THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION
THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATIONCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. (Hebrews 6:1-3)
When we compare the "elementary" doctrines so familiar to these early Christians with the foolishness that is being preached today in the name of Christ, we can see readily that we need to press forward in the Lord Jesus.
The "elementary" teachings:
Repentance from acts that lead to death. This is referring to sinful behavior.
Faith in God. This is not theologic belief but a laying hold on Christ every moment of every day so we are careful to do His will at all times.
Instruction about water baptism. When we are baptized in water we are demonstrating our sincere belief that we have died with Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and now are walking with Him in resurrection Life.
Instruction about the baptism with the Holy Spirit. After we have been baptized in water and are walking with Jesus, there will come a time when we feel the Presence of God's Spirit. Ordinarily, and scripturally, we then will speak in tongues.
Because of the slow progress from the time of the Reformation, as the original apostolic truths are being restored, there are many fine Christians of our day who walk in God's Spirit and never have spoken on tongues. I think I am correct is saying that if they will persist in asking God for the ability to express their concerns in tongues, they may be surprised one day to discover they are praying in tongues.
The first time I spoke in tongues I was in a bus station in San Bernardino, California, late one Sunday night, trying to find a bus that was going to San Diego. I suddenly began to pray in tongues, but did not realize what had happened until the following morning when Truman Cumbie and I were praying before class in the chapel of the Berean Bible Institute.
Yes, I arrived in time for the Monday session of the Bible school. Truman rejoiced mightily when he heard "Brother Bob" finally able to pray in tongues.
The laying on of hands. We are to lay hands on the sick that they may recover. Also, hands may be laid on people to set them aside for ministry. Oftentimes there will be personal prophecies over the candidate at this time.
The resurrection of the dead. This doctrine currently is being restored to our churches. The unscriptural teaching of the "escape-by-rapture" has driven from Christian thinking the doctrine of the resurrection.
There is a first resurrection when Christ next appears. This resurrection must be attained to. It is for the members of the Royal Priesthood, those who are called, chosen, and proven faithful.
There is a second resurrection, which will occur at the termination of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. At that time everyone who did not attain to the first resurrection will be restored to his or her body and be judged according to his or her works.
Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will be brought forward to citizenship on the new earth.
Those who names are not found in the Book of Life will be assigned to eternal residence in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
Eternal judgment. This ancient doctrine now is being restored to us. After we have counted that we have died with Christ on the cross, we begin to be manifested before the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Holy Spirit points out to us the elements of our behavior that are not in God's image.
Then we are to confess each sin that is pointed out to us, and with the help of the Spirit put it to death. These are sins of worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will.
Once we have confessed and gained total victory over the sin in question, it never will be mentioned to us again. It is an eternal judgment.
First, the doctrine of the resurrection. Then, eternal judgment. We are manifested at the Judgment Seat of Christ as soon as we have "died with Christ" and now are living by His resurrection Life.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews is exhorting us to press past these elementary, foundational doctrines, and move forward to maturity, to the rest of God that he mentions in the fourth chapter of Hebrews.
The rest of God is that state of being where we think as Christ is thinking; speak as Christ is speaking; and act as Christ is acting. As Christ thought, spoke and acted as the Father thought, spoke, and acted; so are we to be thinking, speaking, and acting as Christ is thinking, speaking, and acting. Such is the rest of God. Such is Christian maturity.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, (Hebrews 6:4,5)
The Jewish Christians, to whom the Book of Hebrews was written (and applies to all Christians), apparently were further along in Christ than we of today:
Been enlightened. Had come to an awareness of the blood atonement made by our Lord that enables us to leave the Law of Moses and cleave to Christ that He may save us from sin.
Tasted the heavenly gift. Had felt what King David termed "the joy of our salvation."
Had shared in the Holy Spirit. Had learned to live in the Spirit of God.
Had tasted the goodness of the Word of God. Were experiencing the joy of having the eternal moral law of God written in their mind and heart such that they themselves were the flesh being made the Word.
Had tasted the power of the coming age. Having lived in the time of the original Apostles of the Lamb they were familiar with the miracles that will be common during the Kingdom Age of the future.
Because the next verse suggests that it is possible to fall away from Christ, Bible scholars have said that people mentioned above never were really saved.
They had been enlightened, had tasted the heavenly gift, had felt the joy of salvation, had shared in the Holy Spirit, had learned to live in the Spirit of God, had tasted the goodness of the Word of God, were having the moral law written in their mind and heartsuch were not really saved, according to modern commentators; because if they really were saved, they could not fall away.
How many of those who are reading my words believe as I do that if such commentators would read the Bible carefully they would cease leading God's people astray?
If such people never were truly saved, how then can we know who is actually saved? This is nonsense!
If they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:6)
If they fall away. It seems to me that "they" is referring to people who had been enlightened, had tasted the heavenly gift, had felt the joy of salvation, had shared in the Holy Spirit, had learned to live in the Spirit of God, had tasted the goodness of the Word of God, were having the moral law written in their mind and heart. Would you agree with me here?
Be brought back to repentance. If they could be brought back to repentance, it is obvious that they once had repented. In other words, they had been true Christians. We are speaking of genuine Christians falling away from Christ after they once had repented.
Repentance is a gift from God. It is not something that can be invented in the human heart at the will of the individual.
When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." (Acts 11:18)
"God has granted."
"Because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." Sometimes Christians are panicked because they believe they have sinned away their day of grace.
I do not suggest carelessness in this regard, but I think more often than not, they have not been far enough along in Christ to commit this final sin.
My suggestion to all who think they have blasphemed the Spirit, or sinned away their day of grace, is to go to church every chance they get. Just sit there, and pray quietly for their joy to be restored.
Believe me, it is a sobering experience to see people at the altar hoping that God will restore to them the joy of their salvation.
The best solution is not to fall away from Christ. When you do, I believe He regards this as an insult. Falling away from Christ is something to viewed with the utmost seriousness.
Sometimes it seems I have spent much of my adult life writing against those teachers who are teaching lawless-grace, or once-saved-always-saved. They are producing carelessness in those who are called to be saints (holy ones).
Today's preachers in many instances are so anxious to please people they promise them that they can "accept Christ" and then live as they please. God sees them only through Christ. Any day now they will be carried up to Heaven where they can dwell securely in peace in the midst of luxurious surroundings.
They speak about "unconditional love." Read any of the Bible promises and you will see they are accompanied by conditions. To not observe the accompanying conditions is to negate the promise. And yet this teaching of God's unconditional love appears to dominate the Gospel message in the United States.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever(John 14:15,16)
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
If you love me, you will obey what I command.
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.
These are conditions. If we do not obey the commands of Christ the Father will not give us the Counselor.
If we do not obey the teachings of Christ, the Father and the Son will not make Their home with us. The Father and the Son making Their home with us is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
Any Christian preacher worth his or her salt will tell you that God is not only loving, but strict. His promises always depend on our obedience to Him and faithfulness to His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Christian message in the United States at this time is producing spiritual infants. They think God desires to give them the desires of their heart at all times. They are not to suffer. Christ became poor that they might be rich. If they once say they accept Christ their mansion in Heaven is assured.
They know little or nothing of the eternal war between good and evil. They have been taught a lawless-grace, which is a substitute for growth in godly behavior. They are not being made a new creation of righteous behavior. They are waiting for a "rapture" that will take them to Heaven where they will receive their heart's desires.
The prevailing Christian message is a lie. It is not of God. We are heading toward moral and physical chaos in the United States and the Christian babies are not going to be able to stand. They are going to weep and wail and be of no use to the unsaved people who will be looking for solutions.
We have been lied to until we are in a huge mess spiritually. I do not know what God would have to do to bring the fear of God and repentance to the United States; but I realize He is speaking to those who have ears to hear to confess their sins and turn away from them.
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. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrew 6:7,8)
The passage above is a message that should be preached in every Christian Church in America. God is not talking about agriculture. He is enlarging on His previous comments about seasoned Christians falling away from the Lord Jesus.
"Thorns and thistles." What are they? Worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will instead of God's will.
If we truly are abiding in Christ, we are bearing His image. This is the fruit God is looking for. But if we as a supposed believer in Christ are involved in the idols of the world, sexual lust, money, power, relying on the arm of flesh to save us, these are thorns and thistles. We are in danger of being cursed and burnedcut out of the Vine, Christ.
If we are yielding to our sinful nature, we are bearing immorality, arrogance, laziness, unbelief, sorcery, lying, drunkenness, spite, envy, unforgiveness. These are not the image of God, the image of Christ. The Christian who behaves in this manner most certainly shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. He or she is in danger of being cursed and burned.
If we are acting according to our self-will, not presenting our body as a living sacrifice that we might prove God's perfect will for our life, we will be a spiritual dwarf in the Day of Resurrection. We shall have no place in the new world of righteousness. We are in danger of being cursed and burned. We shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
To the American churchgoer of our day, my words above may seem overly harsh. Indeed they are not. It is just that we are accustomed to the sweet, syrupy flattery so often coming from the pulpit. We have been lulled to sleep by the preachers of "another gospel." Such shall receive their due reward when they stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your casethings that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:9-12)
"Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your casethings that accompany salvation."
There are things that accompany genuine salvation. The writer of Hebrews mentions showing love toward God by helping His people. He speaks of being diligent in good works in order to make our hope sure. What hope? The hope of salvation in the Day of Christ. We have to make our hope certain by working diligently in Christian works, thus showing our love for God.
The writer exhorts us to avoid laziness but to inherit the promises of the Lord by faith and patience.
Notice how opposite these exhortations are from today's preaching that we are to do absolutely nothing because salvation is a sovereign work of God.
The genuine salvation that is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ is not that which is being presented today. It is not a "free trip to Heaven," as some have expressed it. "Accepting Christ" is not a religious formula that permits us to live as we please, without integrity, honesty, or faithfulness; although that is the impression one can gain from what is presented today as the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Today's "Gospel," which is another gospel of which the Apostle Paul warned us, does not reflect in itself the Divine plan, which is to put an end to all sin and rebellion in the creation. Rather it is a self-seeking, self-centered, pleasure-loving religion that bears little resemblance to the preaching of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, or the Apostles of Christ.
How we got this way I do not know. One of the early errors, dating far back in the Christian Era, is the idea that the purpose of salvation is to bring us to Heaven so we can make our eternal home there.
Another very early error was that of Gnosticism, which discards the body, so to speak, and deals with knowledge and spirits. We see the influence of that error in today's setting aside of the supreme importance of the resurrection of the body in favor of the catching up of the believers to Heaven, whether in the physical body or in a spirit form is not always made clear.
Another factor that has led us away from the importance of the "things that accompany salvation" is the emphasis of the Protestant Reformers on "faith alone."
Still another very powerful force that has brought about the current "other Gospel" is the philosophy of Humanism. Humanism works with the other errors to relieve the Christian of the necessity for righteous conduct.
After reflecting on all I have experienced over the past 65 years, I have concluded that the major emphasis of all of the lies Satan has introduced into Christian thinking is the doing away with righteous behavior as something that must always accompany the true Christian salvation.
I am not sure why Satan is so afraid of righteous behavior, unless it is because righteous behavior is so utterly important to God. In one way of looking at it, the main theme of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is righteous behavior and stern obedience to God.
The modern errors, it may be noted, do not stress righteous behavior. The current rash of books that purport to be visions of Heaven do not stress righteous behavior. The "prosperity" gospel does not stress righteous behavior. The "word of faith" does not stress righteous behavior. The teaching of the "rapture" does not stress righteous behavior.
One of our prime directives is to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. This does not mean God's own righteousness applied to us so we are righteous by identification with God. It means the righteousness that is created in us as we follow Christ diligently.
"What does the Lord require of you," the Prophet asks, "but to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God."
The above is one of the greatest of all Bible statements. Compare this with "accept Christ and you will go to Heaven by grace." These are not the same Divine directive, by any means.
What will it take to unveil the God of the Prophets, the Consuming Fire of Israel, and once again walk humbly with Him? I expect the horrors that will take place in America in the coming days will help the thoughtful believers realize that something has gone wrong with the Christian message. God evidently is not sparing us. The Ninety-first Psalm is not operating as it should.
Perhaps we are not pleasing God with our "salvation" that is not accompanied by godly living and the fear of God. Perhaps we should pray earnestly until we know what God is saying to us in these days.
If we thus pray we will discover that God still loves us, but He want us to come out of the Antichrist spirit of the world and serve Him in true righteousness and holiness.
In fact, we can make this change before the moral and physical chaos arrives. Then we can save ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone else who hears us.
What do you think about that?
Let's do it!