Persuasive Arguments

The Lord Jesus led me to read Colossians 2 (vv. 1-7 NASB).

We have been instructed in scripture to expect to be opposed, if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives. But, it isn’t just us who are being opposed, but it is the gospel of our salvation which is coming under fire, and from enormous opposition, too.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

As a servant of the Lord, I also struggle in defense of the gospel and on behalf of all those who believe in Jesus Christ or who would yet believe in him. I am concerned, as well, that many are being persuaded to turn away from the truth, and by clever enchanters who are twisting the truth to their advantage, in order to gain followers after themselves, but not after Christ.

I am concerned that so many people are being persuaded to accept a false grace gospel rather than the true gospel, and thus many are buying into a false hope of salvation and eternal life with God, based on half-truths or twisted truths, both of which are still lies. And, if they believe the lies rather than accept the truth, they are in danger of the fires of hell.

What I mean by this is that many preachers and teachers today are telling people that they can be assured of heaven when they die by merely accepting Jesus’ forgiveness of their sins, i.e. by accepting his grace, and through a mere acknowledgment that Jesus exists or of what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, so that we could be delivered from the punishment of sin and have the hope of eternal life in heaven with God.

Many of them are telling the people, too, that all they have to do is repeat some prayer after them, after which they congratulate them for having accepted Christ as their Savior, and for having secured heaven as their final resting place, which, they say, can never be taken away from them.

For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

The truth of the matter is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) no longer after the flesh, but according to the Spirit of God.

Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. What this means is that repentance and obedience are part of the gospel message. Jesus said that, if we want to hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin) for his sake, then we will save our lives (for eternity) (Lu. 9:23-25).

Paul reiterated these words of Jesus when he said that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. He said that Christ delivered us out of slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, so that we would now be slaves of his righteousness. He said, too, that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh (sin), we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity). For, when we believe in Jesus, we are given new lives in Christ, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

So, the point of our salvation is not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. We are also not forgiven our sins just on the basis of Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, but on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ, which involves both repentance and obedience. And, Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of slavery to sin. He didn’t die just to save us, but to transform us.

So, on the basis of what Jesus did for us in becoming sin for us on that cross so that he put our sin to death, and in being resurrected from the dead, so that we can born again and live new lives in him, we should walk (conduct our lives) according to the Holy Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh.

But, this shouldn’t be just because we have to, or because it is expected of us, but we should be so thankful that Jesus set us free that we want to live for him. We should be so thankful that he delivered us out of slavery to sin that we won’t want to walk in sin any longer. And, we should be so in love with God, with Jesus Christ, that we desire him above all else, and we want to obey him.

For, when we are born again of the Spirit of God, he changes our hearts. We are turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, if we pray the prayer to receive Christ, or if we say we believe in Jesus, but nothing changes, i.e. our hearts are not truly turned from darkness to light, but we continue living just like we did before, then, according to scripture, we are not truly saved.

Another thing to know here is that our salvation is not a one-time experience and then we can live however we want and that one day we go to heaven. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved when Jesus Christ returns (future). Our eternal life is also guaranteed only on the basis of present tense belief, not on the basis of past belief. And, our walk in Christ is also critical to our assurance of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Heb. 9:28).

So, when people tell you that you can merely accept God’s grace or repeat some words in a prayer and that heaven is guaranteed you, but that you don’t have to turn from your sins or obey God, don’t believe them. They are trying to persuade you away from genuine faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

That Man / An Original Work / May 23, 2013

Based off John 3:22-36

An argument between some men
Erupted out of resentment.
They came to John and said,
“That man is baptizing everyone.
They’re going to Him.”

So, John replied, “A man can
Only receive what is given him.
You yourselves can testify that
I said, ‘I am not the Christ.
I’m sent before Him.’”

The bride belongs to the bridegroom.
His friends await and watch for Him.
They are full of joy when they hear
His voice speaking words to them.
That now is our joy!

Jesus, the One who comes from heav’n –
He testifies of forgiveness.
Yet, so many do not trust in
His words, and do not repent.
They will face judgment.

The one who trusts in Jesus Christ
Has certified that God is truth.
Jesus Christ speaks the words of God.
Those who put their faith in Him,
Eternal life gain!

Friday, November 24, 2017, 6:19 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words which you have spoken to my heart to day. I love you, and I praise you!

4 thoughts on “Persuasive Arguments

  1. Hi Sue, what you wrote is true, if you don’t have the daily relationship with our Lord and take His words seriously, we deceive ourselves. Yet none of us have reached perfection, we all still fall short, without exception. I am also mindful that only God sees our hearts, only He knows the reality of the relationship between a believer and Himself. I sat through a sermon given by our Pastor last Sunday where my mind thought, “This is too simplistic”. And then I saw the tears in our Pastor’s eyes. Sometimes I have to trust that God knows what He is doing with His servants and that He is aware of and doing things that I am not aware of. I know this doesn’t necessarily aline with what you are speaking about where salvation is likened to a one shot vaccination, but there are times when I need to be at His feet, worshipping Him rather than trying to evaluate the truthfulness of the spoken word being given. I understand your anguish. When Jesus said to one of the criminals on the cross, “This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” what transpired between Jesus and the criminal must have been real or Jesus wouldn’t have said what He said. We can only speak the truth as we know it and hope that it takes root through the work of the Holy Spirit. Watered down Christianity produces watered down faith, which may end up being no faith at all, but only God knows the reality of that. Speak the truth as we know it and the rest is up to God. It is amazing what He can work with. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, thank you for reading and for responding. Certainly no one is perfect, not in this life, anyway. But, this isn’t about being perfect. This is about how we walk, whether according to the flesh or according to the Spirit, and it is about evaluating whether or not what we are being taught is truth or lies. For, if what we are believing and following is lies, we could end up in hell and not in heaven, so it is critical that we know the truth and that we are able to discern truth from error.

      But, yes, only God truly knows who knows him and who doesn’t, and only he can move our hearts to obey him. And, yes, his grace to us is absolutely amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

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