Posted by: bshelley | June 18, 2009

Strong in the Grace

muscle

Today’s Verse: 2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. NASB

The men’s Bible study I lead on Thursday’s is studying the Assurance of Salvation right now. So far the study has consisted of some word studies. The first word we studied was “grace”. The standard definition for grace is “God’s unmerited favor”. Simply meaning that it is favor granted towards us out of God’s compassion and mercy for us rather than because of any possible merit we might claim for ourselves. So the best way to think about it is just the word “favor”. In the context of this verse, what is Paul telling Timothy, and I would include us as well? Be strong in the favor you receive by your relationship with Christ Jesus, right? We have the assurance that if we are in Christ Jesus by faith and obedience, that we can have strength for the trials we face because of that relationship. We need not be timid about doing His will in the world around us because He is in it with us. We have God’s favor and God’s strength at our disposal. Do we look there first or second? All too often I exhaust my own strength before calling on God’s. Paul is telling us to do just the opposite. He says depend on God’s strength, implying to seek it first. A good lesson to remember.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

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Responses

  1. I most certainly agree that a true faith is evident by obedience, but we should be very careful not to promote the idea that obedience is what keeps us in Christ.

    John 3:36
    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:

    If everlasting life is something you HAVE, how is it everlasting if you can lose it? It’s either eternal, or it’s not.

    The true believer is safe and secure in Christ forever because he is SEALED with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).

    The true believer is safe and secure in Christ forever because God will complete the great work of salvation which He began in him (Phil. 1:6).

    “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye HAVE eternal life,”

    How great it is to HAVE that Assurance of Salvation! Praise the Lord!

  2. Let’s all depend on God’s grace because at the end of the day our “christianity” and everything we do is all because of grace that Christ has given us. without it, we cannot continue and persever.

  3. David,
    Because God loves us, He gives us freedom of choice of whether to accept His gift of salvation or not. We do not lose that freedom at the baptismal. It is certainly for most of us unfathomable that once having received God’s grace that some might later reject that very same grace, yet it happens. The whole book of Hebrews was written to just such folks who were rejecting God’s grace to fall back under the Law. Galatians, specifically chapter 5, deals with the same topic. 1 John speaks of walking in light or darkness. The brunt of the message is to the saved not to the unsaved.

    We certainly are not expected by God to live lives of sinless perfection even after becoming Christians. Again, 1 John talks of stumbling. The question is whether or not when one stumbles into sin whether or not they 1) seek to get back up or if they choose to fall into a settled practice of sin and rebellion and 2) Which direction they face if they stand back up. Do they indeed attempt to return to a life lived in accordance to God’s standards laid out in His word or do they turn and walk in darkness and rebellion to God’s truth.

    Here are some verses I would offer up showing that one indeed can fall from grace. It is a very Biblical teaching whether we are comfortable with its implications or not.

    Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

    Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

    Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who endures to the end who will be saved.

    1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

    Galatians 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entengled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

    Hebrews 3:12 Take care brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

    It is true that no one outside of ourselves can snatch us out of Christ’s hand. However, still having freedom to choose God or not, one can choose to reject His grace even after having received it.

  4. I realize that this has also been a heated debate among many Godly men for a long long time. Allow me to address some comments in reference to the verses you cited that I think should most be addressed due to the apparent meaning being unclear without context.

    Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

    Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    By reading from the beginning of the chapter we see that the writer is comparing the old covenant with the new. As people of this time were in the midst of an upheaval of sorts many of them were trying to figure out how their old beliefs fit in with their new found faith. Many people still thought that sacrifice was something that must be done even though they believed in Christ. First the writer is telling them that now if they sin they do not have to sacrifice because their “remaineth no more sacrifice”. He then points them to judgment so they do not feel as though they can freely sin. Lastly, the writer of Hebrews shows them the importance of putting all of their Faith in Jesus by warning them of what they are “thought worthy” to receive by not holding the “blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified” as being Holy and the only thing needed for Holiness.
    In the context of the new covenant community the author speaks of such a person as already “sanctified”. This should be compared with the covenant community of the OT in which SOME WERE NOT BELIEVERS, yet were set apart as a peculiar people by virtue of the sacrificial system. IT IS CLEAR THAT EVERY MAN IN THE NEW COVENANT COMMUNITY IS NOT NECESSARILY SAVED EITHER.

    Now, let’s explain MATTHEW 24:13,

    “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” First of all, understand that this is a TRIBULATION-period verse – spoken immediately before Jesus explains the “abomination of desolation” which we know takes place at the half-way point of the tribulation, seen in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. That, in itself, removes it from applicability to spiritual salvation prior to the rapture of Believers. But wait! There’s more. In Mark’s parallel of this passage, he leads into it with verse 13:10, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” Matthew makes that statement in verse 24:14. This is a direct reference to the 144,000 Jewish witnesses who are sealed by God during the tribulation period seen in Revelation 7:1-8 and Revelation 14:1-5 for the purpose of evangelizing the world. In Luke’s parallel to this passage in verse 21:18, we see that Jesus makes it clear that he’s talking about the PHYSICAL SALVATION (i.e. deliverance from physical death) of these 144,000 Jewish witnesses when he says, “But there shall not an hair of your head perish.” -Luke 21

    1 Timothy 4:1 Departing from the faith

    Departing from the faith is nothing new. It happens today just as it did in the Old Testament and in the church at Ephesus, where Timothy was when Paul wrote this epistle. There are always people who understand the faith intellectually and behave externally according to the revelation of God, but have no heart for living to please God. Hebrews 3:12 says that those who depart from God demonstrate an unbelieving heart.
    Paul states in 1 Timothy 4:1 that some–like Judas, Demas, or the disciples of John 6 who walked no more with Christ–“shall depart from the faith” (Gk., aphistemi, “to remove yourself from the position you originally occupied”).
    Apostasy isn’t an unintentional departure or someone struggling with doubt. It characterizes someone who deliberately abandons truth once affirmed for erroneous teaching. “The faith” refers specifically to the body of Christian doctrine, not the act of believing. Some will depart from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). People who understand and outwardly affirm Christian doctrine but don’t have a heart for God are prime candidates for being seduced by demons to depart from the faith.

    Galations 5:4 What does fallen from grace mean?

    Does it mean that the believers in question have fallen from their positional standing in grace? If it does, then Paul contradicts himself because in other passages he clearly states that is impossible (cf. Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 2 Timothy 2:13). Since scripture is God’s Word, it cannot contradict itself. Thus, whatever Paul meant by falling from grace he did not mean falling from one’s position as a child of God.
    Is there not another obvious alternative, one which fits the context and Pauline and biblical theology perfectly? Falling from grace means that a believer who reverts to pharisaical thinking and practices has fallen from a present experience of grace. While our position in the grace of God is secure, our experience of His grace is not. If a believer today is unwittingly duped into joining a works-salvation cult, he will cease to experience God’s grace until he leaves the cult. In fact, if a believer joins any group, cult or otherwise, which teaches that we must produce good works in order to maintain our salvation, he will cease to experience grace. Even the linking of assurance to the quality of our lives can lead a believer to fall from a daily experience of grace.
    Falling from grace is a real problem today. May we proclaim the gospel and assurance clearly so that we can help people begin anew or continue to experience God’s grace in their daily lives.

    HEBREWS 3 and FALLING AWAY

    Points to consider:

    Note that in the beginning of the chapter the author is addressing ‘holy brethren’ and later addresses just ‘brethren’, which could refer to the Hebrew ethnic group.

    Also, did ALL whose hearts were hardened, who didn’t “enter God’s rest”, lose their salvation?

    To finalize my comments I refer to 1 John 2:19

    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    I take this to indicate, that enduring to the end is a sign of a previous work. The reason that some people departed from ‘the faith’ is that they never truly possessed that faith in the first place.

  5. I still hold that the fundamental question I posed is unanswered. Do we lose the freedom to reject God’s salvation after we become Christians? We are not as far apart on this as it might seem at first glance. However, there is ample scripture to show that indeed some were chosing to leave the faith after having gained the blessing of God’s grace. A fall is only possible from a height gained. That they were not “really”saved is not a plausible case in either Hebrews or Galatians 5.

  6. I forgot to note Galations 5:4 reads in much better favor of eternal security in the KJV.

    Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

    “SEVERED from Christ” certainly takes on a new meaning (NASB).

    Nevertheless, I respect your position.

  7. Consider this:

    If a person does not “hold fast” to the gospel message, then according to Paul he is not saved. He has believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

    Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN.

  8. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? -2 COR 13:5


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