Tuesday, September 28, 2004

LITERALLY LOST

For the upcoming episode of Judging Amy the announcer said, "in tonight's episode Amy loses her courtroom, literally." That caught my attention. How does Amy literally lose a court room? I understand losing things, I've lost a lot of things like a cell phone, keys, a car [temporarily], wallets, tools, and much more. But there are some things I've never lost. I've never lost anything real big, like a house. I've never drove up the street, pulled into the drive, and the house was gone. "Let's see, when was the last time I saw it? It was here this morning when I left for work, where did I put it?" That's never happened. So I don't know how you lose a courtroom.

There is something everyone can lose: everyone can literally lose their eternal salvation. And nothing you could lose compares to this. Many Israelites lost their salvation when they rejected Jesus. According to Paul, God cut them off from the olive tree which symbolizing the elect people of God. They were the people of God, but Paul writes, "Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you [Gentile believers] stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either" (Rom. 11:20,21). The Jews, who were the natural branches, were broken off! That meant they were part of the tree that the believing Gentiles are now part of. The Hebrew writer says they did not enter [the Promised Land, a type of heaven] because of their disobedience (Heb. 3:18,19; 4:6). For this reason, the Hebrew writer says to Christians, "let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience" (Heb. 4:11). The "rest" is the hope every Christian has of eternal rest in heaven, where "they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them" (Rev. 14:13). The "once saved, always saved" people deny the obvious that if you don't believe in Jesus or stand by your faith, you can't be saved. That explains the ominous warning to the Christians, "He will not spare you." Peter writes of those who "forsaking the right way, they have gone astray" (2 Pt. 2:15). Clearly, people departed from the right way. It was the choice they made. And the Hebrew writer says, "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God" (Heb. 3:12). Salvation is God's gift that is given to people of faith, but they can fall away. Faith is my response to the Good News of Jesus Christ. If a person turns away from that gift, then God will turn away from that person. "If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;..." (2 Tim.2:12). The good news is that it is difficult for a person to lose his salvation. The one who keeps trusting, hoping, praying, confessing, repenting, and doing the will of God will be saved by his faith and will never lose his salvation.

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