Hello Rev Stonecipher! Its me Josh and as always its great to talk with you. As I mentioned in my last email question that I attend and preach for the churches of Christ, I have changed my position. I still attend the churches of Christ but I have changed my belief on a subject. I used to believe that after a person was saved they had to be so obedient and live in complete holiness in order to maintain their salvation.
Also I believed that since Christians had fee will, they could back slide or fall away or sin to such an extent that God cut them off. I got wrapped up in the early church fathers and what they believed and the hardcore teaches of some preachers. It came to the point to where I had highlighted over 400 NT commandments in my bible that I felt I had to keep to maintain my salvation.
The early church fathers believed Christ died for our past sins and at baptism they were washed away but we had to live almost sinless lives to keep our eternal salvation. Aso some friends I have who are preachers up north believe that after salvation one was on a probation and had to persevere in holiness to keep salvation.
I now see I was caught up in works salvation to the max. Now I am not a Calvinist but I see that its right down the middle. I changed my way of thinking and realized that is not grace. Grace is God saving you and giving you eternal life and giving you the ability and power and desire to live holy and obedient. Its not me and my righteouness and will but God who gives me the will and power to live holy. Because God has saved me I love him and want to obey him. Now God gives me the power to do so. I believe the true Christians who are truly born again, regenerated, dead to sin, crucified with Christ, made a new creation, and love God will live holy and obedient. Its not a matter that they have to obey but that they will obey because they love God. The true sheep of God will not fall away or continue to practice sin. One may say well what about free will? The true sheep of God use their free will to serve God because they love him. For someone to say they are saved but yet use their free will to serve satan, doesn't make since. They are born again and made a new creation, how can they be carnal or lukewarm and just fall away?
What is your thoughts on eternal security vs Conditional Secruity? Thank you so much!
How good to hear from you again. My goodness, I am so proud of you! I am pleased that you've done your homework, strived at 'rightly dividing' the Word of God on your own, and came to the only Truth their is. What a beautiful 'witness paper' you have written! I couldn't have stated it better, my friend. Let me say a few things here... You're correct, a born- again Christian, yielding to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would not choose to follow Satan. But do remember Josh, even Christians fall away and (quench the Holy Spirit). Sometimes we are on overload and haven't kept devoted to our prayer life and Bible study. We get lax and don't put ourselves in a position to stay in fellowship with other believers. We sin. We make bad choices. We need grace. Christians do fall away my friend, they/we have to be restored. But....., we do not lose our salvation! But I assure you, my friend, many a true believer has become lukewarm.
All the more reason for the church and it's pastors to .....'Feed My Sheep!'
Remember, Believers are at different levels in their spiritual growth. Many don't know how to rightly divide the Word of God. They don't know how to pray, they have not been taught about 'relationship' - cultivating a relationship with their Savior and Lord. In other words Josh, they are babies in their faith. Being a baby, they're bound to struggle and become lukewarm if somebody strong in their faith doesn't befriend them. They also have to be taught about the Holy Spirit. How can they 'Pull on the Power' if they know nothing about the power that is available to them? Remember, God does not hold his children accountable for what they don't know. But God does hold his pastors/ministers/teachers accountable for what we do not teach and preach.
We did not earn our salvation..., "By faith we have been saved." The cross was a 'one time ' action! "It is finished." Says Jesus. We now work for Him, not for our salvation as some believe. We have been signed, sealed, and delivered, by the One who knows us the best and loves us the most.
I encourage you to continue researching various doctrines Josh, it's good to be informed and educated, but, put your trust in God, the Holy Spirit, for guidance to the Truth. The Spirit will lead you to Truth. The Spirit and the Word are all you need.
And now, I encourage you to pray for wisdom and patience with God's little children. Read John and grasp his gentleness as he speaks and teaches about our Lord. Read Paul when he notices that some of the older converts are satisfied with the 'status quo' and he tells them they need to move from 'milk' to 'meat'.
You see, everybody is on a different spiritual level. We all need teachers/preachers/pastors, etc. we all need to 'love as He has loved us'. We all need to be carried from time to time. My Lord lifted me many a time, as I'm sure he has you. He's asking you to love others just like He loved/loves you. OK!
So good to hear from you again . Remember, knowledge is horizontal , wisdom only comes down from above. Go to the Source.
In His blended grace and love,
Rev. Ramona Stonecipher