Many people embrace the misconception that after accepting Jesus Christ, they can do as they wish because their space in heaven is secured. As such, (and for other reasons) we have many people being baptized, but not many being saved. They went into the water but that was it, no subsequent personal efforts were made to seek more of the Lord. There’s no submission, no hunger, no holiness. Instead there is a form of godliness. Instead a life is led trying to get the best of both worlds, instead we have so many lukewarm independent ‘Christians’, leading their own lives and not walking in the will of God. A heart attack is the death of, or damage to the section of the heart, and this occurs when the blood supply and therefore oxygen, have been cut off. The blockage is usually due to a buildup of plaque. The body (heart) of Christ is suffering from perpetual heart attacks because the build up of sin has blocked off our blood supply (the Holy Spirit)! Hence, so many dead churches! Between 1 Samuel 5 where the Ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines, and 2 Samuel 6 when David returned the Ark to Jerusalem was forty years! Forty years the presence of the Lord was absent, yet they sought to continue with traditions and routines! Likewise some of our churches have long lost the presence of the Lord, but church still goes on ‘as usual’! Oh Lord! 😩 Traditions and routines are still being upheld but there is no glory! If we go to the house of the Lord everyday and the glory is not there we go in vain! We would have just been making noise and carrying on for nothing; clanging cymbals. If we go to the Lord offering gifts and we’re unclean and profane we’re only causing ourselves to be bound! A section of ‘The parable of the wedding Feast’ in Matthew 22:11-13 says: ‘And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” So many of us are like this man who was wearing no wedding garment! We move pass the brazen altar and the brazen laver, and enter into the Holy Place illegally! But I promise you this is to your own detriment! The Lord will give you the reward of your labor and like the man in the parable, you too shall be bound! There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth! I can’t say this enough, be ye holy as He is holy! We must stay sanctified and ensure we don’t lose our free gift of salvation.
What is salvation? Salvation is being redeemed from sin through the death of Jesus Christ. How are we saved? Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Faith is believing the truth. The truth that Jesus Christ is Lord. The truth that He died for our sins; the ultimate sacrifice. The truth that He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, among other things. Salvation is not something we can buy and put aside for future use. Therefore, there is no physical thing that we can do to secure a space in heaven. It is necessary to say then, that salvation by works is a myth. John 8:32 says “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And the truth is, you need to “maintain” your salvation. Many believe once saved always saved. No, there are ‘conditions’. If it were so, this verse wouldn’t be necessary: Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”, or Luke 9:62: “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”, nor Hosea 14:1 “O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen (backsliden) by thine iniquity.” What is backsliding? The biblical term ‘Backsliding’ is used to refer to the state of a born again Christian, relapsing into the sinful lifestyle that he/she had left. So how do we make sure that we preserve our state of being saved?
1. Love the Lord our God: the bible says in the book of Luke chapter 10 and verse 27, that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind. Clearly that’s not talking about no “dibby dibby” (basic) kind of love. Now, what does it really mean to love the Lord? The Lord says in John 14:25 “If you love you, keep my commandments.” Now sorry to disappoint you, but this is not solely referring to the 10 He gave Moses. If you love the Lord you’ll please Him in everything you do. Saying “I love the Lord” or sharing something on Facebook is not enough; love is an action word. Jamaicans I have noticed, are really big on holding dear to their forms of godliness and are greatly deceived into believing that what they are doing is really enough. If we truly love the Lord, nothing will or can, get in the way of our devotion to Him. Jesus should be foremost. A devotion to any other thing in life, whether it be love, money, pleasure etc, is incompatible with a devotion to God, Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other…” Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
2. Love thy neighbor as thyself: this is a touchy topic. Love in this sense does not necessarily mean the love shown in a relationship between a couple, it means to care with all sincerity for the welfare of another, whether it be a complete stranger or a best friend. Treat that person how you would treat yourself (unless you’re some sad person hating yourself that needs deliverance) and how you’d want to be treated. Show the same agape love that Jesus shows us, after all, we are aspiring to be like Christ. This condition is all encompassing. Jesus says in Mark 12:31, “…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (the preceding verse speaks about loving the Lord).” There is none other commandment greater. Why did Jesus say this? It’s simple, if we truly love the Lord, and our neighbor as self then we won’t lie, we won’t covet our neighbor, we won’t bear false witness against them and the list goes on. It also stretches to include forgiveness and giving. Loving your neighbor includes extending that same hand of forgiveness that Jesus extends to us. If you should ever think ‘but they don’t deserve it’ ask yourself if you deserve God’s forgiveness. Lastly, truly caring for another would have us wanting the best for the person, even if it means to give to them. Give of your time, money, and service to others. I naturally like to help, but quite frankly not all are like this. Therefore, as a child of the Most High God, this is an attribute that should be developed. And no, “a suh mi stay long time” (that’s how I’ve always been) will not be accepted. When we came to Christ we came to transformation! The bottom line is, we can’t really love God if we don’t love others, and the Lord is not a respecter of persons so we shouldn’t be either.
3. Have exclusive faith in God: trust God with all of your being. For those who have been reading my articles, you would have found that Proverbs 3:5-6 is always mentioned! “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Surrender all saints! Trust is vital in any relationship, moreso one with the Lord. 99 and a half won’t do; the Lord wants all of us, every single aspect of our life and being. He wants total devotion, mere recognition is vastly insufficient. Submit to Him.
4. Have a circumcised heart: we will not only be judged on our observance of His precepts, but also on our hearts and the purity of our motives; God is more concerned with what’s on the inside than on the outside. Many profess to be kind but their heart is truly selfish and hypocritical. There are many people in church who can be seen working assiduously and we will look on and say “that’s a dedicated servant of the Lord” but God is seeing someone who is working to be glorified in what they can do and not to give God glory. What is your motive? Don’t be fooled, we can convince man with our schemes but we can’t con God. He knows our heart and thoughts before they’re even conceived. Be authentic.
5. Be holy: do not, do not, do not confuse this with being moral. 1 Peter 1:16 says …Be ye holy for I ( God) am holy. That’s a clear cut description of what that really means. God doesn’t lie, gossip and isn’t selfish. Therefore we can’t be liars, gossipers and self centered and call ourselves holy. The words holy and sanctified are used synonymously and to be sanctified means to be set apart for special use. For those us of who grew up in the Caribbean, we’re too familiar with those crockery our mother have put aside for special occasions. Therefore, if the Lord calls us set apart and peculiar, behave in such a manner and stay sanctified.
6. Be repentant and forgiving. The kingdom of God will not be unto the proud, self-reliant, arrogant or self-righteous; humility is key. As such, we must learn to be humble and true enough, to go to God sincerely and acknowledge that ‘I have sinned against you in lies and fornication,’ ‘I have come short of your glory Lord! Please forgive me.’ We all may fall at some point in our walk but the real problem comes when we stay down, when we allow the devil to keep us, when we stop sacrificing flesh. Instead, it’s imperative that we quickly confess, and repent. Bear in mind, we must always be forgiving towards others, as we would like the Lord to be towards us.
7. Do the work of the Lord: living a life “away from sin” is not enough. We are disciples and thus have a common purpose to build the kingdom. Walk in your calling and serve the Lord and others with your gifts for we were made to serve Him. Weh flesh and self a guh? This has nothing to do with us so we better bind up that spirit of importance and recognition and avail ourselves to be used. I recently posted on my blog’s Facebook page that many of us have gotten ahead of ourselves in believing that this is about us, or that our talents/gifts/anointings are for us, and therefore we are able to decide when they are used. Let me crush yuh corn (disappoint you), if we sit upon what God has given us he’ll simply raise up another, like He did Joshua and Caleb. Whatever God has given us is for Him to be glorified and His body to be edified. Get up and do the work of the Lord!
The conclusion of the whole matter is that we must represent Christ well. If you are not living a holy and sanctified life, you do not have salvation, irrespective of whether or not you were previously baptized. Keep your life in order! Many have fallen away and can’t seem to come back but the shepherd is in the field looking for His lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7); mercy awaits you. As for those who are dormant in the body of Christ, get over yourself and shake up! Complacency is NOT, a calling! 😊
Regards, Tamalcia J.