Wednesday, 23 March 2016

COMPLACENCY VS WATCHFULNESS

Regarding believers’ eternal security, whether they will finally make it to heaven, a friend asked me:

Why do you emphasise personal responsibility, not God’s ability to keep us safe till the end?”

He was responding to my previous post, http://bit.ly/1RiLlKy, where I shared that we have to consider both sides of the coin: KEPT SAFE BY GOD MUST BE BALANCED BY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (Jude 24).

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh (Jude 20-23).


                                                                           
Here is my eight-point reply:

1. We need to be balanced in our understanding of the truth as found in the Bible. There is always God’s part, what He has done and can do for us as well as what we need to do if we claim we are His followers. One truth cannot be understood in isolation from another truth of equal weightage. Tozer warns: "Heresy is not so much rejecting as selecting.” Let’s not dwell on half-truths or emphasise one truth at the expense of another equally fundamental truth.

2. The current wave of teaching emphasises, “Sit back, relax and take it easy, everything will be alright.” In light of the perilous end times that we are now living in, such complacency would be out of place. Did not Jesus emphasise repeatedly, Watch, in His end time discourse with His followers? Have we allowed our natural human preferences to dictate how we interpret scripture?
                                                                   

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).

3. There are those who study the Bible to learn about its truth. There are others who study in a similar fashion except they go one step further: They listen to what the Spirit is speaking to us now. The difference is the latter’s ability to discern the times and seasons and the rhema word of God.


                                                                  
4. Obedience, works, overcoming and perseverance are important concepts the believer needs to acknowledge and embrace. Unfortunately, they have been downplayed and trivialised by "feel good" teachings such as hyper-grace and OSAS. We certainly need to revisit these significant themes and mend the holes in our gospel. 

5. Is God’s ability to keep us safe for eternity unconditional or conditional? http://bit.ly/1MADFyS

  • “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).


  • “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen (Jews), but God's kindness to you (Gentiles), provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off (Romans 11:22).


Thought: Do the expressions cast out, cut off tell us that God's love affair with believers remains forever, no matter how we live our lives?


                                                                              
6. Among believers, who do you think will be more likely to fall away and deny God in times of great distress and persecution?

  • Those who believe in the whole Bible, including the need to endure and overcome


  • Those belonging to the ‘God bless me’ club (hyper-grace and prosperity gospel)


  • Those who think “Once Saved, Always Saved”, so no need to worry


7. Any teaching that puts you at ease without the need to overcome is likely to be a false teaching because only overcomers receive the prize: http://bit.ly/1YEwVIN


8. Those who prefer to adopt the ‘relaxed, take it easy’ view that God will keep them safe till the end might want to check out this post:  http://bit.ly/1MA1h8F

                                                                       
                                                                           
RELATED POSTS

BRACING FOR TOUGH TIMES
Will there be a time when many believers lose faith in God?

WHY BELIEVERS NEED TO OVERCOME
Only overcomers receive the prize

HANG IN THERE, DON'T GIVE UP
Why perseverance is needed

A TALE OF TWO BUDDIES
Those who prefer to adopt the ‘relaxed, take it easy’ view might also want to check out this story. Two Christian friends, Alex and Bob, decide to go on a holiday. While travelling on a treacherous road that cuts through mountainous terrain, their 4WD vehicle fell off the cliff. Both died. What happens next?
http://bit.ly/1PsyvVJ

2 comments:

  1. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).

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  2. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:24-28).

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