“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
With verses like this I am at a miss how so much of Christianity can believe in a doctrine that teaches that if we say a prayer to accept Jesus into our hearts we are secure in our salvation. If we choose to continue in sin its okay, because once we said that prayer, we are saved.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (Psa 10:4)
Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. (Psa 10:13)
The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psa 11:5)
Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psa 11:6-7)
New Testament (poneros)
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.,” (Mat 13:49-50)
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (Mat 18:32)
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (Mat 25:26)
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: (Luke 19:22)
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thess 3:2)
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil [poneros] deeds. (2 John 10-11)
(There is much to be learned from these verses about wickedness that has permeated Christianity that deserves further study.)
Paul also calls the church to “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
I was taught that this meant the man will physically die and still go to heaven. Can Christians practice sins worse than non-Christians and still go to heaven? [“and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles“]
That is what I use to think until I Iearned that this man is mentioned elsewhere in Corinthians and it appears that he was restored to the church. Flesh in verse 5 can mean the human body but the Greek word also means sinful nature. I am inclined to believe that Paul meant the man’s sinful nature was put to death since his spirit appears to be saved as he was restored later in 2 Cor 2:5-8,
“But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”
If this was not the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1, the principle would still stand in light of the context and the New Testament church practice of reflecting God’s holiness and longsuffering in love.
Paul also mentions him in 2 Corinthians 7:12 – “So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.”
Paul also warned against sinning Christians here, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21) and here: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph 5:3,4)
Our church is already in deep trouble and not in the early stages of falling away. We hardly practice Christianity according to the Bible. There is not one church that I am aware that will purge members for sexual immorality, coveting, idolatry, railing, drug or alcohol abuse, or covetous, or an idolater, or railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, and then forgive and comfort one with open arms when he repents of his sins and comes back to live for God, like in 2 Cor 2:7-8. Usually we go on unaware of such sinful behavior because of our apostasy. We are so watered down in doctrine that sin has become rampant in most of our churches today with pastors even practicing these sins. Satan no longer has a foothold in the churches, he has control over many of them.
This concept of becoming spiritually dead after becoming saved is no different than the story of the Prodigal son . . . for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:24), And they began to be merry. You see here the father began to be merry and celebrate only when his son was found or alive again. The father does not celebrate or take pleasure in a son who is dead and lost. He is not part of his household only those children who are faithful like his other son.
Nor is it any different than what Jesus said about Christians that do not have a firm foundation in Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
The good news is we can get right with God if we fall away but we must be willing to live in repentance, abide in the truth, and then nothing will be able to keep us from the love of God. Because sin will not only keep you from church, it can separate you from God.
Brothers and Sisters,
“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Tim 2:19)
There are eternal consequences for those who don’t.