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Yesterday, the Lord Jesus had me share the following in the form of a Christian meme. Memes are intended to be short and something that someone can read without having to turn a page or to scroll down further into the document, so they can be useful tools for communication. But one of the drawbacks is that there is not much room for explanation. So, I believe that I am to expand here on the thoughts presented in the meme.

Truth vs Theology (the meme)

When I was much younger, I used to read the Scriptures in light of the particular theology I had been taught in my early life. But the more that I read the Scriptures, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the more that I struggled with the theology I had been taught and with trying to make it fit with what the Scriptures were teaching, which was sometimes the opposite of each other.

So, at first, I would kind of do an “either/or” kind of explanation, not really taking a stand one way or the other. But as time went by, and as I grew to maturity in my walk of faith in Jesus Christ, I could no longer do that. I had to take a stand on the truth of God’s word even if it went against what I had always been taught. And this is where I have remained.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:1-11; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]


I was asked by a reader to give an example of what I stated above, so that is what I am going to do here. So, I will begin by stating that, growing up, I was taught a lot of Scriptures out of context which were then interpreted opposite of what the Scriptures teach in context. And the main area in which this was taking place was in the presentation of the gospel message. For they had these oversimplified and quick to read gospel presentations where one verse after another was taught out of context and misinterpreted.

Usually John 3:16 was presented independent of its context:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

“Believes” was not explained as to its meaning, and the verb tense really should be “believing”, which is active and continuous belief. And, out of context, the reader was left with the impression that if he (or she) professed faith in Jesus Christ that he (or she) now had the promise of life eternal with God. But faith is defined by God and by his word and not by us, and it means to be persuaded of God, and it engages death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness in walks of obedience to his commands.

For the Scriptures teach us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that we might live for him and no longer for self, and that he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) out of our lives of slavery to sin so that we will now honor God with our bodies. By faith in him we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer to live as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness.

[1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6:1-23]

The same happened with Romans 6:23 which was taught out of context:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In the sequence of verses presented, this verse was taught as though if we received God’s free gift of salvation, by a declaration of faith in him, that we would no longer come under condemnation but that all our sins would be forgiven and now heaven was guaranteed us when we die, on the basis of that profession of faith, but independent of how we lived our lives from that moment forward. Thus, many people professed faith in Jesus, assumed they were now guaranteed heaven, but it didn’t change their hearts.

But, in context, what this verse is saying is that, as long as we live as slaves to sin, the end of it all is the opposite of life eternal with God. It is eternal death and eternal punishment. But if we are now slaves to God and to his righteousness via walks of obedience to his commands, no longer living in obedience to sin, in practice, then the fruit (results) that we get leads to sanctification and its end is eternal life with God (read Romans 6:1-23). So this is teaching progressive salvation.

Conflicting Verses

Therefore, since the gospel that they were teaching was that we could believe (not biblically defined usually) in Jesus, and now all our sins were forgiven, and now heaven was guaranteed us when we die, and it couldn’t be taken away from us, then when they came across verses such as what I noted in the meme, they often tried to find ways around what those verses were saying, for so many of those verses teach that if sin is what we practice, and not righteousness, and not obedience to our Lord, that we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God.

And they teach that our salvation is progressive – we are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for his faithful bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete, and not until then. And all this is dependent on us walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and in obedience to our Lord, and not in sin, and that we continue in that faith, in practice, until the very end.

And this is where they would try to find “work arounds” to try to explain away the verses that teach that we can lose our lives for eternity if we are not persistent in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord until the very end of time. And this is where, for years, I would try to interpret the Scriptures like they did, but I kept seeing that they didn’t teach what they were saying, and so at first I would say, “It could be this or it could be that.” But the more I studied the Scriptures the more I could no longer do that.

So, when I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23, I take them to heart:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”


An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.