6 Feb 2006

Are there conditions on receiving the gift?

Submitted by theshovel
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I have been reading the bible lately and have had some confusion. In my heart I believe that when you come to Jesus you cannot have your salvation taken away from you. But lately I have come across some verses that seem to imply that you must stay in faith or you are not saved. The thing is if you have faith and then you are doubting wouldn’t that mean that there are conditions to receiving the gift??? Now keep in mind that I am just asking a question it doesn’t mean that this is what I believe. So anyway, I guess I’m wondering if you have faith and then sometimes have doubt. Does that mean you have to test yourself to see if your in the faith??? What are your thoughts on these things??? R

Hello R,
There are many selected statements in the NT Biblical writings that have been re-evaluated over the centuries according to human, religious wisdom. Our own English language was actually built around such Biblical statements, including this fleshly logic attached. Many scoff at such an idea, but it shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize how the evolution of the English Bible not only influenced but established the formation of the language we now read and speak. Meanings of the words and phrases we use have been so integrated that we have great difficulty reading portions of Scripture without letting the legalism of the day bleed right on through.

However, the forced meanings have also created an incompatibility into the very context of the Scriptures in question. Simply stated, when you find those verses that totally seem to contradict the amazing life, grace and freedom of the message of Christ stated all around them it becomes obvious that a monumental shift in the original meaning must have occurred. If we read a statement that at one time brought joy and freedom to its recipients but now only seems to bring guilt and condemnation, then something is out of place!

I remember years ago reading books dealing with the “problem passages of Scripture” in which I do recall a good point here or there. However, the underlying sense was that the verse in question was just one of those problem passages that could only be understood through some kind of intensive study of the Greek language. In other words, one would need a Greek scholar to clear things up! I laugh at the idea now. No doubt there is some excellent insight provided by discovering the real meaning of a critical word or phrase here or there, but the impression that the Bible is best understood by the experts is totally bogus. I think we’ve adopted a problem mindset rather having inherited problem passages.

Let the reality of Christ scream out to you as it’s been presented all around one of those problem passages and you’ll eventually realize that the “problem” seems to go away all of itself. :)

The thing is if you have faith and then you are doubting wouldn’t that mean that there are conditions to receiving the gift??? Now keep in mind that I am just asking a question it doesn’t mean that this is what I believe. So anyway, I guess I’m wondering if you have faith and then sometimes have doubt. Does that mean you have to test yourself to see if your in the faith?

If there wasn’t a Bible verse making this very statement would your question sound as valid … or would it come off as misplaced? After all, Paul’s statements to the Corinthians weren’t written to them because of their doubts but because of their arrogance (they had come to view themselves as being something in the faith because of some perceived superiority and Paul would have them to see Christ alone). As far as doubts go some may be quite beneficial. For I have come to realize that many of my own doubts were really a conflict I was having with my fleshly-learned “spiritual” understanding!

Jim

Jim, Here is a verse that comes to mind.
1 John 2:24 ” See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us- even eternal life.”
But basically the scriptures say something to the effect of continuing in your faith and remaining in him. It seemed like the point was continue in your faith so that you can receive the inheritance promised. So then I get confused because I thought that you receive salvation as soon as you have faith. Not that you have to keep in faith all the time up until the time you physically die.?

Hello again R,
It’s ironic you would highlight this particular verse because the reality presented in it forms a vital part of how and why I have encouraged believers as I do. Surprised? You can see it in most of the Q and A responses I’ve made over the past many years. For what it says (especially in view of the surrounding context) has everything to do with the bottom line of knowing that we are in him because–and ONLY because–of the spirit sent to be in us. But I do understand how this verse (and a few others in this same letter) has been forced to say something else, for these verses have been made to comply with our fears.

For more on this, check out this article: 1 John 2:24: Is Continuing Conditioned upon Abiding?

Jim

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