Soteriology – Salvation Series – Justification
Justification is the literal or legal rendering of a person’s innocence. Justification in Christ or the doctrine of justification is to receive full pardon before God for all your sins and become clothed with Christ’s innocence.
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. – Acts 13.39
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God – Romans 5.1-2
In the New Testament, we find the word for justification means to make a person innocent. Meaning that believers are innocent from sin.
Justice – The Law of God
To properly understand justification, we need to understand what we are justified from, and who we are justified to. The God of all creation is a Holy and Just God, who is good and perfect and above all things. When one of His creation’s sins, they desecrate His holy ways and are guilty and are to be cast out from His presence.
When someone puts their faith in Christ, they are justified from sin, and are justified to God. God gave his law to humanity to show them his perfect ways, and to give them the standard for what is good. It is the law of God by which all humanity will be judged.
The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide. – Psalms 37.31
God established the moral law, which is good and just, and teaches us what sin is. Not only did He give us this through the law of Moses, but He wrote it upon our hearts in these last days, this is our conscience.
Every violation of this law is absolutely disgraceful to God and His perfect Holiness and breaking the law (which is sin) deserves eternal punishment.
Legally, all sin is to be punished and esteemed with the utmost concern for justice, because the perfect law of God it is a reflection of Gods standards for holiness, and reflects who He is. There are over 600 written laws in the Old Testament. All the laws of the old testament are broken up into 3 categories or 3 different types of laws:
- Ceremonial (Base procedures for all religious ceremonies)
- Civil (Base procedures for all social regulations)
- Moral (Basic moral laws appealing to mans conscience)
It pleased the LORD, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify the law, and make it honorable. – Isaiah 42.21
We were all under law, and subject to it until we come to Christ. We are under the law of God that reveals to us we are sinners and are guilty of sin.
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; – 1 Timothy 8-10
Breaking One Part of the Law is Breaking it All
God reveals that even though there are different consequences for performing different sinful actions, breaking just one of the laws, is equally as sinful as breaking all of the law. This is what makes man so sinful, is the fact that one sinful deed defiles him completely, making him unholy and separate from God.
For anyone who keeps all the law, but makes a slip in one point, is judged to have gone against it all. For he who said, Do not be untrue in married life, is the same who said, Put no man to death. Now if you are not untrue in married life, but you put a man to death, the law is broken. – James 2.10-11
The Law is Written on Every Heart
This written law in our hearts is our God given conscience. God has written the moral law on the hearts of all men, and we are all fully aware of right and wrong, good and evil. We all know what is moral and correct and are able to judge within ourselves things that are good.
The Power of Sin
The law of Moses is what actually gives sin its power, because it is in these moral laws that mankind is able to become fully become aware that they are doing sinful and evil deeds, and recognize that they themselves are evil.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: – Roman 8.3
The Law is Only a Mirror
The law is a mirror that we can look ‘into’ and see that our deeds are evil and that we are in need of a savior.
For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. – James 1.23-24
The Law Shows we Need (or Require) a Savior
The law has no power to save, but rather reveals that we need a savior to help us and free us from debt. The law reveals that we need a savior external to ourselves, that we cannot save ourselves.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. – Romans 8.2
Everyone Will be Judged by Their Deeds
Everyone will be judged according to what they have ‘done.’ Except those who are in Christ, the Bible shows believers have already passed from this judgment of God (judgment between good and evil) and will be judged by Christ according to their works to see what their eternal rewards in heaven will be.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. – Revelation 20.12
All The Law is Summed Up in This – Love One Another
Even though God has given us His 10 commandments, along with multiple other laws and legal types, the entire law of God is summed up in understanding what love is. It is truly simple, in that all of Gods law and all our moralities written on our conscience is to simply love God first and to love others as yourself.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. – Galatians 5.14
We are to love other regardless of who they are or what they are like, but rather love others unconditionally, just as the example the Jesus gave to us, putting God first in our lives.
Redemption & Ransom – Justification
God will not just simply forgive everyone’s sins because He desires to, He created a law that must be fulfilled according to His holiness, neither will He force anyone to believe or to follow His ways. Goodness demands justice for evil, and all mankind is evil in their hearts, turning from God (and all that is good) to their own selfish ways. Justification is the legal release from the condemnation the law requires as the result for sin.
God is just and good and will make sure justice is done, and evil must be justified and punished before His presence. In God’s loving kindness He made a way for people to be redeemed!
Therefore sin is an infinite debt to God’s righteousness that we can NOT pay back. The devil is the accuser, and stands before God, accusing His people of sin to demand punishment and hell for sinners, and he makes his appeals according to God’s justice. (Zech 3.1-10)
To redeem is literally to be bought at a price, or to be bought back for a price. God the righteous judge requires that judgment be set out against all evil and sin. We deserve the wages of sin and death in hell eternal for our actions against a holy and perfectly righteous God for our willful disobedience. Jesus paid our price and bought us for this price with eternal wages.
For the Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10.45
For ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. – 1 Corin 6.20
Saved from the Captivity and Slavery of Sin
Those who practice sin are bound to it, and in salvation we are freed from it; not longer taken captive to do the will of the devil or of the sinful nature. Sin is the prison and enslavement, a captivity for the human soul.
…making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. – Rom 7.23
and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2.26
Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins, His blood is the covering for those whom are saved, and is the atoning sacrifice that pacifies the wrath of God. God accepts Jesus payment for our sins, and we are atoned for. We have been justified for all sins we commit in our lives.
Redeemed by Christ
Jesus Took our Place
Every person deserved death and hell for their sins, but rather He who was innocent came to take out place.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. – Isa 53.5,10
Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him. – 2 Corin 5.21
But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; – Rom 3.21-25
Jesus blood was the purchase price, and with it He redeemed all believers, a purchase price that was paid to God. The payment had to be paid to God because it was His holiness that we disgrace with our sins. God is the good judge, and the price for sin is death.
And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, – Rev 5.9
Only Jesus Blood was worth the value necessary to take our place for sins, see why:
Our Account is Credited
Jesus work on the cross accredited His righteousness and justification to our account. Rom 4.3-4,6,8-11,22-24. God teaches us in Romans the following:
(v12,12,16)Trespass (v 15-18)Disobedience (v.19)
(v 15)Righteousness (v.18)Obedience (v.19)
|Death for all
|Life for all
(v. 17-18, 21)
|Sin enters into everyone (v.12)Sin rules everyone (v.21)
|Grace enter for everyone (v.15)Grave reigns for everyone (v.21)
|Everyone is a sinner (v.19)Everyone is under Judgment (v.18)Everyone is under Condemnation (v.16,18)
|Everyone is made righteous (v.19)Salvation is a free gift (v.18)Everyone is given Justification (v.16,18)
God’s law says that there can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of Blood. This was the entire purpose of the sacrificial system set up with the temple in Jerusalem. The shedding of blood is the lawful and just price for committing sin and defiling the Holy God who created that being; and thus, it must lose its life for its sinful action. Forgiveness is the literal removal of sins by God’s grace.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence – Eph 1.7-8
And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission. – Heb 9.22
Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. – Rom 4.25
Receive Jesus Righteousness
Through this whole process, mankind is regarded as being justified and righteous before God in His sight. We are made perfect when we are given our new bodies in heaven and are glorified.
Until then, we as children of God still must struggle against sin in the flesh on earth. This of course is the difference between children of God and children of the world: children of the world just give into sin and indulge, children of God even though they fall or fail, continue and struggle against sin because it displeases their Father whom they love.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: – 1 Corinthians 1.30
To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him. – 2 Corinthians 5.19-21
Can Salvation be Earned?
If the devil can succeed in getting you to trust in your own goodness in anyway, or the things you do in anyway, or get you to believe that you will be saved or enter heaven or be right with God because of the things YOU DO, he has won. A work based or earn your own salvation is not the gospel. If you believe you can earn your own salvation, in your heart you are saying to God even if you don’t realize it, “I am good because of what I have done!” and “I am worthy of heaven because of what I have done.”
For what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. – Rom 4.3-5
But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. – Rom 11.6
because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin. – Rom 3.20
Why Good Deeds Don’t Earn Heaven
We can’t do anything good apart from God:
even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; – Rom 3.22-23
none is good save one, God – Mark 10.18
Our goodness and personal righteousness is like filthy rags:
For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousness are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. – Isaiah 64.4
Many falsely believe their action will earn their spot in heaven, but Jesus tells us plainly:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. – Matthew 7.21-23
The Bible tells us plainly that only those who do the will of God will enter heaven. So, what is the will of God?
For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholds (considers or looks to) the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6.40
The ONLY path to heaven, the ONLY way to God and salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Salvation Can Not Come from our Actions
It is impossible for a man to save himself, because we are all sinners. Gal 5.3 teaches that if a man could be perfect that he would indeed be free from sin, but he would have to keep the whole law perfectly all his life, but only Jesus could do that, as the perfect sinless man.
Salvation is of the LORD. – Jonah 2.9
for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; – Eph 2.8
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house – Acts 16.31
whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; – Rom 3.25
who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1.13
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy. – Rom 9.15-16
Struggles Against the Flesh
True believers will always return to God and be drawn back to the Lord. This doesn’t mean that true believers will not be without their battles against their own fleshly nature, and even stumble and fall. Even the apostle Paul revealed how he wrestled against the flesh daily to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
This is the difference between a person of the world and a person of God, is that the children of God always find in themselves the struggle and battle against the flesh (even if they lose), a person of the world just gives right into sin and fleshly desires.
Perseverance of the Saints
True faith continues to trust God
And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: If so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister. – Colossians 1.21-23
True Faith Endures
The Bible teaches that the elect will hold True to the Faith throughout their lives.
by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. – 1 Corin 15.2
Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: – 2 peter 1.10
Who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1.5
For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. – Phil 2.13
Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: – Phil 1.6
Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. – 1 John 3.9
For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5.4
Eternal Security – Elect of God
For Those that Truly Believe, God is their Author and Finisher of their Faith. The elect of God are those that have eternal security for God has predestined them and He know they will go to heaven.
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. – Matt 11.11
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. – John 21.18
I am certain that whatever God does will be for ever. No addition may be made to it, nothing may be taken from it; and God has done it so that man may be in fear before him. – Ecclesiastes 3.14
Whatever the Father gives to me will come to me; and I will not send away anyone who comes to me. – John 6.3
And this is the pleasure of him who sent me, that I am not to let out of my hands anything which he has given me, but I am to give it new life on the last day. This, I say, is my Father’s pleasure, that everyone who sees the Son and has faith in him may have eternal life: and I will take him up on the last day. – John 6.39-40
My sheep give ear to my voice, and I have knowledge of them, and they come after me: And I give them eternal life; they will never come to destruction, and no one will ever take them out of my hand. – John 10.27-28
Because those of whom he had knowledge before they came into existence, were marked out by him to be made like his Son, so that he might be the first among a band of brothers: And those who were marked out by him were named; and those who were named were given righteousness; and to those to whom he gave righteousness, in the same way he gave glory. – Romans 8.29-30
Even as he made selection of us in him from the first, so that we might be holy and free from all evil before him in love: As we were designed before by him for the position of sons to himself, through Jesus Christ, in the good pleasure of his purpose, – Eph 1.4-5
For I am certain of this very thing, that he by whom the good work was started in you will make it complete till the day of Jesus Christ: – Philippians 1.6
The Lord will keep me safe from every evil work and will give me salvation in his kingdom in heaven: to whom be glory for ever and ever. So be it. – 2 Tim 4.18
I have put these things in writing for you who have faith in the name of the Son of God, so that you may be certain that you have eternal life. – 1 John 5.13
Who, by the power of God are kept, through faith, for that salvation, which will be seen at the last day – 1 Peter 1.5
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James, to those of God’s selection who have been made holy by God the Father and are kept safe for Jesus Christ: – Jude 1
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to give you a place in his glory, free from all evil, with great joy, – Jude 24
God Does Not Relent
For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of – Rom 11.29
The Holy Spirit Remains with You
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, – John 14.16
In whom you, having been given the true word, the good news of your salvation, and through your faith in him, were given the sign of the Holy Spirit of hope, Which is the first-fruit of our heritage, till God gets back that which is his, to the praise of his glory. – Eph 1.13-14
But it is right for us to give praise to God at all times for you, brothers, loved by the Lord, because it was the purpose of God from the first that you might have salvation, being made holy by the Spirit and by faith in what is true: – 2 Thess 2.13
Assurance of Salvation
The Bible teaches believers that they are to have assurance of their salvation, that they may know they have eternal life in Christ.
He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life. These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God. – 1 john 5.12-13
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. – Jude 21
The man who has faith in him does not come up to be judged; but he who has no faith in him has been judged even now, because he has no faith in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3.18
Truly I say to you, The man whose ears are open to my word and who has faith in him who sent me, has eternal life; he will not be judged, but has come from death into life. – John 5.24
My prayer is for them: my prayer is not for the world, but for those whom you have given to me, because they are yours – John 17.9-24
As David says that there is a blessing on the man to whose account God puts righteousness without works, saying, Happy are those who have forgiveness for their wrongdoing, and whose sins are covered – Romans 4.6-7
For the reward of sin is death; but what God freely gives is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6.23
Who will say anything against the saints of God? It is God who makes us clear from evil; – Romans 8.33
Who will come between us and the love of Christ? Will trouble, or pain, or cruel acts, or the need of food or of clothing, or danger, or the sword? – Romans 8.35, 37-39
Because God’s selection and his mercies may not be changed. – Romans 11.29
For we are conscious that if this our tent of flesh is taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in heaven. – 2 Corin 5.1-2
Now he who has made us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a witness of what is to come. So, then, we are ever without fear, and though conscious that while we are in the body we are away from the Lord, We are without fear, desiring to be free from the body, and to be with the Lord. – 2 Corin 5.5-6, 8
So if any man is in Christ, he is in a new world: the old things have come to an end; they have truly become new. For him who had no knowledge of sin God made to be sin for us; so that we might become the righteousness of God in him – 2 Corin 5.17,21
Even when we were dead through our sins, gave us life together with Christ by grace you have salvation, So that we came back from death with him, and are seated with him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus; Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself. – Ephe 2.5-6,9
For it is God who is the cause of your desires and of your acts, for his good pleasure. Do all things without protests and arguments; – Philippians 2.12-13
And I make request to you, true helper in my work, to see to the needs of those women who took part with me in the good news, with Clement and the rest of my brother-workers whose names are in the book of life. – Philippians 4.3
Being conscious, my brothers, dear to God, that you have been marked out by God’s purpose; – 1 Thess 1.4
For this reason, you are ever in our prayers, that you may seem to our God such as may have a part in his purpose and that by his power he will make all his good purpose, and the work of faith, complete; – 2 Thess 1.11
Because by one offering he has made complete for ever those who are made holy. – Heb 10.14
Anyone who is a child of God does no sin, because he still has God’s seed in him; he is not able to be a sinner, because God is his Father. – 1 John 3.9
He who overcomes will be dressed in white, and I will not take his name from the book of life, and I will give witness to his name before my Father, and before his angels – Rev 3.5
Eternal Security in Heaven
Some rationalize that if you could, by your free-will, become saved by accepting Jesus, then you could also by the same free will, become unsaved. If you deem this result using the same logic you would have to conclude that to be free to this extent, we would be able to be separated from God once we enter heaven after we are resurrected, which is impossible according to scripture.
This is not scriptural based, and we also know that we will be in heaven as beings of free-will yet free from being able to choose evil. This is true freedom, to be free from choosing what is contrary to good.
Can Salvation be Lost?
Can a believer’s salvation be lost, do believers have eternal security? True believers are not always faithful, so if salvation could be lost by what extend of unfaithfulness would lead to the loss of your salvation?
Falling Away – Backsliding
The Bible is clear that there are distinctively two different types of people who come to God, then afterwards ‘turn back’:
- Unbelievers or False Believers- Unbelievers who superficially came to God but never really put their faith or trusted in Him.
- Backsliders– Believers, or those elect who are stumbling for some period of time however will return to God.
Salvation depends completely on God and what He has done, it has absolutely no dependence on our works. Although it takes faith to believe and come to Him, if you have truly believed and trusted God then He is with you even if you stumble and fall, even though you will still have to pay the consequences for your sins and from turning from His direction in your life.
Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him: because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.
And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us. – John 3.19-24
If we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself. – 2 Tim 2.13
Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God – Hebrews 3.12
Two Kinds of Unbelieving Hearts that Appear to be Godly at First:
Many people receive God’s word with joy and gladness, but over time they begin stumble and fall away from God because of the trials and tribulations in life. They never really had any root of trust in God in their heart that said “I will trust you God no matter what.” So when God tested their hearts with trials, the truth of their heart was revealed and they turned away from God.
And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; Mat 13:21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth. – Matthew 13.20-21
Notice it says they hear the word and received it, but it doesn’t say they put their faith or trusted it. As it says in Heb 4.2, there are those who hear the word, but it does not mix with faith.
Those with thorny hearts hear the word of God, but instead of believing, are deceived and continue to lust after the things of the world and trust in the selfish desires of their own heart. Of These Jesus even said they may produce good deeds but will never enter the kingdom because they trust in the riches of their life.
And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that heareth the word; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. – Matthew 13.22
(Notice it says they hear the word of God, but it never says they put their faith or trusted it!)
[They will say to me Lord we have done many wondrous deeds in your name] Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7.21
Those Who Fall Away Will Not Repent
For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. – Hebrew 6.4-6
The clue to who these people are is revealed in the next verse that correlates to the types of trees Jesus told us about in Matthew.
For the land which hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receiveth blessing from God: but if it beareth thorns and thistles, it is rejected and nigh unto a curse; whose end is to be burned – Hebrew 6.7-8
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7.17-20
Jesus even reveals that it is in our hands to make the choice to either believe unto righteousness and good fruit, or not to believe.
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come. Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. Ye offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. – Matthew 12.32-35
Test your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate. – 2 Corin 13.5
To Unbelievers who Pretend to be Believers:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire. – 2 Peter 2.20-22
Many claim to be believers, but in reality, are unwilling to turn form a lifestyle of sin and continue to defy God in their hearts. This is the reason the Apostle Paul tells us to test our own hearts to see if we are in the faith (2 Corin 13.5).
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will go into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the pleasure of my Father in heaven. – Matthew7.21
But he who goes through to the end will get salvation. – Matthew 24.13
And those on the rock are those who with joy give hearing to the word; but having no root, they have faith for a time, and when the test comes they give up. And those which went among thorns are those who have given hearing, and go on their way, but they are overcome by cares and wealth and the pleasures of life, and they give no fruit. – Luke 8.13-14
Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of destruction, – 2 Thessalonians 2.3
But the Spirit says clearly that in later times some will be turned away from the faith, giving their minds to spirits of deceit, and the teachings of evil spirits, Through the false ways of men whose words are untrue, whose hearts are burned as with a heated iron; – 1 Timothy 4.1-2
Let your desire be for peace with all men, and to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord; – Hebrews 12.14
But there were false prophets among the people, as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly put forward wrong teachings for your destruction, even turning away from the Lord who gave himself for them; whose destruction will come quickly, and they themselves will be the cause of it. And a great number will go with them in their evil ways, through whom the true way will have a bad name. And in their desire for profit they will come to you with words of deceit, like traders doing business in souls: whose punishment has been ready for a long time and their destruction is watching for them – 2 Peter 2.1-22
Bad Steward – No Good Deeds
Matthew 25.14-30 and Luke 19.12-28 give the parable of the rich man giving money to his servants who are charged to make interest from it. This parable shows that we (the stewards) are given things in this life in which we are supposed to use for God and His kingdom.
The children of God will live according to God’s will, but there are many others whom live their lives, never doing anything for God, and the Bible is clear what their punishment will be:
And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 25.30
And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. – Matthew 25.46
Once again salvation comes as God’s free gift, completely dependent on the fact Jesus paid our price and took our sins away; but once you come to God and truly believe, you will desire and live according to God’s will for your life (Matt 7.21).
This verse reflects those people who think it’s impossible to please God, and complain about the things God has given to them, and they never attempt to do anything for His kingdom. Just as we see in the parable, the worthless steward knows God has given them their talents, abilities and gifts for a purpose, and they ‘choose’ not to do with it what they are supposed to, but waste it on selfish or worthless living.
God is just and given to men all different kinds of gifts and talents. If we live our lives without doing anything for God knowing that He wants us to believe in and live for Him, we will be punished. Notice how God call them goats (not of His sheep flock) whom did not do what He wanted them to do, and this is how He separates them, by looking into their hearts.
There are many whom have little opportunity late in life that believe in Him right before they die that still receive heaven (Luke 23.43) because they have done the work of faith- to Believe on Jesus. The worthless steward is shown through their lack of faith, that they are indeed an unbeliever.
Backsliders are those who believe but are willingly not submitting to God. It is a very scary place to be as we see the consequences for living a life of such actions, as we never know when we will die, or when God will decide we went too far and requires our life of from us (Luke 12.20).
The devil desires nothing more then to distract people from following Gods will for their life and keep them from doing what God has called us to do, but if we are true believers, then God is for us, and not even the devil can be against us (Rom 8.31).
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways; – Proverbs 14.14
Story of the Prodigal Son
A certain man had two sons:
Luk 15:12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 But when he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish here with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight:
19 I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry:
24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry .
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he called to him one of the servants, and inquired what these things might be.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 But he was angry, and would not go in: and his father came out, and entreated him.
29 But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, and I never transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 but when this thy son came, who hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou killedst for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that is mine is thine. 32 But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.– Story of the Prodigal Son – Luke 15
Unwise Servants Deeds Burned Up on Judgment Day
Meaning that even though they believed, all their deeds in life where worthless (hay and stubble) and had no value for kingdom things (eternal rewards). This is because the motives in their heart where not pure but performed some morally ‘good deeds,’ perhaps for selfish motives or for selfish gain.
For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5.10
Each man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3.13-15
In contrast with Matthew 25, this verse in 2 Corinthians 3 is in direct reference to a person’s deeds; and the ‘heart’ behind the intention of their deeds. Notice this person obviously had deeds to be proved and tested, the person in Matthew 25 (the bad steward) had/did nothing at all.
This doesn’t mean that every calling and deed will be flawless, Christians will miss many opportunities in their lives and overlook many things because of the discouragement and distraction in their lives, but we should not say in our heart “I am not going to do anything for God.”
Backsliders are Chasten
The Bible teaches that those whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son. For those that are truly His children, the elect, and make mistakes, He will seek out, find and discipline.
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
My child, don’t think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing, and don’t stop trying when he corrects you. 6. The Lord disciplines everyone he loves; he punishes everyone he accepts as a child.” 7. So accept sufferings like a father’s discipline. God does these things to you like a father correcting his children. You know that all children are disciplined by their fathers – Hebrews 12.5-7
God Seek the One Gone Astray
Most Severe Discipline
The Bible speaks of believers that have went so far astray, that they are to be turned over to the devil for the destruction of their flesh, yet in the end their soul still be saved because of their faith. This is why we are to fear God, for He disciplines those who are truly His own, and destroys the unbeliever.
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. – 1 Corin 5.5
Judgment for Unbelievers
For those that do not have Christ, have no justification for their sins.
Rejection of God’s Salvation
Freewill to Reject Salvation
God has given to all men the ability to choose their path, for those who desire not to believe, they are absolutely free to choose not to follow God’s ways.
A man’s heart chooses his way; But the LORD directs his steps. – Proverbs 16.9
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! – Matt 23.37
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3.9
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. – Acts 7.51
And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: – John 16.8
And the Lord said, My spirit will not be in man for ever, for he is only flesh; so the days of his life will be a hundred and twenty years. – Gen 6.3
Enemies of God
Those whom rejecting God and His will, are His enemies.
For if, when we were haters of God, the death of his Son made us at peace with him, much more, now that we are his friends, will we have salvation through his life; – Rom 5.10
For all who are of the works of the law are under a curse: because it is said in the Writings, A curse is on everyone who does not keep on doing all the things which are ordered in the book of the law. Christ has made us free from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us: because it is said in the Writings, A curse on everyone who is put to death by hanging on a tree: – Gal 3.10,13
The Unforgivable Sin
We see the unforgivable sin spoken about in Luke 12.10, Mark 3.28 and Matthew 12.31-32. Jesus told us that there is only one thing that will never be forgiven of men, whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit. So, the question is what exactly does this mean?
Truly, I say to you, The sons of men will have forgiveness for all their sins and for all the evil words they say: But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but be in danger of eternal damnation. – Mark 3.28
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to discredit the one whom speaks the truth (Holy Spirit) and call Him a liar. When someone lives a life of unbelief, they continually reject God and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
For if we do evil on purpose after we have had the knowledge of what is true, there is no more offering for sins, – Hebrews 10.26
But will not the man by whom the Son of God has been crushed under foot, and the blood of the agreement with which he was washed clean has been taken as an unholy thing, and who has had no respect for the Spirit of grace, be judged bad enough for a very much worse punishment? – Hebrews 10.29
Infants and Unreached People
What about those who never got to hear about the message for salvation? Most theologians address this issue with the following: Jesus was very clear when he said:
Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. – John 9. 39-41
If you were blind (or didn’t know), you would have no guilt, you would have no knowledge of things you should do to keep from being guilty. So, is it better to have never heard about salvation, or about what Jesus did? Not at all, it would be better to know about the disease so you can receive to cure.
For those who reject the cure, it only reveals what’s really in their heart, that they only love darkness and have no desire for God. For those who never know about the cure, they will die.
Whoever believeth on him (Christ) is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. – John 3.18
Infants and Children
Children are a symbol of things innocent and pure because of their inability to comprehend moral evils. They are pure in the world of moral chaos. Therefore, there is the understanding of an age of accountability in scripture that people eventually become aware and accountable for their deeds.
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. – Luke 18.16
King David’s unborn son went to heaven, in this verse King David is saying he knows that one day he will go to be with his son, but his son can never return to him. This is evidence that God brings those whom never had been able to understand or choose moral evils to heaven.
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. – 2 Sam 12.23
God even tells us in Deuteronomy, that children do not yet know good from evil. This shows that they will not be held accountable for moral good or evil.
Moreover your little ones, that ye said should be a prey, and your children, that this day have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. – Deut 1.39
Unreached People & UnEvangelized
God desired people to be saved more than we ever could! He desires that all men would be saved and reveals Himself to those who earnestly seek Him. The Lord Jesus reveals to us that apart from Him none can enter the kingdom of heaven.
People are judged according to what they have done, their God given conscience is a law unto themselves, and proves that they know right and wrong. God commands people to know Him and worship Him according to what He has revealed about Himself to them, and He will reveal Himself to those who earnestly seek Him.
People go to hell, not because they haven’t heard the gospel, but because they are sinner who love their sin and want to remain in it.
The judge of all the earth knows what is right and the best way to judge all men, even the heathen. It is in Him, the eternal and all wise judge, we must have faith that He who created everything knows more about right judgment then we do.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them) – Rom 2.12, 14-15
They were judged every man according to their works. – Revelation 20.13
Special revelation is the fact that God is able and does send believers to preach the gospel or reveal His salvation through special revelations. God reveals Himself through special revelations to those in the world He desires to come to salvation in Christ. God tells us that He sets the proper time for all people of all nations to come to Him.
For all those who may desire to know God and find His salvation can be saved. God even speaks through dream and visions to the lost heathens of far off countries to bring them to repentance. Through countless testimonies God sends missionaries and give visions to tribal elders and distance people of God’s message of salvation.
God made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: – Acts 17.26-27
Paul saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways. And yet He left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness. – Acts 14.15-17
If there be a prophet (or inspired man) among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. – Numbers 12.6
For God speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceive it not. 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16 Then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, 17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit (destruction), and his life from perishing by the sword. – Job 33.14-18
But there is a God in heaven who tells secret things. – Daniel 2.28
God has given all men everywhere perfect witness of Himself, the creation that is all around us. Heaven declares the Glory of God, and through nature that reveals the invisible attributes of God, people can know the Creator:
References – Justification
Systematic Theology – Norman L. Geisler