I talk a lot about how the preTrib Rapture, Easy Grace, and Once Saved Always Saved doctrines are wrong.  I say that they preach ‘another gospel’ about ‘another Jesus’ and produce (so-called, self-professed) ‘Christians’ that are really more accurately called unconverted believers.  One such person recently (mockingly) asked me:

“So….how do you live exactly?? Do you know without a doubt where you would go if you died right now? or do you have some unconfessed sin in your life that wouldn’t allow you in heaven….like maybe anger that i detected in your last comment??If i believed the way you do along with catholics, coc, aog, and all the other RELIGIONS, i’d be repenting and trying to get saved every 5 min because i might say an idle word and Jesus could come or i could die the next second. No peace….”

First of all, unless one blasphemes the Holy Spirit, they are not going to ‘lose’ their salvation in 5 minutes.  ‘Lose your salvation’ is a term that this person uses, but I don’t like that term because it is misleading.  It gives the impression of a person setting something down and forgetting where they put it . . . or maybe that someone has taken it away.  It is a passive term that doesn’t convey any responsibility for what happened.  No one can separate us from God.  But we CAN separate ourselves from God.  Therefore, I believe it is more accurate to say that someone can FORFEIT their salvation.

God has given each of us free will, and that is not something that He takes away from us, once we become a Christian.  (Paul told of different people who had turned away from Christianity.  We ALWAYS have the option to stop living for God.)  Let me make it clear first, that if we are walking with Christ, his grace covers us from sins we commit without realizing.  His death covers all our sins, as long as we CONTINUE walking with Him.  But He doesn’t cover our sins if we turn away.  Now I’m not going to split hairs over what it means to turn away–how long a person can backslide without forfeiting their salvation.  That is a heart matter, and only God knows our hearts.  I DO know that we are warned in Scripture, many times, in many ways, to not turn away.

Free will is also why Satan works through deception.  He cannot SNATCH us out of God’s hand–no one can.  But if he can cause us to WALK AWAY of our own free will, and if we don’t turn back, then he has accomplished what he hoped for.  Make no mistake, God DOES allow our faith to be tested, to see if it is genuine.  Adam and Eve sinned, and the devil deceived them, but he was clever enough to be sure that the way he did it didn’t violate their free will, so they had to bear the blame.

Even though we have our own free will, when we become Christians we commit ourselves into God’s hands for safekeeping.  He will not let us slip away.  He will not cast us away because we commit a sin.  Once we become a Christian, His Spirit lives inside of us.  He will reason with us when we are struggling with sin.  He will give us the power to overcome it, and a way out of temptation.  He will warn us when we go wrong.  But if we don’t listen to His Spirit inside us, warning us, then we are guilty of willful sin.

When we sin willfully and don’t repent, God chastises us.  Every good father disciplines his children, God is no exception.  But if we remain stiffnecked and don’t repent, if we continue to ignore His discipline, eventually our heart becomes so hardened by sin that His Holy Spirit can no longer bring us to a place of remorse and repentance.  When we get to that point, our fate is sealed.  This is not something that happens in five minutes . . . maybe not even in five weeks, or five months.

Do I live in fear?  No.  In fact, it wasn’t until I realized that God loved me even when I was in the midst of my sin . . . and that He loved me enough that He would LET me walk away, if I really wanted to, that I really came to trust Him.  When I was still believing the false gospel and OSAS doctrine, I backslid more than once.  I can tell you from experience that I ALWAYS knew I was in danger.  It was THEN that I lived in fear, because the Holy Spirit clearly warned me of what was on the horizon

‘For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,   But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.’  (Hebrews 10:26-27)

With that misunderstanding hopefully out of the way, I will tell you what my life is like now . . .

I rarely think about, or speak about hell.  My personal belief is that trying to motivate people to love God by scaring them to death about hell only produces bad fruit.  God isn’t mocked.  He is looking for people who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth–not people who come to Him merely for a ‘get out of jail free card’.  But that’s another subject, perhaps for another post.

I walk in fellowship with God daily.  I pray all the time, about all sorts of things.  I feel strength, faith, and courage inside me, from the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Since I became a (fully converted) Christian, I am a new creation.  I have a new heart, and I have the mind of Christ.  I don’t spend my time being totally self-absorbed.  I don’t sin every five minutes.  (Incidentally, being angry is not a sin.  God is angry with the wicked every day.  Jesus was often angry with hypocrites.  Anger without cause is wrong.  Sinning because you’re angry isn’t excused.  But anger itself isn’t wrong.)

When I realize I have sinned (and it doesn’t take long, because the Holy Spirit lets me know), I repent.  I don’t repent because I’m scared of going to hell.  I repent because I hate sin.  I repent because I realize I’ve offended God.  I hate the break in fellowship that I feel, and knowing I’ve displeased Him.  Because I have a new heart, I don’t want to sin.  I hate the things God hates, and I love the things God loves.  I walk in peace–deep peace–daily, because I’m walking in the presence of God and know that we are in agreement.

Yes, I know without a doubt where I would go if I died now.  No, there’s no unconfessed, unforgiven sin in my life right now.  As I said before, when I sin, I know right away.  And when I know, I repent.  If the sin is a bad attitude or unforgiveness, sometimes I have to ask God to help me with it–and He does.  But I no longer try to hide my sins.  I know that God is my Father, who loves me–not some angry judge who’s waiting for me to mess up so He can reject me.  I know He wants to help me overcome my sins, and doesn’t condemn me for them when I confess and desire to turn away from them.

Although mainstream churchianity talks about  Christianity being a relationship, not a religion (and that is true), most mainstream ‘Christians’ don’t really know God.  They imagine they belong to a ‘God’ who doesn’t require much from them, and bends to their will.  The ‘God’ they suppose they have a relationship with, is a ‘God’ of their own making.  They reject the parts of the Bible that offend them.  They reject the parts of God’s character that they don’t understand, and they lack the fear of God.  They may believe SOME of what they know about Him, and they may desire the things that He provides, but most of them are unwilling to make the sacrifice that He requires. The biggest proof of all is that the image they are being conformed to (as evidenced by their actions and attitudes) is not the image of God.

No one comes to God standing on two feet with their pride and self-esteem intact.  Awe at the power, position, and holiness of God, and the realization of our sinfulness and unworthiness, drops us to our knees.  We come to Him broken and sorry.  We begin our walk with Him in humility, gratitude and repentance.  We continue it the same way.  Arrogance is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Neither is ‘self-esteem’.  Our worth is in Him, not in ourselves.  All our righteousness is as filthy rags.  That doesn’t just mean what we DO, but also who we ARE, in ourselves, without Him.  The strength and assurance I have now is not rooted in myself–it’s because I know who leads me by the hand.

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