Category Archives: Failure

Fix your mind!

mindChrist in you (Part 4)

In the post ‘Why do I still sin’, we saw that the man in Romans 7 came to an important conclusion. He might be unable to conquer sin in the flesh but there was one area where he did have control – his mind or as the famous detective Poirot would say: “those little grey cells!”

Romans 7:25 “So, then, on the one hand I MYSELF with the mind (nous) am serving the law of God, but on the other, WITH MY FLESH, the law of sin.

This is an important step because as the famous proverb says: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” Proverbs 23:7.

The French philosopher Descartes said something similar when he made the famous statement: “ I think therefore I am”.

What is the mind?

The mind therefore, is very much at the centre of who we are but is much more than just the grey matter of the brain. No, the mind enables us to make sense of the world around us, giving us perception and experience of the physical world through the five senses. In addition, somehow it enables self-consciousness. We are not therefore, just computers and thinking machines.

For example, the mind does the following:

  • It enables us to conceptualise, anticipate, create and imagine.
  • It gives us the ability to experience emotion and pain.
  • It creates a conscience.
  • It gives us the ability to compute and think through problems logically.
  • It enables us to be self-aware.

Therefore, the mind is the inner man, the heart and soul of our being where all the information from the external world is processed.

In other words, as the physical senses of the body are a window to the physical world, enabling the mind/soul to experience that world; the spiritual senses of the human spirit are a window into the spirit, enabling the mind/soul to experience that reality.

How did sin affect the mind?

Now we have some idea what the mind is, how then did the sin and the fall affect the mind? Of course, one of the major effects of sin, is that a sinners is blinded to spiritual realities. This is what is called ‘being carnally minded.’

The unregenerate man’s spirit therefore is dead;  there is no information coming from that realm. That is why, to the lost man, the Holy Scriptures are a closed book unless the Holy Spirit sovereignly enlightens him or her because as Jesus said: his words are spirit and life.

2 Cor 3:14 “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

Psalm 119:120 “the entrance of your words give light, it gives understanding to the simple”

Likewise, spiritual truths to the carnally minded, even if highly educated, appear foolishness because they are spiritually discerned:

1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Education then, though very important and beneficial, does not change human nature. It just creates a clever sinner at the end of the day.  A man therefore, may be totally brilliant and yet totally evil – an inventor of evil things. (Romans 1:30) Indeed, even in the thousand years or so before the flood before God wiped out the human race – the mind of man produced nothing but evil.

Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

How does new Birth affect the mind?

New birth and new creation though, changes not only the spirit of man but affects the mind also. God writes his laws (how he thinks) on our hearts and minds:

Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Indeed, he not only writes his laws but gives us the mind of Christ:

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

How is the mind transformed?

This transformation of the mind though, although started at new birth, is an ongoing process unlike the born again spirit. There is now work to do. We have to learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to actually let the mind of Christ operate in our lives. We have to work out (exercise) our salvation.

Phil 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

For example: Imagine a computer that has a brand new operating system installed. Unfortunately, there may be still old applications, picture files and even virus’s on the hard drive. Maybe a few careful deletions of inappropriate material and programs need to take place! Possibly, some of the applications need to be upgraded and modified to run under the new operating software.

As another example: A few years back my wife and I bought a ladies only gym. The existing staff and membership came with the business.  Of course, this meant all the existing problems and attitudes came along too! So, even though we had fresh vision and ideas for the business, we had to change the mindset of both staff and members who would rather that things remained exactly the way they were. This meant we had to overcome their resistance to change and this ultimately meant a few staff leaving.

This is very much like what happens when we get born again. Mindsets and habits don’t change overnight but the Holy Spirit (our amazing mentor) helps us turn the business around! So, don’t give in to the desire of the flesh. You’re in charge now, don’t let those unruly staff boss you around!

Romans 6:13 “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Repentance and renewal

A renewal, a change of thinking and reeducation in our lives therefore is on God’s agenda.  This is what the Bible calls repentance.

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,  that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Before we were saved for example, we might have had a very arrogant attitude. Well, now we need to change that attitude and learn humility.

Ephesians 4:28 “And be renewed in the spirit (attitude) of your mind;”

We sin because we think sin

A key to understanding why renewing the mind is so important, is to understand that we sin because we think or imagine sin. A man cannot sin if he cannot think it first. Cain murdered Abel in his imagination long before he flew into a jealous rage and actually spilt his blood.

That is what Jesus meant we he said:

Mark 7:21-22 “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”

In other words, the sinful behaviour comes from a sinful heart and thinking.

A few examples of attitudes and mindsets:

Andrew Wommack calls this: “stinking thinking”

  • If you are depressed ask yourself the question what am I thinking on? Depressed emotions generally come from negative thinking.
  • If you full of sexual lust, what are you thinking on? What are you looking at? If you often view pornography then this is going to reinforce lustful images in your mind and objectify others.
  • If you constantly worried and fearful about the the future then what are you listening to? What is you mind fixed on? Maybe you need to switch the news channel off now!Therefore,  you can’t necessarily change your fleshly appetites overnight but you can change what you think on. You can choose the TV programs you watch.

What are we filling our mind with? 

Therefore, what we put into the mind is what is going to come out. In other words, we are the product of our education, the books we read, the films we watch and the music we listen to. So, if we look at pornography every day then its not surprising that we have a problem with lust!

One of the major things though that is lacking in many people’s life, is peace. God’s supernatural peace is a gift that guards our hearts and minds. However, it’s also a product of what we are thinking on:

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding G3563, shall keep your hearts and minds G3540 through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Therefore, even though to the believer all things are permissible. Not all things are beneficial.  (1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 10:23) This should give us wisdom that maybe that it would be better not to watch that horror movie! Is it pure? Is it lovely?

The fruit of peace therefore, is a result of what we put into our hearts and a major way we can have peace is by reading God’s word. The Holy Spirit can’t make us read it, we have to do that, but he is pleased to give us understanding of it.

Luke 24:45 “Then opened he their understanding, G3563 that they might understand the scriptures,”

What is you mind fixed on?

Therefore, one way to have peace say, is to fix our attention on the prince of peace:

Isaiah 26: 3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Most of the time, the mind can only really concentrate effectively one one thing at a time – yes, ladies even you! Maybe you can drive a car at the same time as eating a sandwich and listening to music but try working through a maths problem at the same time as writing a letter to your bank manger!

What we set or fix our minds on then, is like the rudder of a ship – it sets the direction of our lives. We can choose. We can either focus on the flesh and its desires or we can set our minds on the spirit and have the fruit of that: life and peace.

This is what is meant by the expression walking in the spirit.

Gal 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”

It’s in the mind and heart that belief or unbelief takes place. A double minded man (unbelieving) (James 1;8) is unstable, but the believer is to be believing and single minded. We are to set or fix our minds:

Romans 8:5 “For those who according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the spirit the things of the spirit”

Romans 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.

Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above not on the things on the earth”

Spiritual warfare

Of course, that is easier said than done because we have an enemy, the devil, who will do his damnedest to distract, divert or deceive you. In fact, that’s really the only power he has over you. Spiritual warfare therefore, is mostly between the ears!  Don’t give in to his mind games!

2 Cor 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (thoughts, mind games)

So, the devil can’t make you think a certain way but you are susceptible to suggestion and temptation. Think of TV advertising. Your kids would never have the desire for that latest gadget if they had not seen that advert on the TV!

The devil therefore, is not just interested in getting you to sin, he wants you to believe lies. This is the way whole people groups have been deceived and put under the bondage of philosophies such as communism for example. Christians too, have shipwrecked their faith because they have not tested what they were reading, hearing or experiencing by the word of God.  So, we must test the spirits whether they are of God. (1 John 4:1)

Col 2:18 “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind”

2 Cor 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

How does God wants us to fight the enemy? It’s not with carnal weapons but with spiritual weapons: the word of God, prayer, speaking in tongues, prophecy and so on.

2 Cor 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

How are you reckoning?

Lastly then, there is another important way we renew our minds. It is to reckon ourselves according to what the Bible says about us rather than how we feel.

Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In other words, when the Bible says we are dead to sin, even though maybe our experience contradicts the word, we continue to reckon according to the word rather than experience.

Likewise, by faith we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that an act, are we a hypocrite? No, because this is who we truly are and we are renewing our minds as to that fact.

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Further articles:

Freedom from Sin (Part 3)

Why do I sin (Part 2)

Christ in you (part 1)

New birth (Audio)

You must be born again

The law of christ

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I hate failure!

i hate failureI hate failure. As a professional driving instructor though, I have to help people deal with it because it is part of life – even the best and gifted fail! Therefore, failure is not always a bad thing as long as its not catastrophic and we learn from it.

As believers are we going to fail? Yes more than likely? Are we going to sin? Probably. Do born-again and spirit filled Christians get deceived, duped and even bewitched into believing all sorts of rubbish and even heresy? Yes, unfortunately!

It’s a fact, that even the early New Testament church was not perfect and immune to heresy and failure.

“Remember the height from which you’ve fallen! Repent, and do what you did at first. (Rev 2:5)”  – The letter to the church at Ephesus.

However, before this gets too depressing let me ask this question. Is the grace of God big enough to cover all these eventualities? Can all things (including failures) work for good for those who love God and are called according to purpose? Yes and Amen. As Paul said somewhere, your grace is much more than enough. The wonderful truth is, that even though the church fails, and we fail spectacularly, Jesus still loves his church and He still loves us. That is amazing grace!

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of failure. It doesn’t cover up the mistakes, sins and stupidity of the saints. Look at Jonah for example. What an idiot! Did God use him powerfully though? Yes, in fact he was one of the greatest evangelists ever – I mean the whole of Nineveh repented! What a revival!

Then there is: Gideon the fearful; Sampson the lustful; Jacob the schemer; Abraham the liar; Moses the murderer; David the adulterer;  Solomon the polygamist and shall we go on!

Is grace an excuse for failure?

It’s important though, not to make excuses for our failures. Oh well, it doesn’t matter because Jesus loves me and forgives me. Indeed, yes He does but He is also going to teach you and discipline you like any good parent would a child! God’s desire is that we are perfect as He is. He doesn’t want us to sin. He wants us to know the truth. He wants us to be more than a conqueror. He wants us to overcome, flee temptation and resist the devil.

Learning to succeed

The Father wants us to grow and mature. He doesn’t want us to stay baby and carnal christians drinking only milk. He wants us to succeed.

For example: as a driving-instructor I am not expecting perfection the moment my pupil gets in the car for his or her first lesson. I’m not expecting them to drive straight to the test centre! No, that would be crazy and extremely dangerous! In fact, in the first few lessons I expect the pupil to make mistakes! If they don’t, then they are probably not learning! However, if they have had 40 hours of lessons and they still don’t look in their mirrors – then there is going to be some strong words spoken by me!

The Holy Spirit – your personal trainer

The fact is, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to ensure that we get to the end of the journey and enter heaven safely. My objective as a driver trainer is to get my pupil from “learner-land” to the “heavenly gates” of the test-centre and a life-time of safe driving. That is my mission. Similarly, the Holy Spirit’s mission is to deliver you in one piece to heaven!

2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

What you need to know is that you can’t do it on your own. No, God has graciously given us the Holy Spirit as a coach to help us navigate through the minefield of our brand new spiritual life. I’m convinced, without His help to guide us, none of us would make it!

“the Lord knows how to rescue the ungodly from temptation”  2 Peter 2:9

This is because, there are many dangers and hazards on the way, as we navigate this uncharted territory. Similarly, as a learner driver we have to learn to read the warning signs, cope with other unpleasant drivers and navigate our first roundabout!

The Christian life though, is even more difficult than this – its like learning to drive in Iraq with IED all over the place! The reality is that,  we are opposed by a wily and dangerous terrorist and enemy in the devil, who is out to trip us up and kill us if he can! So yes, we may stumble and fail but the promise of scripture stands:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).

Psalm 37:24  “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

You’ll make it!

Therefore, the blessed Holy Spirit is the guarantee or earnest of our inheritance. He is a down payment guaranteeing final payment. In addition, the package is sealed by him personally so it’s not going to get tampered with or damaged on the way!

2 Cor 1:22 “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. “

Ephesians 1:14 “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The good news is, that Jesus not only starts us off on this adventure of faith, He’s there at every step of the way and he ’s there at the finishing line cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:12 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; “

Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

In addition, as we run this race of faith, a huge crowd of saints who finished their journey are cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”

As an instructor though, I love the end of the journey when the pupil passes the test. I rejoice with them! What an amazing day its going to be when we see Jesus face to face!

Expecting to fail

Its a fact though, that some people expect to fail – they have faith for it! They expect not to make it. Some even torpedoe their own success because they believe they are a failure.

When I’m teaching driving, a common issue is that of the pupil being frightened of stalling the car. Most of the time they are fine, but as soon as they are at a traffic lights with cars impatiently waiting behind, then they start to think thoughts of fear. They start to believe that they are going to stall when that traffic light changes. Guess what happens? They are so fixed on the fear of failure that they don’t concentrate, the light changes, in panic the clutch comes off too fast with not enough gas and guess what – they stall!

Fixated on sin

Some believers are like that. They are so fixated with sin and failure that they end up sinning all the time because that’s all they ever think about. How do you overcome sin? You look to Jesus and his perfection. In God’s eyes we are already perfect so performance comes out of who we already are. When teaching driving, if you remove the fear of failure and allow mistakes, then suddenly the pressure is off and the pupil moves off perfectly.

Likewise, thats what grace does for us: it allows failure but does that produce sin? No it produces holiness!

Similarly, if the pupil is conscious of the close scrutiny of the instructor, then they become self-conscious and guess what happens? Lots of mistakes! Fear is actually a carnal emotion. It is focusing on ourselves and how we feel. Pupils are nervous because they are self-conscious rather than road-conscious!

So we failed – again!

So, what happens when we fail, blow it? Does God shake his head and say to himself: “well I never expected that. I am totally at a loss to know what to do.” No of course not, his grace already has the supply ready. He’s going to make sure you get what you need to learn the lesson. Its up to you to listen and learn. If you don’t , then the Holy Spirit is the most patient instructor you’ll meet! He won’t shout at you but neither will he let you give up. He may use the dual-controls occasionally or reach over to steer and stop you clipping the kerb but generally you just get to try again until you get it!

If you want to know how the Father reacts when you sin and fail, then read the parable of the prodigal son. When the son returned what was the Father’s reaction? Was it anger? No it was open arms, gifts and a party! That is grace.

Jesus is our defence

Likewise, when we fail and sin, the Bible says we have an advocate (defence lawyer) with the Father.

1 john 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

Jesus is on your side. Many of us think that when we sin, the lights of heaven dim and alarms are flashing and ringing everywhere, angels are scurrying around in a panic. Well, Jesus is on your case but guess what’s coming your way – more grace! It’s only the devil that is the accuser of the brethren. He’s going to point out all your failures and his best weapon is a perfect weapon – the law! However, the Law won’t help you change at all.

I think that many of us are too hard on ourselves, we think we should be able to live holy and get very upset with ourselves when we fail again and again. I’ve got pupils like that who are perfectionists and it hurts their pride when they can’t do something!  Likewise, how are we going to learn to be holy and righteous unless we learn from the master – Jesus Christ the righteous!

Persistence

The Bible has a simple antidote to failure: repentance or a change of mind. As Graham Cooke says: if you don’t like that thought – have another thought!  So if we fail, we get to have another go!

Therefore, persistence, patience and endurance are great qualities. The pupils I have that succeed, are not necessarily the most gifted. No, its the ones that are determined, have counted the cost and don’t give up whatever happens. Likewise, in the spiritual life the Bible says:

Proverbs 24:16  “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:”

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Can you miss the grace of God?

archerIs it possible to miss the grace of God? Sadly, I believe you can. Certainly there was one man in the Bible who did: Esau the brother of Jacob – he missed the grace of God by a mile and the bitter conflict between the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and the descendants of Esau (the Arab nations), is a consequence of that failure that lasts even today.

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it (the blessing) carefully with tears.”

Of course, we all come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but we don’t all have to come short of the grace of God because grace and truth has come to everyone on the planet through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”

In fact, the good news or Gospel is, that where sin abounds grace even more abounds  (Romans 5:20) –  so it’s not sin that’s going to cause you to miss the grace of God. It doesn’t matter therefore whether you are the worst or best of sinners –  there is plenty of grace available for you at all times.

The obvious question though is: so how is it possible to come short of the grace of God?

 Neglect, undervaluing, drifting away

The writer to the Hebrews says this: 3:1 “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

Esau neglected his birthright, he treated it with contempt and didn’t value the blessing. His tears were not a change of heart and mind ( true repentance).  No, they were crocodile tears, tears of regret. It wasn’t repentance he sought but the blessing he had forfeited through his stupidity.

Likewise, if we ignore the Gospel and put off making a decision, saying to ourselves: “I’ll think about it tomorrow”, tomorrow could be too late!

Hebrews 2:1 “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it”  

If we deliberately ignore or reject the truth, then there is only fearful expectation of judgement because there is only one way to heaven and one saviour: Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully  after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins”  … “How much more 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.”

So, is this verse saying that if you commit a sin on purpose after being saved that there is no more forgiveness?  Is it one strike and you are out? No, that would mean there is only enough grace for one sin only, which contradicts Romans 5:20!  In addition, sin by its very nature is an act of the will – if you don’t believe me watch a toddler!

No, when read in context of the authors argument, he is talking about the “sin of wilfulness”, the sin against the Holy Spirit: a wilful resistance against the overture of grace by the Holy Spirit. In other words,  knowing the truth but choosing not to believe (unbelief)!

Therefore, if you purposefully reject the only way of salvation through the Gospel, then there is no sacrifice or repentance left – you are without hope. You have hardened your heart and refused the only possible way of salvation,  burning your bridges and spitting in God’s face!

 You must come to God by faith alone

How do we receive this grace then? We receive it by faith or by simply believing.

Ephesians 2:8 “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God”

All we have to do is understand and respond by faith. For example, if I receive a million pounds through the post but never bank that cheque, I fell short of becoming a millionaire.

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have good news preached to us, just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard” For we have believed enter that rest.”

Therefore, you may hear the Gospel, recite the creeds, get baptised or even attend church but if you never respond to the Gospel by faith, you are not born again. You are not saved. Of course there is nothing wrong with good deeds and church going but that will not earn you favour with God. To enter God’s rest you have to stop working and simply receive by faith.

Hebrews 4:10 “For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Religion therefore, will always get you to work harder and harder to earn salvation. God though, says stop working and rest in the finished work of Jesus at the cross.

Religious effort and performance

Hebrews calls this works approach or mentality to salvation EVIL. Yes evil!

Hebrews 3:12 “Take care brethren, lest there should be in any one of you and evil (gr works filled) unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God”   .

Therefore, as soon as you introduce your our own self-efforts, law-keeping or self-righteousness to earn salvation, you have fallen away from the living God. In fact, God calls your self-righteousness filthy menstrual rags! You are making the grace of God of no-effect in your life.

“I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through law, then Christ died needlessly”.

The self-righteous man sees no need to repent or change his mind because after all he is right! In fact, he doesn’t really need God at all. God might as well be dead!

In Luke 18:11 Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee prays to himself listing all the tithing and fasting he’s doing – as if God should be impressed! The Publican on the other hand doesn’t even raise his eyes to heaven but says: “God be merciful to me a sinner”. He goes back home forgiven and justified.

 No fruit – Hebrews 6:4

Indeed even today,  there are many sincere and religious people in churches who are not born again and produce no fruit to God. They hear bible preaching every week, maybe even receive prayer and healing but still they are not saved because they are relying on their own self-righteousness.

Likewise, the writer to Hebrews is addressing religious people not pagans. These are those who have attended synagogue, know the scriptures, maybe even seen the miracles of Jesus and Paul in action and yet won’t embrace the Gospel, holding on to their traditions, the law of Moses and temple worship.

Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the son of God and put him to open shame.

Therefore, this verse is not talking about believers losing their salvation forever because of sin in their lives. No, it’s speaking about those who have heard the message of grace and even experienced its benefits but have hardened their heart to make a deliberate choice not believe! Therefore, its impossible to renovate them to a change of mind because they have already made up their minds!

Hebrews 6:6 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”

In other words, these persons have heard, understood and even maybe experienced the truth Gospel but there is no fruit unto salvation because they have rejected the Gospel.

Hebrews 6:9 “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you and things that accompany salvation” .

In conclusion therefore, let us not be like Esau who missed the grace of God but let us take to heart the seriousness of the message of grace and respond by faith.

Hebrews 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away ( retreat) from him who warns from heaven”

Repentance – its not what you think

Can a believer lose their salvation?

Sinning wilfully

Escape to Reality on Hebrews 10:26

 

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Sinning Wilfully!

sinning wifullyHebrews 10:26

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received  the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more  sacrifice  for sins

Read out of context, and at face value, this verse apparently supports the view, that if we sin knowingly, purposefully, voluntarily or wilfully – that’s the end of a relationship with God and our salvation!

Sin is wilful!

The first obvious problem with this interpretation: it doesn’t make any sense – sin by its very nature is willful! Yes, you could sin accidently, say break the speed limit, but most sin is a decision. Watch your children, they choose to sin. A child doesn’t need much education to end up sinning wilfully! Adam couldn’t plead ignorance – he deliberately sinned by taking the fruit from Eve.

Reading in context

So what does it mean, why the confusion? There are two mistakes that are made when interpreting this verse.

1)   Firstly, people assume that the Epistle was written directly to them, when in fact it was written by a Jewish Apostle to his Jewish brothers: some born again Messianic Jews and others who maybe had heard and understood the Gospel and are even meeting with believers but are not yet true converts! The phrase “received the knowledge of the truth” is referring to these Jews.

2)   The second is not to read it in context. For example, at least read it in the context of chapter 10 where it is explaining why the sacrifices are now redundant because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus!

Hebrews 10:18 “Now where there is forgiveness of all these things, there is no longer any offering for sin”

The sin of rejecting the messiah

The willful sin therefore, is a deliberate choice to reject Jesus as Messiah even when the truth is known and even experienced. It is a sin against the Holy Spirit.

Stephen says to the Jews just before they stone him to death:

“You men who are stiff-necked an uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did”

This is a deliberate and wilful rejection of the truth!

One of the bystanders to that execution: the Apostle Paul however, describes the grace of God towards him in 1 Tim 1:13:

“a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 

In other words, he didn’t reject Jesus wilfully.

Likewise in Hebrews 12:25 the warning is to unbelieving Jews:

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:”

There are other multiple examples in Hebrews which are warning the unbelieving Jews within the community who have heard the Gospel:

Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”

Hebrews 3:12 Take care brethren (Jewish believers and unbelievers) , lest there be in any one of you an evil (works filled) unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore let us fear lest, while a promise of entering his rest any of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us just as they also but the word they heard did not profit them because it was united by faith in those who heard.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience

Hebrews 6:4 “For in the case of those who have been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and then fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the son of God and put him to open shame.

So what about us?

So do these scriptures apply to us today? Certainly. I believe that even in our churches today, there are many who call themselves Christians, who go to church, tithe, read their Bibles, sing in the choir and even know a bit of theology– yet are not saved and born again.

2 Cor 13:5 “ 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?”

Can you miss the grace of God?

What do you do when you sin?

 

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