a son or daughter who may have strayed from the straight & narrow, who may havebecome a thief, a prostitue or even a murderer, but by law, they're still your child, right?Even though some may say, "you're not my son or daughter anymore," the
sayssomething different. Likewise, God is bound by
law, which is His
, and thatseems to say: once His child, forever His child, no matter what you do! We become and
God's children not because of what we do (except the act of receiving andaccepting Christ), but in order to learn and become able to act the way God would likeus to. He gives us the power to not only be, but also behave like His children, eventually,simply by the act of receiving Him. Of course, in order to learn to act like a child of God,and to become a fully mature son or daughter, we must continue receiving Him (throughHis Word and Spirit) every day. But even if we don't, and don't ever behave like one (asunfortunate as that may be), we still remain His children. There can be no uncertaintyabout that (although there is, sadly, among the majority of people).
But we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what the Bible has to say on thistopic. In Chapter 3:36 John writes:
"He that believeth the Son hath everlasting life,"
and later, in his first epistle, again:
"he that hath the Son hath life"
(5:12). Note that itdoesn't say, "
he stops sinning forever and keeps going to church everySunday."The scripture that changedMartin Luther 's life from one of a self-castigating monk, living
in the usual, catholic eternal insecurity and into that of "the most important religiousfigure of the last thousand years" who brought to life the reformation and thus theprotestant church, is another one which most "salvation by works" adherents simplychoose to ignore (it's too easy for them that one should only have to receive the gift of salvation without having to do something to earn it): In Ehphesians 2 verse 8 & 9 Paulwrote,
"For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it isthe gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast."
What good work can youpossibly do that would merit Christ's sacrifice for you on the cross? Isn't it a littlepreposterous to assume that anything you could do could ever live up to "deserve" that,no matter how hard you try?It's understood that God would prefer that we should start behaving better. But He doesnot make His gift of salvation depend on anything we do (no, not even churchattendance). Besides, He has His own little ways of making us behave. What does ahuman father do in order to teach his child how to behave (well, at least fathers
to): discipline or correct the child. If you're God's child, He won't let you get away withliving the wrong way without allowing you to pay the consequences for it. God disciplinesus, His children (seeHebrews 12:6). But He doesn't say: "for this you don't deserve tobe My child any longer."Jesus said, "
Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out
." Or in modern English:"If someone comes to Me, I won't kick him out!" (John 6:37).So, what did Paul mean then, when he said, "Work out your own salvation in fear andtrembling"? Especially if the very next verse says something to the opposite extentagain: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."How can you "work out your own salvation" when it's a gift of God, and it's God Whoperforms both, the desire in us to do His will, as well as the enacting of it? Well,obviously, in the light of all the other Scritpures (and there are more, but this is only ablog, not a book), Pillipians 2:19 cannot be referring to our
salvation or that whichwe would be referring to as
, since that is a
, and that's settled. But as far asthe
manifestations of that salvation in this earthly life are concerned, we'regoing to have to
at it. And since we have a powerful spiritualadversarywho tries