God’s Unconditional Love

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Devotionals, Shared Thoughts, Study!, Wake Up!
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I hear it all the time, how God loves us all unconditionally. Over the years of having conducted services at a mandatory rehab for people whose crimes were drug related, ministered at homeless shelters and having countless conversations with “believers” who readily admit they are not walking with God as they should, I frequently run into those who enthusiastically confess to me how they know, absolutely know, that God loves them unconditionally and that He accepts them just as they are.

This has led me into many discussions with people about what it means to “believe” and what exactly this “grace” is that these people are boasting about since they know they are saved because of it.  Sadly, many have no real understanding of what grace really is, they simply repeat what they were once told, “It is unmerited favor.” It is as if people are convinced that when God looks at them He has on some special “Jesus only” colored glasses because they think God only sees Jesus when He looks at them and not themselves for how they truly are.

Grace is truly an amazing gift of God given to the believer, but there are four things about grace we can readily know from scripture –

1. Grace is sufficient

2. Grace can be frustrated

3. Grace while working similarly in all God’s children, still has a uniqueness to it purpose as it is given to each of us

4. Grace can be received in vain.

First, regarding grace’s sufficiency in the life of the believer, we can see how Paul was assure by God that His grace was suffice to see Paul through whatever he had to endure.

2Co 12:9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Here we see how Paul learned that he would rather place his confidence in God’s grace given unto him than have to rely on his own strength or power. Therefore Paul learned that it was in his weaknesses he was able to experience God to a fullness that he couldn’t experience in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation and doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight and running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from God’s grace given unto him.

Furthermore, the fact that God have given unto Paul such grace, he was fully aware of his need to take full advantage of it and not exhaust it lest he fall short of God’s calling  given unto him.

1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Often times I will use the example when speaking to people about grace that God’s grace towards us is not unlike this scenario.  Say someone has a need to be somewhere but they have no way or means to get there. They are at an impasse and do not know what they are going to do because they have to get there or the consequences will be severe if they fail to do so. Upon hearing of their plight I offer unto them my car, to which they say, “Great, but I have no money for gas.” I tell them no worries, I will fill up the tank and that will be more than sufficient to get them there.

They are now thrilled, because they are now confident that they can safely make the trip because they have been given all they need for the journey, but on their way they get side track. Since they believe there is more than enough time and “more than sufficient” gas, they decide to take the liberty to go elsewhere and sightsee other places along the way. Now, because they get caught up in the new found liberty, they are carelessly driving around and exhausting the gas. Soon they attempt to turn around towards their destination and suddenly to their surprise the car abruptly stops out of gas!

This is not unlike the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave us or the warning in Hebrews 4 –

Heb 4:1  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. 2 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.

There was no more reason for them to run out of gas anymore than there was a reason why God’s promise to the Israelites to give them the promise land wasn’t realized by those to whom it was given. Yet we too are warned of like consequences, the possibility of coming short of our destination. But we can clearly see that God gave them a promise . . . and all the promises of God are yea and amen! How could it be that they didn’t have the promise fulfilled?

Nu 14:34 After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know My breach of promise. 35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

What? God told them they would know His breach of promise? How could this be? Surely God did love them . . . and God is no respecter of person, correct? What did Peter say when God gave him his revelation concerning the Gentiles?

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feares Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.

Secondly, scriptures clearly say God’s grace can undeniably be frustrated.

Ga 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Paul makes it clear; God gave unto him a grace that was sufficient to enable him to do all which God had called him to do. This grace given wasn’t because of any sacrificed animal under the Levitical priesthood or because of any of Paul’s own doing. Rather, this grace was founded upon what God did through Christ so Paul could be washed and justified of his sins and then filled with spirit of Christ in him, the hope of glory. It was this indwelling that enabled Paul to do and be all God required of him . . . just like God desires to work in us so we too can fulfill that which God requires of each and everyone who names the name of Christ.

Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Ro 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

Because of the blood of Christ, Paul was justified of his sins, forgiven and sanctified enabling him to be fit for the indwelling and empowering of the Spirit of Christ.

Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

1Ti 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Thirdly, grace while working similarly in all God’s children, still has a uniqueness to it purpose as it is given to each of us. Each of us, when we come to Christ, has been given a unique gift and measure of grace accordingly.  Now please do not confuse this “measure of grace” with that grace whereby we all are saved. However, be not deceived, that saving grace which sets us frees from our sins is what allows this added “sufficient” measure of grace to enable us to do and be that which God requires of us. Without it we could neither be saved by our own selves any more than we could fulfill the area of ministry assign to us by the Spirit of God.

Ro 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.

1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Notice the phrase, “the manifold grace of God.” That Greek word which as translated manifold is the same word used in the following verse –

1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

Certainly, we would not assume there is only one manner of temptation, why then would we assume there is only one manner of grace given unto all of us? This same Greek word is only used ten times in scripture and only in Peter’s epistle is it translated “manifold,” everywhere else it was translated “divers,” or diverse, (see Mt 4:24; Mr 1:34; Lu 4:40; 2Ti 3:6; Tit 3:3; Heb 2:4; Heb 13:9; Jas 1:2; 1Pe 1:6; 1Pe 4:10).

God in His wisdom has done this in order to fitly join us together so we may work together in faith and love, doing the work of the ministry and so as lively stones placed together we could begin to comprehend what it the height, breadth and depth of His great love for us all –

Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Beloved saint, God has saved, cleansed, filled and equipped you for a specific function in His body. This is crucial information, for we cannot afford to neglect the full working of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lest we too come short of what He has promised us . . . which brings us to our next point.

Point number four, God’s grace can be received in vain. Grace is so much more than “unmerited favor.” God’s grace is the power of God to deliver us from our sins and equipping us for our unique ministry unto Him and others. It is the divine indwelling of Christ Himself empowering us, moving us ever towards victory and making us overcomers. It is by this grace and grace alone we are what we are, (or can be when we mature in Christ), or as Paul said, “I am what I am.”

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2Co 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Likewise, we all must be sober and recognize that the Kingdom of God suffers violence and they who take it must take by force. Not by our own force, but by the force/power which works in us mightily as we exercise our faith in Christ and do what He has called us to do.  Like James says, faith works. Faith works because it is the consequence of hearing God’s word and receiving His grace to enable us to be faithful. None of us would be content to have a friend or a spouse and lover who simply “believes” in us. We would expect and settle for nothing less than faithfulness, and rightly so, because that is the mature end of a love perfected by grace. Faith = works = faithfulness. It is that simple.

Sadly, some who believe that God loves them unconditionally and accepted that grace is merely “unmerited favor” will foolishly give way to the flesh and continue as friends of the world and not lovers of Christ keeping His words because they think it doesn’t matter since, after all,  God loves them unconditionally.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings: and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.

Right there in verse 23 is the biggest word in the bible, and often the most overlooked, “if.” Wherever there is an “if” in the scriptures there is also a “then.” That little word has enormous meaning; it is a qualifier, a condition. That little “if” is a razor sharp edge on the sword of the spirit that cuts through all the pretense and good intentions to the very heart of every man’s faith and belief in God. So much so that the Beloved Apostle John had this to say –

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, [then] we [God and us] have fellowship one with another, and [then] the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

The very first act of faith is the work of repentance, faithfulness to the commandment of Christ to all men.

Ac 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

Sadly, many professors today who readily say Lord, Lord, concerning Jesus Christ, will one day find they have exhausted the sufficient grace of God, frustrating it by their faithlessness because they have neglected that measure of grace, or the proverbial “talent” Christ entrusted them with for His glory. These are they who will one day find they were actually goats and not sheep when the Lord returns to separate those professing Him.

This is a very serious matter, because God has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that more than enable us to be separate from the world, doers and not hearers only of His word, we are called to be glorious partakers of His divine nature, Christ formed in us.

1Pe 1:3 According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Let us not be as those that will suffer a greater condemnation than those who sinned in the Old Testament –

Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Lest any be given to a fear from which they cannot recover, or embrace a belief that has no power to free them, the “willful sin” in verse 26 was addressed to the Jewish Christians who because of their persecution by their own countrymen (consider these words carefully) were returning to animal sacrifices after coming to the knowledge that Jesus alone was the acceptable sacrifice for sins. However, many today also reject the grace given them out of fear, or peer pressure, or want and they too trodden underfoot the Son of God as they run off to commit sin because they have been taught to think the blood of the covenant is like some common unholy thing they can go back to anytime they want, just like they would to the store for a Band-Aid.  They go around doing whatever they want despite the Spirit of Grace which was given them to make them the children of God partakers of His own nature. Consider again what the Beloved Apostle John said –

1Jo 3:6 Whosoever abides in Him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen Him, neither known Him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.

Yes, it is true, God’s love is unconditional, which is clearly evident by the verse most often quoted –

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Note, God unconditionally loves everyone; He gave His only Son to die for their sins. But the benefit of that sacrifice only extends to those who believe . . .  and concerning those who believe Christ said they “should not perish,” not shall not, or could not or would not, reader beware. Jesus tells us by His word we are clean, not because He said, “Be ye clean,” rather because we have kept it by the grace He has given unto us.

John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Now listen to His prayer to the Father –

John 17:6  I have manifested Your name unto the men which You gavest me out of the world: Yours they were, and You gave them to Me; and they have kept Your word. 17  Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth.

Yes, yes, yes, God’s love is unconditional all, but not His promises . . . they are conditional, because He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness whereby they may be fulfilled in us.

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as you know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Peace.

Comments
  1. joefish says:

    God will love me and forgive me as I repent through this life I live

    • William E. Males says:

      Repentance is a work of grace in the broken –

      Ac 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

      Ac 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

      Ro 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

      2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

  2. Gregg Buckley says:

    Dear William,

    Though I do not totally disagree with what you say here, I hope that you will be kind enough to allow me to express a semi-opposing, (or a differing spin) as to my point of view regarding this subject.

    I am always left in wonderment in how as a body, we appear to not be able to reach a consensus with so many of the mysteries that God has bestowed upon us in His word. This would be just one in a myriad of such topics.

    No matter which position one chose’s to take to heart regarding salvation, as being one of “Once saved always saved”, or one of “We as believers are still responsible to work out our own salvation”, as you have eloquently demonstrated, both parties can present sufficient scriptural evidence to substantiate their point of view.

    However, the latter premise, of which you are a proponent of, appears to me to more closely resemble the ideology of the ceremonial law of Judaism, that was nailed to the cross at Yeshua’s death.

    Even in your own post within your commentary regarding 2 Corinthians 12:9 you say:
    “Here we see how Paul learned that he would rather place his confidence in God’s grace given unto him than have to rely on his own strength or power. Therefore Paul learned that it was in his weaknesses he was able to experience God to a fullness that he couldn’t experience in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation and doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight and running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from God’s grace given unto him.”

    I believe like Paul, that none of us are capable of any righteous thing apart from God, let alone being able to work out our own salvation. And if we were, why would God have thought it necessary for Him through Messiah, to die on the cross for the atonement of our sins? Not only are we completely incapable of succeeding in that effort ourselves,(as proved in the past with the law), scripturally, it appears that there is the distinct possibility that not only is the act of our salvation “finished”, but other than our participation being one of surrender, the responsibility to fulfill our individual sanctification, could be solely up to Him.

    Though I am sure that you are more than aware of the following verses, and there context, I will provide some of them here as a courtesy to others that frequent your site.

    It is not God’s will that any of us rely on our own effort, or abilities.
    “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13

    It’s not our responsibility to try and produce results.
    ”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5

    He is the one who changes us, corrects us, and purges us of our iniquities.
    “3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3
    “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

    It is only Christ in us, and the Holy Spirit that has the power to effect positive, and righteous change in us.
    He indeed is the author and perfector.

    In respects to our salvation:

    If you are truly “born again” then you have received the Spirit, and are Christ’s.
    “9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
    Romans 8:9-11

    It is not God’s will for any of us that have accepted His Son to lose our salvation;
    “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” John 6:39.
    “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
    Matthew 18:14

    All of Luke 15, expresses the depths of grace that has been extended to us. Parables of the one lost sheep that He will pursue and bring back. The woman that searches diligently until she ultimately finds her lost coin.
    The depth of His forgiveness as He welcomes back, with loving and open arms, His son, in the parable of the prodigal son.

    All of us that have made the decision to truly accept Yeshua into our hearts have been predestined to do so, and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise;
    “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:3-14

    The word that is translated from the original Greek as “guarantee”, is the transliterated word “arrabōn”.(Strong’s # 728) It’s definition is, ” money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid “. In essence, it is a security of a covenant.
    Though God has breached a promise before in the past, I do not believe that an instance in scripture can be located, where He ever broke a blood covenant. Especially where in this one, the blood that was shed came from His Son. Also this is not simply a promise which could be breached, it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit Himself.

    How sure was Paul that we are now bonded to the love of God through Christ?
    “28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:28-39

    We are a “purchased possession.” Salvation, or “Soteria”, Strong’s # 4991, clearly states by it’s definition that as a “born again” Christian we have attained this blessing.

    So, if this is indeed the case, the question now becomes,….. What did Paul mean when he said in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my beloved,as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:”?

    What would Paul possibly be saying here to insinuate that though we have received a free gift of grace, where Christ had clearly said that, “It is finished” that something more is required?
    That indeed sounds contrary to the above, as do all of the verse’s that you have utilized to substantiate your view point. What gives?

    Well, could we possibly consider this? That salvation in itself, is a lifelong process. The act of becoming born again through the gift of grace, instantly places us in the position of “Justification.” (Justification Strong’s # 1347, Dikaiosis, “the act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to Him”) this then places us into the process of “Sanctification”, (Strong’s # 38, Hagiasmos,”consecration, purification, the effect of consecration , sanctification of heart and life.”)
    ” Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:30

    The “key” then to being faithful, would be in the sincerity of our heart in maintaining relationship. Doing our best to surrender ourselves, our ego to the will of God, and allowing Him to perform change in us through the Spirit.
    Not in an insecure performance based way, but by simply abiding, and trusting in Him as our source.
    “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

    However, it is still my opinion, that those of us who are more carnal in their walk, will still receive some form of salvation.
    “12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

    I think that there is the possibility that our rewards, or losses that are spoken about have more to do with the responsibilities that we will be given, for those of us that are indeed “Overcomers” when we rule and reign with Christ during the Millennial Kingdom. But I suspect that discussion would be for another post. :-)

    Thank you William for allowing me to express some of my thoughts about this subject.
    May God continue to bless you, and shine His face upon you.

    Shalom in Yeshua

    Also William if I may respectfully add this commentary regarding John 3:16, where you say;
    “Yes, it is true, God’s love is unconditional, which is clearly evident by the verse most often quoted –
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Note, God unconditionally loves everyone; He gave His only Son to die for their sins. But the benefit of that sacrifice only extends to those who believe . . . and to those who believe Christ said “should not perish,” not shall not, or could not or would not, reader beware.”

    Though thought provoking, this is not entirely correct. The English translation could have very easily read as being “shall”. The word “not” is really the operative word here. “Should not perish” was translated from the transliterated word’s “apollymi mē apollymi “, Strong’s #’s 622 – 3361 – 622 respectively.
    The definition of apollymi is, “to destroy, to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin, render useless, to kill etc.” So with mē meaning, “no, not lest”, the words were translated as should not perish.

    • William E. Males says:

      Brother Gregg,

      Certainly your comment deserves to be considered by all, anyone who is as long winded as me ought to have an opportunity to be heard – LOL. Of course it will be accompanied by my comment, for so many words cannot escape a reply. However, I do fully know it is neither you nor I who can bring others to the truth, but as the scriptures say, it the Father’s who draws us. All we can do is present what we believe and pray God will be faithful to enlighten others to those precepts of truths which we have correctly presented in our meager effort to present the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      Concerning you comment of that my comments concerning the multifaceted aspects of God’s wondrous grace as “the ideology of the ceremonial law of Judaism that was nailed to the cross at Yeshua’s death,” it becomes evident to me right away that we have a different understanding as to what was indeed nailed to the cross.

      Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
      14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.

      My strong conviction of what was nailed to the cross as “handwriting of ordinances that was against us,” was not the ceremonial law of Judaism, and certainly was not the moral aspect of God’s law to which the scriptures bare witness was “perfect, converting the soul . . . making wise the simple . . . rejoicing the heart . . . pure and enlightening the eyes.” Furthermore the scripture also record the prayerful request that God would “grant me thy law graciously,” which seems to be an interesting twist to that of much that is thought today that the law could be given in grace.

      Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
      8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
      9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
      10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

      Ps 119:29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

      While the ceremonial law had as much fulfilled its prophetic purpose of proclaiming the sacrificial death of Jesus just as a shadow represents something that exist between the place where it is cast and the light that creates it, the ceremonial law had indeed fulfilled its purpose and was done away with by the body of Christ, as it does say in verse 17.

      Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
      17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

      However, since Paul was writing to the Gentiles, who’s sins were not based upon any of the things mentioned in verse 16, but we cannot reject Paul’s teaching in Roman’s that all men had sin, we must here conclude that the Gentiles had sin not because they failed to be circumcised in the flesh, but rather because they like the Jews had failed to circumcise their hearts, exposing themselves in naked brokenness and honesty before their Creator.

      The Jews and Gentiles alike therefore had a record of their sins by an all seeing God that were bore witnessed that they had failed to love God and worship Him as such and also that they had failed to love their neighbors as themselves. These two commandments which are the foundation of the defining guidelines of righteous love that the Ten Commandment, the moral and prophets witnessed to as well, that men were failing in these areas. God never had pleasure in the sacrifice of animals, the shedding of their blood, nor could they ever remove sin our purge the conscience from sins. This we can clearly see from the OT verses as well-

      Mic 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
      7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
      8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

      What was nailed to the cross was the “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,” that record of our failures to love God and our neighbor, the record of our debt and sins against God Himself.

      I wish I still had the resource at hand, but years ago I ran across the mentioning of a tradition the Jews had that was not unlike our present day “legal notice” section of the paper. It seems that if a person had a debt they could not pay that they were in danger of ending up in a debtor’s prison whereby they had to stay until the debt could be satisfied. (We know of this from Jesus’ own teachings in Matthew 18:23-35). However, if a man was destitute, he could go to the town center and there was a pole where he could take a piece of sheep skin and write a public “legal notice” of all the debts he had outstanding against him. There he would publicly acknowledge all his debts.

      If he owed money to the butcher, he would record it, as well as that which was owed to the candle maker, carpenter and whoever. Anyone going by could stop and read his debts; they were public information now for he had so confessed his state openly. If one was moved with compassion they could take and write his name beside a particular debt and then the creditor could come to that person for payment. If one was able and compassionate enough, he could simply fold it up covering the list of debts leaving the name exposed and sign his own name to it and all the creditors would know they could go to one place to receive their payment.

      Such is what Jesus did, He took the record of all the sins of mankind and nailed it to the cross, yet such forgiveness of debt is only made applicable to the sinner by their faith. This is evident by their surrender to His Lordship realizing that by such payment they have been purchased from their debt that had wages unto death and that now they are not their own anymore, but debtors unto Christ, called to be servants unto righteousness with the admonition to go and sin no more.

      Concerning your all the verses you listed as to how God who works in us, that is the purposes that I stress grace as much more than just “unmerited favor.” We cannot do these things alone; we need the grace of God, Christ in us to enable us. But it is as Paul, Peter, James and John says, we purify ourselves and make ourselves ready . . . because He enables us to do so.

      2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
      18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
      1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently
      Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
      1Jo 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.

      In regards to the verse you gave regarding “our salvation,” I will simply address that I believe the scriptures to be true, as do you. Just as true as the teaching of Christ how a good tree brings forth good fruit and evil tree brings forth evil fruit and that we can know a tree by its fruit. I can only conclude then that many who profess to be saved are in fact not. That they are goats and not sheep, tares instead of wheat. Like you stated, “If you are truly “born again” then you have received the Spirit, and are Christ’s.”

      Next, concerning your comments about “the word that is translated from the original Greek as “guarantee” . . . a security of a covenant . . . a promise which could be breached, it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit Himself.” Paul tells us in I Thessalonians “Quench not the Spirit.” The word quenched doesn’t simply mean to grieve; it means to extinguish (literally or figuratively): to cause to go out, quench. The same Greek word is used in these verses as well –

      Mt 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
      Mt 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
      Mr 9:44,46,48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
      Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
      Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

      Certainly in all the above verses we would acknowledge an absolute extinguishing as the intended meaning. That being understood, we can also see how scriptures tell two things about man’s spirit –

      Pr 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
      Pr 24:20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

      An interesting verse to consider the meaning of these is from the Gospel of John concerning Jesus –

      John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

      Our spirits were created for union with the Spirit of God, it is His light which is the true life of man, which gives meaning and purposes to man’s being. But the candle/spirit of the wicked shall be extinguished.

      I know it is an OT verse, but it still conveys the equity and righteousness of God that changes not-

      Eze 33:12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
      13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
      14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
      15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
      16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
      17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
      18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.

      Next, regarding your comment “However, it is still my opinion, that those of us who are more carnal in their walk, will still receive some form of salvation,” and your submittal of 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 as it bases, I would encourage a prayerful reconsideration of what Paul is indeed saying.

      Paul’s whole addressment in I Corinthians 3 is dealing with the carnal nature of the people of Corinth in relationship to their perspective teachers. The people were being what Paul called carnal, identifying themselves with either Paul or Apollos and were therefore having “envying, and strife, and divisions.”

      Paul addresses how Apollos and he were only “but ministers by whom ye believed.” He stress that God was the one who gave life and increase. Paul then stresses that “teachers” need to take heed what they teach –

      1Co 3:8 Now he [Paul] that planteth and he [Apollos] that watereth are one: and every man [teacher] shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
      9 For we [teachers] are labourers together with God: ye [the believers] are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
      10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder [teacher] , I have laid the foundation, and another [teacher] buildeth thereon [in you believers’ lives]. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

      This is crucial for rightly dividing the verse that is the bases your belief that “those of us who are more carnal in their walk, will still receive some form of salvation.” The verse doesn’t support your position. It actually works against it, because Paul is addressing how the teacher has a responsibility before God not to be handling the Word of God deceitfully, which is which Paul states, “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

      The “he” word mentioned twice in verse 15 is not the same person as many assume. One needs to follow the text and keep the teachers and the believers being taught by them separate and identifiable while reading through the passages –

      1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man [teacher] lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
      12 Now if any man [teacher] build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
      13 Every man’s [teacher’s] work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s [teacher’s] work of what sort it is.
      14 If any man’s [teacher’s] work abide which he [teacher] hath built thereupon [in a believer’s life], he [teacher] shall receive a reward.
      15 If any man’s [teacher’s] work shall be burned, he [teacher] shall suffer loss: but he [the believer] himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

      I know this might not be easy to receive having believed the other way, but I urge you to consider Paul’s following words and ask why he would have stated them if what I am saying is not correct.

      1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye [believer] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
      17 If any man [teacher of false things] defile the temple of God [with teachings of wood, hay and stubble], him [that teacher] shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye believers] are.
      18 Let no man [aspiring teacher] deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
      19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
      20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
      21 Therefore let no man [teacher or student] glory in men [with whom they foolishly identify themselves with]. For all things [of Christ] are yours;
      22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
      23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

      Lastly, concerning your thoughts on John 3:16, I am very pleased that you are a student of scripture and that you are serious in your studying. I pray God continue to bless you in your efforts for it seems evident that your heart has been both convicted and quickened by His Spirit. All I would state concerning John 3:16 is that I believe God was sovereign when He permitted the scripture to be translated into English and the translated word agreed upon by the multitude of prayerful scholars was in fact “should not” and not “shall not.”

      Peace.

      William

      • Gregg Buckley says:

        Dear William,

        Long winded? lol.
        Yes, I agree that I can sometimes get on a roll. I apologize for that.
        I will try to keep this short, so you don’t feel compelled to spend an hour or so replying, instead of doing what you had planned to do for the day. :-)

        Let me just say, that we agree on many things, and disagree on others.
        And I apologize for some parts, where I suspect that I didn’t articulate my thoughts clearly enough, where I believe that you may have misconstrued what it was that I was trying to convey.

        It was a pleasure to share in this dialogue with you William, and I look forward to the time that we will eventually meet down the road.

        However before I close here, I just have to say this, It is my personal opinion that those that did translate the KJ Bible, (though I am sure were prayerful, and had only the purest of intentions), were not inspired.
        Therefore, in spite of their best intentions, not only were certain words translated incorrectly, but also the placement of Chapters, insertions of verses, and punctuation, could be in error.
        Because of this, I don’t think that we as Christians should simply take how the Bible is formatted for granted as in being correct.
        They unfortunately were just men, and not infallible.

        If I may, I think that the following would be a clear example of this.

        Acts 19:12 KJV “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”
        In this verse we see the diseases departed from the sick handkerchiefs or aprons. Shouldn’t the comma have been placed after the word “sick” instead?

        This following example involves chapters, verses as well as a comma. Matthew 28:1 reads, “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.”
        As I am sure you are well aware from your own personal studies, the end of the Sabbath which is sunset and dawn are twelve hours apart, so why the apparent contradiction in the above verse?
        The answer is found in the translation of this passage.
        By reorganizing the last verse of Matthew 27 and the first verse of Matthew 28, the apparent ambiguity completely disappears.
        See Matthew 27:62-66.
        In Matthew 27:62, a request for a guard on the tomb was made on the Sabbath (the day after the preparation) and that the request was for a guard until the third day. By simply moving the text “in the end of the Sabbath,” from the beginning of Matthew 28:1 to the end of Matthew 27:66, which is where it should have been placed when punctuation and chapters and verse were added, we would have the following.
        Matthew 27:66 “So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch in the end of the Sabbath.”
        Matthew 28:1 “As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.”
        It was the watch guarding the tomb that began at the end of the Sabbath. Since Jesus was to rise the third day, the Roman guards were put in place immediately at the end of the Sabbath because they anticipated that the body of Jesus would be stolen by the Jews sometime on Sunday.

        It is my opinion, that the above clearly demonstrates that neither chapter, verse, or punctuation are always correct.

        Ooop’s….. There I go again. lol. I’m outta here.
        God Bless William

  3. William E. Males says:

    Brother Gregg,

    It was a blessing to engage this brief discourse with you. I agree that the KJV isn’t flawless, and those commas can certainly alter ones understanding. Interesting that you bring up Matt 28:1, I have an article about the resurrection and the seeming contradictions between the four gospels I been thinking of posting, guess now I will probably be running it in a couple of weeks.

    Peace and blessing on you and yours.

    William

  4. Gregg Buckley says:

    Dear William,

    That sounds like that will be an interesting read. I am looking forward to it.

    One final note on chapters, verses and punctuation:
    Yes, unfortunately the translation isn’t without flaw, and because of that, a simple little comma that happens to be misplaced can have a significant impact on the correct meaning of the text.

    IE: Within the ongoing debate of whether or not as believers, we go straight to heaven when we die, proponents of this belief will undoubtedly quote Luke 23:43 to substantiate their view point.

    However, is there is the possibility that a comma may have simply been misplaced in Luke 23:43?
    Did Yeshua say, “I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” or, “I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise” (at the resurrection on the last day)?

    Food for thought….. sigh.

    Take Care William.
    God’s Blessings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s