It will be easier to understand Jesus' identity if you read the article Who is the Holy Spirit in this commentary.
Note: There are two aspects of belief between some Christians, some local churches and even a few denominations concerning grace. One side believes grace ends immediately after salvation and the other side believes grace continues throughout salvation. The “grace enders” say the “grace continuers” believe they have to get saved over and over and over. The “grace continuers” say the “grace enders” must not have gotten saved in the first place because they don’t know what grace is.
Then you have the "once in grace always in grace" bunch (eternal security, cannot backslide). There is more argument, confusion, blustering, blathering and blundering throughout the church concerning once in grace always in grace than any other disagreement concerning grace.
It is a disgrace when the children of God tear each other to shreds in front of lost people. (Gal. 5:15) When the Christian sideshow is over the lost wander off; even more disenchanted with church than they were before.
Please remember (1Cor. 14:33); "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." That 11 words of scripture "but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" has probably caused you to think about denominations. The origin of denominations is in (1Cor. 1:10-14 and 3:1-11 esp. V.1 & 3 keywords: ye are yet carnal and V.10 keyword: grace) and, according to scripture, they were founded by carnal men. When you have finished crying, or laughing, or sneering, or staring blankly off into space, or praying let us explore grace according to God's word.
(1John 4:8 & 16 keywords: God is love) Grace is God's Love in Action
We must learn, BY SCRIPTURE, (Eph. 2:8) what and when grace really is. Grace is sometimes said to be "the unmerited (not deserved) favor of God". Neither the word merit, unmerited, nor any form of either word is used in the Bible but we can easily understand what the statement means; “we did not deserve the favor of God.” That is the truth, it sounds good and it rolls off the tongue easily but that description leaves out much of what grace really is.
The word “grace” is derived from gracious and gracious is a character trait, a soul part, which illuminates the complete soul. (Eph. 2:7) God is gracious and kind. (Ps. 86:15) God is full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Ps. 103:8) The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Conclusion: God IS grace because He IS gracious.
Grace in the Old Testament Hebrew: (Gen. 6:8) The word is chen (pronounced khane) which is defined as graciousness). Chen is derived from the word chanan (pronounced khaw-nan) which is defined as (to stoop in kindness to an inferior, be merciful and have pity upon). Grace in the New Testament Greek: (Luke 2:40) The word is charis (pronounced khar-ece) and is defined as (#1 graciousness of manner, act, favor and gift. #2 The divine influence upon the heart, - which is the mind, the feelings, the soul, self and #3 it's reflection in the life.)
GRACE: #1 Graciousness of Manner, Act, Favor and Gift
Please read (Mark 10:46-52), close your eyes and think about blind Bartimaeus for a bit; HE COULD NOT SEE. He had to beg for a living. He slept wherever he could; in the cold, in the heat, in the rain, in permanent darkness. He was dirty and ragged. He didn’t have a barber.
He stumbled over objects in spite of his tapping stick. He was skinny and skinned, scraped and scarred from falls. He fell into the water, into ditches, into weeds, briers and thorns; he stepped in animal droppings, stepped on sharp objects and bumped into rocks, trees, fences, walls and sometimes people laughed at him.
When someone gave blind Bartimaeus food he couldn’t tell if it was dirty, moldy, or cooked done. He smelled bad. Some people said he was ugly (Matt. 6:22) because the eyes (opthalmos) are the light of the body and Bartimaeus’ eyes were dead. People shunned him because they were embarrassed by his presence. He couldn’t even see to tell if anyone was looking when he relieved himself.
Blindly, bitterly, brokenly Blind Bartimaeus clung to his miserable life. People can be cruel and compassionless and sometimes they mocked and made fun of blind Bartimaeus as he scrabbled, stumbled and felt his way along his hopeless road.
Blind Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus. Jesus had set all of Israel on fire. Nobody could be neutral around the miracle worker from Galilee. People either rejected Jesus or loved Him. Life had bestowed no good things on Blind Bartimaeus and he never really believed he would cross paths with the man they said walked on water, raised the dead and healed the sick.
Blind Bartimaeus did not know if it was night or day when he heard the commotion. It was always inky black night in his world. There was always excitement around Jesus and the commotion drew closer. The uproar frightened blind Bartimaeus; then somebody said it was Jesus coming this way. JESUS! Hope! Hope like a white hot lance of fire surged through blind Bartimaeus’ chest and he screeched; “Jesus have mercy on me!”
Somebody sneered; “Shut up you old fool!” Another hissed “You’re ugly and dirty; shut up!” A third, so very hateful; “You can’t see. Shut up! Don’t bother Jesus; He’s important and you’re just trash beside the road!” But blind Bartimaeus screeched louder: “Jeeesus have merrrcy on meeee!” Jesus stopped. It went dead still then; there wasn’t a sound; it was a breathless time. It’s always that way when Jesus stops by and blind Bartimaeus didn’t even know which way to point his face because of the silence.
Then the voice like none other; quiet and calm, beautiful, filled with gracious mercy, tender pity, kindness and love, sweetness, compassion and suffering; yes the Master suffered with blind Bartimaeus; and with an unhurried, gracious power; the clear, penetrating voice commanded;
"You tell blind Bartimaeus to come here.” The voices around blind Bartimaeus had changed. They were awed; “You got Jesus’ attention, get over there, He wants you; hurry Bartimaeus hurry!” Blind Bartimaeus scrambled to his feet; dropped his ragged, repulsive, reeking garment and followed the voice that tenderly called him. He left all he had behind him because nothing else mattered except reaching Jesus!
Bartimaeus was in darkness, he stumbled, staggered, clawed and pushed through the crowd, fought his way to Jesus and there fell on his knees in front of Jesus; his ruined, open mouthed face pointed in supplication toward the Son of God.
Blind Bartimaeus was skinny, sweaty, dirty and beautiful. Yes! Yes, He was beautiful to Jesus because blind Bartimaeus had need and he had come to Jesus for help. When Jesus spoke not an insect chirped, clicked, or crawled; the birds had stopped their singing and men forgot to breathe. The quiet, beautiful voice rang with power “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”
It was blind Bartimaeus’ time, it was his big chance and he didn’t waste a second of it. “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”
It was that quick! The pitiful, rheumy, whited, caked, dead eyes blinked and opened bright with life, color and sight. The first thing Bartimaeus ever saw was the face of the Son of God! Bartimaeus looked long into the lively, happy, magnificent eyes of GRACE.
He whispered right in the Lord’s face; “I can see? I can see! I can see You!” Bartimaeus turned and looked. He looked over the roadside fields, up the green hills, down the sparkling waters of the creek, he looked at the endless Mediterranean sky, he drank deep of looking and he suddenly shouted; “IT IS DAY! I CAN SEE THE DAY!”
The magnitude of what Jesus had done penetrated deeper into his soul and, awe struck, he whispered; “I can see!” There was timelessness while he looked at the mob around them. His gaze met their eyes and locked on here and there and he whispered again; “I see, I see you!”
Suddenly galvanized with a burst of energy Bartimaeus whirled among them, he grabbed one man by the arms and shouted; “I CAN SEE!” He grabbed another by the beard; “I CAN SEE!” He danced through the crowd, grabbing, hugging, pulling, pushing, poking, laughing, shouting; “I CAN SEE! I CAN SEE! I CAN SEE!”
Bartimaeus SAW and realized the crowd was melting away; he GLANCED and Jesus was going on down the road, still the center of commotion; He LOOKED and ran quickly, safely, excitedly after the Master and he whispered over and over to himself; I can see! I can see! I can see! Bartimaeus could see but there was a lot he didn't know.
He didn't know it was seventeen or eighteen miles to Jerusalem. He did know it was almost Passover but he didn't know this would be a Passover like none other. Bartimaeus didn't know Jesus was on the way to His last supper with His disciples. Bartimaeus didn't know it was the Lamb of God who had healed his blinded eyes.
Bartimaeus didn't know this beautiful, precious Lamb was on His way to a place called Calvary to be slaughtered for the sins of the whole world to fulfill prophesy and establish God's Grace Covenant. Bartimaeus didn't know that through the slaughter of the Lamb of God millions and millions of people would have their soul blindness healed and their spiritual eyes opened; people like you and me!
GRACE: #2 The Divine Influence Upon The Heart
Have you ever considered the value of yourself and your possessions? The president, some king or queen, even your governor, maybe even your tiny local politician will probably never enter your home as a friend.
Your few bits of money wouldn't even amount to a drop in the bucket of wealth owned by the richest people in the world! Be honest and count up how many people to whom your existence is really important; would the number equal the number of your fingers on one hand, both hands, twenty-the number of your fingers and toes?
As important as you think you are, as many people as you greet during any given day; how many people will genuinely grieve when your body will lay cold, gray and dead in your casket? Just think; please remember the magnitude of God’s gracious manner when He (Acts 7:47-50) whose footstool is the Earth; the Maker of worlds, the Lord of lords, King of kings, the God of gods noticed you.
(1Tim. 3:16 keywords: God manifested in the flesh) Just like blind Bartimaeus you were important to Him, He stopped, He graciously bent down and extended the hand of mercy to you; a blind, LOST, naked, helpless, hopeless, beggar sitting in the darkness of your sin road of life! (Jer. 29:13 & Matt. 22:37) Remember when you left all you had behind because nothing else mattered except reaching Jesus! And finally, for the first time in your life, you could really see and you saw grace, you felt grace and you knew grace.
(John 12:32 & Eph. 2:8-9) Do you remember how personal it was when God, through His Holy Spirit, touched you? “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” God loved you even in your sinfulness. Just like blind Bartimaeus the Master suffered with you because sin is so horrid. He showed you that you had no strength, no power and no hope of eternal life in paradise. You were beautiful because you had need and you came to Him for help.
(Acts 20:28 keyword: purchased) God showed you His graciousness when He showed you the reality of how Jesus graciously paid with His life the redemptive purchase price for you. Ah, salvation; right there in your reach yet you were too weak and helpless to force God to give you salvation, in your own soul you couldn't generate enough faith to just take salvation, you couldn't live good enough to deserve salvation and if you owned the whole world you could not buy salvation!
God showed you His compassion and grace when He showed you your salvation was free. (Eph. 2:8-9) God showed you His grace when He gave you the gift of faith to get saved. Just like He did with blind Bartimaeus, spiritually God graciously bent down and extended His nail scarred hands of mercy to you. God cleansed your sins away with the blood of the Prince of heaven, His own dear Son. God gave you His Grace when He graciously saved you and gave you the gift of His Holy Spirit, His person.
It is not possible to receive salvation without knowing something about Jesus and God's plan of salvation. How would you even know the possibility of salvation? If you don't understand the complete scriptural process of obtaining salvation it is thoroughly explained in the commentary Breath of Life on this website. It is good witnessing information.
(John 3:3-8 esp. V.8 keywords: born of the Spirit) Jesus' act of salvation (born again) upon you is a very dramatic, intensely personal, spiritual event through the Holy Spirit in which all your past sins (Heb. 10:16-20 esp.V.19 keywords: by the blood of Jesus) are cleansed away by the blood of Jesus (2Cor. 2:17) and you are a brand new person with a brand new start in life.
(Eph. 1:13-14 esp. V.14 keyword: earnest) Earnest is defined as pledge, security, part of the purchase price; like something secured on a modern day lay away plan. (John 14:16-18 & 23) At the time of salvation the Holy Spirit spiritually begins to reside (live) with your soul (self, heart, mind, me, the person). (Rom. 8:9) That is the only way you can know you are saved. A full study of the Holy Spirit is in this commentary in the article titled Who is the Holy Spirit.
Salvation is your intensely personal introduction to Jesus. You don't know Jesus the person a bit better after your salvation event than you did before your salvation event (Luke 2:10-11, John 4:39-42, 2Tim. 1:10, 1John 4:13-14) except that He is your Saviour. The whole commentary Sin in Church is about growth as a Christian and nearly the whole commentary The Holy Spirit & You is how to know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit better.
(Phil. 2:1-5 esp. V.5 key: "let the mind of Christ Jesus be in you". In this usage mind is defined: the feelings, be like, be of one with, think like) It is required that each Christian grow spiritually and become more and more like Jesus (2Cor. 5:20-21) and to be ambassadors for Jesus, to witness to the lost and to participate in building God's church here on earth.
Think of a mirror. A reflection is to see oneself reflected.
A Christian is instructed to grow in love, in the word, in knowledge, in righteousness, wisdom, understanding and etc. (Rom. 8:13-18 esp. V.16 keywords: children of God & V.17 keywords: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ) It is a blood kin (Jesus' blood) relationship between God and each Christian and this is God's promise (Rev. 21:1-7) to give Christians all He has when time is finally over.
(John 15:1-6, Mark 12:30-31, Gal. 5:22-26 & 2:20 and Col. 3:1) As you grow you develop Christian attitude and actions that is called spiritual Christian fruit. (John 15:4 keywords: Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you) As you grow in your spiritual, friendship, love relationship with Jesus people will see the reflection of Jesus in your life AND Jesus will see His reflection in you.
GRACE: #3 It's Reflection In The Life
When a born again Christian sins, (1John 1:7 esp. V.8 thru 2:1 keywords: us, we, our- John includes himself) and all Christians do sin according to God’s word, how does he get forgiveness since he cannot perform works or pay a price that will get him out of sin? (Heb. 4: 9, 14, & 15)<-- These given scriptures tell us (Heb. 4:16 written below) is written to God’s people.
(Heb. 4:16) “Let us (people who are already Christians) therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that WE may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (1Pet.5:12) Is also written to Christians; “testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand (abide- to live).”
(1John 1:7-9 above) And that CONTINUING GRACE happens (V.9) when we Christians confess our sins and ask God to forgive us. (V.7) God forgives our sins because the blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, cleanseth US from all sin when we come to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16) because Jesus is Christian's great high priest in heaven.
Do you know grace? Do you understand YOU ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS and only by continuing grace can progress be made? Simply put, as you learn you are expected to keep growing into a better and better more mature Christian as your Christian life progresses. It is a spiritual growing up. It is a spiritual/mental/emotional development process. See the Sin in Church commentary on this website and read the article The Four Stages of Spiritual Growth for detailed information.
So it is plain that we are saved by grace and we are kept by God’s continuing grace but God's grace goes even deeper into the Christian experience than saving and keeping.
(1John 3:14) "We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (1John 4:16) "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
(1John 4:8 & 16 keywords: God is love) Grace is God's Love In Action
(Heb. 10:29) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace, (John 1:14) Jesus is filled with grace (Eph. 2:4-8 esp. V.7) and God is grace. Read that sentence again because it is the key to your relationship with God.
(Eph. 2:22) We Christians are a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit of grace and we should be gracious. Grace should be oozing from our very pores and surely flowing from our mouth. But somehow, through some selfish disobedience, concentration on self, through pride, heedlessness, carelessness, through hurry and bustle, or just plain old cantankerousness, we fall short of the grace that inhabits us.
Through some kind of spiritual emptiness we hide our light and refuse to answer the question; “Why am I not gracious?” Is it possible, in spite of the Spirit of grace WHO inhabits us, we are just too selfish to really care about Jesus' feelings, our brother's and sister's well-being and lost people's condition?
No changing, confusion or juggling of the scripture is intended. (1Pet. 4:8 & 10) These 2 verses of scripture will be written with the definitions in parenthesis and under that they will be written again using the underlined definitions so we can understand the full significance that God is instructing Christians to be servants.
Please read all of (1Pet. 4:7-19). (V.8) “And above all things have fervent (intense) charity (agape ag-ah-pay #1 affection, #2 benevolence, and #3 love) among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (V.10) “As every man has received the gift, (charisma, khar-is-mah, deliverance, spiritual endowment, a qualification), even so minister (servant, aid, service) the same one to another, as good stewards (distributor, overseer, agent) of the manifold (various) grace of God.”
Written again using the definitions: Please read all of (1Pet. 4:7-21). (V.8) "And above all things have intense affection, benevolence and love among yourselves: For affection, benevolence and love shall cover the multitude of sins. (V.10) As every man has received the deliverance, spiritual endowment and qualification, even so serve and aid the same one to another, as good distributors, overseers and agents of the various grace of God."
(Matt. 6:6-15 esp. V.12 & 4-15) It is a commandment and threat that Christians are supposed to forgive each other or we will not be forgiven. Toss your grudges in the garbage heap of forgetfulness.
(1Pet. 4:10 keyword: manifold) What is the manifold (various) grace of God that is supposed to be displayed in us?
#1) (Matt. 5:14-16, Col. 4:6 & Titus 2:7-15) It is the saving grace of God that our witness and testimony to the lost that God did save us and God can save them. It is the attitude and demeanor of grace that shows the world you are different, that you are a Christian and that you are a Jesus representative.
#2) (Matt 7:1-5, Rom. 2:14-29 & 1John 3:14-18) It is the keeping grace of God that Christians not judge each other, forgive one another, teaching each other, help each other and love each other.
#3) (Gal. 5:13 thru 6:10) The serving grace of God is to serve God by serving each other, serve God by building His kingdom, serve God through learning, going and doing God's work with LOVE, HUMILITY AND KINDNESS. It's personal, only you, only me.
Shame on us when we are carnal, grumpy, rude, disagreeable, selfish, greedy, stubborn, cold hearted, proud, smart mouthed, judgmental, hateful, backbiting, gossiping, impatient, malicious, lazy, unworthy, ill tempered, worldly, spiritually bankrupt stewards of the (1Pet. 4:10) manifold (various) GRACE of God.
Remember how your soul wilted when you spiritually “saw” Jesus tortured, tormented and killed so His blood could cleanse you of your sins? Just like blind Bartimaeus, remember how dumbfounded you were when you realized HE was actually calling you? Remember how JESUS graciously gave you the faith to be saved? Remember how crushed you were when you were sin drenched and lost with no hope and no chance?
Just like blind Bartimaeus, remember when He tenderly and compassionately extended His hand down to you and asked; “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Remember how guilty you felt? Remember what it was like when you peered dumbfounded and excited into the eyes of grace?
Remember when you repented (turned around) from your sinful life and decided to go the other way toward God and His salvation? Remember when, in one fashion or another, you told God you would "do anything" if He would just save you. Remember how your soul soared like a bright and shining banner of love and thanksgiving into forever when HE saved you, you were born again and the guilt was gone, the sin was gone and you felt the wonder of God's perfect love? IT WAS PERSONAL. ONLY YOU.
Remember when you couldn't wait to tell your friends and even strangers you had been saved by the most beautiful, exciting, precious person anyone could possibly meet? How long did it take for the personal relationship with Jesus rot to start there? How long has it been since you were on fire to tell people about your Saviour?
How long has it been since you desperately hungered to read His holy Word to learn more about Jesus? Do your prayers still have the passion and praise they once had? Do your meditations still have the worship, praise and thanksgiving they once had? How long has it been since you passionately told some lost soul about what Jesus had done for you and could do for them?
How long has it been since you would do anything, no matter what it was, to serve your King of all kings, your Saviour? How long has it been since your heart burned, your tears poured like hot silver down your face and you managed to whisper in a love choked voice; “Ahhh my Lord and my God I love thee! I’ll do anything; anything you want; I don’t care if it kills me, I’ll DO IT!” How long has it been?
Many? Most? Some? At least a whole lot of Christians do not show they are good stewards of the grace of God. It has nothing to do with “how much sin can we get away with" and it has nothing to do with “how many works do we have to do.” (1Cor. 3:7-17) It has nothing to do with “Man, I sure hope I make it through the works tried by fire judgment.”
It has to do with giving your life to God through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:13) yielding yourself (soul) and your members (body) unto God (1Pet. 1:14) as obedient children (Heb. 5:9) to obey (1John 1:1-4) the living word of God (Heb. 10:29) through the Holy Spirit of grace; (1Pet. 4:10) only then we can be good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Nobody can feel it for you and nobody can live it for you. It's a personal relationship with Jesus. ONLY YOU.
It is long past time (Heb. 4:16) for us to boldly yet humbly approach the throne of grace, repent of our coldness, ask forgiveness, beg for one more chance to show the Master we can do better with His help. Perhaps one should begin with bitter tears and a broken heart; “Oh my God, I didn’t really know about your grace; I didn’t understand about continuing grace and my part in it. Please help me!!"
One very practical observation: God cannot stop being God! God is gracious. God is kind. God is merciful. God is filled with tender pity and grace. WE SURE NEED CONTINUING GRACE ALL THE TIME! IT'S PERSONAL. ONLY YOU. ONLY ME.
ONCE IN GRACE ALWAYS IN GRACE
FALLING FROM GRACE
The word backsliding is not in the New Testament. It is simply a very handy Old Testament word used to describe the "fallen from grace" condition.
(Matt. 10:37-39 & 13:18-23, Heb. 6:4-6, 1Cor. 9:27, Rev. 2:5, 3:1-5 and 15-16) Sadly enough many people who accept Jesus' offered salvation come to the personal realization that getting to know Jesus better, building a personal relationship with Him (Luke 9:23-25) and serving Him just isn't worth the trouble because their old life of sin is more attractive to them.
(Gal. 5:1-4 esp. V.4 keywords: ye are fallen from grace) This is a perfect example of falling from grace. (Heb. 10:1-4) The Galatian Jewish Christians had been saved by grace but were going back under the Law of Moses. They were going back to the place grace had brought them from just like Christians today can go back into their old life of sin grace had brought them from.
(Matt. 6:24 & 1John 2:15-16) Their reason is simple; they love the things of the world instead of Jesus (Rom. 1:28-32 esp. V. 28 keywords: did not like to retain God in their knowledge and V.31 keyword: covenantbreakers then Heb. 6:4-6 keywords: fall away) and they simply quit trying. (Matt. 13:18-22 and Rev. 3:2-5 esp. V.5 keywords: blot out his name out of the book of life) Falling from grace (backsliding) happens.
Think! Who can hurt you the worst and make you the angriest? Those to whom you have given your best and love the most when they reject your love and refuse to love you back. We are made in God's image. Now you know how God lives every day because of Christians and our sins! You! Me!
(Matt. 9:15, Rev. 19:7-9 & 21:9) The church is in a Bridegroom/Bride relationship with Jesus thus each individual Christian is considered the bride of Christ. God uses this relationship as a metaphor to illustrate the importance, love, passion, closeness, affection and expected faithfulness Jesus has for each individual Christian relationship. (Matt. 9:15 & Rev. 19:1-9 esp. V.7 keywords: "marriage of the Lamb is come" NOTE: V.2 which is after the great whore is judged) The church, you, me, each individual Christian, are not yet married to Jesus.
So we, you and I, must compare a betrothal (an engagement- an agreement between a man and a woman to get married in the future) to our Christian relationship with Jesus to fully understand what God's word is telling us.
In your relationship with your "significant other" remember how passionate, kind, tender, affectionate, dedicated and “in love” you were with your "special one" in the beginning of your relationship? Remember when you wanted everything so special and just as perfect as you could make it for your Darling? You were so devoted! Remember when you were so thankful you had won the Darling of your life?
(Rev. 2:4, 3:2 & 17) BUT it is common that in lots of relationships a rot, a deterioration, starts! The yearning dribbles away over time. The taking for granted starts. The grumbling and complaining starts. That passion killing, love destroying selfishness starts growing! That's when it starts gradually working up to the point when the "special one" is not the top priority anymore?
(Rev. 3:17) That’s when the ho-hum, take care of myself first, do what I want to do, cold, lonely, tolerate the other for the sake of convenience, lukewarm contrivance that’s as different as daylight and dark when compared to how your relationship started. Is that attitude, to one degree or another, becoming the standard of your relationship with Jesus?
(Luke 5:34-35 & John 3:28-29 keyword in both: bridegroom) Jesus is the bridegroom and the church (each Christian) is the bride of Jesus (Rev. 3:2 & 5 then Rev. 19:7 keywords: marriage of the Lamb) BUT, Jesus and the church are not married yet. Would Jesus marry a betrothed who don't really care how their actions affected His feelings? (Rev. 2:4) Would Jesus marry a betrothed whose love for Him had grown cold? (Rev.3:17 then 15-16) Would Jesus marry a betrothed who wanted wealth and possessions more than a relationship with Him?
(James 4:4) "Ye adulterers (apostate: defined as: abandoning religious belief and principals or idolatry: defined as: thinking more of or loving someone or something more than God) and adulteresses (same definition for both) know ye not that the friendship (fondness) of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend (fond of) of the world (world systems) is the enemy (odious, hateful, hostile, adversary) of God." Would you marry a person who exhibited the characteristics in these two paragraphs? You would probably shout; "Of course not, it would be stupid! (Matt. 9:15 & Rev. 19:9) JESUS WON'T EITHER!
(Mark 12:30) "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (life force itself), and with all thy soul (personality- self), and with all thy mind (intellect), and with all thy strength (physical power): this is the first commandment." Jesus won't take second best, the back seat, handouts or leftovers. Why should He? He gave His all for us, everything He had, SO why shouldn't He expect the same from us!
(2Cor. 6:13-18 esp. V.17) "come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (1John 2:15-16) "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust (longing, desire) of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride (boasting, braggart) of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (2Cor. 11:2) "for I have espoused (betrothed) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste (clean, innocent, modest) virgin (a maiden, unmarried) to Christ."
(James 1:1 keywords: servant & the Lord Jesus Christ and V.12 keywords: crown of life, 2:1 keywords: our Lord Jesus Christ then 4:6 keyword: grace, and etc.) It is obvious the Letter of James was written to Christians, the church, (James 1:1) especially to the Christian Jews. Some people want to dispute everything so with that settled let's go on!
(James 4:4 keywords: adulterers and adulteresses) "Ye adulterers (apostate) and adulteresses (feminine form of apostate), know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend (dear, fond) of the world is the enemy (hateful, hostile, adversary) of God." This scripture is the source of the concept of spiritual adultery.
How do Christians commit spiritual adultery on Jesus? Is your Facebook, TV, computer, phone, team, game, club, hobby, home, auto, social standing, or whatever it is that you love/like/have passion for more than you do Jesus any less an idol than Moloch, Zeus, or Diana? ***(1John 2:15-16 two paragraphs above) What or who do you long for and desire the most and what or who do you boast or brag about the most? Is it Jesus or someone else or something else?*** (Matt. 12:25, Luke 9:47, Heb. 3:12, 1John 3:20 & Rev. 2:23 key: Jesus knows our thoughts and the intent of our heart) You decide if you are into spiritual adultery because it is between Jesus and you.
(Rev. 3:1-6 esp. V.2 then V.5 keywords: blot his name out of the book of life) There are people, preachers, and teachers who say a Christian cannot backslide (fall away) out of grace and into hell and they call Jesus a liar because Jesus said He could and would blot (to smear out, erase, obliterate) a person's name out of the book of life. Blot is defined to smear out, erase, and obliterate. It is the same anglicized Greek word, "exaleipho", which is used in (Acts 3:9 keyword: blotted) to say a person's past sins are blotted out when they are saved. Whatever is blotted out is gone! Gone means it won't be back!
(Rom. 3:4) Concerning the above paragraph and the people who teach and talk about the once in grace always in grace doctrine (teaching); you decide if they or Jesus is the liar because that too is between Jesus and you. Just remember (Matt. 12:36-37) "But I say unto you, that every idle (lazy, useless, barren) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment (decision for or against). For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
(Heb. 6:4-6 esp. V.4 keywords: impossible AND partakers of the Holy Ghost) God's word says people can be enlightened (make to see) and have tasted (to experience, to eat which corresponds with John 6:53 "eat the flesh of the Son of man") of the heavenly gift (sacrifice, which is Jesus= salvation) and were made partakers (sharer, an associate, partner) of the Holy Ghost if they shall fall away (to apostatize, become apostate) it is impossible (unable, not possible) to renew (to renovate) them again unto repentance.
The last line of defense the once in grace always in grace-rs fall back on is to say a person didn't get saved in the first place if they quit church and go back into sin. THAT STATEMENT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE IN ANY FORM. I have personally heard a "once in grace always in grace regardless of sin" pastor of a mega-church say to his congregation and on the internet; "Once you have sinned enough God will just take you on out to heaven because you are no benefit to him here." BUT:
(Rev. 2:17 keywords: which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it) This whole verse speaks of things that are hidden. The name on the white stone is an allegory that after Jesus' blood washes the sin away (salvation, clean of sin, Psa. 51:7-> whiter than snow) Jesus stamps it with His signature MINE and only Jesus and the individual know it. Casually claiming you have the ability and power to judge if someone ever received salvation or not is a lie!
God said; (Phil. 2:10-15 esp. V.12) "work out your own salvation with fear (alarm, fright, be afraid) and trembling (quaking)". And God said; (1Pet. 1:2) to the elect, sanctified through the Spirit by the blood of Jesus Christ (1Pet. 4:18) "And if the righteous scarcely (with difficulty, with much work) be saved where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?
(1Tim. 4:1-2 esp. V.1 keywords: depart the faith & V.2 keywords: speaking lies in hypocrisy) These Christians had obviously let themselves fall under the influence of Satan, they had backslid and were speaking (teaching and preaching) lies. God told us; (Prov. 6:12-19 esp. V.15 keywords: suddenly shall he be broken without remedy) the seven abominations He hates. (V.17-19) "A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood <--(Psa. 139:13 abortion- God knew David the person in his Mother's womb), An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. How many times have Christians done these things in your church?
(John 3:3-8 esp. V.8) Salvation is an intangible, invisible, non-physical, supernatural, spiritually born again event in a person's soul (heart, mind, self, me, psyche, personality) through the Holy Spirit that takes place between God/Jesus and an individual.
As shown above only God/Jesus knows the content of the heart and man does not! (Rom. 14:4 & 12-13) Who do you think you are that judges another man's servant? Are you slipping your little, scrawny self upon God's throne? (V.12) You will give account of yourself to God (V.13 keywords: stumblingblock) and what will your answer be if you have put a stumblingblock or an occasion to sin in your brother's way by telling him he did not get saved in the first place? Think about it!
If a person says you cannot fall from grace they call God's word a lie. Stay away from that like you would a poisonous serpent (2Cor. 11:13-15) because the serpent is the origin of that belief and teaching. BUT:
(Rom. 1:1-32) (V.6-7 keywords: called of Jesus Christ & beloved of God) Is written to the Christians, the church, at Rome. (V.21 keywords: knew God) The only way to know God in this church age is to (Rom. 8:9) have the Holy Spirit. (V.21-23) They went their own way and into sin. (V.24 keywords: gave them up) Do you see God's reluctance to surrender as the Holy Spirit fought a losing battle to keep them? (V.24-26 esp. V.26 keywords: gave them up) Again God was reluctant to surrender as they went deeper into sin and again God spiritually continued to fight to turn them back to Him.
(V.27-28) They kept going deeper into sin until they didn't even want to know about God. In other words, they had established and lived by their own rules and values and for effect they had finally left God permanently. (V.28 keywords: gave them over) Reluctantly God gave them over to a reprobate (rejected castaway) mind (soul), (Heb. 6:4-6 esp. V.4 keywords: impossible to renew them again) the Holy Spirit left and He would not be back. (V.29-32 keyword: covenantbreakers) God lists their sins and points out they had finally broken the grace covenant beyond repair! The point made is that God does not easily give up on us. SO:
If you have sinned and have not repented and been forgiven by God here is how to get forgiveness if you are of a mind to. (Heb. 4:12-16) (V.12) God knows "the thoughts and intents of your heart (soul)". (V.13) "All things are naked and opened" unto God's eyes. (V.14) Jesus is our great high priest (Mark 16:19) sitting at the right hand of God. (V.15) Jesus can be touched (feel sympathy and compassion for) with the feelings (suffering) of our infirmity (feebleness of body or mind, frailty) because he was tempted (enticed, tested) just like us but He did not sin.
YIPEEE! YAHOOO! JESUS UNDERSTANDS! HE LIVED JUST LIKE WE DO AND HE HAS COMPASSION FOR ME! HE BEAT SIN AND DEATH!! HE LOVES ME! JESUS IS ON MY SIDE EVEN WHEN I GET THE STUPIDS AND STUBBORNS. HE KNOWS HOW LIFE IS IN A MORTAL BODY!
Jesus sits at the right hand of God His Father (V.16) on the throne of grace. I, you, and all Christians can "come boldly (frankness, assurance, confidence) unto Jesus on His throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy (tender, divine compassion), and find grace (graciousness of manner, act, favor and gift) to help (aid, relief) in time of need (want, desire)". His promise works, I know, because I go there often.
The full spectrum of GRACE has been met.
#1 Graciousness of manner, act, favor and gift happened (John 3:3 & 2Cor. 5:17-21) when we repented and were saved (Heb. 4:12-16) and continuing grace was fulfilled when we, as Christians, repented of our sin and found mercy at Jesus' throne of grace.
#2 The divine influence upon the heart happens (John 14:23 & Eph. 1:12-14) when Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Grace (Heb. 13:5-6) and when Jesus keeps His promise to never leave us nor forsake us at His throne of grace.
#3 Its reflection in the life (2Pet. 3:18 keywords: grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) is fulfilled as we (John 15:12-15) grow in our personal relationship with Jesus (John 15:1-15, Gal. 5:21-26 & Col. 3:10-17) and become better Christians and thus more like Jesus (reflection).
An in-depth study of backsliding can be found in the two-article series BACKSLIDING: QUEST FOR THE TRUTH on this commentary. God Bless You.