A Powerful Statement
Before I was a Christian one of the most reassuring things I heard from someone who witnessed to me and helped me want to accept Christ went something like this:
“I you accept Jesus into your heart, He will forgive you your sins past, present, and future. You can know for sure that you are going to heaven.”
This argument sounds nice and was very reassuring but I cannot find it anywhere in scripture. What I did find was this:
being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
whom God hath set forth
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,
to declare his righteousness
for the remission of sins that are past,
through the forbearance of God;
to declare, I say,
at this time his righteousness:
that he might be just,
and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
~ Romans 3:24-26
If we completely repent of our sins, we are justified by his grace, our sins are forgiven. Scripture specifies which sins are forgiven; only those sins we have committed in the past.
Paul also says 5 chapters later . . .
For if ye live after the flesh,
ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live.
~ Romans 8:13
So, if we have been forgiven of our sins and then continue to live after the flesh, we shall die in our sins because we have not mortified the deeds of our body.
Looking further, we see what we are to seek, where our affections should be, and what must mortify or put to death.
If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead,
and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection,
evil concupiscence, and covetousness,
which is idolatry:
for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh
on the children of disobedience:
~ Colossians 3:1-6
Here are the sins from temptations that are common to us all. These must be completely eliminated if we are to be children of obedience prepared to appear with Him in glory.
We must have victory over our body, which means our heart and mind must be completely transformed. Christ must be our life.
In this passage to the Colossians, there are three things related to what the man told me so long ago, past, present, and future.
They are listed before the definition of mortifying the body above and mean something completely different than what he told me.
They are described as follows.
“If ye then be risen with Christ,” This speaks of our salvation when we repented of our sins. God forgave us and we were baptized into His death and risen in new life.
What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin,
that grace may abound?
How shall we, that are dead to sin,
live any longer therein?
Know ye not,
that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ
were baptized into his death?
Here we are told that sinning is no longer allowed as a Christian because it abuses the grace of God.
If we continue in them, we are guilty of willingly abusing what God has so sacrificially given through pain, suffering, and death.
How wicked is sin we commit after we have been saved from it. Those who chose to continue in disobedience, “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Everywhere we go, people watch us. They look to see if we are hypocrites and giving God a bad name. This has the effect of justifying their choice to continue in rebellion and sin.
A life not mortified to the flesh brings little or no conviction to others. Through sin, our salt has lost its savour. Our light has dimmed. We cannot bring conviction and judgment when we are guilty of the same sins.
This is the job the Holy Spirit to do this loving act through us for His pleasure and glory. If we, through sin, are incapable of allowing God to reprove the world of sin through us according to His word, God is taking little or no pleasure in us.
And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin,
and of righteousness,
and of judgment:
~ John 16:8
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is not abiding in those Christians who remain in sin and the things the man told me about forgiveness of all my sins, past, present, and future was not right.
For ye are dead,
and your life is hid with Christ in God . . .
~ Colossians 3:2
. . . that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life.
~ Romans 6:4
We are to live presently, dead to sin with our life hidden with Christ in God. We are to walk (all our behaviors, thoughts, and ways) should be in the newness of life that Christ lives in us. There is nothing impure in this type of living. It is a holy life dedicated to the things of God.
Inversely, If our heart is in the world, then the world is in us.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
~ 1 John 2:15b-17
When we are disobedient to the will of the Father, and we die in our sins that have not been forgiven (those we committed after being saved) we will pass away with the world because the Father’s love is not in us.
If we are hidden with Christ, we are in heavenly places with Him because our soul and heart is in Him and He is in the bosom of our Father.
Our life in Christ cannot be taken away by others. Satan can only peck at it from afar.
Nay, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us.
The love of God keeps us when we walk in His ways, commit our life to His will, and submit everything we have to offer as a sweet smelling savour.
This leads to the other argument coming from my friend. We cannot lose our salvation once we have it because all our sins are already forgiven. I think scripture already provided has shown this statement to be deeply flawed.
There are many more scriptures that can be pointed to and explained in context to show what God has to say about this but we will keep this short.
I am a firm believer that nothing can take us away from Christ when we are walking in Him. When have conquered death if we are already completely committed to the things above and they have become our life.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:37-39
When we walk according to God’s love in truth, this is His promise to us.
To forsake the Lord who saved us and shipwreck our faith leads to death.
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places,
this is the man who hears the word
and immediately receives it with joy;
yet he has no firm root in himself,
but is only temporary,
and when affliction or persecution arises
because of the word, immediately he falls away.
And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns,
this is the man who hears the word,
and the worry of the world
and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word,
and it becomes unfruitful.
Both of these types of soil could have been cultivated. Continuing in the word sows the dirt of our heart, producing deep roots. The Holy Spirit teaches us to truly die to the world as He enriches the soil in our heart.
When we do both of these things: (continuing in the word and letting the Holy Spirit have His way), we develop God goes deeper into our heart and the things Jesus mentioned do not lead us astray. We become grounded in His word.
That is why our selection of churches, friends, and activities are so very important.
When Christ, who is our life,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
We are to be heavenly minded using the example Christ gave us through His life and through the lives of the apostles and disciples.
If we do this, we will be prepared to appear with Him in glory.
This can only be if we have done what is expected: mortified the deeds of the flesh, being dead to sin, and alive in Christ.
Our prayer life should be the most important thing we do. It should dominate our thoughts. Get some good books to read for helps. E. M. Bounds and Leonard Ravenhill are great resources.
We are only as good as our prayers.
In prayer, we become abased, humbled, and brought the to feet of Christ. In prayer, He calls us not only to look up at the cross but to climb onto it and die on it.
That is where we belong, in prayer, crucified with Christ, serving Him however He calls.
I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.
~ Galatians 2:20
Crucify yourself. You are not your own. You belong to Christ. Only He will give you life.
Faith in the ever living God abiding in us now and forever more is our hope and precious promise if we let Him have His way in our hearts.
God hath from the beginning
chosen you to salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit
and belief of the truth
Let Him work your faith.