Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling…

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,

How many of you have read this verse before? There’s something profound in it, yet so simple you may overlook it. Read it again.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling…”

This is a departure from the lifestyle of modern Christians in the West today. True, most will agree with this verse with their lips and in their minds, but so many qualifiers are hung from this phrase that you can no longer see the truth beneath the clown costume others have put on it.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling… sometimes.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling… into habitual sin.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling… even though you sin every day.

Present you faultless… after death removes our sinful flesh.

Present you faultless… because God sees the sacrifice of Jesus and not our sin.

I don’t really want to go on.

The modern Church has abandoned the truth of God and has substituted a man-pleasing, sin-accepting false gospel in its place. They can read the same words everyone else can, but because they love their sin more than God, and because they know in their hearts they do not meet the expectations of God and probably have a seared conscience, they have to add these qualifiers.

Many in the Church – I would dare to say most in the Church – have never felt godly sorrow leading to repentance. Why do I say this? Because many of them would admit to sinning every day in word, thought, and deed. They are still in the “trying to overcome” stage where if they think they beat themselves up enough and make themselves miserable enough, the temptations they have will go away and they’ll stop falling for the same lies over and over again. A despicable few go so far as to glory in their sins and point to their sin as an example of their humility and right standing before God. (I have met someone like this.)

Allow me to make something clear: if you are still persisting in your sin, then you have not repented of your sin. You are still a slave to your sin, which means you are not a slave of righteousness, which means you have not been born again.

Which means you do not know God.

But rather than fall on their knees in fear of the God who will visit his wrath upon them, instead of repenting of their sin and pleading for pardon, instead of letting the blood of Jesus cleanse them of all unrighteousness, they come up with excuses. They implement regimens intended to prevent them from committing the sin, perhaps, but these are external acts leaving the root cause untreated. Their hearts are never changed. Rather than abandon their pride and place all their trust in the one who is able to keep them from falling, they try to improve their own lives little by little. Many of them will have the gall to accuse of pride all those who do place all their trust in God.

The solution is simple, although for those whose pride has been deeply implanted, difficult to implement. Believe in Jesus and the one who sent him. Repent of your sins. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. God has the power to save you from sin, and if you love God, you will keep his commandments anyway. You will no longer live day-to-day fretting about whether or not you will sin some way or another, no longer agonize about every decision you make, because you will know that you love God and seek to live for him in all you do.

Believe in the one who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will present you blameless before God.

Mixed Messages

This has been flitting through my head the past couple weeks, but I have not been able to write my thoughts on the matter all that well. Nevertheless, I think it’s time to try. As most of you know, I adhere to the holiness doctrine. I believe it is not only possible for a Christian to no longer sin, this sinless behavior is expected.

I will focus on one example.

I attended a Bible study for a short while during the summer session at Clemson. I was delighted one evening to hear the speaker say that Christians did not have to sin. She (we won’t discuss appropriateness of this) said that, when those who called themselves Christians did not have lives that were changed– that is, they kept on doing the sinful things they used to do– there was something terribly wrong. At one point she said she was holy.

But then, only a week later, the same person said that repentance was a daily thing. Every day she had to repent of sinful thoughts and actions.

Problem: If one repents, he does not return to the former way of living. Repentance involves changing one’s mind. It is more than feeling sorry for what one has done.

Another problem: How can one be holy and yet sin? The two don’t go together. Is it possible to be holy? Of course. In fact, it’s expected. John said that he who has been born of God does not sin. (1 John 5:18) Paul said that believers are not slaves to sin. Jesus said that those who love Him will keep His commandments. (John 14:15)

Does anyone else see the problem? These people were being told one thing one day and the opposite the next. How would anyone know what to believe in this situation? And does the same thing happen in other groups, other churches?

Consistency would be nice.