We live in a time when we’re quick to tell people that they’re born-again or they’re saved because of our eagerness to count numbers and show how successful we are in being fishers of men. It is wrong and nobody should allow anyone to inflict them with such punishment because that is what it will eventually amount to.
The grace that saves those foreknown and predestined by God to salvation cannot be gotten by a minister pronouncing it on somebody. The only way to salvation is accepting Jesus Christ personally in the heart.
Saving grace is not a wishy-washy airy force but is a person (Jesus Christ) and that’s why every invitation to salvation in the bible is phrased with receive or believe IN Christ (John1:12, Rom 10:9-10, Acts 4:12).
Jesus Christ is alive today and tomorrow IN those who are saved and being saved. Therefore, He speaks, teaches and helps those who have become His temple to obey Him (Titus 2:11-12, John10:27).
Salvation by grace alone through faith IN Jesus Christ is the only guarantee and the hope for eternal life with Almighty God, the creator of the heavens and earth and all that is in them.
Every teaching that makes character or obedience the basis of salvation and not grace is heresy. In the same light, any teaching on grace that negates obedience to Jesus Christ is equally heretical.
God has made provision for His children to grow in grace while on the earth clothed with mortal body. This growth continues all the days of our lives on the earth. If any man clothed with mortal body professes to have reached perfection in the growth or use of grace, that man is closer to committing the same sin of pride that Lucifer committed and became Satan.
Godly wisdom is to acknowledge that the flesh will continue to war against the Spirit in us all the days of our life on the earth and to learn not to make provision for it to overwhelm us. To walk in this light, the Apostle Paul practised putting the flesh under (mortification) through the grace of God that was working in and through him.
The hope of saints (God’s children) is the coming resurrection which is by the grace (power) of God at the return of Jesus Christ who is the first begotten Son from the dead, the alpha and omega, the author and finisher of our faith.
The grace of future resurrection which works within us even now is going to open to God’s sons a dimension of joy of being completely sold out to God in spirit, soul and importantly body like never before. Those who are truly and earnestly seeking this hope, are presently experiencing a richness of grace in words and in deeds as their mind is being renewed by the “hidden manna” of God’s word and prayers (Rom 2:7, Rom 12:2). Their hunger and taste for righteousness (desire to respond to the Holy Spirit by the grace working within) is being satisfied in an increasing measure and they are becoming more accustomed to responding even more promptly (Matt 5:6, Heb 5:14). They are enjoying and walking in an increasing measure of the imputed righteousness in such a heart-warming way that opposes antinomianism (the doctrine suggesting that the imputed righteousness cannot be manifested in our flesh).
The scripture makes it clear God has saved all who are in Christ and the salvation incorporates the spirit, soul and body. The body will be the last rebel to be changed once and for all eternity. The victory God gives to all His people presently is to indicate to us that God has the power to subject the flesh and will eventually do so as immortality swallows mortality through the resurrection power (life) of Christ by the Holy Spirit at His appearing. (Rom 13:14, 1 Cor 6:20; 2 Cor 4:7)
The word of God is complete and perfect — revealing every truth that will help us walk with Him faithfully. Peter clearly warns people who are unstable to stay clear from wanting to teach or interpret Paul’s writings and the reason is stated plainly. It is the grace he received and not his seminary degree(s) that granted him wisdom and understanding of God’s word. The grace given to Paul stabilized his life and granted him the ability to follow after Christ with singleness of heart which manifested in his good character which challenged the early Church and still challenge all true believers today. Those who wrestle with stability have to ask for grace to deal with double mindedness which is often caused by squirrel eye. This is the main reason so many confuse the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and the work that it continues to do in the lives of recipients of salvation.
It is obvious we need to walk in the footsteps of Jesus which makes us His followers. He even said it plainly, “if you love me, keep my commandments” – meaning, follow me! (John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-3).
To receive an inheritance and refuse to follow in the footsteps of the one who suffered and even died to procure that inheritance is to say the least defiant and reckless. Disobedient children cause shame to their parents.
The Foundation of Father and sons relationship is love. God is LOVE!
God is not only Love, He is also just and so He does not force those who reject Him to obey Him. If a child refuses to return love and obedience to his father for his kindness towards him, the father’s arms will always be open to receive him IF only he chooses to return. But let’s remember the joy of returning is that the child is ready and willing with singleness of purpose to now reciprocate his father’s loving-kindness with love and obedience.
When the prodigal son remembered his father in the time he was wallowing in sin, it was the loving-kindness of the father’s provision that stood out in his face. He did not deliberately scorn or deny that memory- that would have been horrible as it could have stopped him from returning to where he rightfully belonged but was deceived to abscond from.
We need to look at the story of the prodigal son from at least two perspectives.
Firstly, the prodigal son will represent all humans born into this world as sinners because of the first Adam’s departure from God.
Secondly, it speaks about those who have come into Christ but at some point for whatever reason(s) decide to retreat for a short while, long while or ….. (Heb 10:26-31).
Drew Dyck’s book entitled Generation EX-Christians has useful insights worth grasping as it also challenges one to gratefully hold firmly to Jesus and not neglect or give up on prodigal sons but to prayerfully reach out to them in hope to reassure them of the open arms of a loving father.
I love the way this book refocuses our eyes on the scriptures. For no ignorant person can bring the light of the gospel to a dying world or strayed sheep. With all the complexity of modern cultural evolution contributing to the sad situation, he’s managed appreciably and laudably to sniff out causes of the increase in the prodigal lives of today’s Christian youths and that is a useful tool. For one thing, it will help us direct our prayers more pointedly as we seek to reach them lovingly. It exhorts us to check our attitudes in Church that contributes in fostering this sad events.
The scripture clearly states that deliberately lying against the goodness of God done by the Holy Spirit in ones heart will disqualify one from the father’s love and consequently forgiveness (Mark 3:28-29, Isa 63:10). The whosoever or anyone in Mark as quoted above is important to note. This is particularly truer for the second category of the prodigals.
For those who have received God’s predestined salvation it doesn’t come easy for them to lie against God within their heart (Isa 63:8). The “within” is important because many times godly people may tell lies to others under immerse pressure (Luke 22:55-62) but their heart still holds to the truth of God and that is what eventually drives them to repent and turn to God dispersing the shame and ridicule they caused themselves and to God’s name.
The above point is part of the reason we MUST obey the instruction of God not to judge anyone’s heart. We do not know the heart of others except when God occasionally reveals it for definite purpose(s) at a particular time (1 Cor 4:5, Acts 5:3, Acts 8:21-22, John 1:47).