Results 21 - 40 of 130
|Results from: Answered Bible Questions, Answers, Unanswered Bible Questions, Notes
Author: lightedsteps Ordered by Verse
|21||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223511|
welcome to the forum
First you need to understand, the bible is "ALL" truth, if any part of the bible is not truth, then the whole bible is useless to us, it then can not be trusted at all.
So YES John did baptize Jesus as depicted in the Bible. I think your question is more on the order of "WHY".
Even though Jesus was without sin, when He was baptized by John, could it have been for the original sin of Adam that is upon the flesh of all men?
Being 100 percent Man, and 100 percent God, Jesus had to have had the sin of Adam dwelling in his flesh, because he was born of a woman.
What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Jesus had to have sin dwelling in His flesh, otherwise He could not have been tempted as we are, because the temptation would have been of a perfect deity.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
That part of Jesus that was truly flesh, had to be purged of the sin of Adam, in order for it to be said, He was without spot or blemish.
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
It was the will of God that He (Jesus) be baptized, to fulfill all righteousness.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Grace be unto you
|22||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223531|
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
How could Jesus be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, unless He actually had those infirmities Himself, and being in all points tempted like as we are, unless He did have the potential to give in to that temptation, which is inherent in man. There had to be the same possibility of sinning in His flesh, as we have in ours, in order for Him to be able to overcome everything for us, because we can't. There is no temptation without the possibility of succumbing to that temptation.
To have the sin nature of all men, does not in any way mean that Jesus had sin in Him, or that He did sin, what it means, is that He had the potential for sin, anything less than that potential makes Him less than a man, He had to have the potential to succumb to temptation, otherwise the temptation would be void.
We all know of the temptation that Jesus underwent in the wilderness for the forty days after He was baptized. Luke 4:1-13 But all of these temptations were addressed to the Son Of God by Satan. Here then is a temptation that Jesus endured as a man.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
These are the prayers of a man in the throes of mental anguish, being tormented with the knowledge of the task before Him. As a man, this death He was facing was not something He wanted to do, but He submitted to the will of God. If He had walked away as he definitely wanted to, He would still have been the son of God,
but in His walking away safely, He would not have secured "US" to the utmost. He has felt our fear, as He had to feel everything else we think or feel. This could not be accomplished by anything less than being 100 percent human being, which includes all of the frailties of man.
Grace be unto you
|23||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223567|
Having a sin nature is not sin, or sinning.
When we look in the bible, we don't find either “sin nature”, or “original sin” both of these terms have been devised to explain to ourselves as humans, a dynamic which cannot be explained in the physical realm, because it is a Spiritual happening (event), man has come to these terms by using selected verses for our own understanding.
The sin nature, is nothing more than having a propensity toward sin, but having this tendency is not, in and of itself sinning. Although "WE HAVE" all sinned, coming short of the glory of God.
This sin nature passes on to us "Spiritually", the original sin of Adam is not a physical thing, therefore it cannot be passed on to us through genetics. We acquire this sin nature (original sin) "Spiritually" simply by the fact "WE are all the descendants of Adam.
In looking at Romans 7:13–25 we find these sinful tendencies as being part of the flesh, what Paul calls the (sarx in Greek), which means the flesh or body.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
This is the place we find ourselves to be in, but we only have one nature, but God be Praised, in Jesus physical body also dwelled "GOD".
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Therefore being GOD, Incarnate, He was able to keep Himself from sinning.
You seemed to have missed the point, Jesus was totally, Man, and totally God. This means Jesus had two diametrically opposed natures, the nature of man, (sin nature) and the Nature of God, Divine nature.
This would mean that no matter how depraved the nature of man might be, the Divine nature of God is greater, thereby able to overcome any temptation to sin.
Now using ourselves as comparison, the life we now live, is the same life Jesus was able to live.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
When we receive salvation, we are freed from sin through Christ.
Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
If we are able to live a sinless life, while still in the flesh, because we have become partakers of the Divine Nature of God, how much more was Christ preserved blameless by this same Divine Nature which indwelt Him? Therefore Jesus can have the sin nature of man, and still not sin.
Grace be unto you
|24||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223575|
In your saying
"None of these passages describe the human nature that Christ possessed. He was without sin in any form"
Do you mean the human nature that Christ possessed, is categorically different than ours, on the grounds He was without sin in any form?
Does not that viewpoint then precipitate the discussion, whether or not we are bearing within "our" flesh the actual sin of Adam, or rather we carry the consequences of that very sin?
Jesus was born, lived, died without sin, otherwise He would not be a fit sacrifice for the sins of man.
He had life in Himself, "HE IS THE LIFE"
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: (FOR THAT WHICH IS CONCEIVED IN HER IS OF THE HOLY GHOST).
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
We are born without sin, but we have death abiding in us, which is the consequence of Adams sin, therefore we succumb to sin.
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
Upon our salvation we are in Christ, we too become born of God, having the seed of God abiding in our fleshly bodies, therefore the verses in 1 John now apply to us also.
We have obtained the same life in our earthen vessels, that Jesus had abiding in Him, we have been set free from the bondage in which we were held.
Grace be unto you
|25||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223577|
"Jesus was totally, Man, and totally God."
"This means Jesus had two diametrically opposed natures, the nature of man, (sin nature) and the Nature of God, Divine nature."
Nestorianism is the error that Jesus is two distinct persons. Jesus was one person in two distinct and inseparable natures: divine and human.
Please forgive the oversight, it was the only way I could think of wording "MY" thoughts, I assumed when I said natures, you would understand. Does this work for you?
What we see in looking at Jesus, are two distinct natures in one person, human and divine, both of these natures becoming inseparable. Jesus will be fully God, and fully human for all eternity. In Jesus, His human and divine natures are not intermixed, or mingled, they are and have been united, but without losing either of these separate identities.
Again in my words, Jesus had two distinct natures, but the sin nature of man was swallowed up in life,
ie, the Divine nature of God. Just as it is with us, upon our becoming regenerated.
The divine nature is always, and in all cases dominant over the sin nature of man, as it is now in our mortal bodies.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I'm not a theologian, and I may not put things into the correct order.
Grace be unto you
|26||Did John really baptise Jesus??||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223578|
|What has happened?
"This thread has been temporarily restricted from appearing on the homepage. If you submit a question, answer, or note to this thread, it will be processed and added to the thread, but will not appear on the homepage."
It was not my intention for the discussion to become controversial, but seeing it apparently has, with all respect for our gracious host, the Lockman Foundation, this will be my last post on the matter.
Grace be unto you all
|27||Crusifixtion a sacrafice? John 3:16||Bible general Archive 4||lightedsteps||223620|
"Why is this death considered such a sacrifice"
"What was the true sacrifice of Jesus"
If you cannot accept this verse, as the answer to both your questions, you will never accept any answer.
Because this verse, covers both of your questions.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, (THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST), that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Grace be unto you
|28||Praying right?||NT general||lightedsteps||220497|
as you say
"In Psalm 139 it says before we were even born God knows our days from birth to our death"
If God knows the day of your death from before you were born, then isn't there the possibility, that the length of "YOUR" days would also include your prayer?
As an example there is also something that will add days to our lives, after we are born so God must factor in all of these beforehand.
Because He knows everything we will do in our lives.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Attempting to add some hope:-)
|29||Did the Romans kill Jesus or did the Jew||NT general||lightedsteps||223176|
The technical side of your question is answered by saying, because the Jewish nation, was at that time, under the control of Rome, they had to petition the Roman Governor Pilate to execute Jesus, because according to them (the Jewish leaders) He had committed blasphemy, which was punishable by death, they were not allowed by Roman law to execute Him. So even though the Romans carried out the actual execution, it was because the Jews had asked for Him to be executed, not because He had broken any Roman law.
Luk 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
Mat 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.Mat 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
But it was done in such a manner so that Jew, and Gentile took part in the Crucifixion of Jesus. His death was not for anything He did, it was because of "OUR ISN" for which He was the sacrificed.
As Moran has said, we are all responsible for His death.
Grace be unto you
|30||what is the correct mode of baptism?||NT general||lightedsteps||223384|
|In order for you to understand the correct mode of baptism.
You first need to understand the purpose of baptism.
A person having not received Salvation, (forgiveness of sin) being baptized no matter what the mode, is doing nothing more than taking a bath.
So baptism is only for those having received Salvation.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
In order for a person to be saved, they need to (Believe), and (Confess) these are two things that a baby cannot do, even a young child does not fully understand the concept of sin, as someone older would.
Provision has not been made for a surrogate in these cases. (God Parents)
3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
In an attempt to understand, look at a natural death.
After a person has died, would you then take them to the cemetery, and sprinkle them with dirt, or only bury them up to the waist, and pour dirt over their head?
No you would dig a hole deep enough to bury them completely under the ground.
Therefore as I see it, the correct mode of baptism, is first for the person knowing fully their sins are forgiven, then are fully immersed.
Grace be unto you
|31||wednsday or friday Jesus died||NT general Archive 1||lightedsteps||219916|
Just a question as I see you are a Messianic Jew and would probably have a better understanding of the separation of days vs. nights. I believe as you do frome the sign of Jonah statement made by Jesus.
Anyway my question is
We all know that there was a big rush to get Jesus off the cross and in the tomb before sundown.
This then taking place in that manner "Does His being in the tomb before sundown then count as the first day"? Is only part of the daylight hours still counted as a full day?
The other thing is how can Jesus have a Passover meal with his disciples before He was crucified?
Isn't the Lamb Eaten during the Passover meal? Luke 22:10-12
If Jesus has had this meal then it is already the Holy Day Celebration isn't it?
What then would be the big rush?
Help me out here will you. I just can't see Him as the Passover Lamb slain for the sins of the world and eating the Passover befor He was crucified.
Have a Merry Christmas
|32||Heb. 6:4-6 Security||Gen 1:1||lightedsteps||219873|
|Hi there Justme
I have taken the time to read everything in this branch I think I have something that might help you.
This is from a man that in his time he was a great preacher he is even called the prince of preachers.
I dont know if any of you have ever heard of him before but his name is rev. C.H. Spurgeon. He gave this as a sermon over 150 yrs ago it really clears things up for all of the differing points of view in this branch and it states very plainly that salvation is not something that can be lost. And Justme from what you said your friend went up to an invitation if I am not wrong you mean an alter call in a church. If this is the case then we should never ever judge whether or not someone was saved. As a matter of fact we should never judge anothers salvation at all.Luke 6:37
His profession of faith fit all the criteria for salvation. in Rom. 10:10 he believed unto righteousness and went forward and in doing so he made his public confession by his saying whatever he was asked to say by the pastor. He was saved period.
It is never our place to judge such matters. Rom.14:4
Anyway I am proud to let Mr. Spurgeon be the cornerstone of my posting here he has built his case as a master builder the foundation is on solid rock then all of the framework was put in place if anyone has any understanding of construction then they know both of these components are critical for a well built house.
It is the same as with scripture we cant afford to use guess work or assumption to direct the wording of certain passages. It has to have a solid foundation otherwise our house meaning our beliefs will fall when they are tested by God.
Lets hear The Rev C.H. Spurgeon speak again after so long a time. This is a lengthy one enjoy.
Happy to be here MERRY CHRISTMAS
|33||Heb. 6:4-6 Security||Gen 1:1||lightedsteps||219874|
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 23, 1856, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."—Hebrews 6:4-6.
There are some spots in Europe which have been the scenes of frequent warfare, as for instance, the
kingdom of Belgium, which might be called the battle field of Europe. War has raged over the whole of Europe, but in some unhappy spots, battle after battle has been fought. So there is scarce a passage of Scripture which has not been disputed between the enemies of truth and the upholders of it; but this passage, with one or two others, has been the special subject of attack. This is one of the texts which have been trodden under the feet of controversy; and there are opinions upon it as adverse as the poles, some asserting that it means one thing, and some declaring that it means another. We think that some of them approach somewhat near the truth; but others of them desperately err from the mind of the Spirit. We come to this passage ourselves with the intention to read it with the simplicity of a child, and whatever we find therein to state it; and if it may not seem to agree with something we have hitherto held, we are prepared to cast away every doctrine of our own, rather than one passage of Scripture.
Looking at the scope of the whole passage, it appears to us that the Apostle wished to push the disciples on. There is a tendency in the human mind to stop short of the heavenly mark. As soon as ever we have attained to the first principles of religion, have passed through baptism, and understand the resurrection of the dead, there is a tendency in us to sit still; to say, "I have passed from death unto life; here I may take my stand and rest;" whereas, the Christian life was intended not to be a sitting still, but a race, a perpetual motion. The Apostle, therefore endeavors to urge the disciples forward, and make them run with diligence the heavenly race, looking unto Jesus. He tells them that it is not enough to have on a certain day, passed through a glorious change—to have experienced at a certain time, a wonderful operation of the Spirit; but he teaches them it is absolutely necessary that they should have the Spirit all their lives—that they should, as long as they live, be progressing in the truth of God. In order to make them persevere, if possible, he shows them that if they do not, they must, most certainly be lost; for there is no other salvation but that which God has already bestowed on them, and if that does not keep them, carry them forward, and present them spotless before God, there cannot be any other. For it is impossible, he says, if ye be once enlightened, and then fall away, that ye should ever be renewed again unto repentance.
We shall, this morning, answer one or two questions. The first question will be, Who are the people here spoken? Are they true Christians or not? Secondly, What is meant by falling away? And thirdly, What is intended, when it is asserted, that it is impossible to renew them to repentance?
|34||Heb. 6:4-6 Security||Gen 1:1||lightedsteps||219875|
I. First, then, we answer the question, WHO ARE THE PEOPLE HERE SPOKEN OF? If you read Dr. Gill, Dr. Owen, and almost all the eminent Calvinistic writers, they all of them assert that these persons are not Christians. They say, that enough is said here to represent a man who is a Christian externally, but not enough to give the portrait of a true believer. Now, it strikes me they would not have said this if they had not had some doctrine to uphold; for a child, reading this passage, would say, that the persons intended by it must be Christians. If the Holy Spirit intended to describe Christians, I do not see that he could have used more explicit terms than there are here. How can a man be said to be enlightened, and to taste of the heavenly gift, and to be made partaker of the Holy Ghost, without being a child of God? With all deference to these learned doctors, and I admire and love them all, I humbly conceive that they allowed their judgments to be a little warped when they said that; and I think I shall be able to show that none but true believers are here described.
First, they are spoken of as having been once enlightened. This refers to the enlightening influence of God's Spirit, poured into the soul at the time of conviction, when man is enlightened with regard to his spiritual state, shown how evil and bitter a thing it is to sin against God, made to feel how utterly powerless he is to rise from the grave of his corruption, and is further enlightened to see, that "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified," and to behold Christ on the cross, as the sinner's only hope. The first work of grace is to enlighten the soul. By nature we are entirely dark; the Spirit, like a lamp, sheds light into the dark heart, revealing its corruption, displaying its sad state of destitution, and, in due time, revealing also Jesus Christ, so that in his light we may see light. I cannot consider a man truly enlightened unless he is a child of God. Does not the term indicate a person taught of God? It is not the whole of Christian experience; but is it not a part?
Having enlightened us, as the text says, the next thing that God grants to us is a taste of the heavenly gift, by which we understand, the heavenly gift of salvation, including the pardon of sin, justification by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, regeneration by the Holy Ghost, and all those gifts and graces, which in the earlier dawn of spiritual life convey salvation. All true believers have tasted of the heavenly gift. It is not enough for a man to be enlightened; the light may glare upon his eyeballs, and yet he may die; he must taste, as well as see that the Lord is good. It is not enough to see that I am corrupt; I must taste that Christ is able to remove my corruption. It is not enough for me to know that he is the only Savior; I must taste of his flesh and of his blood, and have a vital union with him. We do think that when a man has been enlightened and has had an experience of grace, he is a Christian; and whatever those great divines might hold, we cannot think that the Holy Spirit would describe an unregenerate man as having been enlightened, and as having tasted of the heavenly gift. No, my brethren, if I have tasted of the heavenly gift, then that heavenly gift is mine; if I have had ever so short an experience of my Savior's love, I am one of his; if he has brought me into the green pastures, and made me taste of the still waters and the tender grass, I need not fear as to whether I am really a child of God.
Then the Apostle gives a further description, a higher state of grace: sanctification by participation of the Holy Ghost. It is a peculiar privilege to believers, after their first tasting of the heavenly gift, to be made partakers of the Holy Ghost. He is an indwelling Spirit; he dwells in the hearts, and souls, and minds of men; he makes this mortal flesh his home; he makes our soul his palace, and there he rests; and we do assert (and we think, on the authority of Scripture), that no man can be a partaker of the Holy Ghost, and yet be unregenerate. Where the Holy Ghost dwells there must be life; and if I have participation with the Holy Ghost, and fellowship with him, then I may rest assured that my salvation has been purchased by the blood of the Savior. Thou need not fear, beloved; if thou has the Holy Ghost, thou hast that which ensures thy salvation; thou by an inward communion, can participate in his Spirit, and if by a perpetual indwelling the Holy Ghost rests in thee, thou art not only a Christian, but thou hast arrived at some maturity in and by grace. Thou hast gone beyond mere enlightenment: thou hast passed from the bare taste—thou hast attained to a positive feast, and a partaking of the Holy Ghost.
|35||Heb. 6:4-6 Security||Gen 1:1||lightedsteps||219876|
Lest there should be any mistake, however, about the persons being children of God, the Apostle goes to a further stage of grace. They "have tasted the good word of God." Now, I will venture to say there are some good Christian people here who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have never "tasted the good word of God." I mean by that, that they are really converted, have tasted the heavenly gift, but have not grown so strong in grace as to know the sweetness, the richness, and fatness of the very word that saves them. They have been saved by the word, but they have not come yet to realize, and love, and feed upon the word as many others have. It is one thing for God to work a work of grace in the soul, it is quite another thing for God to show us that work; it is one thing for the word to work in us—it is another thing for us really and habitually to relish, and taste, and rejoice in that word. Some of my hearers are true Christians; but they have not got to that stage wherein they can love election, and suck it down as a sweet morsel, wherein they can take the great doctrines of grace, and feed upon them. But these people had. They had tasted the good word of God, as well as received the good gift: they had attained to such a state, that they had loved the word, had tasted, and feasted upon it. It was the man of their right hand; they had counted it sweeter than honey—ay, sweeter than the droppings of the honeycomb. They had "tasted the good word of God." I say again, if these people be not believers—who are?
And they had gone further still. They had attained the summit of piety. They had received "the powers of the world to come." Not miraculous gifts, which are denied us in these days, but all those powers with which the Holy Ghost endows a Christian. And what are they? Why, there is the power of faith, which commands even the heavens themselves to rain, and they rain, or stops the bottles of heaven, that they rain not. There is the power of prayer, which puts a ladder between earth and heaven, and bids angels walk up and down, to convey our wants to God, and bring down blessings from above. There is the power with which God girds his servant when he speaks by inspiration, which enables him to instruct others, and lead them to Jesus; and whatever other power there may be—the power of holding communion with God, or the power of patient waiting for the Son of Man—they were possessed by these individuals. They were not simply children, but they were men; they were not merely alive, but they were endued with power; they were men, whose muscles were firmly set, whose bones were strong; they had become giants in grace, and had received not only the light, but the power also of the world to come. These, we say, whatever may be the meaning of the text, must have been, beyond a doubt, none other than true and real Christians.
|36||Heb. 6:4-6 Security||Gen 1:1||lightedsteps||219877|
II. And now we answer the second question, WHAT IS MEANT BY FALLING AWAY?
We must remind our friends, that there is a vast distinction between falling away and falling. It is nowhere said in Scripture, that if a man fall he cannot be renewed; on the contrary, "the righteous falleth seven times, but he riseth up again;" and however many times the child of God doth fall, the Lord still holdeth the righteous; yea, when our bones are broken, he bindeth up our bones again, and setteth us once more upon a rock. He saith, "Return, ye backsliding children of men; for I am married unto you;" and if the Christian do backslide ever so far, still Almighty mercy cries, "Return, return, return, and seek an injured Father's heart." He still calls his children back again. Falling is not falling away. Let me explain the difference; for a man who falls may behave just like a man who falls away; and yet there is a great distinction between the two. I can use no better illustration than the distinction between fainting and dying. There lies a young creature; she can scarcely breathe; she cannot herself, lift up her hand, and if lifted up by any one else, it falls. She is cold and stiff; she is faint, but not dead. There is another one, just as cold and stiff as she is, but there is this difference—she is dead. The Christian may faint, and may fall down in a faint too, and some may pick him up, and say he is dead; but he is not. If he fall, God will lift him up again; but if he fall away, God himself cannot save him. For it is impossible, if the righteous fall away, "to renew them again unto repentance."
Moreover, to fall away is not to commit sin. under a temporary surprise and temptation. Abraham goes to Egypt; he is afraid that his wife will be taken away from him, and he says, "She is my sister." That was a sin under a temporary surprise—a sin, of which, by-and-by, he repented, and God forgave him. Now that is falling; but it is not falling away. Even Noah might commit a sin, which has degraded his memory even till now, and shall disgrace it to the latest time; but doubtless, Noah repented, and was saved by sovereign grace. Noah fell, but Noah did not fall away. A Christian may go astray once, and speedily return again; and though it is a sad, and woeful, and evil thing to be surprised into a sin, yet there is a great difference between this and the sin which would be occasioned by a total falling away from grace.
Nor can a man who commits a sin, which is not exactly a surprise, be said to fall away. I believe that some Christian men—(God forbid that we should say much of it!—let us cover the nakedness of our brother with a cloak.) but I do believe that there are some Christians who, for a period of time, have wandered into sin, and yet have not positively fallen away. There is that black case of David—a case which has puzzled thousands. Certainly for some months, David lived without making a public confession of his sin, but, doubtless, he had aching's of heart, for grace had not ceased its work: there was a spark among the ashes that Nathan stirred up, which showed that David was not dead, or else the match which the prophet applied would not have caught light so readily. And so, beloved, you may have wandered into sin for a time, and gone far from God; and yet you are not the character here described, concerning whom it is said, that it is impossible you should be saved; but, wanderer though you be, you are your father's son still, and mercy cries, "Repent, repent; return unto your first husband, for then it was better with you than it is now. Return, O wanderer, return."
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Again, falling away is not even a giving up of profession. Some will say, "Now there is So-and-so; he used to make a profession of Christianity, and now he denies it, and what is worse, he dares to curse and swear, and says that he never knew Christ at all. Surely he must be fallen away." My friend, he has fallen, fallen fearfully, and fallen woefully; but I remember a case in Scripture of a man who denied his Lord and Master before his own face. You remember his name; he is an old friend of yours—our friend Simon Peter! he denied him with oaths and curses, and said, "I say unto thee that I know not the man." And yet Jesus looked on Simon. He had fallen, but he had not fallen away; for, only two or three days after that, there was Peter at the tomb of his Master, running there to meet his Lord, to be one of the first to find him risen. Beloved, you may even have denied Christ by open profession, and yet if you repent there is mercy for you. Christ has not cast you away, you shall repent yet. You have not fallen away. If you had, I might not preach to you; for it is impossible for those who have fallen away to be renewed again unto repentance.
But some one says, "What is falling away?" Well, there never has been a case of it yet, and therefore I cannot describe it from observation; but I will tell you what I suppose it is. To fall away, would be for the Holy Spirit entirely to go out of a man—for his grace entirely to cease; not to lie dormant, but to cease to be—for God, who has begun a good work, to leave off doing it entirely—to take his hand completely and entirely away, and say, "There, man! I have half saved thee; now I will damn thee." That is what falling away is. It is not to sin temporarily. A child may sin against his father, and still be alive; but falling away is like cutting the child's head off clean. Not falling merely, for then our Father could pick us up, but being dashed down a precipice, where we are lost for ever. Falling away would involved God's grace changing its living nature. God's immutability becoming variable, God's faithfulness becoming changeable, and God, himself being undefiled; for all these things falling away would necessitate.
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III. But if a child of God could fall away, and grace could cease in a man's heart—now comes the third question—Paul says, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BE RENEWED. What did the Apostle mean? One eminent commentator says, he meant that it would be very hard. It would be very hard, indeed, for a man who fell away, to be saved. But we reply, "My dear friend, it does not say anything about its being very hard; it says it is impossible, and we say that it would be utterly impossible, if such a case as is supposed were to happen; impossible for man, and also impossible for God; for God hath purposed that he never will grant a second salvation to save those whom the first salvation hath failed to deliver. Methinks, however, I hear some one say, "It seems to me that it is possible for some such to fall away," because it says, "It is impossible, if they shall fall away, to renew them again into repentance." Well, my friend, I will grant you your theory for a moment. You are a good Christian this morning; let us apply it to yourself, and see how you will like it. You have believed in Christ, and committed your soul to God, and you think, that in some unlucky hour you may fall entirely away. Mark you, if you come to me and tell me that you have fallen away, how would you like me to say to you, "My friend, you are as much damned as the devil in hell! for it is impossible to renew you to repentance?" "Oh! no, sir," you would say, "I will repent again and join the Church." That is just the Arminian theory all over; but it is not in God's Scripture. If you once fall away, you are as damned as any man who suffereth in the gulf for ever. And yet we have heard a man talk about people being converted three, four, and five times, and regenerated over and over again. I remember a good man (I suppose he was) pointing to a man who was walking along the street, and saying, "That man has been born again three times, to my certain knowledge." I could mention the name of the individual, but I refrain from doing so. "And I believe he will fall again," said he, "he is so much addicted to drinking, that I do not believe the grace of God will do anything for him, unless he becomes a teetotaler." Now, such men cannot read the Bible; because in case their members do positively fall away, here it is stated, as a positive fact, that it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. But I ask my Arminian friend, does he not believe that as long as there is life there is hope? "Yes," he says:
"While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return."
Well, that is not very consistent, to say this in the very next breath to that with which you tell us that there are some people who fall away, and consequently fall into such a condition, that they cannot be saved. I want to know how you make these two things fit each other; I want you to make these two doctrines agree; and until some enterprising individual will bring the north pole, and set it on the top of the south, I cannot tell how you will accomplish it. The fact is you are quite right in saying, "While there is life there is hope;" but you are wrong in saying that any individual ever did fall into such a condition, that it was impossible for him to be saved.
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We come now to do two things: first, to prove the doctrine, that if a Christian fall away, he cannot be saved; and, secondly, to improve the doctrine, or to show its use,
I. Then I am going to prove the doctrine, that if a Christian fall away—not fall, for you understand how I have explained that; but if a Christian cease to be a child of God, and if grace die out in his heart—he is then beyond the possibility of salvation, and it is impossible for him ever to be renewed. Let me show you why. First, it is utterly impossible, if you consider the work which has already broken down. When men have built bridges across streams, if they have been built of the strongest material and in the most excellent manner, and yet the foundation has been found so bad that none will stand, what do they say? Why, "We have already tried the best which engineering or architecture has taught us; the best has already failed; we know nothing that can exceed what has been tried; and we do therefore feel, that there remains no possibility of ever bridging that stream, or ever running a line of railroad across this bog, or this morass, for we have already tried what is acknowledged to be the best scheme." As the apostle says, "These people have been once enlightened; they have had once the influence of the Holy Spirit, revealing to them their sin: what now remains to be tried. They have been once convinced—is there anything superior to conviction?" Does the Bible promise that the poor sinner shall have anything over and above the conviction of his sin to make him sensible of it? Is there anything more powerful than the sword of the Spirit? That has not pierced the man's heart; is there anything else which will do it? Here is a man who has been under the hammer of God's law; but that has not broken his heart; can you find anything stronger? The lamp of God's spirit has already lit up the caverns of his soul: if that be not sufficient, where will you borrow another? Ask the sun, has he a lamp more bright than the illumination of the Spirit! Ask the stars, have they a light more brilliant than the light of the Holy Ghost? Creation answers no. If that fails, then there is nothing else. These people, moreover, had tasted the heavenly gift; and though they had been pardoned and justified, yet pardon through Christ and justification were not enough (on this supposition) to save them. How else can they be saved? God has cast them away; after he has failed in saving them by these, what else can deliver them? Already they have tasted of the heavenly gift: is there a greater mercy for them? Is there a brighter dress than the robe of Christ's righteousness? Is there a more efficacious bath than that "fountain filled with blood?" No. All the earth echoes, "No." If the one has failed, what else does there remain?
These persons, too, have been partakers of the Holy Ghost; if that fail, what more can we give them? If, my hearer, the Holy Ghost dwells in your soul, and that Holy Ghost does not sanctify you and keep you to the end, what else can be tried? Ask the blasphemer whether he knows a being, or dares to suppose a being superior to the Holy Spirit! Is there a being greater than Omnipotence? Is there a might greater than that which dwells in the believer's new-born heart? And if already the Holy Spirit hath failed, O, heavens! tell us where we can fight aught that can excel his might? If that be ineffectual, what next is to be essayed? These people, too, had "tasted the good Word of Life;" they had loved the doctrines of grace; those doctrines had entered into their souls, and they had fed upon them. What new doctrines shall be preached to them? Prophet of ages! where whilt thou find another system of divinity? Who shall we have? Shall we raise up Moses from the tomb? shall we fetch up all the ancient seers, and bid them prophecy? If, then, there is only one doctrine that is true, and if these people have fallen away after receiving that, how can they be saved?
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Again, these people, according to the text, have had "the powers of the world to come." They have had power to conquer sin—power in faith, power in prayer, power of communion; with what greater power shall they be endowed? This has already failed; what next can be done? O ye angels! answer, what next! What other means remain? What else can avail, if already the great things of salvation have been defeated? What else shall now be attempted? He hath been once saved; but yet it is supposed that he is lost. How, then, can he now be saved? Is there a supplementary salvation? is there something that shall overtop Christ, and be a Christ where Jesus is defeated.
And then the apostle says, that the greatness of their sin which they would incur, if they did fall away, would put them beyond the bounds of mercy. Christ died, and by his death he made an atonement for his own murderers; he made an atonement for those sins which crucified him once; but do we read that Christ will ever die for those who crucify him twice? But the Apostle tells us that if believers do fall away, they will "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Where, then, would be an atonement for that? He has died for me; What! though the sins of all the world were on my shoulders, still they only crucified him once, and that one crucifixion has taken all those sins away; but if I crucified him again, where would I find pardon? Could heavens, could earth, could Christ himself, with bowels full of love, point me to another Christ, show to me a second Calvary, give me a second Gethsemane? Ah! no! the very guilt itself would put us beyond the pale of hope, if we were to fall away?
Again, beloved, think what it would necessitate to save such a man. Christ has died for him once, yet he has fallen away and is lost; the Spirit has regenerated him once, and that regenerating work has been of no use. God has given him a new heart (I am only speaking, of course, on the supposition of the Apostle), he has put his law in that heart, yet he has departed from him, contrary to the promise that he should not; he has made him "like a shining light," but he did not "shine more and more unto the perfect day," he shone only unto blackness. What next? There must be a second incarnation, a second Calvary, a second Holy Ghost, a second regeneration, a second justification, although the first was finished and complete—in fact, I know not what. It would necessitate the upsetting of the whole kingdom of nature and grace, and it would, indeed, be a world turned upside down, if after the gracious Savior failed, he were to attempt the work again.
If you read the 7th verse, you will see that the Apostle calls nature in to his assistance. He says, "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 briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." Look! there is a field; the rain comes on it, and it brings forth good fruit. Well, then, there is God's blessing on it. But there is according to your supposition, another field, on which the same rain descends, which the same dew moistens; it has been ploughed and harrowed, as well as the other, and the husbandman has exercised all his craft upon it, and yet it is not fertile. Well, if the rain of heaven did not fertilize it, what next? Already all the arts of agriculture have been tried, every implement has been worn out on its surface, and yet it has been of no avail. What next? There remains nothing but that it shall be burnt and cursed—given up like the desert of Sahara, and resigned to destruction. So, my hearer, could it be possible that grace could work in thee, and then not affect thy salvation—that the influence of Divine grace could come down, like rain from heaven, and yet return unto God void, there could not be any hope for thee, for thou wouldst be "nigh unto cursing," and thine end would be "to be burned."
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