Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How Many Sins Does it Take?

Of course if your belief is in eternal security, this (the title) is a meaningless question. That's okay with me because that's your belief, but not mine. I believe the instant that you become a Christian Satan doubles up on his attack. Of course he works hard when the Holy Spirit calls, but when you submit to Christ the old buzzard tries to steal you away while you're yet a babe. A parallel to how Satan is allowed to work on righteous people is in the Book of Job.

Now, back to the question" How many sins does it take before a person has abandoned God and fell back into the welcoming arms of the devil? One? Two? Multiple? Continual? A lifestyle of sin? Just how many can Jesus bear?

It's not dependent on Jesus. He died for all sins of all people. It's dependent on you! Jesus accepts those of little faith.  The following passage was when Peter attempted to do what Jesus did; walk on water:

Matthew 14:30 "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 32 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased."

Peter walked in faith, then faltered and began to fall. Jesus, because of his grace, caught Peter, chastised him and then ceased the wind and calmed the waters. Jesus provided safety to Peter and never allowed him to fall. Why? Because Peter didn't abandon God! He still had a little faith and it was Jesus who measured it! "Doubt" is the reciprocal of "faith". By Peter having a little faith, he had much doubt even though he followed Jesus, he still doubted that he was truly God in the flesh! Many Christians are of little faith and have much doubt. Jesus still catches us before we fall!

Peter knew Jesus and was with him every day! We have never seen Jesus. We do sense his presence and love.

Peter was known as "the doubter", but I believe that the title more so belonged to Peter. Here is what Jesus said about Thomas' doubt:
John 20:29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
When Jesus spoke to Thomas he spoke to us in this generation because we have never seen him yet believe!  Then it would appear that seeing intensifies belief. All of us believe without the intensifying act of seeing. 

Now let's get back to Peter. He denied Jesus, not once, but thrice. He even denied Jesus with words although he knew Jesus with all of his senses. Jesus continued to catch Peter because he still had a little faith and even after Jesus saved him from drowning with a miracle! Peter denied his Savior!

This man of little faith in the end died for Jesus!  Jesus told Peter how he was to die!

John 21:18 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me."

Peter died in Rome by crucifixion on a cross in imitation of the one in whom he believed! In this passage Jesus alluded to that type of death "when you're old you will die with outstretched hands" (paraphrased), indicating his death by crucifixion. So as to not disrespect his Lord, Peter asked that he be crucified upside down to which the Romans obliged.

This man of little faith had the faith to live and die a martyr for Jesus although he had much doubt at one time! Even when Jesus wasn't there in body to catch him his Ghost was! However, the Holy Ghost need not catch him because his continual and never-ceasing, but little faith, had held him up until his mission was accomplished; to tell the world about Jesus!

Jesus died for all our sins and everyone's who ever lived. However, when we submit to him, it's our PAST sins which are forgiven:
Romans 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God..."
When we're saved God "forgets" all our past sins.(Isaiah 43:25). (People don't!). Our slate is wiped clean and we start out again as a new person. How one can tell if he the enlightenment was real is if there was a change. The new person is expected to do God's will and foremost in his will is "to obey my commands" (Jesus'). What does he command? That we love him and others! The Ten Commandments are the metrics for loving God and others. When we violate what is written on stone, then we are failing to love God and others. A lifestyle of missing those marks is apostasy. It's living completely out of the will of God without feeling guilt in doing so. As long as one feels guilt the Holy Ghost, the Ghost of Jesus, is still catching them because that's why he is here, to Comfort (help) us live righteously!

At some point those with little faith, if they're not protected by God's whole armor, may deplete that faith by which they were made safe and had the hope of salvation!

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
"Saved: here is Greek saos (safe). By grace we are made "safe", having the HOPE of salvation. What is the catch word which makes one safe? Faith? As long as we have a little faith, even though we may doubt, Jesus catches us and doesn't allow us to fall and self-destruct in turbulent waters.

Faith is trusting in Jesus because we know what he did for us (grace) and that we SHALL be saved as long as we have faith. In other words, "faith" is critical to salvation. One sin is not a demonstration that one fails to have faith Two isn't! Many aren't? It's when we fail to see the need for repentance (because past sins only were forgiven) and quit allowing Jesus (through his Ghost) to catch us. Faith is turning to Jesus when we're drowning and realizing that he WILL catch us. When we quit turning to Jesus at all is when we are in apostasy and Jesus is no longer in our thoughts, without doubt not our Lord!

Jesus knew Peter's heart. He knew that Peter still had a little faith. On the other hand he knows our hearts. He knows when he has no part in our lives. Jesus doesn't catch those who fail to have even a little faith. Why should he? He catches us because of our faith! Peter was made safe by Jesus. He didn't die and was saved from death as was Lazarus, His salvation came when he took that last breath on his upside down cross. Until then his faith made him safe until his death when his faith saved him!  (Being saved is when one dies, bit is saved from "dying again" in a second death. It has nothing to do with being saved from mortal death)! He lived in faith of his Lord Jesus Christ and made a living sacrifice!

If Peter had left Jesus when he denied him thrice, the Ghost of Jesus would not have been there to catch him, but his little faith increased with Jesus' Resurrection and Peter's little faith turned into much faith... faith enough to die rather than to deny! Only Judas' little faith turned into no faith. Jesus didn't catch him although he once had faith enough to follow Jesus.

Never dabble in thinking "one more sin won't matter", for sin begets sin and by the time one is aware the devil has deceived! As sin compounds itself Jesus is no longer Lord. The devil is. Satan smiles as the believer's faith erodes and all the demons in hell rejoice that you have fallen into their sea. Jesus' arms were there to catch you, but unlike Peter, you failed to reach out to the one who could make you safe!

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