Arkiv

Can you be born again AGAIN? – John 3:3,7

born again

Being born again, or ”born from above”

When a sinner for the first time comes to Jesus, confesses his sins, repents, becomes forgiven/cleansed/regenerated and decides to leave his old sinful life style behind him to live a new life with Jesus Christ, this can be expressed with being ”born again”. He has put off the old man and put on the new. If a person has gone from spiritual death to spiritual life, being born again is truly a good description and expression – because the person has been given his life back and can start a brand new life together with the holy Spirit given to those who first repent (Acts 2:38). He has been given the key to the kingdom of God.

Sometimes you will hear the question ”Can you be born again AGAIN?” from particularly reformed believers who are convinced that it is only possible to make the transfer from spiritual death to spiritual life one time only (without ever reverting back to spiritual death) and that a person who is born again WILL endure to the end and inherit the kingdom of God as a certainty. They believe that if a person does seem to revert back to deep sin and spiritual death, then he was not saved to begin with. This is commonly believed by the ”once saved always saved” camp as well as the ”perseverance of the saints” camp. The question, however, should be rephrased in order to avoid misunderstandings. There is a risk that the person asking the question might interpret the expression in one way, and the person answering might understand it in a different way. ”Born again” might be only two words but the expression has a deep meaning.

We can agree that a sinner can only once be ”totally converted for the first time” (when he repents, becomes forgiven, gets baptized and becomes a completely new cleansed person and a child of God). However, it is possible for the same sinner to go back to one or more of his old sins because he does not lose his free will in the process. Even Jesus Christ had the ability to sin (something he never did), so naturally we too could still make this choice. The serious part is that an unrepentant sinner is always lost, and people who were previously born again are not excepted from this danger. The devil is always on the hunt to tempt Christians with the hope to ensnare them in sin, and sometimes he succeeds when Christians give in for temptations. Some Christians repent at once, some do not repent until after months or years, and some Christians never repent but have truly reverted back to their own vomit and remain there. People can go from life, to death to life again:

The prodigal son: Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive AGAIN; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.-32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive AGAIN; and was lost, and is found.

The debt which was cancelled by the Lord, and later reinstated again: Matt. 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and FORGAVE HIM THE DEBT.32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.d

2 Pet. 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are AGAIN entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.22 But it is happened unto them accor—ding to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit AGAIN; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

So the question should rather be if a born again child of God can still choose to sin, and yes he can. Even King David, a man of God’s own heart, chose to sin quite severely – through murder, adultery and lies – and did not repent until after about a year. What does the Bible say about a righteous man who sins like King David?

Ez. 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.—26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.

Ever since the time of Adam, the truth remains that the wages of sin is death and that Satan lied when he taught the opposite. Sins still separate us from God.

Being born again (1 Pet. 1:23)

Being born again is a translation from the Greek verb anagennaō (Strong’s 313). According to the Blueletter Bible, it could mean (apart from being born again) to be born anew, to produce again or to have one’s mind changed so that he lives a new life conformed to God’s will (so unlike before). From Strong’s 303 and 1080; to beget or (by extension) bear (again):—beget, (bear) × (again). We can read about being born again (313) in 1 Pet. 1:3 (twice) and in. v. 23.

1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,—13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:—22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever

Ye must be born again”, says Jesus (John 3:3,7)

”Be born” is here a translation of the verb gennaō (Strong’s 1080) and is a variation of genós (Strong’s 1085). In the KJV it is translated: begat, be born, bear, gender, bring forth, be delivered. ”Again” is a translation of the adverb anōthen (Strong’s 509) and can be translated again, anew, from above, from a higher place, top, from the first and from the beginning.

We are all born physically from water (in our mother’s womb), but we also need to be spiritually reborn in order to become heirs to God’s kingdom, and that is when we are forgiven and cleansed from our past sins. No wonder Jesus taught ”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”! 

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

From the below text we learn that Jesus seemed surprised about Nicodemus’ failure to understand him, indicating that Jesus was no Calvinist (Calvinists believe God is the one who enables and prevents people to believe). Jesus also compares himself with the serpent in the wilderness during the time of Moses, and people had to walk up to this serpent to behold it in order to be cleansed from their wounds. They had to make their own choice to do it, and similarly we need to make our own choice to approach Jesus in order to be cleansed from our ”spiritual wounds” (our sins). Whosoever believes in Jesus will get eternal life, showing that it is a universal offer for everyone. God loved the WORLD, and sent his son not to condemn THE WORLD but to save it. Parts of the world will still be condemned,  but this does not change the fact that Jesus was sent to enable salvation to the world. We can see in v. 18-20, that the reason why people are still being condemned is because they do not believe in Jesus and do not come to the light due to their evil ways (they love darkness rather than light). If you do evil deeds you hate the light and do not come to the light. In v. 36 we can see that a person risks the wrath of God if he does not believe (and obey) the son of God (Jesus, God in flesh). God has no reason to be angry at someone who acts according to his will, which means that he is only angry at those who do NOT do his will but walk their own ways.

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God —31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The new man who is born againjohn piper

Do not trust reformed Mr Piper (see picture right), but trust in the Bible which says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but was sent so that the world through him (the condition) could be saved. We must therefore remain in the vine (Jesus) so that we will not be cut off (John 15). Below we can see various descriptions about how a new person in Christ is expected to live his life. We can read about THE OLD MAN being put off:

Colossians 3:Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have PUT OFF THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS;10 AND HAVE PUT ON THE NEW MAN, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

2 Cor. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.—17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; behold, all things are become new.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that OUR OLD MAN is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.–-16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Eph. 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;  2 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, THE OLD MAN which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you PUT ON THE NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and DO NOT SIN”:do not let the sun go down on your wrath,27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (NKJV)

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 1:If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Matthew 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

1 Cor. 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

If the elect cannot be lost, why the Biblical warnings that they can be DECEIVED?

Do not be deceived

If Christians are exempt from the risk of being deceived, Biblical warnings about deception (addressing Christians) do not make much sense

In a world where predestination is the only factor which determines man’s paths, the elect cannot be lost and the non-elect cannot be saved. This would be the world of the reformed believers (Calvinists) who do not believe in ”free will” in the ordinary way. Yet, the Bible constantly reveals how God pleads with people, warns them and even punishes them for acting against his will. The Bible also tells us that certain people risk being deceived in such a way that their salvation is in jeopardy (not merely risking reduced rewards in heaven), and not even God’s ”little children” are exempt from this risk. Why warning the elect that they might be deceived if this can never truly happen? Why warning the non-elect that they might be deceived if they are even born deceived and will remain in that state of mind for ever more?

Deut. 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them

Do we have an option to take heed or not, or will God make sure that (some of us) WILL take heed and thus avoid the risk of worshiping other gods? In that case, why the severe warning to take heed lest we be deceived?

Mal. 1:14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lordof hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

Can such a thing really happen? A prophet which speaks corrupt things which God disapproves of and wishes that he would not have done? Yes, due to man’s free will.

”Deceive” in the New Testament is a translation from the Greek verb planaō (Strong’s 4105)

In the KJV it is translated deceive (24x), err (6x), go astray (5x), seduce (2x), wander (1x), be out of the way (1x). Below are a few examples:

Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Above we can read an analogy with a sheep going astray, but it is not certain that sheep that have gone astray will always be found. V. 13 tells us ”IF so be that he find it….”, then there will be much joy. Moreover, there are apparently a group of people (likened with sheep) who are not considered lost, but others who are. Those who are lost are obviously those who are not together with the shepherd but have gone astray. Furthermore, we can read that God the Father does not want any of those little lost ones (sheep going astray) to perish. Sadly certain lost people DO perish, so God’s will is not always done. Is there really a shepherd who would want some of his sheep to go astray, and is it likely that a loving parent would want some of his/her children to go astray and remain totally lost? The son of man came to save that which is lost. There is obviously no need to save people who are NOT lost and who need no repentance – perhaps because they are innocent babies/children or because they have already repented and remained cleansed. Those who need no repentance are likely the ”99 sheep” already with the shepherd, so he does not have to worry about their safety. They are already secure as long as they choose to remain with the shepherd. The shepherd will focus on those who are LOST and he will want to save as many sheep as possible. Shepherds do not place GPS-units on their sheep together with a modern device that can somehow force them to return home, but sheep rather have free will.:

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

More examples of being deceived:

Mark. 13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (+ Luke 21:8)

Matt. 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.—11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.—20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:—22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Jesus is above talking to his disciples (and all of us), and he feels it is urgent to give us warnings to take heed since people might deceive us. The love of many shall wax cold in the end of days but he who endures to the END shall be saved. It does not say ”he who is chosen to be elect and saved from the beginning of the world will remain saved”. Jesus also asks us (or perhaps those living near Jerusalem at the time) to pray that our flight will not take place in the winter or during a sabbath day. It certainly seems like we can affect the outcome with our prayers and that all things are not set in stone. What would happen if we do NOT pray about this? Will things turn out exactly as God has predestined anyway? Then why does Jesus so earnestly ask to pray about this matter if we cannot change what is already predestined? If people, like Jesus’ disciples, could never be tricked into following a false prophet, Jesus would not have to caution them about it. Some take v. 24 to mean that the elect cannot be deceived but that is not what it says. ”Elect” means something precious and special, such as Israel, certain angels and even Jesus Christ. As born again christians we are certainly ”a peculiar people” and very special indeed. The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8) , and if there is a possibility that he can trick some of God’s children he will of course try. Why putting in much effort to deceive people who are already deceived and lost?

1 Cor. 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Why does Paul tell christians to not be deceived if it is not possible for them to end up deceived? Can born again christians choose to sin in such ways that Paul listed? Sure, even Jesus Christ could have chosen to sin but he chose not to. The Bible gives us examples of true believers who have chosen to sin and not all of them repented. Paul tells us that if people engage in sin, the same people are prevented from inheriting the kingdom of God. He does not suggest that born again christians are exempted from this risk, nor that they can get away with sin because they are unconditionally eternally secured. Regardless if agnostics or christians engage in sin, they are still labelled unrighteous, and Paul makes it perfectly clear that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. There will always be preachers to teach the opposite (”No worries, it is not possible to stop sinning but God still accepts you as you are as long as you believe in him”) but Paul’s warning is ”Be not deceived” about them! Remember that it was Satan who managed to get Eve to believe that she could get away with sin (not obeying God) and still not die. As we all know, he lied. Sin separates us from God.

Gal. 6:Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Above we are again asked to not be deceived, and Paul explains what we should not be deceived about. He wants us to understand that ”he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (NKJV). This means that what we choose to DO will determine our future. If we do bad (use our bodies to sin) we will die spiritually, but if we do good we will get everlasting life. It is not enough to spend our lives just ”believing” without showing our faith also with our actions, and neither is it possible to mix righteousness with unrighteousness and get away with it. Be not deceived!

Heb. 3:6 But
Heb. 3Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

There are many promises to God’s children above, but in connection to many ”ifs”. We are partakers of Jesus house IF we hold fast unto the end and IF we will not harden our hearts. Believers must take heed (”brethren”…”any of you”) LEST they might depart from God through sin. ”Today if ye hear his voice, harden not your hearts”. It seems like there is a possibility that believers might choose to harden their hearts, unless the warning is in vain. We can also read that there are individuals who ”err” in their hearts resulting in not knowing God’s ways. This leads to the wrath of God, and naturally God would not have any reason to be angry with people who always obeyed his will. Those who do err will not enter in God’s rest, and that is the reason why we must take heed. It is up to us.

Jas. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

”If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), and above we can read that those who love the Lord will receive the crown of life. God does not tempt us, much less cause us to sin (the calvinistic style). If we sin, it is our own doing and we cannot blame anyone else and certainly not the nature we were born with. Sin continues to bring forth death unless we repent and live a righteous life. Beloved brethren are asked to not err (be deceived) about this truth.

Jas. 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Again we can read that the warning to err from the truth concerns ”brethren”. This means that believers can stray away from the truth they once knew and be lost due to sin. We can also read that if such a brother is converted, this same person shall save his soul from death. He is not merely risking to get reduced stuff in heaven.

2 Pet. 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Peter above has the same story as James. This passage is replete with warnings to christians, because a dog can indeed ”return” to his own vomit which he previously got rid of. It is good to know that there is always a way out of each temptation even if temptations sometimes are hard to reject. The promise is for the ”godly”, and it is the holy Spirit in our lives which makes us godly and with much power to overcome temptations. Those who choose to walk after their flesh will of course be more open to give in for temptations. The ”unjust” will be punished, but of course, in a world where everyone always does the will of God there would be nothing for God to punish. We can read about people who have ”forsaken the right way, and are gone astray”. V. 20-21 are very clear. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” (NKJV). A person can indeed go from salvation to damnation due to sin. 

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In the middle of the above text we find the well-known 1 John 1:8, but the verses before and after are not as popular – probably because we can read about conditions for salvation. v. 6 tells us that we lie if we walk in darkness (if we sin), and v. 7 tells us that we are cleansed from our sins if we walk in the light. The solution to our sin-problem is to confess sin, repent from it and start living a righteous life together with Jesus. We can do all things with the power of the holy Spirit!

1 john 31 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.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.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Above text shows that ”little children” can deceive themselves, and that is if they are not aware of that it is those who DOETH righteousness who are righteous, just like Jesus is righteous for the same reason (through avoiding sin). The verses do not suggest that he is righteous who takes cover behind Jesus to hide his sin from God the Father. ”Little children let no man deceive you – he that doeth righteous is righteous”.  Satan says the opposite – that it is not important to be obedient to God since we will not die anyway.

Rev. 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Deceived 3Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Rev. 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Rev. 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Revelations show us that Satan certainly is the deceiver, and he can even seduce God’s
servants. We must particularly be aware of his tactics in the end of days.

The NT Bible authors claim that SIN continues to risk spiritual DEATH

flickaThe Bible authors about our capacity to avoid sinning

Most christians understand that sin does not please God and that born again christians should avoid it. Still, the same christians might also suggest that we can never truly stop sinning. There are many agnostics and even atheists also live pretty good moral lives, so what is the difference between christians and non-christians if the fruit is the same? Are we supposed to believe there are sinning saints who are saved because they believe in God and because they perhaps ”do their best” to avoid sinning?

Many believe that we are saved by faith alone (despite that Ja. 2:24 says the opposite), but having a lack of belief in God appears to be one sin among others sins which separate us from him:

Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

”Unbelieving” is a translation from the Greek adjective apistos (Strong’s 571) which in the KJV is translated: that believe not (6x), unbelieving (5x), faithless (4x), unbeliever (4x), infidel (2x), thing incredible (1x), which believe not (1x).

Sinning does not merely affect our ”relationship with God”, but sinning continues to risk our souls. If we want to have a healthy and prosperous relationship with God, we are faithful to him and the same thing applies if we want to have a prosperous relationship with a spouse. Repentance is a requirement for being cleansed from past sins, but combining obedience and disobedience is not true repentance and does not lead to salvation. It is true that we do not only get one single chance and then we are out, but true repentance signifies a completely new mind-set. The idea is to leave the old man behind and this can be achieved with the help of the holy Spirit. We can successfully live in complete victory over sin here and now. Yes, we are saved by grace, which we do not deserve and thanks to God’s kindness, but what does this really mean?

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Let us not forget that it was SATAN who introduced the idea that sin will not cause death, but as we all know he LIED because the opposite is true. This means that the following common church teachings are all false: ”once saved always saved”, ”we can’t stop sinning”, ”thanks to Jesus death on the cross we no longer have to risk separation from God”, ”Jesus has paid for our sins so now we no longer have to fear any consequences for our sins”, ”God has forgiven all our sins – past, present and future sins”, ”we have been provided Jesus righteousness, which means that God can no longer see our sins but only the blood of Jesus”, ”we are born with a sinful nature which makes us sin”, ”God accepts us just as we are”, ”as long as we feel bad about our sins, God will forgive us”, ”we are saved by faith alone, which means that our deeds won’t affect our salvation”, ”we are saved by grace, which means that obedience is not essential for salvation”, etc.

Gen. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE

Jesus does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual deathgrace 5

Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

John 3:36 He who believes (Strong’s 4100) in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey (Strong’s 544) the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NASB)

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.-21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.—23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.—8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.—14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Matt 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matt. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Paul does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.-12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.—15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 Cor 6:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Eph. 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Cor 7:9 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

John does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death

1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.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.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Rev. 21:27 (The new Jerusalem) And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Peter does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death1 Pet.

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

1 Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

1 Peter. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

2 Peter. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.—10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.—18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Jude does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death

Juda 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

James does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death

Ja. 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.—21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Ja. 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Ja. 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The Hebrew writer does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death

Hebr 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Hebr. 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

God does not say that christians can afford to sin without risking spiritual death
sök

Mal 2:17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

Isa. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.13 Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. 18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Gen. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

ADOPTION as a son in the Bible does not equal unconditional salvation

rom. 8 sons of GodThe Biblical ”adoption” holds a spiritual meaning

When we hear about an adoption the year 2015, we normally think about a person who assumes the parenting role of a child instead of that child’s biological/legal parents, and in doing so makes the child a permanent family member with all the legal rights. (It’s not common that a parent to either a biological child or an adopted child will choose to disinherit a child, but it has happened.)

The prodigal son actually inherited much of his Father’s wealth while his Father was still alive, but he (the prodigal son) was lost and dead while being away living in sin. ”Be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” – Luke. 15:32. The Father never stopped loving him or hoping he would repent and return, because God does not want anyone to perish.

The word ”adoption” in the Bible is a translation from the Greek word huiothesia (Strong’s 5206). It could refer to the condition of a true follower in Christ who by receiving the Spirit of God becomes a son of God and therefore an heir to his kingdom. It could also refer to the blessed state looked for in the future life, or the relationship that God established with the Israelites. It’s used five times in the Bible, and none of the verses suggest that God unconditionally selects people for adoption/salvation:

Rom. 8:15; 23

The condition for being in Jesus Christ is to walk after the Spirit (obeying God). If a person bears bad fruit or no fruit, he will be cut off the vine (John 15). To be carnally minded is death, but to spiritually minded is LIFE. Paul recognizes that the Romans to whom he writes, are in the Spirit because they live righteous lives. IF the Spirit dwells in us, we also know that our mortal bodies will one day be quickened. ”If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”. Who are the sons of God, according to Paul? ”As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. So the condition for being a son of God is to make sure to live by the Spirit, which should be something we can master because we have received the ”Spirit of adoption”. IF we are his children (if we walk in the Spirit and live righteous lives), then we also live in the promise that we are HEIRS to the kingdom of God. If we endure in our sufferings, we will also be glorified.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.—9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And IF children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.—.23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Rom. 9:4

Here Paul is referring to Israel as a group of people who have the right to be adopted as sons (being God’s own people): ”v. 4—who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons” (NASB). We know that not all of Israel made it into the promised land, and we know that not all of Israel will eventually be saved/adopted. That is because some of Israel has stumbled on the stumbling stone, and others simply lack faith and live of the world. You can read more about Rom. 9 here and here.

Rom. 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;–24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Gal. 4:5gal.4

Paul viewed the Galatians as christians who had received the holy Spirit, and who therefore had the right to be regarded as God’s adopted sons.This also means that they had been given a guaranteed right to enter the kingdom of God due to being valid heirs. However, a christian must still read the fine print of his guarantee receipt, because he only has this right as long as he remains in faith and remains in the vine. A guarantee receipt is to no use of the holder if he throws it away or forgets where it is. Paul understood this too well, because he asked the Galatians how on earth they could think of turning back to the Jewish law after having known God (and also having been known by him). Paul feared that he might have labored for them in vain and that they might end up not inheriting the kingdom of God. He says (4:20) ”I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you” (NKJV). In other verses Paul makes it clear that the Galatians – despite having begun in the Spirit, and despite having been given all the wonderful promises that are tied to those who are in Christ – still risked to have suffered and worked in vain. Paul also told the Galatians that Christ will profit them nothing and that they had fallen from grace! They could of course be restored again if they repented and followed the christian way. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Note that Paul was not upset that the Galatians obeyed the moral law, but rather the Jewish law with focus on the ceremonial parts.) NKJV:

Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?— 3Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?”

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.—4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.—”7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.—15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!—18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Gal. 2:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.—29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Gal. 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.—19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.—31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Eph. 1:5 

Just like in the verses above, we are heirs if we are in Jesus Christ. Eph. 1-2 concerns a corporate election where the body of Christ will definitely inherit the kingdom of God. The concept that those who are in HIM will be the ones saved was decided upon already from the foundation of the world. If we are in him, we are also predestined to be adopted. The order of events is something like this:

  1. You believe and trust in Jesus Christ, and you have repented for your sins and decided to walk in the light
  2. After having repented, you have become totally cleansed, righteous and justified
  3. You have therefore been given the holy Spirit (marked), and you are IN HIM, in the vine, in the body of Christ
  4. You are therefore born again, a child of God, an adopted son and therefore an heir to his kingdom
  5. As an heir you have wonderful things to look forward to upon the return of Jesus, where you will be glorified

However, if you’re defecting from Jesus Christ already in the first position, then of course the promises which are tied to all true christians no longer apply for you. They only apply to those who are IN HIM as Eph. 1 says. If the first point no longer applies for you (due to lack of faith, or due to sin which you won’t let go of) then neither do the following points.

Eph. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted IN THE BELOVED.IN HIM we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace —10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—IN HIM. 11 IN HIM also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted IN CHRIST should be to the praise of His glory.13  IN HIM you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; IN WHOM also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (NKJV)

Being cut off from the VINE due to lack of FRUIT, despite starting out in Jesus – John 15

tree 2A branch can start out in the vine (Jesus) and still be cut off at a later stage due to lack of fruit

”Fruit” is often used as another term for ”works” – as in showing our faith by doing good deeds towards others. We are not saved by either faith alone or works alone, but the two must go together. The following are some things we learn from John 15:

  • Branches that bear at least some fruit (which is a sign of life) will be pruned, but if branches bear no fruit at all they will be removed and thrown into the fire
  • The branches that were cut off were so because they did not abide by bearing fruit, and they will WITHER which shows they used to be alive and fresh.
  • Jesus declared his disciples ”clean” and yet they (along with all of us) were warned to not be cut off the vine due to lack of fruit.
  • Being thrown in the fire is a common term for being thrown into hell, and this happens when people transgress God’s commandments and refuse to repent.
  • We are fervently urged to ABIDE. We are not simply told that we absolutely WILL abide because it’s not possible to lose our salvation. It’s the other way around since we are told to stick with Jesus, or else terrible things will follow.
  • There are many IF:s in the chapter. ”IF a man abide not in me…”, ”IF ye abide in me….”, ”IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love….” ”IF ye do whatsoever I command you, you are my friends”, etc. Why all these IF:s if we are eternally secure once we are in Jesus?
  • God is GLORIFIED when we bear fruit, so his desire is that we bear fruit so that he can be more glorified. That means that it’s something negative if a branch that used to be in him must be cut off due to being useless.
  • Bearing fruit is a condition for being a disciple of Jesus.
  • We are told to CONTINUE in his love. We are not told that it’s a certainty that we will.
  • We are told that we are friends of Jesus IF we obey his commandments.
  • Jesus gives us a commandment to love one another, just like Jesus has loved us. This shows us that we can heed to this commandment.
  • Jesus also tells us that he has kept his Father’s commandment and therefore he abides in his love, and we are asked to do the very same (obey the commandments so that we can abide in Jesus love).
  • Jesus had even ordained his disciples to bear much fruit, but this naturally doesn’t mean that they had no ability to disobey. Judas (a chosen disciple) had departed earlier, but from history we learn that the other eleven remained with Jesus and showed much good fruit throughout their lives.
  • Certain people ”had not had sin” if it weren’t for the fact that they rejected Jesus despite that he had come and spoken to them and shown them amazing works of God that no other man has done. Their refusal to accept Jesus made them guilty as sinners, despite that they were very religious Jews eager to obey the law of Moses.

John 15:1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. —.22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.—24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

While the above chapter shows that we can be cut off from the vine due to lack of fruit, the following chapter shows that we as branches can be cut off from the olive tree due to lack of faith (unbelief).

  • The good olive tree with its roots is a picture of the Jews to whom the gospel was first provided. We are also told about another olive tree (wild by nature) which is a picture of the gentiles. Some of the branches in the good olive tree were broken off when Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and the gentiles could be grafted in – provided they had faith.
  • Paul tells us not to boast about our place in the olive tree, but he also says ”IF you boast...” showing that we might choose to be disobedient to God against his will.
  • We are told that we stand in the olive tree by FAITH, so this is a condition for salvation (both for the Jew and the gentile).
  • We are told to not be high-minded , but Paul wants us to live in ”fear” (in another letter he says: ”work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”) since God has shown that he doesn’t necessarily spare the branches if they don’t cooperate by having faith.
  • We are told to TAKE HEED, which would be a useless warning unless there were a real risk that we could lose our place in the olive tree. We are specifically told that we might not be spared due to unbelief.
  • We are told to keep those who tragically fell in mind, because we too might be cut off if we don’t continue in his kindness.
  • Jews (or anyone) can be grafted in AGAIN (meaning we can go from being in the tree, to not being in the tree, to being in the tree again). The condition is FAITH and that we continue to abide.

Rom. 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, BUT FEAR:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, TAKE HEED LEST HE ALSO SPARE NOT THEE.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF THOU CONTINUE IN HIS GOODNESS: OTHERWISE THOU ALSO SHALT BE CUT OFF.23 And they also, IF THEY ABIDE NOT STILL IN UNBELIEF, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

In the below parable we can read about a vineyard who belongs to the ”well-beloved”, and we are told he is the same as ”The Lord of hosts”. He worked hard to produce good grapes, but contrary to his expectations WILD grapes were brought forth. What else could he have done to his vineyard apart from what he has already done? Nothing, and yet things didn’t turn out the way he wanted. The Lord of hosts then proceeded to lay his vineyard to waste.

Isaiah 5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He EXPECTED IT TO BRING FORTH GOOD GRAPES, BUT IT BROUGHT FORTH WILD GRAPES .3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? WHY THEN, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.6 I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it.”7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help. (NKJV)

I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?” (NKJV) is the question asked in Jeremiah 2:21. God planted one thing and expected a certain result (a noble vine), and yet he received a totally different result (an alien vine). Things don’t always end up as God desires, and that is due to our free will that he created us with.

Jeremiah 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God.

Jeremiah 8:12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.13 I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

The Lord of hosts planted a tree and called it ”a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit”. Yet, he ended up destroying it and branches were broken off. It’s a picture of God’s holy people ending up rebelling against him and provoking him to anger due to their evil deeds.

Jeremiah 11:15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.16 The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.17 For the Lord of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

Every man is judged based on his fruit. It’s wise to win souls:

Jeremiah 17:10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

More from the New Testament (apart from John 15 and Romans 11 above)

tree 1

We have not truly repented if we bring forth bad fruit. John the Baptist refused to baptize Jews who were still stuck in their corruption and sins. Every tree which doesn’t bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Even evil people can give good gifts to their children, but this doesn’t mean they are saved. It does mean that we can all do good. (Seeking God and repenting are two examples of good things that an unsaved person might choose to do.) We are told to enter the narrow gate, meaning the choice is ours. We are told to beware of false prophets, which shows that there is a risk that believers might be deceived. It also shows that people are NOT forced into being ”non-elect” or ”elect”, because for the non-elect a warning to beware of false prophets would fall into deaf ears, and the elect don’t even need to be warned because they can’t even lose their salvation. False prophets might be dressed in sheep’s clothing but we are still able to know them by their fruit. Are they for instance willing to be corrected by the Bible? Do they often lose their self-control and resort to name callings? Do they subtly encourage people to sin by declaring that we can safely serve two masters and still be saved? Do they show good deeds in their lives? We decide what kinds of trees we want to become, but we are also likened with branches (see above) that can be cut off.

”Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Doing wonderful works in God’s name (prophesying, casting out demons, etc) is of course not a sin, but if you add iniquity into the picture you’re a sinner and therefore lost. Naturally everyone can get his/her soul restored by repenting! In the story below, Jesus had never known the people spoken about – probably because they had always been workers of iniquity and lawless.

”Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH them…” shows that not everyone is doing the will of God – but if he is doing the will of God, then that person is wise and is likened to having built his house on a rock. Notice that it’s not God who builds the house on the rock for him, but he does so himself and that is the reason he is considered to be wise – by obeying his Lord, which sadly not all choose to do.

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work INIQUITY.24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

We certainly can’t blame God for placing evil thoughts into our hearts, because then he would be blamed for our iniquities. On judgment day we are to give account for every unnecessary word that we have said, showing that it’s our own responsibility to master our own tongues. We choose if we want to be a good person or an evil person.

Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

”Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”Luke 6:46. Why indeed? We certainly don’t have to disobey God, but if we do it’s our own choice and nothing that we can blame on God.

Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Some people bless God with the same mouth as they curse others – for instance their brothers and sisters. James says to this brothers (indicating it also concerns believers) that it should not have to be in that way.

James 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT SO TO BE.11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Jesus always hopes for that we will bear fruit, and he doesn’t give up until one final day when it’s too late. Then the fig tree will finally be cut down for good:

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and IF NOT, then after that thou shalt cut it down.