is immeasurable satisfaction in the personal conviction that one is saved
and sure of heaven. Many think they are saved who are not, and the
disappointment of a multitude who regard themselves as sure of heaven must
be viewed as appalling. Jesus expresses a warning along this line. "Not
every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will
say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by
thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then
will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
speculation cannot point the way to heaven, nor can human feeling or opinion
carry reliable assurance that one is saved. Divine assurance is based on the
promises of God and a man should heed the divine admonition to "be not
foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
It is important
that the information revealed to guide an honest man into a state of blessed
assurance should be both simple and clear. The New Testament is not
disappointing in this respect. The Lord's will is expressly stated in words
that are immediately understandable by all who have any appetite for
assurance. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned."
(Mark 16:15, 16)
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto
Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter
said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of
Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit."
(Acts 2:37, 38)
nothing in this that all should not easily understand, and he who obeys has
the promise of God that his sins are pardoned. He is saved. "Repent ye
therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there
may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord."
It must be
clear that a sinner thus forgiven is saved only from his past sins. It is
both unscriptural and unthinkable that this pardon absolves him from the
guilt and the consequences of sins he may commit subsequent to his baptism
into Christ. Provisions, both ample and divine, are made to insure the
Christian's entry into heaven but these provisions are conditional and call
for cooperation on his part. The apostle John has something to say about
this. "If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness,
we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light, we have fellowship one with "another, and the blood of Jesus his Son
cleanseth us from all sin."
(I John 1:6, 7)
children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man
sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he
is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the
whole world. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his
(I John 2:1-3)
must walk in the blood-sealed commandments of the Lord or else sin will
conquer him and keep him out of heaven. As an aid, he has constant and
instant access to a throne of grace through Jesus our Advocate. It was to
Christians Paul wrote: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,
that ye should obey the lusts thereof."
brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh: for if
ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death
the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
(Romans 8:12, 13)
There are some
strange and harmful ideas afloat regarding the sins that Christians commit.
A Dr. Pettingill has a "Bible Questions Answered" column in a Chattanooga
daily paper. A querist approached the doctor with a hypothetical question on
divorce and declared that "the Scripture says that she commits adultery.
Will that be a sin and keep her from being saved and going to Heaven at the
end of time?' The doctor's answer will bear some looking into. He says in
of `being saved and going to Heaven at the end of time' is not settled by
such considerations. Everyone who is born again is saved and is sure of
That is, if I
understand the matter, the contention is that if one has been "born again"
and "is saved" and commits adultery he "is sure of Heaven" anyhow. I take it
that "such considerations" would not be limited to adultery. There are other
sins besides adultery, a long list of them. If "Everyone who is born again
is saved and is sure of Heaven," even though he commits adultery, why should
he not be equally "sure of Heaven" even if he commits some or all of the
other sins catalogued in the scriptures? This certainly gives a saved man
plenty of latitude in the way of sin. The doctor must have sensed that this
needed some sort of qualification so he remarked that "God will doubtless
deal with them in chastening. `For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' "
Incidentally, his use of this text is a perversion of it. The implication is
that a Christian suffers the consequences of his sins only in this life.
Doesn't a sinner suffer the same consequences for the same sins in this
life? Is he also chastened of the Lord?
It is well
enough that we examine the scriptures on this matter of sin and its
consequences as it affects the Christian. Paul wrote to Christians and
sounded this warning: "Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves,
nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit
the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye
were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and in the Spirit of our God."
(I Cor. 6:9-11)
"For this ye
know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man,
who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh
the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. Be not ye therefore
partakers with them."
"And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." And we are blandly told
that if a Christian does such things his "going to Heaven at the end of time
is not settled by such considerations." "But for the fearful, and
unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers,
and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth
with fire and brimstone; which is the second death."
It seems to me
that a man is pretty badly mixed up where his understanding ought to be, if
he thinks that such sins will cause a sinner to go to hell forever, but
cannot keep "one who is born again" out of heaven. "One who is born again"
has committed himself to the will of God and vowed that he will accept
divine leadership. He reneges on his vows, turns back to sin, and "is sure
of Heaven" anyhow! The Bible does not teach it. Besides, if I read my New
Testament aright, a man who chooses to remain out of Christ and rejects the
gospel, will fail to reach heaven even if he never commits adultery and
keeps the rest of the Ten Commandments. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ,
he is a new creature: the old things have passed away: behold, they are
become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) This new creature can be tempted, he can sin, he
can fall from grace, "and is sure" to miss heaven unless he walks in the
light with Christ. When a man becomes a Christian God does not grant him the
indulgence for the sins he may afterward commit, implied in the theory of
the impossibility of apostasy. He is on the other hand warned against
falling, given a course in prevention, and told how to get back in case he
does fall. Better listen to God and turn down the theories of men.
- Bible Banner, September, 1941
Other Articles by Cled Wallace
Only a Few Months to Live
What We Baptist Believe
Vital Points in Worship
Present Day Church
Problems (Part 1)
Put Up Thy
Power of the Lord's Supper
Entrenched Position of Religious Error
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