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Published On : November 7, 1997

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

A Discussion On Superficial Judgment, Salvation,
Grace vs Works, Christian Discipleship, Back-
sliding And Faithfulness, And Heavenly Rewards

Following the Lord's rejection of King Saul, He sent the
Prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to annoint young David
as the new king of Israel. Upon arriving at Bethlehem,
Samuel assumed that Jesse's eldest son, Eliab, would be next
in line as king. However, as we read in the following verse,
the Lord used the situation to teach Samuel a very important
lesson regarding judging by outward appearances:

"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance,
or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the
outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
(1 Samuel 16:7)

How true this is indeed! In our self-rightreous pride, how
quick we are sometimes to judge people by how they look
physically, or by how they dress, or by how they talk, or by
their mannerisms, or by how educated they are, or by their
social status, etc. The Apostle Paul reiterated this same
sentiment when he had to deal with the fleshly Corinthians
who were trying to judge between themselves as to who was
saved and who wasn't:

"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any
man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself
think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we
Christ's." (2 Corinthians 10:7)

A few verses later in the very same chapter, Paul stresses
the point even further when he adds:

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare
ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they
measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves
among themselves, are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12)

The Lord also used the Prophet Isaiah to expose the error
and the folly in assuming that we always see or understand
things the same way that He does:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Likewise, on more than one occasion, Jesus exposed this
human tendency to lift ourselves up above our fellow human
beings in erroneous judgment when He said:

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye
shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
(Luke 6:37)

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment." (John 7:24)

Taken collectively in the context of this article, these
verses carry a very clear message for us all. In short, the
Lord knows His business much better than we. He knows who
belongs to Him and who doesn't. It is not for us to try to
determine who is saved and who isn't. We each should worry
about our own Salvation and not pass judgment on another
person's walk with the Lord. As Paul said in his letter to
the Philippians:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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."
(Philippians 2:12)

If we were all more conscious of our own sinful nature,
perhaps we wouldn't be so quick to judge our neighbor across
the way who might be going through a rough time in his
spiritual walk with the Lord. We would all be wise to
remember that while it may be them today, it may very well
be us tomorrow, because we are all subject to the same
afflictions, trials and tests from the Lord:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to
man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

"Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same
afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in
the world." (1 Peter 5:9)

The best thing we can do for people we love who we see are
faltering in the Faith, is to pray for them. Instead of
setting ourselves up as little judges, we should take upon
ourselves the humble task of being prayer warriors for
friends, family and those with whom we have shared the
message of Salvation. As the Apostle Paul said in various of
his epistles:

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the
Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and
supplication for all saints;" (Ephesians 6:18)

"We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith
in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the
saints...For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be
filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and
spiritual understanding;" (Colossians 1:3-4, 9)

"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Likewise, James also wrote in his Epistle:

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)

Unfortunately, despite the wise counsel found in the
Scriptures I have presented thus far, one practice which has
become common amongst some self-righteous Christians is that
of harshly judging a person who falls back from the Faith,
or who abandons their service for the Lord. In some cases,
these pharasaical Christians, lifted up in their own pride,
question whether or not the fallen brother or sister was
ever really saved to begin with. Within the Christian body,
this falling away from the Faith or from service for the
Lord, is commonly referred to as 'backsliding'; a term used
extensively by the Old Testament Prophets to describe
ancient Israel's falling away from the Lord and worshipping
the pagan gods of the heathen nations around them. This
topic is discussed more in full in the article entitled 'The
Fruits Of Disobedience'. In his second Epistle to the
Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul spoke of a falling away from
The Truth which would occur in the Last Days, the Endtime, a
period in which many Christians, such as myself, believe we
are now living. This term 'falling away' is derived from the
Greek 'apostasia', and thus it is commonly referred to as
the Apostasy:

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That
ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by
spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the
day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any
means: for that day shall not come, except there come a
falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son
of perdition;" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)

Aside from their own self-righteous pride, part of the
problem with those who adopt this critical attitude towards
other Christians, is that some of them seem to be equating
Christian service with Salvation. It may be because of their
confusion regarding these two issues that they are claiming
that if a person stops serving the Lord, then he must never
have really been saved to begin with. At times, this may be
true. Such might possibly be the case with Judas Iscariot,
the Lord's betrayer, which I discuss in more detail in a
separate article. The question then is this: If a person
ceases to serve the Lord, does this really mean that they
are no longer saved, or that they were never saved to begin
with? This whole issue of Salvation and works has received a
great deal of attention, and has been a source of
controversy since the very First Century of the Christian
Era. The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of time addressing
this topic in his Epistles and made such historic remarks as
the following:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise
grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no
more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6)

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

When Martin Luther discovered these Truths within the
Epistles of Paul, he quickly became the object of wrath for
daring to defy the teachings of the 'Holy Mother Church'.
Even today, despite our rich Christian heritage, Grace
versus works still seems to be a hazy area where it has been
difficult for many Christians to find common ground. Some
maintain that Salvation is strictly by Faith; others say
that Salvation can only be earned through good works; and
still others believe that Salvation is a result of Faith
coupled with good works. The latter position implies that
Faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ isn't good enough, that
we need to provide the Lord with a little help to save us,
and then to keep us saved. In my view, those who rely solely
upon good works have nullified the Grace bestowed upon us
through Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross. For these reasons, I
personally firmly embrace Paul's position that Salvation is
by Grace alone. All of this has already been discussed at
length in some of my other articles; therefore, I will not
belabor the point here. One thing which is certain is that
there are plenty of Scriptures which have been used to
support all three of these positions. It all comes down to a
matter of interpretation and personal understanding.

In thinking about this view held by those who say that if
one stops serving the Lord, he must have never been saved to
begin with, I was reminded of the Parable of the Sower.
Jesus gave some very specific examples in that story which
may shed some light on this issue. In reading the parable
closely, it seems to me that Jesus was not just talking
about Salvation, but rather about service as well. As I
pointed out in the 'Are We Once Saved Always Saved?'
article, I believe that there is a difference between
Salvation and Rewards. It is my view that many will be
saved, but that not all will have great Heavenly Rewards,
because not all will go on to produce fruit for the Lord
after acknowledging Him in their lives. This is why some
will shine like the stars, while others will live in shame
and everylasting contempt as we are told in the Book of

"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and
everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as
the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to
righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
(Daniel 12:2-3)

Notice that those who are awakened, those who are
resurrected, are clearly divided into two categories: those
who receive Everlasting Life, and those who suffer
Everlasting Shame and Contempt. The question I have always
pondered is, how could these poor souls suffer such a thing
unless they too were existing in some everlasting state? The
only way I can currently reconcile these thoughts is to
assume that once judgment is passed on those who have
rejected the Lord, while they may face certain destruction
in the Lake of Fire, the memory of their failure will live
on in the minds of those who do inherit Everlasting Life. In
this sense, their shame will be eternal. These ideas will be
explored more fully in another article. Let's take a look
now at Jesus' explanation of the Parable of the Sower.
Hopefully, it will become clear to you the reader that while
Jesus is talking about Salvation here, He is primarily
discussing the rewards of service:

"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one
heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not,
then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was
sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way
side." (Matthew 13:18-19)

In the above verses, it appears that these people hear the
words of Salvation, but their understanding is so darkened,
and their hearts so hardened, that they don't know what it
means. Thus, they quickly reject the Word of Truth and never
even receive Salvation. I am reminded of what the Apostle
Paul said in his epistle to the Ephesians:

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of
their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being
alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is
in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being
past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness,
to work all uncleanness with greediness."
(Ephesians 4:17-19)

This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said the following
regarding the Scribes and Pharisees of His day:

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if
the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
(Matthew 15:14)

"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no
sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
(John 9:41)

"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a
camel. " (Matthew 23:24)

Jesus then continued the Parable of the Sower by saying:

"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same
is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for
when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word,
by and by he is offended." (Matthew 13:20-21)

In these verses, it appears that these people not only hear
the Word, but they receive it joyfully as well. In other
words, they truly experience Salvation. But then notice what
happens. Because of their lack of spiritual depth, because
they don't stay close to the Lord and His Word, they fall
away from The Truth during times of persecution when their
Faith is tested. As I pointed out in the article 'Science
And Technology: The Forbidden Fruit', in this increasingly
ungodly world, as science and technology exert their power
as the gods of this world, being a true Christian becomes
more unpopular and more difficult with each passing day. In
another article entitled 'Dear Teacher: Standing Up For The
Rights Of Our Children', I highlight the plight of Christian
school-age children who are scoffed at by their peers, and
ostracized by the educational establishment when they refuse
to embrace the devilish garbage they are being taught in the
public school system. Jesus spoke very clearly regarding
those who offend, or place a stumbling block in front of
these little ones, when He said:

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which
believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth
of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

Consider also the many tele-evangelists who are more worried
about pleasing their audiences than they are with pleasing
God. Some of them love to tickle ears, but do very little to
stand up for The Truth found within the Word of God. If they
were to really preach the whole counsel of God, they would
quickly fall from popularity; and their pocketbooks would
feel the effect as well. It is for this reason that some of
them preach a watered-down Gospel. Jesus exposed their sin
well when He said:

"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of
God." (John 12:43)

Another example of persecution is the friction that develops
in families where different religious beliefs are espoused.
Eventually, one of the two parents gives in to the other, or
else a compromise is made. This may result in the children
receiving the wrong religious instruction, or quite possibly
none at all because the parents cannot come to an agreement.
It may even leave the child totally confused as to what to
believe, or may cause them to reject religion altogether.
The point is, regardless of the source of the persecution,
due to their not being well-grounded in the Word of God,
some of these people end up in a backslidden state. They may
still be saved, but they are not bearing any fruit because
they are no longer serving the Lord. As Jesus said:

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,
except ye abide in me." (John 15:4)

Those who are ashamed to work for the Lord now, will find
out that He will likewise be ashamed of them at His Coming:

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words
in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall
the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of
his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)

Returning to the Parable of the Sower, Jesus then goes on to
discuss the seed which fell among thorns:

"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that
heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh
unfruitful." (Matthew 13:22)

Notice that this person went even further than the last. He
accepted the Word of Truth and was saved. It even appears
that he may have started to bear fruit. Notice that it says
he 'becometh unfruitful'. This seems to be implying that he
was fruitful at first, but then he allowed the cares and
riches of this life to drag him away from His service for
the Lord. This sounds so much like a lot of modern-day
Christians in the Westernized world who have fallen for the
very things which both Jesus and his followers warned us
against when they said:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and
steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there
will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the
friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of
God." (James 4:4)

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is
not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:15-16)

We find the perfect example of some modern materialistic
churches in the Book of Revelation in the letter written to
the church at Laodicea, where we read:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I
would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of
my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou
art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and
naked:" (Revelation 3:15-17)

Like many of these modern Christians who live 'the abundant
life', this person Jesus spoke of may have some rewards in
Heaven, but it won't be very much. To conclude His Parable
of the Sower, Jesus finally says:

"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that
heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth
fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty,
some thirty." (Matthew 13:18-23)

Here we have an example of the person who, despite all
obstacles set before him, continued in his service for the
Lord. He persevered until the end. He received the Word, he
understood it, and he went on to bear lots of fruit for the
Lord's Kingdom. Notice that Jesus is very careful to point
out that not everyone bears the same amount of fruit. This
seems to be implying that there are varying degrees of
Discipleship and Rewards. Jesus makes this same point in
other parables as well, such as in the Parable of the
Talents, His comparison of the Vine and the branches, etc.
The Apostle Paul also spoke about how we will not all
receive the same reward when he said:

"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the
moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth
from another star in glory." (1 Corinthians 15:41)

Not everyone is capable of serving the Lord in the same
capacity. In this modern world where it is difficult for
many to make ends meet financially, it would be more
difficult for a married man with five children to serve the
Lord than for a single person who can dedicate his entire
life to the Lord's work. The Apostle Paul also spoke
quite a bit on this topic of marriage and Discipleship in
his epistles. In his letter to the Corinthians he wrote:

"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou
loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry,
thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not
sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh:
but I spare you...But I would have you without carefulness.
He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to
the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married
careth for the things that are of the world, how he may
please his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:27-28, 32-33)

How much we each choose to serve the Lord is a matter of
personal Faith and motivation. What is important to the
Lord is that we bear some amount of fruit for His Kingdom:

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained
you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your
fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the
Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15:16)

It is important to note here that bearing fruit for the
Kingdom of God is NOT a work of the flesh. We cannot force
anyone to accept the Lord. I know that there are some
churches and organizations which pride themselves in keeping
tabs on how many souls THEY have won to the Lord. I am sorry
to disagree, but YOU cannot win one single soul to the Lord.
You can talk to someone until you are blue in the face, but
if they don't want to hear it, or receive it, or believe it,
there is nothing you can do about it. Salvation is a very
personal matter. As I have clearly demonstrated in other
articles, it is a matter of personal choice. The following
verses show very clearly how fruit is born for the Kingdom
of God:

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he
that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
(1 Corinthians 3:7)

"Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And
the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
(Acts 2:47)

Clearly, winning souls to the Lord is a work of the Spirit.
God is the only one who can put it into a person's heart to
want to be saved. Consider the following verse:

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do
of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

As I have shown in other articles regarding Salvation, the
Lord wishes for all men everywhere to be saved:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men
count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

The irony of this situation is that while God wants all men
to be saved, and while He will even put His desire in our
hearts, it still comes down to a matter of personal choice.
In this current Age of Grace, He will not force Himself upon
any man. So how is it that we fit into God's overall plan?
The answer is quite simple: We are still here in the flesh.
As such, we are the vehicles the Lord has to use to deliver
the Message of Salvation. God has given us an important
Message to deliver to the world, and it is our Divine
Responsibility to deliver it faithfully by whatever means
are available to us according to our own Faith:

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found
faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:2)

Returning to the Parable of the Sower, except for the first
fellow, it appears that in all of the rest of the examples
Jesus gave, they were saved. As with the Parable of the
Talents, where we could say receiving the talents was the
act of accepting the Lord, they each went on to invest in
the Lord's work in varying degrees of service. The main
point I wish to emphasize here is that, in my opinion, a
lack of works does not necessarily mean that a person is no
longer saved, or that he was never saved to begin with; it
simply means that he is currently in a backslidden state,
and not doing anything for the Lord. His works did not save
him to begin with, and they certainly cannot keep him saved.
The Lord still loves him, he is still the Lord's child, just
like backslidden Israel, but he is exercising a dead Faith
because he is not putting his Faith into action:

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also." (James 2:26)

If we can be honest with ourselves for a moment, haven't we
ALL been in this same condition? I know I have. Maybe some
of us still are. The Lord still loves us, we are still His
children, but we may not be getting a lot of recognition
when we arrive in the Heavenly Kingdom, UNLESS we repent and
return to our first love:

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou
hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence
thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else
I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy
candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
(Revelation 2:4-5)

Personally, I am by no means convinced that our lack of
works means that we are no longer saved. This is contrary to
the Scriptures such as the following:

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him
that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never
perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
(John 10:28)

Again, our Salvation is dependent upon Faith in Jesus alone,
and NOT on our works as I made clear in 'Are We Once Saved,
Always Saved?'. Jesus is the only One Who saved us to begin
with, and He is the only One Who can keep us saved. Consider
these words written by Paul and Jude:

"For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have
believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that
which I have committed unto him against that day."
(2 Timothy 1:12)

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to
present you faultless before the presence of his glory with
exceeding joy," (Jude 1:24)

In short, it is the Lord who gives the increase. It is the
Lord who saves souls. It is the Lord Who keeps souls saved.
It has nothing to do with our works. If Salvation is
dependent upon works, then the First Disciples would have
all lost their Salvation, because the night Jesus was
betrayed, they ALL forsook Him. It wasn't just Peter:

"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended
because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite
the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered
abroad." (Matthew 26:31)

"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be
scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone:
and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
(John 16:32)

To suggest that the First Disciples regained their Salvation
when they rededicated themselves to the Lord is ridiculous.
This would be akin to saving themselves AGAIN by their own
good works instead of through the Grace of God. As Paul also
said, to believe that we can constantly lose and regain our
Salvation condemns Jesus to being crucified afresh each time
we fall from Grace:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made
partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word
of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall
fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they
crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to
an open shame." (Hebrews 6:4-6)

In the next few chapters, Paul confirms that, unlike the
high priest which had to continually sacrifice for the sins
of the people, Jesus was offered up ONE TIME, and that is
all that is necessary for our Salvation, because it is

"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the
people's: for this he did ONCE, when he offered up himself."
(Hebrews 7:27)

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own
blood he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having
obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:12)

"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation
of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he
appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as
it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment: So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of
many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the
second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:26-28)

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of
the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all." (Hebrews 10:10)

The Apostle Peter also believed this as he stated in the
following verse:

"For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for
the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to
death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
(1 Peter 3:18)

The point is, once you are saved, you are saved, and that is
it, because Jesus died only ONE TIME, and His mercies are
renewed EVERY morning:

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not. They are new every
morning: great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

It is because of the above erroneous teaching that many are
in confusion today regarding their Salvation. Because they
have been made to believe that their Salvation is based upon
their own good works, they are always wondering if they are
still saved. They worry about whether or not they have been
good enough, or if they have prayed enough, or if they have
tithed enough, or if they have offered up enough prayers to
the saints, etc. They are never sure exactly where they
stand with God, and this is EXACTLY how some churches, like
the Roman Catholic Church, maintain control over their
members; by making them dependent upon the church for their
Salvation and forgiveness of sins, instead of solely upon
the Blood of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is NOT what the
Bible teaches. We are to be certain of our Salvation as the
Apostle John said:

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the
Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto
you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may
know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on
the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:12-13)

Notice the assurance and certainty in John's words. He
leaves no room for doubt whatsoever. Let me say again that
while our works do not save us, they are the source of our
rewards. The following verse from the Book of Revelation
seems to bear this out:

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their
labours; and their works do follow them."
(Revelation 14:13)

If we really love the Lord and want to please Him, we will
do what we can to manifest our Faith by sharing His Word
with others. In my view, this is the whole spirit of the
verses in James chapter two regarding putting our Faith into
action. We should do it, not because that is what saves us,
but rather because we want to please the Lord, AND because
of the Love which God has given us for lost souls. In
conclusion, let us not be too quick to judge other
Christians, or to try to determine whether or not they are
saved. That is God's business, and not ours. Jesus made it
very clear that He knows who His sheep are:

"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of
mine...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they
follow me:" (John 10:14, 27)

The Apostle Paul also echoed this sentiment in his second
Epistle to Timothy when he said:

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having
this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let
every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19)

Rather than judge who is, and who is not of the Lord, let us
each concentrate on working out our own Salvation with fear
and trembling. Someday we may all be surprised to find out
who has made it into the Pearly Gates, and who has not.
Before closing this article, allow me to state that this
current article does not fully discuss the topic of
judgment. While we are admonished to not critically or
self-righteously judge our brethren, the Bible does clearly
teach that there is such a thing as 'righteous judgment'.
For a fuller explanation of this topic, please refer to the
article entitled 'Exposing The Judge Not Fallacy'. I trust
that this article has been an inspiration and a blessing to

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