Having received an email from a ministry I subscribe to, I have been forced to consider once more the doctrine of ‘Once Saved Always Saved’… a doctrine held by many and considered by myself [considered I say not accepted].
Personally I have swayed from totally believing in it to fervently opposing it, but as I have matured in my faith and understanding of scripture, have come to the conclusion that it isn’t as black and white as I might have once thought, with even its definition being debatable with both views thwart with issues.
Anyway unconvinced by either, I tend to hedge my bets... whom whilst still considering both press-on to assure ‘myself of my eternal salvation’ through seeking Christ and His Righteousness.
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
Although I can testify to having witnessed the fruits of peace, joy and love in those persuaded by the doctrine of Eternal Salvation, not being fully persuaded myself I press on to attain that same peace, joy and love, though not through trusting in that same Doctrine but rather through pursuing Christ... as did they in the beginning. And this by not only knowing His will, but through perseverance keeping it... that I might also attain that perfect peace that comes through faith, with the fruits of joy and love following.
For we can not lean upon that of which we have not been fully convinced... least doubting we fall, for who can cross a bridge or swing over a canyon unless they have first been persuaded to trust in that in which they had hoped for, even in He who had promised not to fail them in their moment of trial? And this is where I presently find myself, and so have but one option... and that is to pursue Christ with all of my heart, my soul and my strength.
Anyway, this email caused me to reread the parables of Matthew 13.
• Which begin with...
The Parable of the Sower, which I touched upon in another blog located here, where Jesus expounds the differing fruits or otherwise… of those who hear His Word, even the seeds sown into the soil of our hearts, thus finishing the parable in Luke with the warning…
Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he ‘seems’ to have.
• And ends with...
The Parable of the Dragnet to which I now refer. For I had always thought that The Parable of the Dragnet was just another version of The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares [Matthew 13:24-30+36-43] where Satan, having sown his tares amongst God’s wheat in the World, suffers them to be gathered at the harvest at the end of this age, and cast into an eternal fire.
However when I read it this time, although obviously referring to the events of the The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares... it gives us additional information not seen in the first. For in The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares the field where the stage is set, is quite clearly the whole World among whom the Church resides, Jesus pointing this out when He expounded the parable to His disciples...
37 - He answered and said unto them, He that sower the good seed is the Son of man [Jesus];
38 - The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 - The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
But in The Parable of the Dragnet, the stage is clearly the Church drawn out from among the waters of the World, for the waters are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages...
The waters you saw, [where the prostitute sits,] are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.
...from which Christ’s fishers catch men.
And Jesus said unto them, Come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Even the sea of people, from where allsorts of men are gathered... both good and bad.
So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Which having been caught are at the end of this age sifted, the bad taken from the good that Christ’s Church might be presented to Him, a spotless Bride and without wrinkle or stain.
11 - “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.
12 - He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 - “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 - “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The Parable of the Dragnet
47 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 - Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 - So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 - And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So although both Parables testify to similar events, The Parable of the Dragnet does not focus on the sifting of the Wicked from the Righteous in the World, but rather the sifting of the Wicked from the Righteous... in the Church!
For our Lords words “When the net was full” found in verse 48, agree with Paul who speaking of the times when the Church should come to the full number, then spoke of the Jews who will at that time awake from their blindness and finally acknowledge that they did as the Christians had asserted, that they crucified their Messiah.
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, so that you will not be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in [to the Church];
A still future event which Amos the prophet foretold long ago...
After [the Church is full] I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of [The Jewish King] David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
And again, as verse 48 states...
Which when full [The Dragnet - The Church], they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels [Our new bodies?] , but cast the bad away
Thus when full and separated from the World, the Church must be judged and cleansed of all that offends, because as Peter states...
1 Peter 4:17
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
And Jude warned, that some ungodly people masquerading as Christian have crept into the Church, who God will find-out at the Judgement Seat of Christ. [2 Corinthians 5:10]
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Paul also warning; that they would not only come from without the Church, but rise-up to positions of authority from among us...
29 - For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 - Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Who will not only be be judged on that great day... but having been deceived by their own hearts, lusts and Worldly desires; shall realise too late that they are not of Christ’s Wheat, but rather of Satan’s Tares!
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.
For although some of the wicked believe in both God, and the judgement…
Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptised he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
Their salvation is far from assured.
20 - But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
21 - You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 - Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23 - For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
For even the devils believe in both God and a coming judgement, who tremble at the very thought of Him who shall soon cast them into an eternal damnation.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that we must…
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether [we] are really in the faith; and prove yourselves selves. Know you not, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you are reprobates?
A sobering thought, can a man having been ‘born again’ lose his salvation? I still don’t truly know... but I do know this, that I must press-on that I might receive my crown, and that having attained let no man wrestle it out of my hands, no not by force, slight of hand or by temptation.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
And as for those who through neglect have neither known Christ, nor know of His will... Peter warns:
1 Peter 4:18
And if the righteous scarcely are saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth [blessings or chastisement] : much more the wicked and the sinner. [In Hell]