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Hebrews & Us – Part 6

It is time for Hebrews 6, and I anticipate some ‘strongly worded’ responses. I am fully prepared for this, but take a look and see what you think. This chapter is broken into two halves, and the first half is a strong warning, while the second half is a promise. The problem is that the two halves seem to contradict each other, but they don’t. The first half is going to go directly against a theological standpoint, so let’s take a look at that first.

I grew up believing that if you were once saved, you were always saved. God was faithful to complete the good work that He started in you and once your name was written in the Lamb’s book, it was there forever. This chapter appears to come against that. So what do I believe now? Well, the short answer is both. Let me explain. We need to be aware of the first half of Chapter 6 as it is a very serious threat. Christians now days are often content to lead people to Jesus and then let them go. Once they give their live to Jesus, we give thanks and then move onto the next person. New Christians are often left stranded after they give their life to Jesus. The other down side to ‘once saved always saved’ is that we give our lives to Jesus, and then we carry on living like we did before. We are then saved, so we don’t need to be concerned about our walk with God. As if sneaking into heaven is our only aim. This is extremely dangerous. This is what I believe this section of scripture is talking about. You see God doesn’t give up on us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t give up on God. God has chosen to give us free will, and sometimes that is to His detriment, when we reject Him I don’t believe that it is pleasing to Him.

Now this may upset the ‘God’s sovereignty means that He always gets His way’ camp, but He doesn’t always get His way. He will never let us down, once we give our lives to Jesus, we can rest in all of the promises that He has given us. God is faithful, and if we continue to have faith in Him, He will deliver. Yes, we are human and we make mistakes, God knows that. He is bigger than our mistakes, He is bigger than our sin, He can and will overcome that. Will He overcome our free will? I don’t think so. If He did, then surely He would stop us from sinning? Surely He would lead us all to salvation? This is our warning. God won’t turn away from us, so we don’t need to worry about our salvation, but we need to make sure that we don’t reject Him. We have no problem believing that someone who doesn’t accept Jesus won’t make it into heaven, what about someone who outright rejects Jesus? If a believer changes His mind and outright rejects Jesus, how is he or she different to a non-believer?

A relationship is always two sided, we have a side and so does God. God won’t let us down, but we can let Him down, and this is what I believe this chapter to be about. Don’t let Him down. Now let me make it clear, it is not sin that keeps us from God, it our unwillingness to accept Him. Now that may not be technically correct, but think about it, what sin is big enough to keep you from Jesus if you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour? None. What sin is big enough to keep you from God if you don’t accept Jesus? All of them. Sin is not the problem, our choice is. It is not sin that will break your relationship with Jesus, it is you. Make sure that you don’t do that! Take your walk with God seriously, help other believers with theirs, hold each other accountable. Run the race. God is not going to let you down, don’t let Him down.

Now please make sure that you understand what I am saying. I am not suggesting that you panic about whether you are saved or not. I am not trying to start a fight between theological camps. I am merely saying that you have the choice to follow God or not, and this doesn’t change when you give your life to Jesus. You spend your life on this journey. We need to keep on track and keep our walk with God strong. We need to keep our end of the deal, while we can rest assured that God will keep His.

God bless!

Richard

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Time to Acts – Part 10

Continuing with our systematic look at Acts, today I’m talking about Acts chapter 10. Acts 10 is something that I have spoken about before, so I’ll mention my point again, with some new ones. Read chapter 10 and then have a look at my thoughts.

The first thing that strikes me in this passage is how Cornelius is told one to go and see Peter and he does it. Peter (who is a great man of God) hears 3 times, and is still not sure. He is still pondering about what it means. Now I am not pointing fingers here, if I am, most of them are pointing at me. How often do we as Christians over think that God has told us? How often do we over analyse things and procrastinate over every detail? We are usually very good at forming committees and explaining how everyone else is doing it wrong, but we aren’t usually people of action. God needs (and wants) people of action. When you hear God’s voice, listen and obey, don’t over think. I know that this is going to come back and bight me in the backside, I need to listen to these words too.

The other thing that I find interesting, is that an angel appears to Cornelius, tells him to go and find Peter. Why did the angel not just tell him the gospel and leave Peter out of it, surely that would have been easier? This is very interesting because there are a few answers, some may be controversial, but that has never stopped me before. God wants (and needs) us involved. He loves to see us seeking the Kingdom, and doing what He has called us to do. Now some people will go as far as to say that God can’t do what He has asked us to do, where as others say that He won’t do what He has asked us to do, where others say that God can and will do anything. I don’t believe that the third one is true, God is sovereign, but He doesn’t always get His way. (Before you write to complain about that, read ‘Sovereignty of God‘). Whether God won’t or can’t do what He has asked us to do, it doesn’t make a difference, either way He is limiting Himself. We have been called by God to do certain things, and He won’t interfere. Spreading the Gospel is one of those things. I believe that is why God sent Peter and didn’t just do it Himself. Also, Peter would have grown spiritually by doing it, and that is what the Lord wants, He wants us to grow in Him. Bottom line. Get involved, do what God has called you to do and stop waiting for Him to do it.

God tells Peter that he should not call any man unclean. Do we do this? Are there certain types of people that we see us unclean or unworthy of salvation? We will probably say no, but let me ask this question. Are there any people that we may be less willing to preach the gospel to? Every country that I have been to, there is always a ‘people group’ that the locals don’t get along with. Even if there isn’t, there are always people that seem ‘less appealing’ to us. We all need Jesus, and He loves us all. This is not judgement or condemnation, it is merely something to make us all (me included) think.

Peter then goes on to preach the gospel, and many gentiles became Christians. One act of obedience and look what God did with it. What do you think He will do if we act in obedience? What do you think that He could do through you? This is what church is all about, disciples making disciples. I have no intention just to teach on this blog and have people come and read and learn and then do nothing with it. I read other’s blogs and learn, then I put it into practise and then I teach it. I hope that others will learn, put it into practise and then teach it. This way, we are all learning, practising and teaching. This way the gospel will spread quicker!

Learn, believe and take action.

Richard