Sep 15, 2012

Debate Review VIII

"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."  (I Cor. 10: 11-12)

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."  (Hebrews 3: 12)

These passages were introduced by my opponent to prove that Christians can apostasize just as many of the ancient Israelites also did.  My response was simply to say that Paul was warning professing Christians, some of whom Paul knew had never truly been converted in heart, to make sure that they were truly saved, similar to Peter's exhortation about "making your calling and election sure."  (II Peter 1: 10)  Simply put, Paul was warning professing Christians to make sure that they are the real thing, that they are not simply Christians externally but internally, in the same manner that he said that "he is not a Jew who is one outwardly but who is one inwardly."  (Rom. 2: 28-29)  I argued that just making a profession of Christ and doing Christian things, such as being baptized and eating the Lord's Supper, did not in itself mean that one was genuinely changed in heart. 

"Take heed" simply is a call to self examination to make sure that those who profess the name of Christ are not shallow or thorny ground Christians. 

There is no question that the Israelites who fell in the wilderness were not Jews internally but only externally and that they had been saved to a certain extant, as Jude says:

"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."  (Jude 1: 5)

Many of those who profess the name of Christ, as the shallow and thorny ground Christians, experience some temporary deliverances from sinful lifestyle, as was shown from II Peter chapter two.  They experience temporary deliverance from certain sins and evils, although they do not experience inward transformation. 

It is a stretch to think that all those who came out of Egypt were Jews internally or were true believers.  In fact, the Scriptures call them unbelievers, even though it is said that they believed at times. 

"And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert."  (Psa. 106: 10-14)

When it is said that "they soon forgat" it identifies them with the shallow ground hearers of the parable of the soils.  Their belief was shallow, without "root."  It was the kind of faith mentioned by Solomon when he spoke of the simple hearted believer. 

"The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going."  (Prov. 14: 15)

Their believing was a shallow believing, without root in the heart.  This kind of believing does not bring true salvation.    It is obvious that those "believers" who were "overthrown" in the wilderness were not born of God, for they cannot so sin.  It is obvious that they did not have the faith of I John 5: 4-5, for such a faith cannot be overcome, but rather itself overcomes.  It is obvious that they did not have that change of heart described in Jeremiah 32: 40, for it guarantees that they "shall not depart from me." 

No comments: