Tag Archives: Hebrews 6:4

New Book – Forgiven.

Forgiven – How do I know?

I’ve just finished and published my fourth kindle book on Amazon called Forgiven – How do I know?

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Endorsement

Forgiven Book CoverPaul Noble is like a stick of rock …. There is a lot of talk about values today.

Values communicate what is important, they indicate what you stand for, what really matters, what is worthwhile and you really want more than anything else.

Each one of us has own set of values.  Values such as health, friendship, success, integrity, financial independence and loyalty. These values determine our direction, behaviour and provide the basis upon which we make our decisions. Our most important value is the one which is written though us.

In this sense, Paul is like a stick of rock… and the word embedded in every fibre of being is grace.  God’s unconditional acceptance and longing for a loving relationship with us is at the heart of Paul’s writing.  Discovering grace for himself, changed everything for him.

Now, Paul has become an advocate for this kind of grace: the grace which breaks down the walls we have erected and use them to build bridges to God. Paul’s message is one worth listening to; because those who understand the truth of God’s grace experiencing what it means to be free for themselves. May we all be sticks of rock with this word of grace written through our lives.

Rev Sean Blackman, Church Leader at Freedom, (Exec) AMBA MBA, PGDipTh, BD (Hons)

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Gods Grace Works Bookbook Gods Grace Works Every Day

 Kindle book – Christ in You

Kindle book – Christ the End of Law

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Does grace work?

Grace workDoes grace really work? In this article, I want to address the issue and perception of some, that those of us who preach grace teach and encourage spiritual laziness, because we talk about effortless change and rest. In other words, we are portrayed as believing that there is nothing for the believer to do – it’s all up to God because we are under grace. It follows then, we are encouraging people to behave like spiritual bums who slob it out in the heavenly departure lounge until Jesus returns! I believe that if grace is truly been preached nothing could be further from the truth.

My experience

Actually, I know from my experiences this year, that a revelation of God’s abounding, super, amazing, hyper-grace will result in you working far harder and producing more fruit in a shorter time than you ever thought possible. I mean, allow me a little foolish boasting on my part – this year I managed to write two Kindle books (I don’t know if they are any good,  you’ll have to read them and tell me what you think) but if you had told me that I would accomplish that a couple of months ago – I would have not believed you! I’ve noticed also that instead of reading a portion of scripture a day I’m reading chapters. Is this because I’m disciplining myself? No its happening quite naturally because I’m hungry for the word – ok boasting over!

The fruit of grace

No, grace empowers; it transforms; it produces vision and action; it results in fruit for God; it produces holiness – GRACE WORKS.

1 Cor 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

In fact, if it doesn’t produce the above then was it really grace? No, I don’t believe so. Grace in the believers life will always have an effect. It is the antidote to sinful behaviour and addictions. It will teach you to deny ungodly lusts.

Titus 2:12 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Grace empowers

Therefore, what sinners (including sinning believers) need more than anything, is more grace not more law because that is the only thing that will empower them to change. Like the woman caught in adultery in John 8,  Jesus first took away the power of sin (the law) by removing any condemnation by saying: “neither do I condemn you”.

Then he follows with a command not to sin because grace has empowered her. Jesus therefore came to free us from the power of sin so that we would be his special people zealous for good works.

Titus 2:15 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Evidence of faith?

It follows then, that works follow grace; there should be evidence that someone is saved! True grace will transform and reform you from the inside out and if over time there isn’t evidence of any transformation, you should wonder whether you have received God’s grace in vain.

2 Cor 6:1 “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”

Ask yourself, is there enough evidence to convict you as christian? Are you truly holy or different from the man in the street or do you watch pornography and cheat on your taxes like everyone else? Even worse, does the fruit of your life actually contradict the message you preach?

Titus 1:16  “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

Faith works

James tackles this very issue of genuine faith in his Epistle, when he makes the assertion that faith or believing on its own is not enough to save. That seems a heretical statement to evangelicals but what he’s saying is that saving faith is more than an acknowledgement of the facts and a reciting of the creeds. As he points out later, even the devils believe – and they are not saved!

James 2:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Faith therefore has to come alive and produce fruit or works to be seen as genuine faith, gold tested in the fire – FAITH WORKS!

1 Peter 5:17 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

For example, how do we know Abraham had faith, can we see right into his heart? No, his works recorded for us in scripture are the evidence of his genuine faith! He was tried and found faithful. This is the kind of faith that the Apostle Paul believed he had found in his protege Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:5  “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

Faith and grace therefore go together like salt and pepper. Grace is towards all but it is not received by all. Faith is the supernatural ability given by God to receive from the unseen realm all that God has provided through his grace.

False faith

Hence, not all what looks like faith is faith. In the Bible there are example of those who look like the genuine article but in fact are not. One such case is  of Simon the sorcerer:

Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”

Was Simon a genuine believer? On the surface yes, but as it turns out heart was not right before God and the is no record of genuine repentance. In fact, historical records shows us that he became an enemy of christianity and the source of gnosticism. So, what did Simon believe? I think he believed the evidence of the miracles but he didn’t experience new birth himself.

Maybe that is what in the writer of Hebrews 6 had in mind – in that interesting passage which some claim proves a believer can lose their salvation. In fact, it is nothing of the sort, the writer is concerned for his Jewish readers that they may turn out just like Simon the Sorcerer. The test is the fruit.

Hebrews 6:8 “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. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

Therefore, just because a person says they are a christian doesn’t mean they are! In fact, Paul prophesied that there would be attacks against the church from within and without.

Acts 20:30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Even today, there are still those who want to dilute the message of grace by mixing it with a little bit of law. Unfortunately, that nullifies grace working and that is exactly what the enemy doesn’t want – GRACE WORKING!

New Creation Church Gosport 

Further reading:

United as one (song)

What is the kingdom of God?

What is holiness

Work out your own salvation (prophecy)

Training for reigning

 

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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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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