FAITH, OUR IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

What does it mean to be made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus?

The New Living Translation says: For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Being made the righteousness of God in Christ does indeed sound a lot more spectacular than simply being made right with God; yet when the whole counsel of scripture is taken into account, being made right with God is exactly what is meant by the words “made the righteousness of God in Christ.”

We are in right standing with God through Jesus Christ and it is God’s own righteousness that has brought this about.

Consider the following for Romans 4:

Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake alone, that it (righteousness) was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (v.23-25)

Regarding Romans 4:25, W.E. Vine states, “…all that was necessary on God’s part for our justification had been effected in the death of Christ. On this account he was raised from the dead. The propitiation being perfect and complete, his resurrection was the confirmatory counterpart.”

Christ Jesus is the one through whom we are justified in the sight of God. However, it is how this justification is accredited to us that is sometimes misunderstood.

For instance, in Calvinist theology, being made righteousness in Christ means that Christ’s own personal righteousness is imputed to us as righteousness. Though it is understandable how someone could reach this conclusion, the Bible doesn’t actually support this claim when the whole counsel of scripture is taken into account.

Allow me to expound on this briefly. Let’s look again at the verses in Romans cited above:

Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake alone, that it (righteousness) was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (v.23-25)

A careful reading of Romans 4 reveals that Abraham was declared righteous because he believed God.

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS COUNTED UNTO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Romans 4:1-3)

Notice that “it” is a reference to Abraham’s faith which was accounted or accredited to him as righteousness.

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (ROMANS 4:4-5)

Notice that for the one who believes in God through Christ, his faith is counted or accredited for righteousness.

Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God IMPUTETH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHOUT WORKS, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord WILL NOT IMPUTE SIN. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that FAITH WAS RECKONED TO ABRAHAM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (ROMANS 4:6-9)

Paul, quoting David from the Psalms, describes the blessedness of being forgiven as imputed righteousness. He then cites Abraham’s faith again and says, faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

HOW WAS IT THEN RECKONED? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH which he had yet being uncircumcised: THAT HE MIGHT BE THE FATHER OF ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE, though they be not circumcised; THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MIGHT BE IMPUTED UNTO THEM ALSO: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also WALK IN THE STEPS OF THAT FAITH OF OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, which he had being yet uncircumcised. (ROMANS 4:10-12)

Notice that Abraham is the father of all who believe and righteousness is imputed to them in the same way it was imputed to Abraham: through faith.

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH. (ROMANS 4:13)

The righteousness of faith refers to righteousness that accredited through faith. That is the train of thought here.

For if they which are of the law be heirs, FAITH is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of FAITH, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is OF THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before himWHOM HE BELIEVED, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in FAITH, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was STRONG IN FAITH, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. AND THEREFORE *IT* WAS IMPUTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.(Romans 4:14-22)

The “it” which was imputed to him for righteousness is faith!

Now it was not written for his sake alone, THAT IT WAS IMPUTED TO HIM; But FOR US ALSO, to whom IT SHALL BE IMPUTED, IF WE BELIEVE ON HIM that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:24-25)

Notice that, that which was written concerning faith being imputed for righteousness was not written for Abraham’s sake alone, but for us also to who it – faith – will be imputed as righteousness if we believe on him who raised Jesus from the dead.

Also notice that Abraham’s faith in God is specifically tied to the promise God made to him that he would be the father of many nations. According the Galatians 3:8, thise was the gospel in advance. Abraham believed God’s promise, in Christ, that he should be the father of many nations and was justified.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it (Abraham’s faith in God) was counted unto him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).

Likewise, our faith in Jesus is accounted as righteousness,because faith in Jesus Christ is a righteous and holy thing in the sight of God. It is our faith in God through Jesus Christ that isimputed to us as righteousness to us.

How then are we to understand scriptures such as Galatians 2:16 & 20, and Philippians 3:9, which speaks of justification by the faith OF Christ?

In the traditional KJV of the Bible, the faith OF Christ, is an old English reference to, the faith which is in Christ, or better yet,faith in Christ. It is not a reference to Christ’s own personal faith.

For example, Galatians 2:16 in the New King James Version says the following:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, even we have BELIEVED IN CHRIST JESUS, that we might be JUSTIFIED BY FAITH IN CHRIST and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Verse 20 says, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Philippians 3:9 in the NKJV says, … and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through FAITH IN CHRIST, the righteousness which is from God BY FAITH.

Notice in the text above, Paul says ” the righteousness which is from God by faith. In Galatians 2:16 and Philippians 3:9, justification through faith in Christ is set contrast to justification through the works of the Law.

In Philippians 3, Paul refers to justification through the works of the Law as his own righteous. Conversely, Paul refers to justification through faith in Christ as the righteousness which comes from God. 

Nowhere in the new testament is the theology of being justified by Jesus’s own personal faith ever clearly defined, expounded on, or articulated; but being justified by faith in Jesus Christ is. Jesus is the gift of God to us and righteousness is imputed to us freely through our faith in him.

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THE BIBLE AND ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED THEOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

I was raised in a denomination that taught once saved always saved, and heard the OSAS theology a lot. After I came to the Lord at 14 years of age, I later began to reading my Bible. As I read the scriptures, I would come across verses that seemed to say the opposite. I sought God because I was confused. I was hearing one thing preached and reading another in the Bible. My prayer was, “Lord what do you say?” I found the truth in the scriptures and I have always found that God is faithful to answer my questions according to His Holy Written Word.

I was once asked by someone what I believed about once saved always saved. I responded by letting him know that the question “Can you lose your salvation” (which is so often addressed) is really misleading. To lose something can indicate that it comes up missing.

The question that we need to answer is this: “Can we abandon our faith in Christ once we have come to the Lord, and if we can, what are the consequences?”

Does the Bible teach that it is possible to abandon our faith once we have believed? The answer to that is yes it does (example, Romans 11:17-22; Hebrews 3:12-14).

If we conclude that we can abandon our faith based on scripture, the question we must then address is this: “Does the Bible teach that those who once believed will be saved even though they have turned away from the Lord?” Can faith we once had saved us if we no longer believe?

The Bible addresses this multiple times as well, and the answer is no, for we cannot be saved if we turn away from the Lord and abandon our faith in Him (Ex. Jude 1:5; Romans 11:17-22; Hebrews 10:23-31).

So often people will use the pat answer, “they were never saved to begin with,” which really is not a Biblical response at all. Instead, we should all seek to know the truth and get brutally honest about the teachings of the New Testament with regards to the severity of God.

As far as God is concerned, He is faithful and will never fail us as long as we trust in Him. He will keep us by His power no matter what we are struggling with. He is gracious and merciful. Yet, if we abandon Him and stop trusting in Him that’s a different subject altogether. We are saved by God’s grace THROUGH our faith! Both are just as important, for the scriptures declare “if we deny him, He also will deny us” and that is written to us who have believed.

THE REAL ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED

Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) theology certainly is a hot button issue. Yet I think there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed, and that issue often affects how we view such ideas as OSAS.

The issue I am referring to is the premium we place on handling the Word of God with integrity, something that means far more to me than being right on an issue.

After I came to the Lord at 14 years of age, I later began to read my Bible. As I read the scriptures, I came across verses that seemed to say the opposite of what I had been taught about OSAS.

Please understand that I was very insecure and for me OSAS was a welcomed way of thinking. I certainly wasn’t looking to disprove it, not in the least. Yet, as I read the Bible with a heart seeking to know God, I came across verses that simply were not consistent with the OSAS theology I had been taught. What was I to do? Should I have ignored those verses and act like they weren’t there? My only option was to seek God and find out the truth for myself because it really doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks. The truth is the truth and believing something a certain way is not going to change what the truth is. I had to find the truth so I could believe THAT regardless if I were already right or wrong.

Now please hear me when I say, I sincerely sought God because I was being taught one thing by man and reading another in the Bible. My honest prayer before God was “Lord what do you say?” That prayer has been the foundation of my sincere approach to scripture over the years.”

I have spent much of my life pouring over God’s word, and many times I have had to change what I previously thought or believed because I found out that I was wrong.

With regards to OSAS, I am convinced that there is wrong thinking on both sides of the issue. Those who think you lose your salvation every time you mess up are just as wrong as those who think that once you have been converted it’s impossible to harden your heart and be deceived by sin.

The problem with divisions over such issues as OSAS is that people generally side with one group of scriptures at the expense of others. Anytime we knowingly turn a deaf ear to certain portions of God’s word because those scriptures are in opposition to what we believe, we have handled the Word of God dishonestly.

Many years ago I had to come to terms with the portions of scripture which were not consistent with what I had been taught. I have always found that there is no basis for doctrine until the whole of the scriptures agrees. I am very versed in scripture and am well acquainted with the truth that there are many promises concerning eternal life. Yet so often these verses are interpreted in such a manner that they are slanted towards our human understanding more that lining up with the whole of Biblical thought.

I am sure that those of you who believe in once saved always saved (aka OSAS) also believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment for rejecting Christ. I do as well. Imagine for a moment that I did not believe in a literal hell or eternal punishment. Now, imagine what it would be like if you were to show me clear undeniable evidence in scripture that hell is real and there is eternal punishment for those who reject Christ, then in response I said, “God has reconciled all things to Himself (Col 1:20). He has reconciled the world and He does not hold our sins against us anymore (2 Cor 5:19). He has dealt with sin permanently by putting them away (Heb 9:26). So no one will be punished for all eternity – everyone will ultimately be saved.”

This is the kind of argument that someone in Universalism might make. Yet it is an error because the balance of scripture refutes such private interpretation of these verses of scripture. If a person does not reconcile these verses with the immediate context and the whole counsel of scripture they could come away with any number of ideas such as the one given above.

The scriptures have much to say about our security in Christ but according to the balance of scripture that security is conditional based on our faith. As far as God is concerned, He will never leave us or forsake us. The eternal life which He gives us is secure in Him so long as we believe and abide in His goodness as Romans 11 says.

No matter how difficult the road gets and no matter how difficult our struggles with any sin may be, God will continue to be faithful to help us if we trust in him to do so. Yet if we harden our hearts, the possibility exists that we can depart from Him and that is what the writer of Hebrews is telling us in Hebrews 3.

TAKE HEAD TO SCRIPTURES THAT WARN US 

In Chapter two, the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”

If it were not possible to let the things concerning the great salvation we have received slip, Why the warning “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”

Escape what? What are we in danger of?

If it is impossible to never depart from the Lord once we have known the way of righteousness what are we in danger of? Is it just a gold ole scolding before the judgment seat of Christ for not being a good Christian? What are we in danger of? The repeated warning throughout Hebrews is the danger of apostasy or abandoning our faith which has eternal reward if we hold on to it and eternal consequences if we abandon.

The second warning given in the book of Hebrews exhorts us not to harden our hearts through unbelief.  In this section we are reminded that God swore in His wrath that those who provoked Him in the wilderness also died in the wilderness and they did not enter into His rest. The writer of Hebrews warns us to fear God so that we do not fall after their example and become like those in the wilderness who fell short of entering His rest (which according to the context is eternal rest for our souls). It is clear from the context that the same God who swore in His wrath, “They shall not enter my rest,” and did not spare those who rebelled in the wilderness will not spare us either if we become hard hearted through unbelief and the deceitfulness of sin.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living GodBut exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end (Hebrews 3:12-14).

Jude, in his brief epistle, also draws on this account when he writes to the brethren exhorting them to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3-5 says:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 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. 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. 

Why would this exhortation be necessary if it were impossible to fall from (abandon) the grace of God once we have been saved? Both Jude and the writer of Hebrews address the importance of persevering in the true faith.

Many think of the book of Hebrews as a doctrinal book and it does contain many very helpful doctrinal truths but in the mind of it’s author, it was a letter of exhortation. In 13:22 he says, “I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of EXHORTATION: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.”

Too many times Hebrews is approached only from a doctrinal standpoint and the exhortation is missed. At its heart, Hebrews is an exhortation. In case you are one of the ones who have missed the exhortation of this marvelous book, it is an exhortation for the first century Hebrew believers to persevere in the faith and not to forsake Christ because your faith has a great recompense of reward if you do not turn back.

The exhortations given by the writer of Hebrews was written to fellow Hebrew believers. Nowhere in the entire letter is he talking to unbelievers. He calls them brethren throughout the letter (2:11, 12, 17; 3:1, 12; 7:5; 10:19; 13:22). He also includes himself by using the pronouns we (51 times) us (31 times) and our (16 times).

Someone has made the argument that he calls them brethren because they were his Hebrew brethren but this cannot be the case because in Hebrews 3:1 he says, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”

These same brethren to whom he refers to as holy brethren  and partakers of the heavenly calling are the ones he is talking to throughout the entirety of the book and in verses 12-14, he says “take heed brethren.”

Take heed to what?

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God. 

The writer of Hebrews certainly did not think that it was impossible for a believer to abandon his faith in God, nor is there any hint in Hebrews that he thought everything would work out in the end for those who do.

He refers to Jesus as the apostle and High Priest of our faith (3:1) and tells the holy brethren who have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through faith to “take heed,” and not to allow in them an evil heart of unbelief, which can cause them to depart from the living God. He tells them to exhort one another daily, so that they will not be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Again, this is not a warning for unbelievers. He is talking to the brethren and warning them against the deceitfulness of sin which can cause a hard heart and lead them away from the Living God.

The Bible does not teach that once a person is saved they cannot turn away from God or abandon their faith. Paul says in 1 Timothy, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Departing from the faith is the same language that the writer of Hebrews uses in chapter 3 and exhortations to continue steadfastly in the faith throughout Hebrews comes through loud and clear.  For instance, in chapter 12 we read the following:

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:22-29)

We must remain faithful to God.


CONTINUE IN THE FAITH

The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not once saved always saved, as some might think. The good news is that Jesus died and rose again and salvation through the grace of God is freely given to all who believe.

Throughout the New Testament, believing in Jesus means that we must continue in the faith. Paul says in Colossians 1 that we will be presented holy and unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight if we continue in the faith and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.

The hope of the gospel belongs to those who continue or persevere in the faith because even after one comes to faith there are many temptations to go back into the world.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received,  and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory  what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

Paul says the following.

1. He preached the gospel to them.
2. They received the gospel.
3. They were standing in the gospel.

OSAS theology teaches that God honors that original belief in Him and that is what saves us. If this is so, why does Paul tell these Corinthians that they are saved if they keep in memory (hold fast to) what he has preached to them, otherwise they will have believed in vain?

Paul did not seem to think that their original belief would profit them if they did not continue in the faith and that is why he says they would have believed in vain if they do not hold fast to what he preached to them.

In John 8:31 Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. We must continue in the faith as Hebrews 3:6 and 14 also tell us.

We are His house, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:6).

We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end (Hebrews 3:14).

This is about as simple as it can be said. When anyone implies that the scriptures teach, “believe only and holding fast to our faith is not necessary,” such theology is in direct opposition to New Testament doctrine.

WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH AND CONTINUING IN THAT FAITH 

The scriptures teach that we are kept by the power of God “through” faith unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5) and when we see Jesus we will receive reward for the end of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). The scriptures never teach that we are kept by God if we stop believing. Neither do the scriptures ever teach that it is impossible to turn away from Christ after we have come to Him.

The concept that God will be faithful to keep us if we are faithless and no longer trust Him is not a Bible teaching. It is actually a very deceitful concept.

In Romans 11 the apostle Paul tells us, “Boast not against the branches (Israelites who did not believe). But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of UNBELIEF they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed least He also spare not thee. 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 shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:18-23).

I am not sure how anyone could fit OSAS into these verses.

They tell us that we are not to be high minded (prideful, haughty) but fear the Lord because if we do not continue in God’s goodness through faith we will be cut off. This is consistent with what the writer of Hebrews is saying.

There is so much in the New Testament that refutes the idea that holding fast to our faith isn’t necessary. It is necessary and the concept that it isn’t necessary is at the heart of the error in the OSAS theology.

The Bible teaches that we must continue in the faith and to teach otherwise is unsound and unwholesome doctrine.

THE WORDS OF JESUS

OSAS theology is not consistent with the rebukes Jesus gave to the churches in the Book of the Revelation. Why did Jesus say to the church in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”

If it is impossible to forsake the Lord once we have been saved, why did Jesus say this?

Why did Jesus say to the church in Sardis, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:1-3)

These words of Jesus in the book of the Revelation are consistent with His words elsewhere. For example, Matthew 24:48-51

“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants  and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

These words are spoken in contrast to the servant who kept himself ready and was doing the will of God.

Revelation 16:15 says, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

If OSAS is true then why do we need to be watching and keeping our garments, i.e. living godly lives in the faith?

1 John 2:28 tells us “little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Consider also 2 Peter 3: 10-14

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Why are these admonitions to be ready at the coming of the Lord given to believers if OSAS is a Biblical doctrine?

Why did the Lord rebuke the believers in Laodicea, telling them that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17)? Why did He threaten to spit the Laodicea congregation out of his mouth (Rev. 3:16) if indeed, OSAS is a true Biblical doctrine?

If OSAS were true biblical doctrine it would harmonize with Jesus’ message to the churches in Revelation. It does not.

God loves us and that is why He rebukes us, not to condemn us. Perpetual sin in the life of a believer will eventually bring about a hardened heart and lead a person away from the faith. This is why the writer of Hebrews says, “take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” and that is why he goes on to say, “exhort one another daily so that none of you are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Paul tells us that we are to hold on to faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:9).

Can shipwrecked faith save us?

CONCLUSION 

If we embrace OSAS theology we are rejecting the New Testament admonitions that Israel’s disobedience in the wilderness serves as an example to us (Hebrews 3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Jude 1:3-7).

In 1 Timothy Paul speaks of Hymenaeus and Philetus “who have departed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and destroy the faith of some.

How is departing from the truth and destroying the faith of some consistent with OSAS doctrine?

In Galatians, Paul warns the believers that if they seek to be justified by the works of the Law that they will be cut off from Christ and will have fallen from grace.

How does this work with OSAS theology?

In 1 Corinthians 8:11 Paul speaks of a weak brother perishing because he is embolden to violate his conscience.

How does this work with OSAS theology?

The apostle Peter tells us, “when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get entangled and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. Peter then tells us, “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”

Peter certainly did not think that it was impossible for a person to forsake the truth after He had come to the saving Knowledge of Christ. He later says, “I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18 TLB).

Peter tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so that we will not be carried away and lose our secure footing. We have secure footing in Christ if we abide in Him but if we go away from the truth in Christ we can lose that secure footing.

James also tells us “if someone among us (believers) wanders away from the truth and is brought back, we can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back (the one who fell into sin) will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

All the scriptures which tell us of God’s power, and faithfulness, and love to keep us are true. They are strength to us for He will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful and these verses reveal God’s character. Yet, we must comply. We must continue in faith.

There is not one scripture in all of the New Testament which supports that we will be saved if we forsake Him. In fact the scripture tells us emphatically, if we deny Him, He will deny us. This is said to believers and not unbelievers.

“It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us:  If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself “ (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

The Biblical view that we must continue is the faith isn’t bad news. God is faithful and He will keep us secure in Him so long as we trust Him. That is good news.

It is good new because God gives us the grace to serve Him faithfully if we will keep our trust in Him. God will always uphold His promises. If we do not cast away our confidence as the writer of Hebrews puts it, we will have great reward.

THE NEW COVENANT WITH ISRAEL

Many Christians really do need a fresh reading of the Gospels and the book of Acts. There is way too much theology that has been taught that does not line up with the narrative given to us from Matthew through Acts.

For instance, the early church was predominately Jewish believers. The national Jews who rejected the gospel were the ones who were primarily responsible for the persecution of the first Christians. They persecuted their kinsmen who were followers of Jesus because they viewed them as a religious sect only and saw them as a threat to their religious and national status.

The message of the Gospel was sent to the House of Israel first, and in due time the Gospel began to spread all over the world to Gentiles everywhere.

The concept that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a Gentile entity is contrary to the narrative. The church is the Israel of God under the New Covenant for the New Covenant was made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This New Covenant with Israel was established by the blood of Jesus, the Messiah, and it is through this covenant that the Gentiles have been grafted into the House of Israel with the Jews who believe in the Messiah.

The church is born again Israel which has it’s beginning with 120 Jewish followers of Jesus that continued to grow enduring persecution from their kinsmen in the flesh.

When Jesus died and rose again, God’s covenant with israel in the flesh came to an end, and the New Covenant that God had promised to Israel was inaugurated.

When the Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the religious service which pertained to the Old Covenant, though it had already been made ineffective, became completely inoperative.

Under the Old Covenant, there were Gentiles were joined Israel and became a part of Israel. This was a type of the Church which began with Jewish followers of Jesus with Gentiles being added to them. God’s covenant people are no longer defined by a physical nation with natural boundaries. God’s people are in every nation.

So don’t blame the Gentiles for this. It was the Jewish followers of Jesus who obeyed Jesus’ command and began making disciples of people from other nations.

The followers of Jesus, consisting of Jews and Gentiles in one body are born again Israel, for they are partakes of the New Covenant which God gave to ISRAEL!

“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL and WITH THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH.  It will not be like THE COVENANT I made with THEIR ANCESTORS when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. THIS IS THE COVENANT I will establish WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:8-13)

IS IT A WASTE OF TIME TO EVANGELIZE THE JEWS?

Did Jesus evangelize the Jews?

There are many verses which could be cited because Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all testify that Jesus preached the gospel to the Jews. Jesus’ ministry of evangelism to the Jewish people fills the pages of the four Gospels.

  • Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24; Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10).
  • Jesus preached the gospel to the Jewish people (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:36-40).
  • Jesus sent his disciples to preach the gospel to the Jewish people (Matthew 10:5-8).

After the resurrection of Jesus, did the original apostles evangelize the Jews?

  • Jesus commissioned his apostles to preach the gospel beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-48).
  • On the Day of Pentecost the multitude which heard Peter preach the gospel were Jews (Acts 2:5-6).
  • The apostle Peter says, “Ye men of ISRAEL hear these words…” (Acts 2:22).
  • Peter says, “Therefore LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
  • Peter’s preaching, after the man was healed in Acts 3 was aimed at “YE MEN OF ISRAEL…” (Acts 3:12).
  • Peter testified to the rulers of the people, and elders of ISRAEL about Jesus (Acts 4:8-12).
  • Peter preached that Jesus had been exalted at the right hand of God to be a Prince and a Savior, to give REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31).
  • Peter, as well as the other apostles who walked with Jesus in the flesh, was an apostle to the circumcision, the Jewish people.

Did the apostle Paul evangelize the Jews?

  • Paul was a chosen vessel for the Lord, to bear the name of Jesus before the Gentiles, and kings, and THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (Acts 9:15).
  • Paul confounded THE JEWS which dwelt at Damascus, proving that Jesus truly is the Christ (Acts 9:22).
  • Paul and Barnabas were sent forth by the Holy Ghost, and when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God IN THE SYNAGOGUES OF THE JEWS (Acts 13:4-5).
  • Paul preached Jesus to the MEN OF ISRAEL, and those that fear God (Acts 13:16-41).
  • Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was A SYNAGOGUE OF THE JEWS: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (Acts 17:1-3).
  • Paul disputed in THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE JEWS, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him (Acts 17:17).
  • Paul reasoned IN THE SYNAGOGUE every sabbath, and persuaded THE JEWS and the Greeks and testified to the JEWS that Jesus is Christ (Acts 18:5).
  • At Ephesus, Paul entered into the synagogue and reasoned with THE JEWS (Acts 18:19).
  • Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for the next two years so that people throughout the province of Asia—both JEWS and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:8-10).
  • Paul testified to both the JEWS, and to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
  • Paul says, “unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law…that I might by all means save some. (see 1 Corinthians 9:20-22)

Did the early church believers evangelize the Jews?

  • Stephen, a deacon, preached and testified of Jesus to the Jews (Acts 7).
  • After Stephen was martyred there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria (Acts 8:). They traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only (Acts 11:19).
  • And A CERTAIN JEW named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.This man was instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.And he began to speak boldly IN THE SYNAGOGUE: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he came, helped them much which had believed through grace:For HE MIGHTILY CONVINCED THE JEWS, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:24-28).

Are the Jews responsible for believing the Gospel? 

  • Jesus said to the religious Jews, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
  • For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that EVERY SOUL, WHICH WILL NOT HEAR THAT PROPHET, SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. UNTO YOU FIRST God, having raised up his Son Jesus, SENT HIM TO BLESS YOU, IN TURNING AWAY EVERY ONE OF YOU FROM HIS INIQUITIES (Acts 3:22-26).
  • Be it known unto you therefore, MEN and BRETHREN, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by THE LAW OF MOSES. Beware therefore, LEST THAT COME UPON YOU, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold ye despisers, and WOUNDER , and PERISH: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you (Acts 13:38-41).
  • Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13: 46).
  • For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).
  • For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.For there is NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:11-13).
  • But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;But unto them which are called, both JEWS and GREEKS, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

 

JEWISH SUPREMACY IS IN OPPOSITION TO THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL

The mission of the Judaizers who were persecuting the apostle Paul and opposing his ministry to the Gentiles wasn’t simply to make converts to keep the Law of Moses in a “legalistic sense.” It was much more than that. The mission of the Judaizers was to make Jewish proselytes, something Paul rigorously opposed.

Throughout Israel’s history under the Old Testament, Gentiles joined themselves to the nation of Israel and became Jews through circumcision and observances of the Law given through Moses (example Esther 8:17; Ezekiel 47:21-23) .

In Luke 16 Jesus says, “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in” (Luke 16:16).

The message of the kingdom of God is not a message that caters to Jewish supremacy, but is good news for the whole world.

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus and eventually had Him murdered, feared that their place as a nation was under threat of being lost.

Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and THE ROMANS SHALL COME AND TAKE AWAY BOTH OUR PLACE AND NATION (John 11:47-48).

Throughout the book of Acts, much of the persecution against Christians was inflicted by Jews who felt their supremacy as the people of God was being threatened (example Acts 6:12-14; Acts 21:21, 27-28).

In his letter to the Galatians, it is this sense of Jewish supremacy that Paul is countering. At the beginning of the letter he tells of his confrontation with the apostle Peter over this very thing.

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? (Galatians 2:11-14).

When we embrace a theology that caters towards Jewish supremacy in the sight of God we set ourselves in opposition to the truth of the gospel as Paul implies above and against the message of the cross as he later says in the letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:11; 6:12-16).

Because of the cross, there is no privilege of one ethnic group above another in the sight of God. Paul expounds on this throughout Romans but it is often missed because many have been conditioned to read Romans through the lens of Calvin or Luther. The book of Romans was written by Paul, who was a Jew, who thought through the scriptures as a Jewish scholar having found his identity in Jesus the Messiah. Paul was a reformed Jew and his view of scripture revolved round Jesus the Messiah and the Holy Spirit.

Throughout his epistles, Paul takes the language of the Torah and finds Jesus in it and expounds on it so that not only the Jew but the Gentile as well can understand the mystery of God hidden in Christ. That which God had promised to do, He has done in and through Jesus the Messiah. The mystery which was hidden in Christ was that the promised blessing belongs to the whole world and not to one race of people only.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:1-6)

ARE THE JEWS BETTER THAN OTHERS

In Romans 3 the apostle Paul asks the question, “What then? are we better than they? “

This is a reference to the Jews in contrast to the Gentiles. Paul goes on to answer this question saying, “No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”

Paul puts the Jew and the Gentile on level ground as being “all under sin.” One of the things that Paul reveals in Romans is how Israel, even though they had the Torah, were no different than the Gentiles in that they too were dead in sin, being in Adam.

Their national privilege as the people of God (under the Law) was for the purpose of the outworking of the faithfulness of God which has been manifested in and through Jesus Christ. Now that Christ has come, they have no national privilege but must believe the Gospel to be God’s people.

However, we hear it over and over again, “God has a plan or a purpose for the Jews.“

It seems that we have bought into the idea that God still has some sort of agenda for national Israel, some sort of unfinished business exclusive to his calling to believe the gospel of his Son, Jesus.

This ideology is the breeding ground for duel covenant theology and creates confusion concerning God’s call of Israel as seen in the Old Testament and revealed by the New Testament writers as coming to climax in Jesus Christ.

In Romans 11 Paul describes Israel as the natural olive tree and he describes the Gentiles as the wild olive tree. The branches that have been broken off from the natural olive tree (Israel) are Jews who reject Jesus the Messiah. They are outside covenant membership which is only found in Jesus Christ.

The branches that are not broken off refer to the remnant of believing Jews. The branches that have been grafted into the natural olive tree, being taken from the wild olive tree, are Gentiles. Now, if the natural branches which were broken off believe, they will be grafted back into their own tree. Therefore they will be grafted in with believing Jews and Gentiles who trust in the Messiah. This is Israel of the New Covenant. Remember Jesus said to Nicodemus, “you must be born again.”

The New Testament Church is born again Israel, i.e, the body of Christ consisting of Jews, AND Gentiles in one body!

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether JEWS or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:13)

All Jews who are born again or ever will be born again are grafted back into their tree which is the now the New Covenant Church. God does not have two people, He has one!

This mystery that was hidden in other ages but is now revealed through the Gospel of Christ is that the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in His promise in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 3;6).

Jews must be born again to see the Kingdom of God and when they are born again, they are baptized into the same body that Gentiles are baptized into and together we drink from one Spirit.

Those who reject Jesus are cut off from God’s people.

For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ (Acts 3:22-23)

Jews who do not submit to Jesus are completely cut off from being God’s people; those who submit to the Jesus are baptized into His body, the church, the born again Israel!