Once saved, not necessarily always saved
There have been many shipwrecks with salvation. Nothing of salvation and damnation is automatic but by our determination to know God and Jesus Christ who He gave to humanity. Nor are either salvation and damnation final until our probation is over, but that can come before the end of our earthly stay. So, we need to be ever alert to our standing before the Almighty and keep our relationship with Him healthy and full.
We can lose the Holy Spirit.
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mk. 9:49,50).
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13).
Some branches that are connected to the Vine become cut off from God.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away...
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.…
If a man abide not in Me, He is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn.15:1-3,6).
Some believers made shipwreck of their faith and were finally delivered to Satan.
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1Tim. 1:18-20).
Some Christians swerved away from the Law of God and never arrived at the end product of salvation.
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling.” (1Tim. 1:5,6).
Some turned away from the truth.
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia
be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” (2Tim. 1:15).
Some Christians who had the truth got caught up into heresy.
“And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2Tim. 2:17-19).
Some fell into lusting after wealth and the life of luxury and prestige.
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God,…
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1Tim. 6:9-12).
Some fell away from the truth into science and philosophy.
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (1Tim. 6:20,21).
Some grew tired of the truth and accepted lukewarm doctrines that would permit them to please themselves.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Tim. 4:2-4).
Demas, a trusted worker, left the gospel when Paul was imprisoned.
“Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” (Col. 4:14).
“Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.” (Phm. 1:24).
“Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia
, Titus unto Dalmatia
.” (2Tim. 4:10).
Some backslide into total perdition. We must trust and obey until we are fully saved.
“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).
The Old Testament is the basis for New Testament doctrine. Esau is an example of those in the church who fall from grace and allow the natural born bitterness to regain strength, and they ultimately become rejected by God.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Heb. 12:15-17).
Everyone must do their own spiritual maintenance, because every one of us is capable of sinning willfully and then being unable to receive Christ’s sacrifice. Then we are left to live in a fear which devours us.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:22-27).
We must all heed the following warning of bearing thorns instead of fruit, and ending up in hellfire instead of heaven.
“For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:7,8).
We are made partakers of Christ if we remain true to Him to the very end.
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice,
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways.
So I sware in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest.)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Heb. 3:7-15).
The experience of ancient Israel serves as a warning to the church.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.…
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:1,2,11,12).
Christ established church discipline. Any professed Christian who feels he is above the standards that Christ established, will be rejected from the church.
“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matt. 18:17).
Peter speaking to the church made it clear that the possibility of being devoured by Satan was always present, thus forever the need to be sober and vigilant.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8).
Previous church leaders who fell away from faith and grace lead others, who have become lax, to completely lose their faith.
“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;…
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour 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.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2Pet. 2:12-15,18-22).
John describes people and leaders leaving the faith. They were “antichrist” because they would not study Christ as He was on this earth, God in the flesh, the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1Jn. 2:19).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1Jn. 4:1-3).
Jesus delivered the children of Israel from bondage by great signs and fanfare. Yet, on the way to the land which He had promised them, He destroyed that whole generation of adults.
“And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt
, out of the house of bondage.” (Ex. 20:1,2).
“And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.
Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine:
And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Ex. 19:3-6).
“And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation....
And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book.” (Ex. 32:9,10,33).
“Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt
even until now.
And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to Thy word:
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
Because all those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it:” (Num. 14:19-23).
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt
, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude 5).
Even holy angels can fall and lose their salvation.
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6).
King Saul is another example of one who had salvation, but lost it. In fine detail God’s word lets us follow his downward course until his persistent stubbornness to surrender to God in repentance ended in his death as a lost man. Many times he had opportunity to fall before God and confess his apostasy; but he would not bow before the Most High. This was a warning for Israel and it’s a warning for all time!
“And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.” (1Sam. 10:6-9).
“Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night….
And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that He had made Saul king over Israel
And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel
? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons.” (1Sam. 15:10,11,35;16:1).
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.” (1Sam. 16:14).
“And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel
, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.
And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.” (1Sam. 18:6-12).
“And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him.
And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.
And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain.
So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.
And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.
And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster.
And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?
So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1Sam. 19:8-24).
“And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem
And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.
Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.” (1Sam. 20:28-33).
“Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.
And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the Lord.
And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.” (1Sam. 22:11-19).
“The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
After whom is the king of Israel
come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel
shall be established in thine hand.
Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” (1Sam. 24:12-21).
“And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel
with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.
And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.
Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.
And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?
David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.
Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?
And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel
? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord.
This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?
Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods.
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord: for the king of Israel
is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.
Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.
The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.
And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.” (1Sam. 26:1-25).
“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.
And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath
.” (1Sam. 27:1,2).
“And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel
together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.
And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.…
Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid.” (1Sam. 28:4-7,20).
“And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.” (1Sam. 31:3-6).
“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;
And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” (1Chron. 10:13,14).
Balaam was a backslidden spokesman for God. He was a prophet of the Almighty, and he forsook the service of Christ for earthly riches and honor. After repeated obstacles by heaven to prevent Balaam’s damnation, and his insistence to depart from God, he was finally allowed to go, lost forever.
“He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:…
And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee?...
And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you....
And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.…
And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again....
And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.” (Num. 22:5,9,12,13,23,25,27-35).
“For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.” (Num. 25:18).
“And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword....
Behold, these caused the children of Israel
, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.” (Num. 31:8,16).
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel
, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” (Rev. 2:14).
In the very earliest period of the apostolic church, when it was at its purest, Ananias and Sapphira gave up the faith while professing to keep it.
“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.” (Acts 4:33-5:10).
The children of Adam and later the children of Noah, who had known God, fell so far away from Him that they resembled nothing of God, but only the character of Satan. They received the Mark of the Beast in their day.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;…
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom.
The children of Israel departed from the Lord and served Baalim and Ashoreth. This old Canaanite religion of Satan is the same religion that the apostolic church accepted in Catholicism with its evil “Jesus” and Mariolatry.
“For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel
Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,
Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
Then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.
Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying,
Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, He hath even cast them off? thus they have despised My people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
Thus saith the Lord; If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.” (Jer. 33:17-26).
Even the most forceful promises of God are conditional. As we see from Paul and Christ, earthly Israel was finally rejected even though God had promised them perpetual existence. This is why Paul interpreted this promise to mean that Israel is whatever group the Lord chooses to be His heralds of truth, i.e. the new Christian movement.
“Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name:
If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel
also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.
Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
for all that they have done, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:35-37).
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God
shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt. 21:42,43).
“First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.
But to Israel
He saith, All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Rom.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off....
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom.
Every Christian that stands by faith can fall.
“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:6-12).
Paul is implying that even he could fall from salvation.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8).
All of our human natures constantly wrestle against the Spirit of God.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17).
There comes a time when the Lord removes His Spirit from hearts that are set on rebellion.
“And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3).
The Israelites, though doing what Moses commanded them, would depart from the Lord shortly after Moses would pass away. This Joshua attested to.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them.
Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods....
Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?
Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.” (Deut. 31:16-18,26-29).
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
For the Lord our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt
, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our God.
And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.
And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses.
Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel
And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which He spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.” (Josh. 24:15-27).
Another example of complete apostasy happened after the great revival under Ezra and Nehemiah. The hearts of the whole nation had been converted, but, over time the revival cooled and their faith in God disappeared. Finally, the dismal report from Malachi revealed a full departure from the transformation of souls that had occurred from Ezra’s ministering of the word of God.
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel
should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem
, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel
done so. And there was very great gladness
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.” (Neh. 8:1-18).
Now we begin to see the falling away.
“But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem
: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon
came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
And I came to Jerusalem
, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Then brought all Judah
the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.
Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
In those days saw I in Judah
some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem
on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
There dwelt men of Tyre
also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah
, and in Jerusalem
Then I contended with the nobles of Judah
, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel
by profaning the sabbath.
And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem
began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.
So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem
once or twice.
Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.
And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Thy mercy.
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod
, of Ammon, and of Moab
And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod
, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.
And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.
Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.” (Neh. 13:6-31).
The final end of Ezra’s revival.
“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised Thy name?
Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts….
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on Mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.
But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His meat, is contemptible.
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.
And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that My covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name.
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept My ways, but have been partial in the law.
Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel
and in Jerusalem
; for Judah
hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.
And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied Him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?...
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee?
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” (Mal. 1:6-8,10-13;2:1-17;3:6-15).
Paul knew an apostasy of the church of God was on the way.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God
, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31).
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;...
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2Thess. 2:3,7).
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4,5).
Some women who joined the body of Christ would cast away their faith in Him.
“But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” (1Tim. 5:11-13).
Judas had at first desired to be Christ’s disciple, but ended up a son of perdition.
“And being in Bethany
in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head.
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.…
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray Him unto them.” (Mk. 14:3-6,10).
“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve.” (Jn. 6:70 ,71).
“And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him.
And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach,
And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
And Simon He surnamed Peter;
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him.” (Mk. 3:13-19).
The multitude of disciples that thronged Jesus left Him when His truth concerning relationship with Him and spirituality became too cutting to their self-sufficiency.
“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?...
Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread....
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat?...
Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?...
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life....
From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” (Jn. 6:28,34,52,60,63,66).
Some who receive the word of God into their hearts don’t end up saved.
“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower....
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:18-22).
But, those believers whose faith becomes choked with the cares of this world and riches stay in the church together with those who keep their faith.
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.” (Matt. 13:30).
“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).
“And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46).
There are those who know the most intimate relationship with Christ through His Spirit of peace, and who can lose it all.
“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.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:4-8).
Once saved always saved so long as we stay saved through ongoing communion and surrender to Jesus.
“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:9-12).
God can keep us from falling, if we keep coming to Him 24/7. We can always take ourselves out of His hands and lose salvation, but if we receive Him in full faith and maintain that relationship by daily coming to Him in prayer and listening to Him through His written word, walking with God, then we will come to the end of our life and be ready for Him to wake us up from our sleep.
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24).
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn. 10:28,29).
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hos. 6:1-3).
We must exert ourselves to watch for Satan’s approaches and temptations. We must labor to abide in Jesus. We must strive to hang on until the end. This is our effort, not to wrestle with our sin, but to wrestle with our faith, the good fight.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1Pet. 5:8-10).
“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb. 4:10,11).
“He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).
Our meditation of Christ must be of Him when He was in the flesh on this earth. This is what gives us power to over come the evil one. As many as received Him then He gave power to become the children of God, and today those who receive Him as He they see Him then will receive the same power to be children of God.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1Jn. 4:1-4).
We must be born again and abide in Christ through the written word of God.
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1Jn. 5:4).
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17).
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (Jn. 15:7).
As we read the Bible God gives to us faith in Him and Christ is born in our hearts. Thus, we can naturally, patiently manifest the fruits of the Spirit in our lives and in the lives of others who want to have what God has given us. We have learned that the work of salvation is God’s work. He is ultimately responsible for our redemption from sin and He will have the most to gain from our salvation or the most to lose from our eternal loss. We can trust that He will heavily invest Himself in our justification and sanctification. Those other believers become our fruit also.
“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matt. 13:23).
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Lk. 8:15).
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman....
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing....
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.
As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.” (Jn. 15:1,4-9).
But, we must “continue” in the Bible and in our life with Christ.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:31,32).
We must wait on the Lord to do His work. We are His workmanship. We are nothing but clay in His hands. We must not run ahead of His work because we might be anxious for His fruits to become manifest in us. We must let Him take His time in us. But, we must search our soul to make sure we have actually made ourselves available to Him.
“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on Thee.” (Psa. 25:21).
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psa. 27:14).
“And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18).
“But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” (Isa. 64:8).
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (Jn. 3:21).
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5).
We must seek to see the Son of God, and the Spirit of God must help us to see Him, and to fall on Him in perfect love and trust.
“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40).
It is the divine nature that Jesus gives us through faith in His precious promises that develop in us all of His character traits. This development is a constant and lifelong work.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet. 1:5-9,4).
We must search out the promises God has left us. Then we must be persuaded of them and embrace them with all of our hearts. Those who know Him and have experienced His grace will have a power and a boldness with God that no one else can have.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth....
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” (Heb. 11:13,15).
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him....
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (Gen. 18:19-23).
“Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
I know that Thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak: I will demand of Thee, and declare Thou unto me.
I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6).
“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.” (Gen. 5:22).
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9).
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.” (Gen. 24:63).
If we want to be Christ’s saints, we must be willing to receive reproof and to be corrected. We must understand that the Lord Our Righteousness has a high standard. To love Him is also to love His divine character and Law. Yet, despite all of our ups and downs, and the reproofs that go along with them, if we remain in Christ, the Father calls us saints, angels, and Adams and Eves in paradise, just as He called the dysfunctional Corinthian church His saints.
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called…saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:...
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.” (1Cor. 1:2,11).
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1Cor. 2:2).
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1Cor. 3:1-3).
“For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
For the kingdom of God
is not in word, but in power.
What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1Cor. 4:17 -21).
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1Cor. 5:1,2).
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.” (1Cor. 6:1-8).
“For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” (1Cor. 8:10-12).
“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.” (1Cor. 9:11-15).
“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God
, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not....
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (1Cor. 11:19-22,29,30).
Once lost, not always lost
No matter how far away a person might stray from God, if they were humbled by His discipline and repentant, He hears their cries and brings them back to Himself.
“And He spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And He said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Lk. 15:3-24).
“Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke Him to anger:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan
to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice;
(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.” (Deut. 4:23-31).
“And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people.
I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt
, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments;
And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant:
I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.…
And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:...
And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it....
And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me;
And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:12-16,19,31,32,39-42).
“For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon
I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jer. 29:10-14).
No sin is so black that the Lord can’t forgive us if we repent.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.
For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (Psa. 51:1-17).
Repentance is sorrow for sin and the renunciation of it.
“For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” (Psa. 38:17,18).
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psa. 85:8-10).
The Lord has unlimited mercy and grace toward sinners. But He must see that they are humbled by the consequences of sin and acknowledging His wisdom and righteousness.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (Psa. 103:8-14).
Our joy and salvation comes at our choice and effort to find Jesus. But, when we do that His promise to meet us with His transforming power is as certain as the great harvest that results from heaven’s rains.
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon....
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:6,7,10-13).
Repentance and rest, quietness and confidence are the atmosphere of the soul that is surrendered to Christ. The Lord will be gracious if we are patient with Him to come to us when He knows we truly want it and give us His sweet rest.
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not....
And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:15,18).
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified....
For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them....
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Isa. 61:1-3,7,10,11).
Let no one feel that they are beyond the realm of God’s grace. Let no one despair that God can’t gain their confidence and friendship.
“Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant;
Even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant;
Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel
saith, Yet will I gather others to Him, beside those that are gathered unto Him.” (Isa. 56:3-8).
Jesus will take care to gently repair our abused hearts and broken lives. He will change our view of God’s Law and bring us to love it.
“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law...
The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” (Isa. 42:1-4,21).
God will deal with our sinfulness and proud nature. As He punished Israel, so He will punish us, but never with more than our trust in Him can take. But, in the end, if we will wait patiently for His jealousy for His Law and for His full work to turn our loyalty against sin and Satan, we will know the greatest freedom in the world, the deliverance from the power of sin’s bondage.
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.
For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” (Isa. 57:15-19).
“For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:...
For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.
There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.
All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.
Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.
Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.
For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion
, whom no man seeketh after.” (Jer. 30:8,11-17).
The waiting time may be lengthy, but if we will resign ourselves to deserve the punishment of our horrendous life of sin, then He will work overtime to free us from the complex web we spun for ourselves with Satan’s help. And the deeper the conviction and our acknowledgment of His righteous punishment, the quicker will be our deliverance from sin’s incarceration and our reinstatement to freedom.
“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
” (Lk. 5:39).
“At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel
, and they shall be My people.
Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel
, when I went to cause him to rest.
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel
: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.
Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria
: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God.
For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel
Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a Father to Israel
, and Ephraim is My firstborn.
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion
, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.
And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God.
Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.
Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel
, turn again to these thy cities.
How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.
And there shall dwell in Judah
itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.
For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.
Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel
and the house of Judah
with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.
And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.
In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
, and with the house of Judah
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt
; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name:
If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel
also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.
Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
for all that they have done, saith the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel
unto the gate of the corner.
And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” (Jer. 31:1-40).
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, Thou knowest.
Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (Eze. 36:24-37:10).
After 600 years of pagan empires forcing occultic practices and self-indulgence upon Israel, disease and devil possession were rampant. Then it was that the Lord fulfilled His promises from Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God may have to take time to allow sin to convince us of its deadliness and for us to lose our taste for it. It may take time to let our love of sin to play out its course until we admit our wrong. But, when our sin loses its charm and its spell fades away as it turns to dust in our mouth, then the Spirit of God comes in like a flood and forces all the demons away.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee
, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
And His fame went throughout all Syria
: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem
, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan
And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him:
And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Mat 4:23-5:9).
“But I say, Did not Israel
know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.” (Rom. 10:19,20).
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion
, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 59:20).
Everyone can be reclaimed from Satan’s dominion.
“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2Thess. 3:14,15).
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (Jas. 5:19,20).
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Tim. 2:19-21).
“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” (1Tim. 1:11-16).