Recognizing the Remnant

God’s door is always open.  Unfortunately few will enter.  That’s why Christ said the road to Hell is wide but the one to salvation is narrow.  He knew many will come off as Christians but when they think no one is watching will live their lives like the apostates they really are.

That’s why He called the Scribes and Pharisees, the top religious folks of 1st Century Israel, blind guides “who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” They pretended to live by God’s laws but they really didn’t!  And this hypocrisy to the faith is the major stumbling block to so many Believers today!

Read the book of Acts and how it concerns the spreading the Gospel to Gentiles. It wasn’t about promoting lifestyles any right minded Jew (not even necessarily a follower of Christ) knew was sinful! That’s why the unrepentant sinner like a homosexual, thief, liar, murderer, drunkard should be wary of the lie that you can be a follower of Christ but continue sinning.  True Christians seek holiness better known as “sanctification.”

Justification vs. Sanctification

See, your faith in God is rewarded by God; not because of your faith or anything you’ve have done or earned, but what God has chosen to do.  He has “justified” you.  Translation: He has delivered you from the penalty of guilt and sin.   He has made, you, me, us legally acceptable into his kingdom.   But we aren’t there yet.  There is more for each of us to do.

To repeat: God, out of his loving grace has made us legally acceptable to be in his presence based upon our faith in Him.  We are justified by him.  But now we must seek, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to cleanse ourselves of sin, the pollution of “the world.”  For some this process of “sanctification” which is a striving to achieve holiness, will easier for them than others.  For most it will be life long.   We can never ever become perfectly holy fore only one person, Yeshua of Nazareth, was the only truly holy person.

For us mere mortals the struggle to give up a sinful lifestyle can be much like giving up alcohol or nicotine.  Some can cold turkey it immediately;  most have to work at it day by day; but all who call on the Holy Spirit will have its help.

Justification & Sanctification Go Together But Aren’t the Same

Paul was speaking to Believers in 1 Corinthians 6:11, when he said some were once wrongdoers, sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, gay, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.  Yet in :11, he said: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  Again, speaking to Believers, not pagans and atheists, he said in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Back to 1 Corinthians 6:11, he referred to the days of Temple worship when the priests would wash themselves and unblemished animals prior to sacrificing them to achieve God’s forgiveness upon his people.

Sanctification is like the act of a temple priest washing himself only its a holy cleansing of ourselves.  We struggle, we wrestle and grapple with ridding ourselves of the sins we each used to do.

Decide to cling to your sins or favorite sin and you’re telling God “Hey I love you but I love this sin more.”  Thankfully for all our sakes He can choose to not instantly require our souls.  Like King David, Saul of Tarsus, and others He allows us time, some more than others, to change.  Waste that time by resting your salvation entirely on God’s gracious forgiveness while continuing to live in sin and when you appear for final judgment it will (hold onto your seat now) make you unfit for paradise.

“[Paul] isn’t saying that a single infraction will cause a person to lose his salvation; but that people who continue to lead a life of sin…who show that they are not part of God’s people.  Mere mental assent to doctrines or to the fact of Yeshua’s Messiahship is not sufficient for salvation, for “‘faith without actions is dead'” (James 2:26).  David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, copyright 1989, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc.

Hebrews 12:14, instructs us to “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Paul writes in Titus 3, to have a good conscience when we think of the life we are living, a life influenced by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.  Many preachers shy from what you’re about to read because it sounds like working for one’s salvation but it isn’t. It is biblical and I urge you to read on and additionally read Philippines 2:12-15.  Paul wrote that good works, humility and peacefulness come to us thanks to the Holy Spirit.  He continues in verse 8, “I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.”

Just between us mere mortals: Why would a gracious, holy god want fellowship with an unholy, sinful Christian?  He’s done more for us than we deserve already; He’s justified us.  Still if we turn around and live like we’re totally ignorant of it, or just don’t appreciate it  its like treating your parents, the people who loved and raised you with indifference.  How do you think that would make them feel?  How do you think God feels when He’s given you justification but you then act like you didn’t appreciate it?

So, Christ welcomes all but He has expectations that we follow the rules for life He gave us.  We are not to stray from those teachings or hang with those who do.

Consider Martin Luther, the 13th Century theologian who put his life on the line by reminding the world that the Holy Bible says no church or mortal man who hears confessions and receives indulgences has any authority to forgive sins or release anyone from Hell.  The implication for us?  Open and in-the-closet Gay Christians, just like open or secret liars, thieves, coveters, gossips, and etc., (all apostate Christians) fool themselves into Hell.

How about you?  Are you attending church, tithing, singing in the choir, donating your time to church activities?  Are you considered to be an upstanding citizen of your community but harbor a secret sin?  Well, you’re going down a road you think takes you to salvation but somewhere ahead of you is a hard, blind and unlit curve to an off ramp that takes you directly to Hell.  The question is will you see and avoid it before its too late?

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