Monday, April 17, 2017
I was immersed on May 9, 1957. I was one happy Hawk when Harvey Pearson raised me from my watery grave. I rejoiced with him and my insurance man, Bob Forrest, who was a close friend. I was on top of the world until a young man about my age joined our workforce at the Main Street APCO gas station. He was a member of the Church of Christ. I now had someone working with me who would support me in our common faith. I was wrong. I didn’t know I was still dragging my feet through the quicksand of error. He informed me that I was not actually saved. I was lost because I did not believe and practice what he did in their assemblies! It was a modern resurrection of the same attitude plaguing the first century church (Acts 15:1)!
Twenty-three years later I was discussing with another preacher some doctrinal positions that two known preachers disagreed over. Since they did not agree, I asked him if one of them was lost. Not wanting to condemn the one he disagreed with, he informed me there were two kinds of error. One was fatal, that condemned you, the other was non-fatal that didn’t! He said the older brother in question was guilty of non-fatal error. I asked him to supply me with a list of the non-fatal kind. That was thirty-seven years ago and I suppose he is still working on the list!
There may be some who don’t care whether they are eternally lost or not, but most of us shy away from that category. We want to embrace that assurance that keeps us in right standing with God. Yet, we know we aren’t perfect. Oh, we may take comfort that we aren’t as bad as (you supply their names), but that only increases our uncertainty! There are passages which have been unsettling to some Bible students and increased that uncertainty for them.
- “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9 KJV).
- “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 KJV).
- “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:5-6 KJV).
Some feel the first passage reveals that IF you are a true Christian, you will NEVER sin! Honesty informs us that we do. When it happens, some believe the third passage puts them back in darkness. Since their sin puts them in darkness, they believe God cannot be in fellowship with them. Therefore, they remain lost in that darkness, and according to the middle passage, their only escape is to repent. When they do, they are restored back into God’s brilliant light. They remain in that light until the next episode of darkness! There isn’t much assurance in that system! As one lady explained it in 1971, “Why should I exchange my assurance for your doubts?” She had a point!
Such a belief reduces the power of Jesus’ blood by making our obedience an assistant in purchasing our salvation! The devil has injected his outline into our belief system making us think that we help Jesus pay off our sin debt! It fails to understand what death means when Paul said, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein” (Romans 6:2). Yes, we sin. That’s the bad news! The Good News is that Jesus bought us, lock, stock, and barrel, with his blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We belong to him. We are no longer under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13-14). His blood is not a one time paint job. It is a continual coating. All our sins are continually removed by the blood of Jesus as we walk with him. Jesus’ blood isn’t a slow cleansing agent. It is immediate and ceaseless. God doesn’t see a small glimmer of darkness when we sin, He sees only red! Red keeps the darkness away! Continued fellowship with the Father is conditioned upon red. Sin doesn’t have a chance unless you want the darkness to be your continual lifestyle (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-29). Peter played the hypocrite and had to be reprimanded (Galatians 2:11-15). Yet during the entire event, he remained in the red due to the grace of God which supplied Jesus’ blood! You and I are washed in the around-the-clock cleansing of his blood. Red is our assurance. Salvation is sure. It has been made possible by the cross of Jesus Christ! You cannot buy what has already been bought! So, rejoice (Philippians 4:4)!