168 THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION
AND THEIR IMPLICATION
“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation . . .” (Heb 6:9)
by Given O. Blakely
Things “that accompany salvation” are realities that are either immediately possessed when a person is born again, or are inherent to salvation itself, and thus can be appropriated through the same faith that saves the soul. They all can be experienced in exponential measures, the only limitation being one’s faith. None of these are to be viewed as optional, for salvation deals with necessities and essentials, not luxuries and vestigial features. It is the solemn responsibility of every person who teaches or leads the flock of God to apprise the people of these provisions. They are to be declared – just as they are in the Scriptures. Those who are unaware of these realities are at a decided disadvantage in the good fight of faith. Those who withhold the reality and understanding of them from the people have harmed them in a very real way – just as a person who has food, yet withholds it from those who need it. What a joyful sound it is to hear that the very condition that makes people acceptable to God, also qualifies them to experience all of these things both cognitively, and with joyful satisfaction and enabling power.
In view of these remarkable gifts and advantages, how does one explain the following among professing believers?
• A state of spiritual lukewarmness (Rev 3:16)
• Becoming entangled again in the sins from which the person was once delivered (2 Pet 2:21).
• Being led away with the error of the wicked (2 Pet 3:17a).
• Being overtaken in a fault (Gal 6:1).
• Being subject to the ordinances of men (Col 2:20).
• Believing only for a while (Luke 8:13b).
• Departing from the faith (1 Tim 4:1).
• Drawing back from the Lord after believing (Heb 10:38).
• Failing to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1; 1 Cor 1:10).
• Falling away (Heb 6:6).
• Falling away in the time of temptation (Lulke 8:13a).
• Falling from steadfastness (2 Pet 3:17b).
• Following the pernicious and destructive ways of false teachers (2 Pet 2:1).
• Forsaking the right way (2 Pet 2:15).
• Having a form of godliness, yet rejecting its power (2 Tim 3:5).
• Leaving one’s first love (Rev 2:4).
• Not enduring sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3).
• Not going on to perfection (Heb 6:1-6).
• Not growing up into Christ in all things (Eph 4:15).
• Reverting to a system of Law (Gal 5:4).
• Sinning willfully, or deliberately (Heb 10:26).
• The entrance of an “evil heart of unbelief” (Heb 3:12).
• The love of many waxing cold (Matt 24:12).
• The sprouting of a “root of bitterness” that defiles many (Heb 12:15).
• Trodding under foot the Son of God, counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and doing despite to the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29).
• Turning from the holy commandment (2 Pet 2:22).
Add to this the straightforward and uncompromising words of the Spirit, spoken through men who were chosen by Jesus, filled with the Spirit, designated as “first” in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:28), and who set the foundation in place upon which the church is build (Eph 2:20).
• “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10).
• “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-22).
• “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Eph 5:5-7).
• “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb 10:38-39).
• “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Pet 2:20-21).
• “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6).
I do not know how the case could be stated with any greater clarity. Having read the Divine determination for all who do such things, who is the person who would dare to refer to these expressions as “habits,” “addictions,” “weaknesses,” “mistakes,” “errors of judgment,” or areas of mere emotional struggle? What is the origin of the imaginations that portray these are the results of genetic makeup, family weaknesses, a generational curse, or some physiological deficiency?
These are very real conditions, and they have become quite common in the professing church. However these are abnormalities in the church of the Living God, and are not to be viewed as ordinary – even though they may appear so to the unlearned and ignorant. Those who “do” such things are excluded from the kingdom of God. They are told the wrath of God will come upon such people. The only hope is to get out of the categories the Spirit has described.
The salvation of God is not calculated to produce such responses, and it does not do so. Life in Christ Jesus is not the kind of life that deteriorates with time, or diminishes in power, or loses its effectiveness. Jesus does not allow those who walk with Him and abide in Him, to be snatched by the devil, overcome by the world, and ravished by sin (John 10:27-29). The Holy Spirit, given to those who are in Christ Jesus, if He is not quenched or grieved (Eph 4:30; 1 Thess 5:19), will not allow the believer to be overcome by the world (1 John 4:4). The truth, which makes men free (John 8:32, will not permit those who love (2 Thess 2:10) and embrace it to again be snared by the world. The Scriptures which are provided to make the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17), will not lead a person back into the world from which Jesus delivered him. The God who has put us into Christ (1 Cor 1:30), does not fail to keep those who trust in Him from falling (Jude 1:24-25. Those who resist the devil cannot possibly be overcome by him (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:7-8). It is not possible to put on the whole armor of God, yet fail to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:10-18). It is not possible to walk in the Spirit, yet fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal 5:16).
Today we are faced with purveyors of spiritual corruption. They are being welcomed into the churches as professing believers “heap to themselves teachers” to feed them the things they like to hear (2 Tim 4:3). These days, the psychologists have taken over the church, and are fattening their coffers with the funds they are garnering. People who fall into the categories mentioned above are not referred to as sinners. There is no suggestion that they have quenched and grieved the Spirit, turned from the truth, or left their first love. Instead, they are said to love God and be devoted followers of Jesus that have certain struggles with which they need help. The salvation that has been preached to them has not been adequate for their situation. The Jesus whom they have embraced has not been able to satisfy their hearts or keep them from falling. The new breed of teacher speaks to the floundering disciples of their “hurts,” “hangs-ups,” and “habits,” and offers a plethora of workshops, group therapy, and procedures by which the people can regain control of their lives. These teachers pepper their plans with Scripture, but their plans are not found in the Scriptures. They would not dare to add their books to the Bible, but they teach their systems as though that was the case.
Keep in mind that these plans by which men can recover only give lip service to what Jesus has done, the effectiveness of salvation, and the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit. They do not treat defection as defection, but as being in a state of personal helplessness. They teach people who say they have believed in Christ to confess they cannot do anything about their condition. They say they will now trust in God, but do not confess that failing to do this is the reason for their condition.
Is all of this nothing more than a misunderstanding? Or is it a form of exploitation – a kind of spiritual extortion? These are the people who say the church is like a hospital for the sick, instead of a gathering of those who have been “healed” of their backsliding (Jer 3:22; Hos 14:4). They see the church as a place for hurting people, rather that the gathering of those who have been given the oil of joy for mourning (Isa 61:3), and who have realized “the comfort of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:31).
All of this is something like a group of people sitting on a mountain of gold lamenting that they are poor – or pining away in a closet filled with glorious garments because they have nothing to wear. Does Jesus make men free or not – and, if He does make them free, are they really free or just theoretically free (John 8:32,36)? When people resist the devil, steadfast in the faith, does he flee or not (1 Pet 5:7-8l James 4:7)? Is faith the victory that overcomes the world, or is that a total misrepresentation (1 John 5:4-5)? When people walk in the Spirit do they still fulfill the lusts of the flesh, or do they not (Gal 5:16)?
Are there things that “accompany salvation” or not (Heb 6:9)? And if there really are things that accompany, or are attached to salvation, exactly how can salvation be verified if they are not present? If the effects of faith are absent, how is it possible for faith to be present? If what salvation brings cannot be found, then how can anyone be sure that it has been brought?
Now, I realize that this will be viewed as being judgmental by some – and, in a sense, it is judgmental. Just to be clear, I am saying that the presence of sin – any sin – within the body of Christ cannot be excused. It MUST be forgiven, and the individual cleansed from its defiling effects (1 John 1:7,9). The conscience of the sinner must be purged from dead works so that he can serve the living God (Heb 9:14). I am against those who address sin with a series of steps, procedures, and plans – all of those allow sin to linger, even though it may not be expressed overtly. I am against those who trace transgression to anything other than sinning against God, and doing so deliberately and while in a state of being deceived.
Consider the admonitions given to professed believers who are prone to sin. Notice the total absence of a series of procedures or steps. There is no codified approach provided, and no suggestion that a significant period of time or a special therapy is required.
• “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14).
• “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Cor 15:34).
• “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph 4:26).
• “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27).
• “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:22).
• “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
• “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
• “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph 4:28).
God has provided too many resources to His people for them to be seeking wisdom from men! His salvation is one that is forfeited when it is neglected (Heb 2:3), and it will keep the individual when it is not neglected. That is simply the way things are!
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