and / or "IF's'' that are involved with our SALVATION
In this article I will list some of the scriptures which imply that the believer has to be faithful until death in order to be saved. Or imply that all of God's blessings are contingent upon our obedience.
In saying this I am not speaking of those blessings that are given indiscriminately to all men, but rather I am speaking of salvation and those others that are promised specifically to believers.
There are different meanings for the word "if" in the Greek text and the variation of thoughts are not translated clearly in every case.
In many places the word "If"' could be replaced by such terms as - "because", "in case ", or "provided", and still be in keeping with the context and present usage. The use of these terms very often implies that there are conditions which have to be reckoned with.
Now; if we go for a walk, on a path, through a park, and encounter an obstacle, we look it over and decide whether we can best go over, around or through it.
It is the same with the Christian walk.
The conditions that are to be met in the Christian's walk of faith present obstacles to our flesh, and as a consequence we tend to take, what we understand to be, the most reasonable avenue; relative to those difficult obstacles.
By questioning the "Ifs" of the bible we can weaken the scriptural basis for morality. Then we can circumvent some of our obligations, and cater to some of our fleshly appetites...
(Says Who? Read on.)
A Greek word which could be translated into the English words "because'' or "since" has also been translated into the word "If". However, this seldom changes the thought of the text.
When it is pointed out that "if" has been used improperly in some of the scriptures, it could lead some people into believing that we do not have obligations or conditions to meet. Very often the word "if" can be deleted from a sentence and not affect the thought, just as we can sometimes remove the conjunction "but".
Again, by deleting "if" (in some verses), it actually helps to clarify the intended meaning.
I am not going to refer to every one of those scriptures individually, as I feel that a few examples will be sufficient.
Delete the "If" in this passage and we have only removed a question; however the question would still be implied.
Jesus was hungry and needed food after his fast and here we find the tempter offering him a solution and a temptation at the same time.
A temptation necessarily involves a question.
In Mark 3: 24, 25 and 26, has the word "if" in the King James version.
The first two instances are actually correct, but in verse 26, the word "because" would have been a direct translation of the Greek.
This would have produced an awkward sentence; so it is better translated as follows; note the words that are in parenthesis.
The actual meaning of the text would not be affected by deleting the word "if" while inserting these substitute terms, and this would better convey the thought that was in keeping with the word "because".
Any one of the these terms, "if," "in case," "provided that," or "because," can be used interchangeably in many sentences, and still not change the context.
The King James version uses the word "If" properly in the vast majority of cases, and as a consequence, necessary conditions are implied consistently where they belong.
Forgiveness is not an option. We have to forgive or we cannot go to heaven. So: forgiveness is an essential obligation.
Born again believing Jews were told that they had to continue in his word in order to be his disciples.
"If," or ``provided'' that ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love. Can those who are not Christ's friends go to heaven? I think not.
If a mans works are pleasing to God he will be rewarded for those works.
If a believing person loves God, and is saved; yet, their works are not acceptable to him, they will barely be saved.
This statement deals only with the destruction of a person's works. Look at it again. Works and what happens to them is the subject. This verse holds a very serious warning, but...
This is one situation; the following is a different set of circumstances.
This verse holds a warning that is far more serious then the 15th. This verse says the individual will be destroyed, not just their works.
Again, this verse holds a dire warning.
In the 15th the individual suffers the loss of the rewards of works. (Yet the individual would be saved.)
The 17th says if the temple is defiled God will destroy the individual. (The individual would be lost.)
These scriptures imply that, if we defile our bodies before God we will suffer more then just physical death; for, - As a rule, (which has very, very, few exceptions), everyone's body will be destroyed by death. So, physical death is always a given. Since we all die physically this necessarily means spiritual death.
Again, in verse 15. he reveals what will happen to a believer who fails to produce good works, then in verses 16. and 17, he tells us what happens to a believer that defiles his body with habitual, un- repented of sinning. We will hardly be saved if we do not produce good works, or just be saved by the skin of our teeth, so to speak. This necessarily implies that if we defile our temple, any good works we do will also be automatically discounted, or become worthless. This destruction will, necessarily, involve both the loss of rewards and the loss of our salvation.
The logic, and the implications derived from these scriptures demand this interpretation; otherwise this last scripture makes no sense.
If the word "destroy" in this scripture was referring only to the flesh and or life of a person and not their salvation, it would not involve a dire threat. If there is no dire threat involved, then we can enjoy some form of sin, which might cause us to die early; yet, we would still end up in heaven anyway.
Many people who are tempted to sin against their spouses would do so and gladly suffer the consequences; for, you could go out and have one last supposedly glorious fling and receive heaven, a little sooner, as your reward for doing so.
It is necessary to continue in his goodness and it is our obligation to do so..
A believer can be damned by eating or doing something that they are not sure they should do? This damnation is sure if they do not repent.
The only problem here is that people often fail to repent, and; so go on in doubt until there heart is hardened.
What conditions in a believers life would make a preacher feel that his effort towards them were in vain?
Would it not be limited to the loss of their salvation?
Travail of birth does not come on a woman who has a walking child, but it does come on her if the child is about to be born.
If these believers were not lost and in need of being reborn into the kingdom, then why was Paul in travail?
Why is it so important to be crying and praying over sinning believers; if they are saved and on their way to heaven?
If they are saved then we should quit worrying about them and concentrate on those that have never accepted Christ.
Paul was just wasting his tears?
How can a believer become entangled, if his salvation does not have any conditions attached to it.?
How can a person be saved, then by a wrong act, cause Christ to become unprofitable to him, if as some say - obedience has nothing to do with salvation?
Fallen from grace?
Christ is become no effect to a believer, because of a wrong action or motive? The effect of Christ has been annulled; he did have a positive effect as your salvation; now, He has no effect. Paul is talking to believers.
To fall from grace you would have to first have been a partaker of it.
Something hindered their walk with Christ and they became disobedient.
Does this mean that a believer who gets drunk all the time, or murders, or hates someone and does not forgive, or commits fornication and does not repent, will not go to heaven? Yes! A person can believe, and still choose to be filled with unbelief.
The devils believe; however, they also rebelliously withhold belief.
Unbelief is not the absence of faith, it is instead the choice to ignore both faith and facts.
This obviously means, that as an established rule, those people; who, are real Christians have so killed their fleshly motivations that they do not commit those sins listed above.
What is this corruption? How do I find out if this means something physical or eternal?
If I sow spiritual things I will receive everlasting life; this then must also mean that if I only sow flesh satisfying deeds I will reap what the flesh produces; which is ultimately eternal death.
1. Sowing to the flesh produces death, but what kind?
2. Sowing to the Spirit produces life, but what kind?
Please remember this - we all die. It matters not how good you are you will still end up in a grave. So what does sowing to the flesh have to do with this? Ans. It produces eternal damnation.
This is an injunction; - Do not walk like you did previously, when you were a heathen, an alien, separated from God, and filled with wrong doing.
So: this must be a possibility, otherwise logic would say that there is no reason for the commandment.
Again, why are all of these urgent and dire warnings given to believers if they cannot lose their salvation?
If these things reappear in our lives we too could be alienated; once again from God.
Separated from God, alienated, after having been saved? This is what it says.
We are to put off our old nature through faith by repenting, quitting our old ways, and going Christ's way.
We actually have to do something; we are to put on the righteousness that Christ has provided for us, and this is the obeying of his commandments.
I ask, is this essential to our salvation? Yes!
Can we believers go to heaven if we do not forgive people? No! All of these are injunctions and they are essential to our salvation after the fact.
This sure sounds easy, it sounds as if I do not have to invest in any effort, But ...
If? This is, again, referring to a requirement.
Can we be grounded and settled in the Gospel and then moved away from that hope?
Obviously! Yes: In the affirmative!
Kill your old man, your carnal tendencies! Can I serve Christ as God and still worship another God? Can a saved believer be over taken by covetousness and still make heaven? Will any fornicators make it?
You are no longer like this, you have quit the old ways. Past tense.
You are a new creature in Christ Jesus, a new man; so renew this new man, keep him filled with moral vitality, by always progressing in your knowledge and understanding of Christ and his will.
Christ is our goal, our love and we are all one in him, and will be like him.
We have the love of God in our hearts through his indwelling presence; so, we are to be about clothing ourselves with that love; for our loving actions are part of the glue that will stick us to the perfection of God. He gives us the grace and power to obey; so, our obedience is still of His doing.
We are not to just clothe ourselves with His love alone, but our hearts also are to be motivated and controlled by the peace of God. This peace is our ministry to each other; it makes us one, and we are to be thankful. Unthankfulness is a terrible sin.
We are to see to it that the word of Christ resides and abides in us abundantly, with his wisdom, (not the wisdom of the world); this is so we can teach, train and warn each other, (as in correcting), by the means of daily singing the common worshipful psalms and hymns, more often, outside of the sanctuary, and also as we sing the sacred songs of praise, that, (because of their intimate content), are dedicated to the more special, singular, worship and praise of the person of God.
This worship is peculiar to our more specific, sacred, intimate, sanctified, holy, disciplined, and teaching services.
There is to be a difference between the sacred, and the common everyday type of singing and worship.
We are to make them both holy; for we do them as unto the Lord; however, we can never make our times on the job, or as we go about our other necessary activities, as devoted to the praise of God as we can when we gather together for the purpose of worship, or as we go to our knees in our own individual separate set apart times and places to pray.
We must learn to discern the difference.
Is God a respecter of persons? No!
I could not handle the suspense, I had to find out if you were still saved. I do not see how this scripture could be interpreted correctly without saying something like this.
There is reference to a salvation of some kind in this verse and it is tied to conditions.
God is the foundation and source of salvation; yet, this does not do away with our obligation towards him, but increases it. We, as a rule, will have to have a pure heart and be literally righteous through obedience to his will or we will never see Him.
When God instituted a way for the sinning human to gain his favor, he did not devise something that was beyond their ability to accept, and neither is it a white wash job.
The Christian has no excuse for having sin in their heart, and they are to have a habit of walking in literal compliance to the known will of God.
God has the power to keep us from sinning, and we are not to deny His power.
Repentance is an act of obedience and it is an act of righteousness.
if any man sin we have an advocate, ...
... an ever living sacrifice ..
However, sin is to be the exception, not a habit. The "If" in I John 2:1, that is referred to here, has a conditional or indefinite implication.
Forgive us of our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us...
There is no reason to believe that Christian's have to be habitually sinning or that they cannot live free of sin. There will be few, if any, Christian's in heaven, who died as they were committing a premeditated sin. Any deliberate, contemplated sin, or a sin that we knowingly neglect to repent of, has the potential of removing us from our privileged eternal relationship with God.
There are numbers of doctrines which have been used, unfortunately, as a way to control people, (sometimes unintentionally), or to alleviate undue legalism.
Much of the doctrine of our contemporaries has to do with being blessed in material ways. This, I believe, is another avenue that has been developed as a means of giving us some relief from our unrecognized forms of legalism.
The prosperity message makes a provision for focusing our efforts on personal material rewards. This then provides us with a way to vent or burn up our pent up carnal energy. There are some who see the problem, and are teaching against this doctrine.
I have observed and experienced some of the negative effects of the prosperity doctrine, first hand.
If your lifestyle, fortunes and health do not measure up to what is preached in churches which over emphasize this prosperity doctrine you will eventually feel awkward, uncomfortable, and or unwelcome.
This is because these doctrines have a way of being self-fulfilling prophesies; for those that do not fit, measure up, or conform, eventually leave. This naturally leaves that congregation with a predominance of successful and healthy people. The poor and sickly have all left.
This can happen because of peer pressure, because they know better, or because they do not like the spiritual pride which can be projected by those that are more materially fortunate.
The devil wants to insure, as much as possible, the success of these material emphasizing doctrines; for, they further pride and tend to obscure the possibility of our being able to overcome sin by the exercise of that same faith.
Again, there are confused hurting people coming out of these churches, who tend to feel that they may have never known God, or think that they do not have what it takes to believe, and so just give up.
They have tried to believe, but still find sickness and financial difficulties in their lives, which they seem to have no control over.
The extreme over emphasis of any doctrine will produce discouragement. In this case it is due to a doctrine which is supposed to be the very answer to such discouragement. However, these people can and very often do still feel God forsaken.
The greed for prosperity and success can produce a lot of motivation; however the genuine prosperity, health and healing that God would like to bestow upon us will only come to us if we quit defending our sin and repent.
It is a very privileged position to find yourself so hungering after God that you want his righteousness more then anything, and then to find that when you become aware of any sin in your life that you immediately break before Him and cry out for His forgiveness. And even when you think that sometime you may have sinned against Him inadvertently, it hurts you and causes you to repent and ask Him to please keep you from doing it again.
This has been the testimony of many Godly people down through the ages and most of them did not concern themselves with being prosperous; rather, numbers of them sacrificed their health and even their lives for the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul was stoned almost to death, ship wrecked, had to leave a close friend in bed sick, spent years in a prison cell and ended up getting his head cut off by the sword of a Roman soldier. Through all of this he maintained that he obeyed Christ, was blameless and had fought a good fight. Like things have happened to many God fearing people.
There is reality in the righteousness of Christ and there will be no lasting peace, or revival until we Christian's accept this truth, and become repentant. We have to live in repentance. "Forgive us .. as we forgive others.." A daily prayer.
Unfortunately, there is another adverse theological plague. It is the negative messages concerning the second coming of Christ. The true message is one of victory. The one we keep hearing is filled with the doom and gloom of a soon to appear holocaust. And it is said that we can do nothing about it for the Bible is true and it will be fulfilled. As a result generations of Christians have quit voting and no longer take part in the political process. As a result of this our country has very few Godly leaders and the hard fought battles that Christians of the past gave their lives for are being trampled on as if their lives were just so much manure.
Christians very often brag about the soldier heroes that came from their families and died for this country, but most of those same Christians will not vote. Then many vote for those who promise them the most in material gain at the expense of others. How sick can we get?
It has been taught that voting is a carnal and unchristian thing. Meanwhile we are selling our nation out to evil influences in the name of prophecy. The deaths of our own children in our own neighborhoods is a just act of judgment. We are sacrificing them on the alters of our ignorance and all the while holding up our hands and blaming God.
The truth is that we have happily embraced lethargy as a way of life and have said all of this is the signs of the times. We have concocted evil prophecies and enjoyed our do nothing attitudes and now are seeing the evil results. Add to this the fact that most Churches have become incorporated and so are under the direct control of government. The end result is Christian leadership now fails to expose wickedness in high places for fear of losing their tax exemption status. They put their ministries and position above morality.
The facts of the matter are that we have everything it takes to change this world and to see it converted for Christ. He accomplished and fulfilled all prophesies that had to do with his earthly ministry.
All of this is conditional. It will only happen if we repent and start believing and acting like it can be done.
Matthew 28:18 and 19 are still in the book. Jesus told his disciples they were not to fear the world for he had overcame it. He said we are to disciple the world. This not only means we are to preach, but it also means we are to convert them and so to change them from heathen into God fearing people. This includes the whole world. The efficient converting witnessing power only comes through the display of righteousness. The Christian community is to be as a city set on a hill.
The bible portrays the drawing power of righteous people, but nothing about them being successful by buttonholing people. There are historical accounts of people coming into a town where there was a powerful revival, their coming under conviction and asking where there was a church.
According to the NT there was to also be a future glory for Christ for ages and ages to come, here on this earth. This is through him taking up his abode in the hearts of believers.
In a sense this is conditional, however, it is in past tense. It was a first century experience. It has been happening for centuries and it will continue to happen in ever increasing glories to God, and it, for certain, does not project any doom and gloom.
The Christian community has suffered and then has prospered numerous times down through history. She has always received more blessings then what she deserved.
Vern Manson 1-8-94 / 11-3-97 / 9-28-98 / 05-23-2009