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salvation

The Certainty of Judgment

in Daily Devotions
The Certainty of Judgment
The Certainty of Judgment
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

If the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Hebrews 2:2-3
by John MacArthur, Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith

Key Principle: There is certain judgment for everyone who does not receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

Today the majority believes that God is a God of love and grace but not of justice. One brief look at Hebrews 2:2-3 ought to convince anyone otherwise. The writer’s point is this: Since the Old Testament makes it clear that transgression and disobedience met with severe and just punishment, how much more so will equal or greater punishment be rendered under the New Testament, which was revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

Both the Old and New Testaments confirm that angels were instrumental in bringing the law (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:38). The law the angels spoke, primarily the Ten Commandments, was steadfast. That meant that if someone broke the law, the law would break the lawbreaker. The law was inviolable; punishment for breaking it was certain.

“Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense” (v. 2). “Transgression” refers to stepping across a line—a willful, purposeful sin. “Disobedience,” however, refers to imperfect hearing—the sin of shutting one’s ears to the commands, warnings, and invitations of God. It is a sin of neglect or omission—doing nothing when something should be done.

Hebrews 2:2 also puts to rest the notion that God is not fair. The writer says every sin received “a just recompense.” God, by His very nature, is just. Every punishment He meted out to those who defied Him was a deterrent to the sin He wanted to stop.

God severely punished the nation of Israel because they knew better. That leads to the important principle that punishment is always related to how much truth one knows but rejects. The person who knows the gospel, who has intellectually understood it and believed it, yet drifts away will experience the severest punishment of all.

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you an even greater appreciation of the punishment He has saved you from in order to motivate you to pursue the lost more vigorously.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 11:20-24, 12:38-42, and Luke 12:47-48 to discover Christ’s attitude toward those who know the truth and yet rebel against it.

Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

in Christianity/Salvation
Memory Verse
Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

by Jon Bloom –

You can memorize big chunks, even books, of the Bible. Unless you’re part of the very small percentage of us who suffer from a traumatic brain injury or stroke or disability, you really can. And you should. But why should you?

1. Because you have a bad memory.

Don’t say you can’t memorize because you have a bad memory. That’s why you need to memorize. I have a bad memory too. I think it’s worse than average — seriously. I forget names of people I know and see regularly! I have to force my faulty, inefficient brain to drive things that matter most into my long-term memory. This only happens by the process of repeating (memorizing) every day over a period of time. You’d be surprised what you can commit to memory if you have a simple system and put forth some effort. I’ve memorized five New Testament books and am working on my sixth. And that’s because I have a bad memory.

2. Because you need to feed your mind.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. But how can we do this if we can’t remember such things? General positive Bible concepts are not very helpful. We need specific “precious and very great promises” in our memory to draw on when we are alone and battling discouragement or anger or lust or fear (2 Peter 1:4).

3. Because the Bible is too accessible to you.

It’s strange how having an abundance of something can result in our neglecting it. If the Bible’s always there on our tables, tablets, phones, and computers, we can dip in, read sections, and search for key words when needed, but feel no urgency to really internalize it. Memorizing is one way to fight that delusion.

4. Because you have the Internet.

Unfortunately, the Internet is teaching us how not to read. We are becoming information scanners, quickly browsing but not digesting very much. We are losing patience for deeper, more reflective reading. Memorizing longer passages of Scripture forces us to reflect deeply on meaning and application.

5. Because you don’t know the Bible as well as you think you do.

Have you ever had a conversation with a friend you’ve known for a while that made you realize there were dimensions to them you never knew, and suddenly you understood them better and felt closer to them? That’s what memorizing longer passages and even books of the Bible will do for you. You will find nice Bible friends become earnest confidants and counselors.

6. Because God’s word will become more precious to you.

The things we invest most in become most precious to us. If you spend minimal time in the Bible, don’t expect it to be precious to you. But if you spend hundreds of cumulative hours storing large portions of God’s word in your heart so that the word of Christ dwells in you richly, it will become a precious part of your essential life (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16; Deuteronomy 32:47).

7. Because you will see more of God’s glory.

We can only know a few things about a person by what they make. We can really know them well by what they say. Mountains and microbes, galaxies and goats, they each say some wonderful things about God. But to really know God, to really see and be in awe of the things that are most glorious about him, we must listen carefully to what he says about himself, because God reveals himself primarily by his word (1 Samuel 3:21). Memorizing his word helps us listen carefully and perceive more glory.

8. Because it will fine-tune your hooey gauge.

The world lies to you all the time. The devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), and the world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). And your sin nature lies to you. And false brothers lie to you. The better you know God’s word, the more skillful you become in handling it (2 Timothy 2:15). The clearer you have his word in your mind, the more accurately you will discern demonic hooey. Having a lot of God’s word in your head will fine-tune your hooey gauge.

9. Because you’re going to suffer.

Suffering is coming your way (or is here) and it’s confusing and disorienting. Having memorized big chunks of Scripture is so helpful at such times. Not only will you have specific texts come to mind, but even when, due to pain or fear, you struggle recalling them, you will know right where to go. Memorizing books imprints those books in your mind. You will know which chapters and sections will speak to your suffering.

10. Because your brothers and sisters are going to suffer.

The same is true for bringing gospel comfort and counsel to your brother or sister who is suffering. Memorizing large portions not only serves you, but also is a way of loving others by being able to provide them with faith-sustaining truth when it’s most needed.

How to Memorize Long Portions of Scripture

Review, Read, Recite, Repeat

You do it one or two verses at a time. John Piper and I, along with several others, use a very simple technique that Andrew Davis developed. Let’s use John 1:1–3 as an example.

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

[2] He was in the beginning with God.

[3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Day 1:

  • Read John 1:1 ten times (read it each time to imprint the words in your mind).
  • Then close your Bible and recite it ten times (I suggest reciting it aloud).

Day 2:

  • Refresh John 1:1 and then recite it ten times by memory.
  • Read John 1:2 ten times.
  • Close your Bible and recite it ten times.

Day 3:

  • Recite John 1:1 one time by memory.
  • Recite John 1:2 ten times by memory.
  • Read John 1:3 ten times.
  • Close your Bible and recite it ten times.

And on and on. Review, read, recite, repeat. If you repeat a verse by memory once a day for one hundred days, it will be in your permanent long-term memory.

If you want to know how to sustain a habit of reviewing, Andrew Davis has a 30-page book on how to do this (only $0.99 on Kindle!).

You can do this! You really can! And you should. Memorizing big chunks of Scripture is not as hard as you think and will be one of the best investments of your life for the ten reasons listed above and more. You will not regret it.

This article was originally written here.

Examine Yourself

in Christianity/Quote/Salvation
Photo by Aldric RIVAT on Unsplash

If sin and unrighteousness characterize your life, there is a possibility you are a disobedient Christian—but there is a greater possibility you are not a Christian at all.

John MacArthur

Can a Christian Lose Salvation?

in Articles/Salvation

by Adrian Warnock –

Can I be sure I am going to Heaven?

In one of my recent articles, a pastor from the 1600s offered the suffering Christian the encouragement that whatever they are suffering here on earth is “all the hell you shall ever know.” A commentator on that post asked “Can a Christian lose salvation?”

Lets make this personal:

What if I slip up and fall? What if I commit a big sin?

What if I ‘backslide’ on my faith, perhaps even renouncing it?

Can I lose my salvation?

Having once followed Jesus can we end up being cast aside?

At risk of being accused of offering a spoiler, I will quote at the outset one of my first blogging buddies, David Wayne, who said:

“It is true that, if you are truly saved, you cannot lose your salvation, but it is equally true that there are many who think they are saved and who aren’t.” David Wayne

There is a vital question we must ask ourselves, therefore, before we get into this subject of losing salvation:

1. Am I really a Christian at all?

Often when we worry about whether we can lose our salvation it really reflects a concern about whether we ever had it in the first place. I wrote a piece a while back now on these dreadful words of Jesus:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Matthew 7:21-27

So before we turn to the backslider, we need to look at ourselves. No matter how religious we seem to others. No matter how ‘good a Christian’ people might think we are, only Jesus can answer the most important question we ask ourselves: Many will say…but I will say ‘I never knew you.’

Does Jesus really KNOW me?

We must not be complacent about this. And if we feel our heart beginning to grow cold toward Jesus it should drive us to these words and to ask ourselves are we known by Jesus.

There is no question that pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus will help us feel confident we are saved, or to put it another way, give us the assurance of salvation.

Many Christians get by without much experience in their relationship with God. I would urge you not to settle for a mere intellectual belief but that Jesus would pour out more of his Holy Spirit on you in a way that you can recognize and receive.

I believe that the Bible very clearly says that there is an experience of the Holy Spirit available to us. This amounts to the love of God being poured out into our hearts as a seal acknowledging that we belong to God. Much anxiety about whether or not we are saved can be erased by this experience. This receiving of the Spirit has to be an experience for it to function as a deposit that helps us know for sure we are saved:

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:13-14)

Without it no wonder many Christians spend their whole lives worrying about the question of whether they are really saved.

Knowing Jesus requires obedience to him.

Jesus makes it clear, in the verse we quoted a few paragraphs ago, that anyone who wants to know Jesus must do the will of God. Many Christians don’t like talking about commands. But here Jesus makes it quite clear that obeying him is vital for salvation.

This clear demand from Jesus that we obey him led to me setting myself a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2018.

I decided to go on a journey, partly guided by Piper’s book on the subject, but also seeking to create my own reflections on Jesus’ commands. I invite you to join me on this journey, and if you have missed the first steps to go back and look at them now. I aim to walk my way slowly through all the key commands of Jesus. This is not some kind of cute series. This is critical to our spiritual well-being, and even our salvation.

If we do not obey the commands of Jesus, we risk hearing that Jesus doesn’t know us.

We risk not losing our salvation, but never having had it in the first place.

As we have been seeing, the commands of Jesus are very different to the Ten Commandments. We have been looking at them for more than half a year and have yet to move on from the commands of Jesus about our relationship with him and the other members of the Trinity. If we want to be known by Jesus and accepted by him here are some of the critical posts I have written so far:

Jesus Commands:

  • Be Born Again
  • Repent and Believe
  • Come to Me
  • Listen to My Voice
  • Abide in Me
  • Follow Me
  • Love Me
  • Worship Me
  • Receive the Holy Spirit

I would urge you to look at these articles carefully, and the Scriptures they reference, and ask yourself am I a Christian at all?

As you do so you will realize that Jesus is speaking to our hearts and demanding a much deeper response than simply putting up a hand at an evangelistic meeting (as much as that can often be the first step on our journey).

As we have been looking more deeply at the question of losing our salvation we can see that some backsliders may in fact never have been Christians at all.

And so I have urged us all to ask this first crucial question of ourselves. But part of our evangelism effort is to try to help others be sure of their own salvation too. If you suspect that someone who is not now walking with Jesus was actually never a Christian, what is your responsibility? To share the gospel with them and try to help them find the way back to Jesus.

But what then of the question, assuming we actually HAVE our salvation, can we ever LOSE it?

There are a series of questions we should be asking ourselves if we are concerned that we are at risk of losing our salvation. The first we have already explored, the second, which we will get to in a moment, is closely related.

There is a phrase Jesus uses which at first sight would seem to be a slam dunk. He says those who “look back” are out:

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Jesus (Luke 9:62)

However it is not as simple as it first seems. As is often the case, we must look carefully at the context of these words. As we do it immediately becomes clear Jesus is talking about someone at the beginning of their journey with Jesus who ‘looks back’ rather than making an initial firm decision to follow him. This verse is not the clear answer to the ‘can I lose my salvation?’ question that it initially seems:

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)

So the looking back is about someone who never truly decides to follow Jesus, and so should lead us to ask another question:

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