• Having learned that the Scriptures speak extensively of believers disqualifying themselves (Part 1); and,
  • Having learned that salvation is a process that must be completed to be effectual (Part 2); and,
  • Having explored the inseparable relationship of grace, faith and works (also, Part 2);
  • We now search out the deeper meaning of several passages that speak to disqualification. These include burying our talents, rejecting holiness (and thus rejecting God), failing to endure to the end, desiring to save one’s life, and choosing something other than the sacrificial life.
  • Finally, we recognize that appropriate fear is a blessed motivator in our pursuing salvation, God has promised to provide all that we need to make our election sure.

Introduction

A Storm is ComingIn Part 1 of this series, we learned that Jesus, Peter, and Paul encouraged us to avoid becoming disqualified in our salvation; even going so far as to clearly describe the conditions that lead to that disqualification. We also recognized that God does not disqualify us (He desires that all be saved). We disqualify ourselves.

Understandably, this raised a number of issues; primarily with those that hold to a “once saved, always saved” theology, and those concerned that I was supporting a works based salvation. Part 2 has been offered to address these two issues. The first – of which I respectfully disagree – is better understood in light of salvation as a process, and the timing of God – and Jesus’ – judgment.

The second objection gave opportunity to briefly discuss the relationship of grace, faith and works. In a nutshell, neither can be understood with the others. Recent theological error has been introduced by our attempts to analytically separate and teach them.

Here in the third part, we will look at a few of the more obvious passages that speak to the potential for our disqualification. As you read each passage, I encourage you to trust the Holy Spirit with your mind; to renew it as necessary. As you read my limited commentary, keep in mind that the passage must mean something – even if it is not what I think it means.

The Parable of the Talents

This well known parable is found in Matthew 25:14-30. Read it in full; then consider the following excerpts:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

First, each of the ones who received talents from the man were his servants. Metaphorically, all three represent followers of Jesus Christ.

He who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
… he who had received the one talent came and said, “… I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”

One of the servants made a choice to bury what had been entrusted to Him. As we will see, his fear of the master was not a sufficient excuse.

But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant …”

Here we see that the servant, who had at one time been trusted, was now considered wicked and lazy.

And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Finally, we see the consequence for the servant’s poor choice. He was cast into outer darkness (i.e., beyond the light of God), where weeping and gnashing of teeth would be his destiny.

There is one very significant point to make here: The place of weeping and gnashing of teeth is in outer darkness. Some have suggested that our “weeping and gnashing” will take place at the judgment seat of Christ – due to our lost opportunities for rewards in heaven. This passage suggests otherwise.

Similarly, others propose that the final destination of wicked and lazy servants is annihilation, or simply separation from God. This too fails to account for the connection between outer darkness and torment.

Rejecting Holiness

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled… Hebrews 12:14-15

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given
us His Holy Spirit.
1Thessalonians 4:7-8

The important thing here is the recognition that God can be rejected. This is particularly important in light of Romans 8:38-39 – a passage used to support “once saved, always saved” theology:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notice that our rejection of Him is not listed. It is understandable that many have not considered this possibility. We ask ourselves, “Who would reject God?”

My conviction is that no one rejects God directly; at least they don’t recognize that is what they are doing when they reject the pursuit of holiness. But, as we see from the passages above, such rejection starts a person down a perilous path – a path that leads to destruction.

Enduring to the End

Many followers of Jesus Christ fail to comprehend the path they have chosen. Those that have been led to believe in an event oriented salvation have no understanding of a journey to begin with. Someone needs to get them up to speed… quickly.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:9-13

Following after Christ includes tribulation and hatred from the world. There will be betrayal; and false teaching that will deceive many. The love of many will grow cold. Consequently, many will not endure unto salvation.

Refusing to Follow Sacrificially

This notion of our need for endurance – for to follow Jesus is filled with hardship – begs the question: What is the cost of salvation?

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Mark 8:34-36

How many do you know who are trying to follow Jesus without denying themselves? How many are taking up their cross (i.e., the instrument of their death to self)? How many (perhaps subconsciously) desire to save their life? How many are gaining the world? How many will lose their soul in the end?

Failing to Strive

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:22-24

Jesus chose His words carefully. He only said what the Father was saying. Notice that the ones who will be left out have found the narrow gate AND are seeking to enter. This reminds me of those that say a prayer because they want to be saved, but are not taught or willing to pay the price of entry.

So, either a lot of churches have a lot of people that have not begun the salvation process (and think they have); or, they have begun and will not complete the journey for their lack of striving to enter the narrow gate. I personally believe the latter to be true; but, either way, there is a problem that needs to be address – and soon.

Being Diligent with Your Election

For many, the possibility of disqualification is a fearful thing; and this will be their reason for rejecting the truth. If you are feeling so tempted, please consider these two encouragements. First, appropriate fear is a blessed ingredient in our being saved.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Why? Because God is working in us to will and do for His good pleasure. We need to join Him in that work; fearing two things: Our lack of diligence, and our getting in the way of His working.

Secondly, God’s good pleasure is to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32). He has agreed to do the heavy lifting. He has promised to supply us with all we need to make our election sure.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2Peter 1:10-11

Now, may the God of peace make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Humbly yours and forever His (by His grace),

Rob

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