A Voice in the
"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, that we who trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory...in whom also... you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph 1:11-14)
We live in an age labeled the "Church age," or "Age of Grace." Theologians have been teaching that there are MAJOR differences between the Old & New Testaments. Somehow, the whole body of theology changed at the cross. Forgetting that God does not change. "I am the LORD, I do not change:" (Mal 3:6) Of the Son it says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb 13:8)
Ever since the Fall sin has existed, passed down to all mankind. Sin brings death. The solution has always been, the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Man's access to God is by faith in God's gracious mercy extended to us through Christ.
So, what changed? The cross? Not really. Only time has changed. In the O.T. salvation was through the cross; prophetically. In the N.T. it is through the cross; historically.
Another change. Israel and the Church. Before the cross of Christ, the act of believing in God was often synonymous with "becoming a Jew." When Israel rejected their Messiah, the gospel was given to the Gentiles for a period of time. (Acts 28:28, Rom11) This group is called the "Church," and is comprised of all believers in God, Jew and Gentile.
In the O.T. Ezekiel writes "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die." (Ez18:24)
The N.T. the writer of Hebrews writes "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment... Anyone who..rejected Moses' law dies without mercy...Of how much worse punishment...will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant...a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" For He said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord...It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb 10:26-31)
So, what of, "Once Saved Always Saved?" Isn't that what "grace" is? I can "get saved" & continue in sin, after all, "God accepts me just as I am." So "it doesn't matter, Grace saves me in the end."
"Do not be deceived , God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will...reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will...reap everlasting life." (Gal6:7-8)
What we need to understand more fully is the PROCESS of Salvation. When we come to Christ in faith we are given an inheritance. (Eph 1:11) As we know, as long as we are on this earth, we are subject to all the effects, temptations and sorrows of sin.(Rom 7) We are not yet in Heaven in our new bodies, where there is no sin. We anticipate it. (Rom 8:23) BUT WE ARE NOT THERE YET.
This inheritance exists. It is promised. And for every one who Believes, Endures, and has been Approved; the promise is Eternal Life, the Crown of Life, and Entrance into the Joy of the Lord. (Jas1:12, Mt 25:21) The SURETY of this promise is the Holy Spirit Who seals us, Who is the earnest. This is GOD'S PART of the "agreement." His promise. It is secure. It is eternal.
As in any agreement, there are two parties. And as with agreements, parties often "back out of" the agreement before it is completed. We already know that God is not backing out of what He has promised. But, what about us?
THE HOUSE is all decrepit. There is no money. The bill collectors are threatening to throw us in jail because we cannot pay. There is no collateral in the house because it is worth nothing; they would just as soon bulldoze it to the ground, it is that ugly. And besides, they are in the same boat as we are.
Along comes a Partnership that wants the house. The Father wants to have fellowship, but the house is so ugly, He can't even look at it. But the Son comes along and "makes an offer" to buy the house, & pay off the debts. He provides an "earnest money" agreement between the Father and the owner. The "notary" signifies the document and seals it in the Book of Life. On the "date of possession" the Son promises to instantly Totally Update the house..."Like New."
The "date of possession" has finally come, and the Son comes to the house, but cannot enter to take possession because He has been locked out. So He stands at the door and knocks, "Please let Me in. I paid the price. This house is Mine. I'm here to take possession. If you let Me in, I'll let you stay, and we can have fellowship. I was going to fix it up just for us."
As often happens, the seller has decided that he doesn't want to sell after all, reneges on the deal, and forfeits the earnest. The Son says, "Sorry! You have lost out. I GAVE EVERYTHING for the earnest. I have no more to give. This was a Once-in-a-Lifetime Offer. Too bad!"
In Gen 25:33 it says that "Esau despised his birthright" when he sold it to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Later, when Jacob supplanted the Blessing from Esau, Isaac said of Jacob, "indeed he shall be blessed." The writer of Hebrews warns us, "looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God...lest there be any...profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears...as he lifted his voice and wept..'Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father!'"(Heb 12:15-17, Gen27:38)
"Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come....
Jesus likened this to a landowner who went on an extended journey, and left his possessions to his servants. (Not strangers.) "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them." And to the faithful he responded, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." But to the slothful servant, who did nothing but rested in his security of "owning a piece of the kingdom" the master retorts, "You wicked and lazy servant!" And decrees his doom, "Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mt 25:19-30~)
...Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."(1Cor10:11-12)