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There are some passages that we would rather not think too much about. In most cases, failure to think invites disaster.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. Hebrews 12:14-17

Pursue means to “seek after eagerly, to earnestly endeavor to acquire”. One translation reads “make every effort”; another, “strive”. This latter view reminds me of Jesus’ astounding revelation in Luke 13:

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:22-24

Striving for peace with all people is hard enough; it rings of “love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).” But this matter of holiness is the matter we struggle to embrace. Does this passage really mean that holiness is to be pursued? By whom?

What if our pursuit fails? Will we truly miss out on seeing the Lord? Is that a sweet-by-and-by thing, or something that also affects our relationship with Him now?

How do we respond to the warning that follows? What does it mean to fall short of the grace of God? How does something become defiled if it has not already been cleansed?

Esau was a profane person who sold His birthright. He despised the promised blessing of his father, and God hated him for it (Romans 9:13). What does this mean for a born-again believer?

Can we sell our birthright? What does it mean to be rejected by our Father (see Matthew 7:21-23)? What does it mean to find “no place for repentance (see Hebrews 6:4-6)?”

These are serious and sobering questions that every Christian should be asking themselves.

Let me close with this: What does “one morsel of food” look like for a son and daughter of God? What might our carnal mind deceive us into believing is more important than our birthright? As leaders, how do we help others avoid this tragedy?

God bless you with wisdom and courage to resist the temptations of our enemies.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

  • Having learned that the Scriptures speak extensively of believers disqualifying themselves (Part 1); and,
  • Having learned that salvation is a process that must be completed to be effectual (Part 2); and,
  • Having explored the inseparable relationship of grace, faith and works (also, Part 2);
  • We now search out the deeper meaning of several passages that speak to disqualification. These include burying our talents, rejecting holiness (and thus rejecting God), failing to endure to the end, desiring to save one’s life, and choosing something other than the sacrificial life.
  • Finally, we recognize that appropriate fear is a blessed motivator in our pursuing salvation, God has promised to provide all that we need to make our election sure.

Introduction

A Storm is ComingIn Part 1 of this series, we learned that Jesus, Peter, and Paul encouraged us to avoid becoming disqualified in our salvation; even going so far as to clearly describe the conditions that lead to that disqualification. We also recognized that God does not disqualify us (He desires that all be saved). We disqualify ourselves.

Understandably, this raised a number of issues; primarily with those that hold to a “once saved, always saved” theology, and those concerned that I was supporting a works based salvation. Part 2 has been offered to address these two issues. The first – of which I respectfully disagree – is better understood in light of salvation as a process, and the timing of God – and Jesus’ – judgment.

The second objection gave opportunity to briefly discuss the relationship of grace, faith and works. In a nutshell, neither can be understood with the others. Recent theological error has been introduced by our attempts to analytically separate and teach them.

Here in the third part, we will look at a few of the more obvious passages that speak to the potential for our disqualification. As you read each passage, I encourage you to trust the Holy Spirit with your mind; to renew it as necessary. As you read my limited commentary, keep in mind that the passage must mean something – even if it is not what I think it means. Read the rest of this entry »

  • The matter of disqualification can be both contentious and revelatory. This article attempts to leverage the latter as a means (and hope) of mitigating the former.
  • Essential to the matter of disqualification is the recognition that salvation is a process; and faith is a function of the heart.
  • In spiritual matters, separating complex things into their component parts, as a method for understanding the whole, simply does not work as we would like. It is impossible to understand the principles of grace, faith and works apart from one another.
  • Our faith does not save us any more than our works. Only God’s grace can do that. Effectual faith – also a gift of God; perfected by the grace of works – appropriates the grace that saves.
  • Eventually, judgment will come. Those caught with their talent buried in the ground, their branch without fruit, or any other of the disqualifying conditions, will be rejected.
  • “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus Christ (Luke 13:24)

Introduction

A Storm is ComingAs a follow-up to The Peril of Disqualification, I would like to address a couple of objections that have been raised about our being disqualified from our salvation. In part three, I will flesh out a few of the more significant disqualifying conditions.

Recognizing salvation as a process is an essential context for understanding what follows. Therefore, I encourage you to take a moment and read the foundation article on that subject. You will discover that which comes to those that endure to the end (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13).

A second essential matter is the vessel and instrument, so to speak, of faith in a born again person. It is with the heart that man believes (Mark 11:23; Romans 10:10). Most in the church would agree that belief is more than mental assent to the truth of Scripture.

However, I fear many have been emotionally charmed by the notion of salvation – even wondering at the beauty of it – without appropriating its birth in their heart. A helpful analogy is that of the man that admires the painting of a wondrous landscape, without ever traveling to experience its grandeur in person. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is Coming

I am convinced that most every sane person would want to know that they are – if only potentially – in peril. Therefore, I am offering the following for your consideration.

I encourage you to judge this seriously; not just, “Do I believe it?” but, “What am I to do with it?”

I am afraid that many will dismiss this altogether: that “believers” are in peril of disqualification. It is much easier to accept the notion that God would not allow such a thing. However, that is not what the Scriptures tell us.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

It is difficult to consider both the goodness and severity of God, when His severity has not been adequately explained. Church leaders are hesitant to teach the severity of God when the guy down the street has a more palatable message.

The problem, of course, is the truth doesn’t change with the lack of its teaching. There are conditions that will result in our being cut off; or, as Paul warns the Corinthians, “disqualified”.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1Corinthians 9:27

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2Corinthians 13:5

Paul took the steps necessary to ensure he would not become disqualified; and he encouraged the same for those under his care. That is my heart for all that will read this article – that you would prayerfully consider the referenced passages. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach, and possibly convict, you. Read the rest of this entry »

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