Compilation and comments by deanna reynolds M.D. (ret.), Corpus Christi, Texas
…correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:2b-4)
Introductory Notes: Hello fellow followers of Jesus Christ! The Lord led me to compile Scriptures from a previous series of blogs, rightfully placing His glorious word of Truth center stage with minimal comments, for a dear sibling in Christ last night. Today, the Holy Spirit is leading me to share this compilation here with you all so that you likewise can search His Truth out yourselves like the noble Bereans did in Acts 17:11-12. Importantly, as we know from other Scriptures, our initial salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our works, yet our ongoing salvation (sanctification) and our eternal rewards are dependent on what we choose to do every blessed hour of our lives here on earth. These works are sanctifying deeds/fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, not deeds of the flesh. May God grant you the spirit of wisdom and revelation as you set time aside to study and apprehend His omnipotent word herein. Amen.
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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [present tense, not “believed”] in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16, emphasis and comment added).
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes [present tense, not “believed”] Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24, emphasis and comment added)
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:1-2, 6) [Branches that are in the vine (believers in Christ) but do not abide in Him are taken away by the Father, and are burned. Note that the only differentiation Jesus uses between branches is according to their fruit / whether they abide; these words negate the argument that those thrown away were not “true” believers, for they had been “in” Him.]
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire [burned]. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 7:18-21, emphasis and comment added) [This parallels John 15:1-2,6. Note that only believers call Jesus Christ “Lord”; non-Christians don’t call Him “Lord.”]
But the righteous shall live by his faith (Hab. 2:4b) [Note that this key OT verse that Paul based his epistle to the Romans on describes that the faith of the righteous is active – it is the very means by which the righteous shall live.]
By this gospel you are [not “have been”] saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Cor. 15:2 emphasis and comment added) [This single verse expresses it succinctly both in the positive and in the negative. The gospel saves us in the present, not the past. It is incumbent on the believer to hold firmly – to continue believing. It is possible to “have believed in vain” (past tense, not present tense), but as the preceding Scriptures show, it is not possible to believe (present tense) in Christ in vain. Praise God]
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:10-11) [Uncertainty about His calling and stumbling occur when we don’t practice the word.]
…be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17b-18) [Being carried away, falling from steadfastness, and not growing in grace and knowledge of Christ are therefore possible for Christians.]
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “IF you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John. 8:31 emphasis added) [If these Jews who had believed Him – rendering them Christians – do not hold to His teaching, they will not be His disciples, will not know the truth, and hence will not be set free.]
What good is it, brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? …. a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone…. As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14, 24, 26; see entire passage James 2:14-26.) [Note James’s example of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac: Abraham’s faith was made complete by what he did. (v. 21). As we know from other Scriptures, our initial salvation is not by works, but our ongoing salvation (sanctification) and our eternal rewards are dependent on them. These deeds James is addressing here are not deeds of the flesh, but sanctifying deeds/fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.]
As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. (1 John 2:24-25 emphasis added) [Thus it is possible not to remain in the Son and in the Father. Note that it is your responsibility to “see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you” – in James’ vernacular, that is a “deed.”]
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matt. 10:22; Mark 13:13 emphasis added; emphasized portion is also part of Jesus’ Olivet discourse in Matt. 24:13) [This indicates that he who is hated because of Christ but does not stand firm to the end will not be saved.]
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28 emphasis added to show the conditions) [This implies that those who do not listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him (to the cross, a.k.a. denying self) are not His sheep and they perish.]
…they [the people of Israel] were broken off because of unbelief, and you [Christians] stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Ro. 11:20-23, emphasis added) [God did not spare the Israelites who fell and failed to believe, and He will not spare the Christians who similarly fall and fail to believe.]
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—IF you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Col. 1:22-23 emphasis added) [Thus, if you do not continue in your faith, etc., you are not presented holy in His sight without blemish and free from accusation.]
The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to Christians of Hebrew descent (note the use of the terms “brothers” and “we” throughout), not to Hebrews who hadn’t received Christ. The horrid possibility of apostasizing is addressed multiple times therein:
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, IF indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Heb. 3:6 emphasis added) [Thus we are not His house if we do not hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.]
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first. (Heb. 3:12-14, emphasis added) [It is possible to turn away from Christ (apostasize). We must hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first in order to come to share in Christ.]
11 We have much to say… but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 1 …let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity… 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Heb. 5:11, 6:1, 4-8, emphasis added). [Believers must try to understand: it is possible for Holy Spirit-empowered believers to fall away, and once they apostatize, they cannot be brought back to repentance. Note that God keeps repeating that the fate of those who apostastize is to be burned (as with Matt. 7:19 and John 15:6 above). Link that with burning in the lake of fire for eternity (the second death) per Revelation Ch. 20.]
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for [salvation and eternal rewards] may be fully realized. (Heb. 6:11 emphasis added)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. …28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:23-29, emphasis added) [Do you have eyes to see now that apostasy is the unforgivable sin that leads to death (1 John 5:16)? This is why the very dangerous false doctrine of OSAS must be exposed.]
Peter echoes this fate of apostate Christians: If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled by it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (1 Pet. 2:20-21)
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I pray that you now be like the Bereans and slowly reread Jesus’ key Parable of the Sower in Matt. 13:3-23, Mark 4:3-20, and Luke 8:5-15. Yes, all three accounts! You will be blessed, and you should then see and apprehend that the second soil – rocky ground – describes the hearts of believers who apostasize.
Note that the same seed (word of God) sown in all four cases is received and sprouts in this rocky ground (heart), but when difficulties/trials come, the plant is scorched (the same fate as the withered branch Jesus described that did not abide in the vine. (John 15:2-3, 6))
Also, please reread and perhaps see with new eyes the related Parables of the Weeds, the Mustard Seed, and the Yeast in Matthew 13:24-43, the Growing Seed and the Mustard Seed in Mark 4:26-34, and the Lamp on a Stand (and His words about the nature of His true mother and brothers) in Luke 8:16-21.
For even further revelation, then link that understanding with both the “even better resurrection” to be “gained” in Heb. 11:35, and the different harvests/resurrections described in The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Our Lord blesses the true Bereans – those who habitually choose to live out Proverbs Ch. 2!
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Oh, join me in praising our Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ for their profound love, mercy, and grace! Praise Him that It is the glory of God to conceal a mattter, to search out a matter is the glory of kings [us] (Prov. 25:3)! Please also join me in praying for each other, that we, like Paul, press on towards the goal to win the prize and take hold of that for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus, for His glory! Amen. (See Phil. 3:12-14)
So very much love in Christ, your sister deanna