In parts one and two we looked into several verses that those who believe that a lack of human effort can cause someone to fall away (lose their salvation in Christ). and saw that this is not the case when these verses are taken in their correct context. We also saw that these verses do not prove that human effort can keep anyone saved. In this part we will look into verses that not only deny this teaching (as do the verses sent to me), but tell us it is not only a lack of understanding, but manipulation from religious leaders that has brought people to this false assumption; that humans are in control of their fate when it comes to salvation in Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote:
"Now, if our evangel is covered, also, it is covered in those who are perishing, in whom the god of this eon blinds the apprehensions of the unbelieving so that the illumination of the evangel of the glory of Christ, Who is the Image of the invisible God, does not irradiate them." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
A.E. Knoch wrote, concerning these verses:
"The evangel of the glory of Christ!" Would that our evangelism reached to this altitude! And why are Christ's glories so lacking in the gospel efforts of today? Because the god of this eon not only blinds the minds of the unbelievers, but he centers the gospel on sin and self and sanitation - anything except Christ and His glories." (end quote)
This is what the evangel called "the fall away doctrine" is based on: sin, self, and self-sanitation. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the evangel of the glory of Christ. That is why unbelievers shun it, they know their weaknesses, and their faults, and they know it is much easier to remain in whatever condition they are in, rather than hopelessly trying to sanitize their flesh to conform to a religions system of belief. Once it is revealed that this is not the case, and unnecessary, and they hear the evangel of the glory of Christ, belief comes naturally to those who at this time have been set apart in Christ. They immediately see Christ as "The Saviour", and not themselves trying to beat their flesh into holy shape, worthy of salvation.
Those believers, who are in the body of Christ, have no fear in this false teaching that the flesh can destroy or keep what the spirit has begun. Only those who have been blinded by the god of this eon fear their fleshes power to destroy or keep them in Christ.
THE god OF THIS EON
There are many teachings on who or what the god of this eon is. Some believe it to be Satan (accuser, adversary), others believe it to be human reasoning (centered on self), or the many religions (Christian sects, and pagan) with their many gods and statues of worship, others believe it to be human government (self rule without God). I am of the mind that it is all four, and not that any is working in and of itself, they work in unison, feeding off one another, feeding the unbeliever, as well as feeding those who are untried in the word of God (Ephesians 4:14). Those who claim Christ as their Saviour, who follow blindly (possibly in ignorance of) these four forces that desire to draw them away from the spirits seal and control, and placing their faith in the control of their flesh.
Whatever it may be, a "god" is everything the True and only God is not. And a "god" will cause you to follow paths that lead away from the true God, deceiving one to believe they are walking side by side with Him.
Paul as much as says this in 1 Corinthians 8:5-7:
"For even if so be that there are those being termed gods, whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless for us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him. But not in all is there this knowledge."
We, who are believers, have a filter that we can run our thoughts through concerning what we believe to be truth: "The Scriptures." There is no other source that has been given us to understand truth concerning God, that is where our knowledge of Him, and His will for us comes from and through. If we are honest with ourselves, and have no fear of exposing what we believe to be truth, or false, we will run it through the filter, and what comes out we will find to be truth. All to often we bring our thoughts and place them on the pages of the Bible, instead of running our thoughts through the Scriptures to see if it is The One True God Who has placed them in our hearts and minds, or, if it is the god(s) of this eon manipulating the scriptures to fit our thoughts.
The Bereans knew this lesson, we are told in Acts 17:11 what they did after they heard the words from Paul:
"Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, who receive the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures day by day, to see if these have it thus."
Paul, when writing to Titus told him this concerning the importance, as well as the effect of sound teachings from the Scriptures: he was to be:
"Upholding the faithful word according to the teaching, that he (as well as we) may be able to entreat with sound teaching as well as to expose those (teachings as well as teachers) who contradict. (Titus 1:9)
Once we veer away from the scriptures as our main source for seeking truth we expose ourselves to unsound teachings, and many of these unsound (unscriptural) teachings have been around for hundreds of years, and most are never questioned, or searched out. Of course there is much to learn, but we must always bring newly found, and old teachings from humans to the scriptures to see if they have it so.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians concerning the Source of the words he taught, as well as where the word of God operates:
"And therefore we also are thanking God unintermittingly that, in accepting the word heard from us, from God you receive, not the word of men, but, according as it truly is, the word of God, which is operating also in you who are believing."
(1 Thessalonians 2:13)
To the Hebrews Paul gave the recipe for discerning ideal teaching, as well as that which is not ideal:
"For when also, because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need again of one to teach you what are the rudimentary elements of the oracles of God, and you have come to have need of milk, and not of solid nourishment. For everyone who is partaking of milk is untried in the word of righteousness, for he is a minor. Now solid nourishment is for the mature, who, because of habit, have faculties exercised for discriminating between the ideal and the evil." (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Neglect of the word allows us to believe error and call it truth. We must always remember that:
"All scripture is inspired by God, and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, fitted out for every good act." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It is from the God inspired scriptures (properly partitioned 2 Timothy 2:15) that we learn what the good is we are to establish. That is scripture 101. That is what every believer should know from the moment we are brought into a realization of Christ in us. Yet it is something that is very seldom encouraged, and hardly ever taught. Instead many are encouraged to read material that they are told they are suppose to read and obey, some are given prayers that they are to pray, in order to know what God expects from them. Upon believing this type of reasoning, that very moment, they have unknowingly surrendered their freedom in Christ to another (Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:15), and have placed themselves under the authority of the flesh.
NO RELIGION ... NOW THAT'S FREEDOM IN CHRIST
I am going to quote a lengthy portion of scripture from Paul to the Colossians. I will omit certain verses, but I do encourage you to read all of this epistle:
"Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ! Yet it is in Him that God gives a full and complete expression of Himself (within the physical limits that He set Himself in Christ). Moreover, your own completeness is only realized in Him, who is the authority over all authorities, and the supreme power over all powers. In view of these tremendous facts, don't let anyone worry you by criticizing what you eat or drink, or what holy days you ought to observe, or bothering you over new moons or sabbaths. All these things have at most only a symbolical value: the solid fact is Christ. Nor let any human cheat you of your joy in Christ by persuading you to make yourselves "humble" and fall down and worship angels. Such a man, inflated by an unspiritual imagination, is pushing his way into matters he knows nothing about, and in his cleverness forgetting his Head. It is from the Head alone that the body, by natural channels, is nourished and built up and grows according to God's laws of growth. So if, through your faith in Christ, you are dead to the principles of this world's life, why, as if you were still part and parcel of this world-wide system, do you take the slightest notice of these purely human prohibitions: "Don't touch this," "Don't taste that" and "Don't handle the other"? "This", "that" and "the other" will all pass away after use! I know that these regulations look wise with their self-inspired efforts at worship, their policy of self-humbling, and their studied neglect of the body. But in actual practice they do honour, not to God, but to man's own pride. If you are then "risen" with Christ, reach out for the highest gifts of Heaven, where your Master reigns in power. Give your heart to the heavenly things, not to the passing things of earth. For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ." (Colossians 2:8-10, 16-23, 3:1-3) Phillips Translation
This portion from Colossians removes the need for human religion from having an active part in the believers walk in Christ. It is only religion that will tell you to taste not, touch not, handle not; not the living Christ. It is only religion that will tell you to observe certain days as if they are holier than any other day. It is only religion that places angels and dead saints in positions of worship. Only religion will keep you occupied with your flesh and call it heavenly, or God honoring obedience.
Christ tells us our lives are hidden in Him ( Colossians 3:3), the place where we can do nothing of ourselves to keep ourselves, or make ourselves or our salvation more secure, because not only are we hidden in Him, we are complete in Him as well (Colossians 2:10).
Paul tells us of this confidence he has for all believers:
"Having this same confidence, that He Who undertakes a good work among you, will be performing it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6)
That which is operating in all believers (the spirit of Christ) performing His work through us will continue to operate until the day of Jesus Christ, when He returns to gather all believers into His presence (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and this operation will continue to operate in us on to end of the eons, and into the eternity. We can't stop it. We may ignore it for a season, but we can't stop it, we aren't that strong.
"Become, then, imitators of God, as beloved children, and be walking in love, according as Christ also loves you, and gives Himself up for us, an approach present and a sacrifice to God, for a fragrant odor." (Ephesians 5:1-2)
No one or nothing can undo the sacrifice that Christ made to bring us all into God. His sacrifice opened the way where we can and will, through Christ, become imitators of God. As imitators of God we will walk in love, and truth, seeking both, and always looking to Christ who is the inaugurator and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Paul in these verses from Ephesians admonishes us to walk worthy of Christ, and a few verses later does warn those who would not, that they will not enjoy an allotment in the kingdom of Christ and God (Ephesians 5:5).
An allotment in Christ is our highest position in the coming kingdom. Our salvation is another matter, it is something none of us in Christ should ever think or believe can be revoked.
Paul in Romans tells us that nothing can separate God's love from us:
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor messengers, nor sovereignties, nor the present, nor what is impending, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
That is what becoming an imitator of God is all about (Ephesians 5:1): Love. God is Love (1 John 4:8), and knowing His love, secures our minds and hearts with the knowledge that He will never stop loving us all. It gives us peace, when others point out our shortcomings, flaws and failures.
Would Love cast out a flawed person, a person who is created with a default chip that drives them away from God (Romans 3:11).
God's love would not.
God's Love would, and will, cause the person to realize that: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the transcendence of the power may be of God and not us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). The teaching of human effort would turn that around by saying, these earthen vessels have this transcendence power to make our way to God's love, or to fall out of His love.
The word transcendence means: existence or experience beyond the normal or
In other words, we are not wired that way, God is, that is why it is all God and not us.
ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED
"Now He Who is confirming us together with you in Christ, and anoints us, is God,
Who also seals us and is giving the earnest of the spirit in our hearts."
(1 Corinthians 1:21,22)
To be confirmed in Christ is the established truth that God has placed us in Christ, and God seals us by placing His spirit in our hearts.
"In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. The Spirit is the guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God's own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14) Amplified Version
We, who at present believe, are God's own purchased possession, sealed by holy spirit, and we in no way had a part in the purchase or the sealing. We were purchased before the disruption (foundation A.V) of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
God didn't look ahead in time and see who was going to believe, and He certainly didn't know for sure until we did (after-knowledge), He predestined (for-ordered) us to believe before we ever existed, and set the time we would believe. That is how sure our salvation is, and that is how secure our salvation is. How we know this is true is because it is all God's doing, not ours.
Unfortunately the majority believe in a god who hasn't a clue who will believe until they make a decision to believe. God, to them, is a god of after-knowledge. A god who waits to come into a realization of who will believe in Him. And once he realizes it, he waits to see who will have the human strength (super human strength) to become holy enough to make it to the finish line.
WHY PROCLAIM THE EVANGEL?
The truth is it is us who do not know who is set to believe, we didn't even know we would believe until we did. That is why we proclaim the evangel of the grace of God, because upon hearing the truth, those who have been chosen from before the disruption of the world will immediately believe (Acts 13:48). None need convincing to be saved, we believe as soon as we hear the true evangel. And we don't need our flesh to keep us secure in Christ, we know we are hidden in Him, and sealed by His holy spirit.
Only those who believe they made a decision by their own freewill struggle with their salvation and security in Christ. The true evangel they have not heard. Their salvation is believed to be gained or lost by their actions, and often times their mood swings, and also by the false teachings and understandings by controlling leaders.
To come to this truth that it is all God and not us, and we are being kept by Him, we only have to read the below portion of scripture from Paul to the Romans.
Paul tells us this in Romans 8:28-39:
"Now we are aware that God is working all together for the good of those who are loving God, who are called according to the purpose
29 that, whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand, also, to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be Firstborn among many brethren.
30 Now whom He designates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls, these He justifies also; now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also.
31 What then, shall we declare to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 Surely, He Who spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us all, how shall He not, together with Him, also, be graciously granting us all?
33 Who will be indicting God's chosen ones? God, the Justifier?
34 Who is the Condemner? Christ Jesus, the One dying, yet rather being roused, Who is also at God's right hand, Who is pleading also for our sakes?
35 What shall be separating us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? Affliction, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
36 According as it is written that "On Thy account we are being put to death the whole day, We are reckoned as sheep for slaughter."
37 Nay! in all these we are more than conquering through Him Who loves us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor messengers, nor sovereignties, nor the present, nor what is impending, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
That is the "FOREKNOWLEDGE" of God, The Keeper of His purchased possession,
our security we have in Him no matter what, revealed to us in twelve short verses. He foreknew us, He called us, He justified us, He glorifies us, and the reason for all this is so He can conform us into the image of His Son. How can a human accomplish or annul any of that by their own flesh?
Those who claim they can could be called a god of this eon, they have replaced the One God with a god of this eon, a god they look at in the mirror every morning, hoping it has the strength to keep them throughout the day, week, month, years, and onto eternity.