prayer you're saved, and their is nothing you can do to change that. Still I believe that once saved one can never loose one's salvation, however I fear for those who believe and live with a saved-by-grace-no-need-to-work attitude.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 says, "Now if anyone builds on this foundation [which is Christ] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

My granddad is a preacher and I have often heard him say how sad it will be when people will get to heaven and see that the earthly riches and acheivements they have worked for will be worthless. "Those Christians will have no reward in heaven" he says with frown and a shake of his head, "but I want a crown."

Often times when we read passages like 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 we read "he will receive a reward" and we look forward to that. Which is good. But we forget to think about it saying "If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." I think to few Christians have a healthy fear of God.

Hebrews 10:26-27, 30-31 "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries... For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Don't think the judgement is only for those who are not Christians. You an be saved and still appear before God with "spot and wrinkle".

2 Corinthians 5:9-11 "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all [must all!] appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences."

Pay close attention as you read this: 2 Peter 2:20-21, "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."

The warnings are there. No one is hidden, all must give an acount before God someday. (Hebrews 4:13)

Jesus Christ alone is qualified to be the Judge of all mankind. Only He has ever lived a perfect life. Not only that, but He knows what it is like to be a human being and He understands the difficulties His people have while living in this present, evil world (Hebrews 2:14-18).
Upon what things will we be judged? Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:14; Matthew 12:36; 1 Peter 4:17; Luke 12:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5.

God says that individuals will have to account for all of their works, our secret sins, even every word we have spoken will be judged. It doesn't matter if you were just a kid having fun, or if you "didn't really mean it". That includes the motive for our works."Every man's work shall be tried to see of what sort."

What standard will we be judged against? John 12:48; Revelation 20:12

God will judge us by the things written in the "books", His Word (both the Old and New testements). The Bible contains God's laws, the standard of righteousness by which everyone is judged. But at the same time, some have better opportunities to understand and learn to obey God's law in this life than others. God's judgment is perfectly fair. He says "to whom much is given, much is required". Luke 12:48. Teachers of God's way will be held to an even higher standard. James 3:1.

Why does Philippians 2:12 tell already born again Christians "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"? Because although we are completely saved, we still must work toward righteousness not in own might, but as we ask, seek and knock so will He answer. Read Luke 6:38.

A recent survey of church goers showed that,

10% of church members never attend church.

70% never give to missions.

75% never engage in any church activity.

80% never attend prayer meetings.

90% never have family worship.

95% never win a soul to Christ.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.

Maybe, worship has just become a "form of Godliness" because too many of us do not have a right vew of what it means to live "in Christ".
To many Christians are "scarcely saved. (1 Peter 4:14-18)

Even though this is already very long, I want to end with a quote: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). Even this glourious directive is tragically limited when seen as a rebirth reference. "Coming to the Father" applies powerfully to growth in knowing. We can obey the Lord with scanty understanding and scarcely know Him at all.We can be healed and forget to go back and thank Him. Close friends keep in close touch. The ultimate intamacy is as a bride with her bridegroom. Rebirth does not guarantee we will be "presented before Him without spot or wrinkle." He is able to complete our cleansing, if we grow in His likeness, ingest of His nature, diligently seeking to grow "in the knowledge of Him".

Both "it is finished"(John 19:13) and "author and finisher" (Hewbrews 12:2) are repeatedly mis-read. {See page 211. [His work is finished]} This is not demeaning of the Lord's magnificent work. "By which also ye are saved [not thoroughly and instantly, but progressively], if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you [such as 1 Corinthians 3:3, 4:2, the whole letter], unless [or else] ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:2) "We then as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain... now is the day of salvation." Written to believers. Have we sought Him today? He will achieve in us increasing salvation from blindness and sin and mature our faith if we love Him and seek Him dillegently in the prayer closet, working out our own [Matthew 25:9] salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12-13)."


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do the Next Thing

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “Do the next thing.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.
[A poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot ] 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Verse of the Week

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
~Jude 20,21~