In what seems like forever, talking about the part we play in the promise of salvation with the person I am trying to witness to and study with, he states that once you’re saved, you are always saved and to disagree is calling God a liar. He states that there is zero effort made on our part, zero work involved, zero chance to stop living as a sinner, zero, zero, zero. My question to him is - where do you fit into the equation of salvation?
I asked God to show me something this morning that I needed to know in regards to this question. As I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah I began to notice that the curses of disobedience found in Deuteronomy 28 were to warn those who refused to listen and be obedient to the word of God. Then Jeremiah 18 really spoke to me.
The LORD is showing Jeremiah the clay in the potter’s hands and how the potter molds and remolds the clay when it gets marred. The LORD is telling Jeremiah that He wants to do that to the house of Israel, to us. He goes on to say that there is an action that needs to take place first… a turning from evil, and once that action on our part happens, He will relent of the disaster that one would inevitably bring upon themselves by not turning away from evil. In verse 10 the LORD says if the kingdom does evil in His sight and does not obey His voice, then He will relent concerning the good which He said would benefit it; the clay will not be remolded into what the Potter seemed good to make. In verse 11, we are called to return from our evil way and make your ways and your doings good.
There is action on our part in this verse; this, to me, is the choice we are given every day:
“Whom will you serve?”
The response from the inhabitants of Jerusalem sounds a lot like the conversation I have been having with the person in my life.
“And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.”
Meaning in a more modern way - “There’s no way I can do the things God is asking of me because we’re powerless to sin, so we’re just going to believe in Jesus and continue wallowing in the muck and mire”. They don’t realize that they are shortening the arm of God.
“…is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?...”
There are action words all throughout the word of God, instructions on how to stay on “The highway of the upright” Proverbs 16:17. Choices we must make to allow God to help us in the journey. I see nothing but warnings to those who sleep, who slumber, who do nothing on their part to prepare, or watch for the coming of the Lord. We are called to “hold fast”, to “cling to” to be “devoted to” - those are not words for the lethargic Christian. And those are all words of action… on our part. God will do the good work in us, so long as we remain attached to the vine.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit or itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
I pray we all pick up on those action words and apply them to our Christian walk. I pray that we each remember it is He who gives us the strength and ability to be successful in applying those actions to the areas in our life that are in danger of becoming atrophied.