dinsdag 9 december 2014

Working out your salvation in fear and trembling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Philippians 2:12-16

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Philippians 3:17-19

4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Hebrews 6:4-6

When people receive the gospel with joy and become born-again as a first step on their journey towards the wonderful destination prepared for them by Christ, all heaven rejoices. Unfortunately some forget to work out their faith with fear and trembling and are side-tracked by the things of this world. As John Bunyan so vividly described in his work ‘The Pilgrim’s progress’  they get seduced by this world’s vanity fair.  Instead of fearing to wander away from the small narrow road of salvation, instead of trembling at the thought of losing their way, they lust after the things the world does: Status in the eyes of the world, a good career, their own house, a comfortable home, a high salary, nice outings, relaxing holidays…… all good things if God gives them to us after we first prioritize on Gods kingdom and living in accordance with His righteousness and think equally of Gods interests and our fellow humans in how we spend our time, money and energy. Unfortunately the spiritual life in some is overshadowed and eventually destroyed by their own appetite for more for themselves. Their appetite has become their god and they end up indulging in sin and became enemies of the cross. Eventually some wander away so far that they can no longer come to repentance. A very sad fact as their end is their own destruction.

The Calvinist doctrine that once-saved one is always saved may sound comforting but it does not agree with these scriptures. I would think its better to base one's beliefs on what the apostle wrote than on what was written by John Calvin and his followers.

Let us therefore work out our salvation in fear and trembling and not let go of the ideals set before us by Christ himself. Let us continue to prioritize on God and His kingdom, on following Christ and walk in His righteousness.

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