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Haven’t you heard or thought this when the subject of eternal security, perseverance of the saints, or “once saved always saved,” comes up: “That’s going to make people think that once they are saved then they can just go do whatever they want and they’ll still go to heaven. That is horrible!”

I have heard people say this a lot. My question though is, is it true? Once people are TRULY saved, can they do whatever they want and be okay?

Although I need you to hear me out in order to be understood properly, I shout a resounding…

“YES THEY CAN!!!”

Now before I get everyone all worked up, let me explain. The question again was, “doesn’t ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ imply that people can do whatever they want after they are saved and they will still go to heaven?” Sometime it is worded, “isn’t that a license to sin?” This last question I would firmly oppose. It is firmly not a license to sin and this is why:

If the person has truly been taken from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light, that means that they received what Ezekiel calls a new heart, a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, and God’s forceful causing them to obey His commands. Let’s look at the passage in Ezekiel 36:

“26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

A heart of stone that is void of a willing spirit and the Holy Spirit cannot please God. It has to have a radical change enacted upon itself by God. This is what Jeremiah 31 talks about as well with the New Covenant. So if you truly have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, you have a new spirit (you are now wanting to be holy as God is Holy), you now have the Holy Spirit (which Ephesians 1:13-14 calls the seal or down payment of God which, by giving it, guarantees He will pay in full by bringing you all the way to full Salvation), and finally it says explicitly in the text, God will CAUSE you to walk in His ways and be careful to OBEY His rules. This text should make people who hold to free will go insane.

Now briefly, I want to touch on this “new heart” concept. The Bible has a lot to say about the heart.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 27:19
As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Matthew 12:34
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart
the mouth speaks.

Matthew 15:18-19
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony,
slander.

Mark 7:21-22
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22
greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

The heart of the unbeliever is a factory that continually makes idols and because of the natural condition of the heart, it proves our guilt of sin. The heart is where our desires live. If we have an unconverted heart, we have evil desires, and then, because our will is in bondage to our heart’s desires, we will evil things all the time, proving that we have no free will, but are slaves to sin (Romans 6:5, 20). But, and I repeat, but if/when God gives us a new heart, we have new wants and new desires!

So go and do whatever you want to do because if you are truly a blood-bought child of God, you want to worship God, you want to read His Word, you want to obey all of His commands. You don’t want to sin against Him anymore. Even the Apostle Paul said that the things he did not want to do, he did, and the things he did want to do, he still struggled to do (Romans 7). This means that yes, if we are Christians we are still affected by sin’s presence in our lives and we still stumble and fall, but we don’t want to do that anymore. We want to please God.

How do we know if we are saved though? We don’t want to believe in vain. And also, we have to test ourselves to see if we are of the faith. But listen to this:

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

So if you are truly saved, and you have had the Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are a child of God, Go and do what you want to do, which is worship and glorify Jesus Christ all your days. And when we do we know that it is God who, “works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).”

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: People celebrate in the...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So this morning I wake up at 5:00 am to do my P90X workout to then have my wife tell me that she just heard on the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by the US. She said that there were videos and pictures of people gathered at Ground Zero in New York City, as well as countless other places around the US, celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. As soon as I heard this, I had no idea what to think, feel, or do. My heart sank. As a Christian I felt that it would be wrong to celebrate the death of someone created in God‘s image. But I also began to think of some deep thoughts, questions, and observations that I would like to share with you.

Here are some pictures of people celebrating over Bin Laden’s death.

Why was everyone celebrating? I understand that if he really did orchestrate the attacks on 9/11 then he must be punished for them. But why do I understand this to be so? It is part of our deepest desire to have the wrongs righted in our lives. 9/11 was a terrible event that saw many people lose their lives. We wanted justice. If Bin Laden died this week, which I think it is terrible that we just assume at face value that this is true because President Obama said so even though there is absolutely no evidence for this, then my question is where is he now?

Think over that question long and hard. Is Bin Laden in hell or heaven? Or is he in a temporary hell being offered the chance to still work through his 9/11 garbage, as well as other sins, and come on through the open doors of heaven? This is what Rob bell has written about lately. He suggests that it does not matter if you actually cognitively understand the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who alone saves from sin, death, and hell. He goes on to say that God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and God has to get what He wants in order to actually be worthy of praise so then the natural assumption is that all men will be saved, even through the temporary correction of hell’s flames.

Rob Bell recently did an interview with NPR news. Hear it here. He says in his interview that he leaves the door open for people from other faiths to be getting to heaven through Jesus. He also says in the interview that he cannot trust a God who sends people to hell to be punished for eternity. What about Osama Bin Laden? Is he in a place of eternal flames right now without ever getting the chance or offer of escaping it? It is ridiculous for a Christian to assume that a Buddhist man who rejected Christ is not in heaven, but I do understand that it is not easy to admit this because he may have been seen as a good man. We don’t like to think of “good” people being in hell. I put “good” in quotes because the Bible is clear that there is none good or righteous (Romans 3).

But is it easy to go along with Rob Bell’s ideas and say Bin Laden is in Heaven? Or at least Bin Laden will be in Heaven… someday?

We want justice. That is why these people celebrate over the death of Osama Bin Laden. If we are all going to be in Heaven someday then who cares about 9/11? There would be no justice. While Bin Laden was alive, Christians should have been praying for his soul to come to know Jesus, but now his time is up.

And this isn’t even touching on the fact that all of our sin is actually first and foremost against God. That is the real matter. That is what brings out the discussion about Gandhi, or anyone else who rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being in Hell, no matter how “good” they seem to be.

I leave you with this thought. Heaven is eternal. Hell is eternal. The way to God is through the atoning work of Christ’s blood. The grace of God through faith in Christ. The forgiveness of sins that is only found in Jesus. There is no other salvation outside of Christ. If both Gandhi and Bin Laden rejected Christ, they are both in hell. Their sin is equal in the eyes of God because they both trampled on the blood of God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ.

“If Rob Bell is right then the Bible is wrong.” – Sean Harris

Today is the midterm election and voting is the number one subject on everyone’s minds. You might have heard pastors across America last Sunday at least mention it in the service. You might have heard Christians recently say, “Now is the day to change history! Are you going to vote?” We hear people say, “You are only a good Christian like me if you exercise your freedom and go vote.” Okay, so maybe people don’t actually say that, but is that what we are saying by our attitudes and actions towards those who are going to exercise their freedom as well and not vote? The sin of pride is so ingrained into our being and our culture’s being that we say and do things without even thinking about them. My message to the Church is this: exercise your freedom to either vote or not vote, but do your political business with respect and honor. You are not any better if you vote or don’t vote. If you feel better than non-voters because you feel that by your doing so you are more moral and upright, you are then proving that you are in some element being prideful. Love God, Love people, and do what you feel is right according to your conscience with regards to what is lawful. In your opinion, couldn’t voting fall into the discussion of Romans 14? Here is the chapter in its whole,

Romans 14:1-23 ESV

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

If you want to vote, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. Please just don’t pass judgment on other Christians who do the opposite of you.