Bible Stuff That Won't Bore You

Do we truly understand the path to eternal life or just blindly think we do?

We are surrounded with an endless supply of people telling us the path to salvation is easy, guaranteed, and unconditional no matter how we live, but is this really true? If it is, then why did every author in the NT say it was possible for Christians to fall short of eternal life if we live outside of God’s commands?

…whoa, what?

Introduction

Okay, I am warning everyone ahead of time, this article is explosive, and will probably make many upset as it will challenge common, very popular teachings about salvation

It goes without saying that salvation is always a sensitive topic, but in our pursuit of God, we need to acknowledge how every author in the NT said it is possible for Christians to fall short of eternal life if we live outside of God’s commands

However, despite the amount of times this is discussed in the NT, this teaching is so unpopular with us today as a Christian body, many pastors, authors and speakers avoid this topic altogether–but why, this only serves to jeopardize our place in eternity, not secure it

Even though our leaders should know better, we can only blame them so much, as, frankly, the vast majority of us do not want to hear teachings which say our lifestyles need adjusting, or ones which question whether we will go to heaven or not

Ignoring or dismissing challenging truths in the Bible may keep us from feeling uncomfortable, but unfortunately, our comfort levels are no guarantee we are right or that we understand God’s Word correctly

Also, I want to be very clear, this article is not saying salvation is impossible except for 0.000001% of Christians. The article’s point is to show how teachings which say our salvation is guaranteed regardless of whether we obey God’s commands or not, are completely wrong–salvation requires more from us than just believing God exists

I will repeat this again at the end, but when the topic of salvation comes up, it is very common for the enemy to attack us, as they either want us to believe salvation is impossible, or that we had it and then lost it because we backslid in the past or because we are backsliding right now–do not listen to them

Keep in mind the enemy always wants to fill us with fear to the point where we either turn away from God in despair and give up because we think we are failures, or they want us to turn away from him in anger because we think he is too harsh and his standards are impossible to meet–again, do not listen to them

God loves us, and does not require us to be perfect before he will love or forgive us, but to receive the blessing of his mercy and walk intimately with him, we need to humbly repent of our old ways, and seek to honor his commands

With all of this said, the content below is feisty, I do not want anyone to say they were not warned ahead of time, all I can ask is for everyone to read it until the end

…and with that!

What *Did* The Authors Of The Bible Say About Falling Short Of Salvation

To avoid an emotionally rooted discussion, and to show there is no exaggeration happening, let us look at a list of passages which openly talk about how believers can fall short of salvation:

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

(Many think this verse refers to false or insincere Christians, but what false Christian drives out demons or performs miracles? These things happen according to God’s power as Jesus said the devil would not drive demons out of anyone)

Ephesians 5:5-6
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient

(Notice how Paul tells a body of believers they can fall short of salvation, and to not let anyone “deceive you with empty words”, as “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient”, as even then people liked the idea of an easy path to salvation without understanding they could fall short due to the way they lived)

Galatians 5:19-21
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God

(Paul echoes the same message about falling short as he warns this body of believers that those who continually embrace sin will not inherit eternal life)

Hebrews 10:26-29
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

(Many say this verse refers to false believers who never truly believed in God, but look how the author specifically says the Christians they are referring to have been “sanctified” by “the blood of the covenant”, they are *not* referring to false or insincere Christians who never entered into a relationship with God, they are referring to people who have been purified by the blood of Jesus yet continue to deliberately live a lifestyle of sin even though they know better)

2 Peter 3:17
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position

(Peter openly warns his Christian audience to not sin as the consequence of a lifestyle of sin is to “fall from your secure position”, which shows a believer can be in good standing with God, but then because of their lifestyle choices, fall away)

James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead

(Since Jesus’ greatest commands are to love God and others as ourselves, if we do not care enough about people around us to feed and clothe them, James openly tells us our faith is “dead”, and says this kind of faith cannot save us, yikes!)

1 John 3:14-15
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him

(John takes Jesus’ teachings about loving others even further by telling his Christian audience if we hate others, for whatever reason, eternal life is not in us–think about that the next time you hold a grudge or choose not to forgive someone!)

Oookay, these passages may be uncomfortable, but we cannot rationally dismiss this much information from the Bible now can we?

Even with these examples though, whether due to fear, pride, spiritual immaturity, a lack of teaching or whatever, many will choose to hold onto the idea that eternal life is guaranteed just because we say we believe in Jesus, and do some Christian “things” here and there

However, if Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, and James all say Christians can fall short of salvation because of how we live, we cannot ignore their teachings on the subject, even if we feel scared, upset or even offended

Just keep in mind that:

The enemy always wants us to run to a comfortable lie as God’s truth is rarely comfortable at first, but it is always life-saving

Okay, now that we have established that the authors of the NT talked openly about Christians falling short of salvation, did you know one of the greatest Apostles did not consider their own salvation as being secure until the very end of their life?

Every Christian Must Run A Good Race To The End, Even The Apostles Had To

Alright, silly question, but everyone knows who the Apostle Paul is, right?

As a refresher, just after Jesus’ resurrection, Paul was the Apostle who spread the gospel all throughout the known world in ways no one at the time could have imagined. Paul was a gifted speaker, an author, had a tremendous range of spiritual gifts, and received so many incredible revelations from God it is hard to wrap our minds around

All these things about Paul are well known, but what almost no one knows, is he did not consider his own salvation secure until just before he died, as he taught even he had to live in accordance with God’s commands in order to receive the prize of eternal life

1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize

(Note how Paul does not rely on the fruit of his ministry as a guarantee of his salvation, but openly says he must live according to what he preached otherwise he would be disqualified from the very prize he sought to bring others to, ie: eternal life)

Philippians 3:10-14
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus

(Look at how Paul says three times in this passage he has not attained the goal of salvation yet, but continues to press on toward the goal–he is not preaching a message of easy, guaranteed salvation for all who say they believe in God!)

2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing

(It is not until the very end of his life that Paul says salvation was his, as he not only preached we all have to run a good race until the end, but he lived this way as well)

Now, I am not a super genius, but if Paul, who was much farther along in his spiritual maturity than any of us, lived and taught this way about salvation, it is probably safe to say we should as well

(This is rocket science, I know!)

Okay, since we now understand Jesus and the Apostles taught it is possible to fall short of salvation, and that Paul himself said he was not above his own teachings in this area, why are we surrounded by so many people who teach salvation is unconditional and guaranteed just for saying we believe in God?

Two Wrongs Make A Right! Wait, No…

In our next article, we will discuss how common it is to misinterpret popular verses about salvation simply because we do not understand the meaning of the words “faith”, and “believe” according to how the authors of the Bible meant them

(Hint: Their meanings for these words are wildly different than ours!)

However, for now, to illustrate how many of us have been misled about salvation, let us look at another common, popular teaching, ie: nothing we do can ever affect our relationship with God

We are surrounded by people who say our relationship with God cannot be affected by our actions, and that salvation is guaranteed no matter how we live. Yet, despite the popularity of these teachings, we have to ask: If nothing we do can positively or negatively affect our relationship with God, where is he in our lives?

I mean think about it, if our behavior does not affect our relationship with God, why do most of us not hear from him in prayer, have no idea what his plan is for our lives, have no spiritual gifts of any kind, and still fall prey to temptation as if we are powerless to resist it–basically, where is the promised freedom, supernatural experiences, and personal relationships we were told are available to us as Christians?

If we are not enjoying an intimate relationship with God and walking in freedom from sin it is because his spirit is not with us as abundantly as it could be

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

But wait, why is God not near us enough to experience him in a supernatural way?

Did God shed his blood so he could just ignore us for two thousand years and have little to no impact on our lives?

Um, no, of course not!

Jesus’ sacrifice was meant to pave the way for intimate, personal relationships for everyone who seeks God, but again, where is he?

The answer, however painful, is simple, ie: our worldly lifestyles and willing, outright sins separate us from the one we claim to have faith in, that is why he is not near us

If the Bible says our lifestyles of sin separate us from God and salvation, how little our teachers know him if they say otherwise

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear

1 Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Now, I am not asking this to be inflammatory or raise questions about whether God exists, but if even the most famous pastors, speakers, authors, etc… are wrong about how to welcome God’s supernatural presence in our churches and personal lives by the very fact that he is nowhere to be found, what makes us think these same people are right about the path to salvation, ie: that eternal life is guaranteed no matter how we live, just because we say we believe in God

*crickets*

I mean, if all the popular, feel good, seeker-friendly doctrine we are surrounded by has not brought us to a place where we experience true freedom from sin, have radically transformed lives, witness miracles and healings, as well as receive spiritual gifts, why should we assume this very same doctrine about easy, unconditional salvation without need for sincere life change, has any power to save us for all eternity?

*even*louder*crickets*

Do we honestly expect a God we distance ourselves from through sin, is somehow going to welcome us into heaven according to a different standard than the one which affected our relationship when we were alive?

What verse can anyone point to which says this is even remotely true?

Oh, I do not know, how about none!

Sadly, even though feel good teachings about intimacy with God are proven false simply by the lack of his presence, because they sound nice to us, we continue to believe them

Not only this, but we irrationally apply this same failed logic to our ideas about salvation as well, ie: we are guaranteed a place in heaven regardless of how we live in exchange for simply believing God exists

…uh, hello, even demons believe God exists, but they are not exactly on the express train to heaven as, despite making them scared, the knowledge that God exists does not shape how they live

James 2:19-20
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

(James spoke this warning to a body of believers over two-thousand years ago, saying that without any form of life change, our faith is “useless”, this shows the enemy’s deception about a guaranteed path to salvation was already at work–James’ warning is just as relevant to us today as it was when it was originally written!)

Also, there are no verses in the Bible which say nothing we do can affect our relationship with God, it is the complete opposite in fact, as God intimately draws near to those who honor him by obeying his commands

Philippians 4:9
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you

(Paul does not tell the church in Philippi God will be among them no matter how they act or live, he tells them if they want to see God’s presence, they need to obey what they were taught–this applies to us just as much as it applied to this NT church!)

Hosea 5:14
Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is

(Oh, is *that* how we welcome God’s presence, by not seeking evil, who knew! /endSarcasm)

John 14:21
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them

John 14:23-24
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching

(In both of the passages in John 14, Jesus openly tells us if we obey his commands, we will enter into a special relationship with God–he never taught our relationship with the Father is unaffected by how we live, he taught the complete opposite)

Since we stand to lose a lot more than just earthly happiness and blessings if we are wrong about the path to salvation, why do we keep trusting feel good, easy doctrine when it has never brought us to a place where we even remotely experience God like we read about in the Bible?

I mean honestly!

If God is not among us now, what makes us so sure we are guaranteed salvation living the way we do?

To make sure no one falls victim to the enemy and walks away scared or offended, I want to be clear this article is not saying that unless we are surrounded by all sorts of miracles, signs and wonders we will not go to heaven, it is only asking what makes us so sure we have guaranteed salvation if God’s presence is not strong among us, or even among us at all

Again, I want to make sure no one is thinking the article is condemning all of us or saying salvation is impossible, it is only pointing out that since all the authors of the NT, including Jesus himself, gave clear, frequent warnings about believers falling short of eternal life, we need to examine our faith to see if their warnings apply to us as well

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Yes, I know, it may seem like this is all difficult to understand and/or accept, which brings us to our last point

There Is Good News In All Of This, No Really

Whenever the topic of salvation comes up, it is very common for the enemy to attack us, as they either want us to believe salvation is impossible, or that we had it and then lost it because we backslid in the past or because we are backsliding right now–do not listen to them

Keep in mind, the enemy always wants to fill us with fear to the point where we either turn away from God in despair and give up because we think we are failures, or turn away from God in anger because we think he is too harsh and his standards are impossible to meet–again, do not listen to them

It is true God has standards, but he is full of compassion and mercy when we turn to him in repentance, which is why it is important to understand that in the examples above about falling short, they are all directed at people who claim to be Christians, but are living flagrant, unrepentant lifestyles of sin. These people are not just stumbling here and there as they sincerely work towards maturity, they are rebelliously, and selfishly living according to a sinful, worldly standard they know contradicts the Bible

This does not mean we should automatically think of ourselves as not being part of this group of people because they sound so “bad”, we should examine our hearts carefully to see if we really are in the faith as Paul instructed, as it is entirely possible to outwardly believe in God, but have our hearts set on the very world Jesus shed his blood to overcome

By honestly examining ourselves, we can see the true motivations and priorities of our hearts by the way we live, how we spend our time and money, and in the effort we make to obey God’s commands to live righteously, and to selflessly love one another, just as he loved us

God does not require us to be perfect before he will accept or love us, but he requires us to be both humble, and sincere in our journey towards perfection, as anyone can claim to believe in God, but not everyone honors him by obeying his commands, they just want to feel forgiven when they have a guilty conscience, and want eternal life when they die–this kind of insincere faith cannot create intimacy with God, let alone lead us to salvation, do not let anyone tell you it does!

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God

Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord

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  • Hello Hannah,

    So sorry Satan is doing all this to you. That is part of what is happing, the other part is your own fears, and the old man, your old self, is trying to fight you in following God.. You have to put your trust in Him, Jesus, don’t give in to what’s happening, keep praying, keep reading your Bible, get into a church, keep filling your heart with God, satan will give up, just hold on to God. And talk about what’s happeing to you with someone you trust and are close to God too. I will keep you in my prayers.

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