7 more things that happen to Christians who stray
Nearly every book in the New Testament warns Christians of the dangers of false preachers and teachers who preach another Jesus or another gospel. Jesus, Paul, Peter, et al. had some harsh words to say about those who mislead the saints. But what about the saints who are misled? What happens to them?
The usual answer is, “They could lose their salvation and go to hell along with the lost.”
The usual answer is wrong.
Since a Christian, by definition, is one who has been united with Christ, the only way he can go to hell is if Christ goes – and Christ isn’t going!
In fact, the odds of a Christian being eternally condemned are the same as the odds that God will break his promises, because God will have to break his promises to do it. If you are worried about losing your salvation on account of poor performance, I encourage you to stop trusting in your own faithfulness and take your stand on his. Let the promises of your heavenly Father be a firm and secure anchor for your soul (Heb 6:19).
What do I mean by “go astray”?
I mean “stop trusting Jesus,” or “fail to continue in the faith,” or “neglect to hold fast.” We tend to think of backsliders (what an awful word) as those who skip church and rejoining the world. But someone who goes astray may fall into dead religious works. Someone who is not trusting Jesus may appear to be very religious indeed. As we have seen elsewhere, walking after the flesh may involve good works just as easily as bad.
In Part 1, I listed seven tragic consequences of going astray. Here are seven more:
What happens to Christians who stray?
8. We miss out on all God has in store for us (2 John 1:8)
Jesus said those who went all out for the sake of the gospel would receive back in this life 100 times what they gave up (Mark 10:29-30). Live to reveal the good news of the kingdom and you’ll be rich in friends – people whose lives have blessed by your revelation of Jesus, people who will be your friends for eternity. In contrast, those who aren’t walking in the power of his grace won’t achieve anything of lasting significance.
9. We get bogged down in time-wasting, life-sapping discussions (1 Tim 1:6)
In his warning about men who were fascinated by myths, Paul did not say, “Some have turned aside unto damnation.” He said, “Some have turned aside to idle talk.” In other words, they’re wasting time in conversations that are going nowhere – usually on Facebook. Haha!
An excessive interest in controversy is a sure sign one has wandered from the uncontroversial gospel (1 Tim 1:4, 6:4). It’s good to ask questions, but when it comes to the gospel, Jesus provides emphatic answers. At some point you have to stop asking and start believing.
10. We live lives of regret (1Tim 6:10)
Paul did not say, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and lost their salvation.” He said, “Some have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” Sorrow and regret is what you get when you run after inferior substitutes like money and reputation. Only Jesus satisfies the deepest longings of your soul.
11. We do not mature (Lk 8:14, Eph 4:14)
A lot of maturity teaching is based on the so-called spiritual disciplines. You need to do more of everything in order to grow. But growth is a natural process. You don’t need to do a thing – it just happens (Mark 4:27, 1 Cor 3:7). The only thing you can do is hinder the process by choking the seed of the gospel with the cares of this world or contrary teachings.
Do you desire good teaching? Do you crave good food? Then “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). Jesus is the best teaching. Anything else is junk food.
12. We look less and less like Jesus (2 Tim 2:16-18)
Review this full list and you will see nothing that describes Jesus. Did Jesus lose sight of his Father’s love? Was Jesus enslaved to men’s expectations? Did he cast off his good conscience when the Pharisees pressed him with their traditions? Did he indulge time-wasters? No. Everything about Jesus speaks of life, freedom, and intentional living.
Paul said, “Those who indulge in godless chatter become more and more ungodly” (2 Tim 2:16). What you talk about reveals your treasure. Hopefully your talk reveals Jesus and his love, for there is no greater treasure.
13. We fear God’s punishment (1 John 4:17-18)
Those who are secure in their Father’s love can look forward to Judgment Day with confidence. But those who are insecure will be anxious. Have I done enough? Will God find fault with me? These are the questions asked by those who have wandered from the faith, who have fallen from grace, and who have left their first love.
14. We’ll be ashamed (but not condemned) when Jesus comes (1 John 2:28)
I love how the Message Bible translates this verse:
And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives. (1 John 2:28, MSG)
John doesn’t say, “Abide in Christ or you will lose your salvation.” He says, “Abide in Christ so you won’t feel like a fruitless schmuck when he returns.” Imagine the shame some are going to have when Christ shows up and all their futile attempts to impress him are burned up in the splendor of his glory. All our manmade programs, all our self-efforts – Woof! – gone in a puff of smoke. How embarrassing to arrive at the wedding feast with the smell of smoke in your hair (1 Cor 3:15)!
How do we avoid going astray?
We stray when we lose sight of God’s love for us. Get distracted from God’s grace and goodness and the odds are high that you will do most of the things listed above. And that is why the number one take-away in the New Testament writers is to abide, remain, dwell in God’s love:
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. ~Jesus (John 15:9, MSG)
Make God’s loving embrace your permanent resting place and it will be impossible for anyone to lead you astray. Allow yourself to be apprehended by the wild and relentless love of your mighty Father, and no one will seduce you out of it.
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i was really wondering why would Paul use strong words “curse are those who preaches another gospel, be it an angel from heaven or another apostle”
and whats with the gospel that the apostles willingly laid down their lives in a very horrific death, not just simply by quitting their career as fishermen or teacher of the Law. they willingly gave themselves up to suffer for the sake of the gospel being preached.
there is really something about this gospel, that makes people wanna do things that are not normal.
i am convinced the tears that Jesus wipes away from our faces (rev 21:4) will be from seeing our “stock-pile of self-efforts” going up in flames! and somehow, this has caused me to enter into His rest even more… because if Jesus is the One doing His good works through me, then i really cant take credit for them… i think i have come to the point where i can say that i am glad all my faithless self-efforts will be burned up… and would rather stand amazed at the things that He did through me that i wasn’t even aware of! 😉
needed that thanks, sometimes you have to step back and say why I do try to persuade,someone who is trying to persuade me,and the revelation comes to you, its a waste of time,but ya know the enemy, he always works both ends against the middle,and we recognize that familiar hypnotic hiss, well to avoid [ turning aside to idle talk ] Thanks again
Simple, Elegant, Direct! Open to the love like a child and the grace will find you. Act in the love of God, from the love of God, but not for the love. It is a gift. Thank you for the reminder!
Abide in His love. Amen!
Ouch, ouch, OUCH!! This is too close for comfort. Shall I be a testimony for numbers 8, 10, 11 and 13 in particular? Every word is true, painfully true. Am I still grieving over straying? Are my husband and I still suffering the human response to an overt act of “straying?” Has my personal complacency been a big, old, paved, four-lane highway for satan to cruise on because of my regret and my struggle to believe in total and complete grace?
Stay close to Jesus. The potholes you will avoid are ones that can destroy you, your family, and your peace.
I am reading this post about two years after you posted it but it touched me because I traveled down the same road. The more I rested in Jesus’ love for me the more the memory of walking in wrong beliefs disappeared. I was saved 45 years ago and just recently, about 6 months ago, heard the true Gospel and a fire lit up in me and my family. We knew all the scriptures, memorized many but lo and behold, the teachings were in error. I can honestly say that I never bought into the mixture gospel, because it never set right in my heart. Peace did not rule and reign, just unrest after attending church. The God I knew and loved was loving and full of kindness, mercy and grace. Jesus was His gift to us and all who trusted in the work of Jesus would be eternally saved.
I can see why the Apostle Paul and Peter spoke so harshly about those who preach lies to their sheep. I don’t say they do it on purpose, their motives, in most cases, are right, however their self righteousness creeps up on them and they have no way to cast it away because it feels so good.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. There is no need to think or do anything except rest in the Love of our precious Savior and Lord, Jesus. Bless you and your family as you continue in the truth of His Word.
I am so blessed! I don’t worry about anything. 🙂
Hi Paul, great post. Forgive me for taking one small issue with something said, but I admit it’s more of a semantics issue than anything, haha. 🙂 Growth doesn’t “just happen”. A body must receive nourishment for growth to happen. However, “good works” isn’t what brings growth either. Feeding on the “Bread of Life” and drinking from His “Living Water” is what brings growth. I take that to mean renewing our minds and dwelling on what He has accomplished on our behalf, our faith in Him and the finished work of the cross.
Perfect love casts out all fear…
What awesome revelation of the heart of God. Fantastic Paul.
My heart truly aches for people who don’t understand Gods love for them!!! I mean his heart has to break when his sons and his daughters feel like because they messed up or strayed that he would let them go and walk away. Look at the CROSS don’t you see?
something can seperate us from our love for God BUT Nothing can seperate us from the love of God. not even ‘faith’.(faith that, God does’nt love us).you can decide not to love him but he just can’t stop loving you..let us beleive and abide in this love and we shall never have the fear of what is gonna happen in the END..
Just looked at Mark 4:27 and 1 Cor. 3:7…that’s surprising, I’ve never read it nor heard anyone talk about those before 🙂
Hi Paul, please do you have any write up on the Laodecian church and the church in Sardis in the book of revelation?
Your posts are really enlightening and transforming
Yes, in fact I began this blog with a whole series on the Laodicean church. You can the relevent posts using the search box at the top of the website or the subject index in the archives.
so true and so liberating! Thank you Jesus! God bless!
The result of walking after the flesh is death i.e. spiritual death = no eternal life in Rom 8:13. This warning is directed at the brethren in v.12. Christians who “stray;” who knowingly engage in habitual sin and manifest an unrepentant lifestyle will die (experience spiritual death).
Can’t someone come back from spiritual death?
Yes; when he/she repents, turns away from sin and starts walking in the light. Once we begin to walk in the light notice the result: “But IF we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7). Walking in the light does not mean that we are sinless (1Jn 1:8) but that when we occasionally sin, (as opposed to habitual sin) God forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness when we confess those sins (1 Jn:9).
This is what happen when people are taught bible verses outside of their context. Context is the whole passage, chapter or theme.
Romans 8:13 by itself does appear to mean what you say it does by itself. That idea is in direct contradiction not only with the context but other scripture passages. It would cross the word limit of the comment rules here to really give an in-depth explanation so bear with my brevity and please do look up the scriptures and read much around them so as to grasp the whole message of the section not just the individual verses.
Romans 7:14-25 shows the inner battle all believers have between sin and spiritual impulses. “Who can deliver me because I cannot win the battle on my own” is the last statement there. That is followed by 8:1 Victory through Jesus not through self!
But we have to walk in the Spirit which means behavior right? Not according to verse 9. If we belong to Jesus we ARE in the Spirit. Verses 6-8 say that our mind set is what gives us life or death. From chapter 6 to chapter 8 we see a description of identity and behavior and how identity influences behavior yet not one word about behavior influencing identity. We learn how to get this identity throughout the whole book of Romans.
The Spirit will teach us to control(mortify) our body. We do not mortify our body to belong to Jesus, walk in the Spirit or become the children of God. The carnal cannot do that only those in the Spirit can(v.7) We do not purchase our walk in the Spirit through our behavior it is our walk in the Spirit that influences and changes our behavior. If you doubt jump over to Titus 3:3-8 and you will see no work of righteousness saves us and that we are saved FOR good works not BY them.
Just because a regenerated believer has the indwelling Spirit, it does not mean that they cannot still choose to walk according to the flesh, as Paul described his own struggle in Rom 7. Our walk in the Spirit should change our behavior but Christians can also choose to walk in the flesh instead. Your interpretation of Rom 8:9 is in error. V.9 is linked to the previous verse by the conjunction “but” or “however.” This indicates that Paul is directly contrasting Christians who are “in the Spirit” (V.9) with those who are “in the flesh” (v.8). This interpretation fits well with the context provided in v.4 – “so that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” If you happen to believe that a regenerated believer cannot walk in the flesh then why does Paul direct his warning in v.13 to the “brethren” in v.12? This demonstrates that the brethren have the choice of either living according to the flesh or living according to the Spirit as indicated by the conditional word “if” in both clauses of v.13.
You are correct that the whole of Scripture should inform our beliefs/doctrine but by the same token you fail to consider that the Bible teaches not only positional righteousness but practical righteousness as well. “If you know that he is righteous, you may be SURE that everyone who PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS has been born of him” (1 Jn 2:29). Both belief and obedience are required for eternal life. The one BELIEVING on the Son has eternal life, but the one NOT OBEYING the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36). Obedience is requisite for eternal life – “…and having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all those OBEYING Him,” (Heb 5:9).
You are correct that verse 9 is connected to the previous verses. But in context it goes back to verses 3 & 4 not just verse 8. The whole chapter flows out from verse 1 and it’s statement of victory. Verse 3-4 say that the law was weak because it depended on the flesh. I find it interesting that what you are teaching also depends upon the flesh to work. If your interpretation is correct why would God do away with one method(the law) because it depended on the flesh to work and give a different but equally flesh dependent method?
But back to the connections between verses. Read verse 4 and then verse 9 because the verses in between simply explain how the flesh is at war with God and cannot live His ways. Yes if you are in teh flesh you cannot please God but the flesh is not behavior but identity because verse 9 says that if you belong to Jesus you ARE(current tense) in the Spirit.
Verses 12-13 say that we are in debt to the Spirit who is giving us life to mortify(old English for stiffen) that is build up resistance to the deeds of the flesh so that we can have this life in the flesh and not just in the Spirit. God gives grace to us in that our freedom from condemnation v1 is not based upon our actions but upon the action of Christ which places us in the Spirit so that we can learn how to mortify, stiffen our flesh to bring life from the spiritual plane into the fleshly one. The flesh cannot please God. If you are looking to the flesh and it’s behaviors to make you pleasing to God you are going to fail every single time. If you believe that you are in the Spirit because of Jesus you make not have perfect success all the time but you allow the Spirit to do His work upon you instead of trying to do His work for Him. I do not have the room for 1 John 2:29 but I suggest looking up John 3:38 in a different translation as only some say it the way your does. I tend to be KJV and that says “believes” and does not include the later addition of “obeys”.
Since you tend to rely on the KJV note that in Rom. 8:1 “no condemnation” is only promised to “them which are in Christ Jesus” [believers] who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” This perfectly fits with v.4 which I alluded to earlier where it says: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. These verses make a distinction between Christians who walk after the flesh and those who walk after the Spirit and as v.1 makes clear, no condemnation is only promised to those Christians who walk after the Spirit. This also fits with v.13 which says the exact same thing – that spiritual death is the result for those believers who live according to the flesh.
You asked: “…why would God do away with one method(the law) because it depended on the flesh to work and give a different but equally flesh dependent method?”
First of all, God did not “do away” with the law. The law was not abolished as you suppose as Jesus declared that he is the fulfillment of the law (Matt 5:17). What that means is that through the enabling grace of God, Christians regenerated in the Spirit are now able to meet the standard of the law which they could not previously do in the flesh. They can now not only meet the standard but exceed it as in the example of adultery which under the OT was defined as a physical act but under the NT amounts to just looking with lust upon another person. The regenerated believer through the Spirit now has the ability to not only refrain from physical adultery but from mental adultery as well.
No where in the entirety of the OT and NT is works of obedience ever condemned as works of the flesh. If we allow the Bible to define itself, works of the flesh as defined by the Apostle Paul includes those sins mentioned in Gal. 5:19-21 as well as those sins attempting to adhere to OT law by teaching the necessity to be circumcised in Gal 6:12-15.
Regarding the proper translation of Jn 3:36, if you refer to the Greek text, Jesus actually used two different words, “believeth” (pisteuon) and for the opposite of believeth, “does not obey” (apeithon). Jesus taught that these two cannot be separated as a believing faith is an obedient faith.
I see Romans 8 as an emphasis on the Spirit and our identity position and you see position based upon behavior. We are in the Spirit so we can have the power to not walk in the flesh. You have us trying to walk into the Spirit through deeds of the flesh. The flesh is at war with God and cannot please Him.
We have a case of “cart before the horse”. You have to be in the Spirit before you can cease to walk in the flesh. If you are not in the Spirit you are in the flesh and therefore using the flesh to work yourself into the Spirit. It does not fit scripture and never will. You cannot work your way into the Spirit and out of the flesh through good behavior. We would have no need of the Spirit or His life giving power if that were the case. He has to be in us so we can have the power to not be in the flesh. there is no half flesh and have Spirit filled in this passage.
My “do away with the law” was simply imprecise speech. Jesus fulfilled every requirement that the Law had on our behalf. We are dead to the Law so we can be wed to Jesus(Romans 7) I do not see it as thrown out but of having no application or connection to those in Christ.
About John 3:36 see John 6:28-29 about what works we are to perform here. We are to obey that one thing.
No matter how you tweak it salvation unto eternal-everlasting life is NOT based on our deeds or works lest anyone could boast. We are saved for good deeds not by them.(Titus 3:3-5)
I am going to let this rest after this as we are just going to go in circle. But I suggest questioning if your theology has eternity based upon your obedience or the lack of it or does your theology base eternity solely on faith in Jesus without works. If yours does pin eternal life upon works what about all those places that say it is ours through faith alone?
Colleen, thanks for your comments. I have enjoyed reading them on this post and others.
Evan, I use to see it the way you do, but I came to the conclusion that my understanding of being in the flesh did not make sense. Being in the flesh is trying to please God with your flesh. Being in the Spirit is knowing that you ARE pleasing to God because He sees you as He sees Jesus. The flesh does, the spirit believes.
Blessings to you both.
If our salvation does take into account any works or deeds and only belief. Why does James write that faith without works is dead and that we are justified by works and not by faith alone which contradicts your claim? Why does Jesus say to every single one of the 7 churches mentioned in Revelation “I know your works” and then proceeds to commend or castigate them based on their works or lack thereof? The great error you have made is conflating works with deeds of the flesh. They are two separate things. Works done in obedience to the Spirit are never condemned. After all, were we not created in Christ Jesus to do good works? (Eph 2:10). With all respect, the variation of the gospel message which you believe in is at odds with the gospel message preached by the Apostle Paul: “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should REPENT and turn to God and DEMONSTRATE their repentance BY THEIR DEEDS” (Acts 26:20).
Good works are the outward manifestation of an inward saving faith. This is different however from “works/deeds of of the flesh” which the Bible labels as “sin” according to Gal 5:19-21: One must not confuse these two terms…
Please note that I don’t normally publish comments that violate E2R’s Comment Policy. Next time, please keep it short. Thanks.
Thank you for the heads-up.
We are created in Christ to do good things not to be saved, or stay saved. Not one action of righteousness caused God to saved you and clean you up Titus 3:3-5. The world can only see our salvation through our actions as words mean very little to them without proof to back it up. Saved for good actions not because of them.
I would offer you peace but you are going to be too busy running the hamster wheel of bad theology to rest in it. Sin has wages but the gift(something not earned) of eternal life is ours through Jesus. You are trying to sell eternal life as the wages of righteous deeds.
I agree that good works are the evidence that we are in fact saved. However, it appears that your understanding of the gospel message does not allow for any works whatsoever. That is inconsistent with James’ epistle and also directly contradicts Paul’s own description of the gospel message he preached: “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). Paul clearly wrote that the gospel he preached was not one of just belief only, (as you claim) but belief accompanied by repentance and works befitting repentance. Just ask yourself this question: Does a person who believes in Christ but knowingly continues to disobey God and engages in chronic sin demonstrate that he/she has repented? I would venture to say no and as such he/she cannot be assured of eternal life.
Let me propose a practical scenario in an attempt to get to the heart of the matter. I don’t know what your eschatological beliefs are but indulge me with your response if you will. For the sake of argument if it happens that believers do go through the great tribulation, will YOU accept the mark of the beast or not? If you answer in the affirmative, will you still be saved? If you answer in the negative, is it because of the eternal consequences written in Rev 14:9-11?
You missed my first sentence. Acts 26:20 fits in perfectly with that. Your turn in faith to God and the rest of you is going to follow. Repentance leads to works. I have never denied that. It’s just that those things are not part of obtaining or keeping salvation.
As for folks who may be knee deep in a sin… Are my children any less my children because they don’t clean their rooms or have the chronic “sin” of sneaking snacks or (lets get big) a drug addict? If a person really shows absolutely no evidence of being made a new creation, and I mean zero-none, the cure is not to say that the gospel must be about works after all. The cure is to teach the basic gospel of faith and grace to make sure the person really knows what everything is all about. Honestly as a child I thought getting saved was feeling sorry that Jesus had to die for my sins and then going out and trying really hard to be a good Christian for God. That gave me a miserable, fruitless and sinful existence except for the few areas I could pull out successful self improvement. Nothing changed inside until I grasped the gospel of grace, that it is all about Jesus and not about me.
As for Rev 14 I sincerely doubt the indwelling Holy Spirit would fail believers at such a moment when He has strengthened others to the point of death on other occasions.
Christian living is not about personal strength, behavior modification or strong self-will but about the power of God being made manifest in human lives through the gospel of unmerited mercy. He promises to keep people until the end. He does give strength in the face of death to resist bowing down or denying Christ with the tongue history proves this. Is your Christianity so human centered and human powered and that is where all your doubts and questions are coming from?
Overall, I would say that your view of salvation has to wholly ignore the conditional statements in Scripture regarding salvation in order to be true. Rom 8:13 contains two first class conditional sentences containing the word “if.” Paul is clearly addressing the brethren in v.12 and warns them if they continue in sin they will spiritually die and if they live according to the Spirit they will live. If you believe that a regenerated believer will without exception always follow God, then why does Paul issue his warning using conditional statements? If it is impossible for Christians to live according to the flesh, then Paul’s statements are ludicrous. This in itself negates your belief that “Your turn in faith to God and the rest of you is going to follow.” Following or being obedient to God always involves choice.
The idea that once a child of God; always a child of God no matter what, is not biblical. If we as Christians choose to walk in darkness, do you think we still have fellowship with God? (1 Jn 1:6). Do you think that those children of God who practice sinning still belong to God or are they children of the devil? “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who PRACTICES SIN is OF THE DEVIL; for the devil has sinned from the beginning….” (1 Jn 3:7-8). Lastly, I find it interesting that you chose not to answer my question regarding YOU personally taking the mark of the beast or not.
I think it’s time we end this discussion. Both sides have made their points and I doubt either will soon agree with the other. My view is that if Paul is preaching works-based or works-maintained salvation here he is contradicting everything he writes elsewhere about being saved and kept by grace and he is opposing the many promises of God regarding our eternal security.
There is a difference between being born of the spirit and walking in the spirit. A believer is born of the spirit but still needs to walk in the spirit, not because God may unchild him, but because the way of the spirit represents his true identity. A believer who walks in the old ways of the flesh is like a grown man in nappies who needs to be carried everywhere in a pram. It’s just plain weird. Performance-based Christianity will fill you with fear (am I doing enough?) but Paul says we did not receive a spirit that makes us slaves to fear (Rom 8:15). We have received the Spirit of sonship. The Holy Spirit testifies that we are God’s children (Rom 8:16). That is a true fact that our imperfect behavior cannot render untrue. Now if you are God’s child, live like it.
Peace out then. Missed the part about the “beast” question being personally directed at me though. To be utterly brief I hold no confidence in my wimpy flesh but every confidence in my God(Phil 1:6)
Thanks Paul for allowing me to post on your blog although my view differs from yours. Iron sharpens iron and we can always agree to disagree. I used to believe as you do as that is what my seminary professors who were Reformed theologians taught me in the classroom. It was not until several years after graduating from seminary that my view changed as I studied the scriptures more. It literally took me years to change my view as old beliefs die hard and it was harder for me to unlearn what I thought I had already learned. Peace to you all.
I sincerely do desire some way to communicate with you, Evan. The Spirit of Christ has used your comments to stir a longing within me to return with a whole heart to walking in the Spirit, not following after the flesh.
Fellowship with one another, — fellow members of Christ’s body exhorting, encouraging, rebuking, instructing one another–, is necessary, vital, essential, normal life of co-members. I have had no fellowship with believers for quite a long time.
In short, I finally became so discouraged and left the congregation I’d been in for a long time. The preacher had made a sermon about “the necessity to *re-create God* in our own image, so that unconverted people, without knowledge of God, can see Him”. None of those in leadership whom I asked about that, thought that “re-creating God in our own image” is cause for concern or question or correction, so after several months, I departed there.
A friend who attends in a congregation in another community invited me there. About 1/3 or 1/2 the way through that sermon, I tuned out that preacher, since he was excitedly going on and on about the paper he’d written for a seminary class. The students were to choose any subject topic they believed, and write a paper in defense of their belief. He had chosen for his topic, “Why I Do NOT Believe Jesus Was Born of a Virgin”. His excitement came from the fact that was his only paper in his seminary years that got highest marks. He reckons that is because he wrote it out of the passion of his heart, not the product of theological studying.
Out of discouragement, I turned away from church attendance, my fellowship with God in the inner man has shriveled (and died?….most likely!), there hasn’t been fellowship with other believers for a long time, and I’m either nearly dead….or dead…to the walk of faith and obedience in the Spirit.
(This comment thread is so old that this may just be a cry into the void.)
Hi Paul, I just read your book “The Big House”. I couldn’t put it down. It was awesome.
AMENAMENAMEN!!!!!!!! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!! It makes me so happy to see that you’re telling the truth like this and so sad that this is not taught in most of our churches.
this is absolutely correct and right and wonderful and biblical and every way praise God for this website!
-CR , Texas
And what about those who follow grace and start attending a traditional church being told by the pastor if they stop going that the devil is after them and they are living in sin? Joseph Prince is a man of grace and has recommended I attend a local church but the local church condemns Joseph Prince and the Gospel of grace, then tell you and have told me that by skipping services the devil is attacking me, that I am living in sin for being with a woman for 20 years that I am not “legally, on paper”, married to. Our vows were before God and each other not some money hungry, liberty theiving government that was created for and by the people that has become nothing more than a leech to suck the life out of it’s citizens to empower itself. I am righteously indignant concerning “the church” and “government”. I have no sovereign but God and no King but Jesus period.
You tell us to stand on God’s faithfulness. In my mind (not when I look in the mirror) I feel like such as Joseph Prince are blessed by their father with better looks when they do this. But I am a beloved Child. So are you.
So many things in our life is leading us astray even as we say we are Christians.. But still many let the cell phone the Internet texting night and day control our ever day life. When he comes back many will be to busy on our cell texting or whatever that we will not hear him. Put the thing up for a while and just maybe we will hear and know him as he should be known and that we may not be left behind. .please before it’s to late.
Umm you are not going to miss out on Jesus coming back for you because of a bit too much cell phone and/or texting addiction. If you have been bought by the blood of Jesus you are His despite stupid life choices. We are not our own we have been bought with a price even if we make silly choices with our time.
Thank you. This is my life. I was walking good until 2003 then I slipped into sin .I’m thankful for grace I don’t deserve. O have a beautiful daughter..now through sin. But I read what i sowed. I now understand what it is to be lost.without Christ. I walk slowly day by day now.waiting to see what he has for me
I can’t tell if you are excited or not. But I read this article’s hyperlink and saw that “If you don’t get excited about the gospel, you haven’t grasped what it’s telling you.”
Make God’s loving embrace your permanent resting place and it will be impossible for anyone to lead you astray. Allow yourself to be apprehended by the wild and relentless love of your mighty Father, and no one will seduce you out of it.
I REALLY BELIEVE THIS IS THE WAY TO – GRACE. HOWEVER, HOW DO I REST IN GOD’S LOVE? HOW DO I FEEL THE LOVE OF GOD?
This article may help.