The Daily Word of Righteousness

A Warning to the Backslider, #3

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.(II Peter 2:20—NIV)

When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so we will not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32—NIV)

If we take the second passage and ignore the first, which is the trend today, we have eternal security. Although eternal security is not a cardinal doctrine of many Evangelical groups, most Evangelical teaching stresses that once a person makes a clear commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ he then can never be lost. And so the unscriptural doctrine of eternal security actually carries the day.

But aren't these two concepts mutually exclusive? I don't believe so.

Yet one passage states that if we begin in Christ and then turn back into the world we are worse off than if we had not started. The other portrays God as intervening so the Christian with the wrong attitude is not finally condemned.

It may be true that we are speaking of two different conditions. In the first passage the believer has turned away from the path of righteousness and gone back into the world. The Divine Seed has been choked out by the cares of the world. He has put his hand to the plow and then turned back. He has run out of oil. He has left his talent buried in the ground. His end will be the outer darkness, according to the Gospel accounts.

None of this is true of the second passage. The heart of the worshiper is with the Lord. He is there with the brothers and sisters taking the Communion. But for one reason or another he is not relating properly to his fellow Christians. Also he is treating the sacrament as an unholy thing. God looks down and is not pleased.

However this individual has not turned away from the path of righteousness, has not gone back into the world, the Divine Seed has not been choked out by the cares of the world, he has not left his talent buried in the ground, he has not run out of the oil of the Spirit, he has not turned back from the field he is plowing. God judges him worthy of the Kingdom and sends sickness or death upon him that he might be saved, just as Paul delivered the incestuous Corinthian to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his spirit might be saved in the Day of Christ.

By the way, the result of taking the Communion with a wrong attitude, and the assigning of the incestuous believer to Satan, reveal the utter falsity of the popular teaching that the blood of Christ covers us so God cannot see our behavior.

Before we get into the terrifying warnings to the backslider, let me remind the reader of the many marvelous promises of God found in the Scriptures, declarations of the watchful care and awesome power of the One who has called us to Himself.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38,39—NIV)

To be continued.